YouTube is backpeddling

YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki announced at SXSW that YouTube’s infamous conspiracy theory videos will now be paired with text from Wikipedia. “We will show a companion unit of information from Wikipedia showing that here is information about the event,” she said. YouTube is “using a list of well-known internet conspiracies from Wikipedia” to cull from.

Apparently Susan didn’t feel the need to inform Wikipedia before making this announcement:

Why it’s hot:

Wikipedia gets to cover itself legally while fact checking — but doesn’t really take responsibility and still gets to cash out on these videos. I don’t think its enough.

sell my old clothes, i’m off to the cloud…

In the latest episode of life imitating art is a Y Combinator startup whose proposition is essentially uploading your brain to the cloud. Per the source: “Nectome is a preserve-your-brain-and-upload-it company. Its chemical solution can keep a body intact for hundreds of years, maybe thousands, as a statue of frozen glass. The idea is that someday in the future scientists will scan your bricked brain and turn it into a computer simulation. That way, someone a lot like you, though not exactly you, will smell the flowers again in a data server somewhere.”

Why It’s Hot:

What’s not hot is you have to die in order to do it, but what’s interesting is the idea of exploring our consciousness as almost iPhone storage. That reincarnation by technology could be possible.


Andre Agassi is building a dyslexia assessment game

You probably know Andre Agassi from his incredible tennis career. But the former champion is making incredible moves in a totally different space – early childhood education and science. He’s not new to this space – he already has a foundation, the Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation, which he created to fund research and development of early literacy apps. And he is deeply involved in the education space in general – he’s helped build 70 charter schools in the past four years, educating 33,000 students.

For his latest project, Agassi announced at SXSW this year that his foundation is spearheading a dyslexia screening initiative. The initiative, called Readvolution, is focused on creating a dyslexia assessment game that will be completely free. Agassi’s foundation is partnering with neuroscientists from leading universities including California at San Francisco (UCSF) and the Weill Institute of for Neurosciences to formulate and scientifically validate the game.

Then, to actually build the game and provide further learning support, the foundation is partnering with Square Panda. Square Panda is an edtech startup that invented an AI-powered phonics-based system for early childhood reading and cognitive learning. They’ll use their AI to not only create the dyslexia assessment game, but also expand their educational offerings so that kids with dyslexia can acquire a broader range of language and literacy skills, too.

In an interview with Engadget, Agassi said he’s been using Square Panda’s offerings in his charter school in Las Vegas, and he immediately saw the difference it made in the students. “I’m very interested in this space,” Agassi said, “because I’ve seen first-hand what a challenge it can be to guide an entire classroom full of kids at the pace that each kid individually deserves.”

Why It’s Hot:
1: Collaborative teamwork across industries is an incredibly powerful tool.
2: Use your money and power for good, everyone!

Learn More: Engadget

AI takes over an online knitting community

The latest in a series of irreverent AI projects by humorist and technologist Janelle Shane is interactive and focused around the online knitting community Ravelry.

Shane trained a type of neural network on a series of over 500 sets of knitting instructions. Then, she generated new instructions, which members of the Ravelry community have actually attempted to knit.

While Shane admits that she cannot understand the output of the neural network, but the devoted users of Ravelry have the necessary knowledge to put the instructions to the test.

The human-machine collaboration created configurations of yarn that you probably wouldn’t give to your in-laws for Christmas, but they were interesting. The user citikas was the first to post a try at one of the earliest patterns, “reverss shawl.” It was strange, but it did have some charisma.

Reverss Shawl, by Ravelry user citikas

Why it’s hot

We already rely on neural networks to do various code-based tasks for us, but few instances of artificial intelligence have crossed the digital-physical barrier quite like this one. Knitting instructions are like code, and while the neural network doesn’t understand how each bit of code relates to a physical stitch, the human knitters were able to interpret the code and make decisions about how to handle inconsistencies.

One user, bevbh, described some of the errors as like “code that won’t compile.” For example, bevbh gave this scenario: “If you are knitting along and have 30 stitches in the row and the next row only gives you instructions for 25 stitches, you have to improvise what to do with your remaining five stitches.”

