Uber’s Blowing Through Billions Faster Than Ever, Which Is All According to Plan

Uber is huge and blowing lots of cash to stay huge. Finance reports revealed to investors show the ride sharing titan lost $4.5 billion (£3.2 billion) in 2017, its annus horribilis that began with accusations of heinous sexism and ended with bombshell revelations about a dubiously legal network of spies. Co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi, who promises a kinder, gentler Uber in 2018. Read More >>

Working at the Desk Bike Didn’t Make Me Any Fitter

I’m sitting, peddling, shaking, typing - all at my desk - in search of the “zone.” The zone, you see, is an ellipsis. It’s when you’re deep in a project, busily ignorant of your surroundings, centred and focused on the task at hand. Read More >>

Even When Spotting Gender, Current Face Recognition Tech Works Better for White Dudes

A new review of face recognition software found that, when identifying gender, the software is most accurate for men with light skin and least accurate for women with dark skin. Joy Buolamwini, an MIT Media Lab researcher and computer scientist, tested three commercial gender classifiers offered as part of face recognition services. As she found, the software misidentified the gender of dark-skinned females 35 per cent of the time. By contrast, the error rate rate for light-skinned males was less than one percent. Read More >>

Study Backs Up Creeping Feeling That Facebook Is Just for Old People Now

Is Facebook losing itself to the olds? A new US-based study released from research firm eMarketer predicts Facebook lost 2.8 million users under the age of 25 last year in the States alone as many of them move to the aggressively youthful Snapchat. Read More >>

Facebook Researchers Teach AI To ‘Re-Skin’ People in Real Time

Facebook researchers have developed a new tool that maps 2D images onto humans in videos. The 2D images themselves look silly, but they’re proof of concept that AI can be trained to look past environmental noise and identify humans in complex scenes. Read More >>

China’s Dystopian Police State Arms Cops With Smart Glasses to Scan Everyone’s Faces

Chinese police have begun using glasses equipped with facial recognition-enabled cameras to spot fugitives travelling through train stations. Though Chinese police have said the glasses will spot people using fake IDs or travelling to avoid a warrant, many are concerned about China using the tech to target political advocates and minorities. China has been accused of using face recognition tech to “fence in” the Muslim Uighur minority in northwestern Xinjiang. Read More >>

This Browser Tool Lets You Remix Spotify’s Recommendation Algorithm

A new browser tool lets Spotify Premium users fool around with the music streaming platform’s famous recommendation algorithm. Arielle Vaniderstine, an engineer at the company, posted a link to Glitch on Monday of a beta build of the tool. Read More >>

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Nest Cam Catches Dog Starting a House Fire By Stealing a Pancake

The first thing to know about dogs is that they’re perfect and beautiful and all of them, all of them, are going to Heaven. The second thing to know is they occasionally start house fires. Read More >>

VR Games Are the One Way to Make Exercise Even Less Appealing 

VirZOOM, a VR/fitness firm, wants to get you off that couch and into a calorie-burning virtual reality. The Massachusetts-based startup is selling a new series of stationary bikes that sync with VR headsets to immerse players in elaborate fantasy scenarios as they cycle. On the one hand, fitness is important. On the other, look at this shit. Read More >>

South Korea Preps Serious Anti-Drone Measures Ahead of Winter Olympics

Ahead of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korean officials are prepping a fleet of specially equipped tactical drones to deter terrorism. Korean outlets Hankyoreh and Yonhap report the fleet includes drones equipped with cameras, face recognition capabilities, and a “drone-catching drone” that will drop nets to disable suspicious UAVs. Read More >>

Finally, Facial Recognition for Cows is Here

Face recognition has spread from airports to football games to primary schools and now, farms and stables. An Irish computer vision company, Cargill and Cainthus, announced Wednesday that they’re piloting face recognition technology on cows starting this year. Privacy advocates may be less concerned by the threat of an encroaching bovine panopticon, but the worldwide pilot speaks to how both AI and face recognition technologies are slowly being embedded in all aspects of modern life. Read More >>

Grumpy Cat Wins £500,000 for Copyright Infringement as Memes Continue to Dominate American Society

There is no greater force in America than The Brand—and those who disrespect it suffer the consequences. This law was recently demonstrated by the owners of Grumpy Cat (née Tardar Sauce), the viral internet superstar with a permanent Clint Eastwood-like scowl, who scored a massive $710,001 payout (£500,000) from a copyright infringement lawsuit. Read More >>

Facebook Conveniently Declares ‘Privacy Principles’ Ahead of Stringent New Regulations

A few months before the EU enacts substantial new privacy rules, and just in time for Data Privacy Day, Facebook has both revamped privacy controls for users to make them simpler and published its internal “privacy principles,” which detail the company’s commitment to protecting user data. Read More >>

Google’s New App Asks Random People to Start Writing the News

Google has quietly launched a pilot for a news app that it says will “put a spotlight on inspiring stories that aren’t being told.” Out this week via a limited pilot in a couple of US cities, Bulletin is essentially a public, shared blog space that doesn’t require any expertise on content management systems, HTML, or even an app download. Google hopes it will help users tell “hyperlocal” stories. Read More >>

Detonating Landmines Is Better for the Environment Than Deactivating Them, Research Suggests

Scottish and Australian researchers have found surprising evidence that detonating landmines, lethal explosives that leech toxic chemicals into soil, may actually be better for the environment than removing them outright. Their paper appears in the journal PLoS One. Read More >>