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Posts Tagged ‘Business Insider’

‘Not a random idea factory’: Why Facebook says its brain sensors are closer than you think

Regina Dugan Facebook’s Regina Dugan Facebook/Business Insider

Brain scanning and skin sensors sound like the stuff of science fiction.

And Facebook’s recently announced efforts to create this technology could easily be dismissed by cynics as a public relations stunt by a large company looking to prove its innovation bona fides.

But the 60 scientists and engineers working at Facebook’s “Building 8” — as the skunkworks hardware lab is known — are already making detailed plans for this sci-fi-like future.

Within 18 months, Building 8 hopes to have a working prototype of a brain sensor capable of typing 100 words a minute. And the group is drawing up plans to form a panel to examine the ethical implications of brain scanning.

Regina Dugan, head of Building 8, along with two members of her team, sat down with Business Insider to discuss the group’s progress to date and its plans for the future.

While Facebook’s ability to interface directly with the human brain is still years away from reality, Dugan and her team are serious about their work and its massive implications on Facebook’s businesses and society as a whole.

“We have an entire product launch team whose job it is to move out products at scale,” Dugan said.

Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer went out his way to stress the reality of Building 8’s efforts in a separate interview, telling BI that the point of the lab was not simply to have a “random idea factory” that never results in actual products.

Right now, the most pressing goal is to develop a working prototype in the next 18 months of a noninvasive brain sensor that’s capable of turning thoughts into text at 100 words a minute, according to Dugan. After that, Building 8’s next mission will be to figure out how to mass produce and sell the sensor.

Dugan, the former head of Google’s advanced projects group who joined Facebook in 2016, said that Facebook’s plans to form an ethics and legal panel with Building 8’s outside university partners to examine the privacy and health implications of brain scanning.

“This is early days,” said Mark Chevillet, the neuroscientist Dugan hired last year to led the brain-to-text project at Building 8. “We have some big challenges ahead of us.”

‘This is not a random idea factory’

12983910_10102777875412201_1824114153464567549_o From left: Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, Regina Dugan, and Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook

Aside from the scientific and technology challenges behind communicating directly with the human brain, shipping and selling hardware to millions of people represents a new challenge for Facebook.

With Building 8, Dugan and Facebook appear to be taking a page from Alphabet’s X “moonshot” division, which is known for developing far-flung, futuristic products within fixed time frames before either shutting them down or spinning them out as standalone businesses.

Similarly, Building 8’s projects have two-year deadlines to determine whether they can be successfully shepherded from the prototype stage to consumers. Every product that comes out of Building 8 will align with Facebook’s broader mission to connect the world, according to Schroepfer.

“When we were talking to Regina about joining us, one of the conversations we had is, ‘Look, this is not a random idea factory to go do whatever the team wants to work on,'” Schroepfer told BI. “We want to focus people on things that are directly associated with the mission.”

“We were like, ‘If you deliver on this, we know what to do with it,'” he said. “It’s not just going to be some random tech demo. It’s going to go into our products and make a difference.”

Augmented reality and vibrating vests

The brain research that Building 8 is working on will eventually also influence Facebook’s efforts in virtual and augmented reality, the latter of which could one day replace smartphones by overlaying virtual information onto the real world.

“It has huge applications for communication and connection, which is part of our mission,” said Schroepfer of Building 8’s brain-to-computer – or “BCI” — work. “And it’s also a critical technology for AR and VR in the long run. Because the problems of input are a big challenge there.”

Mark Zuckerberg AR glasses F8 Zuckerberg recently said that the goal with AR was for it to work inside glasses “we all want” to wear. Getty

Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives have said that the goal for AR is to have a pair of lightweight glasses that can display virtual objects onto the world around you. The nascent technology is also being worked on by tech titans like Apple and Microsoft along with startups like Snapchat and Magic Leap.

The first AR-equipped eyewear will likely feature some sort of brain-controlled input, according to Schroepfer.

“If you are just able to move your eyes and do a single click from your brain, which is just a single-bit signal, I’ve now just rebuilt the mouse,” he said.

