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Artificial Embryos – Gateway To Human Cloning!

Saturday, March 24th, 2018

As the world gears and braces for the inevitable impacts of Artificial Intelligence, Robots, and full automation, many are left with questions. Some people are worried about jobs as they diminish, and automation increases, there are concerns over where the job market will be headed. It’s amazing to grasp that just a few years ago, the computer, the internet, and the whole concept of technology took a foothold in society. Right now, because of the uprising, many jobs have literally disappeared and other once never thought of jobs now exist. The truth is that life and society change every day. The key that all of us need to understand is that for us to not get left behind, then we must learn, adapt, and change. We are either the ones changing the world, or the world will change us. Many fear that the combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence will spawn a new race of robots which will have their own version of right or wrong. However, the one discovery which has managed to go below the radars is very significant, even more so than AI, is the creation of “Artificial Embryos”.

In case you took a breather and did a recheck of what was said in the last paragraph, you are correct in what you read. An embryo is what cells combine to form and what houses the beginnings of life. We all as mammals start out as embryos after fertilization takes place. The embryo develops the cells which in turn have their own DNA sequence that multiply and divide, then manifest into different parts of the body which determine sex, hair color, arm length, bone structure, and all the characteristics of an offspring.  All of this comes from an embryo.  There are constant studies and new developments as scientists do research on this mysterious, yet crucial part of life.  Yue Shao, whom has a background in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering made an astounding discovery during this research and experimentation that has profound possibilities in the world of biology.

Yue Shao has been experimenting with stem cells and scaffolds of soft gel to determine replication of neural tissue. By pure accident and experimentation, Dr. Shao stumbled upon more than was bargained for.  The cells in the gel began to change and rapidly arrange at rate that was astounding. They began to form a lopsided circle.  In comparison, the embryo that Dr. Shao created was very much aligned with the same type of embryo which was in the uterine wall and starting to form the amniotic sac. The human embryo and the embryo that Dr. Shao was working on was identical.  The possibilities of this developing into a human required the Dr. to reach out to other groups to determine what to do with the embryo.

After more research and development, the team determined that the embryo would not fully develop into a human being because it did not have the cells required to form major organs such as a brain, heart, or placenta.  However, even though the “embryoids” lacked the required cells, because of their indistinguishable likeness to that of human embryos, the team has been destroying the embryos in formaldehyde and detergent. The ethical repercussions of the embryo going full term and what would come out of that development is too much of a risk to bring to light currently.  This does not stop Pandora’s box which has already been opened to push other researchers to now want to create a full human embryo. One particular group in Cambridge, U.K., has since developed a very convincing 6 day old mouse embryo and are now pushing the limits to create a human embryo.

Many may ask and wonder if the goal is to replicate human beings or to develop another race. For now researchers are limiting the research to focus on combining different stem cells to create bits of lung, intestine, and brain cells to make tissue.  By the discovery of Dr. Shao, the race is now in place and the torch has been lit for the group to first develop an actual human embryo.  A research group in Rockefeller University out of New York has joined the race and they are dubbing the new technology to be called “synthetic embryology”. 

 

This breakthrough is biologist have been searching for as previous attempts at creating an embryo resulted in embryos only growing up to a week before diminishing.  The new discovery was growing at such a rapid rate that superseded previous attempts that the team with Dr. Shao had to terminate the process because they had no concept of what the embryo would have developed into.   Up until now much of the events that take place during the development of a human from the embryo stage is still a mystery.  Human cloning and creating replicas of a person are all on the table with this epic discovery. Now the possibilities of unlocking the process beyond the failed attempts are currently on the table due to Dr. Shao.

To take this to another level, the possibilities of creating real skin, human organs and human traits would take an android to another level of advancements towards being more like human beings. With the advancements of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and now stem research, the possibilities are now endless. Where we will go with these advancements as we open doors, we will have to see the direction that we allow the technology to lead us.  Infusing technology and biology is a conception which has been brought to light many years ago from the introduction of the computer.  With the influx of data being readily available and the communication expansions that have connected us all allows for these developments to surge and expand. The more questions that we ask is the more technology responds with answers and advancements. IT GURUS OF ATLANTA prides ourselves as leaders in the technology space and will keep providing updates in this arena.

