This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through February 25th)


Did You Hear That? Robots Are Learning the Subtle Sounds of Mechanical Breakdown
Steven Melendez | Fast Company
“‘We’re developing an expert mechanic’s brain that identifies exactly what is happening to a machine by the way that it sounds,’ says Amnon Shenfeld, founder and CEO of 3DSignals, a startup based in Kfar Saba, Israel, that is using machine learning to train computers to listen to machinery and diagnose problems at facilities like hydroelectric plants and steel mills.”


Six-Legged Robot One-Ups Nature With Faster Gait
Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum 
“In an article published last week in Nature Communications, researchers from EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, managed to show that for legged hexapods, a bipedal gait (using just two active legs at once) is often the fastest and most efficient way of moving, even though insects use a tripedal gait instead.”


A Doozy of a Lawsuit Over Self-Driving Cars
Adrienne LaFrance | The Atlantic 
“Waymo, the self-driving car company that began at Google, is suing Uber and the self-driving truck company Otto, which Uber acquired last year… Patent disputes are typical in Silicon Valley, but given the outsized significance of self-driving cars—and the power of the players involved—the fight between Waymo and Uber is likely to be one of the biggest legal battles since the war between Apple and Samsung over smartphones.”


Botnets of Things
Bruce Schneier | MIT Technology Review
“Internet of things devices are not designed with security in mind and often have no way of being patched. The things that have become part of Mirai botnets, for example, will be vulnerable until their owners throw them away. Botnets will get larger and more powerful simply because the number of vulnerable devices will go up by orders of magnitude over the next few years.”


This Solar System of Seven Earth-Sized Planets May Be the Best Place to Look for Alien Life
Loren Grush | The Verge
“Around 40 light-years away, seven Earth-sized planets have been spotted orbiting closely around a small, ultra-cool star. It’s one of the largest solar systems that’s ever been discovered outside of our own, and it’s a particularly enticing find in the ongoing search for extraterrestrial life. Six of the planets in the system may have the right temperatures for liquid water to exist on their surfaces, and astronomers are confident they’ll be able to get a more in-depth look at these seven worlds with future space telescopes.”


What News-Writing Bots Mean for the Future of Journalism
Joe Keohane | Wired
“Prakash and Gilbert take pains to stress that the system is not here to usher reporters into obsolescence. And that brings them to the second objective of Heliograf [The Washington Post’s AI tool]: Make the newsroom more efficient. By removing tasks like incessant poll coverage and real-time election results from reporters’ plates, Heliograf frees them up to focus on the stories that actually require human thought.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Alison E. Berman
Alison E. Berman
Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by various intersections of technology and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you'll likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).
Don't miss a trend
Get Hub delivered to your inbox