Google has developed a ‘big red button’ that can be used to interrupt artificial intelligence and stop it from causing harm (GOOG)
June 3, 2016

Machines are becoming more intelligent every year thanks to advances being made by companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and many others.

AI agents, as they're sometimes known, can already beat us at complex board games like Go and they're becoming more competent in a range of other areas.

Now a London AI research lab owned by Google has carried out a study to make sure we can pull the plug on self-learning machines when we want to.

DeepMind, acquired by Google for a reported £400 million in 2014, teamed up with scientists at the University of Oxford to find a way to make sure AI agents don't learn to prevent, or seek to prevent humans from taking control.

The paper — titled “Safely Interruptible Agents [PDF]” and published on the website of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) — was written by Laurent Orseau, a research scientist at Google DeepMind, Stuart Armstrong at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute, and several others.


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A startup that lets you anonymously review your boss and job just raised $40 million
June 3, 2016

Glassdoor, the website that lets people leave anonymous reviews of companies and jobs, has raised $40 million (£27.7 million) from funds and accounts advised by US investment powerhouse T. Rowe Price.

It takes the total raised by the California-based startup to over $200 million (£138.6 million). Existing investors Battery Ventures, Google Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Tiger Global also participated in the round.

Henry Ellenbogen, a portfolio manager of T. Rowe Price's New Horizons Fund, says in an emailed statement:

We believe that Glassdoor is fundamentally changing the way job seekers search for jobs and companies recruit talent. Their unique user-generated data includes millions of reviews, which increases transparency in recruiting. Our view is that Glassdoor is executing well, and it can be a much larger company over time.

The website crowdsources anonymous information on things like pay rates, employee satisfaction, ratings of CEOs, and ease of progression, among o..

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The US smart home market has been struggling — here’s how and why the market will take off
June 3, 2016

The US smart home market has yet to take off. Quirky's recent announcement that it was filing chapter 11 bankruptcy — and selling off its smart home business, Wink — highlights this well.

At its current state, we believe the smart home market is stuck in the 'chasm' of the technology adoption curve, in which it is struggling to surpass the early-adopter phase and move to the mass-market phase of adoption.

There are many barriers preventing mass-market smart home adoption: high device prices, limited consumer demand and long device replacement cycles. However, the largest barrier is the technological fragmentation of the smart home ecosystem, in which consumers need multiple networking devices, apps and more to build and run their smart home.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we analyze current US consumer demand for the smart home and barriers to widespread adoption. We also analyze and determine areas of growth, and ways to overcome barriers.

Here are some key t..

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There’s been a shakeup at the trading venue made famous by ‘Flash Boys’
June 3, 2016

IEX, the upstart trading venue made famous by Michael Lewis' book “Flash Boys,” has made some changes.

The firm has appointed Ronan Ryan, who was previously chief strategy officer, as president — a new role at the firm.

He will be replaced as chief strategy officer by Eric Stockland, who joins from KCG Holdings. In his previous role, he advised investors on algorithmic trading strategies.

He also previously worked at GETCO, a well-known high-frequency trading firm. IEX was made famous in part because of its effort to protect investors from high-frequency trading.

“Eric's background as an expert practitioner in electronic market-making and agency trading makes him an ideal fit for a trading venue that's striving to deliver greater efficiencies while retaining the speed and resiliency of an all-electronic marketplace,” Ronan said in a statement.

IEX filed with the SEC to become a stock exchange in September. A long list of parties have sent in feedback to the SEC..

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Walmart is partnering with Uber and Lyft
June 3, 2016

Walmart's latest expansion of its online delivery services will include the option to get your groceries delivered by an Uber or Lyft driver in certain markets, the company announced ahead of its shareholders meeting Friday.

“We've been working on convenient new ways to make shopping easier for our busy customers and members,” EVP and COO of Walmart Global eCommerce Michael Bender wrote on the company's blog.

Within two weeks, Walmart is launching a pilot program with Uber in Denver and with Lyft in Phoenix.

Customers buying their groceries online will have the option to get their order delivered to them by a ride-sharing driver, at the existing delivery fee of $7-10.

It's an extension of a program that has been quietly tested at Sam's Club stores in Miami since March with the service Deliv.

Walmart has been heavily pushing its latest tech offerings, from Walmart Pay to its $49 free shipping membership, which is a response to Amazon Prime.

The company als..

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I just tried Samsung’s first truly wireless earbuds — here’s what they’re like
June 3, 2016

Along with a new fitness smartwatch called the Gear Fit 2, Samsung on Thursday announced a pair of truly wireless earbuds called the Gear IconX.

That's right, there's no wires to be found on the IconX earbuds, even to connect the earbuds to each other.

Like the Gear Fit 2, it's designed for casual exercisers rather than fitness junkies, but it still can still track the most important metrics for general fitness.

These earbuds are so logical and obvious once you see how they work.
SEE ALSO: The $1.5 billion startup that's called the 'Apple of gaming' recently opened up its first store in the US — take a look inside

Here are Samsung's Gear IconX wireless earbuds, and yes, they are truly wireless. They connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth, and they can also track your distance, speed, and hear-rate.

Here's how they can play music without being connected to each other: Each bud has its own 4GB of storage for music. You can also just use th..

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The Verizon strike was a huge contributor to the miserable jobs report
June 3, 2016

The jobs report was, to put it mildly, not pretty.

The US economy added only 38,000 jobs against expectations of 160,000 jobs added. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.7%, but a slide in the labor force participation rate was probably a big factor there.

One huge reason for the miss seems to have been a single company: Verizon. Verizon employees were on strike in May during the survey period for the report, protesting for higher wages. Information services employment, which Verizon workers would fall under, dropped by 34,000 jobs on net. This was a dramatic drop for a sector that hadn't lost jobs on net since November 2015.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics even highlighted the impact of the strike in the introduction of the report. “Mining continued to lose jobs, and employment in information decreased due to a strike,” said the report.

This has happened before, as Verizon workers have gone on strike in both 2000 and 2011, leading to massive drops in information employment, as w..

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