The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Yesterday Drones, soon flying over our heads.

The FAA Is Finally Letting Drones Fly Over Crowds

And, frankly, it’s about damn time. If you’ve been following the swift progress being made in using drones for commercial applications like delivery, you’ll have noticed few of the trials ever take place in the U.S. Iceland, Switzerland, Britain, Australia… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Caleb Woods | Unsplash

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One day, all this could be yours to play with on an iPhone.

Now You Can Manage Entire Factories from a Phone

If you think Facebook’s infinite scroll is endlessly compelling, imagine what it would be like to track the daily rumblings of an entire factory on a phone. That’s what Apple and GE have decided to make possible, by launching a software development kit… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Tokyoform | Flickr
Is this the city of the future?

Alphabet Will Turn Toronto Into a Living Laboratory of Urban Design

An 800-acre strip of the city’s waterfront may show us how cities of the future will be built.

Alphabet’s urban innovation division, Sidewalk Labs, has announced a project that aims to inject modern urban design and new technologies into the city’s quayside.… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Sidewalk Labs
October 17, 2017 Google's Pixel 2 smartphone is smarter than we knew.

Google’s First Mobile Chip Will Turbocharge Image Processing

And it’s already inside its latest smartphone, the Pixel 2. The Verge reports that Google’s new Pixel Visual Core chipset is designed to make image processing faster and smoother. It has eight processor cores that are meant to make HDR+ image processing—which… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Google

Alphabet’s Drones Are Now Delivering Right Into People’s Backyards

A new trial in southeastern Australia will see Alphabet’s X lab use its Project Wing drones to drop parcels of Mexican food and medical supplies (one hopes the former doesn’t necessitate the latter) right next to people’s back doors. Two local stores,… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • X
Robots and humans need to get along.

Can Robots and Humans Learn to Labor and Love as One?

That's hardly a new kind of question, but with increasing leaps in AI and robotics, the search for answers gains more urgency. Indeed, as we've reported in the past, to truly make most effective use of robots we'll need to work out how to best get along… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Tecnalia | Flickr
October 16, 2017 Big Ben at Night

Keep Calm and … Massively Increase Investment in Artificial Intelligence

The U.K. government has just released a thoughtful report on the potential of AI, along with some jolly sensible recommendations for making the most of the profoundly important technology.

The report, coauthored by the Department for Digital, Culture,… Read more

Image credit:
  • Samuel Zeller | Unsplash
The future of gas may be short-lived.

Global Gasoline Demand Could Peak by 2030

At least, it could if electric-car adoption plays out the way some experts think it will.

The prognostication comes courtesy of the energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, which has taken a fresh look at the shifting thirst for oil around the globe. Its analysts… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Markus Spiske | Unsplash

This Robotic Surgeon Cuts Cleaner Than a Human

One day, this machine might slice into you.

Called Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR), the semi-autonomous device uses a near-infrared camera to constantly monitor how predefined marks on tissue move in relation to its cutting tool, according to IEEE… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Justin Opfermann and Ryan Decker