20 Sep 2020

feedSlashdot

Are Tesla's Data-Gathering Cars Secretly Improving Autopilot's Algorithms?

"When the history of autonomous cars is written, the winner will be Tesla," speculates long-time technology pundit Robert Cringely. "Heck, I think they've already won." But his article includes a disclaimer that it's "based pretty much on logic, not knowledge, which is to say I might again be too frigging stupid to read, much less write." Tesla has more than a million data-gathering devices on the roads. We call them cars. Tesla cars have no LIDAR but they have eight cameras and RADAR. Every night all those cars wirelessly report their driving data back to Tesla. I would love to know how Tesla decided what to put in those reports. Given the limited bandwidth LTE connection involved, it can't be a complete data dump. They have to pick and choose what to report. And what does Tesla do with the reports? I think it comes down to algorithms, mapping, and exceptions. They are logically trying to improve their algorithms, improve their maps, but mainly - after having already parsed billions of miles of driving data - they are looking for exceptional events that are testing their algorithms in ways never seen before... Tesla has a dual processor system in their cars - two completely distinct computers. Why...? Because every night is an A-B test for Tesla - a test that is running on your car. One processor is driving the car (or following the driver's actions if Autopilot isn't being used, which is most of the time) with production software while the second processor is running beta software, simulating the drive, and noting discrepancies between the two software versions. Multiply this times a million cars per night. Whether Autopilot is used or not doesn't matter: the evolution of the software continues. And it's finished when the beta software stops improving and the outcome shows the only difference between human and Autopilot driving is that Autopilot does it better. Continue for another month or year or decade just to confirm your results, then announce that full autonomous mode is available. That is exactly where I believe Tesla has been heading for as long as those two-processor cars have been on the road. Tesla's autonomous driving software could be ready right now for all we know. Elon certainly hints at this from time to time in his tweets. And THAT's why I believe Tesla has already won the autonomous driving war, because they have real cars facing real exceptions that you won't find in a simulation, and their dual processor system knows what it knows. Yes, I reached out to Tesla about this last week. They still haven't replied. Again, Cringely wants that this is "based pretty much on logic, not knowledge, which is to say I might again be too frigging stupid to read, much less write."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

20 Sep 2020 6:34pm GMT

US Judge Blocks Attempt to Ban WeChat

"The popular Chinese messaging and payments app WeChat looks like it might still be available in the U.S. beyond Sunday night, after all," reports the Street: U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of San Francisco stopped the Trump administration from forcing Apple and Alphabet to take the Tencent Holdings' messaging app offline for downloading by late Sunday, according to a report from Reuters. The decision - which also blocks other restrictions imposed by the U.S. government on the app - follows the U.S. Commerce Department's move on Friday to virtually eliminate access to the application and impair its ability to function, in part by prohibiting companies from distributing or maintaining it and blocking financial transactions over the app in the U.S... The order also stated that the Commerce Department's orders "burden substantially more speech than is necessary to serve the government's significant interest in national security, especially given the lack of substitute channels for communication."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

20 Sep 2020 5:34pm GMT

Chinese Intelligence Compiles 'Vast Database' About Millions Around the World

Australia's national public broadcaster ABC reports: A Chinese company with links to Beijing's military and intelligence networks has been amassing a vast database of detailed personal information on thousands of Australians, including prominent and influential figures. A database of 2.4 million people, including more than 35,000 Australians, has been leaked from the Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data which is believed to be used by China's intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security. Zhenhua has the People's Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party among its main clients. Information collected includes dates of birth, addresses, marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives and social media IDs. It collates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok accounts, as well as news stories, criminal records and corporate misdemeanours. While much of the information has been "scraped," some profiles have information which appears to have been sourced from confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles. The company is believed to have sourced some of its information from the so-called "dark web". One intelligence analyst said the database was "Cambridge Analytica on steroids", referring to the trove of personal information sourced from Facebook profiles in the lead up to the 2016 US election campaign. But this data dump goes much further, suggesting a complex global operation using artificial intelligence to trawl publicly available data to create intricate profiles of individuals and organisations, potentially probing for compromise opportunities. Zhenhua Data's chief executive Wang Xuefeng, a former IBM employee, has used Chinese social media app WeChat to endorse waging "hybrid warfare" through manipulation of public opinion and "psychological warfare".... The database was leaked to a US academic, who worked with Canberra cyber security company Internet 2.0 and "was able to restore 10 per cent of the 2.4 million records for individuals... "Of the 250,000 records recovered, there are 52,000 on Americans, 35,000 Australians, 10,000 Indian, 9,700 British, 5,000 Canadians, 2,100 Indonesians, 1,400 Malaysia and 138 from Papua New Guinea."

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20 Sep 2020 4:34pm GMT

feedArs Technica

Here’s how DOE’s first crop of risky energy tech has done

Comparing 2009 ARPA-E winners to peers yields a mixed bag.

20 Sep 2020 2:30pm GMT

Court blocks Trump’s WeChat ban from taking effect today

The White House is now 0 for 2 on enforcing bans on China-owned apps today.

20 Sep 2020 2:10pm GMT

Turn up the sport, turn down the utility: The 2020 BMW X5 M and X6 M

BMW's M-powered SUVs scorch the road and your checking account.

20 Sep 2020 2:00pm GMT

01 Jan 2009

feedLinux.com :: Features

A new year, a new Linux.com

Many of you have commented that our NewsVac section hasn't been refreshed since the middle of last month. Others have noticed that our story volume has dropped off. Changes are coming to Linux.com, and until they arrive, you won't see any new stories on the site.

01 Jan 2009 2:00pm GMT

31 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Android-powered G1 phone is an enticing platform for app developers

The free and open source software community has been waiting for the G1 cell phone since it was first announced in July. Source code for Google's Android mobile platform has been available, but the G1 marks its commercial debut. It's clearly a good device, but is it what Linux boosters and FOSS advocates have long been anticipating?

31 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

30 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Municipalities open their GIS systems to citizens

Many public administrations already use open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to let citizens look at public geographic data trough dedicated Web sites. Others use the same software to partially open the data gathering process: they let citizens directly add geographic information to the official, high-quality GIS databases by drawing or clicking on digital maps.

30 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT