Silent speech 🤐 Memory fidelity 🧠 Cloud spin-off ☁️!

Technology News


UC Berkeley researchers detect ‘silent speech’ with electrodes and AI

Researchers say they are the first to train AI using using silently mouthed words and sensors that collect muscle activity. Silent speech is detected using electromyography (EMG), with electrodes placed on the face and throat. The model focuses on what researchers call digital voicing to predict words and generate synthetic speech. Researchers believe their method can enable a number of applications for people who are unable to produce audible speech. “Such a device could also be useful in settings where the environment is too loud to capture audible speech or where maintaining silence is important.”

Fujifilm turned its flagship camera into an infrared forensics tool

Fujifilm has unveiled a special infrared version of the 100-megapixel, medium-format GFX100 designed for “forensic, scientific and cultural preservation applications.” The GFX100 IR can be used for purposes like identifying counterfeit documents or analyzing pigments in paintings or historical documents. By using different IR filters in front of the lens, photographers can tap different wavelengths of light to reveal hidden details. On top of the new model, Fujfilm also unveiled firmware for the GFX100 that introduces a new feature called the Pixel Shift Combiner. It combines 16 RAW images into a single 400-megapixel image.

Science News


Memories of Past Events Retain Remarkable Fidelity Even as We Age

Scientists studying the complex relationship between aging and memory have found that in a controlled experiment, people can remember the details about past events with a surprising 94% accuracy, even accounting for age. The results showed that participants’ accuracy was high in both cases, though, as expected, the number of details they remembered decreased with age and time. At best, they recalled about 25% of their experience. “These results are surprising to many, given the general pessimism about memory accuracy among scientists and the prevalent idea that memory for one-time events is not to be trusted.”

Why experiences are better gifts for older children

As children get older, giving them something they can experience (live through) instead of material things makes them happier, according to new research. The team demonstrated that children ages 3–12 derive more happiness from material things than from experiences. However, older children derive more happiness from their experiences than from their possessions. Since memory is developed over time, it’s likely that children may not derive as much happiness from past experiences as from possessions. But with age, creating new memories and exploring new interests may be far more valuable than acquiring new possessions.

Business News


IBM Planning 10,000 Job Cuts in Europe Ahead of Unit Sale

IBM is planning to cut about 10,000 jobs in Europe in an attempt to lower costs at its slow-growth services unit and prepare the business for a spinoff. The U.K. and Germany are set to be most impacted, with cuts also planned in Poland, Slovakia, Italy and Belgium. “Our staffing decisions are made to provide the best support to our customers in adopting an open hybrid cloud platform and AI capabilities.” Hardest hit will be IBM’s legacy IT services business, which handles day-to-day infrastructure operations, such as managing client data centers and traditional information-technology support for installing, operating and repairing equipment.

Cannabis stocks are soaring again

Shares of major cannabis stocks are soaring once again following the news that Joe Biden’s transition has formally begun. The uptick is fueled by expectations that the incoming administration will loosen regulations, as well as more US states legalizing sales of recreational marijuana. Despite the optimism, the industry faces roadblocks at the federal level, especially if Republicans maintain their Senate majority. That’s bad for the industry, as leaders say there is an urgency to address key regulatory gaps for businesses that operate within state-legal systems despite trading a federally illicit product.

Miscellaneous News


1% of farms operate 70% of world’s farmland

One per cent of the world’s farms operate 70% of crop fields, ranches and orchards, according to a report that highlights the impact of land inequality on the climate and nature crises. Since the 1980s, researchers found control over the land has become far more concentrated both directly through ownership and indirectly through contract farming, which results in more destructive monocultures and fewer carefully tended smallholdings. Landlessness was lowest in China and Vietnam, and highest in Latin America, where the poorest 50% of people owned just 1% of the land.

Jay-Z to be new cannabis company’s ‘chief visionary officer’

US rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z has been named “chief visionary officer” of a major new cannabis company. Jay-Z will guide TPCO’s brand strategy and enlist other “leading artists and entertainers” to promote the business. He will also lead its investments in black and minority-owned cannabis firms and its initiatives to “rectify the wrongs” done when the drug was illegal. The company said that would include “working toward meaningful change in the criminal justice system” and helping people convicted of cannabis-related offences with training and job placements.

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