Uber, Careem suspend services in UAE capital
Ride-hailing services Uber [UBER.UL] and Careem have suspended services in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, since Saturday and did not know when they could resume operations, they said on Sunday. “This is a temporary suspension and we will let you know of any further updates,” an Uber spokesman in Dubai said via email. Christian Eid, vice-president of marketing and communications for Careem, a Dubai-based company, said many of its drivers were being stopped by authorities in Abu Dhabi, apparently over licensing issues, and as a result had become nervous and were staying off the roads.
Facebook changes 'Trending' feature to rely less on human editors
By Yasmeen Abutaleb SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc changed its popular "Trending" feature, which shows users the most-talked about topics of the day, to make it more automated and further eliminate the potential for human bias, the company wrote in a blog post on Friday. The update is Facebook's latest attempt in recent months to stress its neutrality as its influence grows. Facebook said an internal probe found no evidence of bias.
Iran detects malware in petrochemical plants, says not linked to recent fires
Iran has detected and removed malicious software from two of its petrochemical complexes, a senior military official said on Saturday, after announcing last week it was investigating whether recent petrochemical fires were caused by cyber attacks. The official said the malware at the two plants was inactive and had not played a role in the fires. "In periodical inspection of petrochemical units, a type of industrial malware was detected and the necessary defensive measures were taken," Gholamreza Jalali, head of Iran's civilian defense, was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
Economists see ride-hailing industry as ripe for competition
By Heather Somerville SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Chinese powerhouse Didi Chuxing's acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc's China operations marked the biggest move yet toward consolidation in an industry that many investors and Silicon Valley pundits view as a winner-take-all game. On the day the Didi deal was announced earlier this month, Uber board member Bill Gurley said Uber's rivals in other markets had a slim chance of splitting the market with the dominant player, just as Uber struggled to erode Didi's share in China. After China, the industry will consolidate in other markets, said Hans Tung, an Asia-focused investor and managing partner at GGV Capital, which backed Didi and Grab, a Singapore-based ride service.
Belgians are hunting books, instead of Pokemon
By Maria Haase Coelho BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Inspired by the success of Pokemon Go, a Belgian primary school headmaster has developed an online game for people to search for books instead of cartoon monsters, attracting tens of thousands of players in weeks. While with Pokemon Go, players use a mobile device's GPS and camera to track virtual creatures around town, Aveline Gregoire's version is played through a Facebook group called "Chasseurs de livres" ("Book hunters"). Having played Pokemon Go with my kids, I had the idea of releasing the books into nature," Gregoire told Reuters.
Apple fixes security flaw after UAE dissident's iPhone targeted
Apple Inc issued a patch on Thursday to fix a dangerous security flaw in iPhones and iPads after researchers discovered that a prominent United Arab Emirates dissident's phone had been targeted with a previously unknown method of hacking. The thwarted attack on the human rights activist, Ahmed Mansoor, used a text message that invited him to click on a web link. Instead of clicking, he forwarded the message to researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab.
This stagnant technology is what’s holding Siri back
Over the past few years, Siri's functionality and reliability has improved by leaps and bounds. Not only is Siri's feature-set more expansive than ever, but it operates much more quickly and does a much better job at understanding and processing language. To this point, Medium last week published a fascinating and detailed profile on how Apple's advancements in the field of AI and machine learning have helped take Siri's performance to the next level. In fact, Siri Senior Director Alex Acero boasted that advancements in Siri's underlying technology has cut down the error rate "by a factor of two in all the languages" and "more than a factor of two in many cases." DON'T MISS: Apple’s iPhone 8 will feature the radical redesign we’ve been waiting for "That’s mostly due to deep learning and the way we have optimized it," Acero added, " not just the algorithm itself but in the context of the whole end-to-end product.” That's all well and good, but heavy Siri users can agree that the software still isn't anywhere close to perfect, especially when used in less than ideal conditions. Using Siri in a quiet room is one thing, but trying to use Siri to settle a bet in a crowded bar or even on a busy street can often be an exercise in frustration. Interestingly enough, one of the reasons why Siri and other virtual assistants still struggles with understanding queries in less than ideal acoustic environments is because the state of microphone technology has remained somewhat stagnant over the years. Highlighting this issue, Bloomberg reports : The mics in most consumer technology haven’t kept pace with the advances in, say, cameras. They still aren’t great at focusing on faraway voices or filtering out background noise, and they often require too much power to be listening at all times. ... Apple and its rivals have challenging, albeit straightforward, demands. They want a higher signal-to-noise ratio, meaning the mic can isolate voices more clearly and from farther away, and a higher acoustic overload point, the threshold at which the mic can no longer distinguish signal from noise. And the chips have to improve in both areas without getting bigger, becoming less reliable, or using more power than before. One solution, of course, is to simply grace your everyday smartphone with more mics. While this certainly helps, it also costs more money and can also have an unfavorable effect on battery life. That being the case, component manufacturers are busy at work coming up with new strategies designed to improve Siri's ability to understand language in noisy environments. While some companies are keen on using software algorithms to improve things, others are exploring completely novel microphone designs. Make sure to hit the source link below for the full rundown on what some companies are doing in order to make software assistants like Siri and Alexa all the more reliable.
Around the world in an iPhone
Landing late at night in Shenzhen for my first trip to China, I was nervous about being able to navigate the city. Starting the next day I would have the services of a local translator, but for that first night, I was on my own. The interface alerted me that I would be switching to the Chinese version, controlled now by Uber’s rival turned business partner Didi.