For Building 8’s first brain-scanning tech, Dugan and Chevillet stressed that the sensor they build won’t be able to listen in on all of a person’s thoughts. It will rather focus on transmitting text you think “right before you would say it out loud,” according to Chevillet, who likened the concept to “decoding imagined speech.”

“The signal we’re trying to decode is the signal you’ve already giving intentionally,” said Dugan. She said that the sensor will be able to pair with a device like a laptop or smartphone and function like dictating to Apple’s Siri without your voice.

Along with Chevillet’s brain-to-text sensor, the second Building 8 project aims to let you “hear through your skin” and is being led by Freddy Abnousi, an interventional cardiologist who previously worked at Stanford. His product will likely take the shape of some sort of wearable, like a vest or armband, that vibrates to convey words into the human brain.

He described physical touch as “this innate way to communicate that we’ve been using for generations, but we’ve stepped away from it recently as we’ve become more screen-based.”

The goal is for the device to be “just part of you,” he said. “It’s very natural if you think about it.”

Dugan sees the two projects, which are just the first of others Building 8 is working on but won’t talk about yet, as complementary to each other. One is focused on deciphering what the brain wants to say, while the other is trying to send unspoken thoughts from the body to the brain.

“There’s an interesting similarity in that they’re both communication mechanisms, just in different forms,” she said. “It’s about giving users more alternatives to having input and output into their devices.”

While Dugan said that Facebook’s brain interface would first likely help people who have communication disorders, she acknowledged that the potential for the technology is open-ended. There are massive privacy implications that come with Facebook having access to your thoughts, but for now, Dugan is betting that the positive outcomes will outweigh any negatives.

“I feel tremendously optimistic,” she said.

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Here are the stocks millennials love more than people over 30 do, according to trading app Robinhood

snap bannerBusiness Insider

Robinhood, the app that lets you trade stocks without paying fees, has been a runaway hit with millennials, who have driven the startup to a reported $1.3 billion valuation.

The thinking behind Robinhood was that younger people would want to trade stocks differently: namely on their phones and without the fees. But are the stocks they trade different as well?

To answer that question, we asked Dr. Sahill Poddar, a data scientist at Robinhood, to crunch the numbers. By and large, the top stocks millennials held (by dollar amount) were similar to those of people over 30. But millennials were almost twice as likely to have stock from computer chip designers AMD and Nvidia. Conversely, those over 30 were almost twice as likely to hold Yahoo.

In terms of the top 10 stocks, Twitter and gold (via JNUG) made the over-30 list, but didn’t appear on the 30-and-under one, whereas Google (GOOGL) saw the reverse.

“Overall, millennials trade more often than non-millennials (2.75 times more), but the average dollar amount per trade is half,” according to Poddar.

It’s worth noting that Robinhood is a new platform, so you might expect the popular stocks to skew toward things like technology. But still, the differences between the millennial and over-30 crowd are instructive in understanding what different generations think of the stocks.

With that in mind, here are the top 10 stocks millennials love on Robinhood (by dollar amount):

No. 10: Google (GOOGL)

No. 10: Google (GOOGL)

Reuters

No. 9: Netflix (NFLX)

No. 9: Netflix (NFLX)

Netflix

No. 8: SPDR S&P 500 trust ETF (SPY)

No. 8: SPDR S&P 500 trust ETF (SPY)

Yahoo Finance

This ETF is designed to track the S&P 500.

No. 7: Snap (SNAP)

No. 6: Nvidia (NVDA)

No. 5: Tesla (TSLA)

No. 5: Tesla (TSLA)

Thomson Reuters

No. 4: Facebook (FB)

No. 4: Facebook (FB)

Thomson Reuters

No. 3: Apple (AAPL)

No. 2: Amazon (AMZN)

No. 2: Amazon (AMZN)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (left) and exec Joe Lewis (right)Getty/ Joe Scarnici / Stringer

No. 1: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

No. 1: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

Thomson Reuters

Top stocks held by non-millennials on Robinhood (by dollar amount)

Top stocks held by non-millennials on Robinhood (by dollar amount)

Apple

  1. Apple (AAPL)
  2. Amazon (AMZN)
  3. Tesla (TSLA)
  4. Facebook (FB)
  5. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
  6. Nvidia (NVDA)
  7. Snap (SNAP)
  8. Netflix (NFLX)
  9. Twitter (TWTR)
  10. Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Bull (JNUG)

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It’s a make-or-break moment for Samsung with the launch of the Galaxy S8

DJ Koh, Samsung president of mobile communications, shows the Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones during the Samsung Unpacked event in New York City, United States March 29, 2017. Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh with the Galaxy S8. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Samsung’s big test is coming in less than a week.

