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Future Tech

  • Sex with a child robot constitutes paedophilia, says Dr Eve

    The introduction of lifelike robots and silicon sex dolls is set to change the way we view sex. It may even bring relief to married couples looking for an alternatives to marital affairs. But does having sex with a child-looking sex doll amount to paedophilia? For sex expert Marlene Wasserman, aka Dr Eve, it does. She argues child sex robots should be outlawed. Speaking on Tuesday evening at an event held by Heavy Chef at Workshop 17 in the Waterfront in Cape Town, Wasserman argued that any sexual representation of children -- even in the form of a robot or doll --...

  • Watch: Cape Town’s trains are getting a bit overloaded

    Cape Town's public transport system is a nightmare; even the City of Cape Town itself hinted at it. But that doesn't mean there's been any tangible improvement experienced by commuters since. A video reportedly captured on Cape Town's central line on Tuesday shows just how congested the city's Metrorail rail network is. Initially published to a closed Facebook group by member Brendan Shaw, the video found its way onto Twitter on Wednesday. In the clip, a train is shown draped in commuters sitting on the train's roof, hanging out of windows, and clinging to the train's windscreen. The video has since garnered...

  • Soon you’ll be able to test L’Oreal’s cosmetics using augmented reality

    If you love shopping online, especially for cosmetics, but always wanted to try things on before making that risky purchase -- it may soon be possible. Cosmetics brand L’Oreal, with the aid of its recently-acquired AR company ModiFace, has teamed up with Facebook to create augmented reality (AR) testing tool to help online consumers make informed decisions about their make-up. For L’Oreal, it's a play that opens up its product to various social channels, notably Instagram. "We are at that magical moment when technologies have matured enough and consumer appetite for using them is growing everywhere. We are very excited about that...

  • [Update] Cape Town #taxistrike may affect MyCiTi, Golden Arrow on Tuesday

    Update: The taxi strike affecting Cape Town and surrounds was suspended late on Monday. Cape Town's MyCiTi and Golden Arrow bus services may not operate in certain regions of the city tomorrow, as the provincial taxi strike is set to continue. On Monday, commuters were left stranded as trains and buses were late or suspended, and taxis refused to operate. Two buses were set alight in Khayelitsha, south east of Cape Town's city centre. Late Monday, MyCiTi failed to confirm that its service to the area -- namely its D01 and D02 service -- will be reinstated on Tuesday. "The City of Cape...

  • How machine learning will revive radio in South Africa and beyond

    Over the past decade, the dazzling rise of digitally-driven technologies has had a profound effect on almost every industry. Within the broad sphere of media and advertising, new technology has been hailed as both hero and villain. Print media, for example, has faced a catastrophic decline in readership as audiences turn to online platforms. Similarly, broadcast media has been challenged to find growth in advertising revenue as digital platforms become more widely used. One of the oldest and most beloved of media platforms -- radio -- has also been under threat. Yet in the case of radio, and more specifically, radio...

  • Uber breaks the 10-billion trips barrier worldwide

    Ride-hailing service Uber has this month surpassed 10-billion trips worldwide. In a blog post published Tuesday, the company announced the milestone, which took it a little over eight years to reach. "We’ve hit some pretty exciting milestones together in the past, and this latest one is no different," it wrote. "On Sunday, June 10, 173 trips and deliveries started simultaneously at 10:12pm GMT, putting us over 10 billion completed trips." As for who those people were who pushed the company over the brink, five of them were eating fast food. "These trips happened in more than 21 countries across five continents, in cities like...

  • Why South Africa is not ready for an AI-powered future

    As with key emerging technology trends such as Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been hailed as nothing short of revolutionary for businesses, governments and consumers. Already, global juggernauts such as Amazon are structuring their entire business models around AI and machine learning (ML), a key subset of AI. "Without ML, Amazon.com couldn’t grow its business, improve its customer experience and selection, and optimize its logistic speed and quality," the company has stated. Indeed, the technology has been deemed so important that in 2016, several tech bigwigs including Amazon, Apple, DeepMind, Google, IBM and Microsoft created the Partnership...