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Real Life Hero Rescue Robot – Walk-MAN

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

The future is here and the time is now. The future has been unfolding with each scientific discovery and every technological breakthrough. Between phones that seem to have no limitation, to flying cars, this year seems to be geared to changing the way we live including the way how interact. Humanoid robots such as Sophia are changing the landscape for what Artificial Intelligence robots are capable of. Sophia obtained her citizenship in Saudi Arabia and is now a part of the United Nations speaking on behalf of society standing up for human rights in different countries. For this reason, it is no surprise that the humanoid world is at the front of everyone’s mind to try and figure out what we will create next. Well IT GURUS OF ATLANTA has what’s next, and its call the WALK-MAN.

Yes, WALK-MAN is the popular name of the music player that rocked the world in the 80’s and 90’s that everyone could carry their music with them and not have to worry about a large boom box or radio. But that is not the WALK-MAN we are talking about. This WALK-MAN was invented by The Italian Institute of Technology or commonly called IIT. IIT has released several videos that highlights WALK-MAN’s capabilities during an emergency or a disaster. These critical features add value and time to when rescuers cant enter a building or when there is too much risk involved for a rescuer to get injured.  In one of the videos, it shows WALK-MAN navigating an industrial plant after an earthquake. The room that WALK-MAN navigates through serves as an example if the room had fire and a gas leak.

During the video WALK-MAN is tasked with performing very specific tasks such as opening the door to enter the room, closes an open valve for the gas leak, moving debris, and then finally using a fire extinguisher to put out flames. A lot to do, well not if you are WALK-MAN who went through the exercise with ease and precision. In time WALK-MAN is slated to be one of the most revolutionary robots which will be able to assist humans during their most dire time of need, which is an emergency.

This is not the first time that IIT has tried to unveil WALK-MAN, but their second time. Their first premier of WALK-MAN happened in 2015. Between 2015 and now being 2018, there has been some notable differences that “upgrades” WALK-MAN in terms of he moves, what it conceives as a threat, and its overall capabilities.  The new version of WALK-MAN is much lighter and not as bulky as its original version in 2015.  The body is 1.85 meters (6 foot) tall, weighs 102 kilos (226 pounds), and can carry up to 22 pounds in each arm.  The new sleeker design increases the robot’s ability and performance while cutting down on energy usage. WALK-MAN can operate up to 2hrs using a 1 kWh battery.

Being fully autonomous is not a capability of WALK-MAN yet. Currently controlling WALK-MAN is through human being wearing a suit with sensors to depict movement and actions. This accounts for 80% of the actions taken by WALK-MAN. Autonomy is on the table according to Tsagarakis, who is the project lead over WALK-MAN. He believes that it is essential to cut down on time that would normally be used by a human to decipher what to do. When WALK-MAN does become fully autonomous, then it will surely change the way we do rescues including save countless lives.

 

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Facebook features breaking news in a news section in Watch

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Facebook is going to create a new news section in its video streaming platform Facebook Watch to feature breaking news stories. The move, which Campbell Brown, the company’s year-old head of news partnerships, announced onstage at the Code Media conference in Huntington Beach, is part of a broader evolution of Facebook’s news strategy. Facebook launched the Watch platform in August as a way to compete more directly with other video distribution platforms online.

The company had created a video tab as early as 2016, but only hosted generic videos that were being shared by friends and family. With Watch, Facebook was trying to own and control original content that it distributes itself exclusively on its own channel.

Competitors like YouTube and Snap also have their own original content, but with Watch and the news focus it’s taking a big step forward.

The social media giant has struggled in recent years to manage the quality of news content that’s being shared on the platform and how news is being consumed by the massive Facebook audience. That said, Campbell continued to recite the Facebook line of self-effacement with the company’s involvement in the media landscape.

