New York, Feb 5 (AP/UNB) — Forget dreaming of electric sheep. Robots first need to figure out how to imagine themselves.
One New York robot has done just that. It's learned that it's a robotic arm using a process of self-simulation.
Columbia University engineers have given the robot the ability to model itself without prior knowledge of physics or its own shape.
The robot starts out moving randomly, but over time learns enough about itself to be able to perform tasks and even detect if it's been damaged.
Columbia mechanical engineering professor Hod Lipson says "self-awareness is the Holy Grail" of autonomy. He says there are ethical risks in gifting robots with self-awareness but also many benefits, including adaptability and resilience.
The research was published last week in Science Robotics.
San Francisco, Feb 5 (AP/UNB) — Google parent company Alphabet beat Wall Street expectations for its fourth quarter earnings Monday, although its stock slid in after-hours trading over investor concerns about increased spending.
Alphabet swung to a profit of $8.9 billion, up from a $3 billion loss in the same period a year ago due to the effects of a new federal tax law. Its revenue grew this quarter to $39.3 billion, up more than 21 percent from $32.3 billion last year.
Alphabet's earnings per share of $12.77 beat Wall Street expectations of $10.86 per share, according to analysts polled by FactSet.
But Alphabet also spent more on research and development and other expenses during the quarter, as it works to expand its cloud computing business and its long-term bets such as self-driving cars.
Alphabet's stock price dropped roughly 3 percent despite the beat in after-market trading Monday. Analysts attributed the decline to Alphabet's increased investment in its cloud business, YouTube and other areas it hopes to grow.
Executives noted the company's focus on expanding the cloud business during a call with analysts Monday, as it races to compete against rivals Amazon and Microsoft in the growing industry. Amazon currently leads in that market, followed by Microsoft and Google in a somewhat more distant third place.
Late last year, Google brought in former Oracle Corp. executive Thomas Kurian to lead its cloud business into what it hopes to be a rapid growth stage. Cloud bets are likely to start paying off in the coming years, said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives. And it would be short-sighted to count Google out, though Amazon and Microsoft's businesses are larger.
"I think Microsoft and Amazon need to keep one eye open with Google," he said.
Google revenues from its "other" category, which includes what it pulls in from cloud services and hardware, climbed more than 30 percent to $6.5 billion in the fourth quarter.
Alphabet's Other Bets business, which includes its self-driving car company Waymo and health-tech venture Verily, saw revenue rise to $154 million, up from $131 million in the year-ago period. But operating losses also ballooned to $1.3 billion, a 78 percent increase since the year-earlier quarter.
Alphabet shares have climbed 9 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has risen roughly 9 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Monday, shares hit $1,141.42, a rise of 2 percent in the last 12 months.
Dhaka, Feb 1 (UNB) - Google’s social media network, Google+, will officially shut down on April 2 (Saturday), the company announced this week.
Citing low usage and challenges to maintain a “successful product,” Google announced last year that it would be closing its social network sometime in April.
Users won’t be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities and events as early as February 4.
“In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and the challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations,” the company said. “We want to thank you for being part of Google+.”
A response to Facebook and other social media sites, Google+ was launched in June 2011. It was the search engine’s fourth attempt at getting into social media. The strategy to make itself different was to create “circles,” or groups of contacts who share common interests.
But the social network never caught on. In 2014, the New York Times reported that Google+ had 29 monthly users on its website, compared to 128 million Facebook users on its website. A study by Stone Temple Consulting found in 2015 that 90 percent of people with Google+ profiles had never posted publicly on its website, Forbes reported.
The plan to shutter Google+ was accelerated late last year in October after a security breach disclosed up to 500,000 users’ personal information. Then, in November, Google said a software update leaked 52.5 million users’ data, including names, emails and occupations.
Google shared instructions for how to download and save your content but noted that it must be done before April. You can read more information about the shutdown here.
Photos and videos backed up on Google Photos will not be deleted.
Dhaka, Feb 1 (UNB) – Twitter on Thursday said it has deleted thousands of fake accounts from Iran, Russia, Venezuela and Bangladesh.
Besides, it released information about behaviour on the platform related to the 2018 US midterm elections.
Twitter’s Head of Site Integrity Yoel Roth wrote in its own blog post, “As noted last December, working with our industry peers we identified and suspended a very small number of accounts originating from Bangladesh for engaging in coordinated platform manipulation. The Tweets were entirely in Bengali and focused on regional political themes. All of these accounts and content are now part of the archive and can be investigated and reviewed by interested parties."
Over 1,000 accounts located in Venezuela were engaged in a “state-backed influence campaign” targeting Venezuelans, the social media company wrote in a post on its website.
Working with our industry peers we identified & suspended a very small number of accounts originating from Bangladesh for engaging in coordinated platform manipulation. Based on our initial analysis, it appears that some of these accounts may have ties to state-sponsored actors.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) December 20, 2018
It also said it has “identified and suspended 2,617 additional malicious accounts” in Iran.
By last September, Twitter had taken down 3,843 accounts it linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA).
"Our ongoing efforts have uncovered an additional 418 accounts. We cannot render definitive attribution to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) for these accounts, although most appear to originate in Russia," said Twitter.
It also said it removed 764 accounts located in Venezuela, where there was major political upheaval.
"Additionally, we have removed 1,196 accounts located in Venezuela which appear to be engaged in a state-backed influence campaign targeting domestic audiences," said the micro-blogging platform.
Dhaka, Feb 1 (UNB) – From now on, no mobile phone operator can offer internet packages with less than three-day validity.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has issued an order recently in this regard.
As per the order, the validity of all the internet packages/offers/bundles will be at least three days and this will come into effect on February 1.
It also said the order will be reviewed after one month.
Meanwhile, a subscriber will be able to use internet of highest Tk 5 under the ‘Pay Per Use’ system and on expiry of the limit, he or she will have to opt in or subscribe to an internet package or bundle or offer. This came into effect on Sunday last.
The BTRC also said a directive on the highest numbers of internet packages/bundles/offers will be issued later after determining those.