Upgrade Your Memory With A Surgically Implanted Brain Chip

science - Posted On:2019-06-16 22:14:58 Source: slashdot

Bloomberg reports on a five-year, $77 million project by America's Department of Defense to create an implantable brain device that restores memory-generation capacity for people with traumatic brain injuries. A device has now been developed by Michael Kahana, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and the medical technology company Medtronic Plc, and successfully tested with funding from America's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa). Connected to the left temporal cortex, it monitors the brain's electrical activity and forecasts whether a lasting memory will be created. "Just like meteorologists predict the weather by putting sensors in the environment that measure humidity and wind speed and temperature, we put sensors in the brain and measure electrical signals," Kahana says. If brain activity is suboptimal, the device provides a small zap, undetectable to the patient, to strengthen the signal and increase the chance of memory formation. In two separate studies, researchers found the prototype consistently boosted memory 15 per cent to 18 per cent. The second group performing human testing, a team from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., aided by colleagues at the University of Southern California, has a more finely tuned method. In a study published last year, their patients showed memory retention improvement of as much as 37 per cent. "We're looking at questions like, 'Where are my keys? Where did I park the car? Have I taken my pills?'â" says Robert Hampson, lead author of the 2018 study... Both groups have tested their devices only on epileptic patients with electrodes already implanted in their brains to monitor seizures; each implant requires clunky external hardware that won't fit in somebody's skull. The next steps will be building smaller implants and getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to bring the devices to market... Justin Sanchez, who just stepped down as director of Darpa's biological technologies office, says veterans will be the first to use the prosthetics. "We have hundreds of thousands of military personnel with traumatic brain injuries," he says. The next group will likely be stroke and Alzheimer's patients. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Phishing Scam Asks You to Login to Read Encrypted Message

Security - Posted On:2019-06-16 21:44:59 Source: bleepingcomputer

A new phishing campaign is underway that pretends to be an alert from your email server that it has received an encrypted message for you. It then prompts you to login to a fake OneDrive site in order to read the message. [...]

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Twitch Sues Troll Streamers Who Flooded Site With Violent Videos and Pornography

yro - Posted On:2019-06-16 20:29:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg: Twitch Interactive, the livestreaming platform owned by Amazon.com, has sued anonymous trolls who flooded the site last month with pornography, violent content and copyrighted movies and television shows... Twitch says it works to remove offensive posts and ban the accounts of the users who post them, but that the videos quickly reappear, apparently posted by bots, while other bots work to drive users to the impermissible content. Twitch temporarily suspended new creators from streaming after a May 25 attack by trolls. The company said that if it learns the identities of the anonymous streamers who have abused its terms of service -- named in the lawsuit as "John and Jane Does 1-100" -- it will ask the court to prohibit their using the platform and order them to pay restitution and damages. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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A New Hidden Way of Web Browser Profiling, Identification and Tracking

yro - Posted On:2019-06-16 19:14:59 Source: slashdot

Researchers from Austria's Graz University of Technology "have devised an automated system for browser profiling using two new side channel attacks that can help expose information about software and hardware," reports The Register. The researchers recently presented a paper titled "JavaScript Template Attacks: Automatically Inferring Host Information for Targeted Exploits," which The Register says "calls into question the effectiveness of anonymized browsing and browser privacy extensions... " Long-time Slashdot reader Artem S. Tashkinov shared their report: One of the side-channel attacks developed for JavaScript Template Attacks involve measuring runtime differences between two code snippets to infer the underlying instruction set architecture through variations in JIT compiler behavior. The other involves measuring timing differences in the memory allocator to infer the allocated size of a memory region. The boffins' exploration of the JavaScript environment reveals not only the ability to fingerprint via browser version, installed privacy extension, privacy mode, operating system, device microarchitecture, and virtual machine, but also the properties of JavaScript objects. And their research shows there are far more of these than are covered in official documentation. This means browser fingerprints have the potential to be far more detailed -- have more data points -- than they are now. The Mozilla Developer Network documentation for Firefox, for example, covers 2,247 browser properties. The researchers were able to capture 15,709. Though not all of these are usable for fingerprinting and some represent duplicates, they say they found about 10,000 usable properties for all browsers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Researcher Publishers 7 Million (Still Public) Venmo Transactions on GitHub

