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Robots could make the UK over £200 billion richer by 2030

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could boost UK gross domestic product by around 10% by 2030, according to a new report by PwC.

Gains will be made largely through increasing product choice and consumer demand, the growing personalisation of products and their increased affordability over time.

Such a rise in gross domestic product (GDP) is the equivalent of roughly £232 billion ($297.34 billion). Meanwhile, the report predicts, global GDP could receive a boost of 14% by 2030, equivalent to about $15.7 trillion (£12.25 trillion), making AI the “biggest commercial opportunity” in the economy today.

In recent years, the fear of automation and the threat that AIs — or ‘robots’ — could pose to jobs has increased. But PwC says increased labour productivity is likely to have a lesser impact on GDP than might be expected.

Much of the focus on AI to date has been on the impact that increased automation of tasks will have on jobs,” says Jonathan Gillham, economist at PwC.

While we expect that the nature of jobs will change and that some will be susceptible to automation, our research shows that the boost to UK GDP that AI-driven products and services will bring will also generate significant offsetting job gains, as well as boosting average real wage levels,” he says.

AI is the collective term for computer systems that can sense their environment, learn, think and take action in response to what they sense. Some AIs are designed to work in collaboration with humans, by making part of a task simpler or faster, while some are designed to replace humans and allow an entire process to be automated.

Here is a chart of expected GDP growth:

Global GDP impact by effect of AI (£trillion)

The research shows that gains from increased productivity will be felt before those from consumption-led benefits, as new products are gradually developed and come onto the market, and the AI consumer sector becomes more competitive.

The greatest economic benefits of AI are predicted to be felt in China, which could see a boost to its GDP of up to 26% by 2030. The sectors expected to be most likely to benefit are retail, financial services, and healthcare.

“No sector or business is immune from the impact of AI. That’s why it’s so important for the UK to place itself at the forefront of the AI revolution and create the right environment for existing and new businesses to innovate and make the most of the product, productivity and wage benefits that this technology can bring,” says Euan Cameron, UK AI leader at PwC.

Which regions gain the most from AI?

 

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Victims of the global cyberattack have paid $9,000 so far but can't get their files back

broken mac computer smashed screen bin hacking security

Victims of the ongoing Petya cyberattack have paid £7,064 ($9,000) in Bitcoin to hackers so far to try and get their files back — but they won’t have much luck.

The cyberattack broke out on Tuesday, impacting the Ukrainian government and banks, then spreading to a Russian oil company, advertising firm WPP, and other companies around the world. The attack takes the form of ransomware, malicious software that encrypts a user’s files, then demands a payment in Bitcoin in exchange for decryption.

Victims posted screenshots of messages showing up on their computer screens, instructing them to send $300 worth of Bitcoin to a Bitcoin wallet address. They were also told to send their own Bitcoin wallet ID and “personal installation key”, a unique identifier generated by the ransomware, to a dedicated email address.

According to Blockchain.info, which shows Bitcoin transaction data, there have been 36 payments to that Bitcoin address to date.

Ukraine ransomware

But the operator behind that email address, German firm Posteo, swiftly blocked access to that mailbox. The company said on Tuesday that people couldn’t email the address, nor could hackers access it. That means hackers can’t check who has paid them, nor can they release the key needed to decrypt a specific victim’s files.

In short: Anyone who has paid the ransom is out of luck.

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Security startup Cloudflare has a plan to fund other startups

CloudFlare founders

Cloudflare, the Google-backed startup that protects websites from cyber attacks and speeds up website performance, wants to give app developers a way to reach its customers.

And it’s launching a $100 million fund to jumpstart the effort.

On Tuesday, the company opened up its network to third-party developers with the launch of the Cloudflare Apps Platform.

The 6 million users on the Cloudflare network will soon be able to add a diverse array of widgets and tools to their webpages without diving into anything technical. The platform launched with a total of 50 apps, including new additions from Twitter, Pinterest, Zendesk and VigLink. 

“What we realized is that not every good idea is going to come from a full-time employee at Cloudflare,” said Matthew Prince, CEO at Cloudflare. “From our perspective, it adds additional rich features to our network, which makes our network more rich to our customers.”

While the meat of the platform came out of Cloudflare’s December acquisition of Eager, a user-friendly tool that adds plugins to websites, it’s all part of a greater vision that Prince has for Cloudflare. Prince said he can imagine a future in which Cloudflare’s apps are as disruptive as Java or Apple, creating a new generation of applications that run on networks instead of devices. 