The creations of SkyKnit are fully cyborg artifacts, mixing human whimsy and intelligence with machine processing and ignorance. And the misapprehensions are, to a large extent, the point.

OK and here are the rest of the projects, which are hilarious.

The SkyKnit design “fishcock” as interpreted by the Ravelry user BellaG

An attempt to knit the pattern “tiny baby whale Soto” by the user GloriaHanlon

Read more at The Atlantic

stay perfectly hydrated with gatorade gx…

Gatorade introduced a prototype product it’s calling “Gatorade Gx”. It’s a combination of a patch you wear while working out, training, or whatever you call your physical/athletic activity, and a connected water bottle. It basically monitors how you’re sweating as you train, “capturing fluid, electrolyte, and sodium loss”.  Based on this, it lets you know when you should drink more, and if what you should drink is something specific based on your unique needs. That something specific being a “Pod” that has certain formula of electrolytes or nutrients you are losing as you sweat (your “electrolyte and carbohydrate needs”).

Why it’s hot:

As we see more uses of technologies like AI, biometrics, and connected sensors, products and services are becoming ultra personal. This is a personal hydration coach, filling a knowledge gap that otherwise only cues from your body might indicate you need. We should be keeping an eye on how brands are taking the old idea of “personalization” to its truest form, creating new ways to give them more than just a basic product or service.


Robots find new way to suck the fun out of living

A couple of dudes named Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo “have smashed the previous record for solving the Rubik’s cube robotically. Their machine solved the puzzle in 0.38 seconds—a 40-percent improvement over the previous record of 0.637.”

Story on Gizmodo

Below is the old record from 2016. Slackers.

Why It’s Hot

This has obvious implications for the future of work. Imagine how many iPhones this thing will be able to crank out in the future.

Microsoft launches app that helps the visually impaired navigate cities

Microsoft launched Soundscape, a new app that aims to help people who are visually impaired navigate better by giving them 3D cues.

They don’t want to replace guide dogs or canes but enrich people’s perception of their surroundings. A guide dog can’t tell you that there’s a Nike Store just around the corner. Using GPS and the built-in compass on the phone, the app can give people audio cues.

“Obstacle avoidance is not the problem, we have a dog, a cane and our blindness skills for that,” said Erin Lauridsen, Access Technology Director, LightHouse for the Blind.“The gap is knowing where things are and being able to decide what’s of interest.”

The app offers three possible actions: ‘locate’ tells you where you are, ‘around me’ calls out four points of interest around you and ‘ahead of me’ provides the names of five landmarks in front of you.

Why it’s hot:
It might not be a groundbreaking innovation and in terms of technology, it might not be the most advanced thing. But there’s nothing better than seeing technology been used to improve the quality of life of people.

Source: TechCrunch

Vero, the Newest Social Media App To Come and Go

Ok. So it hasn’t “gone” yet, but let’s see if it goes the way of Meerkat, Ello and Peach, but for now we at Hot Sauce can say, “oh yeah, I know about that”.

The appeal of the new app is its sleek design and it’s chronological feed. It’s still too early to tell what the path might be for Vero, but it might be interesting for our food service clients, as their new Places feature is a highlight.

Vero has been having trouble keeping up with customer demand:

and by the time I write this post… the backlash has already begun…

That went from 0 to 60 real fast.

Oh and once your in, can you even get out?

Why it’s hot?

This might be just a flash in the pan, but it’s always good to be “in the know”.

Stick a straw in it

Strawbees, created by a Swedish start-up, is spreading STEAM one straw at a time. Pushing aside the standardization of the classroom, Strawbees emphasizes play and curiousity, encourages learning by making, and promotes experimenting and asking questions. They believe that learning is best when we have fun together!

Why it’s hot:
Their digital programming is an open-ended system that’s built on C language making it easy for beginners to learn but also allows advanced users to have fun as well. By using straws and strawbees (connectors). Their system is fully web-based instead of on an app making it work almost everywhere!


Voice AORs are here

“We want to get organized around having voice as a core part of our marketing efforts and marketing campaigns,” says JPMorgan ChaseChief Marketing Officer Kristin Lemkau. “Voice is not only coming; it’s here, and in a multitasking world, it’s really significant,” she adds.