yro - Posted On:2019-06-16 17:44:59 Source: slashdot

Remember the outrage last year when a researcher discovered that for Venmo's 40 million users, all transactions are "public" by default and broadcast on Venmo's API? More than a year later, computer science student Dan Salmon has demonstrated that it's still incredibly easy to download millions of transactions through Venmo's developer API without obtaining user permissions (without even using the Venmo app). He proved this by downloading 7 million of them," TechCrunch reports: Dan Salmon said he scraped the transactions during a cumulative six months to raise awareness and warn users to set their Venmo payments to private... Using that data, anyone can look at an entire user's public transaction history, who they shared money with, when, and in some cases for what reason -- including illicit goods and substances. "There's truly no reason to have this API open to unauthenticated requests," he told TechCrunch. "The API only exists to provide like a scrolling feed of public transactions for the home page of the app, but if that's your goal then you should require a token with each request to verify that the user is logged in." He published the scraped data on his GitHub page. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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'Genius' Site Said It Used Morse Code To Catch Google Stealing Song Lyrics

technology - Posted On:2019-06-16 16:59:59 Source: slashdot

"Genius.com says its traffic is dropping because, for the past several years, Google has been publishing lyrics on its own platform, with some of them lifted directly from the music site," reports the Wall Street Journal: Google denies doing anything nefarious. Still, Genius's complaints offer a window into the challenges small tech companies can face when the unit of Alphabet Inc. starts offering competing services on its platform... Genius said it notified Google as far back as 2017, and again in an April letter, that copied transcriptions appear on Google's website. The April letter, a copy of which was viewed by the Journal, warned that reuse of Genius's transcriptions breaks the Genius.com terms of service and violates antitrust law. "Over the last two years, we've shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius," said Ben Gross, Genius's chief strategy officer, in an email message.... Genius said it found more than 100 examples of songs on Google that came from its site. Starting around 2016, Genius made a subtle change to some of the songs on its website, alternating the lyrics' apostrophes between straight and curly single-quote marks in exactly the same sequence for every song. When the two types of apostrophes were converted to the dots and dashes used in Morse code, they spelled out the words "Red Handed." Genius is a privately held company, and its investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Emagen Investment Group and the rapper Nas... Genius clients include the music streaming website Spotify Technology SA and Apple Inc. The article also notes March study from web-analytics firm Jumpshot Inc. which found 62% of mobile searches on Google now don't result in the user clicking through to a non-Google web site. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Windows 10: The Upcoming Features and Improvements in 20H1

Security - Posted On:2019-06-16 16:15:00 Source: bleepingcomputer

Windows 10 20H1 builds are available for Windows Insiders with several new changes, giving us a glimpse of what's coming. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the changes and improvements included in Windows 10 20H1 preview builds. [...]

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Bella Thorne Tweets Her Nude Photos After Threats From Hacker

Security - Posted On:2019-06-16 16:15:00 Source: bleepingcomputer

Instead of giving in to the threats of a hacker who gained access to actress Bella Thorne's nude photos, Thorne has decided to release them herself on Twitter along with the hacker's messages to her. [...]

