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1
In 2017, we published a popular post on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that would dominate that year, based on Forrester’s TechRadar report. Here’s the updated version, which includes 9 more technologies to watch out for this year. We hope they inspire you to join the 62% of companies boosting their enterprises in 2018.

1. Natural Language Generation
Natural language generation is an AI sub-discipline that converts data into text, enabling computers to communicate ideas with perfect accuracy. It is used in customer service to generate reports and market summaries and is offered by companies like Attivio, Automated Insights, Cambridge Semantics, Digital Reasoning, Lucidworks, Narrative Science, SAS, and Yseop.

2. Speech recognition
Siri is just one of the systems that can understand you. Every day, more and more systems are created that can transcribe human language, reaching hundreds of thousands through voice-response interactive systems and mobile apps. Companies offering speech recognition services include NICE, Nuance Communications, OpenText and Verint Systems.

3. Virtual Agents
A virtual agent is nothing more than a computer agent or program capable of interacting with humans. The most common example of this kind of technology are chatbots.  Virtual agents are currently being used for customer service and support and as smart home managers. artificial-intelligence-technologies-chatbots. Some of the companies that provide virtual agents include Amazon, Apple, Artificial Solutions, Assist AI, Creative Virtual, Google, IBM, IPsoft, Microsoft and Satisfi.


4. Machine Learning Platforms
These days, computers can also easily learn, and they can be incredibly intelligent!
Machine learning (ML) is a subdiscipline of computer science and a branch of AI. Its goal is to develop techniques that allow computers to learn. By providing algorithms, APIs (application programming interface), development and training tools, big data, applications and other machines, ML platforms are gaining more and more traction every day. They are currently mainly being used for prediction and classification.
Some of the companies selling ML platforms include Amazon, Fractal Analytics, Google, H2O.ai, Microsoft, SAS, Skytree and Adext.
This last one is particularly interesting for one simple reason: Adext is the first and only AMaaS (Audience Management as a Service) in the world that applies real AI and machine learning to digital advertising to find the most profitable audience or demographic group for any ad. You can learn more about it here.
Source: https://blog.adext.com/en/artificial-intelligence-technologies-2018

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Software Engineering / What You Should Know About GitHub
« on: June 09, 2018, 11:17:10 AM »
GitHub is “like google docs for developers,” allowing them to share and collaborate easily. The company is based on the principle of open-source licensing, where developers are allowed to access, use, and tweak code written by others with the goal of improving it. Since its founding in 2011, GitHub has become an essential tool for some of the biggest tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Google. Microsoft has become the biggest contributor to the repository.

Why does Microsoft want it?
In many ways, Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub is a move back to its roots as a company founded to help people make use of the MITS Altair, a consumer-oriented micro-computer kit. But Microsoft has also been skeptical of open-source in the past, as it threatened their business model, which relies on proprietary technology. In recent years, under CEO Satya Nadella, the company has begun to embrace open-source technology, however. There are even rumors that Microsoft’s core operating platform, Windows, may become open-source. GitHub has become an essential way to connect with developers as the company’s business model has evolved and allowed it to open itself to open-source code.

Why is GitHub selling?
GitHub reportedly preferred selling to going public, and chose Microsoft after meeting Nadella and being impressed by him. Despite the centrality of GitHub for the developer community, the company has lately run into some financial and leadership issues. In addition to the company’s losses in 2016, they have been looking for a new CEO since August 2017. A previous CEO was accused of sexual harassment and left the company.

Why is everyone so nervous about it?
Despite Microsoft’s turn towards open-source, some GitHub users remain concerned that Microsoft’s leadership will undermine the core values of the system and hurt the developers that rely on it. One developer told Quartz he was concerned that Microsoft would use its ownership of the platform to monitor trends in software development in order to launch rival products, using largesse to preclude competition.

Fears that GitHub is “dead” have led many developers to jump ship in favor of GitHub’s competitors. One competitor, GitLab, announced on Twitter that it was seeing ten times the normal number of repositories after the deal was first reported.

