Tech News Feed

University of Alabama Pauses IVF Services After Court Embryo Ruling

SlashDot - Wed, 2024-02-21 20:30
Following a recent ruling from the state supreme court, the University of Alabama at Birmingham health system said it is pausing all in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments for fear of criminal prosecution or punitive damages. On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are "children," entitled to full personhood rights, and anyone who destroys them could be liable in a wrongful death case. The Hill reports: "We are saddened that this will impact our patients' attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments," the health system said. [...] It is standard practice in IVF to fertilize several eggs and then transfer one into a woman's uterus. Any remaining normally developing embryos can be, at the patient's request and consent, frozen for later use. But legal experts say it's unclear if the standard practice is illegal in Alabama and could make IVF virtually inaccessible in the state. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the best-developing embryo will be transferred into a patient for an attempt at a pregnancy while the rest are frozen for later use, in case the first one does not develop into a live birth, or the patient later desires another child. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 238,126 patients underwent IVF treatment in 2021, resulting in the births of 97,128 babies, the last year for which statistics were available. There are 453 IVF clinics nationwide.

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Rivian is laying off 10 percent of its salaried employees

Engadget - Wed, 2024-02-21 20:04

Electric car maker Rivian announced on Wednesday that it’s laying off 10 percent of its salaried workforce to cut costs after facing a quarterly loss. The Amazon-backed company reported that it lost $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023 and said that it expects to build 57,000 electric vehicles in 2024, the same number it built last year.

“Our business is facing a challenging macroeconomic environment — including historically high interest rates and geopolitical uncertainty — and we need to make purposeful changes now to ensure our promising future,” Rivian’s founder and CEO RJ Scaringe wrote to employees in an email, CNN reported. "We must strategically prioritize our growth areas of the business, including the launch of Peregrine and R2 as well as investing in our go-to-market capabilities."

As part of its plans to cut costs, Rivian will shut down a factory in Illinois in the middle of this year and will upgrade its manufacturing line to boost production rates by 30 precent.The company is expected to unveil the R2, a compact SUV in the $40,000 to $60,000 range, on March 7, although deliveries of the vehicle won’t start until 2026.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Best Deals on Robot Vacuums: Save Up to $400 on Dreametech, Roomba, Shark and More - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2024-02-21 20:00
If you're always struggling with doing the vacuuming at home, then grabbing one of these robot deals is really the way to go.

Google Admits Gemini Is 'Missing the Mark' With Image Generation of Historical People

SlashDot - Wed, 2024-02-21 19:50
Google's Gemini AI chatbot is under fire for generating historically inaccurate images, particularly when depicting people from different eras and nationalities. Google acknowledges the issue and is actively working to refine Gemini's accuracy, emphasizing that while diversity in image generation is valued, adjustments are necessary to meet historical accuracy standards. 9to5Google reports: The Twitter/X post in particular that brought this issue to light showed prompts to Gemini asking for the AI to generate images of Australian, American, British, and German women. All four prompts resulted in images of women with darker skin tones, which, as Google's Jack Krawcyczk pointed out, is not incorrect, but may not be what is expected. But a bigger issue that was noticed in the wake of that post was that Gemini also struggles to accurately depict human beings in a historical context, with those being depicted often having darker skin tones or being of particular nationalities that are not historically accurate. Google, in a statement posted to Twitter/X, admits that Gemini AI image generation is "missing the mark" on historical depictions and that the company is working to improve it. Google also does say that the diversity represented in images generated by Gemini is "generally a good thing," but it's clear some fine-tuning needs to happen. Further reading: Why Google's new AI Gemini accused of refusing to acknowledge the existence of white people (The Daily Dot)

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Solar Eclipse 2024: Eye Safety and How to Find Eclipse Glasses - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2024-02-21 19:38
The "path of totality" will cross 15 states this April, while the rest of the country will get glimpses of a partial eclipse.

Don't use smartwatches and rings that claim to measure blood sugar without needles, the FDA warns

Engadget - Wed, 2024-02-21 19:17

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday issued a safety communication warning people to stay way from smartwatches and smart rings that claim to measure blood sugar levels without pricking the skin. “The FDA has not authorized, cleared, or approved any smartwatch or smart ring that is intended to measure or estimate blood glucose values on its own,” the agency wrote in the communication, and asked consumers, patients, and caregivers to stay away from such devices.