JPMorgan Chase has brought on VaynerMedia as their Voice agency of record. They’ve seen how other brands have invested heavily into Facebook and Snap, but they see Voice as a whitespace where they can be one of the first brands to really be ahead of the curve.

So what will the work look like (or sound like)?

An example could be someone asking JPMorgan a quick question via Alexa, like “What’s my balance?” A skill could be someone asking: “If I keep saving the way I am now, how long would it take for me to buy this house?” or “What can I spend on vacation next week?”

When it comes to the more personalized questions, like checking an account balance, JPMorgan’s internal team will work to figure out all of the data security and cyber protection issues, with counsel from VaynerMedia, says Lemkau. The company is looking at all voice platforms right now – not just Alexa – and is looking to release its first voice activations later this year.

Why it’s hot: This legitimizes Voice as a real channel that brands (outside of the parent companies like Amazon for Alexa) can leverage to connect with their customers. I expect this to be the first of many brands putting a much larger focus on Voice.

Read more:

google AI predicts heart attacks by scanning your eye…

This week, the geniuses at Google and its “health-tech subsidiary” Verily announced AI that can predict your risk of a major cardiac event with roughly the same accuracy as the currently-accepted method using just a scan of your eye.

They have created an algorithm that analyzes the back of your eye for important predictors of cardiovascular health “including age, blood pressure, and whether or not [you] smoke” to assess your risk.

As explained via The Verge:

“To train the algorithm, Google and Verily’s scientists used machine learning to analyze a medical dataset of nearly 300,000 patients. This information included eye scans as well as general medical data. As with all deep learning analysis, neural networks were then used to mine this information for patterns, learning to associate telltale signs in the eye scans with the metrics needed to predict cardiovascular risk (e.g., age and blood pressure).

When presented with retinal images of two patients, one of whom suffered a cardiovascular event in the following five years, and one of whom did not, Google’s algorithm was able to tell which was which 70 percent of the time. This is only slightly worse than the commonly used SCORE method of predicting cardiovascular risk, which requires a blood test and makes correct predictions in the same test 72 percent of the time.

Why It’s Hot:

This type of application of AI can help doctors quickly know what to look into, and shows how AI could help them spend less time diagnosing, and more time treating. It’s a long way from being completely flawless right now, but in the future, we might see an AI-powered robot instead of a nurse before we see the doctor.


Augmented news

The New York Times app started to incorporate AR into its digital content that makes flat images three-dimensional.

In an article reporting on the Winter Olympics, NYT uses the technology to allow readers to engage with the content, the athletes. Readers can look closer on some parts of the content, look at it from a different angle and walk around it. This functionality extends the time a reader spends on the article by letting them engage with the content.

Why it’s hot: using technology to add value to content and improve customer experience.

Scientists develop a 3D-printed smartphone microscope

Australian researchers at the Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, a transdisciplinary government network, have created a 3D-printed device that clips onto smartphones, transforming them into fully functional microscopes. The device was developed with the goal of helping researchers and scientists have access to this crucial tool in remote regions and developing countries.

The microscope works by clipping an additional lens to the phone’s camera lens, and then holding slides up to it. Users can use the phone’s existing flash to do bright field or dark field imaging, which means the microscope can visualize both plant and mammalian cells. It’s powerful enough to view specimens as small as 1/200th of a millimeter. All of this means that the microscope can be used for things like analyzing water cleanliness, testing blood samples for parasites, and diagnosing diseases including malaria.

There are other portable microscopes on the market, but they require external LEDs and power sources, and get bulky surprisingly fast. This microscope makes full use of the smartphone as a power and light source, requiring nothing other than the clip itself.

Best of all? The researchers have made the 3D printing files free to the public. Good job, team.

Why It’s Hot: The 3D printer is again an innovation powerhouse, creating lifesaving technology with an incredibly low barrier to entry. And in making the printing files free to the public, these researchers are making a fantastic statement on putting the common good above individual profit. Would this have happened if a corporation, not a government program, made this innovation?