3
Microsoft is acquiring GitHub. After reports emerged that the software giant was in talks to acquire GitHub, Microsoft is making it official today. This is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s second big acquisition, following the $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn two years ago. GitHub was last valued at $2 billion back in 2015, and Microsoft is paying $7.5 billion in stock for the company in a deal that should close later this year.

GitHub is a large code repository that has become very popular with developers and companies hosting entire projects, documentation, and code. Apple, Amazon, Google, and many other big tech companies use GitHub. There are 85 million repositories hosted on GitHub, and 28 million developers contribute to them. GitHub will now be led by CEO Nat Friedman, the founder of Xamarin, who will report to Microsoft’s Cloud and AI chief Scott Guthrie. GitHub CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath will now become a technical fellow at Microsoft, also reporting into Guthrie.

It’s easy to imagine why Microsoft would want to acquire GitHub. Microsoft killed its own GitHub competitor, Codeplex, in December and is now the top contributor to GitHub, Microsoft now has more than 1,000 employees actively pushing code to GitHub repositories. Its popularity among developers could see Microsoft earn some much-needed trust and respect from developers. In bigger enterprises and slower moving businesses, the fact Microsoft has acquired GitHub will make it more trusted to use for projects and source control, simply because Microsoft is already trusted across many software and services by these companies. “We will accelerate enterprise developers’ use of GitHub, with our direct sales and partner channels and access to Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure and services,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

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Teaching & Research Forum / Bangabandhu-1 Launch Campaign Thread
« on: May 08, 2018, 05:50:33 PM »
SpaceX's ninth mission of 2018 will launch the second GTO communications satellite of 2018 for SpaceX, Bangabandhu-1, for the Bangladesh government. This mission will feature the first produced Falcon 9 v1.2 Block 5 first stage. It will include many upgrades/changes, ranging from retractable landing legs, unpainted interstage, raceways and landing legs, improved TPS and increased thrust.

Bangabandhu-1 will be the first Bangladeshi geostationary communications satellite operated by Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL). Built by Thales Alenia Space it has a total of 14 standard C-band transponders and 26 Ku-band transponders, with 2 x 3kW deployable solar arrays.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/spacex/comments/8624iq/bangabandhu1_launch_campaign_thread/

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SpaceX has opted to spend a few more days checking out its new Falcon 9 following a successful test fire of the rocket on 5 May, but its latest cargo ship enjoyed an uneventful return to Earth.

The famously taciturn rocketry outfit was expected to launch the Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite for the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on 7 May but, following the test, engineers wanted to take few more days to review the data.
No other reason was given for the delay, and on 7 May SpaceX confirmed a new date of 10 May for the first flight of the upgraded Falcon 9.

The 45th Space Wing issued a forecast on 7 May to the effect that there was a 20 per cent chance of weather stopping Musk's new shiny leaving the ground during its 0612 to 1822 EDT (2012 – 2222 UTC) window.

The lift-off, from Kennedy’s pad 39A was the first since SpaceX failed to destroy the historic facility during the spectacular Falcon Heavy launch and landing.

The freshened-up Falcon 9 Block 5 design features tweaks targeting reusability and reliability, according to SpaceX’s VP of Mission Assurance, Hans Koenigsmann, who spoke during the TESS pre-launch briefing.

The first passenger onboard the beefed-up booster will be Bangladesh’s first satellite, Bangabandhu-1. The 3,600 kg spacecraft will provide Ku-band coverage for Bangladesh and the surrounding region, and is expected to last at least 15 years in geostationary orbit.

Following the launch, SpaceX hopes to land the first stage booster back on one of its automated drone ships.

Source: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/08/spacex_bangabandhu1_launch_delayed_while_dragon_splashes_down_on_time/

6
Tech companies rang in the start of the new year by unveiling some of their ambitious plans for the coming months. Startups and multinational companies alike are beginning to feel the ripple effects of innovation in the industry, with technology becoming more intertwined in everyday lives each year.

As 2018 progresses, here are 5 future technologies you can expect to reach the public in the next couple of years.

1. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things has long been talked about amongst tech insiders as the next big innovation in home technology. In recent years, IoT has begun carve a niche for itself in everyday life with the growing adoption of systems like Google’s Home and Amazon’s Alexa. These devices will continue to integrate more aspects of the home into one harmonious system by utilizing the internet, allowing a user to control anything from the air conditioning to their security via voice command and a small personal assistant.

Apple has announced its plans to roll out the HomePod this year and Samsung is reportedly working on their Bixby technology in order to compete with the success of the Google and Amazon systems. You can expect that one of these devices will be simplifying life in your home and the homes around you by 2020.

2. Automation

While large-scale innovation in automation has traditionally been limited to the production side of society, the technology will have far reaching implications for consumers by 2020. Amazon’s automated grocery store, eliminating the need for cashiers, has been one of the first major tech triumphs of the year.

The store has proven itself successful as an efficient alternative for shoppers in its first location. The current cost of this technology, however, puts it out of the reach of pretty much any other storefront. As the technology continues to develop, consumers can expect that pressure sensors and cameras that automate pay and alleviate long lines in stores will be coming to groceries and pharmacies near you in the next couple of years.

3. Cryptocurrency

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After Bitcoin’s meteoric price jump in 2017, major tech players have begun to take cryptocurrencies seriously. Along with major Initial Coin Offerings that have hit major news outlets like Etherium, smaller companies are developing Stablecoins that provide attempt to provide all the pros of cryptocurrency transactions without the price fluctuations that have plagued the system.

As these coins begin to work themselves out and exchanges even out the fluctuations in prices, expect these assets to be mainstream methods of payment by 2020.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain, the decentralized ledger that holds together cryptocurrencies, has applications reaching far beyond financial transactions. Companies have applied the technology to everything, from simplifying tracking and access to information in academia to interesting and amusing games that use complex algorithms to create unique experiences.

5. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, which once may have seemed like something out of a Sci-Fi novel, is seeing the light and applications of the technology are already being worked on. In particular, with the rise of the Internet of Things, Information Technology and Cybersecurity firms have begun to adopt artificial neural networks in order to monitor and prevent DDoS attacks.

In addition to its security applications, companies like Amazon and Google have begun to apply the technology to regular consumers in order to simplify shopping and searching experiences on the platforms. With all the current progress of AI technology, it is reasonable to expect that by the year 2020 the innovation will be deeply entrenched in both business and consumer activities.

Soure: https://www.business2community.com/tech-gadgets/5-future-technologies-will-mainstream-2020-02006302

7
Floating farms, brain wave passwords, and coffee-powered cars are just some of the incredible inventions and innovations that will shape our future. Hate commuting? Imagine, instead, your train carriage hurtling down a tunnel at the same speed as a commercial jet airliner. That’s the dream of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. His Hyperloop system would see ‘train’ passengers travel at up to 760mph through a vacuum tube, propelled by compressed air and induction motors. A site has been chosen with the goal of starting test runs in two years. Once built, the loop will ferry passengers between San Francisco and LA in 35 minutes, compared to 7.5 hours by train.

Source: http://www.sciencefocus.com/feature/future/future-technology-22-ideas-about-chan

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What are we to make of the revelations published over the weekend, in the Observer and the Times, that Cambridge Analytica, the data-analytics and messaging company financed, in part, by the conservative billionaire Robert Mercer, used tens of millions of ill-gotten Facebook profiles to create algorithms aimed at “breaking” American democracy?

First, that these were not really revelations at all. Reporters from the Guardian, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Das Magazin, and the Intercept have been reporting these facts for years. We knew as early as December, 2015, for instance, that Facebook data obtained without users’ knowledge was being exploited by Cambridge Analytica on behalf of Senator Ted Cruz, who at that time was Mercer’s preferred candidate in the Republican Presidential primaries. Later, when the Mercer family, along with Steve Bannon, came to support Donald Trump, it was no secret that they brought with them Cambridge Analytica, a firm that boasted of being able to parse and influence the electorate through “psychographic” algorithms derived from that data. After Trump won, Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, crowed that the company’s psychographic algorithms had carried the day. (He later retracted that, then reaffirmed it.)

