Weekend tech reading: Startup mines crypto using body heat, Congress trying to define AI

Matthew DeCarlo

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This startup uses body heat to mine crypto – for when robots take our jobs While many love to speculate about the sheer number of jobs that robots and artificial intelligence are going to replace in the near future, no one seems to be coming up with any solid alternatives. One forward-thinking Dutch startup, however, believes humans should start using their bodies to produce capital… but not in the way you’re imagining. The Next Web

Google Brain co-founder teams with Foxconn to bring AI to factories Andrew Ng, co-founder of some of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O)-owned Google’s most prominent artificial intelligence projects, on Thursday launches a new venture with iPhone assembler Foxconn to bring AI and so-called machine learning onto the factory floor. Consumers now experience AI mostly through image recognition to help categorize digital photographs and speech recognition that helps power digital voice assistants... Reuters

US Congress is trying to define what artificial intelligence actually means What is artificial intelligence? We have an answer for you, but apparently it wasn’t good enough for the United States Congress. A new bill (pdf) drafted by senator Maria Cantwell asks the Department of Commerce to establish a committee on artificial intelligence to advise the federal government on how AI should be implemented and regulated. Quartz (also, Artificial intelligence is killing the uncanny valley and our grasp on reality)

Inside China's vast new experiment in social ranking In 2015, when Lazarus Liu moved home to China after studying logistics in the United Kingdom for three years, he quickly noticed that something had changed: Everyone paid for everything with their phones. At McDonald’s, the convenience store, even at mom-and-pop restaurants, his friends in Shanghai used mobile payments. Cash, Liu could see, had been largely replaced by two smartphone apps: Alipay and WeChat Pay. Wired

Metal Gear Solid V - Graphics Study The Metal Gear series achieved world-wide recognition when Metal Gear Solid became a best-seller on the original PlayStationalmost two decades ago. The title introduced many players to the genre of “tactical espionage action”, an expression coined by Hideo Kojima the creator of the franchise. Though in my case the first time I played as Snake wasn’t with this game but with the Ghost Babel spin-off on GBC, a lesser-known but nevertheless excellent title with an impressive depth. Adrian Courrèges

How long before sodium batteries are worth their salt? Today, lithium is the active ingredient in batteries that power smart phones, laptops, and cars. But because of the price of lithium, researchers have been looking for another, more abundant element that could replace it. Several start-ups and established companies have tackled the idea of developing rechargeable batteries in which the active ingredient is sodium, lithium’s neighbor on the periodic table. IEEE Spectrum

Writing a CHIP-8 emulator with Rust and WebAssembly Over the past couple of months I’ve been exploring the potential of WebAssembly; initially looking at compilation options and performance, and more recently the migration of D3 Force Layout to WebAssembly using AssemblyScript. I wanted to try my hand at creating a more complex WebAssembly application, which is why I’ve been spending my evenings working on a CHIP-8 emulator … and learning Rust! Scott Logic

Engineers just unveiled the first-ever design of a complete quantum computer chip Practical quantum computing has been big news this year, with significant advances being made on theoretical and technical frontiers. But one big stumbling block has remained – melding the delicate quantum landscape with the more familiar digital one. This new microprocessor design just might be the solution we need. Science Alert

Estonia, the digital republic Up the Estonian coast, a five-lane highway bends with the path of the sea, then breaks inland, leaving cars to follow a thin road toward the houses at the water’s edge. There is a gated community here, but it is not the usual kind. The gate is low—a picket fence—as if to prevent the dunes from riding up into the street. The entrance is blocked by a railroad-crossing arm, not so much to keep out strangers as to make sure they come with intent. The New Yorker

PepsiCo makes biggest public pre-order of Tesla Semis: 100 trucks PepsiCo Inc has reserved 100 of Tesla Inc’s new electric Semi trucks, the largest known order of the big rig, as the maker of Mountain Dew soda and Doritos chips seeks to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions, a company executive said on Tuesday. Reuters

Army to direct commission cyber officers Within a week or so, the first-ever U.S. Army Cyber Direct Commissioning Program board will meet to select up to five candidates for the first year of a five-year pilot program, said Lt. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone. Nakasone, commander of U.S. Army Cyber Command, discussed the CDCP during a Dec. 6 media roundtable at the Pentagon. He said so far that over 50 applications have already been received. Army.mil

VESA defines new standard to help speed PC industry adoption of high dynamic range technology in laptop and desktop monitor displays The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced it has defined the display industry’s first fully open standard specifying high dynamic range (HDR) quality, including luminance, color gamut, bit depth and rise time, through the release of a test specification. Vesa

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"This startup uses body heat to mine crypto – for when robots take our jobs"
this is matrix all over again