Learn More: Engadget | Newsweek

Robots make presence known at Winter Olympics

Robots have made their presence known at this year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Luckily, none of them have killed anyone…yet.

We knew that South Korea was going to feature tech very prominently…and that robotic fish tank did not disappoint.

Story on The Verge

Story on Futurism

Why It’s Hot

It’s interesting to see the robotic presence against an event that defines the human spirit at times.


YouTube’s Algorithm Helps Spread Lies

Time to re-litigate our favorite Hot Sauce topic! Are social media platforms media platforms or not? Do they have a journalistic responsibility to the public?

Last week YouTube’s quickly algorithm spread a rumor that Parkland HS shooting survivor David Hogg was an actor hired by democrats. It had 200K views shortly after it’s posting, but has since been taken down.

Mashable, the source for this post had a very apt understanding of the problem at hand:

YouTube’s job, as it sees it, is to get as many eyeballs on as many videos as possible. It’s as if a media tycoon founded a newspaper, invited every conspiracy theorist to contribute, and blithely waved away the notion that there should be any ethical responsibility to put forth the verifiable truth — because selling ads was all that mattered.

In a recent Guardian study this recent Guardian study out of 643 of partisan videos  recommended to people watching politics content in 2016, 551 were conspiracy-based content that favored Trump while 92 favored Clinton. This study also notes that “More than 80% of the YouTube-recommended videos about the pope detected by his program described the Catholic leader as “evil”, “satanic”, or “the anti-Christ”.”

The Guardian tells the story of french programmer Guillaume Chaslot founder of who was looking to make changes internally at YouTube in 2013 before he was fired (reportedly for performance reasons, but I’ll leave that up to you.) He believes that the YouTube Algorithm was biased towards Trump because it is biased towards divisiveness and conspiracy (things that shock and awe audiences can get more clicks). You can read his full blog post on the subject here.

Why Its Hot?

Let’s continue the conversation about how AI and algorithms shape the way we live, is there a way we can make them more human instead of human pandering.

Sound Me In

Ticketmaster has partnered with audio startup Lisnr to develop an app that checks in event goers using sound technology.The app uses unique signals sent and received by mobile devices to identify who is entering the venue. When a person is in close proximity, they can simply open the app to check in.

Microphones installed at the event listen for audio signals emitted from devices at frequencies usually inaudible to people and checks them against the venue’s database. Once a person is identified and verified, their app lights up in green, signaling that they have been checked in successfully. This means that attendees can walk through without having to queue to get a ticket scanned or checked.


At some places, people can also use their Presence app to check in by simply tapping their phones on specially installed sensors and scanners. The digital passes can be used to view, transfer and sell tickets within the app, as well as through text messages and email.

Ticketmaster and Lisnr have hinted that, in addition to reducing ticket fraud and queues, the partnership can enable brands and event venues to personalize the experience for users.

Why It’s Hot:

  • It was a very obvious, yet innovative way to bring the ticket into the 21st century
  • Not only does this digital dog whistle allows you to waltz right in hassle free, it also recognizes you as an individual fan, allowing brands to serve you customized content, offers, and experiences.
  • Requires no additional hardware, no need for wifi, mobile service or Bluetooth connectivity allowing brands to scale this solution quickly and easily.

Source: Contagious



What your smart devices are telling companies about you

A Gizmodo reporter set up a smart house using countless gadgets to connect as many appliances to the internet as possible. Her mission was to find out what it was like living in a house where everything was only a voice command away.

At the same time, her colleague set up access to her home’s router, receiving all of the information each device was sending to her internet service provider.

What they discovered is two-fold. The first is that a shocking amount of information is sent, unencrypted, from smart devices. This includes shows watched on Hulu, the images of suggested Netflix content, whether your motion-activated camera has been triggered recently, and whether your smart lightbulbs have come on or been adjusted.

The second is that setting up this type of house on one’s own is a burdensome task. The author buys two separate coffee makers before realizing that a third would have been better suited to her setup. Countless notifications from robot vacuums, coffee makers, security cameras, and more made her anxiety skyrocket, and that was before she even realized how much that data was being shared.

