Q, the First Gender-neutral Assistant

Siri, Cortana, Alexa; each is markedly female. And, despite settings that allow you to modify your voice-activated assistant, the voices have been decidedly binary.

Until now; Meet Q

Created by a group of linguists, technologists, and sound designers, Q hopes to “end gender bias” and encourage “more inclusivity in voice technology.” They recorded the voices of two dozen people who identify as male, female, transgender, or non-binary in search for a voice that typically “does not fit within male or female binaries.” To find this voice, the Q team conducted a test involving over 4,600 people, who were asked to rate the voice on a scale of 1 (male) to 5 (female).

For more on the research and technology behind Q, visit TheNextWeb

Cheers!

quincy

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Tesla: ‘Nice Try’ easter egg

March 14 will see the big reveal of the Tesla Model Y. The teaser invite they sent out doesn’t reveal much. Those who apply their photoshop skills, to glean a sneak peek, will only get an early ‘easter egg’ for their troubles.

Tesla_NiceTry.gif

And if that wasn’t cheeky enough, they also hid a nod to a popular videogame on their site:

  1. Go to the https://www.tesla.com/modely.
  2. Click Notify Me. A registration form for the Livestream will appear.
  3. Press F12 (Developer Tools) and click Console.
  4. In the todo: reveal video area, click the link.

Fans of the Skyrim will recognize the scene.

With special thanks to Lady Di 

Cheers!

quincy

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Self-Driving Motorcycles

SelfDrivingBMW.gif

Are driverless motorcycles on the BMW project board?
Maybe, but for now, the motorcycle manufacturer is using its autonomous motorcycle tests to develop technologies to improve the safety for conventional riders.

“We want to teach the motorcycle how to ride a bike,” said Stefan Hans, the engineer who leads the self-driving motorcycle project for BMW Motorrad.

Cheers!

quincy

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Self-driving Racecars

 

 

Last week, Roborace ran their self-driving racecar during England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. This marks the robo-car’s second public performance, having appeared previously in Paris, where it completed an unassisted lap.

The car boasts a look that is reminiscent of the Batmobile, and a Tron Lightcycle, (with a little bit Roomba, added in). It’s lack of driver cockpit gives the car an exceptionally low profile, that suggest an ability for sharp, high-speed turns. This, however, has yet to been seen; the Roborace’s top speed at Goodwind was only 125 kph (or ~78 mph).

Equally anticipated is date when the vehicles truly race. When asked how soon until two driverless vehicles share the same racetrack, Roborace’s chief strategy officer, Bryn Balcombe, replied, “I think.. we are not far away.”

Cheers!

quincy

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NTSB finds Operator at fault in Self-driving car fatality

excerpted from: engadget

The Tempe Police Department released a 318-page report on the self-driving accident in which an Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian.

The report shows that [the operator] was streaming The Voice the evening of the crash.  “The inward-facing video shows the vehicle operator glancing down toward the center of the vehicle several times before the crash.

Uber’s self-driving tests mandate that a driver must pay attention to the road at all times and drivers are prohibited from using mobile devices when the vehicles are on public roads.

For more see:

Hi-Tech Car Theft Prevention

This home cam in video, shared with the Police, shows how clever car theft has become. One crook waves a repeater around the front door, where he presumes the keys are hung safely within. The repeater sends the keyless entry signal to the a paired device, held near the car door. The car interprets the signal as the arriving owner and unlocks the car.

One solution: An RFID blocking sleeve.

Better still, keep your keys by the nightstand:  the panic/alarm button can serve as a  deterrent to break-in / home invasion.

 

Cheers (and be safe)

quincy

 

Shhh…Alexa is listening (and she can’t keep a secret)!

Amazon Echo

We’ve heard about her creepy laugh, but this may be the first reported instance of her tattling on her masters family. In what Amazon calls an “unlikely but possible” string of events one Echo device recorded a family’s private conversation and sent recording to contact.

Apparently, the device interpreted a word in the background conversation as ‘Alexa,’ prompting her to wakeup and take notice. She then it interpreted the ensuing words in the conversation as a send message.

Alexa’s query, ‘To whom? ‘ went unheard among the conversants, and she (Alexa) interpreted a word among in the conversation as the name of a saved family contact. Asking for confirmation (‘ ________, right?’) she interpreted, among the following words, a confirming, ‘right.’

Then did what she believes was told to do.

Amazon’s statement : “As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.

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