The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Yesterday Tech giants may do more to police extremist content.

Tech Titans Promise to Do a Better Job of Fighting Extremist Content

Previous complaints about the complexity of the task appear to be crumbling, at least a little.

Last month, British prime minister Theresa May called for tech firms “to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Rami Al Zayat | Unsplash

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Is he shopping?

Walmart Has Seen the Future, and It’s VR Shopping

Forget the stores; just grab your headset. Retail Dive reports that the world's biggest retailer held a glitzy gala event in Los Angeles Thursday night to showcase the way it thinks people will buy its wares in the future. And that way, it seems, is… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Leonard Lin | Flickr
Pollution is a killer.

Pollution Causes 9 Million Premature Deaths a Year

So says a study by the Lancet, which found that one in every six deaths around the world is linked to toxic air, water, soil, or workplaces. That’s more deaths than are caused annually by smoking, AIDS, or malaria.

Sadly, though perhaps predictably,… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Ian Sane | Flickr
October 19, 2017

Next Up in Driverless Vehicles: Autonomous Excavators

Robotic earth movers are starting to break ground.

A startup called Built Robotics, founded by an ex-Google engineer and currently backed by $15 million of venture capital, has announced that it’s currently building a robotic tractor that digs and moves… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Built Robotics
T-cells like this can be engineered to fight cancer.

Why America’s Latest Commercial Gene Therapy Could Be a Big Money-Maker

The FDA has approved its second CAR-T cell therapy. This kind of treatment, which reprograms the DNA of a patient's T immune cells so that they attack cancer, has shown huge early success in trials and is widely anticipated to change the way many variants of… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • NIAID | Flickr
Wind power, all out at sea.

The World’s First Floating Wind Farm Is Now Producing Energy

Over 15 miles from the coast of Scotland, a wind power project could foreshadow a major part of our clean-energy future. Hywind Scotland, situated in Buchan Deep, is the world’s first floating wind farm, with its five six-megawatt turbines now generating… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Statoil
October 18, 2017 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
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