In: Business News

It looks like Snapchat is working on some kind of smart glasses
March 12, 2016

Snapchat's hiring history and recent job postings suggest the company is likely working on some smart glasses of its own.

On Friday, CNET's Sean Hollister published a detailed report that examines some key hires by Snapchat in the consumer hardware, electrical engineering, and augmented- and virtual-reality spaces.

Hollister, citing the LinkedIn profiles of current Snapchat employees, highlights that Snapchat now has a team of almost a dozen wearable experts and has also hired industrial designers who have worked on Nokia and Logitech hardware.

The idea that Snapchat is secretly planning to launch its own smart glasses isn't exactly new — people began speculating about some sort of “Snapglasses” back in 2014 when the company acquired the Google Glass-like startup Vergence Labs, which sold stylish sunglasses that could surreptitiously capture video by tapping a button on the side of the eyewear.

In addition to the Vergence Lab team, CNET points out that Snapchat has h..

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Proof virtual reality is going to take over everything: It’s already captured one of our reporters
March 12, 2016

Virtual reality looks set to be the next big thing in gaming, and eventually in all computing. Want proof? It's completely eaten up Tech Insider reporter Antonio Villas-Boas.

Antonio's working on a story about virtual reality on Samsung Galaxy phones. But the amazing thing is that once he began his research, we all watched him get completely absorbed.

Seriously, he's had a screen inches from his face for hours at a time without coming up for air these last few days.

And the experience seems entirely positive — even though you'd expect hours of ultra-close-up screen time to be wearing.

But Antonio seems entirely content cut off from the outside world.

Our editor Steve Kovach got a selfie with him without Antonio noticing.

Then editor Dave Smith did the same:

Though hearing us giggling, Antonio switched on the pass-through camera to see what was going on.

But still, Antonio stayed in VR for ages, leading us to wonder if he'd ever return to IRL. And this i..

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An AI expert says Google’s Go-playing program is missing 1 key feature of human intelligence
March 12, 2016

For the first time in history, a computer program is poised to beat one of the world's best human players at the 2,500-year-old game of Go — widely considered one of the most difficult games ever invented.

AlphaGo, a software program developed by British AI company Google DeepMind, has defeated Korean Go champion Lee Sedol in two out of five matches so far. It will play its third match at 10:30 p.m. EST Friday night, streamed live on YouTube. (By tradition, they will play all five matches regardless of the outcome.)

If AlphaGo beats Sedol in this tournament, it will cement its place in the annals of AI history.

But how long will it be before machines can match human-level intelligence in the real world? We asked an expert on artificial intelligence, computer scientist Richard Sutton of the University of Alberta in Canada.

An 'unprecedented' feat
There's no question that AlphaGo's achievement — and the speed with which it improved — was “unprecedented,” Sutt..

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The top 5 digital trends for 2016
March 12, 2016

Today, nearly 43% of the world is connected to the Internet, enabling us to talk, share photos, and conduct business halfway across the globe.

As a result, we have seen more technological advancements in the past 10 years than we’ve witnessed in the past 10,000 years. And in the next five years, we’ll see even more.

A new presentation entitled “The Top 5 Digital Trends of 2016,” created by John Greenough of BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, identifies the key digital trend in each of our top vertical areas including Mobile, E-Commerce, Digital Media, Digital Financial Services, and the Internet of Things.

Here are the key takeaways:

In Mobile, messaging apps have become the new OS.
In Digital Media, programmatic advertising has exploded in recent years.
In Payments, mobile wallets will be the story to watch in 2016.
In E-Commerce, deliveries and shipping are changing drastically as more online shopping overwhelms shipping companies.
In IoT, businesses ar..

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Scientists can’t explain the mysterious activity on Saturn’s giant moon
March 12, 2016

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The cofounder of the huge SXSW trade show has died
March 12, 2016

Louis Meyers, co-founder of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and former director of the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance, has died of a heart attack, according to Austin 360.

Meyer's death comes on the day this year's South by Southwest kicks off its 10 day run, opening with an interview with Barack Obama.

The show originally focused on music, but now has separate tracks devoted to technology and film.

Meyers was a part of the SXSW festival's board from its creation in 1987 through 1994, at which point he sold his stake in the festival and retired. Meyer's focus on music on music rather than specticle is what caused him to sell his share. He discussed his final festival experience to Pitch music in 2013.

“That year, there were 640 acts, and my goal was to scale that back to around 500,” he says. “Now, of course, there's 2,300 official acts. And what you lose by having that many acts is quality. You can't prescreen all that talent effi..

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We tested the ‘Keurig of food’ that claims it can replace everything in your kitchen
March 12, 2016

The Tovala is a countertop machine that combines a broiler, steamer, oven, microwave, and toaster in one. It launched on Kickstarter at an “early bird” price of $199 for a limited number of machines. The price of the machine will eventually go as high as $279, Tovala founder David Rabie told Business Insider. The machines are expected to start shipping out before the end of the year.

Produced by Joe Avella

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Something weird and unexpected happened to me after I started using a sleep-tracking device that reads the brain
March 12, 2016

The last week has been extremely unusual, to say the least.

My dreams have been more colorful, detailed, vivid, and realistic than at any other time I can remember.

This means my recent dream of a romantic getaway in the hills was almost as wonderful as a real vacation, while my nightmare of being chased down a dark alley by an armed stranger was more terrifying than anything I've experienced in years.

Not to mention that two other reveries — one of missing a plane to a conference and another of failing to catch a bus to a party — were also distressing.

In the end, they were all just dreams. And I must admit that I'm happier for remembering them than waking up with no memory of any dreams at all, which describes about 90% of my mornings on an average week.

So what made this past week so different?

The headband for sleep

It all started when I began wearing the Sleep Shepherd Blue headband to bed.

This headband is the latest model that uses a sleep tracking device inven..

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OBAMA: If government can’t access phones, ‘everybody is walking around with a Swiss Bank account in their pocket’
March 12, 2016

In light of the brewing war between Apple and the FBI, President Barack Obama cautioned in his keynote at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival that no one should take an absolutist position on the debate between privacy and public safety.

His key argument centered on the trade-offs Americans already make to guarantee their safety and well-being, whether it's going through TSA security screening at airports — something Obama joked that he hadn't done in awhile but heard is awful — or being searched at a drunk-driving stop.

“This notion that somehow our data is different and can be walled off from those other trade-offs we make, I believe is incorrect,” Obama told the crowd.

Yet access to smartphones by government should be limited so that it can't “willie nilly” get into anyone's phones.

Obama declined to comment on the Apple case specifically, but he did deliver an impassioned address on both sides.

Here's what he had to say:

All of us value our privacy..

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The sale of Intel’s VC unit could trigger another avalanche in startup valuations (INTC)
March 12, 2016

Intel is shopping around its in-house venture-capital business, according to a Bloomberg report.

The move to sell part of Intel Capital, which comes two months after the retirement of the group's president, is an abrupt change of plans at the world's largest chip maker. Intel has been one of the most aggressive corporate investors in up-and-coming startups for the past 25 years.

The move could cause reverberations across the tech landscape that extend far beyond Intel.

It would be selling its investments in startup companies. In 2015 alone, Intel Capital invested $514 million in 143 companies focused on everything from security software to wearable devices.

Intel is obviously aware of the markdowns in valuations that Fidelity and other big mutual funds have recently made to their tech-startup holdings. Those markdowns may have convinced Intel that now is a good time to cash out some of its own tech-startup investments.

Mark to market
By selling its portfolio, Intel will ..

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