The millions of Facebook accounts in question—as the reporter Michael Schwartz pointed out last March—were mostly culled from the friend networks of people who clicked on a cute personality quiz on the site. A significant number of the initial test-takers, starting in around 2014, were paid freelancers recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace by a British research company called GSR. They and others who took the quiz likely did not know that they were giving GSR permission to access their Facebook friends’ profiles. If Facebook officials were not aware of this at the time, when GSR sold this data to Cambridge Analytica, they certainly knew it by January, 2017, when the Swiss researchers Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus published “The Data That Turned the World Upside Down,” a detailed account of how C.A.’s psychological modelling was used by the Trump campaign. (The Guardian recently quoted a former Facebook employee in charge of data security explaining that he “always assumed there was something of a black market” for data obtained by third-party companies such as GSR, and that when he brought this up to his bosses he was discouraged from investigating too deeply. “Do you really want to see what you’ll find?” he says a Facebook executive told him.)

Source: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/cambridge-analytica-facebook-and-the-revelations-of-open-secrets

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Consultants working for Donald Trump's presidential campaign exploited the personal Facebook data of millions.

That's the key message in March 17 stories by The New York Times and the UK's Guardian and Observer newspapers, as well as in statements from Facebook. The stories and statements indicate the social networking giant was duped by researchers, who reportedly gained access to the data of more than 50 million Facebook users, which was then misused for political ads during the 2016 US presidential election.

Until now, most of what you've heard about Facebook and the 2016 election has been focused on meddling by Russian operatives. Those efforts are being investigated by the FBI and the US Senate.

Data consultancy Cambridge Analytica represents a different problem. The UK-based company reportedly acquired data about millions of Facebook users in a way that violated the social network's policies. It then tapped that information to build psychographic profiles of users and their friends, which were utilized for targeted political ads in the UK's Brexit referendum campaign, as well as by Trump's team during the 2016 US election.

Facebook says it told Cambridge Analytica to delete the data, but also that reports suggest the info wasn't destroyed. Cambridge Analytica says it complies with the social network's rules, only receives data "obtained legally and fairly," and did wipe out the data Facebook is worried about.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-cambridge-analytica-data-mining-and-trump-what-you-need-to-know/

10
Facebook is changing the way it shares data with third-party applications, Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday in his first public statement since the Observer reported that the personal data of about 50 million Americans had been harvested and improperly shared with a political consultancy.

The Facebook CEO broke his five-day silence on the scandal that has enveloped his company this week in a Facebook post acknowledging that the policies that allowed the misuse of data were “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it”.


Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other sites so willingly?
 Read more
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg wrote. He noted that the company has already changed some of the rules that enabled the breach, but added: “We also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it”.

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, shared Zuckerberg’s post and added her own comment: “We know that this was a major violation of peoples’ trust, and I deeply regret that we didn’t do enough to deal with it.”

Zuckerberg also spoke to a handful of media outlets on Wednesday, including a televised interview with CNN in which he apologized for the “breach of trust”, saying: “I’m really sorry that this happened.” In similar conversations with the New York Times, Wired, and tech website Recode, Zuckerberg expressed qualified openness to testifying before Congress and said that he was not entirely opposed to Facebook being subject to more regulations

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Teaching & Research Forum / Amazon Web Services
« on: December 23, 2017, 05:30:16 PM »
Amazon is big. In its last financial quarter, it sold $32bn (£25.6bn) worth of stuff worldwide, including $6bn of media, $10bn of sales outside North America, and $23bn of electronics “and other general merchandise”. That “other” category encompasses everything from crucifixes to sex toys, board games to plyboard, and mousemats printed with the faces of obscure TV and Radio personalities.

It has also diversified beyond its simple shopping business: the company will sell you something to be delivered in less than one hour, food from restaurants, and even digital content to be watched on your TV or listened to on your phone. And, of course, it has a hardware business which many other companies would kill for, producing ebook readers and tablets, and single-handedly creating the product category of “smart speaker” with the Echo.