Why it’s hot

It’s exciting to imagine a world where everything in your home works in perfect harmony and effortlessly takes care of your domestic needs, but the reality is that most people only have a couple of smart devices in their homes and don’t take full advantage of the suite of possibilities. When we design smart interactions, we should be mindful of the mental and emotional toll that things like notifications, alerts, alarms, and pings will have on users.

I thought the house would take care of me but instead everything in it now had the power to ask me to do things. Ultimately, I’m not going to warn you against making everything in your home smart because of the privacy risks, although there are quite a few. I’m going to warn you against a smart home because living in it is annoying as hell.

AR coming to eBay…

Details are a bit scant, but eBay announced this week it will soon be integrating AR functionality into its app.

Per Fortune, “The San Jose, California-based marketplace said it’s working on an AR kit that, for example, will let car enthusiasts see how the images of new wheels would look on their vehicles before making a purchase. Another feature will help sellers select the correct box size for an item by overlaying an image of the box on the merchandise.”

Why It’s Hot:

While not the newest kid on the block (eg, Ikea has used AR for years), eBay is a massive marketplace where millions of people globally buy and sell things. With physical retail integrating technology to fight back against the convenience of e-commerce, this is an example of e-commerce trying to bring elements of physical retail to the digital world. One of the big disadvantages of e-commerce is usually you’ll only see a bunch of images of a product, which in eBay’s case may or may not be of the actual product you’re buying. The ability to see what something looks like in a virtual 3 dimensions is a major new advantage.

Also to note this week – eBay hired former Twitter data scientist Jan Pedersen to lead its AI efforts.


Twitter’s Transparency Not so Transparent

Image result for twitter ira blog

Mashable reports “Twitter is finally following Facebook’s lead and coming clean about how Russian trolls abused their platform in spreading misinformation ahead of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But even in transparency, Twitter is still clouding the issue by literally deleting the evidence.”

We can give Twitter credit for a certain amount of forthrightness. They recently published a blog post recounting their platforms involvement in Russia’s tampering with the 2016 elections.

“We have now sent notices to Twitter users with an active email address who our records indicate are based in the US and fall into at least one of the following categories:

People who directly engaged during the election period with the 3,814 IRA-linked accounts we identified, either by Retweeting, quoting, replying to, mentioning, or liking those accounts or content created by those accounts;People who were actively following one of the identified IRA-linked accounts at the time those accounts were suspended”

While Facebook is putting together an action plan to properly label “fake news” and use user feedback to properly identify propaganda, Twitter has taken the same measures that they would any unwanted account… suspension and deletion.

Why it’s hot?
By destroying the evidence instead of properly marking it, as Facebook has done, Twitter removes both the cultural context and the cultural learning from the conversation.

I know we’ve spent time talking about bot accounts before but I’m still constantly fascinated that what humans do with AI can have an outsized role in global behavior.

FDA Approves Blood Test That Can Detect Concussions

The FDA has approved the first-ever blood test that can detect signs of concussions, a huge step forward in the quest to make concussion diagnosis faster and more accurate.

The two main ways of detecting concussions now are giving patients a neurological test or, frequently, a CT scan. The neurological tests are not always accurate because the medical professional giving the test often isn’t familiar with the patient’s baseline performance. And CT scans, while a powerful diagnostic tool, expose people to high doses of radiation – about the equivalent of 100-200 chest X-rays – and are very expensive.

So it’s not that we don’t have ways of diagnosing concussions, it’s that our current method is akin to using a sledgehammer to pound a small nail. What’s missing is a way to figure out who should be given a CT scan for further diagnosis, and who doesn’t need it. This is where the blood test comes in.

The blood test works by measuring two proteins the brain releases into the blood after a head injury. The levels of these proteins will indicate whether the patient has lesions on their brain that will be visible in a CT scan or not. And it’s very accurate – it can predict the presence of a lesion 97.5% of the time, and determine who doesn’t have a lesion 99.6% of the time.