On April 21, customers will get their hands on the Galaxy S8, Samsung’s first flagship phone since the embarrassing Galaxy Note 7 debacle that damaged the company’s reputation and wiped about $17 billion from its value last year.

Not a good look.

But early impressions of the Galaxy S8 have been amazing.

From a design perspective, the phone features a gorgeous curved screen that takes up almost the entire front of the phone. (Samsung calls it an “Infinity Display” because it gives you the impression that there are minimal borders on the sides.) It’s also made from all glass and metal, with a svelte body that feels great in the hand or pocket.

Overall, the phone features a larger screen in a slim and light package. The iPhone looks chunky by comparison. The Galaxy S8 is the early favorite for the best phone of 2017.

Plus, there are loads of thoughtful hardware innovations like wireless charging and a top-of-the-line camera that has yet to be beaten by competitors. Even after last year’s stumbles, it feels like Samsung is gearing up for a major redemption thanks to the Galaxy S8. (As long as the battery doesn’t explode again, of course.)

Still, there are a few concerns ahead of the launch. Samsung was forced to admit Tuesday that its new voice assistant Bixby won’t be ready when the phone launches. That’s probably a good thing, given that Bixby struggled to work properly in an early demo I saw a few weeks ago. But it’s an embarrassing admission by Samsung that it can’t keep pace with the growing voice-control category dominated by Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Samsung’s decision to create Bixby didn’t make much sense in the first place, since the phone will also ship with Google Assistant, Android’s excellent digital helper. That threatens to confuse users with two different assistants on the same device. Good luck with that.

And until Bixby does launch with a software update later this spring, the dedicated Bixby button on the side of the phone won’t serve a purpose at all. That’s another bad look at a time Samsung needs to really wow users again to make up for last year’s embarrassments.

All that said, the Galaxy S8 will likely live up to most of its expectations. Samsung hasn’t commented specifically on demand, but did say the phone saw growth in pre-orders in the US over last year’s Galaxy S7, which was also well received.

If I had to bet, most people will look beyond the relatively minor software flubs Samsung is making with the Galaxy S8 and instead focus on the innovative hardware and design. Frankly, the iPhone has never looked so far behind in those categories.

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THE INTERNET OF THINGS 2017 REPORT: How the IoT is improving lives to transform the world

TotalIoTDevicesBI Intelligence

The Internet of Things (IoT) is disrupting businesses, governments, and consumers and transforming how they interact with the world. Companies are going to spend almost $5 trillion on the IoT in the next five years — and the proliferation of connected devices and massive increase in data has started an analytical revolution.

To gain insight into this emerging trend, BI Intelligence conducted an exclusive Global IoT Executive Survey on the impact of the IoT on companies around the world. The study included over 500 respondents from a wide array of industries, including manufacturing, technology, and finance, with significant numbers of C-suite and director-level respondents.

Through this exclusive study and in-depth research into the field, BI Intelligence details the components that make up IoT ecosystem. We size the IoT market in terms of device installations and investment through 2021. And we examine the importance of IoT providers, the challenges they face, and what they do with the data they collect. Finally, we take a look at the opportunities, challenges, and barriers related to mass adoption of IoT devices among consumers, governments, and enterprises.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • We project that there will be a total of 22.5 billion IoT devices in 2021, up from 6.6 billion in 2016.
  • We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021.
  • It highlights the opinions and experiences of IoT decision-makers on topics that include: drivers for adoption; major challenges and pain points; stages of adoption, deployment, and maturity of IoT implementations; investment in and utilization of devices, platforms, and services; the decision-making process; and forward- looking plans.

