The Associated Press recently published a report on Comcast’s plan to meter the Internet through data caps and customers have pointed out that these caps are just the right size to discourage people from getting all their television through streaming services instead of through a traditional cable TV package.
These data caps were created not out of necessity, but by Comcast’s desire to fight the growing popularity of using the internet as a substitute for cable television. Comcast tells the Associated Press that roughly 8% of its customers go over 300GB per month but you can definitely expect that number to increase the more people rely on streaming services for television. Along with these plans of data caps, Comcast has been slowing connections for users who frequently use streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.
As the Internet continues to grow and become more easily accessed across the world, it will begin to find replacements for outdated technologies. Cable television is no longer a necessity when someone who is apt at using the Internet can find all of their television shows online. Comcast may try to throw obstacles in its way, but progress will never slow down for old technologies.
Vulnerability researchers claim Western Digital’s “self-encrypting” My Passport hard drive is plagued by serious security vulnerabilities that allow an attacker trivial access to data stored on its products. The details were included in a paper dated 28 September, and posted to websites where vulnerability researchers post their findings if the affected company is not being cooperative.
The vulnerability comes from a multitude of errors Western Digital ran into when designing their method of encryption. The My Passport drives allow a user to set a password in order to use them, which is then protected by an encryption key. Western Digital creates the password using the C rand() function, which is known not to be cryptographically secure. This simple command for creating random numbers is not up to the task of producing a suitably strong key for keeping data secure. On top of that some models simply store the password on the hard drive. That means an attacker wouldn’t even need your password to break into the device.
“An attacker who steals your drive can guess the key in a short time using a single PC,” said the assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University. Cyber security is becoming more and more important as the Internet of Things becomes more developed. Now by gaining access into a network, hackers can control things like cars driving on the road, factories in automated production, and have access to large amounts of data. Without advanced security, like encryption, a lot can go wrong in a system.
Computer scientists and electrical engineers have developed an affordable hyper-spectral camera that uses both visible and invisible near-infrared light to “see” beneath surfaces and capture unseen details. HyperCam, which uses the visible and near-infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, illuminates a scene with 17 different wavelengths and generates an image for each. The camera then sorts through the hundreds of frames and chooses the ones that are most different from what the naked eye sees. With these pictures, the camera is able to identify veins lying just under the skin, and can identify different textures of objects. For example, when taking a picture of an avocado, the camera reveals whether or not the fruit is ripe.
This technology has been around for several years and is used in everything from satellite imaging and energy monitoring to infrastructure and food safety inspections. However the technology’s high cost has made it unsuitable for personal use. With this new design, the scientists have concluded the camera would only cost $50 to be implemented with smart phones.
If this technology becomes incorporated into cell phones, it would make grocery shopping much easier and would make finding veins on a person’s arm a much less difficult job for nurses.
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Artificial Intelligence is both an amazing and scary emerging technology. On the one hand it is an amazing feat to create something that mimics our own minds so closely. However if at one point this technology reaches our own level of intelligence, then we should be worried about it being implemented in dangerous ways. Putting this type of intelligence into androids for example could lead to an ethical dilemma as depicted in the movie Ex Machina.
EX MACHINA – 2015 FILM STILL – Alicia Vikander as Ava
Sadly Artificial Intelligence today is not nearly as advanced as depicted in science fiction. An AI machine developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was recently given an IQ test to see how it can handle simple questions. This IQ test was originally designed for four year olds, and includes a series of simple questions.
The biggest problem the AI encounters are questions with inherent meaning or intent. For example, when asked “why do people shake hands?” it interpreted the question as asking “what is the reason people’s hands shake?”. As a result, it decided that people shake hands because they are having an epileptic fit. As you can imagine, the AI scored poorly on the comprehension questions.
Another category it did poor in is the word reasoning section. When given the clues “This animal has a mane if it is male, it lives in Africa, and it is a yellowish-brown cat,” its five most common answers were “dog,” “cat,” “home,” “creature,” and “farm.” Clearly the AI had problems simply interpreting the answers it should give because many of the answers are nonsensical.
Clearly the AI needs improvements in interpreting language, but showing that it can compete with any level of human intelligence is fascinating to me. Overall it was concluded that the AI was as equally intelligent as a four year old. It is predicted that AI will begin to improve rapidly in the next 5 years.
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In a recent unveiling in Fremont, California, Elon Musk shows all of the new features of Tesla’s new Model X. Priced at $132,000, this electric SUV revolutionizes the technology in advanced luxury cars.
Just sitting in the driver seat of the Model X is a thrill. The panoramic windshield that extends back over your head gives the driver not only a clear view of cars ahead on the road, but passing birds, clouds and aircraft. Drone attack? You’ll see it coming. Normally, a windshield is nothing to crow about. But, again showing the complexity of this vehicle, the sun visors are works of art — swiveling out and locking in place with magnets.
The Model X is loaded with features that just seem beyond the pale of anything the traditional auto industry seemed to care about or would be willing to try. The doors are a key example of this. The backseat doors open “falcon” style, giving the car a very stylish look while the front doors are designed to open automatically as the owner approaches. The rear seats also sit on pedestals, allowing under-seat storage. This design has always been proposed for custom cars at auto shows, however most major automakers always turn back to their traditional ways. The cherry on top of this pile of amazing features is the biodefense mode activated by a button on the dashboard. This mode pumps up the Model X’s HEPA air filter to maximum level, which Musk claims would be able to get rid of toxins from biological weapons.
All of these new features encompass the idea behind the internet of things that we discuss in class. By automating basic necessities such as opening the car doors, Elon Musk makes the Model X an example of what cars will look like as they become more integrated with the internet of things. Tesla’s Model X is the first of many new cars that will be exploring new technology as it relates to cars.
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