The Download

What's up in emerging technology

November 22, 2017 Great Barrier Reef aerial photograph

An Election in Australia Is Shaping Up as a Fight over Coal Energy

On Saturday, Queensland, Australia, goes to the polls, and the issue defining the election is being billed as a choice between creating new jobs and saving the Great Barrier Reef.

The Labor Party has promised it will reject $900 million in federal funding… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Pixabay

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View of a block of houses from above

Facebook Still Lets People Target Ads by Race and Ethnicity

Though the company promised a fix months ago, Facebook’s ad system still allows advertisers to target people in ways that could run afoul of antidiscrimination laws.

The investigative journalism shop ProPublica has been on the case for over a year now… Read more

Image credit:
  • Blake Wheeler | Unsplash

Editor's Pick

The Race to Power AI’s Silicon Brains

Nigel Toon, the cofounder and CEO of Graphcore, a semiconductor startup based in the U.K., recalls that only a couple of years ago many venture capitalists viewed the idea of investing in semiconductor chips as something of joke. “You’d take an idea...

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November 22, 2017 Your smartphone knows where you are—all too well.

Android Phones Have Been Tracking You More Closely Than You Might Like

And there’s nothing you could’ve done about it. An investigation by Quartz reveals that Android devices currently send positioning data to Google servers even when location services are turned off, apps aren’t being used, and there isn’t even a carrier’s… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Courtney Clayton
November 21, 2017 Computer coder

Coding Boot Camps Are in Trouble, but New York City Has a Plan to Shape Them Up

To succeed in the jobs of the present and the future, technology skills like coding are more important than ever before. Enter online coding courses and coding boot camps, which have burst on the scene with promises of training people for well-paid jobs… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • | Unsplash
a tomate cast in shadow

A New Kind of Computer Vision Can’t Be Tricked by Weird Lighting

Computer vision has come a long way since Imagenet, a large, open-source data set of labeled images, was released in 2009 for researchers to use to train AI—but images with tricky or bad lighting can still confuse algorithms. Researchers have either… Read more

Image credit:
  • Evaldas Daugintis | Unsplash
Ajit Pai plans to scrap net neutrality rules.

While You Prepare to Eat Turkey, the FCC Reveals Its Plan to Dismantle Net Neutrality

Call it a good week to bury bad news. As America winds down for Thanksgiving, there has been little time for pumpkin pie at the Federal Communications Commission: the Washington Post reports that the organization has published its final plan to dismantle… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Teddy Wilson | Flickr

Editor's Pick

Can AI Keep You Healthy?

“This smart mirror isn’t very smart,” says Jun Wang, standing in front of a full-length mirror wearing designer jeans ripped at the knees. “It’s just a camera and a mirror,” he says, looking mildly distressed—or as distressed as possible for a man whose...

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November 21, 2017 Tesla's new semi may pack impressive battery technology.

Tesla’s New Semi May Pack Radical Battery Tech

Could some of our misgivings about Elon Musk’s new electric truck be alleviated by secret advances in energy storage? Perhaps, if a new report is to be believed.

One of the chief concerns with the Tesla Semi has to do with the resilience of its batteries:… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Tesla
November 20, 2017 Now Hiring

Where Americans Go When They Switch Jobs

The average person holds 12 jobs during the span of a career, but how big a career jump are most of these moves? A recent article by FlowingData tries to find out by looking at occupations in the Current Population Survey—an ongoing U.S. government survey… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Amtec Staffing | Flickr