According to cognitive neuroscientist Marcel Just, mind reading is a feasible part of our future. “In principle, our thoughts could someday be readable,” said Just, who directs the school’s Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging.
“I don’t think we have to worry about this in the next 5-10 years, but it’s interesting to think about. What if all of our thoughts were public?”
These comments come on the heels of Yale researchers being able to predict what facial expression people were making based on just their brain scans. Scientists at California-Berkeley are even gaining an advantage over that, by trying to develop a method to predict the next possible thought a person will have.
Though Just admits that such technology would be a dream come true for many sci-fi fans, he also says the technology is terribly dangerous. If people thought the government could be intrusive now, just imagine what they’ll do with comprehensive brain imaging.
Image by LinkedIn | Wikimedia
Professionals’ social networking site LinkedIn has taken legal action against a new browser add-on that exposes email addresses of the site’s users.
“We are doing everything we can to shut Sell Hack [the add-on] down. On March 31, LinkedIn’s legal team delivered Sell Hack a cease-and-desist letter as a result of several violations. LinkedIn members who downloaded Sell Hack should uninstall it immediately and contact Sell Hack requesting that their data be deleted,” one LinkedIn spokesperson told the BBC.
“Oftentimes, as with the Sell Hack case, extensions can upload your private LinkedIn information without your explicit consent,” he added.
Sell Hack, the developer of the add-on, said that they were not doing anything wrong with the software.
“We just do the heavy lifting and complicated computing to save you time. We aren’t doing anything malicious to LinkedIn,” it said on its website.
The add-on allows users to find email addresses related to the account at the push of a “hack in” button. This works on email addresses that are not even connected to the LinkedIn profile.
As of posting, Sell Hack has said they had followed the cease-and-desist letter from LinkedIn. The add-on no longer works for the website, and the developers said they are not nefarious or sneaky. The company also announced that they are “building a better product that does not conflict with LinkedIn’s TOS.”
Image by MPD01605 | Wikimedia
The game development industry of the United Kingdom might get as much as £188 million as cash boost after the European Commission’s approval of tax break measures for game developers.
The new policy provides up to 25% discounts on the production costs of a game. Industry body Tiga lobbied the relief scheme, which the Commission finally approved after a six-year campaign for the game makers’ relief.
The demand for a tax relief program for the sector first arose in 2008, before it resulted in a scheme supposed to be enacted on April 1, 2013.
Tiga head Dr. Richard Wilson welcomed the decision and said, “Tax breaks for games production will help the UK fight its way back to the forefront of video game development.”
UK Interactive Entertainment head Jo Twist said that the decision is a “huge boost” for the country’s developers. UKIE represents game creators in the area.
“We are delighted the European Commission recognized the clear market failure for the production of games with a British and European flavor, using UK-based creative and highly skilled talent,” said Twist.
Image by Napoleon Sorony | Wikimedia
In the near future, appliances might just run on electricity – minus the wires.
“We’re going to transfer power without any kind of wires,” said WiTricity Chief Technology Officer Dr. Katie Hall. For her, “This is the future.”
WiTricity is a startup that develops wireless “resonance” technology, which creates a magnetic field in the air to induce a current in devices.
The company uses a “source resonator,” which is a coil of electrical wiring that produces a magnetic field when it has access to power. Once another coil is close enough, the two can generate an electrical charge without cables.
Hall assures that the system is “perfectly safe,” as the technology is the same thing that Wi-Fi routers use.
Nikola Tesla’s idea?
Many, however, commented on the initial report posted by the CNN, saying that the idea came from electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla.
Hall defended WiTricity and said that the company and Tesla had different visions with wireless electricity. The company’s website mentions that their patented Highly Resonant Wireless Power Transfer technology is different from the Serbian-American scientist’s creations.
Image by Robert Scoble | Wikimedia
Microsoft’s new Chief Executive, Satya Nadella, announced the new Office app for iPad.
Big mobile move
Nadella revealed the next evolution of Office at the launch event, which is his first public appearance since being named Microsoft’s new CEO.
“We are taking great focus and great care to make sure Office on any device shines through,” he said, indicating that his company would introduce versions of the apps for other mobile devices in the future.
After a couple of hours of the launch, Word became the most downloaded app in Apple’s app store.
Influence of Apple
Microsoft had done some work to make the Office more finger friendly, and with the iPad edition, it’s a full-fledged step forward.
Three separate productivity apps are available – Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Each of them has been optimized for touch-based controls.
The tablet-optimized version of Office was launched on Apple’s iPad, and not on a Windows or Android tablet.
This seems like the influence of the iPad dominated the tablet market.
Image by Axwel | Wikimedia
European aviation company Airbus has confirmed a $10 billion order from China’s state-owned purchasing agency, a sign of extending Airbus production.
Airbus said China had agreed to buy a total of 70 jets, which includes 27 long-haul A330s and 43 smaller A320 planes.
The deal unblocks previous deal that had been suspended.
Chinese president Xi Jinping had a state visit to France, wherein the deal was approved.
China also signed a new 10-year contract allowing Airbus to extend the assembly of planes in Tianjin until 2025, easing trade ties after a row with Europe over aircraft carbon emissions.
The three largest EU economies — Germany, France, and the UK — have all wanted to improve their trade ties with China.
French president Francois Hollande said he wanted to “re-balance trade between our two countries.”
China is the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, and a fifth of Airbus’s global production takes place in the Chinese mainland.
Across the world, companies are starting to bolster their Internet’s clocks to protect sites against possible hacker attacks.
Security firm Arbor said that the past few months have seen a barrage of attacks through vulnerable time server channels. Since then, 93% of servers have fixed vulnerabilities to secure systems from attacks.
Arbor network architect Darren Anstee said that there has been a trend towards a technique called NTP Reflection, in which the hacker takes advantage of holes in the older versions of network time protocols (NTP) to crash a server, similar to what happened to the League of Legends servers a few months ago.
Since the success of hack group Derp Trolling, Anstee said that there has been “an explosion in NTP reflection activitiy.”
“Since that event it’s gone a bit nuts to an extent and that tends to happen in the attack world when one particular group succeeds,” said the network architect.
Fortunately, servers have been updated already. Arbor estimates only 7% of servers remain vulnerable to NTP reflection attacks, which is roughly around 97,000. The security firm said that there is a need of around 5,000-7,000 servers to overcome a huge attack.
Image by Ryan J. Quick | Flickr
Three minutes was all it took for a robot writer of the Los Angeles Times to come up with a short news story about the recent earthquake on Monday, March 17.
An algorithm created by journalist and programmer Ken Schwencke is responsible for the short article published in the newspaper.
The pioneering technology of the LA Times taps reliable sources of data – in the article’s case, the US Geological Survey – and encodes information into a template.
Schwencke’s brainchild can generate crime news articles as well, apart from earthquake reports.
“Robo-journalism” is starting to be a trend in newsrooms across the world. Many news organizations have been trying to use algorithm-based reporting methods in different niches like sports.
Asked by Slate magazine if this could possibly replace journalists, Schwencke disagreed.
“It’s supplemental. It saves people a lot of time, and for certain types of stories, it gets information out there in usually about as good a way as anybody else would,” said the journalist slash programmer. “The way I see it is, it doesn’t eliminate anybody’s job as much as it makes everybody’s job more interesting.”