The Tech News Lucky Bag: The Best Of The Week In Tech

POSTED BY   Michele Baker
17th November 2017
The Tech News Lucky Bag: The Best Of The Week In Tech | TDMB Tech

Every week, I get literally hundreds of emails come into my inbox. This is not, you may be surprised to know, because I am so devastatingly popular (though I am, of course). It’s because I am subscribed to pretty much every tech email newsletter under the sun. So, on Fridays, I tend to spend an hour having a good sort through them all to find the best ones and to single out a few for my weekend reading frenzy. Yes, I am literally that cool.

I copy all the links to a #technologynews thread in the TDMB team Slack, which I am certain they definitely appreciate. Definitely. I was doing exactly that today when it occurred to me that our readers would probably like a chunk of the latest news, too.

On Sundays, as you may already be aware, I send out my own newsletter, which focusses on the biggest news from AI over the preceding week. However, this exercise gives me a chance to share a broader swathe of news from tech in general – a big topic – and, equally, to up my own knowledge across the board. So, with little further ado, here are the articles that piqued my interest this week.


Uber’s Bid to Launch Flying Cars in LA by 2020 Might Actually Take Off (Wired)


Somehow, this plan isn’t quite as insane as it sounds.

Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers (The Guardian)

Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers (The Guardian)

Wall Street has long been the industry people love to hate. But as big tech’s reputation plummets, suddenly a job at Facebook doesn’t seem so cool.

Facebook Isn’t Recording Your Conversations, But It May as Well Be (Lifehacker)

Facebook Isn’t Recording Your Conversations, But It May as Well Be (Lifehacker)

Last week, the podcast Reply All investigated the persistent rumour that Facebook records users’ conversations and uses them to target ads. Facebook denied it, and co-host Alex Goldman was convinced. But for the second half of the episode, Goldman talked to people who have talked about a product, then seen it pop up in Facebook ads. He presented alternate explanations for their experience. He couldn’t change a single person’s mind. 

Remembering Laika, Space Dog and Soviet Hero (The New Yorker)

Remembering Laika, Space Dog and Soviet Hero (The New Yorker)

Sixty years ago, for the first time in history, an animal was launched into orbit. What is her legacy? 

Wanna Save Lots of Lives? Put (Imperfect) Self-Driving Cars on the Road, ASAP (Wired)

Wanna Save Lots of Lives? Put (Imperfect) Self-Driving Cars on the Road, ASAP (Wired)

A new report argues robots will kill fewer people than human drivers, even if the technology isn’t foolproof yet.

Check These iOS 11 Privacy and Security Settings Right Now (Wired)

Check These iOS 11 Privacy and Security Settings Right Now (Wired)

Heads up, iPhone owners. iOS 11 comes with a batch of security features that merit your attention.

Artificial Intelligence Is Putting Ultrasound on Your Phone (Wired)

Artificial Intelligence Is Putting Ultrasound on Your Phone (Wired)

Two-thirds of the world’s population doesn’t have access to medical imaging. A company called Butterfly Network is trying to change that.

Poor Guy Accidentally Steals and Then Destroys $300 Million Worth of Ether Cryptocurrency (Gizmodo)

Thanks to a string of screw-ups and bugs, an unsuspecting developer recently took possession of an estimated $300 million worth of the Ethereum cryptocurrency by accident. In an attempt to give back the money, however, the poor guy ended up locking up the funds permanently. In effect, that money is just gone.

What 280 characters mean for Twitter’s future (Mashable)

The company hopes for more engagement, but the change will have further reaching consequences.

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met (Gizmodo)

In real life, in the natural course of conversation, it is not uncommon to talk about a person you may know. You meet someone and say, “I’m from Sarasota,” and they say, “Oh, I have a grandparent in Sarasota,” and they tell you where they live and their name, and you may or may not recognize them.

Facebook and Google Are Actually ‘Net States.’ And They Rule the World (Wired)

Opinion: The world is no longer dominated by nations. We’re in a non-state, net-state era.

Brain-controlled typing may be the killer advance that AR needs (MIT)

Digital Brain

Why type when you can just think?

Automation will make megacities grow way faster (MIT)

Unless policymakers take action, it could decimate smaller cities, too.

Uber Made Its Homegrown AI Language Open Source, but Not Entirely out of Altruism (MIT)

Uber’s artificial-intelligence lab is less than a year old, but researchers there have already built their own programming language for AI applications—and now they’re releasing it for anyone to use. 

AI could help reporters dig into grassroots issues once more (MIT)

Twitter’s media science chief says machine learning will help journalists understand a world fragmented by digital technologies and political polarization.

A mind-bending cryptographic trick promises to take blockchains mainstream (MIT)

Cryptographers have researched zero-knowledge proofs for two decades, but the technique is only just now poised to redefine the concept of online privacy.

Reid Hoffman: It’s time to change Silicon Valley culture (MIT)

The LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist explains how he’s trying to combat sexual harassment and economic inequality in the tech industry and beyond.

IBM announces a trailblazing quantum machine (MIT)

Researchers have built the most sophisticated quantum computer yet, signalling progress toward a powerful new way of processing information.

