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This Google A.I. Can Guess a Photo's Location Better Than Humans Can

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iStock

There are lots of ways to figure out where a photo was taken. From architecture to wildlife to clothing styles, we've been conditioned to recognize certain clues that might indicate the location of a scene. Now Google has developed a new A.I. system that can outperform humans in this area using only the visual information in a picture.

According to MIT Technology Review, the new neural network, dubbed PlaNet, was fed 2.3 million images from Flickr to test its capabilities. By looking at the pixels in each image, the system was able to determine the picture's country of origin 28.4 percent of the time and the continent with a success rate of 48 percent. 

Instead of using GPS data, the software bases its guesses off a vast database of geotagged images collected from the Internet. It's even able to discern the location of images with no obvious clues, like those taken of objects indoors, by comparing them to other photos in the same album.  

The team behind the project says this database gives PlaNet a leg up over its human competitors, because it has seen and gathered data from more places on Earth than one person could ever possibly visit. This idea was supported when the program went head-to-head against 10 well-traveled individuals to see who could recognize the most locations. The A.I. beat out the human team in 28 of the 50 rounds. If you want see how your location recognition abilities stack up against PlaNet, you can play the Geoguessr game online. 

This new software is an exciting development in Google's artificial intelligence technology, which is already able to generate automatic email responses and produce some insane-looking artwork. And what's even more impressive about PlaNet is that it works without taking up too much memory. The program requires just 337 megabytes to run, which is small enough to fit on a smartphone.

[h/t MIT Technology Review]

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Apple
Here's a Preview of the 70 New Emojis Coming to Your iPhone
Apple
Apple

Get ready to add a whole new set of symbols to your emoji vocabulary. As CNN reports, Apple has released a sneak peak of some of the 70 new emojis coming to iOS in late 2018.

In February 2018, the Unicode Consortium announced the latest additions to their official emoji database. Software makers have since been working on customizing the designs for their own operating systems, and now iPhone and iPad users are getting a preview of what the new emojis will look like on their devices.

One of the most highly anticipated new symbols is the redhead emoji, something people have been demanding for a while. A curly haired option, another popular request, will be added to the line-up, as will gray-hair and bald emoji choices. Each of the new hair types can be added to the classic face emoji regardless of gender, but when it comes to specific characters like the bride or the jogger emojis, users will be limited to the same hair options they had before.

If Apple users ever want to express their inner superhero, two new super characters, a man and woman, will let them do so. They will also have new "smiley" symbols to choose from, like a party emoji, a sad eyes emoji, and a frozen emoji.

In the food category you have a head of lettuce and a mango, and for dessert, a cupcake and a mooncake—a festive Chinese pastry. New animals include a peacock, a kangaroo, and a lobster. The lobster emoji stirred some controversy in February when Mainers noticed the Unicode version was missing a set of legs. The design was quickly revised, and Apple's version is also anatomically correct.

These images just show a small sample of the emojis that will be included in an iOS update planned for later in 2018. Users will have to wait to see the final designs for other the symbols on the list.

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

New Apple emojis.
Apple

[h/t CNN]

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iStock
Why an Ex-FBI Agent Recommends Wrapping Your Keys in Tinfoil Whenever You Leave Your Car
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iStock

A car thief doesn't need to get their hands on your keys to break into your vehicle. If you use a wireless, keyless system, or fob, to unlock your car, all they need to do is steal the signal it emits. Luckily there's a tool you can use to protect your fob from hackers that you may already have in your kitchen at home: tinfoil.

Speaking with USA Today, retired FBI agent Holly Hubert said that wrapping car fobs in a layer of foil is the cheapest way to block their sensitive information from anyone who may be trying to access it. Hackers can easily infiltrate your car by using a device to amplify the fob signal or by copying the code it uses. And they don't even need to be in the same room as you to do it: They can hack the fob inside your pocket from the street outside your house or office.

Electronic car theft is a growing problem for automobile manufacturers. Ideally fobs made in the future will come with cyber protection built-in, but until then the best way to keep your car safe is to carry your fob in an electromagnetic field-blocking shield when you go out. Bags made specifically to protect your key fob work better than foil, but they can cost more than $50. If tinfoil is all you can afford, it's better than nothing.

At home, make sure to store your keys in a spot where they will continue to get protection. Dropping them in a metal coffee can is a lot smarter than leaving them out in the open on your kitchen counter.

[h/t USA Today]

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