  • Uber Lite launches in India

    Uber Lite is now a thing, but it's not a new offering from the ride-hailing service. Instead, it's a new app, keeping up with tech companies' recent trend of developing low bandwidth, low footprint apps for emerging markets. "Uber Lite is a simple version of the rider app that saves space, works on any network, and on any Android phone," said Shirish Andhare, the company's head of product for emerging markets, in an announcement. Uber Lite weighs in at around 5MB, notably slimmer than the 40.4MB required to install the traditional Android app. Visually, it sheds the default initial map overlay on...

  • Siri’s definition of ‘mother’ is beyond spicy

    Want to hear Siri swear at you and your beloved mother? Ask her for the definition of your favourite parent. She'll initially reply with a common definition, but she also offers another slightly more suspect explanation. "Do you wanna hear the next one?" she asks, and if you innocently reply "yes", she provides a brief suggestion that it's, uh, "short for motherfucker". This little bug or Apple employee inside joke was discovered by Reddit this past weekend. And it seemingly works with all versions of Siri, from MacOS to iPhones as old as the 5 and as new as the X. It's extremely...

  • Why work won’t become obsolete in the age of artificial intelligence

    The rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence has spawned a fourth industrial revolution that has left many wondering where to next. After all, if robots can perform our roles at a much cheaper rate, what hope is there for gainful employment in years to come? But while the skeptics among us may point to an era of joblessness in which humans are snubbed by their computer-driven counterparts, historical data points towards the likelihood of an impending societal shift, whereby the nature of work evolves to cater to advancing human needs. We need only look back a few short decades to...

  • Did Barack Obama really say ‘Stay woke, bitches’ in this viral video?

    "Thank you. And stay woke, bitches," is not a quote you'd normally attribute to former US President Barack Obama. But filmmaker Jordan Peele just made this a reality, by using intelligent visual trickery. Okay, that isn't the most pertinent takeaway from this story. Peele, the mastermind behind megahit Get Out, this week demonstrated how AI technology could be used in digital warfare. Teaming up with Buzzfeed, his Monkeypaw Productions team created a fake public service announcement delivered by AI Obama, to show just how artificial intelligence and visual editing tools could be used to spread misinformation in the future. And it's scary. Not only...

  • 2018 Sasol Solar Challenge will begin in September, end in Stellenbosch

    Get your sun hats, parasols and high-tech solar-powered vehicles ready. The latest edition Sasol Solar Challenge endurance event will kick off in September 2018. The competition's leaderboard is determined by total distance covered across a seven day period by vehicles powered by the sun's rays. The team with the most distance covered wins the title. And unlike traditional endurance racing, it's not the first team across the finish line who receives the plaudits. 15 teams from Australia, China, Japan, the Netherlands, the US and South Africa, will take part in the challenge, including two teams who have not competed in the...

  • ‘Small number’ of Boeing’s computer systems hit by WannaCry malware

    Remember WannaCry? It was 2017's big security story, infecting more than a quarter-million Windows computers at its most prolific point. But its prominence died down after tech doctors quelled its spread. But like a bad case of influenza, it's definitely not dead, and reports suggest aircraft manufacturer Boeing found that out the hard way on Wednesday. According to the Seattle Times, the firm's 777 assembly line in North Carolina was affected, but it was contained to a small number of machines. "The vulnerability was limited to a few machines. We deployed software patches. There was no interruption to the 777 jet program...

  • South Africa, you can now tip your Uber driver

    Feeling bad about not tipping your Uber driver for making your day? If saying "thanks" is just too cold for you, from today, riders can now give their drivers monetary appreciation through the app. The feature first hit the United States and Canada in July 2017, but has now been enabled in South Africa some seven months later. "Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of drivers asking us to roll out an in-app tipping function, so their clients can more easily reward great service and the act of going above and beyond what’s expected," explained Alon Lits, Uber sub-Saharan Africa's...

  • Uber autonomous car kills pedestrian in Arizona

    The autonomous car industry has been dealt a major blow this week. On Sunday, an Uber self driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The 49-year-old pedestrian was reportedly walking alongside her bicycle "outside the crosswalk" when she was hit. It's the first time a self driving car was involved in a pedestrian death. The car involved was a modified Volvo XC90 fitted with Uber's sensing technology, and occupied by a human in the driver's seat keeping tabs on the vehicle's systems. Additionally, said systems are supposed to react to obstacles in the vehicle's path and markings along the road,...