Apples latest hire might help burnish its AI image

first_img Sprint Tags $999 See All $999 Best Buy $999 See It See It Google Siri Apple See it $999 See It Mobile Tech Industry Culture Apple iPhone XS Boost Mobile Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Apple Apple’s pushing further into AI. Getty Images The next time you think of Apple and artificial intelligence, it might be about more than how frustrating Siri can be.The tech giant poached Ian Goodfellow, a high-profile scientist in the artificial intelligence world, from Google last month. CNBC spotted the move when Goodfellow, who helped invent a new approach to the technology, updated his LinkedIn page to indicate he’s working as Apple’s “director of machine learning” at its secretive “Special Projects” group.Goodfellow isn’t the only big-name hire Apple’s poached from Google. Last year, the company lured John Giannandrea away from its rival, where he’d been the head of search. At Apple, Giannandrea handles Siri, as well as its machine learning technology for app developers.”Machine learning and AI are important to Apple’s future as they are fundamentally changing the way people interact with technology, and already helping our customers live better lives,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement last year, when promoting Giannandrea to senior vice president of machine learning and artificial intelligence strategy.Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment about Goodfellow.The hires are the latest signs Apple is pushing more heavily into the world of AI, where it isn’t broadly viewed as a leader the way Google and Facebook are. AI is increasingly seen as a key to a new way of computing that will allow machines to identify people in video feeds, drive our cars and anticipate our schedules.Apple’s Siri was one of the first voice assistants offered to the public when it was released in 2011. But it’s struggled to keep up with a growing list of competitors.Amazon’s Alexa, for example, has stood out as an easy way to connect with smart appliances, such as light switches, security systems and even your car. Meanwhile, Google’s made waves turning its assistant into a live language translator. Its Duplex feature helps people schedule appointments by calling businesses and negotiating appointment times for you. Facebook’s AI is being used to more quickly identify extremism and bad behavior. And Microsoft built its AI into an app to help the blind by describing anything a phone’s camera is pointed at.Apple “saw Siri as a feature rather than a platform,” said Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi. One example, she said, is that Apple’s Siri works better on her iPhone because it has access to apps and information she keeps on it. But Siri isn’t as good on Apple’s $299 HomePod speaker because the company hasn’t created robust ways for its assistant to send information between her phone and other Siri-powered devices. Apple’s latest hirings and announcements suggest the company is now taking AI technologies like Siri more seriously, she added. “There is no question in my mind that Apple is either rethinking Siri or accelerating its effort,” she said.More intelligenceA12 Bionic  apple-event-091218Apple pitched the AI smarts as a major feature of its A12 Bionic chip for the iPhone and iPad. James Martin/CNET When people think of Apple AI, they typically think of Siri. But there are other AI efforts underway.For example, the company’s A12 Bionic chip, which powers the $999 iPhone XS and latest $799 iPad Pro, includes a “neural engine.” Apple says the engine bolsters the photos you take and the games you play. It also helps the device do a better job with augmented reality, which overlays computer images like a photo filter on the real world.Those technologies extend to the software powering Apple’s iPhone too. Apple said artificial intelligence technologies help to power its Face ID, which identifies you with a sensor in order to unlock your phone.Silicon Valley’s churnApple’s high profile hires aren’t happening in a vacuum. There’s constant churn between Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon and the many startups that dot the San Francisco Bay Area and the larger West Coast. It’s likely helped Apple that Google, in particular, has been criticized for its AI efforts. Last year, the search giant’s employees protested against Google’s involvement in Project Maven, a Pentagon initiative to use AI to improve the analysis of drone footage. And last month, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Google’s AI work in China is “indirectly benefiting the Chinese military.”google-home-assistant-1353-3Google’s AI tech gets attention, but also courts controversy. James Martin/CNET Analysts say high profile poachings, like Apple’s with Giannandrea and Goodfellow, also help the company with further recruiting because big names often act as a magnet drawing their colleagues from one company to another.Another way Apple can bulk up its efforts is with acquisitions. Apple was said to have bought an AI-powered voice startup called PullString in February, for example. Purchases like that typically come with new intellectual property (IP), in the form of new apps, code and patents. Cook said last month that Apple purchased 18 companies in 2018.”We’re constantly on the market looking for great IP and fantastic people,” Cook said at the time. “We’re very confident about our future.”CNET’s Richard Nieva contributed to this report. Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR 4 Share your voice Comments Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it reading • Apple’s latest hire might help burnish its AI image •last_img read more