“On the network—where power is cheap and bountiful,” Prince said.

apple iphone 7Despite this vision, Prince said that Cloudflare isn’t in competition with the App Store or Google Play—popular apps like Uber and Yelp pass through the Cloudflare network as it stands.

Instead, the Cloudflare Apps Platform is really a way for developers to reach large audiences by creating new web tools for existing websites. Many of these will look like the classic in house tools that Cloudflare is known for, such as an image optimization tool that automatically resizes images to fit different devices; or a network optimization application that keeps things speedy.

The newly added Pinterest app, for example, allows users to right click on any given image on a website and save it to a Pinterest board. If you’re one of the 6 million users running a website through Cloudflare, you can add this feature to your website without changing a line of code.

But if you’re a developer and the audience isn’t enough, how about a chuck of the company’s $100 million developer fund?

Following similar innovation drives in the early days of Java and the App Store, Cloudflare has partnered with three VC investors—New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Venrock, and Pelion Venture Partners—who will fund $100 million in development projects, at their own discretion. 

SEE ALSO: American Airlines looks to the IBM Cloud to end travel hell

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Other companies should look at themselves before judging Uber, says early investor Ashton Kutcher

ashton kutcher

Uber has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons — an investigation into the $69 billion company’s allegedly toxic culture resulted in 20 employees losing their jobs and, ultimately, the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick.

Some have taken the changes at Uber as a positive sign that Silicon Valley is growing past its “tech-bro” image

But not Ashton Kutcher. The Hollywood star and early Uber investor thinks the ride-hailing company isn’t being treated fairly.

“How did Uber become the poster child for a problem everyone’s facing?” Kutcher said Monday evening while on stage at an event called “Tech for Good.”

In addition to being an actor and a philanthropist — he co-founded Thorn, which fights against child sexual abuse — Kutcher is also a prolific investor in early-stage startups. The “Tech for Good” event, for example, was hosted by MemSQL, a data analytics firm that counts Kutcher among its backers. 

To Kutcher’s mind, there’s nothing extraordinary about what’s happening at Uber. Systemic sexism and “bro” culture are common at lots of American companies, he said. Yet it’s Uber that’s become a cautionary tale. 

“It’s funny that Uber gets placed on this pedestal and whipped,” Kutcher said. 

travis kalanick uber

Instead of gawking at Uber and what it’s going through, other companies ought to use its experience to spur them to find ways to examine and improve their own cultures, Kutcher said. 

“We all get to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “[Uber hasn’t] had that chance yet.” 

Kutcher’s comments Monday night echoed those he made on the Howard Stern Show last week. On Stern’s show, he expressed support for Kalanick, who resigned earlier this month.

“I know his intent as a human is good,” Kutcher said on the show, referring to Kalanick. “I don’t know that removing him was the best answer.”

SEE ALSO: Uber’s bad year: The stunning string of blows that upended the world’s most valuable startup

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NOW WATCH: Travis Kalanick’s resignation as CEO of Uber comes after a firestorm of scandals

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Facebook easily coasted to 2 billion users, but the joy ride may be coming to an end (FB)

Mark Zuckerberg Aquila

In a way, getting to 2 billion users was easy for Facebook.

The social network’s growth has been on a steady and unstoppable climb for the past decade. Facebook’s strength has always been its ubiquity — everyone uses it because everyone uses it.

But now that Facebook is used by roughly two-thirds of the world’s population with internet access, its days of easy growth are nearing an end.

And the powerful financial engine that has propelled its stock to all-time highs could start to sputter.

It won’t happen overnight.

If the roughly 1.5 billion people who already have internet access but don’t use Facebook can be brought onboard, Facebook will be well on its way to the 4 billion user mark. But a good chunk of those users are in China, where Facebook is currently blocked. That means Facebook will have to display some astute diplomacy, or compromise some of its values about free speech and open information, to make it happen.

After that, Facebook will have to convert poorer, non-internet-connected people into users that it can monetize through advertising.

That’s problematic for a couple of reasons.

To put the challenge into perspective, here’s the revenue Facebook made per user geography last quarter:

Screen Shot 2017 06 27 at 5.03.26 PM

Notice how the lion’s share of revenue comes from North America, Europe, and Asia — the regions of the world with the highest concentration of internet-connected people.