“People don’t come to Facebook for news, they come to Facebook for friends and family,” Brown said onstage. While that may be true, much of what friends and family are sharing — especially in this news cycle is news. Facebook is focusing on local news publishers rather than big national outlets to change the conversation and focus on utility of the platform. “I don’t think our focus on false news and integrity morphed into time well spent,” says Adam Mosseri, VP of news feed. “For those set of issues, stuff that violates community standards or false news, those things need to be confronted head on. You have to assume that you’re dealing with an adversary who’s sophisticated and their strategy will change over time, so the work never ends.”

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Citizenship to a Robot? Yes, Sophia is the World’s First Robot With Citizenship Rights!

Friday, February 9th, 2018

By now many reading this article are thinking in their heads, what is Sophia and how come I have never heard of her? Most importantly what and why would a robot attain citizenship. Well IT GURUS OF ATLANTA is here to tell the world that the citizenship is no joke. As of October 25th, 2017, Sophia which is a full-sized robot which has demonstrated social skills and knowledge unmatched by many others in the world.  Sophia of course by the name is a female robot and is also a full pledged citizen of Saudi Arabia which granted the citizenship to the robot.

Sophia is a perfect example of the work of Artificial Intelligence or best called AI. Sophia is capable of speaking concerning business across multiple platforms and industries. She has already met with a variety of decisionmakers across the world and assisted with many different key business decisions. The United Nations has already recognized Sophia by giving her an official role working with UNDP to safeguard human rights. How can a robot accomplish so much in such a little time, well its precisely said, Sophia is a robot and is currently the flagship for her maker, which is Hanson Robotics.

Sophia has managed to grab a reader base that subscribe to her videos and press coverages of over 10 billion readers in 2017. This is an astronomical figure as most celebrities themselves do not reach a pinnacle of that much of a fan-based audience.   The key feature of Sophia is her ability to display emotion and adapt to her environment by changing the tone, then matching what she is saying with the appropriate expression. The creator and owner of Sophia is Dr. David Hanson. Mr. Hanson worked previously as an “Imagineer” at Disney.   Because of his genius he was able to leave Disney and create his own company. Mr. Hanson’s motto is that to for robot to have the fundamental likeness of humanity, then the robot should possess creativity, empathy, and compassion. Those three traits are the design for a fully interactive experience with an AI such as Sophia.

 

The next phase in the Hanson Robotics project is to manufacture Sophia or “like-Sophia’s” for home use. Currently the production cost of the original Sophia is too much for the average person to afford, but the open platform allows for any developer to create their own Sophia built off of the current algorithms that Sophia is running on. Hanson Robotics which is based out of Hong Kong, built Sophia and modelled her features off of Audrey Hepburn, whom was a famous British actress.  Much of the features of crying. Laughing, and even expressing joy or anger is features that were displayed by Audrey Hepburn during her time.

Sophia has graduated since her original introduction to now being able to walk on her own with Hanson Robotics adding legs to her repute.  As AI technology develops so does the learning capabilities and functions with Sophia. She is adamant about protecting human rights and is a clear derivative of the future and where we as a society is heading. Now how much control and human-likeness will be give this humanoid generation is unclear, but definitely is a eye-brow raiser as the future begins to unfold. IT GURUS OF ATLANTA is dedicated to ensure that these technological breakthroughs are brought to the cusp of inquiring minds. It is our dedication and quality that recognizes these changes and adapt along with the change of times.

 

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Apple Watch can detect diabetes with an 85% accuracy

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

According to Cardiogram founder Brandon Ballinger’s latest clinical study, the Apple Watch can detect diabetes in those previously diagnosed with the disease with an 85 percent accuracy. The study is part of the larger DeepHeart study with Cardiogram and UCSF. This particular study used data from 14,000 Apple Watch users and was able to detect that 462 of them had diabetes by using the Watch’s heart rate sensor, the same type of sensor other fitness bands using Android Wear also integrate into their systems.