BSF tortures 2 Bangladeshis in Rajshahi

first_imgMap of RajshahiMembers of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) picked up two Bangladeshi fishermen from Padma river along Khorchaka border in Godagari upazila in Rajshahi and beat them up mercilessly early Tuesday, reports UNB.The victims are Mizanur Rahman alias Mizan, 26, son of late Shahajan Ali and Nishan Ali, 23, son of Rasul Ali, residents of Biyanabona village under Dewpara union of the upazila.Mizan and Nishan went to fishing in the Padma river along Khorchaka border in the upazila on Monday midnight.BSF members picked them up from their boat around 2:00am on Tuesday and beat them up with sticks and rifles, said BGB. The BSF, later, released them on Wednesday morning and locals rescued them. They were taken to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, said Moyeen Ali, the younger brother of victim Mizan.A team of BGB was sent to the hospital after hearing the incident, said lieutenant colonel Iftekhar Shamim Al Masud, commanding-officer of Border Guard Bangladesh Battalion -1, adding that a letter will be sent to the BSF protesting against the torture of Bangladeshis.last_img read more


Sessions Pushes To Speed Up Immigration Courts Deportations

first_img Share Manuel Balce Ceneta/APAttorney General Jeff Sessions at a roundtable meeting on sanctuary cities hosted by President Trump earlier this monthThe Trump administration has been trying to ramp up deportations of immigrants in the country illegally. But one thing has been standing in its way: Immigration judges often put these cases on hold.Now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering overruling the judges.One practice that is particularly infuriating to Sessions and other immigration hard-liners is called administrative closure. It allows judges to put deportation proceedings on hold indefinitely.“Basically they have legalized the person who was coming to court, because they were illegally in the country,” Sessions said during a speech in December.Sessions is using his authority over the immigration court system to review a number of judicial decisions. If he overturns those decisions, thousands of other cases could be affected. In this way, he is expected to end administrative closure, or scale it back.The attorney general may also limit when judges can grant continuances and who qualifies for asylum in the United States.This could reshape the nation’s immigration courts, which are overseen by the Justice Department, and make them move faster. Sessions says he is trying to clear a massive backlog of cases that is clogging the docket.But critics say he is weighing changes that would threaten the due process rights of immigrants, and the integrity of immigration courts.“What he wants is an immigration court system which is rapid, and leads to lots of deportations,” said Nancy Morawetz, who teaches the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law.“It’s really just an unprecedented move by the attorney general to change the way the whole system works,” she said.It’s rare for an attorney general to exercise this power, but Sessions has done it four times in the past three months.Separately, for the first time, the Justice Department is setting quotas for immigration judges, pushing them to resolve cases quickly in order to meet performance standards.It’s not just immigration lawyers who are worried about the effect of any changes. The union that represents immigration judges is concerned, too.“A lot of what they are doing raises very serious concerns about the integrity of the system,” said Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, “judges are supposed to be free from these external pressures.”The attorney general insists he’s trying to make sure that judges are deciding cases “fairly and efficiently.” And says he is trying to clear a backlog of nearly 700,000 cases.That is in addition to the hundreds of thousands of cases in administrative closure. Nearly 200,000 immigration cases have been put on hold in this way in the past five years alone.“Far and away, administrative closure was being abused,” said Andrew Arthur, a former immigration judge who is now a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for lower levels of immigration.He says many of those cases should have ended in deportation. “But rather than actually going through that process, the Obama administration simply administratively closed them. And took them off the docket to be forgotten,” he said.Sessions has chosen to personally review the case of an undocumented immigrant named Reynaldo Castro-Tum who didn’t show up for his removal hearing. The judge wondered whether the man ever got the notice to appear in court and put his deportation proceedings on hold.In a legal filing in January, Sessions asked whether judges have the authority to order administrative closure and under what circumstances.Immigration lawyers and judges say there are legitimate reasons to administratively close a case. For instance, some immigrants are waiting for a final decision on visa or green card applications.There is a backlog for those applications, too. They’re granted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is separate from immigration court. And that can take months, if not years.Immigration lawyers and judges are worried that undocumented immigrants could be deported in the meantime.“You know this is not the private sector where you pay extra money and you can get it done in two days,” said Cheryl David, an immigration lawyer in New York.David represents hundreds of undocumented immigrants who are facing deportation. She often asks judges to put the proceedings on hold.“It gives our clients some wiggle room to try and move forward on applications,” she said. “These are human beings, they’re not files.”Immigration lawyers say these changes could affect immigrants across the country.Brenda DeLeon has applied for a special visa for crime victims who are undocumented. She says her boyfriend beat her up, and she went to the police.She came to the U.S. illegally from El Salvador in 2015, fleeing gang violence, and settled in North Carolina.“If I go back, then my life is in danger,” DeLeon said through a translator. “And not only mine, but my children’s lives too.”For now, a judge has put DeLeon’s deportation case on hold while she waits for an answer on her visa application.Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more