Non invasive blood sugar monitoring isn’t currently possible on any consumer device Popular wearables like the Apple Watch and the Oura ring can, instead, pair with FDA-authorized wearable devices like the Dexcom G7, which uses needles to read your blood sugar levels. Getting a smartwatch or a smart ring to monitor blood sugar levels without penetrating the skin would represent a huge medical advance, allowing people with diabetes, for instance, to stop pricking themselves each day, and alerting pre-diabetics.

Both Apple and Samsung have reportedly been working on the tech for years. Last year, Bloomberg reported that Apple’s no-prick monitoring was at a “proof-of-concept stage” and could come to the market once the company managed to figure out how to shrink its size. Apple has been working on the project since 2010, although it will likely still be years before the technology is small enough to be built into the Apple Watch. Samsung, too, is exploring ways to build the technology into the Galaxy Ring, a product that the company recently announced.

Until that time, be skeptical of any device that claims to do this right now. Current smartwatches and smart rings “do not directly test blood glucose levels,” the FDA writes. If you spot any company selling a device with these claims, you can report it to the FDA through the agency’s MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

What Is a Heat Pump Water Heater? - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2024-02-21 19:15
Heat pump water heaters can provide significant savings on your energy bill. Here is everything you need to know about them.

Nvidia Posts Record Revenue Up 265% On Booming AI Business

SlashDot - Wed, 2024-02-21 19:10
In its fourth quarter earnings report today, Nvidia beat Wall Street's forecast for earnings and sales, causing shares to rise about 10% in extended trading. CNBC reports: Here's what the company reported compared with what Wall Street was expecting for the quarter ending in January, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv: Earnings per share: $5.16 adjusted vs. $4.64 expected Revenue: $22.10 billion vs. $20.62 billion expected Nvidia said it expected $24.0 billion in sales in the current quarter. Analysts polled by LSEG were looking for $5.00 per share on $22.17 billion in sales. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang addressed investor fears that the company may not be able to keep up this growth or level of sales for the whole year on a call with analysts. "Fundamentally, the conditions are excellent for continued growth" in 2025 and beyond, Huang told analysts. He says demand for the company's GPUs will remain high due to generative AI and an industry-wide shift away from central processors to the accelerators that Nvidia makes. Nvidia reported $12.29 billion in net income during the quarter, or $4.93 per share, up 769% versus last year's $1.41 billion or 57 cents per share. Nvidia's total revenue rose 265% from a year ago, based on strong sales for AI chips for servers, particularly the company's "Hopper" chips such as the H100, it said. "Strong demand was driven by enterprise software and consumer internet applications, and multiple industry verticals including automotive, financial services and health care," the company said in commentary provided to investors. Those sales are reported in the company's Data Center business, which now comprises the majority of Nvidia's revenue. Data center sales were up 409% to $18.40 billion. Over half the company's data center sales went to large cloud providers. [...] The company's gaming business, which includes graphics cards for laptops and PCs, was merely up 56% year over year to $2.87 billion. Graphics cards for gaming used to be Nvidia's primary business before its AI chips started taking off, and some of Nvidia's graphics cards can be used for AI. Nvidia's smaller businesses did not show the same meteoric growth. Its automotive business declined 4% to $281 million in sales, and its OEM and other business, which includes crypto chips, rose 7% to $90 million. Nvidia's business making graphics hardware for professional applications rose 105% to $463 million.

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Leaked Hacking Files Show Chinese Spying On Citizens and Foreigners Alike

SlashDot - Wed, 2024-02-21 18:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PBS: Chinese police are investigating an unauthorized and highly unusual online dump of documents from a private security contractor linked to the nation's top policing agency and other parts of its government -- a trove that catalogs apparent hacking activity and tools to spy on both Chinese and foreigners. Among the apparent targets of tools provided by the impacted company, I-Soon: ethnicities and dissidents in parts of China that have seen significant anti-government protests, such as Hong Kong or the heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang in China's far west. The dump of scores of documents late last week and subsequent investigation were confirmed by two employees of I-Soon, known as Anxun in Mandarin, which has ties to the powerful Ministry of Public Security. The dump, which analysts consider highly significant even if it does not reveal any especially novel or potent tools, includes hundreds of pages of contracts, marketing presentations, product manuals, and client and employee lists. They reveal, in detail, methods used by Chinese authorities used to surveil dissidents overseas, hack other nations and promote pro-Beijing narratives on social media. The documents show apparent I-Soon hacking of networks across Central and Southeast Asia, as well as Hong Kong and the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory. The hacking tools are used by Chinese state agents to unmask users of social media platforms outside China such as X, formerly known as Twitter, break into email and hide the online activity of overseas agents. Also described are devices disguised as power strips and batteries that can be used to compromise Wi-Fi networks. I-Soon and Chinese police are investigating how the files were leaked, the two I-Soon employees told the AP. One of the employees said I-Soon held a meeting Wednesday about the leak and were told it wouldn't affect business too much and to "continue working as normal." The AP is not naming the employees -- who did provide their surnames, per common Chinese practice -- out of concern about possible retribution. The source of the leak is not known. Jon Condra, an analyst with Recorded Future, a cybersecurity company, called it the most significant leak ever linked to a company "suspected of providing cyber espionage and targeted intrusion services for the Chinese security services." According to Condra, citing the leaked material, I-Soon's targets include governments, telecommunications firms abroad and online gambling companies within China.