But there’s another chunk of Amazon that you’re less likely to know about. It’s responsible for a full tenth of the company’s revenues, yet its “operating income” – the amount of money it leaves in Amazon’s coffers once expenses are accounted for – dwarfs any other sector, pulling in $861m compared to the $255m Amazon makes in North American sales and the $541m it loses internationally.

The division is Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the section of the company that sells cloud computing services to both the outside world and to Amazon itself. You can buy storage space to hold a huge database, bandwidth to host a website, or processing power to run complex software remotely. It lets companies and individuals avoid the hassle of buying and running their own hardware, while also letting them pay for only what they actually use.

It began as almost a point of principle for Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, before evolving to become the single most profitable part of the entire company. Now, AWS is moving into the third stage of its life, providing the underpinning for Amazon’s own quest to dominate not just our shopping, but our homes themselves.

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Teaching & Research Forum / iCloud Photo Library
« on: December 23, 2017, 05:25:45 PM »
When you turn on iCloud Photo Library, all the photos and videos you take with iPhone or iPad are automatically uploaded, so you can access them from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC and on iCloud.com. By storing all your photos and videos safely in iCloud, you’ll have more space on your iPhone to take even more great shots. And iCloud Photo Sharing makes it easy to show off just the photos and videos you want to just the people you want to see them.

iCloud Photo Library helps you make the most of the space available by automatically storing the original full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud and leaving behind lightweight versions that are perfectly sized for each device. You’ll always have access to everything on your device, even if you’re offline. And thanks to next-generation photo and video compression technology, photos and videos with the same quality as before now take up half the space.


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Teaching & Research Forum / Google Cloud Services
« on: December 23, 2017, 05:24:33 PM »
By choosing Google Cloud Platform, you can build on the same future-proof infrastructure that allows Google to return billions of search results in milliseconds, serve 6 billion hours of YouTube video per month and provide storage for 1 Billion Gmail users. Our infrastructure is protected by more than 700 top experts in information, application, and network security. Google data centers are the most energy efficient and environmentally-friendly in the world.

Cloud Platform provides fast and consistent performance across the range of computing, storage and application services. With powerful processing, access to the memory you need and high IOPS, your application will deliver consistent performance to your users. You enjoy the benefits of reduced latency and avoid noisy-neighbor problems.

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Teaching & Research Forum / IBM Cloud
« on: December 23, 2017, 05:22:23 PM »
The IBM Cloud has been built to help you solve problems and advance opportunities in a world flush with data. Whether it’s data you possess, data outside your firewall, or data that’s coming, the IBM Cloud helps you protect it, move it, integrate it and unlock intelligence from it — giving you what it takes to prevail in a competitive market.

IBM Cloud compute services flexibly drives the end user experiences that you and your customers want. Whether you need to tune an application with specific OS access requirements, provide a stateless API that services high request volumes and delivers special services, or implement microservices that quickly and automatically adapt to use, IBM Cloud has you covered

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Eight years after launching its self-driving “moon shot,” Waymo, a k a Google’s driverless car company, is having its Neil Armstrong moment.

The company is now running its autonomous minivans around Phoenix with no human inside to grab the wheel if things go bad, CEO John Krafcik announced Tuesday. And in just a few months, it will invite passengers to climb aboard the world’s first driverless ride-hailing service.

This launch brings up a host of unanswered questions about the details and practical elements of such a service, but what’s already clear is Waymo is taking one of the final steps on the long road toward taking the human driver out of the picture and finally cashing in on the profits and safety benefits that come with the transition to robot chauffeurs.

“Fully self-driving cars are here,” Krafcik said at Web Summit in Lisbon, where he announced the move.

Waymo took its first driverless spin on public roads in October 2015, when it was still officially part of Google. (In December 2015, it launched as a stand-alone company under the umbrella of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.) Steve Mahan, a blind man, took a solo, 10-minute ride around Austin, Texas in the company’s “pod car,” the funky one without a steering wheel or pedals (Waymo retired those cars this summer in favor of its minivans).

The difference here, Krafcik says, is that the cars prowling Phoenix sans humans aren’t part of a demo. “What you’re seeing now marks the start of a new phase for Waymo,” he said in Lisbon.

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