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Google's Login Chief: Apple's Sign-In Button Is Better Than Using Passwords

technology - Posted On:2019-06-16 15:45:00 Source: slashdot

After Apple announced a single sign-on tool last week, The Verge interviewed Google product management director Mark Risher. Though Google offers its own single sign-on tool, The Verge found him "surprisingly sunny about having a new button to compete with. While the login buttons are relatively simple, they're much more resistant to common attacks like phishing, making them much stronger than the average password -- provided you trust the network offering them." RISHER: I honestly do think this technology will be better for the internet and will make people much, much safer. Even if they're clicking our competitor's button when they're logging into sites, that's still way better than typing in a bespoke username and password, or more commonly, a recycled username and password... Usually with passwords they recommend the capital letters and symbols and all of that, which the majority of the planet believes is the best thing that they should do to improve their security. But it actually has no bearing on phishing, no bearing on password breaches, no bearing on password reuse. We think that it's much more important to reduce the total number of passwords out there... People often push back against the federated model, saying we're putting all our eggs into one basket. It sort of rolls off the tongue, but I think it's the wrong metaphor. A better metaphor might be a bank. There are two ways to store your hundred dollars: you could spread it around the house, putting one dollar in each drawer, and some under your mattress and all of that. Or you could put it in a bank, which is one basket, but it's a basket that is protected by 12-inch thick steel doors. That seems like the better option! Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Michigan Town Approves Fiber Internet Despite Intense Lobbying

news - Posted On:2019-06-16 14:45:00 Source: slashdot

Long-time Slashdot reader Proudrooster writes: Fiber Internet is coming to Traverse City, Michigan in the hopes of attracting high tech startups and helping the city become a high-tech hub. Even in the face of intense lobbying by [commercial high-speed internet provider] Charter, The Mackinaw Center for Public Policy, and a barrage of pop up ads opposing it, the project is moving ahead into phase one. It was more than apparent that Charter did everything it could to try and sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt to try and kill this project as other incumbent providers have done across the USA. [Citation needed -- though Traverse City officials did report high-powered anonymous lobbying.] Kudos to the board of Traverse City Light and Power and the residents of Traverse City for being brave and making this investment in their community. Even though the decision is not finalized, the network may be an open network, allowing customers to purchase from a variety of providers. This project will undoubtedly be watched nationwide and possibly serve as a new model for other community fiber builds. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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America Planted Malware In Russia's Power Grid, Says NYT

hardware - Posted On:2019-06-16 13:45:00 Source: slashdot

"The U.S. military's Cyber Command has gotten more aggressive than ever against Russia in the past year, placing 'potentially crippling malware' in systems that control the country's electrical grid," according to CNET, citing a report in the New York Times: Made possible by little-noticed legal authority granted last summer by Congress, Cyber Command's strategy shift from a defensive to offensive posture is meant in part as a warning shot, but it's also designed to enable paralysing cyberattacks in the event of a conflict, The New York Times said Saturday, quoting unnamed officials... [T]he recent moves appear to have taken place under a military authorization bill Congress passed in 2018 that gives the go-ahead for "clandestine military activity" in cyberspace to "deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States...." The Times said Cyber Command is concerned Russia could trigger selective power outages in key states during the 2020 election and that it needs a way to discourage such attacks. But the agency and the U.S. have to consider their moves carefully in this international game of cyberchess. "The question now is whether placing the equivalent of land mines in a foreign power network is the right way to deter Russia," the Times report says. "While it parallels Cold War nuclear strategy, it also enshrines power grids as a legitimate target...." In related news, Bloomberg reported Friday that a Russia-linked hacking group that shut down an oil and gas facility in Saudi Arabia in 2017 has been probing utilities in the U.S. since late last year. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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After June fires, energy group says hydrogen is future’s fuel

Policy - Posted On:2019-06-16 13:15:00 Source: arstechnica

Hydrogen fuel facilities experienced two fires this month in Santa Clara, Calif., and in Norway. But despite these setbacks, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report on Friday saying that the fuel is an important potential part of a low-carbon future.

The first fire in Santa Clara happened on Saturday, June 1 at a hydrogen reforming facility run by Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. No one was injured, but according to the Silicon Valley Voice, multiple hydrogen tanker trucks caught fire. The fire was extinguished a little over an hour after the firefighters arrived on the scene.

After the fire was put out, Santa Clara Fire Department Battalion Chief Drew Miller told the press that “a hydrogen tanker truck was being fueled and a leak occurred," adding, "when the shutdown of the tanker truck that was being fueled occurred, an explosion resulted."

