Sci / Tech 

Dubai to test digital vehicle licence plates

DUBAI, UAE: Vehicle licence plates are going digital in Dubai as drivers are set to test them next month. The BBC reported on Wednesday that digital plates are set to go in the trial phase. According to the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, the plates would be introduced to make life easier for drivers in Dubai. Services such as registration renewal, paying parking fine and tolls would be streamlined using the digital plates. One of the benefits of the technology is that drivers can contact police and ambulance services if their vehicle…

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Zuckerberg unscathed by congressional grilling

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg fielded 10 hours of questions over two days from nearly 100 US lawmakers and emerged largely unscathed and considerably richer. He parried questions of how much control people have over their data on the world’s largest social media network without a major gaffe while avoiding being cornered into supporting new government regulation. The hearings that ended on Wednesday revealed no consensus among US lawmakers about what kind of privacy legislation they might want to pursue if any, and no timeline for action. As…

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US approves artificial intelligence device for diabetic eye problems

WASHINGTON: US regulators Wednesday approved the first device that uses artificial intelligence to detect eye damage from diabetes, allowing regular doctors to diagnose the condition without interpreting any data or images. The device, called IDx-DR, can diagnose a condition called diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of vision loss among the more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes. Its software uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to analyse images of the eye, taken with a retinal camera called the Topcon NW400, the FDA said. “A doctor uploads the digital images…

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Google engineer developing tool to spot fake video

VANCOUVER:  In an era replete with fake news stories, you might expect video evidence to provide a clearer picture of the truth. You’d be wrong, according to Google engineer Supasorn Suwajanakorn — who has developed a tool which, fed with the right input, can create a realistic fake video that mimics the way a person talks by closely observing existing footage of their mouth and teeth to create the perfect lip-sync. Like any technology, it has great potential for both good and mischief. Suwajanakorn is therefore also working with the…

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Broadcom to buy back up to $12 billion of shares

Chipmaker Broadcom said on Thursday it would buy back up to $12 billion of its common stock, sending its shares up 4.5 per cent to $250 in extended trading. The company, which last month ended its efforts to acquire rival Qualcomm, said the repurchase program is effective immediately until the end of Broadcom’s fiscal year 2019. Broadcom moved back to the United States from Singapore earlier this month, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to block its $117 billion offer to buy Qualcomm on national security concerns. The San Jose,…

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AT&T economist argues Time Warner merger is good for consumers

WASHINGTON: AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner would save consumers money because the marriage of a pay-TV provider with a movie and TV giant would create a more efficient company, an economist testifying for AT&T said in court on Thursday Dennis Carlton, from the University of Chicago, sought to rebut testimony on Wednesday from an economist for the government, Carl Shapiro of the University of California at Berkeley, who said the $84.5 billion deal would cost American consumers some $286 annually in higher prices. The government filed a lawsuit in…

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Facebook needs ‘a few years’ to fix problems: Zuckerberg

WASHINGTON DC: Facebook will likely need “a few years” to fix the problems uncovered by the revelations on the hijacking of private user data, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview released Monday. Speaking to the news site Vox, Zuckerberg defended the company’s business model and shot back at criticism of the social networking giant from Apple CEO Tim Cook last week. Zuckerberg maintained that one of Facebook’s problems was that it was “idealistic,” focusing on the positive aspects of connecting people and that “we didn’t spend enough time…

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Arizona says not time to rein in self-driving cars after Uber fatality

Arizona officials said on Tuesday they saw no immediate need to tighten rules on the testing of self-driving cars in the state in reaction to a fatal accident involving an Uber autonomous vehicle that has focused attention on the safety of the new technology. Meanwhile, Toyota Motor said it will pause autonomous vehicle testing following Sunday’s accident in which an Uber self-driving SUV struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona. Automakers and tech companies are evaluating whether or not to suspend their autonomous vehicle programs in the wake of…

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Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune falls $4.9 billion after latest scandal

Facebook shares plunged Monday as the social media giant was pounded by criticism at home and abroad over revelations that a firm working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign harvested and misused data on 50 million members. The social media company’s market valuation fell by roughly $40 billion on Monday with Zuckerberg’s personal fortune falling by $4.9 billion according to a Bloomberg report. Calls for investigations came on both sides of the Atlantic after Facebook responded to explosive reports of misuse of its data by suspending the account of Cambridge Analytica, a…

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China to become top patent filer within three years: UN

GENEVA: China is on its way to becoming the world leader in international patent filings, and should overtake the top spot from the United States within three years, the UN said Wednesday. A record 243,500 international patent applications were filed last year, a hike of 4.5 per cent from a year earlier, the World Intellectual Property Organisation said in its annual report. These patents “represent the best new technology that is arising in the world,” WIPO chief Francis Gurry told journalists in Geneva. The US kept the top ranking, which…

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