Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Ward Plunet
Ward's posts

Post has attachment
Study suggests memories that trigger anxiety, PTSD could be 'erased' without affecting normal memory of past events

Might be a fair bit of time before this is possible in humans - but interesting.

"Our study is a 'proof of principle' that presents an opportunity for developing strategies and perhaps therapies to address anxiety," said Dr. Schacher. "For example, because memories are still likely to change immediately after recollection, a therapist may help to 'rewrite' a non-associative memory by administering a drug that inhibits the maintenance of non-associative memory." Future studies in preclinical models are needed to better understand how PKMs are produced and localized at the synapse before researchers can determine which drugs may weaken non-associative memories.

Post has attachment
Andrew Ng announces, his new venture after leaving Baidu

Andrew Ng, the former chief scientist of Baidu, announced his next venture,, with only a logo, a domain name and a footnote pointing to an August launch date. In an interesting twist, the domain name appears to be registered to Baidu’s Sunnyvale AI research campus — the same office Ng would have worked out of as an employee. It’s unclear whether Ng began his work on while still an employee at Baidu. According to data pulled from the Wayback Machine, the domain was parked at Instra and picked up sometime between 2015 and 2017. Registering that domain to Baidu accidentally would be an amateur mistake and registering it intentionally just leaves me with more unanswered questions. I’m left wondering about the relationship between Baidu and — and its connection to Andrew Ng’s departure. Of course, it’s also possible that there was some sort of error that caused an untimely mistake. Ng left the company in late March of this year, promising to continue his work of bringing the benefits of AI to everyone. Baidu is known for having unique technical expertise in natural language processing and it’s recently been putting resources into self-driving cars and other specific deep learning applications.

Post has attachment
IBM is trying to forecast the weather on every block, worldwide

Some people were puzzled when IBM bought The Weather Company — including and several meteorological data firms — in 2015. However, since then, the company known for its Watson AI platform has been finding new applications for the weather data it is vacuuming up on a daily basis. Now comes news that IBM is getting into the weather modeling business, putting itself on a collision course with efforts from the federal government and other private firms, such as Panasonic. On June 21, The Weather Company announced it will collaborate with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, to develop next-generation weather models. The partnership between IBM and NCAR aims to predict weather at hyperlocal scales, which could have applications for severe weather warnings and even the operation of self-driving vehicles and drone delivery services, both of which will need more reliable block-by-block weather forecasts. The effort will be based in part on NCAR's community weather model. The partners are aiming for the new model to cover the entire globe, which would be a first. “IBM is one of only a few organizations in the world that has the capability to develop a model to run at this global, granular scale,” said Mary Glackin, senior vice president of public-private partnerships at The Weather Company, and a former official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Post has attachment

_FEW TECH COMPANIES can rival Uber in its combination of blurred ethical lines and data-fueled power to invade people's privacy. The same rideshare service that's been rocked by scandals, threatened in the past to investigate unfriendly journalists, and tracked the location of users as a party trick has all the location data it needs to follow your daily habits, love affairs, and doctor visits. You might think that's the Faustian bargain of using a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft in the first place. But one team of cryptography researchers argues it doesn't have to be this way. They've demonstrated that you can have your surge-priced pickups without giving up your privacy. A team of the cryptographers at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute in Lausanne and Lausanne University have developed a prototype for a software system they call ORide, designed to make possible all the features of a ridesharing service while dramatically minimizing the location data it collects. In fact, the "O" stands for "oblivious." The team built ORide such that no one but the rider and driver for any single trip knows their whereabouts—not even the ridesharing company.
While only a proof of concept, ORide hints at an alternate reality where app-enabled car services don't list ubiquitous location-tracking as a prerequisite. The researchers say they even hope it might be adopted by a ridesharing service in an increasingly competitive industry. Privacy can be a powerful selling point."This makes it impossible for an attacker, an eavesdropper, or the ridesharing service itself to make use of the location data that goes beyond the function of the service," says Jean-Pierre Hubaux, one of the Lausanne Polytechnic researchers who created ORide, and plans to present it at the Usenix Security conference later this summer. "With modern cryptography it's possible to conceal this information and yet still enable the machinery to work as requested."_

