This week’s awesome tech stories on the web (until February 5)

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

DeepMind claims its new AI coding engine is as good as an average human programmer
Jacques-Vincent | The edge
“DeepMind has created an artificial intelligence system named AlphaCode which it says “writes computer programs at a competitive level.” The Alphabet subsidiary has tested its system against coding challenges used in human competitions and has found that his program achieved an “estimated ranking”, placing him in the top 54% of human coders.”

ROBOTICS

The United States is testing robotic patrol dogs at its borders
Jacques-Vincent | The edge
“In a detailed blog post, DHS explained how it tested robot dogs for potential border work. The machines have been tested for outdoor “sentinel duty”, autonomously patrolling pre-set GPS waypoints while carrying cameras and sensors; for inspections of train wagons in marshalling yards, walking around and under wagons; and the exploration of residential buildings, including “a scenario simulating encountering potentially hostile individuals”.

COMPUTING

North Korea hacked it. So he deleted his internet
Andy Greenberg | Wired
“But the blame for the ongoing internet blackouts in North Korea does not lie with US Cyber ​​Command or any other state-sponsored hacking agency. In fact, it was the work of an American in a T-shirt, pajama pants and slippers, sitting in his living room night after night, watching Extraterrestrial movies and eating spicy corn snacks – and periodically visiting his home office to check on the progress of the programs he was running to disrupt an entire country’s internet.

SPACE

NASA details plan to retire ISS in 2030 and deliberately crash into Pacific Ocean
George Dvorsky | Gizmodo
“The writing has been on the wall for some time now, but NASA made it official earlier this week, announcing that ISS operations will last until 2030 but no further. Upon retirement, the space station will perform a controlled re-entry and crash into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean known as Point Nemo. This is all part of NASA’s plan to turn space station responsibilities over to the private sector and save a lot of money in the process.

FUTURE OF WORK

The 4-day work week is imperfect. The workers still want it
Caitlin Harrington | Wired
“Four-day working weeks are having a moment, thanks to widely publicized trials launched in several countries in recent months, alongside companies marking the change with glowing announcements. WIRED spoke to 15 workers at six tech companies who have embraced a shortened work week. Generally Approved Employees; some saw it as a mixed blessing, while others considered it “a godsend”.

ETHICS

This company says it’s developing a system that can recognize your face based solely on your DNA
Tate Ryan Mosley | MIT Technology Review
“The science that would be needed to support such a system does not yet exist, however, and experts say the product would exacerbate the ethical, privacy and bias issues that facial recognition technology already causes. More worryingly, it’s a signal of the industry’s ambitions for the future, where face detection becomes one facet of a broader effort to identify people by any means available, even inaccurate ones.

VIRTUAL REALITY

How Facebook turns into meta
Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac and Ryan Mac | The New York Times
“Since then, Meta has pursued a sweeping transformation, current and former employees said. It has created thousands of new jobs at labs that make hardware and software for the Metaverse. Officials urged employees who worked on social media products to apply for these augmented reality and virtual reality roles. The company has poached metaverse engineers from competitors such as Microsoft and Apple. And it has officially renamed some products, like its Oculus virtual reality headsets, with the Meta name.

FUTURE

Big tech needs to stop trying to make their metaverse happen
Gian M. Volpicelli | Wired
“The ‘open metaverse’ is the promised land, where technology monopolies would be brought into line, everyone would be responsible for their data and digital assets, and users would be involved in setting the course of the network as a whole. This is a tentative, hypothetical project, but one thing is clear: Big Tech shouldn’t be in the driver’s seat.A metaverse built by them wouldn’t be a metaverse at all.

Image credit: Simone Hutsch / Unsplash


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