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Latest News 

Asimov’s Laws won’t actually stop robots from harming us, so here’s a better solution

How do you stop a robot from hurting people? Many existing robots, such as those assembling cars in factories, shut down immediately when a human comes near. But this quick fix wouldn’t work for something like a self-driving car that might have to move to avoid a collision, or a care robot that might need to catch an old person if they fall. With robots set to become our servants, companions and co-workers, we need to deal with the increasingly complex situations this will create and the ethical and safety…

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Latest News 

Why we love to talk dirty to Apple’s Siri

“If you say things that are particularly assholeish to Cortana, she will get mad,” Deborah Harrison says. As a writer for Windows’ female-voiced virtual assistant, she should know. At a 2015 tech conference, Harrison told delegates that “a good chunk” of user inquiries were about Cortana’s sex life, something Microsoft was working to curb. And it’s not just Cortana. Siri, Alexa, x.ai’s meeting-schedule bot “Amy” and even traffic update assistant Robin have all been subjected to the sexual advances of their male users. That there’s a market for virtual sex is unsurprising….

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Latest News Science 

DNA barcodes provide a new high-tech tool for environmentalists

Editor’s note: Canada Day 2017 marks the sesquicentennial of Confederation. While the anniversary is a chance to reflect on the past, The Conversation Canada asked some of our academic authors to imagine what our world will be like in 2167 – or “Canada +150”. Scientist Robert Hanner looks at how an emerging technology of today will be part of our everyday life in the next century. A Canadian technology that can identify a substance by scanning it — as a character in Star Trek might — could become a crucial…

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Business Latest News 

Why robots may soon steal all manufacturing jobs – but it’s not all bad news

Robots have been taking our jobs since the 1960s. So why are politicians and business leaders only now becoming so worried about robots causing mass unemployment? It comes down to the question of what a robot really is. While science fiction has often portrayed robots as androids carrying out tasks in the much the same way as humans, the reality is that robots take much more specialised forms. Traditional 20th century robots were automated machines and robotic arms building cars in factories. Commercial 21st century robots are supermarket self-checkouts, automated…

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Latest News 

How the death industry is going digital

On Friday, November 11, scores of Facebook users logged into their accounts to find that they were dead. With the simple addition of the word “Remembering,” placed in front of a name along the top of the that user’s profile page, their accounts became memorials, with banners along the top urging users who were friends with the deceased to use the page as a space to “remember and celebrate [their] life.” But, of course, these people weren’t dead — just the victims of a bug that Facebook quickly fixed. Meanwhile, it gave…

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