Though sports – football in particular – immediately come to mind (no pun intended) on the topic of concussions, the urgency of this drug development was actually a result of military necessity. As traumatic brain injuries have mounted during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the armed forces have been desperately seeking a way to quickly predict whether a blow to the head has caused bleeding or bruising in the brain (and, therefore, what the best plan of treatment is). The development of this blood test, as well as the clinical trials preceding FDA approval, were largely underwritten by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Test results can currently be obtained in 3-4 hours, but the Defense Department is working with the drug company to reduce that window to one hour.

Why It’s Hot: The funding and pressure from the armed forces had a huge impact on the speed of this blood test’s development and FDA approval. It will certainly benefit the men and women serving in the military, but it also has a massive wider impact on the general public, as well as other people at high risk for brain injuries (athletes, etc). What other medtech breakthroughs can we look forward to from unexpected sources?

Learn More: Engadget | LA Times


Welcome to your dystopian future

Hiding behind a locked door won’t save you from rogue killer robots anymore thanks to Boston Dynamics’ new innovation. These new models can handle a doorknob pretty well as evidenced by the company’s new teaser video.

Story on TechCrunch

Why It’s Hot

It’s hot from the perspective of technological achievement. It’s not so hot if you ever need to hide from one of these.

The Future of Access

Latch, a competitor in the smart-lock space, revealed today that they will be the lock maker of choice for Airbnb’s newest housing experiment Niido. Latch is a patent lock system that would allow e-commerce orders to be delivered directly into a home – while offering access credentials to any service.

Latch is only sold to managers running apartments and condos, for the simple fact that those managers buy in bulk and also face more complex problems related to building access. Users can use a key pad, phone or key card to get in to a building. The app allows for residents and managers to send out access codes to whoever they like that expire however long they designate. The delivery of hardware and service is the appeal for Niido – building managers can centrally manage all the Airbnb guest and create an accurate activity log. Every tenant using the service is charged $5 – as the lock itself is only an aspect of Latch’s business model.

What is Niido?

Niido is a new residential design concept specifically for home sharing. Tenants will sign annual leases and will be permitted to home share individual rooms or their entire units through Airbnb for up to 180 nights per year. Tenants who choose to share their homes will be part of Airbnb’s Friendly Buildings Program, in which hosts and landlords share revenues generated from home sharing.

Why It’s Hot

In a sea of smart locks, Latch stood out by targeting real estate developers rather than the average consumer – helping property managers navigate the operational burden with ease. Latch is demonstrating their value as more than a hardware or software company, and instead positioning the brand as a service that offers security, seamless access and simple management to consumers and customers alike. We’re moving towards a future where your user profile replaces your key.



What would Steve Jobs do?

“Apple’s HomePod is a great-sounding but ideologically flawed speaker, and it turns out there’s another major problem with the smart speaker aside from its lack of support for Spotify. Apparently the silicone base of the HomePod can damage wooden furniture, with multiple outlets (including Wirecutter and Pocket Lint) reporting that leaving the speaker on top of wooden surfaces can cause a white ring to form.

Apple has confirmed the issue to Wirecutter, stating that “the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface,” with the company also recommending that users “try cleaning the surface with the manufacturer’s suggested oiling method” if the white rings don’t fade. Given that HomePods aren’t meant to be put on a soft surface (the tweeters fire down, so putting it on cloth messes with the reflectivity of the sound), it’s not the sort of problem you can solve by just putting down a cloth underneath it, either.”

Source: The Verge



Big brother is watching, literally

China is piloting a new surveillance system – using smart glasses to identify potential suspects. Police in Zhengzhou can snap pictures of people in public and match them with China’s state database of criminals. They will then be provided with that person’s name and address.

Why it’s hot: Giving new technology everyday, functional implications

Source: Tech Crunch

If You’re At A Secret Military Base, Turn Your Dumb Fitness App Off

Strava, the exercise tracking application, released an update to their global heatmap. The global heat map now contains:

  • 1 billion activities
  • 3 trillion latitude/longitude points
  • 13 trillion pixels rasterized
  • 10 terabytes of raw input data
  • A total distance of 27 billion km (17 billion miles)
  • A total recorded activity duration of 200 thousand years
  • 5% of all land on Earth covered by tiles

A smart 20 year old college student in Australia noticed this, and wondered what he could find, and lo and behold:

This kicked off a whole bunch of Twitter users looking through the data.

