News Roundup: Mind-reading Computers. Apple’s Surprisingly Awesome Next Big Thing.


Here’s a roundup of some cool/smart news from the past couple of weeks:

Apple is betting on Augmented Reality (Pokemon Go)

I’ve been super skeptical of Augmented Reality (AR)… but Apple has released some amazing tools to developers which put it two years ahead of it’s competitors on this front and there’s some HUGE potential. The demos below were all whipped up shortly after Apple released the tools to developers (in some cases within hours or days) and show some potential to go FAR beyond Pokemon Go and are going to become second nature to us like this measuring app but the real winner is going to be MineCraft (I embedded a couple of YouTube videos below, but here are some animated GIF teasers to hold you over to the bottom of the page).

Computers are one step closer to reading our minds

the researchers recruited seven people to read 239 sentences inside an fMRI machine. As their brains were scanned, the machine-learning algorithm looked for patterns, examining how the volunteers’ brain activity corresponded to the content of those sentences. For the 240th sentence, the algorithm went in blind: it had to figure out the basic content of the sentence from the brain scan alone. It did just that, with 87 percent accuracy.

Read more on Curiosity

Google Is Getting Smarter and Using AI

For people that don’t know Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are one of the hottest topics in technology. Netflix estimates they save around a billion dollars in potentially lost subscribers by having great algorithms to keep you hooked. Some related news:

  • Google Analytics (which lets you see how your website is doing) is rolling out two new AI features. The first is on Mobile and shows you trends that it thinks you might want to be aware of. The second is natural language recognition which allows you to basically ask things like “is traffic up or down compared to last summer”. Wolfram Alpha has been doing this for years, but Google is getting into the game big time.
  • Meanwhile Apple is said to be struggling with AI.The reason? AI requires lots of data. The more data, the more the computer can learn and Apple is ALL ABOUT privacy. They have some geeky ways around this, but the tech braintrust feels like they’re at a big competitive disadvantage in this space as long as they continue to protect their customers privacy and that companies who make money selling your personal information (Google and Facebook and Amazon) are better positioned to capitalize in this space.

Older fathers are more likely to have geekier sons

Not sure if I’m “old” yet, but getting there… 🙂

In the study, the 12-year-old boys with older fathers (especially those in STEM) had higher IQs and performed better in school. According to lead researcher Dr. Magdalena Janecka, researchers only knew of “negative consequences of advanced paternal age.” That is, until now. The new findings show that “these children may also go on to have better educational and career prospects.”

Again, read more on Curiosity

Videos of Apple ARKit