Bytes: What’s new in tech

The Week Middle East - - News -

Buy­ing with a nod

Alibaba hopes to bring shop­ping to vir­tual re­al­ity, said Si­jia Jiang on Reuters. com. The Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant demon­strated new tech­nol­ogy last week that will al­low fu­ture shop­pers who are brows­ing in vir­tual-re­al­ity malls to pay for real-world prod­ucts “just by nod­ding their heads.” The ser­vice, dubbed VR Pay, means peo­ple us­ing VR gog­gles will be able to make pur­chases with­out hav­ing to re­move their head­sets. The shop­per’s iden­tity and pay­ment in­for­ma­tion would be ver­i­fied by log­ging into their ac­count in ad­vance or pos­si­bly via voicere­cog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy. “It is very bor­ing to have to take off your gog­gles for pay­ment,” said Lin Feng, whose lab within Alibaba’s fi­nan­cial di­vi­sion de­vel­oped VR Pay. “With this, you will never need to take out your phone.”

Bet­ter dat­ing through AI

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is poised to rev­o­lu­tionise on­line hookups, said Olivia Solon on Wired.com. Dat­ing app Tin­der last week in­tro­duced a new fea­ture called Smart Pho­tos, which em­ploys ma­chine-learn­ing tech­nol­ogy to help users select the pro­file pic­ture most likely to draw in­ter­est from po­ten­tial mates. The tool is part of an ever-grow­ing move­ment to­ward “sys­tems that can learn tasks by analysing vast amounts of data.” Sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy recog­nises faces and pho­tos in Face­book, for ex­am­ple. In pre­lim­i­nary test­ing, Tin­der says Smart Pho­tos led to a 12% uptick in matches. The com­pany also says it’s us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to recog­nise pat­terns in user be­hav­iour to present bet­ter matches. That way, Tin­der can re­duce the chance a photo of you hug­ging your Labrador turns up in the feed “of some­one with dog al­ler­gies.”

Mercedes’s moral dilemma

Mercedes has come up with an an­swer to a thorny eth­i­cal ques­tion in­volv­ing driver­less cars, said Char­lie Sor­rel on FastCom­pany.com. When a self-driv­ing Mercedes crashes, the ve­hi­cle will be pro­grammed to save the driver, and not the per­son who gets hit, ac­cord­ing to Christoph von Hugo, the lux­ury au­tomaker’s man­ager of driver­less car safety. “If you know you can save at least one per­son, at least save that one. Save the one in the car,” von Hugo told Car and Driver re­cently. From an en­gi­neer­ing per­spec­tive, it’s eas­ier to guar­an­tee the safety of who­ever is in­side the car, von Hugo ex­plains, but ul­ti­mately such eth­i­cal ques­tions will be out­weighed by the fact that au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles will be much safer over­all.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.