A new artificial intelligence created by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pulls off a staggering feat: by analyzing only a short audio clip of a person’s voice, it reconstructs what they might look like in real life. The AI’s results aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty good – a remarkable and somewhat terrifying
You wouldn’t ordinarily want to seek out a computer with viruses installed, but that’s exactly what the winner of a US$1.345 million auction just did – picking up a laptop crammed with the deadliest malware of our time in return for their cash. The buyer remains anonymous but we know much more about the
A newly revealed patent application filed by Amazon is raising privacy concerns over an envisaged upgrade to the company’s smart speaker systems. This change would mean that, by default, the devices end up listening to and recording everything you say in their presence. Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant system that runs on the company’s Echo
An Australian teenager and self-proclaimed Apple fanboy – who can’t be identified for legal reasons – has been found guilty of hacking into Apple’s systems in 2015 and 2017. The 17-year-old teen from Adelaide in South Australia, along with another teenager, hacked into the tech giant’s mainframe for the first time when he was 13
Our deepfake problem is about to get worse: Samsung engineers have now developed realistic talking heads that can be generated from a single image, so AI can even put words in the mouth of the Mona Lisa. The new algorithms, developed by a team from the Samsung AI Center and the Skolkovo Institute of
Scientists have developed a new way of achieving artificial photosynthesis, producing high-energy hydrocarbons by leveraging electron-rich gold nanoparticles as a catalyst. In photosynthesis, plants convert energy from sunlight into glucose by rearranging molecules of water and carbon dioxide. The new process mimics this natural ability via chemical manipulations that create liquid fuel, without requiring chlorophyll.
The city of Baltimore is under attack, but not by someone armed with guns or bombs. Two weeks ago, cybercriminals used ransomware known as RobinHood to seize control of about 10,000 of the city’s computers, saying they won’t relinquish access unless Baltimore hands over about US$100,000 worth of bitcoin. Baltimore is refusing the meet
Sometimes, while waiting for quantum computers to become a thing, or complaining that your stupid laptop keeps dying on 5 percent battery, it’s easy to forget just how far technology has come over the past 50 years. Sure, we can all list off a whole bunch of innovations that have changed the way the
Most people are familiar with optical lasers through their experience with laser pointers. But what about a laser made from sound waves? What makes optical laser light different from a light bulb or the sun is that all the light waves emerging from it are moving in the same direction and are pretty much in
Millions of cryptocurrency investors have been scammed out of massive sums of real money. In 2018, losses from cryptocurrency-related crimes amounted to US$1.7 billion. The criminals use both old-fashioned and new-technology tactics to swindle their marks in schemes based on digital currencies exchanged through online databases called blockchains. From researching blockchain, cryptocurrency and cybercrime,
Scientists have reworked the DNA of Escherichia coli to help us understand apparent redundancies in its genetic code. At four million base pairs in size, they now have the results of the most ambitious attempt at a completely synthetic form of life. For all its immense variation, life on Earth all shares a common language in
Global messaging app WhatsApp, which boasts over 1 billion users, was targeted by hackers last month in a breach that saw mobile devices attacked through the voice-calling functionality of the app. The security flaw potentially gave hackers access to private messages, location data and other personal user information. While WhatsApp hasn’t specifically stated who or how
San Francisco on Tuesday became the first city in the United States to ban the use of facial-recognition software by city agencies and the police, dealing a swift symbolic blow to a key technology rapidly being deployed by law enforcement nationwide. The 8-to-1 vote by the city’s Board of Supervisors will forbid public agencies
A new ‘biological glue’ developed by Chinese researchers could one day stop hearts and arteries from uncontrollably bleeding. Placed on an open wound and activated through UV light, this life-saving sealant rapidly morphs into a non-toxic hydrogel, capable of withstanding both slippery surfaces and the pulsing of heart tissue. The adhesive sealant hasn’t been
Scientists have measured the accuracy of two-qubit operations for the first time in silicon, bringing the world a big step closer to reliable quantum computing. The great promise of quantum computers is that they will enable a vastly more powerful and faster way of making calculations than the computing power we’ve had until now.
Numbers figure pretty high up on the list of what a computer can do well. While humans often struggle to split a restaurant bill, a modern computer can make millions of calculations in a mere second. Humans, however, have an innate and intuitive number sense that helped us, among other things, to build computers
It’s been 33 years since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant tragically blew apart in a meltdown, spreading nuclear fallout across the land. A lot has changed, but the surroundings still contain some of the most radioactive patches of soil on the planet. Last month, researchers from the University of Bristol mapped that radioactivity in
In a perfect world, plastic would never be on a one-way trip into landfill – it’s a vision we’ve strived to realise for decades. Unfortunately, some plastics just don’t recycle as easily as others, limiting how well we can reuse them in new products. But a new kind of plastic might help change all that.