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Why 'Ambient Computing' Is Just A Marketing Buzzword -- For Now

hardware - Posted On:2019-06-16 12:45:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes Computerworld columnist Mike Elgan: Ambient computing is real. It's the next megatrend in computing.... To interact in an "ambient computing" context means to not care and not even necessarily know where exactly the devices are that you're interacting with. When IoT devices and sensors are all around us, and artificial intelligence can understand human contexts for what's happening and act accordingly and in our interests, then ambient computing will have arrived... As with many technology revolutions, including augmented reality and AI, the buzzword ambient will precede the actual technology by many years. In fact, the marketing buzzword is suddenly here in full force. The actual technologies? Not so much. Instead, we're on the brink of a revolution in what you might call "semi-ambient computing...." Rumors are circulating that Google's next smartphones, the Pixel 4 line, may come with Soli built in. I told you in January about Google's Project Soli, which may be called the "Aware" sensor or feature in the Pixel 4 -- again, according to unconfirmed rumors. Soli or Aware capability means the Pixel 4 may accept in-the-air hand gestures, such as "skip" and "silence" during music playback. The new Google "wave" is a hand gesture. The ability to wave away music with a hand gesture brings the smartphone into the semi-ambient computing era. It basically adds natural hand gestures to natural-language processing.... Google also briefly talked last year about a healthcare assistant called Dr. Liz., which was described by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt as an ambient computing virtual assistant for doctors. We'll see if Google ever ships a Dr. Liz product... Yes, ambient computing is real, and the Next Big Thing, showing up first in business, enterprises and healthcare. But for now, the term ambient computing will be misapplied. It's a buzzword that will be stapled to every semi-ambient computing product and service that comes out over the next few years. The article predicts we'll eventually see ambient computing arriving in cars, grocery stores, smart glasses -- and notes a Microsoft job listing for its "Ambient Computing & Robotics team" describing "the era where computer vision, AI-based cognition, and autonomous electro-mechanicals pervade the workplace." Computerworldd adds that Microsoft "was mocked for its 'Clippy' assistant, which the company released in 1996 as a way to provide friendly help for people using Microsoft Office. In the future, Microsoft may release what will essentially be a Clippy that works, because it will understand human context through AI." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Massive Electrical Failure Cuts Power To Nearly All Of Argentina On Election Day -- and Uruguay

hardware - Posted On:2019-06-16 11:45:00 Source: slashdot

Iwastheone quotes the BBC: A massive electrical failure has left almost all of Argentina and Uruguay without power, according to a major Argentine electricity provider. Authorities say the cause of the blackout is still unclear. Argentine media said the power cut occurred shortly after 07:00 [03:00 PST, 11:00 BST], causing trains to be halted and failures with traffic signalling. It came as people in parts of Argentina were preparing to go to the polls for local elections. "A massive failure in the electrical interconnection system left all of Argentina and Uruguay without power," electricity supply company Edesur said in a tweet. Alejandra Martinez, a spokeswoman for the company, described the power cut as unprecedented. "This is the first time something like this has happened across the entire country." Argentina's energy secretary, Gustavo Lopetegui, said the cause of the power failure had not yet been determined. The Ministry of Civil Protection estimated that parts of the service could be restored in about seven or eight hours. Edesur said that power had been restored over 75,00 clients in parts of Buenos Aires and local media reported that two airports were operating on generators in the capital. Uruguay's energy company, UTE, said in a series of tweets that power had been restored to coastal areas and to areas north of Rio Negro. The combined population of Argentina and Uruguay is about 48 million people.... Tierra del Fuego in the far south is the only area that remains unaffected because it is not connected to the power grid. "Local media have been showing voters casting their ballots in the dark, with mobile phones being used as lanterns." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Chrome Canary Flag Makes The Browser a Colorful Mess

Security - Posted On:2019-06-16 11:30:01 Source: bleepingcomputer

Google is testing a new feature in the Chrome Canary builds that allows you to change the colors used by various user interface elements of the browser. This allows users to make the browser and its New Tab Page a colorful mess that some may find amusing, while others find painful. [...]

