Artificial Intelligence Outperforms Bank/Credit Managers in Deciding Loan Applications

by WZ on March 15, 2011 0 Comments

A company called Wonga.com in Great Britain uses a software algorithm to accept or reject loan applications. The program scours the internet for any information on loan applicants in order to make a decision. Like most AI, Wonga's proprietary software benefits from being cold, clean and unbiased.

This is an interesting story on two counts...first, as an example of the increasing power of software to make intelligence decisions...and second, an illustration to the vast amounts of personal information we probably all have online. 

The company is one of the first to actually use the countless streams of data available to financial institutions in real time. Potential loan applicants basically visit the Wonga site and then choose the amount they wish to borrow and for how long. The maximum borrowing period is 31 days, making these loans analogous somewhat to a credit card loan.

Wonga's loan ...

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Microsoft Unveils Lean Mean Internet Explorer 9 Machine

by WZ on March 15, 2011 0 Comments

I was skeptical when Microsoft announced today they had released IE9. I was fed up with all the ad-friendliness and slow speeds of previous IE versions that I finally switched to Chrome last year. 

I downloaded the new IE9 to give it a spin before posting. I'm fairly impressed. I still think Chrome is faster, but Internet Explorer 9 is probably equal to Firefox now in speed. Plus, the new IE comes with some interesting options, including the ability to limit ads and to disable plugins that slow down searches.

So, I no longer feel Internet Explorer absolutely sucks. I won't say it's the best browser. I still think Chrome holds that title. However, Internet Explorer 9 certainly feels competitive now. Users should be aware though that IE9 is incompatible with Windows XP.

You may read more about IE9 from this article at Cnet.

Researchers Discover How to Hack Cars Remotely With Wireless & Bluetooth

by WZ on March 14, 2011 0 Comments

Researchers from the University of Washington and UCSD have learned how to hijack a modern car's OnStar, Sync or Bluetooth connection to control all of the car's computer functions, including the door locks and the ability to use brakes.

Led by Tadayoshi Kohno (UW) and Stefan Savage (UCSD), the team used a smartphone to hack into the cars, but each phone had to be already paired with system by the car owner or illicitly paired without his/her knowledge.

"We were surprised to find that the attack surface was so broad," Kohno says, referring to the wide variety of ways the researchers were able to gain access to the car's computer systems.

The team analyzed possible attack scenarios as well. For example, they showed that high-tech car thieves could search for desired models of cars, identify their locations, and unlock them, all without any forced entry. They ...

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Latest Kinect Hacks (03/10/2011)

by WZ on March 10, 2011 0 Comments

I've been trying to save Kinect hack updates for Saturday, since its usually a difficult day to find good sci-tech news. But, these were too cool, so I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on them.

I'm sure there will be more. You may always view the latest Kinect hacks at KinectHacks.net and Kinect-Hacks.com.

1) Chris O'Shea allows Kinect users to swap bodies with the previous Kinect users.

2) Evoluce demos their incredible Kinect computer interface with Windows 7.

3) Synaptic Robots develops Kinect control of an ABB industrial robot.

SocialEyes App Allows Facebook Friends to Chat Hollywood Square-Style

by WZ on March 1, 2011 0 Comments

A new Facebook app went online Monday allowing "Friends" to chat en masse in Hollywood Square fashion.  The new mass chatting program claims to be a more civilized version of Chatroulete. The app requires no download, only a login to Facebook.

If you're curious about SocialEyes, you may explore the app at SocialEyes.com or apps.facebook.com/socialeyes.

SocialEyes on Facebook

Argon, 1st Augmented Reality Web Browser Now Available on iPhone

by WZ on February 23, 2011 0 Comments

Augmented Environments has released an Argon iPhone app, a portable web browser that lays graphic content on top of your smartphone's video stream.  Similar to existing translation apps, Argon will allow users to scan their immediate environments to see if any related Internet content exists. For example, if you're visiting New York City, a "Sex and the City" fan may have created a visual guide for you to follow. The company hopes to crowdsource the creation of suitable web content.

Skynet Utterly Crushes Human Resistance on 2nd Day of Jeopardy

by WZ on February 15, 2011 0 Comments

IBM's Watson artificial intelligence steamrolled his mortal opponents in the 2nd round of this 3 day match. Yesterday, was a tie. However, the mellow-voiced supercomputer flabbergasted his human rivals and the host by betting cryptic dollar values, such as $6,435, to which Alex Trebek responded, "I won't ask."

Alas, humankind put up a good fight...now on to world domination. Watch and weep, fellow humans.

Skynet Ties With Puny Human Resistance Fighter On Jeopardy

by WZ on February 15, 2011 0 Comments

IBM's "Watson" artificial intelligence tied with human contestant Brad Rutter on the 1st day of a three-day match on Jeopardy with a score of $5,000. Trailing behind, Ken Jennings finished the 1st round with $2000. Jennings had previously won 74 consecutive Jeopardy matches, as well as beating Watson in the practice match leading up to the face-off. The two men had faced off with Watson previously back in January also.

Watson displayed in impressive knowledge of Beatles songs, but displayed some errors, sometimes repeating wrong answers from the previous players. Unfortunately, the erstwhile A.I. has no ability to hear the human players, so he isn't able to take their incorrect answers into account. I'm sure he would have "terminated" them otherwise.

Watson Jeopardy

JUST AWESOME: Rap Song Teaches You Photoshop

by WZ on February 8, 2011 0 Comments

Lol...This video requires no introduction. And I actually did learn a few things...

1 in 3 Europeans Infected by Computer Viruses Last Year

by WZ on February 8, 2011 0 Comments

The dismal statistics were released by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union. According to reports, one-third of European Internet users caught a computer virus that resulted in some sort of loss, despite over 8 in 10 of them using anti-virus or other protection software. Bulgaria ranked as the most dangerous country for computer users, over half of the computers there had been infected by a virus last year. Ireland and Austria ranked as the safest countries.

European Internet

Skynet Takes 1st Step to World Domination by Cleaning House on "Jeopardy"

by WZ on January 14, 2011 1 Comment

An AI named "Watson" just schooled the two most celebrated human Jeopardy players during an exhibition game. Built by IBM, Watson crushed his feeble fleshy champion-level opponents using 200 million pages of stored content. For those old enough to remember, IBM has a history of pitting man vs machine. Their previous humiliation of humanity came when their supercomputer Deep Blue defeated chess champion Gary Kasparov. 

In all serious though, Watson hasn't performed flawlessly. Watson only buzzes in if he calculates within a certain probability that he knows the answer. On the other hand, the wild and unpredictable humans buzz in, even if they don't know the answer, but "intuit" they can come up with it in the split second it takes the host to phrase the question. Long live the resistance!

Imagining Windows 8

by WZ on January 14, 2011 0 Comments

Yes, folks. We're already starting to talk about the next generation of Windows. Don't worry. Microsoft hasn't announced anything, but apparently Steve Ballmer was hinting at the CES where Microsoft might go next with their operating system. Some of us are quite looking forward to "Windows 8" particularly if this article's predictions come true...that Windows 8 might come with embedded XBox, Kinect-like ability to read body motion from a webcam and a Zune interface.

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