In full, the report:

  • Provides a primer on the basics of the IoT ecosystem
  • Offers forecasts for the IoT moving forward and highlights areas of interest in the coming years
  • Looks at who is and is not adopting the IoT, and why
  • Highlights drivers and challenges facing companies implementing IoT solutions

To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the IoT.

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THE $1,000 PHONE: The huge problem Apple must solve before it launches the new iPhone

iphone gold 6 plusGeorge Frey/Getty Images

  • Analysts are highly optimistic about the next iPhone, which is expected to be a radical reset of the entire line.
  • It’s the 10th anniversary of the device, so there’s a huge amount riding on it.
  • It may cost £1,000 in the UK and $1,000 in the US — sums many shoppers would balk at.
  • These are significant challenges Apple needs to overcome.

Apple is gearing up to launch what may well be the most hotly anticipated smartphone ever.

2017 is the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of the original iPhone. Smartphones and mobile apps have since transformed business and the global economy — propelling Apple to become the world’s most valuable company.

But as the iPhone turns 10, the pressure is on Apple to deliver a genuinely new, innovative phone. People want to see Apple launch a significant new device after several years of merely incremental improvements to iPhone. Rumours are swirling that the California tech company plans to release a special, high-end iPhone alongside the expected “7s” refresh this year, with augmented-reality features.

The prevailing mood among analysts is positive. Some are giddily expecting a “super-cycle” — a massive, record-breaking year for sales, driven by the ever-increasing numbers of older iPhones in the wild that need upgrading and by a particularly compelling product offering this time around.

So a lot is riding on this. And a lot that could go wrong. From pricing risks to hardware costs, Apple has to get several crucial calculations just right.

A radically new design would push up Apple’s costs, squeezing its margins. Apple could protect its margins by raising its prices. Some people think a new, high-end iPhone could retail for over $1,000. (Apple tends to sell its products at about the same number in dollars and pounds, which would make the price £1,000 in the UK). That may restrict sales and would make the rest of Apple’s iPhones look like cheap deals by comparison.

The price of failure is steep. The Apple Watch, for instance, was supposed to open a new category of consumer wearables, but the devices have appealed to only a small niche.

No one wants the Apple Watch of phones.

Business Insider spoke with Gene Munster, a prominent Apple analyst turned venture capital investor at Loup Ventures, to discuss the risks facing Apple this autumn.

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IT’S OFFICIAL: Intel is buying the autonomous-driving company Mobileye for $15.3 billion

A device, part of the Mobileye driving assist system, is seen on the dashboard of a vehicle during a demonstration for the media in Jerusalem October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Baz RatnerMobileye technology.Thomson Reuters

Intel is buying the Israeli autonomous-driving company Mobileye for $63.54 a share in cash, or about $15.3 billion.

Mobileye soared about 30% in premarket trading Monday after the Israeli newspaper Haaretz broke the news.

The Jerusalem-based company develops vision-based driver-assistance tools to provide warnings before collisions.

“Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement.

“Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers.”

Tesla began incorporating Mobileye’s technology into Model S cars in 2015.

In January, it announced it was developing a test fleet of autonomous cars together with BMW and Intel.

Mobileye was cofounded in 1999 by Amnon Shashua, an academic, and Ziv Aviram, who is the CEO. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley took it public in 2014.

Here’s the full press release:

SANTA CLARA, Calif. & JERUSALEM–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and Mobileye N.V. (NYSE: MBLY) today announced a definitive agreement under which Intel would acquire Mobileye, a global leader in the development of computer vision and machine learning, data analysis, localization and mapping for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. Pursuant to the agreement, a subsidiary of Intel will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Mobileye for $63.54 per share in cash, representing an equity value of approximately $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion.

The combination is expected to accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles. Intel estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market opportunity to be up to $70 billion by 2030. This transaction extends Intel’s strategy to invest in data-intensive market opportunities that build on the company’s strengths in computing and connectivity from the cloud, through the network, to the device.