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Facebook's Photorealistic Simulator For AI Runs At 10,000 FPS

technology - Posted On:2019-06-16 10:44:57 Source: slashdot

malachiorion writes: Facebook just open sourced a simulator for testing and training embodied AI systems -- like virtual robots. They worked with AR/VR researchers to release the simulator along with what they say are the most photorealistic 3D reconstructions of real world places available. [Facebook Reality Labs have named this "the Replica data set".] The crazy part: Because more frames are always better for training computer vision in simulators, it can run at 10,000 FPS! The simulator's ability to hit 10K frames per second prompted an interesting follow-up on the original submission. "It's a totally useless framerate for humans -- just absolute overkill for our brains/eyeballs -- but it's apparently a benefit for AI systems." "As more researchers adopt the platform, we can collectively develop embodied AI techniques more quickly," explains Facebook's blog post, "as well as realize the larger benefits of replacing yesterday's training data sets with active environments that better reflect the world we're preparing machine assistants to operate in." And if you're worried about privacy, Facebook assures readers that "The data used to generate Replica scans was anonymized to remove any personal details (such as family photos) that could identify an individual. The overall reconstruction process was meticulous, with researchers manually filling in the small holes that are inevitably missed during scanning and using a 3D paint tool to apply annotations directly onto meshes." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Uber's Plan To Deliver McDonald's Hamburgers By Drone

technology - Posted On:2019-06-16 09:44:57 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post: The company's new initiative -- a collaborative effort between its Uber Eats and Uber Elevate divisions -- began with tests in San Diego using fast food meals from McDonald's, but could expand to include a local fine-dining restaurant called Juniper and Ivy, the company said. Uber intends to roll out commercial food delivery using drones in the same city this summer, with a fee structure that mimics Uber Eats current pricing, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which first reported the company's plan... "We've been working closely with the FAA to ensure that we're meeting requirements and prioritizing safety," Uber Elevate's Luke Fischer, the company's head of flight operations, said in a statement. "From there, our goal is to expand Uber Eats drone delivery so we can provide more options to more people at the tap of a button. We believe that Uber is uniquely positioned to take on this challenge as we're able to leverage the Uber Eats network of restaurant partners and delivery partners as well as the aviation experience and technology of Uber Elevate." How will Uber's drone delivery service work? After a restaurant loads a meal into a drone and the robot takes to the air, the company's technology will notify a nearby Uber Eats driver at a designated drop-off location, the company said. The driver will pick up and hand deliver the meal to the customer the same way the service currently operates. But in the future, Uber said, the company would like to land drones atop parked vehicles near delivery locations "through QR code correspondence." Once that happens, the last-mile leg of delivery would be completed by the Uber Eats driver who would hand-deliver the order. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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E3 2019 in photos: Gooigi, crazy arcade machines, and a DOOM museum

Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2019-06-16 09:14:56 Source: arstechnica

LOS ANGELES—If you couldn't or didn't make it to E3 2019, you're not the only one. Anecdotal evidence suggests this was the most poorly attended E3 in some time (though its organizers at the ESA insist that this E3 had only 3,000 fewer attendees than 2018's jam-packed affair), owing perhaps to Sony's no-show or the abundance of live-streamed options for enjoying the event at your own home.

That being said, we attended, and Ars Technica came back from Los Angeles with plenty to show for it. In addition to a few more hands-on previews coming (which will build upon the best-of E3 2019 list we already filed), we took our cameras out at both the official E3 halls and nearby events (Xbox Fan Fest, EA Play).

The result is a whopping three image galleries here. The first is a catch-all for most of the basic, expected fare, while the second and third focus on retro elements: a DOOM-specific mini-museum, and a curated collection of very rare gaming hardware and collectibles courtesy of the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Tex. (If you've never been to that physical location before, we strongly encourage you to book a trip.)