This $900 Robot Will Creep You Out But Also Warm Your Heart (Wired)

This $900 Robot Will Creep You Out But Also Warm Your Heart (Wired)

This robot roommate holds a lot of promise but still has a long way to go.

Blockchain Start-Up EtherSport to Develop Ground-Breaking Sports Betting Platform, Announces ICO Commencing November 13th (CryptoCoinsNews)

United Kingdom to debate a legislation to ban social media for children under the age of 13 (Tech2)

The government’s Data Protection Bill will legally enshrine the age at which children will be allowed to create accounts on social media platforms.

Bitcoin’s Big Split: What You Need to Know (Fortune)

A Q&A to the coming crisis

A Closer Look At The Capabilities and Risks of iPhone X Face-Mapping (TechCrunch)

‘I Forgot My PIN’: An Epic Tale of Losing $30,000 in Bitcoin (Wired)

Veteran tech journalist Mark Frauenfelder tries everything, including hypnosis, to recover a small fortune from a locked bitcoin device.

How to Keep Your Bitcoin Safe and Secure (Wired)

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have exploded in value—making them an ever-more attractive target for scammers and hackers. Here’s how to protect your investment.

We are starting to peer inside “black box” AI algorithms (MIT)

As we automate more and more decisions, being able to understand how an AI thinks is increasingly important.

Wizards of ROS: Willow Garage and the Making of the Robot Operating System (IEEE Spectrum)

How a small band of Silicon Valley engineers started a global robotics revolution

Apple Is Ramping Up Work on AR Headset to Succeed iPhone (

Apple Inc., seeking a breakthrough product to succeed the iPhone, aims to have technology ready for an augmented-reality headset in 2019 and could ship a product as early as 2020.

AI could send us back 100 years when it comes to how we consume news (MIT)

Fake videos could become so convincing that we may have to get used to getting our news without them.

How Many Robots Does It Take to Fill a Grocery Order? (

It once took online grocer Ocado two hours to put together a box of 50 food items. Now machines can do it in five minutes.

Why people get religious about Bitcoin (MIT)

The cryptocurrency’s price is soaring, but the fervour is about more than just an investment opportunity.

Opioids Haven’t Solved Chronic Pain. Maybe Virtual Reality Can (Wired)

The mind can play tricks on your body. Luckily, VR can play tricks right back. 

Everything you need to know about Neural Networks (Hacker Noon)

Courtesy: Kailash Ahirwar (Co-Founder & CTO, Mate Labs)

DeepMind has yet to find out how smart its AlphaGo Zero AI could be (TechCrunch)

Go Game Deepmind

Once Alphabet’s artificial intelligence company DeepMind had masted the ability to defeat the best human Go players in the world, it tried to beat its own best attempts using an approach based strictly on a virtual Go player that was totally self-taught.

That Go-playing virtual intelligence was called AlphaGo Zero, and it managed to rediscover over 3,000 years of human knowledge around the game in just 72 hours. It then beat the version of the original AlphaGo that beat champion Lee Sedol.

Robots aren’t as smart as you think (MIT)

As robots get good at mimicking human behaviour, people can be deceived into thinking they have human intelligence. So let’s put them to the test.

Do We Need Brain Implants to Keep Up with Robots? (Scientific American Blog Network)

Neuroscientist Christof Koch calls for a crash program in brain technologies to make us smarter

Cracking the Vault: Artificial intelligence judging comes to gymnastics (The Guardian)

Paul Logothetis: Japanese IT giant Fujitsu is developing a 3D sensory system that will make scoring easier. But will computers ever fully replace human judges?

How Adversarial Attacks Work (Y Combinator)

Machine learning algorithms accept inputs as numeric vectors. Designing an input in a specific way to get the wrong result from the model is called an adversarial attack. In this article, we will show practical examples of the main types of attacks, and explain why is it so easy to perform them

There’s a glaring mistake in the way AI looks at the world (Quartz)

Watch Artificial Intelligence Lose Its Mind While Watching Bob Ross (IFL Science)

As humans, we’re pretty good at knowing what we’re looking at. We might be fleshy and weak compared to computers, but we string context and previous experience together effectively to understand what we see.

Artificial intelligence today doesn’t have that capability. The brain-inspired artificial neural networks that computer scientists have built for companies like Facebook and Google simply learn to recognize complex patterns in images. If it identifies the pattern, say the shape Show more…

Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto (Pub Pub)

Designing our Complex Future with Machines.

AI and Our Kids: Raising Centaurs (Medium)

I often get asked how AI will affect jobs. Everyone who drives for a living knows their job is going to vanish eventually.

Andrew Ng Says Enough Papers, Let’s Build AI Now! (Medium)

While the scientific community continues looking for new breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, Andrew Ng believes the tech we need is…

Sex Robot Samantha Will Free Humanity from Work, Says its Creator (Inverse)

Sex Robot Samantha Will Free Humanity from Work, Says its Creator (Inverse)

Sergi Santos has a big plan for the future… and it starts with sex robots.

Why These German Researchers Became Self-Driving Cars (Wired)

They really want humans and autonomous vehicles to be friends.