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Best Internet Providers in La Crosse, Wisconsin - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2024-02-21 18:00
La Crosse residents may have multiple fiber, cable and fixed wireless internet providers to choose from. Here are the best internet providers in La Crosse.

Fixed-Rate or Variable-Rate Electric Plan: Which Is Best for You? - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2024-02-21 17:50
If you live in an energy deregulated state, this choice could save you a lot of money.

Waymo's Application To Expand California Robotaxi Operations Paused By Regulators

SlashDot - Wed, 2024-02-21 17:50
The California Public Utilities Commission's Consumer Protection and Enforcement Division (CPED) has suspended Waymo's application to expand its robotaxi service in Los Angeles and San Mateo counties, putting "an abrupt halt to the company's aspirations to expand where it can operate -- at least until June 2024," reports TechCrunch. It does not, however, change the autonomous car company's ability to commercially operate its fleet in San Francisco. From the report: The CPED said on its website that the application has been suspended for further staff review. The "suspension" of an advice letter is a procedural part of the CPUC's standard and robust review process, according to Waymo. San Mateo County Board of Supervisors vice president David J. Canepa took a different stance, however. "Since Waymo has stalled any meaningful discussions on its expansion plans into Silicon Valley, the CPUC has put the brakes on its application to test robotaxi service virtually unfettered both in San Mateo and Los Angeles counties," Canepa said. "This will provide the opportunity to fully engage the autonomous vehicle maker on our very real public safety concerns that have caused all kinds of dangerous situations for firefighters and police in neighboring San Francisco." Waymo noted that it has reached out to two dozen government and business organizations as part of its outreach effort, including officials in cities throughout San Mateo County such as Burlingame, Daly City and Foster City, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and local chambers of commerce. [...] The city of South San Francisco, Los Angeles County Department of Transportation, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, San Mateo County Office of the County Attorney and the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance have sent letters opposing the expansion.

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Reddit To Offer Shares In IPO To 75,000 of Its Most Active Users

SlashDot - Wed, 2024-02-21 17:10
According to the Wall Street Journal (paywalled), Reddit plans to sell a chunk of its IPO shares to 75,000 of its most loyal users. Reuters reports: It aims to reserve an as-yet-undetermined number of shares for 75,000 of its most prolific so-called redditors when it goes public next month, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. The users will have the opportunity to buy Reddit shares at its initial public offering (IPO) price before the stock starts trading, a privilege normally reserved only for big investors, the report said. Reddit's IPO, which has been in the works for more than three years now, would be the first from a major social media company since Pinterest's debut in 2019.

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Disney Teaming With Sony to Handle its Physical Media Business - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2024-02-21 17:07
This means Sony would oversee Disney's DVD and Blu-ray operations.

