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Category Archives: future

The fully automated fast food restaurant may not be commonplace in the U.S. just yet. But with the industry terrified of union organizing and a potential $15 minimum wage, you can expect to see a lot more stories about robot workers.

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The National Security Agency has a vast toolkit for getting access any kind of electronics equipment, but it pales compared to a quantum computer, which could break the strongest encryption in much less time than conventional, transistor-based computers.

According to report in The Washington Post and based on NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the spy agency is in a race to build its own quantum computer to stay ahead of others seeking to build the mother of all decryption machines. This is similar to the Manhattan project, the race to build atomic bombs 75 years ago.

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“The government has a legitimate interest in tracking the associations of suspected terrorists, but tracking those associations does not require the government to subject every citizen to permanent surveillance,” Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director, said in a release. “Further, as the president’s own review panel recently observed, there’s no evidence that this dragnet program was essential to preventing any terrorist attack. We categorically reject the notion that the threat of terrorism requires citizens of democratic countries to surrender the freedoms that make democracies worth defending.”The ACLU expects the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to set an expedited briefing schedule and hear oral arguments in the spring.

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Qedward writes “Volvo is starting a pilot project that aims to have 100 self-driving cars on Swedish public roads around the city of Gothenburg by 2017. The project is called ‘Drive Me’ and is a joint initiative between the Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg, Volvo said Monday. Together they will make an effort to eliminate deadly car crashes in Sweden, said Erik Coelingh, technical specialist at Volvo Car Group. In the next few years, Volvo will develop its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) in its XC90 model. The goal is to have the first self-driving cars available to 100 consumers by 2017, Coelingh said. They will be able let their cars navigate about 50 typical commuter arteries that include motorway conditions and frequent traffic jams in and around Gothenburg, the country’s second largest city.”

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In a 60 Minutes interview, Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon is working on delivery that’s even faster than Prime. The company wants to use octocopters to deliver your order within a half hour.

Bezos says that the project, which is heavily in the R&D stage right now, couldn’t debut before 2015 even if Amazon were ready because of FAA regulations, but even then PrimeAirwill probably still be a few years out. Bezos estimates that it will be another four or five years. He told 60 Minutes, “It will work and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

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The plan is this: the Dark Mail protocol will have encryption baked right in, so the user won’t have to handle any keys, and the message will still be encrypted end-to-end, including while in transit (sorry, fiber-tappers). The promise is a lofty one:“Dark Mail users will get the security of PGP without the cognitive burden; if someone can use email today they will be able to use Dark Mail tomorrow.”There will be clients for all desktop platforms and iOS and Android mobile devices and, because it’s an open-source project, others will be able to build on top of the underlying technology as well. The project’s open nature also means experts can poke around the code to check it’s as secure as the Dark Mail Alliance says it is.

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A second blogger has published evidence that his LG-manufactured smart television is sharing sensitive user data with the Korea-based company in a post that offers support for the theory that the snooping isn’t isolated behavior that affects a small number of sets.In addition to transmitting a list of shows being watched and the names of files contained on USB drives, the Internet-connected TV also sent the names of files shared on home or office networks, the blogger reported. He made the discovery after plugging the Wireshark packet-sniffing program into his home network and noticing that an LG TV—model number 42ls570, purchased in April—was transmitting file names that sounded vaguely familiar even though there was no USB drive plugged in.”It turns out it was pulling filenames from my shared folders over the network and broadcasting those instead,” he wrote in a blog post published Thursday. “I moved all the media out of the folder and put a few duds in named ‘GiantPorn,’ turned the TV off and on and it was still broadcasting the old filenames. The TV couldn’t see those files whilst browsing manually so I’d hazard a guess it’s caching some of these locally.”

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This was going to happen eventually, so it’s not surprise that it’s sooner rather than later. Despite the fact that it’s not even commercially available yet, there is already a sex simulator for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. 

According to BuzzFeed, the simulator was rigged up by a developer at an Oculus Rift Game Jam, an event organized by Facebook group VR Japan. It uses a Novint Falcon controller to operate a Tenga masturbation aid. With the machine set up and, er, everything in place, the user just has to don the Oculus Rift headset for a fully immersive virtual experience.

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The proposal,  announced in a letter published Wednesday, 13 November, by an official with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), comes after documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden heightened concerns about government surveillance of internet communications. Despite those concerns, websites operated by Yahoo, the federal government, the site running this article, and others continue to publish the majority of their pages in a “plaintext” format that can be read by government spies or anyone else who has access to the network the traffic passes over. Last week, cryptographer and security expert Bruce Schneier urged people to “make surveillance expensive again” by  encrypting as much internet data as possible.

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At the Frankfurt auto show in September, Nissan showed a concept called theNismo Watch, an odd footnote to its usual display of new models and concept cars. Now, Nissan shows its serious about wearable computing, as it will unveil the 3E, a personal head-up display similar to Google Glass.Very little information is available at this time. The video Nissan released has no dialogue, just dynamic music playing over images of a man throwing his head about. After about 30 seconds of movement, the 3E wearable display assembles itself over the man’s left eye.

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