Germany’s Rules Says Self-Driving Cars Can’t Base Decision on Age

Protecting people rather than property or animals will be the priority under pioneering new German legal guidelines for the operation of driverless cars, the transport ministry said on Wednesday.

Germany is home to some of the world’s largest car companies, including Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, all of which are investing heavily in self-driving technology.

German regulators have been working on rules for how such vehicles should be programmed to deal with a dilemma, such as choosing between hitting a cyclist or accelerating beyond legal speeds to avoid an accident.

Under new ethical guidelines – drawn up by a government-appointed committee comprising experts in ethics, law and technology – the software that controls such cars must be programmed to avoid injury or death of people at all cost.

That means that when an accident is unavoidable, the software must choose whichever action will hurt people the least, even if that means destroying property or hitting animals in the road, a transport ministry statement showed.

Germany's Rules Says Self-Driving Cars Can't Base Decision on AgeThe software may not decide on its course of action based on the age, sex or physical condition of any people involved.

“The interactions of humans and machines is throwing up new ethical questions in the age of digitalisation and self-learning systems,” German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said in a a statement.

“The ministry’s ethics commission has pioneered the cause and drawn up the world’s first set of guidelines for automated driving,” he added.

Germany earlier this year passed legislation under which a driver must be sitting behind the wheel at all times ready to take back control if prompted to do so by the autonomous vehicle, clearing the way for the development and testing of self-driving cars.

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai Promises Profitability, But Is Short on Specifics

Sony’s leader promised a comeback for the Japanese electronics and entertainment company having its best profitability in two decades.

“We are a company that moves people,” said Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai, as he outlined the strategy for the company at its Tokyo headquarters Tuesday.

But he said he cannot give away details of products in the works such as those using artificial intelligence or the Internet of things, or IoT, technology.

He stressed the profitability in sprawling Sony Corp., including its lucrative PlayStation video-game business, which just came out with a popular virtual-reality headset.

Hirai also told reporters another important area is Sony’s TV sector, which has been in the black for the last few years, after losing money for a decade.

He also said profits will be improved in smartphones and movies.

Hirai, who took leadership of the company five years ago, acknowledged Sony has never in its seven decades experienced extended periods of profitability.

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai Promises Profitability, But Is Short on SpecificsHe stressed that Sony has announced an ambitious goal of achieving operating profit of JPY 500 billion ($4.5 billion or roughly Rs. 29,154 crores) for the fiscal year ending March 2018.

Sony’s woes have stemmed from having so many diverse areas it has been almost impossible to do well across the board.

When questioned how profitability will be gained in the movies division, Hirai said he hoped to get a hit by working with creators with a good “batting average,” and take advantage of hit content it already has, such as the “Spider-Man” series.

But the major task of restructuring has been completed, he added. Sony has been selling its assets, to ensure profitability, including its Vaio personal computer business. That was needed because Sony could not hope to be unique in PCs, Hirai said.

Amazon Continues UK Expansion With New Distribution Centre, Will Create 1,000 Jobs

Online retailer Amazon said on Wednesday it would open a distribution centre in Bristol, south west England, in 2018, continuing a rapid expansion that saw its investments in the UK triple last year to over GBP 400 million ($513.96 million or roughly Rs. 3,309 crores).

Britain is Amazon’s third-largest market outside North America, with sales of $9.5 billion (roughly Rs. 60,905 crores) last year – up almost 20 percent in sterling terms on 2015.

The US group already planned to open four additional distribution, or fulfilment, centres in 2017, in addition to the 12 operating at the end of last year.

Amazon said it intended to hire an additional 1,000 workers at the Bristol plant on permanent contracts.

Following criticism from politicians about weak worker protection, the company has been increasingly employing its warehouse staff directly, rather than indirectly via contract firms which offer little employment security.

Amazon Continues UK Expansion With New Distribution Centre, Will Create 1,000 JobsAmazon invested about GBP 850 million in the UK from 2010 to 2016, accounts for its UK subsidiaries show.

Increased use of robot technology contributed to the high capex spend last year, a spokesman said.

The company said that, including operating costs, Amazon had spent GBP 6.4 billion ($8.3 billion) in the UK since 2010, against sales of around GBP 33 billion.

Amazon does not publish profitability figures for its UK operation. However, its main, Luxembourg-based European operating unit, through which all EU sales are routed, reported operating losses for the last six years, its accounts show.

Amazon said last month it was not having problems hiring staff in Britain despite last year’s Brexit vote.

Motorola Granted Patent for a Smartphone Display That Repairs Itself

Lenovo’s Moto brand has previously provided smartphones that have ‘shatterproof’ displays but it seems like the company is now ready to take things a notch higher. Motorola Mobility has now filed a patent for a screen that is capable of healing itself after getting deformed, at least to certain degree, as per the documents that were spotted on the Patent and Trademark Office website of the US.

As per the documents, spotted by The Verge, Motorola has explained that using a heating effect, the proposed smartphone will be able to repair the damage partially in the affected area after identifying the cracks on its own, as per the report. In its documents, Motorola has mentioned “shape memory polymer” to make the screen, which can essentially come back to its original condition after being deformed by simply applying some heat.

Motorola Granted Patent for a Smartphone Display That Repairs ItselfThe user can reportedly use their body heat to get the screen to its original shape as well. Considering that this is just a patent filing, you can almost be sure that we are not very close to seeing these kinds of displays on smartphones soon. There is also a possibility that Lenovo might ditch this concept altogether and move onto a different technology.

Despite all the aforementioned factors, there is no doubt that this kind of a screen will save users from the cost of screen protectors and cases and will certainly help those of us who drop our phones from time to time.

How Technology is Moving Biomedical Research Forward

Given all of the news surrounding biomedical research lately, it should come as no surprise that there have been plenty of remarkable advancements in the field recently. If you’re someone who routinely deals with clinics or hospitals, or someone who works in one, then you might be curious as to how technology can improve your efficiency and take your organizational capabilities to the next level. This guide is specifically designed to take a look at some of the many ways in which technology has advanced recently, with a particular focus on biomedical research.

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Better Repairs

Medical equipment has a long history of becoming obsolete as the times evolve, but that’s simply not as true to today as it used to be. With companies like Benjamin Biomedical offering phaco repair services, it’s become much easier for hospitals and clinics to reliably conduct repairs on their old equipment, in order to ensure that it continues to stay relevant long after it might have otherwise been possible. With better repairs, biomedical research is able to continue without being halted, and people are able to get access to the treatments they need without any additional issues.

Nanotherapy

Although it sounds like something from science fiction, nanotherapy has quickly become one of the preferred tools for cancer researchers. With tiny nanorobots, biomedical researchers are able to develop cures that heal the body from the inside. Although the method of delivery is still being developed by a number of different research facilities, the promise of this technology is simply too great to ignore. Once nanorobots are able to develop and deliver cures from the inside of the human body, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on humanity as a whole.

Brain-Machine Interfaces

Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI) are a newer technology that has only really come into relevance in the past several years. Through this technology artificial limbs and prosthetic devices are able to operate much more effectively. Although there is still plenty of room for improvement in these technologies, at least they provide a solid foundation for further research.

Biomedical research is a fascinating topic, and just one of the many fields of science which have benefited from the explosive growth of computer technology in recent years. As science continues to build on its past successes, it will be interesting to see where all of these technologies take us in the future.