ChatGPT Goes Temporarily 'Insane' With Unexpected Outputs, Spooking Users

SlashDot - Wed, 2024-02-21 16:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Tuesday, ChatGPT users began reporting unexpected outputs from OpenAI's AI assistant, flooding the r/ChatGPT Reddit sub with reports of the AI assistant "having a stroke," "going insane," "rambling," and "losing it." OpenAI has acknowledged the problem and is working on a fix, but the experience serves as a high-profile example of how some people perceive malfunctioning large language models, which are designed to mimic humanlike output. ChatGPT is not alive and does not have a mind to lose, but tugging on human metaphors (called "anthropomorphization") seems to be the easiest way for most people to describe the unexpected outputs they have been seeing from the AI model. They're forced to use those terms because OpenAI doesn't share exactly how ChatGPT works under the hood; the underlying large language models function like a black box. "It gave me the exact same feeling -- like watching someone slowly lose their mind either from psychosis or dementia," wrote a Reddit user named z3ldafitzgerald in response to a post about ChatGPT bugging out. "It's the first time anything AI related sincerely gave me the creeps." Some users even began questioning their own sanity. "What happened here? I asked if I could give my dog cheerios and then it started speaking complete nonsense and continued to do so. Is this normal? Also wtf is 'deeper talk' at the end?" Read through this series of screenshots below, and you'll see ChatGPT's outputs degrade in unexpected ways. [...] So far, we've seen experts speculating that the problem could stem from ChatGPT having its temperature set too high (temperature is a property in AI that determines how wildly the LLM deviates from the most probable output), suddenly losing past context (the history of the conversation), or perhaps OpenAI is testing a new version of GPT-4 Turbo (the AI model that powers the subscription version of ChatGPT) that includes unexpected bugs. It could also be a bug in a side feature, such as the recently introduced "memory" function.

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Black hole at center of the Milky Way resembles a football

Science Daily Astronomy - Wed, 2024-02-21 16:03
The supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way is spinning so quickly it is warping the spacetime surrounding it into a shape that can look like a football, according to a new study. That football shape suggests the black hole is spinning at a substantial speed, which researchers estimated to be about 60% of its potential limit.

Best Party-Planning Apps for 2024 - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2024-02-21 16:00
Plan your party from start to finish with the help of these apps.

Why Writing by Hand Is Better for Memory and Learning

Scientifc America - Wed, 2024-02-21 15:45

Engaging the fine motor system to produce letters by hand has positive effects on learning and memory

China's Rush To Dominate AI Comes With a Twist: It Depends on US Technology

SlashDot - Wed, 2024-02-21 15:27
China's tech firms were caught off guard by breakthroughs in generative artificial intelligence. Beijing's regulations and a sagging economy aren't helping. From a report: In November, a year after ChatGPT's release, a relatively unknown Chinese start-up leaped to the top of a leaderboard that judged the abilities of open-source artificial intelligence systems. The Chinese firm, 01.AI, was only eight months old but had deep-pocketed backers and a $1 billion valuation and was founded by a well-known investor and technologist, Kai-Fu Lee. In interviews, Mr. Lee presented his A.I. system as an alternative to options like Meta's generative A.I. model, called LLaMA. There was just one twist: Some of the technology in 01.AI's system came from LLaMA. Mr. Lee's start-up then built on Meta's technology, training its system with new data to make it more powerful. The situation is emblematic of a reality that many in China openly admit. Even as the country races to build generative A.I., Chinese companies are relying almost entirely on underlying systems from the United States. China now lags the United States in generative A.I. by at least a year and may be falling further behind, according to more than a dozen tech industry insiders and leading engineers, setting the stage for a new phase in the cutthroat technological competition between the two nations that some have likened to a cold war. "Chinese companies are under tremendous pressure to keep abreast of U.S. innovations," said Chris Nicholson, an investor with the venture capital firm Page One Ventures who focuses on A.I. technologies. The release of ChatGPT was "yet another Sputnik moment that China felt it had to respond to." Jenny Xiao, a partner at Leonis Capital, an investment firm that focuses on A.I.-powered companies, said the A.I. models that Chinese companies build from scratch "aren't very good," leading to many Chinese firms often using "fine-tuned versions of Western models." She estimated China was two to three years behind the United States in generative A.I. developments. The jockeying for A.I. primacy has huge implications. Breakthroughs in generative A.I. could tip the global technological balance of power, increasing people's productivity, aiding industries and leading to future innovations, even as nations struggle with the technology's risks. As Chinese firms aim to catch up by turning to open-source A.I. models from the United States, Washington is in a difficult spot. Even as the United States has tried to slow China's advancements by limiting the sale of microchips and curbing investments, it has not held back the practice of openly releasing software to encourage its adoption. For China, the newfound reliance on A.I. systems from the United States -- primarily Meta's LLaMA -- has fueled deeper questions about the country's innovation model, which in recent decades surprised many by turning out world-beating firms like Alibaba and ByteDance despite Beijing's authoritarian controls.

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Asus Zenfone 11 Ultra Tease Reveals Bigger Size, Video Features - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2024-02-21 15:16
The next Zenfone appears to be the latest to leave smaller screen sizes behind.