SEC Probe of SolarWinds Attack Concerns Corporate Execs

A Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the 2020 Russian cyberattack of SolarWinds has corporate executives concerned over the possibility that information unearthed in the probe will expose them to liability. Companies suspected of or known to have been downloading compromised software updates from SolarWinds have received letters requesting records of all breaches since October 2019, raising fears that sensitive cyber incidents previously unreported and unrelated to SolarWinds may be revealed, providing the SEC with details that many companies may never have wanted to disclose. Continue reading SEC Probe of SolarWinds Attack Concerns Corporate Execs

New Initiatives Signal Advancements in Quantum Computing

Two major steps forward for large-scale quantum computing just took place. Physicists from the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms (CUA) and elsewhere mastered the programmable quantum simulator, which can operate with 256 quantum bits (“qubits”). The company ColdQuanta also successfully created a 100-qubit quantum processor by cooling atoms down to “near absolute zero” and then controlling them with lasers. Their system, said experts, compares with other quantum systems built by leading players in the field. Continue reading New Initiatives Signal Advancements in Quantum Computing

The Linux Foundation Leads Charge for Voice Tech Standards

The Linux Foundation — along with Microsoft, Target, Veritone and other companies — has launched the Open Voice Network (OVN) in order to “prioritize trust and standards” in voice-focused technology. Open Voice Network executive director Jon Stine said the impetus is the tremendous growth of voice assistance for AI-enabled devices and its future potential as an interface and data source. Linux Foundation senior vice president Mike Dolan said the effort is a “proactive response to combating deepfakes in AI-based voice technology.” Continue reading The Linux Foundation Leads Charge for Voice Tech Standards

Amazon and Apple Expand the Capabilities of Mesh Networks

Wireless bandwidth emitted by our Amazon and Apple devices is being used by other nearby devices to supplement existing Wi-Fi. Now, Amazon and Apple are expanding those programs. Amazon Sidewalk is adding post-2018 Echo devices including Echo speakers, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus and Echo Spot devices and newer Ring Video Doorbell Pro models to communicate on the Sidewalk network via Bluetooth. Apple’s new AirTag device also sends out a wireless signal that can be used by iPhones, iPads and Macs in the area. Continue reading Amazon and Apple Expand the Capabilities of Mesh Networks

Pentagon Considers Ending JEDI, Enabling Bigger Role for AI

The Pentagon may end the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) cloud-computing project, awarded to Microsoft in 2019. Since then, it has been in litigation with Amazon, which was passed over for the $10 billion contract that will consolidate the Pentagon’s array of data systems and provide access to real-time information. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also exploring the use of artificial intelligence in automating military systems, including weapons. Continue reading Pentagon Considers Ending JEDI, Enabling Bigger Role for AI

Apple, Epic Games Trial to Determine Anticompetition Charge

The lawsuit between Apple and Epic Games has come to trial and is expected to last about three weeks. Epic sued the Big Tech company over its App Store rule that developers must use its payment system, for which it charges a 30 percent fee. Epic Games has also sued tech giant Google for the same issue on its Play Store. The European Union has similarly charged Apple with violating antitrust laws. At the trial, Epic’s lawyers will argue a legal theory that Apple is using its dominant position to stifle competition. Continue reading Apple, Epic Games Trial to Determine Anticompetition Charge

Lawsuits Against Facebook Also Target Data Sharing via APIs

This week, the Federal Trade Commission and 46 state attorneys general filed lawsuits against Facebook for anticompetitive practices. But it is also looking at how Facebook leveraged user data to both lure and control third party developers, relying heavily on data sharing via application programming interfaces (APIs). MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy director Sinan Aral noted that the upcoming cases could set a precedent for any platform that shares data via an API and has conditions on that data sharing.