The titans of AI are getting their work double-checked by students (Quartz)

We trust in science because we can verify the accuracy of its claims. We test and verify that accuracy by repeating the scientist’s original experiments.

What happens when those tests fail, particularly in a field that has the potential to create billions of dollars of revenue?

In 2016, Nature surveyed more than 1,500 scientists and found that more than 70% of them had tried and failed to reproduce experiments by other scientists published in scientific journals.

Drones Are Now Operating Underground (WSJ)  

Hundreds of feet underground, scientists are experimenting with a technology that could transform how mining companies dig out rocks in dangerous, pitch-black caves: fully autonomous drones.

There May Be a Way to Use Your Keyboard in VR (MIT)

Covering your eyes with a virtual-reality headset has its downsides—chief among them, perhaps, inability to see the real world.

What My Personal Chat Bot Is Teaching Me About AI’s Future (Wired)

Replika, an app that creates an artificially intelligent doppelgänger, offers a glimpse into the future of human-bot interaction.

Why This Startup Could Beat Google and Intel to the Quantum Computer (Inverse)

The California-based startup has big plans for the future.

How Driverless Cars Will Change the Feel of Cities (The Atlantic)

Autonomous vehicles promise safety and efficiency. But nobody knows what it will be like to live with them.

AI could be the perfect tool for exploring the Universe (The Verge)

In our efforts to understand the Universe, we’re getting greedy, making more observations than we know what to do with. Satellites beam down hundreds of terabytes of information each year, and one…

Google Pixel Buds misunderstand, translate a great idea into horrible design (MIT)

The earbuds are a swift translator when paired with a Pixel smartphone, but they’re uncomfortable and chunky.

This AI learns your fashion sense and invents your next outfit (MIT)

This AI learns your fashion sense and invents your next outfit (MIT)

A new kind of AI system could create personalized clothing based on a shopper’s taste.

Robot joins Darwin, Shakespeare in UK’s National Portrait Gallery (CNET)

A photo of a stunningly lifelike android wins a top prize in an international portrait competition.

How AI Can Deliver the ‘Magical Difference’ in Customer Experience: An AI Discussion with Peter Norvig (Salesforce)

Peter Norvig is Director of Research for Google, and an expert in both artificial intelligence (AI) and online search. Prior to his work at Google, he worked at NASA, becoming the organization’s senior computer scientist. He is a true AI Trailblazer, having literally written the textbook for AI.

Inside the Race to Hack the Human Brain (Wired)

Bryan Johnson’s insanely ambitious dream to create a “neuroprosthesis,” or a brain-computer interface, would allow humans to “coevolve” with artificial intelligence and even unlock the secrets of telepathy.

Worried About Robots Taking Your Job? Learn Spreadsheets (Wired)

Study says US jobs increasingly require basic tech skills, but workers are not keeping pace.

Should We Teach Facial Recognition Technology About Race? (Wired)

Demographic data may contribute to algorithms’ accuracy, but it also complicates their use.

Amazon Employees Use Pikachu to Test Automated Grocery Store, Which Is a Weird Thing to Do (Gizmodo)

Amazon is still struggling to get its automated grocery store, Amazon Go, to function right. Who knew it would be so hard to build a brick-and-mortar store with sensors and gadgets instead of cashiers? But in a recent test of the company’s experimental Seattle store, some of Jeff Bezos’ employees got a little weird. They dressed up in Pikachu costumes to go shopping. 

Everything you wanted to know about bitcoin but were afraid to ask (The Guardian)

The Tech Industry’s Gender Discrimination Problem (The New Yorker)

Digitalization and the American workforce (Brookings)

In recent decades, the diffusion of digital technology into nearly every business and workplace, also known as “digitalization,” has been remaking the U.S. economy and the world of work.

Announcing TensorFlow Lite (Google Developers Blog)

News and insights on Google platforms, tools, and events.

Bitcoin Cash Had a Big Day, Hinting at a Deep Conflict in the Cryptocurrency Community (MIT)

The fight for Bitcoin’s soul rages on.

New Video of Boston Dynamics’ Robot Dog Shows It’s a Good Boy (Inverse)

America Just Can’t Match China’s Exploding Supercomputing Power (MIT)

If you want to crunch the world’s biggest problems, head east.

Yale Professors Race Google and IBM to the First Quantum Computer (New York Times)

Robert Schoelkopf helped create technology that promises to deliver the machines of tomorrow at Google and IBM. Now, he is giving them some competition.

Well, there we go. That’s a whole chunk of news for you to get through this week. If you fancy a hefty bite of AI news, be sure to tune into my weekly AI Review, with the top news from the week in artificial intelligence. You can subscribe to receive it into your inbox every Sunday by popping in your details below…


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The Tech News Lucky Bag: The Best Of The Week In Tech

Michele Baker

Michele Baker is the Senior Content Strategist at TDMB. She began her journey into tech marketing via a Masters in Creative Writing, evolving from a prize-winning poet and short story writer to a futuristic content guru. Michele now writes endlessly about all aspects of technology, hosts the TDMB Presents… tech podcast, and speaks at numerous tech and marketing events.

Get in Touch With Michele Baker

01306 632 854

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