Post has attachment

GOOGLE JUST PLACED yet another bet on the idea that artificial intelligence will remake the world—and throw off wild profits. The company disclosed today that it has created a new venture fund dedicated to investing in AI and machine learning companies. The initiative's first public investment: lead investor in a $10.5 million funding round for Seattle startup Algorithmia, which has built a kind of app store for algorithms. The service aims to make it easier for any company to use machine learning. Google wouldn’t make anyone available to talk about its new fund (or disclose its size). But its existence and taking the lead in Algorithmia's lastest round fit with what you might call Google’s shovel strategy for artificial intelligence: The company believes there are piles of money to be made by giving other companies the tools to strike gold using the technology. Google and Algorithmia both rather cutely refer to the effort to sell AI shovels as “democratizing” the technology. More plainly, they’re pursuing a business opportunity created by the recent, rapid advancement in the power of machine learning. Lots of companies with ideas about how to use the technology in their businesses can’t access the expertise needed to do so, which is in short supply.

Post has attachment
What is cognitive reserve? How we can protect our brains from memory loss and dementia

As we get older we have a greater risk of developing impairments in areas of cognitive function – such as memory, reasoning and verbal ability. We also have a greater risk of dementia, which is what we call cognitive decline that interferes with daily life. The trajectory of this cognitive decline can vary considerably from one person to the next. Despite these varying trajectories, one thing is for sure: even cognitively normal people experience pathological changes in their brain, including degeneration and atrophy, as they age. By the time a person reaches the age of 70 to 80, these changes closely resemble those seen in the brains of people with Alzheimer's Disease. Even so, many people are able to function normally in the presence of significant brain damage and pathology. So why do some experience symptoms of Alzheimer's and dementia, while others remain sharp of mind? It comes down to something called cognitive reserve. This is a concept used to explain a person's capacity to maintain normal cognitive function in the presence of brain pathology. To put it simply, some people have better cognitive reserve than others. Evidence shows the extent of someone's cognitive decline doesn't occur in line with the amount of biological damage in their brain as it ages. Rather, certain life experiences determine someone's cognitive reserve and, therefore, their ability to avoid dementia or memory loss.

Post has attachment
Can a single exercise session benefit your brain?

Even a single bout of physical activity can have significant positive effects on people's mood and cognitive functions, according to a new study. In a new review of the effects of acute exercise, researchers not only summarize the behavioral and cognitive effects of a single bout of exercise, but also summarize data from a large number of neurophysiological and neurochemical studies in both humans and animals showing the wide range of brain changes that result from a single session of physical exercise (i.e., acute exercise).


Post has attachment
Amazon envisions giant drone towers to speed up delivery

A patent application lays out plans for a robot-powered fulfillment center where drones can zip in and out to deliver packages around your city. The e-commerce giant filed a patent application for a "multi-level fulfillment center" that would allow drones to deliver packages in urban areas. Basically, it sounds like a giant robot-powered tower that would make it easy for drones to zip in and out as they deliver packages around a city. There's a "growing need and desire to locate fulfillment centers within cities, such as in downtown districts and densely populated parts of the cities," Amazon says in the patent application, published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office along with several other drone-related applications by the company.

Post has attachment
How to set up two-factor authentication on all your online accounts

Just about any account you own on the internet is prone to being hacked — and one of the easiest ways to add an extra layer of security is to enable two-factor authentication. Also known as two-step verification or 2FA, the process gives web services a secondary access to the account owner (you!) in order to verify a login attempt. Typically, this involves phone number and / or an email address. While 2FA doesn’t totally cloak you from potential hackers, it is an important step in preventing your account from being accessed by unauthorized users. Here’s how to enable 2FA on your accounts across the web.

Post has attachment
Google is launching a new line of cameras for 180-degree VR video

Google is launching a new, more limited cinematic VR format that it hopes will be almost as accessible as regular YouTube videos. It’s called VR180, a collaboration between YouTube and Google’s Daydream VR division. And it’ll be produced with a new line of cameras from Yi, Lenovo, and LG, as well as other partners who meet VR180 certification standards. As the name suggests, VR180 videos don’t stretch all the way around a viewer in VR. They’re supposed to be immersive if you’re facing forward, but you can’t turn and glance behind you. Outside VR, they’ll appear as traditional flat videos, but you can watch them in 3D virtual reality through the YouTube app with a Google Cardboard, Daydream, or PlayStation VR headset.

Wait while more posts are being loaded