The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Today One of Uber's Volvo XC90s in San Francisco.

Uber Is Making a $1 Billion Bet on Owning a Driverless Car Fleet

The ride-hailer’s business model is about to change beyond recognition. Reuters reports that Uber has entered an agreement with Volvo to buy as many as 24,000 of the automaker's XC90 SUVs—which it currently uses for testing—between 2019 and 2021. Those… Read more

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  • Uber

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Voting needs to get more secure.

U.S. Election Officials Are Getting Cybersecurity 101

A team of Harvard researchers has published a playbook to help people who manage elections safeguard their systems from hacks. The guidelines have been drawn up by a team from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, which is based at… Read more

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  • Keith Ivey | Flickr

Editor's Pick

This Startup Developed a Promising New Battery Material—and a Novel Survival Strategy

As Kenan Sahin walks through the labs at Tiax, an energy technology development firm located along Boston’s tech beltway, he points to a row of little muffle furnaces in a small beige room. The company’s researchers use the ovens to heat mixtures of...

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November 17, 2017 Starling are an incredibly invasive species in the U.S.

If Unleashed in the Wild, Gene Drives Could Create a “Highly Invasive Species,” Researchers Say

Technology’s answer to invasive species and disease-spreading insects is looking riskier than ever in its current form.

Aside from astonishing cures, one of CRISPR’s most tantalizing uses could be so-called gene drives. As we’ve reported in the past,… Read more

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  • Srikanta H U | Unsplash

VIDEO: Boston Dynamics’ Backflipping Robot Is an Astounding Advance

What a difference two years make. If you followed the DARPA Challenge back in 2015, you’ll know that humanoid robots have a track record of falling over—a lot. Fast forward to today, however, and the notorious robot maker Boston Dynamics has gotten its… Read more

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  • Boston Dynamics
Can the Tesla Semi win over truckers?

Tesla’s All-Electric Semi Sounds Amazing—But How Much Will It Cost, Exactly?

Elon Musk wants big rigs to trade their diesel for electrons. Last night, the Tesla CEO unveiled his hotly anticipated truck (and also decided to throw the announcement of a new $200,000 super car in for good measure). The Verge has a nice nine-minute… Read more

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  • Tesla
November 16, 2017 Robotic arms in factory

Automation May Take Your Job Away, But It Might Just Create a New One for You, Too

Robots are undeniably decimating jobs in certain industries—but the news isn’t necessarily all bad.

A new report by Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work lays out 21 new kinds of jobs that will be created in the next 10 years, employing large swaths… Read more

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  • ICAPlants | Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Pick

China’s AI Awakening
中国 人工智能 的崛起

On a tropical island that marks the southern tip of China, a computer program called Lengpudashi is playing one-on-one poker against a dozen people at once, and it’s absolutely crushing them. Lengpudashi, which means “cold poker master” in Mandarin,...

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November 16, 2017 Black and white photo of two men looking at chest x-rays

A New Algorithm Can Spot Pneumonia Better Than a Radiologist

Add diagnosing dangerous lung diseases to the growing list of things artificial intelligence can do better than humans.

A new arXiv paper by researchers from Stanford explains how CheXNet, the convolutional neural network they developed, achieved the… Read more

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  • City of Minneapolis Archives
Amazon Key lets delivery folks enter your home.

Amazon Key Lets Delivery People into Your House—and It Just Got Hacked

A hardware safeguard in Amazon’s recently launched while-you’re-out delivery service turns out to have a big hole. And, well—let’s just say you probably should have seen this coming.

Amazon Key uses a smart lock and cloud-based security camera in order… Read more

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  • Amazon