BaltimoreLink Is Here

first_imgIn October 2015, Governor Larry Hogan announced BaltimoreLink, a transformative project to convert the existing antiquated transit lines in Baltimore City into a true transit system, operated by the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA). After 19 months of preparation and the implementation of earlier phases—such as Express BusLink and dedicated bus lanes—MDOT MTA rolled out BaltimoreLink June 18. More than 3,000 dedicated employees have worked hard to make sure the transition to the new system goes as smoothly as possible and is delivered with our usual world-class customer service.BaltimoreLink (YouTube)On June 19, many of our customers experienced the new high-frequency CityLink routes and the improved connectivity of our system for the first time. MDOT MTA had hundreds of transit ambassadors on the streets during the first days of BaltimoreLink—providing information on new routes and new bus stops and answering all of your questions as part of our commitment to keeping the public informed. We had maintenance teams working on all bus routes, so your ride home was as comfortable and clutter-free as your morning commute. And, the MDOT MTA Police Force deployed officers on our bus system to make sure your trip was safe and secure.MDOT MTA’s leadership team is directly involved with delivering BaltimoreLink to our citizens. Our top managers have personally committed to riding the CityLink lines during the first weeks of service to make sure it is delivering the frequent, predictable and efficient service we’ve promised. We have added staff in our customer call center and have trained our drivers on all the new routes. And, we’ve been communicating with customers, neighborhood groups, businesses and elected officials to make sure as many people as possible know the benefits BaltimoreLink will bring to our city and our region by connecting people to jobs and easing traffic congestion.As an incentive to get as many Baltimoreans as possible to try the new BaltimoreLink service, MDOT MTA is offering two weeks of free transit rides through June 30. Free rides will be offered on Local Bus, Express Bus, Light Rail and Metro Subway. During the free fare period, June monthly passes and all CharmCard 31-day passes will be half-price. These reduced fare passes can be purchased through June 24. Half-price fares will be offered at all MDOT MTA ticket vending machines, through online ticket sales, at the MDOT MTA Transit Store and at all walk-in MDOT MTA ticket vendors.If you haven’t ridden in a while, or are a new MDOT MTA rider, please take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to try our improved service free of charge. Leave your car at home and experience the ease and convenience of public transit. We’re confident our 12 high-frequency CityLink routes and our interconnected LocalLink bus network—supported by existing improvements like dedicated bus lanes and transit signal priority on key routes—will make a difference in your daily commute and in the quality of life in our region. The Hogan Administration promised a transformative transit network and we are delivering. Come and ride with us for free for the first two weeks and we are sure you’ll be using MDOT MTA this summer and beyond.Kevin Quinn is the Acting Administrator of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration.last_img read more