These internet addicts (American consumers spend an average of 5 hours a day on their mobile devices, according to one report) are the ideal audience for the companies that advertise on Facebook. A Facebook user in North America or in Europe has a decent amount of disposable income to spend on consumer goods compared to someone in the developing world.

Building roads and highways

But the next group of prospective Facebook users won’t be nearly as lucrative to the company. And Facebook will have to spend more money to reach them.

Facebook knows that it will eventually hit the limit of people in the world with internet access. That’s why it’s building drones to beam internet access down to Sub-Saharan Africa, subsidizing WiFi stations in India, and paying telecoms to offer Facebook in rural areas.

These kinds of things are not cheap. Facebook’s capital expenditures increased to $4.5 billion in 2016, compared to $1.83 billion two years earlier. 

Facebook doesn’t disclose its cost to acquire a new user. But it’s probably not a stretch to assume that whatever the number is, it will increase as the company is forced to invest more on building the infrastructure itself to acquire the users.

In other words, Facebook’s future involves spending more money to amass less valuable users.

SEE ALSO: Here’s where Facebook’s first 20 employees are now

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Nvidia's new TensorRT speeds machine learning predictions

Nvidia has released a new version of TensorRT, a runtime system for serving inferences using deep learning models through Nvidia’s own GPUs.

Inferences, or predictions made from a trained model, can be served from either CPUs or GPUs. Serving inferences from GPUs is part of Nvidia’s strategy to get greater adoption of its processors, countering what AMD is doing to break Nvidia’s stranglehold on the machine learning GPU market.

Nvidia claims the GPU-based TensorRT is better across the board for inferencing than CPU-only approaches. One of Nvidia’s proffered benchmarks, the AlexNet image classification test under the Caffe framework, claims TensorRT to be 42 times faster than a CPU-only version of the same test — 16,041 images per second vs. 374—when run on Nvidia’s Tesla P40 processor. (Always take industry benchmarks with a grain of salt.)

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Cumulative Update rolling out to Insiders in Slow ring

Hello Windows Insiders,

If you are in the Slow ring, we’ve released KB4022716 to keep you up to date with the latest Windows 10 Creators Update fixes as we prepare to release a new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update build in the coming weeks. As a result of receiving this update, your PC will be required to reboot to complete the update.

With the forth coming release of a new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update build to the Slow ring, we are testing a new update targeting framework and will be delivering the build in staggered phases. This will simulate the rollout process we use when we release major Windows 10 feature updates to retail customers.

When we release a new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update build to Insiders in the Slow ring, they can wait to be targeted to install the new build, or instead of waiting Insiders can manually check for updates via Windows Update to get the new build. We know this is different from our usual “everyone at once” model to the WIP rings, however this testing will provide invaluable insights to ensure this new targeting framework is functioning as expected.

We thank you for your patience while we complete this testing!

Keep hustling team,
Dona <3

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Dating apps are embracing video

 Dating apps are, in their own way, a form of social networking – especially as they expand into new areas like friend-finding or professional networking. So it only makes sense that they would adopt video as well, given the growing popularity of the format on social apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as the industry’s larger embrace of “Stories” as a… Read More

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Virtual reality gets smelly thanks to this Japanese startup

Vaqso headset

The smell of freshly baked cookies or cut grass can elicit strong memories. A Japanese startup is using that insight to try to make virtual reality an even more immersive experience.

Tokyo based Vaqso has designed an odor emitting attachment for VR headsets. About the size and shape of a candy bar, the device has space for up to three different odors and comes with a fan that can change the intensity of the smell based on what is happening on the screen. 

The startup raised $600,000 this week in a seed round from Japanese venture capital firm Weru Investment to continue development of the gadget, which works with Facebook’s Oculus, HTC’s Vive and the PlayStation VR headsets.

The company is hoping to work with advertising, movie and games companies to tie its scent technology into their products. Using a plugin designed by the startup, developers can insert a command into their games that will instruct the Vaqso device to release a scent at certain moments in the action. If you were to karate chop through a wall while playing a Vaqso connected game, you could potentially smell the rubble.

 

Incorporating smells into virtual experiences has a long history. In the 1950s Hans Laube pioneered Smell-O-Vision; a technique that released smells in movie theaters in time with the action. Sadly for Laube, the idea never took off, but companies have been toying with the idea for awhile. You might remember the Got Milk? bus station ad that gave off the smell of cookies that was promptly taken down after San Francisco residents made it clear they were not interested. 

