The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Today Microsoft's AI push is boring, but its results may not be.

Microsoft Is Making AI Boring, and That’s Either Great or Scary

Machine learning isn’t always overtly tantalizing or controversial: sometimes, it’s just … dull and useful. And that’s exactly what many of the AI announcements made by Microsoft at its annual Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, promise to provide.… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Fabien Lavocat | Flickr

Subscribe and get the bimonthly magazine and unlimited access to online articles.

Starting at $29.95/year

Tesla may edge forward in China

China May Make Life a Little Easier for American Electric Automakers

But is America likely to show reciprocal good will?

Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal have reported that China is mulling a relaxation of rules (in some parts of the country, at least) that currently require foreign automakers to partner with… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Jacob Rank | Unsplash
The new Marea cable reaches depths of 17,000 feet in places

This Cable Will Boggle Your Mind With the Highest Data Capacity Ever to Cross the Atlantic

The new undersea link, which stretches 4,100 miles between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain, can stream 71 million HD videos simultaneously. Known as Marea, it was laid as a joint venture between Microsoft, Facebook, and telco infrastructure… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Microsoft
September 22, 2017 Rise of the robotic dentist

In China, Robot Dentists Are Implanting 3-D Printed Teeth

Open wide, because the robots have eyes on your dental work. South China Morning Post reports that a robo-dentist has autonomously implanted two new, 3-D-printed teeth into a woman’s mouth.

The procedure, which appears to have made use of a robot arm… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Science and Technology Daily
Mark Zuckerberg has big problems to solve

Is Facebook Too Big to Fight Its Ad Problem?

Policing how a quarter of the world uses a website isn’t easy. Mark Zuckerberg knows that all too well. It’s the reason why his social network has had to announce that it’s now sharing 3,000 Russian-linked ads from its pages as part of a government investigation… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Facebook
Uber's London operations are in question

Uber Has Lost Its License to Operate in London

It’s time to take a black cab in the British capital. The city's transport regulator, Transport for London, has declared the ride-hailing firm "not fit and proper" to provide its services in London. It says Uber shows "a lack of corporate responsibility"… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Uber
September 21, 2017

Lockheed’s Laser Cannon Shoots Drones Out of the Sky, No Fuss

Don’t mess with ATHENA. That’s the Advanced Test High Energy Asset to you and me, and it’s Lockheed’s astonishingly destructive laser cannon. It’s been developing the weapon in order to take down drones without messy—and position-revealing—recourse to… Read more

Source: Video credit:
  • Lockheed
Your phone will soon have a much better idea where you are.

Your Next Phone’s GPS Is Going to Be Way More Accurate

It’ll know where you are to within 30 centimeters, rather than five meters. At least that’s the claim chip maker Broadcom is making. It says that some of its next-generation smartphone chips will use new global positioning satellite signals to boost… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Linda Sondergaard | Unsplash
The Google Pixel smartphone

Google’s $1.1 Billion Slice of HTC Is a Push to Make Money Out of AI

Google is buying the HTC team that it uses to design its Pixel phones, including 2,000 staff and a stack of intellectual property. The deal is a clear sign that Google is dead serious about its drive to build hardware. But as we’ve argued before, this… Read more

Image credit:
  • Justin Main | Unsplash
September 20, 2017

Scientists Have Built a Shark-Sucking Robot That Is Hideous and Cool

If you've ever watched "Shark Week," you know those weird fish stuck just below sharks' gaping maws—well, now there's a robotic version of those little guys. Researchers led by Li Wen at Beihang University in China have built a robot based on the slender… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Wang et al., Science