In 2015, the Framingham Heart Study showed that resting heart rate and heart rate variability significantly predicted incident diabetes and hypertension. This led to the impetus to use the Watch’s heart rate sensor to see if it could accurately detect a diabetic patient. Previously, Ballinger and his colleagues were able to use Apple’s Watch to detect an abnormal heart rhythm with up to a 97 percent accuracy, sleep apnea with a 90 percent accuracy and hypertension with an 82 percent accuracy when paired with Cardiogram’s AI-based algorithm. Most of these discoveries have been published in clinical journals or abstracts and Ballinger intends to publish the latest findings shortly after presenting at the AAAI 2018 conference this week.

Diabetes is a huge and growing problem in the U.S. More than 100 million U.S. adultsare now living with pre-diabetes or diabetes and more than 1 in 4 of them go undiagnosed, according to the CDC. Part of the problem is the pain that goes into checking blood glucose levels. A patient must prick themselves after every meal and correctly take the right amount of insulin to keep themselves in balance.

Early detection could also help in cutting down on diabetes-related diseases before they get out of hand. While there have been other attempts to build special-purpose glucose-sensing hardware, this is the first large-scale study showing that ordinary heart rate sensors—when paired with an artificial intelligence-based algorithm—can identify diabetes with no extra hardware. So what’s next? Ballinger and his colleague on the study Johnson Hsieh mentioned they could be looking at a number of diseases to detect through heart sensors, possibly even gestational diabetes. Hsieh also cautions that those tested were already known to have diabetes or pre-diabetes and that anyone who thinks they might have it should go to their doctor, not just rely on the Watch to tell them what’s going on.

But the results are promising. We’ll just have to wait and see what else the Apple Watch and other fitness monitors with a built-in heart rate sensor are able to tell us about ourselves next.

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Apple is working on a cheap iPhone

Monday, January 29th, 2018

Apple customers who like the iPhone X’s facial recognition and edge-to-edge screen but were turned off by the $999 price tag may have additional options at lower prices this fall. Apple is working on a lower-cost iPhone with some of the iPhone X’s best features for a launch later this year, according to Ming-Chi Kuo. The lower-cost iPhone will have the same facial recognition sensor as the iPhone X, as well as an edge-to-edge 6.1-inch LCD screen and no home button. Kuo predicted in a January 23 note it could cost between $700 and $800 — significantly less than the iPhone X, but higher than the current iPhone 8 models. However, KGI Securities says to expect some tradeoffs with the lower-cost iPhone, like the possible inclusion of a single-lens rear camera to save costs. KGI Securities believes it will have an LCD screen, which is an older technology than the OLED screen found in the iPhone X. And Kuo predicts it will have an aluminum casing, which is less premium than the stainless steel on the iPhone X. But the lower price may end up making the new iPhone the best-selling model, with over half of new lineup shipments, KGI Securities predicts.

The low-cost device isn’t the only new iPhone KGI Securities predicts Apple will launch. Apple could be preparing a new version of the iPhone X with better components in the same 5.8-inch sized-body. And there could be a so-called “Plus” version of the iPhone X launched this fall with a massive 6.5-inch OLED screen. Apple typically launches new iPhones in September. The KGI Securities research, which hasn’t been confirmed by Apple, suggests that the company may try to pull a trick that it last tried in 2013. In 2013, Apple tried to introduce a new-lower cost iPhone, called the iPhone 5C, instead of selling the previous year’s model at a discounted price. It was a sales disaster. Apple CEO Tim Cook even admitted that the device sold more poorly than the company expected. Demand for the colorful iPhone “turned out to be different than we thought,” Cook said in 2014.

