Toyota launches venture capital fund targeting artificial intelligence startups

Toyota is the latest Fortune 500 company to launch an AI focused venture capital fund. The initial early-stage fund will deploy $100 million and operate as a subsidiary of the Toyota Research Institute. The automaker has strategically positioned itself as an ROI rather than strategic-focused fund — meaning that it aims to profit like any other VC firm.

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What to expect from WWDC 2017

It’s that time of year again. Thousands of developers are set to descend upon the South Bay to get their software on. And the rest of the Apple watching world will have their eyes glued to the screen on Monday morning for the big WWDC keynote, as Tim Cook and company parade the latest upgrades to the company’s various operating systems.

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Autonomous driving will spawn $7 trillion ‘passenger economy’: Intel

When fully autonomous vehicles become mainstream, a new type of economy will emerge that will be worth $7 trillion by 2050, according to Intel.

Fully autonomous vehicles will bring forth a new “passenger economy” worth $7 trillion by 2050, according to new research from Intel and Strategy Analytics.

The passenger economy does not include the autonomous vehicle industry itself; rather, it’s a “peripheral” economy or a “side-effect” of autonomous vehicles becoming mainstream, Doug Davis, VP of Intel and GM of Intel’s Automated Driving Solutions Group, told journalists on Thursday.

While the predicted value can be disputed, Intel’s overarching point is that fully autonomous vehicles will generate new types of products, services, and business models as today’s drivers become tomorrow’s idle passengers.

Given autonomous vehicles are expected to free more than 250 million hours of consumers’ commuting time per year in some of the most congested cities in the world, a key opportunity will be how to capitalise on all of the time people will save when they’re no longer having to drive, according to the Intel-Strategy Analytics study.

Due to the scope of the opportunity, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said it would be wise for businesses to start thinking about their autonomous strategy now.
“Less than a decade ago, no one was talking about the potential of a soon-to-emerge app or sharing economy because no one saw it coming. This is why we started the conversation around the Passenger Economy early: To wake people up to the opportunity streams that will emerge when cars become the most powerful mobile data generating devices we use and people swap driving for riding,” Krzanich said.
“Mobility-as-a-service” will be the dominant business model, disrupting traditional patterns of vehicle ownership, maintenance, operations, and usage, according to Intel.
In fact, the chip giant envisions a future where individual vehicle ownership is less important, and shared commuting on autonomous vehicles is the norm.

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‘We’re running with scissors’: Why some experts worry about VR dangers

Virtual gaslighting, augmented torture

What if virtual reality wasn’t just a new way to play games or watch movies? What if the technology wasn’t just creating new methods of communication, of medical treatment, of military training?

What if virtual reality was used in the pursuit of mayhem?

Much has been said about the positives of technology that can reshape reality or even create a new one, but last month two respected academic researchers held a talk at South by Southwest in Austin to explore not just those positives, but also the potential negatives of reality technology.

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Intel Security is McAfee again

If you were on the internet in a certain era, you remember McAfee. It was the defensive line between you and the rest of the internet, reminding you with incessant popups that you were not hacked, not quite yet, but only if you renewed your subscription right away. Then Intel bought the firewall company in 2010 for an eye-popping $7.68 billion and billed it as Intel Security, and the name McAfee became more closely associated with the company’s founder, a man who retired to Belize only to be accused of his neighbor’s murder. (Johnny Depp will reportedly play John McAfee in an upcoming film.)

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SpaceX is pushing back the target launch date for its first Mars mission

The company was aiming for 2018 but is now looking to 2020

Last year, SpaceX announced a bold plan to launch its Dragon spacecraft to Mars as soon as 2018 — in what would be the first ever private mission to the Red Planet. But now it looks like the company is pushing back the mission by a couple years. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell confirmed today that SpaceX is now targeting the year 2020 for the Mars trip, a move that will allow the company to better focus on its other ambitious projects.

We were focused on 2018, but we felt like we needed to put more resources and focus more heavily on our crew program and our Falcon Heavy program,” Shotwell said at a pre-launch press conference in Cape Canaveral, Florida. “So we’re looking more for the 2020 timeframe for that.”

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Vermont power company finds malware linked to Russian hackers

A malware signature linked to ‘Grizzly Steppe’ by the FBI and DHS was found on a single laptop.

Just a few days ago, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security released a report detailing their assessment that Russian hackers were behind a series of attacks on US agencies and citizens. While the Obama administration issued sanctions, code linked to those hackers has been shared with other agencies, and on Friday, the Burlington Electric Department found malware with a matching signature on one of its laptops. The discovery raises more questions than it answers, but with recent reports of Russian hackers attacking the power grid in Ukraine, it obviously has raised alerts all over.

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Giant Avatar-style robot takes first steps in South Korea 

A giant South Korean-built manned robot that walks like a human but makes the ground shake under its weight has taken its first baby steps.

Designed by a veteran of science fiction blockbusters, the four-metre-tall (13-foot), 1.5 ton Method-2 towers over a room on the outskirts of Seoul.

An employee controls the arms of a manned biped walking robot "METHOD-2" during a demonstration in Gunpo, South Korea

The hulking human-like creation bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie “Avatar”.

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Watch Tesla’s Autopilot Brake for a Crash Before It Even Happens

Since Tesla released Version 8.0 of its Autopilot system this summer, CEO Elon Musk has touted its lifesaving potential. Today, dashcam footage from the Netherlands showed just how powerful the new safety feature can be.

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In the video, the Tesla can be heard warning of a potential collision due an (unseen) braking vehicle one car ahead. The Autopilot then hits the brakes—while the middle vehicle zooms forward and causes a wreck.

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Verizon knocks $100 off the second generation Moto 360

Time to get a watch

Smartwatches might be in a slide, but the good news is that means we’re bound to see some decent deals as a result. Price was always one of our hangups with the second generation Moto 360, but Verizon is now selling it for $200 with free shipping — at least $100 cheaper than you can find most other places.

Lenovo, LG, and Huawei all announced earlier this year that they aren’t planning to release new smartwatches anytime soon, so this is likely to be the last Moto 360 for a while. The good news is that the second generation Moto 360 is one of the watches that will support Android Wear 2.0 when it’s released.

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