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Do Google and Facebook Threaten Our 'Ambient Privacy'?

technology - Posted On:2019-06-16 07:44:57 Source: slashdot

This week Pinboard founder Maciej Ceglowski (also a web developer and social critic) asked readers of his blog to consider an emerging threat to ambient privacy. He defines it as "the understanding that there is value in having our everyday interactions with one another remain outside the reach of monitoring, and that the small details of our daily lives should pass by unremembered." Until recently, ambient privacy was a simple fact of life. Recording something for posterity required making special arrangements, and most of our shared experience of the past was filtered through the attenuating haze of human memory. Even police states like East Germany, where one in seven citizens was an informer, were not able to keep tabs on their entire population. Today computers have given us that power. Authoritarian states like China and Saudi Arabia are using this newfound capacity as a tool of social control. Here in the United States, we're using it to show ads. But the infrastructure of total surveillance is everywhere the same, and everywhere being deployed at scale.... Because our laws frame privacy as an individual right, we don't have a mechanism for deciding whether we want to live in a surveillance society. Congress has remained silent on the matter, with both parties content to watch Silicon Valley make up its own rules. The large tech companies point to our willing use of their services as proof that people don't really care about their privacy. But this is like arguing that inmates are happy to be in jail because they use the prison library. Confronted with the reality of a monitored world, people make the rational decision to make the best of it. That is not consent... Our discourse around privacy needs to expand to address foundational questions about the role of automation: To what extent is living in a surveillance-saturated world compatible with pluralism and democracy? What are the consequences of raising a generation of children whose every action feeds into a corporate database? What does it mean to be manipulated from an early age by machine learning algorithms that adaptively learn to shape our behavior? That is not the conversation Facebook or Google want us to have. Their totalizing vision is of a world with no ambient privacy and strong data protections, dominated by the few companies that can manage to hoard information at a planetary scale. They correctly see the new round of privacy laws as a weapon to deploy against smaller rivals, further consolidating their control over the algorithmic panopticon. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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'How Close Are We to Self-Driving Cars, Really?'

technology - Posted On:2019-06-16 03:44:57 Source: slashdot

Chris Urmson helped pioneer self-driving car technology at Google before founding Aurora (which sells self-driving car software to automakers, and this week announced a new partnership with Chrysler and a new round of investment by Hyundai). In a new interview, Urmson "says he expects that in about five to 10 years, Americans will start seeing robots cruising down the road in a handful of cities and towns across the country," reports Slate. "It will be about 30 to 50 years, he says, until they're everywhere. " I think within the next five years we'll see small-scale deployment. That'll be a few hundred or a few thousand vehicles. Really this is the, it's Silicon Valley speak, this is the zero-to-one moment of proving that the technology actually works, understanding how customers want to use it, convincing ourselves that -- and when I say ourselves, I mean as a society -- that these are sufficiently safe, that we trust them on the roadway, and that's that first phase... [W]hen the technology actually starts to become scaled, then we can ask the question what have we learned, what are the ways that we can make this a little bit safer, a little bit incrementally more efficient, and that's what I think local and state governments and federal government would invest in infrastructure... The statistic I heard was 30 percent of traffic in San Francisco is people looking for parking. I heard a more alarming statistic that was 80 percent of traffic in Paris was people looking for parking. So imagine you have automated vehicles that take you to a location, you hop out, then it just drives down the block and picks up the next person and takes them where they're going. Suddenly, you've alleviated a massive chunk of the congestion in a city. Similarly, if you look at the floor plan of a city today, somewhere between 30â"40 percent of cities is dedicated to parking and roads. And so again, if you have automated vehicles operating as a transportation service, whether it's private or public transportation networks in the city, you don't need that real estate to be dedicated for parking. That real estate now can be recaptured, and it can be used for park space, it can be used for residential space, yeah, it can be used for mixed residential-commercial office space... Certainly for urban centers, I think it's much more likely that this technology is a shared platform that people get on and get off. It's an even more convenient version of a bus or of a taxi service. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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