Vaqso founder Kentaro Kawaguchi has a history with selling smells. He was previously involved in Zaaz, a company that worked with incorporating scents into restaurant promotions. 

Vaqso isn’t the only organization looking to connect scent delivery with virtual reality. The Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford is studying VR’s influence on perceptions of food. And projects like Birdy combine scent, touch and VR to turn users into birds (minus the feathers).

SEE ALSO: You can now tell Amazon’s Alexa to make your home smell better — here’s how

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The GOP healthcare fight is creating a lot of uncertainty around health startups that flourished under Obamacare

U.S. President Donald Trump (C) gathers with Congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden of the White House after the House of Representatives approved the American Healthcare Act, to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, in Washington, U.S., May 4, 2017. - RTS157RI

Senate Republicans released their version of a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare last week, and it, like the one passed by the House of Representatives, could have a major effect on health tech companies started in recent years.

The Senate’s plan, like the one passed by the House in May, dismantles many of the provisions of Obamacare, as well cutting funding to the Medicaid program.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the plan — titled the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) — would result in 22 million fewer people insured by 2026 than the current healthcare system.

A number of health-tech startups established their businesses under the healthcare rules and environment created by the Affordable Care Act, the law otherwise known as Obamacare. If either the Senate or the House bills pass, it could drastically affect how they operate.

Here’s what’s at stake

Oscar Center

Healthify, a startup that works with people on Medicaid and Medicare, got its start in 2015 and now works in 30 states. The company uses technology to identify social determinants of health and works with Accountable Care Organizations (networks of doctors and hospitals that share responsibility for your healthcare) to connect patients to everything from housing and food to day care and transportation to improve overall health. ACOs are an integral part of the ACA.

Healthify CEO Manik Bhat told Business Insider that the healthcare reform will put undue pressure on vulnerable people as well as the states to fund these programs that connect people to healthcare.

Medicaid, which Healthify works extensively with, covers more than 74 million Americans, including low-income people, families, and kids, as well as pregnant women, people with disabilities, and the elderly. CBO estimates project cuts up to $772 billion over the next decade for the Senate bill and $880 billion for the House bill. That would leave states — which also fund the program — with fewer resources to cover those populations.

Quartet Health is a behavioral health startup founded in 2014 that uses data to connect a patient’s primary care doctors with his or her mental health professionals to identify co-occurring or related issues.

CEO Arun Gupta, told Business Insider that the ACA helped create an environment based around the healthcare outcomes patients actually get that helped the company flourish.

The ACA, and a predecessor piece of legislation, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, provided the foundation that the company is built on. The two laws established that health plans must provide equal benefits for mental health conditions that they do for other medical conditions.

Both the AHCA and the BCRA provide states the opportunity to waive some of the “essential health benefits” that healthcare plans must cover, of which mental health coverage is one. However, that would only affect plans in the individual market and Medicaid, not group insurance, which is covered under the 2008 law. 

Because of that, the GOP’s healthcare efforts will likely not have a direct impact on Quartet, Gupta said, though changes to the EHBs, which would happen on state-by-state basis, would affect many of the patients that Quartet works with.

“The train’s left the station on this movement to integrate behavioral healthcare and to reconnect the body and mind and all that, but I think it’d be very sad for people,” Gupta said. “They’re called essential health benefits for a reason.”

Not covering preventative healthcare, according to Gupta, ends up costing patients and society as a whole a lot more in the long run. 

The uncertainty around the national policy, Gupta added, has also led to a standstill for health insurers and providers, which leads to indecision in an already slow-moving sector when it comes to adopting new healthcare programs and technologies.

Oscar Health, the $2.7 billion health insurance startup founded in 2012 by Jared Kushner’s brother, Joshua, is perhaps the health-tech startup most directly intertwined with the ACA. It was created to sell individual market plans under Obamacare. If either the House or Senate bills become law, it could drastically upend the individual exchanges where Oscar derives most of its customers from.

But instead of shying away, the company has been doubling down by expanding its coverage areas in the past few weeks. Alan Warren, Oscar’s chief technology officer told Business Insider in June that the company’s been seeing positive signals. “We’re seeing things stabilize,” he said. 

“We’re confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018,” Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser said in a blog post around the same time. 

SEE ALSO: Medicaid cuts in the Senate healthcare bill are going to hit some states hard – here’s who will feel it

DON’T MISS: Senate Republicans just released a significant change to their healthcare bill

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