The Download

What's up in emerging technology

Yesterday Honolulu, Hawaii

The Tech Troubles Behind Hawaii’s False Missile Alert

On Saturday, Hawaii incorrectly warned citizens of a missile attack via their phones.

User interface fail: The error was reportedly a result of a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee picking the wrong option—"missile alert," not "test missile… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Christian Joudrey | Unsplash

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Reading a book.

AI Beats Humans at a Reading Comprehension, But It Still Doesn’t Truly Comprehend Language

While Alibaba and Microsoft may have developed AIs that outperform humans at a comprehension test, there are still tough natural language challenges facing machines.

The challenge: The Stanford University quiz, based on 500 Wikipedia articles, tests… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Annie Spratt | Unsplash

Editor's Pick

And the Award for Most Nauseating Self-Driving Car Goes to …

In many ways this year’s CES looked a lot more like an autonomous-car show than a consumer electronics show.

There were announcements aplenty from the likes of Ford, Baidu, Toyota, and others about self-driving vehicles, upcoming driving tests, and new...

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January 12, 2018

Why Canada Looks like the Next Bitcoin-Mining Haven

Some of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency-mining operations are eyeing a move to Canada, tempted by cheap electricity and a cool climate.

The news: According to CoinDesk, a campaign by electrical utility Hydro-Quebec to entice companies into building… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Marko Ahtisaari | Flickr
Where's the steering wheel?

This Is What Your Dashboard of the Future Looks Like

There’s no steering wheel in this car. That’s because GM hopes the modified Chevrolet Bolt will be able to cruise the streets by itself as soon as next year.

Going hands-free: GM says the vehicle, called Cruise AV, is “the first production-ready vehicle… Read more

Image credit:
  • GM
A photo of an ambulance with its lights on driving down a street

AI Could Diagnose Your Heart Attack on the Phone—Even If You’re Not the Caller

An AI that listens in on 911 calls in Denmark will diagnose heart attacks, from voices and other background sounds, better than dispatchers can.

How it works: When someone calls for an ambulance in Copenhagen, an AI assistant called Corti will be listening… Read more

Image credit:
  • ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd. | Flickr
Can Facebook get more meaningul?

Facebook Promises to Build a “More Meaningful” News Feed

The firm will show fewer viral hits and more content from people you know in an overhauled version of its News Feed.

The changes: Facebook says it will prioritize posts from friends and family to "spark ... meaningful interactions," and de-emphasize… Read more

Image credit:
  • | Unsplash

Editor's Pick

Gene Therapy Could Make Cancer Care More Unequal, and This Map Shows Why

Two new cancer treatments have shown miraculous cures, but if you happen to live in Arkansas or Montana, or a handful of other rural states—let alone outside the U.S.—you’ll have to travel hundreds of miles to get them. And it’s by no means certain that...

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January 11, 2018 Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator

Y Combinator Will Give You $1 Million to Try to Cure Aging

The famed startup incubator Y Combinator put out a call for companies that want to increase human longevity and “health span.”

Who they want: Founders with new ideas for treating old-age diseases like Alzheimer’s, “but we will also consider more radical… Read more

Image credit:
  • TechCrunch | Flickr

South Korea’s Cryptocurrency Trading Ban Is No Done Deal

The government of South Korea is considering a ban on cryptocurrency trading, but it’s by no means guaranteed to come into effect.

The news: The nation’s justice minister revealed that the government is preparing legislation that would ban cryptocurrency… Read more

Source: Image credit:
  • Antana | Flickr