Monthly Archives: May 2017

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Bitcoin Has Come Roaring Back—But So Have the Risks Alex Doubovitsky/Getty Images The bitcoin boom is back. This week, the digital currency leapt to record heights, peaking at nearly $2,800 before tumbling back down to around $2,400—by far the most dramatic run in its history.While bitcoin didn’t maintain its record price for long, it’s been trading feverishly this year, breaking the $2,000 threshold just last week. Other “cryptocurrencies” like Ripple and Ether (the medium of exchange on the decentralized network Ethereum) have also soared.“People are piling in. I think it’s fear of missing out,” says Campbell Harvey, a professor of finance at Duke University. The big question is whether a crash is coming or whether cryptocurrencies have hit their stride. Should investors cash out now while the getting is good, or buy more now before the price climbs even higher? So far, when it comes to bitcoin, the only real […]

How Airbus Dreamed Up the Wild Design for Its Flying Car Airbus merged with totally-not-kidding plans to deliver vehicles worthy of George Jetson. And so, the idea of flying where you now drive finagled its way into the “umm, so this could really be real” column. So far, this wannabe industry has attracted mostly brash startups, with Uber cheering them on, ready to help deploy whatever tech they can make fly. But one member of the bandwagon offers the gravitas that comes with nearly 50 years of building real life airplanes. Airbus is in the flying car game, and it’s ready to embrace a new way to take off. “It seems like the future has gotten here faster than we all expected,” says Zach Lovering, the head of Vahana, Airbus’ personal, autonomous, electric, lust-worthy, flying machine. “There clearly is a convergence of technology that has happened to make this a […]

A Sensor That Could Soon Make Homes Scary-Smart Gierad If you want to set up a connected home, you’ve got two options. You can buy a bunch of smart gadgets that may or may not communicate with other smart gadgets. Or you can retrofit all of your appliances with sensor tags, creating a slapdash network. The first is expensive. The second is a hassle. Before long, though, you might have a third choice: One simple device that plugs into an electrical outlet and connects everything in the room. That’s the idea behind Synthetic Sensors, a Carnegie Mellon University project that promises to make creating a smart, context-aware home a snap. The tiny device, unveiled this week at the big ACM CHI computer interaction conference, can capture all of the the environmental data needed to transform a wide variety of ordinary household objects into smart devices. It’s a prototype for now, but as a […]

Even if Apple Breaks $1 Trillion, It Won’t Stay on Top Forever Apple Apple just became the first US company to surpass $800 billion in market capitalization. Speculation quickly followed that Apple would soon become the first $1 trillion company, with a rumored $1,000 iPhone 8 coming at year’s end. The company’s share price has been on a tear since the beginning of the year, and sales of the iPhone 7 have been strong in part because of safety issues surrounding rival Samsung devices. Apple retains an enviable brand image and a devoted consumer base. And yet, the shadow cast by past corporate behemoths is creeping up on Apple. As valuable as Apple is now and could still become, the company looks vulnerable to being eclipsed in the years ahead, if not threatened to its corporate core. Apple makes hardware. It manufacturers a product. Yes, that oversimplifies the vast network […]

Uber Hires an AI Superstar in the Quest to Rehab Its Future Uber Uber is hiring Raquel Urtasun, a prominent artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Toronto, as the ride-hailing company aims to build a lab for driverless car research in the Canadian city, a hotbed for AI talent.Urtasun—an associate professor at the university who specializes in the computer vision software that allows driverless cars to view the world around them—will oversee the new venture. “We hope to draw from the region’s impressive talent pool as we grow, helping the dozens of researchers we plan to hire stay connected to the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor,” Travis Kalanick, Uber’s embattled CEO, wrote in a blog post published this morning.The move resonates on multiple levels, given the ongoing legal attack against Uber’s existing computer vision technology by Waymo—the driverless car company that grew out of Google—and the widespread controversy over Uber’s allegedly misogynistic […]