And this guy found Burning Man:

Of course, this is very, very bad. It’s very bad that you can identify secret installations, and understand common routes taken by staff.

However, it seems that it goes deeper than that.

The good thing is that the data does not allow people to view this information in real time, and only goes up to September 2017.

Now, of course, lawmakers are angry!

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday called on Strava, the maker of a popular fitness app, to explain why it published a global “heat map” online that inadvertently highlighted the locations of sensitive government facilities throughout the world by revealing the movements of millions of users.

Why it’s hot

  1. What are our responsibilities when it comes to creating products? Strava forced users to opt out, instead of opt in. Strava also didnt consider the implications of this technology on a fairly small subset of users.
  2. What does the increasing number of personal wearables and other pieces of technology mean for the military? How do you restrict access, while also keeping troops happy who may be on deployments away from their families?

Google Flights will now predict airline delays – before the airlines do

Google is rolling out a few new features to its Google Flights search engine to help travelers tackle some of the more frustrating aspects of air travel – delays and the complexities of the cheaper, Basic Economy fares. Google Flights will take advantage of its understanding of historical data and its machine learning algorithms to predict delays that haven’t yet been flagged by airlines themselves.

Explains Google, the combination of data and A.I. technologies means it can predict some delays in advance of any sort of official confirmation. Google says that it won’t actually flag these in the app until it’s at least 80 percent confident in the prediction, though.

It will also provide reasons for the delays, like weather or an aircraft arriving late.

You can track the status of your flight by searching for your flight number or the airline and flight route, notes Google. The delay information will then appear in the search results.

The other new feature added aims to help travelers make sense of what Basic Economy fares include and exclude with their ticket price.Google Flights will now display the restrictions associated with these fares – like restrictions on using overhead space or the ability to select a seat, as well as the fare’s additional baggage fees. It’s initially doing so for American, Delta and United flights worldwide.

Source: TechCrunch

Why It’s Hot

Great example of using AI and predictive methods to drive better customer experience, and combat an industry that is less-than-transparent usually. It makes Google’s search solutions more desired and solidifies it as THE place to search everything. Would like to see if the alerts could get actionable, though, as right now they are more anxiety-creators.


My obsession with ingestibles continues…

My last post on ingestible was about sensors powered by stomach acid. Now? It’s about a tiny robot that walks, crawls, jumps and swims.

The robot prototype is small enough to move around in a stomach or urinary system, said Metin Sitti, head of the physical intelligence department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, who led the research team.

The robot hasn’t been tested in humans yet, but the goal is to improve it for medical use — for instance, delivering drugs to a target within the body.

Source: New York Times

Why It’s Hot
First of all, totes adores! But the real magic is in the continued potential to make life healthier for us all.

VR Marriage Proposal…. How Far We’ve Come

The company Zero Latency helped a real life couple make their proposal dreams come true. They worked with Melbourne carpenter Alex Lackovic to proposed to his beloved, social worker Kelly Lynn Norman, by bringing her to her favorite tree in her grandmother’s front yard.

Why its hot?

There is an emotional component to being able to be at “any place” at “any time”. By adding smell and sound, can we use this technology to re-create other important memories, or help Alzheimers patients?

Die with me – really?

Die with me is the name of an app that opens a chatroom with random people when their batteries are running low ( 5% or bellow).

According to an article at The Verge ” It’s a place to bond, for a fleeting moment, with strangers sharing the same near-death phone experience, one with a built-in countdown timer on your conversations: what will you say in the moments before your screen goes black? “.

The creator said the idea came from a trip where they were lost in a strange city because they ran out of battery – they felt lost and fragile and started having philosophical conversations about that sentiment and how dependable we are on technology.

Why it’s hot:
Personally, I think the idea is silly – why would I spare my last 5 moments with random people, to discuss the awfulness of being disconnected? It’s just weird.
But then, I realized two things:
1. A lot of weird things become big things, especially because it’s weird – can it be fun?Maybe?
2. Superbowl is almost a week from now, maybe this is a teaser for a campaign?