Continue reading Lawsuits Against Facebook Also Target Data Sharing via APIs

With Spinoff, IBM Aims to Lead In Corporate Cloud Services

To accelerate its shift to cloud computing, IBM revealed it is breaking out its IT unit to focus on that and artificial intelligence. Chief executive Arvind Krishna called it a “landmark day” for the 109-year old company. IBM’s move acknowledges the powerful shift to the cloud, with almost all new software created as cloud services delivered online from remote data centers. Amazon pioneered the cloud market by launching Amazon Web Services in 2006, and IBM is a latecomer but has made significant moves in recent years. Continue reading With Spinoff, IBM Aims to Lead In Corporate Cloud Services

White House to Invest $1+ Billion in AI, Quantum Computing

The White House is planning a $1+ billion, five-year investment to fund 12 new research facilities on artificial intelligence, 5G, quantum information sciences and other emerging technologies. Federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will collaborate with private partners including major tech companies such as International Business Machines, Microsoft and others. The Trump administration proposes to spend 30 percent more on these technologies in the 2021 nondefense budget. Continue reading White House to Invest $1+ Billion in AI, Quantum Computing

Nvidia and University of Florida Partner on AI Supercomputer

The University of Florida (UF) and Nvidia joined forces to enhance the former’s HiPerGator supercomputer with DGX SuperPOD architecture. Set to go online by early 2021, HiPerGator will deliver 700 petaflops (one quadrillion floating-point operations per second), making it the fastest academic AI supercomputer. UF and Nvidia said the HiPerGator will enable the application of AI to a range of studies, including “rising seas, aging populations, data security, personalized medicine, urban transportation and food insecurity.” Continue reading Nvidia and University of Florida Partner on AI Supercomputer

Facial Recognition Paused While Congress Considers Reform

In the wake of protests over police brutality, senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Kamala Harris (D-California) and representatives Karen Bass (D-California) and Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) introduced a police reform bill in the House of Representatives that includes limits on the use of facial recognition software. But not everyone is pleased. ACLU senior legislative counsel Neema Guliani, for example, pointed to the fact that facial recognition algorithms are typically not as accurate on darker skin shades. Continue reading Facial Recognition Paused While Congress Considers Reform

Rivals Apple and Google Collaborate on Contact-Tracing Tool

Long-time rivals Apple and Google joined forces to build software into smartphones that would alert people who have recently been in contact with someone infected with the coronavirus. Users will have to opt-in to use the tool, which will be ready to release in “several months” and enable smartphones to “constantly log other devices they come near,” to accomplish what is called contact tracing. It also relies on a user’s voluntary report of having become infected. The two companies said they teamed-up in the last two weeks. Continue reading Rivals Apple and Google Collaborate on Contact-Tracing Tool

Government, MIT Analyze Location Data For Spread of Virus

During the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. federal government, via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local governments, is receiving analyses of people’s movements — based on location data from millions of mobile phones — in “certain areas of geographic interest.” The data, provided by the mobile advertising industry, is being used to understand how such movements may be impacting the spread of coronavirus. MIT researchers are also debuting a project to track COVID-19 patients via a phone app. Continue reading Government, MIT Analyze Location Data For Spread of Virus

Intel to Unveil Experimental Neuromorphic Computing System

Intel will debut Pohoiki Springs, an experimental research system for neuromorphic computing that simulates the way human brains work and computes more quickly and with less energy. It will first be made available, via the cloud, to the Intel Neuromorphic Research Community, which includes about a dozen companies (such as Accenture and Airbus), academic researchers and government labs. Intel and Cornell University jointly published a paper on the Loihi chip’s ability to learn and recognize 10 hazardous materials from smell. Continue reading Intel to Unveil Experimental Neuromorphic Computing System

Federal Agency Reveals Bias in Facial Recognition Systems

The National Institute of Standards and Technology reported that most commercially available facial recognition systems — often used by police departments and federal agencies — are biased. The highest error rate involved Native American faces, but African-American and Asian faces were incorrectly identified 10 to 100 times more than Caucasian faces. The systems also had more difficulty identifying female faces and falsely identified older people up to 10 times more than middle-aged adults. Continue reading Federal Agency Reveals Bias in Facial Recognition Systems

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