teche news

You’re looking at a real big deal.

Because in a nanotechnology lab, big deals come in smaller and smaller packages. What you see above is an extreme close-up of a 5 nanometer transistor. In an industry-first, the IBM Research Alliance developed nanosheet transistors that will enable a 5 nm chip. What’s so big about that? Well, by achieving a scale of 30 billion switches on a fingernail sized chip, it can deliver significant enhancements over today’s state-of-the-art 10 nm chips. This not only improves the performance of current technologies but also provides the fuel for the future demands of AI, VR, quantum and mobile technologies to run on. Plus, it could also make things like smartphone batteries last 2-3x longer between charges, so it may also be a real lifesaver too. 


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Contamination-seeking drones - IBM Patent 9447448.

Stay back and let the drones do the dirty work. Patent 9447448 makes cognitive drones able to inspect and decontaminate places so humans don’t have to. The drones’ on-board AI system can collect and analyze samples, so it can identify and clean up any bacteria or outbreak. Meanwhile you get to hang back, safely out of harm’s way.


This is just one of the record-breaking 8,000+ patents IBM received this year. Explore the latest IBM patents. →

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The FaceApp selfie app had a racist whitewashing problem — so its CEO pulled the feature

  • FaceApp, a new app that uses artificial intelligence to change your expression, age and gender, has a whitewashing problem. 
  • A feature called “Hot,” meant to make you “become more attractive,” per its App Store description, took people of color and lightened their faces.
  • The feature was eventually renamed, then deleted — but not before it received major backlash on Twitter.
  • Creator and CEO of FaceApp Yaroslav Goncharov blamed the whitewashing problem on his algorithm.
  • “We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue,” Goncharov said, the Guardian reported. “It is an unfortunate side effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior.” Read more (4/25/17)

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These anonymous activists are starting a campaign to mass-unfollow Donald Trump on Twitter

  • Trump appears to feel pretty comfortable on Twitter, where he speaks unfiltered to a platform of millions.
  • But this group of anonymous activists has plans to fight Trump by hitting him where it hurts — his follower count.
  • Block the Bully, which launched Thursday, allows users to plug in their Twitter account and it, with one click, automatically unfollow President Trump’s @RealDonaldTrump handle for them and block his account. 
  • And if users don’t already follow Trump, it will follow and then unfollow him so he still gets the notification. Read more (3/16/17 9:03 AM)

Drones could soon be dropping off packages at customers’ doors. But researchers in Sweden have drones in mind for a different, potentially lifesaving delivery: automated external defibrillators.

Using drones to carry AEDs to people who are in cardiac arrest could reduce the time between when patients go into cardiac arrest and when they receive the first shock from an AED, the researchers say.

The more time a person spends in cardiac arrest before being shocked with an AED, the lower the chance of survival. Shocking someone within three minutes gives them the best shot.

More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen across the U.S. in places other than hospitals each year, according to the American Heart Association — and a person’s chance of surviving is about 1 in 10. Drone-delivered AEDs beat ambulance trip times to the scenes of cardiac arrests, the researchers say in a letter published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Could Drones Help Save People In Cardiac Arrest?

Photo: Andreas Claesson/Courtesy of FlyPulse

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Google Doodle celebrates Gilbert Baker, rainbow pride flag creator

  • Anyone looking to scour the internet for information via Google today will find a very queer surprise.
  • Friday’s Google Doodle paid tribute to Gilbert Baker, the creator of the LGBTQ pride flag, who died on April 1. Friday, June 2, would have been Gilbert’s 66th birthday.
  • Baker created the flag at the request of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician ever elected to office in the United States. 
  • In a video for NBC Out in 2016, Baker explained that he created the flag to represent the “global tribe” of LGBTQ people. Read more (6/2/17)

Sleek, high-tech wristbands are extremely popular these days, promising to measure heart rate, steps taken during the day, sleep, calories burned and even stress.

And, increasingly, patients are heading to the doctor armed with reams of data gathered from their devices. “They’re essentially asking us to digest the data and offer advice about how to avoid cardiovascular disease,” says cardiologist Euan Ashley, associate professor of medicine at the Stanford University Medical Center and Stanford Hospital and Clinics in northern California. And, being somewhat near Silicon Valley, he says he gets a lot of tech-savvy patients bringing fitness-tracker data to appointments.

The problem, he says, is that he just didn’t know how reliable that data was. So, he and colleagues decided to study seven of the most popular devices and compare their accuracy to the gold-standard tests that doctor’s use.

Fitness Trackers: Good at Measuring Heart Rate, Not So Good At Measuring Calories

Photo: Paul Sakuma/Courtesy of Stanford University School of Medicine

Deep Blue’s checkmate turns 20.  

20 years ago today, IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer won a game of chess against the reigning world champion Garry Kasparov, and the world got a glimpse into the future of technology. 14 years later, IBM Watson prevailed against the champions of Jeopardy!. Since then, Watson has worked with everyone from artists to doctors to engineers and more to enhance the ways we work, learn and make. We’re excited to see what we’ll build together in the next 20+ years to come.


See how AI has evolved ->

Rogue Scientists Race to Save Climate Data from Trump

  AT 10 AM the Saturday before inauguration day, on the sixth floor of the Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania, roughly 60 hackers, scientists, archivists, and librarians were hunched over laptops, drawing flow charts on whiteboards, and shouting opinions on computer scripts across the room. They had hundreds of government web pages and data sets to get through before the end of the day—all strategically chosen from the pages of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—any of which, they felt, might be deleted, altered, or removed from the public domain by the incoming Trump administration.

  By the end of the day, the group had collectively loaded 3,692 NOAA web pages onto the Internet Archive, and found ways to download 17 particularly hard-to-crack data sets from the EPA, NOAA, and the Department of Energy. Organizers have already laid plans for several more data rescue events in the coming weeks, and a professor from NYU was talking hopefully about hosting one at his university in February. But suddenly, their timeline became more urgent.
  On the day that the Inside EPA report came out, an email from O’Brien popped up on my phone with “Red Fucking Alert” in the subject line.“We’re archiving everything we can.”

Sheryl Sandberg takes a stand against Trump with a $1 million donation to Planned Parenthood

  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — founding mother of “leaning in” and one of the most powerful women in business — is donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood.
  • “On behalf of the more-than-two-million patients who come to Planned Parenthood each year, we are so grateful to Sheryl Sandberg for her longstanding, and now increased, support for our health care,” Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood president, said Wednesday in a statement to CNN. Read more