It seems that Apple may try the iPhone 5C gambit again. KGI Securities predicts that Apple may discontinue the current iPhone X model, instead of selling it at a lower price after the new iPhones come out. The new lower-cost iPhone could help Apple gain market share in China, according to the research, which was also the goal for the iPhone 5C. “Lowering iPhone X’s price after the … new models launch would be a negative to product brand value given 3D sensing and OLED display are features of the new high-price model,” Kuo wrote in a January 22 note. Nikkei reported over the weekend that Apple was slashing iPhone production earlier this week. KGI Securities earlier this month revised its estimate for total iPhone X shipments over its lifetime to 62 million, down from 80 million, in a January 18 research note and said that shipments were “lower-than-expected.” If Apple were to discontinue the iPhone X this year, the lineup this Christmas could look a little bit like this: iPhone “X2 Plus” — Price unknown / iPhone “X2” — $999 and up / iPhone X — discontinued / LCD iPhone with Face ID — $700 to $800 / iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus — $599 or $699 / iPhone SE — $350

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Google lets you mute annoying ads that follow you on every site

Friday, January 26th, 2018

You know those ads that seem to follow you to every website? You went to one site one time to check out a thing and bam! that site’s ads now pop up on every site you visit. Well, now Google will let you mute them. At first, it may seem an odd move. Google makes money on its ads business, and giving advertisers free rein to stalk you on every site seems really good for companies hoping to remind you of that thing you checked out one time. But the search giant wrote that it wants to give you, the consumer, more transparency and control. It’s also good for business. Barraging you with reminder ads for the thing you are no longer interested in is not useful for you and is a waste for the business hoping to get you to come back.

Google uses the example of someone looking for snow boots, so we’ll go with that. You look up Snow Boots Co. for some research but decide to go with another type of snow boot not on that site, or just decide you’re no longer interested. That site might still be sending you ads, even though you’re not into them anymore. It’s very annoying to keep seeing everywhere the thing you don’t want. But now you can shut it all down by muting that advertiser. You could already mute ads and adjust ad settings these past few years, but now Google is offering a way for you to mute those pesky reminder ads in a new control in Ad Settings. It also will mute the ad across devices. So if you mute it on your smartphone, Google will mute that ad on your laptop.

It also plans to roll out the new controls on more platforms in the future, like YouTube, Search and Gmail. On top of all that, Google is expanding controls for another unwanted ads feature it implemented in 2012 that allows you to mute ads you don’t want to see anymore. “Millions of people use Mute this Ad on a daily basis, and in 2017, we received more than 5 billion pieces of feedback telling us that you mute ads that aren’t relevant,” Jon Krafcik wrote on the Google post explaining the updates. “We incorporated that feedback by removing 1 million ads from our ad network based on your comments.” Of course, these updates only affect ads rolled out within Google, so you may still see reminder ads from other places. It also can’t get rid of the annoying barrage of ads from your Facebook and Instagram feeds.

The good news is all you have to do to shut down those annoying reminder ads now is go to Google’s Ad Settings to see the ads currently targeting you and hit mute.

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Snapchat clone – Snow, raises $50M from SoftBank and Sequoia China

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

It’s been a while since we heard from Snow, the Snapchat clone app in Asia that Facebook once tried to buy, but today the company behind it has scooped up a $50 million investment from SoftBank and Sequoia China. Snow was started by Naver, the Korean firm behind popular messaging app Line, and it had proven popular in Japan, Korea, China and other markets in Asia thanks to a focus on localized filters, stickers and features. Not to mention Snapchat’s famous lack of effort in Asian markets. The Snow app has changed significantly since we last wrote about it, however. It’s no longer a Snap clone.

A major updated that dropped last week removed Snow’s user-to-user communication features and turned it into a dedicated selfie camera app. Without chat, the app doubles down on filters, stickers, augmented reality, and other selfie-related features to make photos and other media that can be exported to social networks or chat groups. Snow users can now, for example, record a video set to music from artists that include Charlie Puth. There’s the usual array of photo filters, alongside a GIF maker and Instagram-like Boomerang feature.

Snow plans to use this new investment to develop its augmented reality and facial recognition technologies. Its App Store listing shows it is working with Chinese unicorn SenseTime on facial recognition. It is also aiming to build partnerships and localize its service in China. Outside of Snow, Snow Corp also owns camera apps Foodie and B612, which it acquired from Line, so they may also be pushed in China as standalone apps, although the tech behind them is also shared with the core Snow app. A Snow representative told TechCrunch that the app now has over 200 million downloads on iOS and Android. The company doesn’t break out specific data for each market, but it said that China is its largest market. In January 2017, we reported that Snow had 40-50 million monthly active users but there’s no further update on the MAU front for now.

