The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Today Baidu is leading the Chinese pack in autonomous driving.

China Is Opening Up City Roads for Driverless Cars

Drivers in Beijing, beware: soon, you’ll be driving alongside autonomous vehicles.

On Monday, Beijing’s Municipal Commission of Transport announced (Chinese) provisional regulations for testing self-driving cars on city roads. Companies that are registered… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Baidu

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Uber has been spying.

Uber Used CIA-Trained Staff to Spy on Rivals

A 37-page letter made public by a federal court as part of a trade secrets case reveals that Uber assembled an intelligence team in the summer of 2016.

The letter, which was sent from an ex-Uber official directly to the ride-hailer last May, has only… Read more

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  • Uber

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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Facebook is a mixed bag.

Even Facebook Says Facebook Isn’t All Good

Amazingly, Facebook has published a post weighing whether it’s good or bad for you.

It points to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology showing that passive Facebook users (who lurk and click links) report worsening mental health. It also cites… Read more

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
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

Source: Image credit:
  • IEEE Standards Association
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

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 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