This acquisition will combine the best-in-class technologies from both companies, spanning connectivity, computer vision, data center, sensor fusion, high-performance computing, localization and mapping, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Together with partners and customers, Intel and Mobileye expect to deliver driving solutions that will transform the automotive industry. The combined global autonomous driving organization, which will consist of Mobileye and Intel’s Automated Driving Group, will be headquartered in Israel and led by Prof. Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO. The organization will support both companies’ existing production programs and build upon relationships with automotive OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers and semiconductor partners to develop advanced driving assist, highly autonomous and fully autonomous driving programs. Intel Senior Vice President Doug Davis will oversee the combined organization’s engagement across Intel’s business groups and will report to Prof. Amnon Shashua after the transaction’s closing.

“This acquisition is a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “Intel provides critical foundational technologies for autonomous driving including plotting the car’s path and making real-time driving decisions. Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers. Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers.”

“We expect the growth towards autonomous driving to be transformative. It will provide consumers with safer, more flexible, and less costly transportation options, and provide incremental business model opportunities for our automaker customers,” said Mr. Ziv Aviram, Mobileye Co-Founder, President and CEO. “By pooling together our infrastructure and resources, we can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how in the areas of mapping, virtual driving, simulators, development tool chains, hardware, data centers and high-performance computing platforms. Together, we will provide an attractive value proposition for the automotive industry.”

As cars progress from assisted driving to fully autonomous, they are increasingly becoming data centers on wheels. Intel expects that by 2020, autonomous vehicles will generate 4,000 GB of data per day, which plays to Intel’s strengths in high-performance computing and network connectivity. The complexity and computing power of highly and fully autonomous cars creates large-scale opportunities for high-end Intel® Xeon® processors and high-performance EyeQ®4 and EyeQ®5 SoCs, high-performance FPGAs, memory, high-bandwidth connectivity, and computer vision technology.

Transaction Details and Timing

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Intel’s non-GAAP EPS and free cash flow immediately. Intel intends to fund the acquisition with cash from the balance sheet.

The transaction is expected to close within the next nine months. It has been approved by the Intel and Mobileye Boards of Directors and is subject to the receipt of certain regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. The offer is not subject to any financing conditions.

An Extraordinary General Meeting of Mobileye’s shareholders will be convened in connection with the offer to adopt, among other things, certain resolutions relating to the transaction.

For further information regarding the terms and conditions contained in the definitive agreement, please see Intel’s Current Report on Form 8-K and Mobileye’s Current Report on Form 6-K, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with this transaction. The offer will be described in more detail in a tender offer statement on Schedule TO to be filed by Intel and one or more of its subsidiaries and a solicitation/recommendation statement on Schedule 14D-9 to be filed by Mobileye.

Citi and Rothschild Inc. serve as financial advisors and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP serves as legal counsel to Intel. Raymond James & Associates, Inc. serves as financial advisor and Morrison & Foerster LLP serves as legal counsel to Mobileye.

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Apple is preparing an updated MacBook Pro for later this year

macbook pro Apple

Apple is planning to launch an updated version of the MacBook Pro later this year, according to a new report from Bloomberg ace Mark Gurman.

This updated MacBook Pro could feature a new Apple-designed chip designed for low-power consumption.

Apple designs the primary application processor chip inside of its iPhones, a major competitive advantage that allows Apple’s phones and tablets to boast better performance than Android devices.

Using that expertise from the iPhone, Apple is planning to add more Apple-designed silicon to the Mac, according to the Bloomberg report. The report notes Apple is not planning to dump Intel, which makes the processors for Macs, anytime in the near future, but that a new Apple-made chip might show up in the new version of the MacBook Pro that may release later this year, according to the report.

Instead, the new Apple chip, codenamed T310, will be based on the embedded processor currently used in the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which is used for the computer’s eponymous Touch Bar technology as well as Touch ID. In the new MacBook Pro coming later this year, the new Apple chip could run the laptop’s low-power mode to fetch emails and other data while the computer is asleep, leading to lower power consumption and better battery life.

Apple leadership has implied some of the reason for complaints about Apple’s latest laptops have been related to Intel chip limitations. Apple is also suing its primary mobile silicon partner, Qualcomm, for $1 billion.

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