The Download

What's up in emerging technology

December 15, 2017 China has detailed its AI ambitions.

China Has a New Three-Year Plan to Rule AI

The national artificial-intelligence ambitions of China have just evolved into a detailed three-year action plan, building on a sweeping scheme announced in July.

On Thursday, the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology published a… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Adi Constantin | Unsplash

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IEEE AI Ethics logo

What Can AI Experts Learn from Buddhism? A New Approach to Machine-Learning Ethics Aims to Find Out

Rapid advances in AI have spawned a number of recent initiatives that aim to convince engineers, programmers, and others to prioritize ethical considerations in their work—but almost all of them have originated in rich Western countries. An effort from… Read more

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  • IEEE Standards Association

Editor's Pick

Digital Pills Track How Patients Use Opioids

New pill capsules that send a message to a smartphone as they move through the GI tract have emerged as a way to track whether patients are taking their medicine as prescribed. The problem of nonadherence to medication instructions causes about 125,000...

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December 15, 2017 Industrial infrastructure is vulnerable to attack

A New Industrial Hack Highlights the Cyber Holes in Our Infrastructure


Freshly discovered malware called Triton can compromise safety systems that control many kinds of industrial processes.

For years, security experts have been warning that hackers can disable systems that control critical infrastructure we all rely… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • adrienguh | Unsplash
December 14, 2017

Artificial Intelligence Just Discovered New Planets

The Kepler space telescope, which launched in 2009, has produced more than 30,000 signals measuring light from stars to search for possible planets in distant parts of the galaxy. Sifting through that and other telescope data, astronomers have found… Read more

Image credit:
  • NASA
So long, net neutrality.

The FCC Has Now Done Its Part to Kill Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to reverse the Obama-era rules that sought to democratize the Internet.

Soon after Donald Trump came to power, he made Ajit Pai chair of the FCC. Pai wasted no time in proposing to roll back rules that… Read more

Image credit:
  • Markus Spiske | Flickr
December 13, 2017 Ispace lander

The Next Moon Mission Might Be Sponsored by a Soda Company

When humans next set foot on the moon’s surface, the scene may be a bit different from what was there on the first visit. Rather than an astronaut walking out of a clunky pod emblazoned with their country’s name and planting a flag, picture a lunar lander… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Ispace

Editor's Pick

Apps That Hint at a Fanciful Fake Future

Right now, one of the best gadgets for viewing augmented reality or virtual reality may be sitting in your pocket.

Smartphones, especially newer, higher-end models, are getting really good at blending the real and the virtual (as in AR) and transporting...

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December 13, 2017 Photo of the Charging Bull statue near Wall Street in New York City

Hedge Funds Are Increasingly Turning to AI—and That Might Be a Problem

Financial firms have generally been slow to accept artificially intelligent stock pickers. They have already invested billions collectively to bring in quantitative analysts, who do major number crunching as well as develop powerful non-AI algorithms.… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Sam valadi | Flickr
December 12, 2017 An image of Alice in action

In Russia, There’s an AI Helper That Makes Fun of You—and It’s Wildly Popular

The unfailingly polite tone of personal assistants like Siri and Alexa isn’t to everyone’s taste. Many in Russia, in fact, seem to prefer their AI helpers with sass and a dark sense of humor.

The Moscow-based tech giant Yandex launched a Russian-speaking… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Yandex