Category: Technology

Nations dawdle on agreeing rules to control ‘killer robots’ in future wars

NAIROBI: Countries are rapidly developing “killer robots” – machines with artificial intelligence (AI) that independently kill – but are moving at a snail’s pace on agreeing global rules over their use in future wars, warn technology and human rights experts. From drones and missiles to tanks and submarines, semi-autonomous weapons systems have been used for decades to eliminate targets in modern day warfare – but…

Deep-sea microbe sheds light on primordial evolutionary milestone

WASHINGTON: A microorganism scooped up in deep–sea mud off Japan’s coast has helped scientists unlock the mystery of one of the watershed evolutionary events for life on Earth: the transition from the simple cells that first colonised the planet to complex cellular life – fungi, plants and animals including people. Researchers said on Wednesday they were able to study the biology of the microorganism, retrieved…

NSA finds major security flaw in Windows 10, free fix issued

The National Security Agency has discovered a major security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system that could let hackers intercept seemingly secure communications. But rather than exploit the flaw for its own intelligence needs, the NSA tipped off Microsoft so that it can fix the system for everyone. Microsoft released a free software patch to fix the flaw Tuesday and credited the intelligence agency…

Dating apps share intimate data about users, says consumer group

TBILISI: Popular dating apps like Grindr and OkCupid share personal data about users, including their location and sexuality, with about 100 other businesses, a Norwegian consumer group said on Tuesday, as it filed a complaint about breach of privacy rules. The Norwegian Consumer Council found that 10 widely used Android apps that gather sensitive data about health, drug use, and sexual preferences passed some of…

China launches gigantic telescope in hunt for life beyond earth

SHANGHAI: China on Saturday officially opened operations of the world’s largest radio telescope, which it will use for space research and help in the hunt for extraterrestrial life, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, is the size of 30 football fields and has been hewed out of a mountain in the southwestern province of Guizhou. It is also…

Faeces-smeared fakes: Scientists use rubber hands in OCD therapy

LONDON: A new type of therapy using faeces and fake rubber hands may be able to help patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) overcome their fears of touching contaminated surfaces, according to new research. “OCD can be an extremely debilitating condition for many people, but the treatments are not always straightforward,” said Baland Jalal, a Cambridge University neuroscientist who was part of a team assessing…

Twitter to experiment with limiting replies in effort to combat online abuse

Twitter Inc said on Wednesday it will test new features early this year that would allow users to control who can reply to their tweets, as it looks to limit abuse and harassment on the platform. Social media firms are under pressure to address harassment on their sites, which often occurs in unsolicited replies targeting women and minorities, and Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey…

Should people be paid for sharing their personal data online?

LONDON: From tagging photos on Facebook to driving with Google Maps, people should join forces in “data unions” to demand payment for letting online tools collect their data, according to an economist advocating for radical reforms to improve society. Glen Weyl, a principal researcher at the research arm of US tech giant Microsoft, said people have been “fooled” into handing over data that is then…

Most distant world ever explored gets new name: Arrokoth

CAPE CANAVERAL: The most distant world ever explored 4 billion miles away finally has an official name: Arrokoth. That means “sky” in the language of the Native American Powhatan people, NASA said Tuesday. The Kuiper belt object originally called “Ultima Thule,” about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto, encountered by the New Horizons spacecraft, Tuesday, Jan 1, 2019. Photo: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research…

Mini Mercury skips across sun’s vast glare in rare transit

CAPE CANAVERAL: Mini Mercury skipped across the vast, glaring face of the sun Monday in a rare celestial transit. Stargazers used solar-filtered binoculars and telescopes to spot Mercury — a tiny black dot — as it passed directly between Earth and the sun on Monday. The eastern US and Canada got the whole 5 ½-hour show, weather permitting, along with Central and South America. The…