SoftBank and Sequoia have bought up 20 percent of the shares of Snow’s China business unit via this deal. Line is among Snow’s other backers, via two investments.

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YouTube tightens monetization and partnerships

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

For one thing, it’s setting a higher bar for the YouTube Partner Program, which is what allows publishers to make money through advertising. Previously, they needed 10,000 total views to join the program. Starting today, channels also need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in the past year. In an effort to regain advertisers’ trust, Google is announcing what it says are “tough but necessary” changes to YouTube monetization. For now, those are just requirements to join the program, but Google says it will also start applying them to current partners on February 20.

This might assure marketers that their ads are less likely to run on random, fly-by-night channels, but as Google’s Paul Muret writes, “Of course, size alone is not enough to determine whether a channel is suitable for advertising.” Muret also described changes planned for the more exclusive Google Preferred program, which is supposed to be limited to the best and most popular content. Vlogger Logan Paul was part of Google Preferred until the controversy over his “suicide forest” video got him kicked out last week, a story that suggests some of the limitations to Google’s approach.

Moving forward, Muret said the program will offer “not only … the most popular content on YouTube, but also the most vetted.” That means everything in Google Preferred should be manually curated, with ads only running “on videos that have been verified to meet our ad-friendly guidelines.” Lastly, Muret said YouTube will be introducing a new “three-tier suitability system” in the next few months, aimed at giving marketers more control over the trade-off between running ads in safer environments versus reaching more viewers.

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Netflix was 2017’s top non-game app by revenue

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Netflix was the top earning app of 2017 that wasn’t a mobile game, according to Sensor Tower’s new year-end report on the most successful apps and publishers across Apple’s App Store and Google Play. In previous years, the top spot had gone to Spotify, and before that, LINE. But this was Netflix’s year to shine. The service saw gross subscriber revenue of approximately $510 million – a 138 percent increase over last year – per the firm’s estimates. That’s about 2.4 times the $215 million users spent in the Netflix app in 2016. It’s not surprising to see Netflix snagging this top-grossing position. The app has been at the top of the revenue charts at various points throughout 2017. For example, in Q2 Sensor Tower had reported the app saw 233 percent revenue growth year-over-year to $153 million, which was then up from the $46 million it had seen at the same time last year.

At the time, Netflix was reporting a surge in international subscribers, which were accounting for the majority of its new signups. These new users are often joining Netflix through their phone and paying through in-app purchases. By its Q3 2017 earnings reported in October, Netflix had gone on to beat its own expectations for subscriber growth, again thanks to its adoption in international markets. Of the 5.3 million new subscribers in the quarter, 850,000 came from the U.S. while 4.45 million came from international markets. The Netflix app was also the top earner across all of Apple’s App Store. But on Google Play, it ranked below Tiner, Google Drive, LINE, Pandora, and HBO NOW. Another notable app success last year was Tencent Video. In 2016, it was the #14 top grossing app (non-game) by revenue on the App Store alone. This past year, it jumped up to #3 by revenue on the App Store, and #5 in overall revenue across both stores.

In terms of downloads, however, the top app list was dominated by Facebook. This year, Facebook’s main app lost the number one spot to WhatsApp as it sank to #3. Messenger and Instagram followed, and Snapchat was in fifth place. Sensor Tower’s report analyzed mobile games separately. Mixi’s Monster Strike was the top grossing mobile game in 2017 – a position it’s now held for three years in a row. Tencent’s Honor of Kings earned second place, but again, because Google Play isn’t in China. The games list is interesting for other reasons, as well. The one-time hit Pokémon Go didn’t make the top 10, but five year-old Candy Crush Saga did (#5). That goes to show that even though games is largely a hits-based business, it’s possible to have staying power in the market, too.

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