Curating the Internet: Science and technology micro-summaries for August 16, 2019
Autonomous trucks on the road with UPS loads; A computer system for identifying digitally altered IDs; Bitcoin as a geopolitical indicator; The evolutionary reason why cats eat grass; A Steem-based discussion about plans for life if our jobs become obsolete
Whatever gets my attention
Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.
- Autonomous trucks are now moving UPS loads — and it shows that driverless trucks may be just a few years away from disrupting the $800 billion trucking industry - UPS Ventures, the venture capital arm of UPS has purchased a minority share in TuSimple, a self-driving truck startup. The company has a fleet of dozens of trucks hauling loads for Fortune-500 companies in Arizona and Texas, and it began a pilot program hauling shipments for UPS earlier this year. Current UPS loads are relatively small, limited to train cars, but a managing partner from UPS ventures is quoted as saying, "Autonomous technology has the potential to completely shape the industry". TuSimple raised $95 million in February, and says it has the largest fleet of self-driving trucks in the world. Replacing the current fleet of trucks with autonomous vehicles would save the industry $300 billion due to increased 24x7 productivity, but it would eliminate 1.8 million jobs. Due to regulatory and technology obstacles, the transformation is expected to take years, or even decades.
- Two Fraudsters, One Passport - Computers More Accurate than Humans at Detecting Fraudulent Identity Photos - A new study from the University of Lincoln finds that computers can identify fraudulent IDs with digitally altered faces at a rate of 68%, whereas humans scored at about 64% on the same task - after being trained on the particular alteration technology. This suggests that the computer software may be feasible for use as a tool in the recognition of fraudulent identifications. The article adds that recent, unpublished updates make the software far more effective.
- Bitcoin Is a Geopolitical Turmoil Indicator, Says Market Researcher - Noting that Bitcoin was one of the first assets to predict the market turmoil in Hong Kong, market analyst, Nicholas Colas, says that bitcoin is now a "safe haven" asset. Colas also said that because it's new, the volatility will continue, so investors should expect to see continuing patterns where the asset rises and falls dramatically.
- Mystery solved? Why cats eat grass - Scientist suggest that eating grass is a mechanism that evolved in cats in order to trigger the muscles in the digestive track and help them expel harmful gut bacteria. They also recommend that cat owners consider placing some safe plants for cats to chew on inside the house so that they don't ingest a toxic plant outside. h/t RealClear Science
- What Will You Do If Working Becomes Obsolete? - Here's a post where you can join the discussion. @chekohler argues that (i) human jobs are all destined for obsolescence at the point where there is enough data available for AI to take them over; (ii) because of specialization, humans have lost the skills needed for self-sustenance, such as farming. After laying this groundwork, the article goes on to ask for people to discuss their own plans for dealing with obsolescence in the work force. Click through to join the discussion on that post, or post your thoughts here. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @chekohler.)
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