When customers in a Starbucks in Buenos Aires connected to the coffee shop’s Wi-Fi, they were unknowingly injected with a code that hijacked their processing power so someone could mine cryptocurrency.  This has apparently become a trend” especially with the rapid rise of value of digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Software company Stensul’s CEO Noah Dinkin noticed the intrusion and tweeted at Starbucks that the in-store Wi-Fi provider forced a 10-second delay when he first connected, in order to mine the digital currency using his laptop.  The company that gave the code to the miner was CoinHive, which works with Bitcoin’s competitor Monero.

Regardless, mining is a heavy process and can really impact a computer’s processing speed and performance. A smart but invasive technique. Starbucks responded to Dinkin’s tweet, saying it resolved the issue, but it doesn’t hurt to double check next time you’re using public Wi-Fi. Motherboard

Do Driverless Cars Give You Anxiety?

Volvo Cars is on a mission to find this out, by putting video cameras inside its cars that have its driver-assistance features. These cars will be driven by five families and the cameras will record their actions in the car while it’s driving. The goal is to collect data that will help Volvo develop its highway-ready fully autonomous cars by 2021. Addressing this trust will hopefully mean the person in the driver’s seat even feels comfortable watching a movie while the car is in charge.

Volvo is using its XC90 sport-utility vehicle equipped with sensors and cameras that monitor the eyes, faces and feed of the person in the driver’s seat. There’s also driver-assistance technology that keeps the car driving at a certain speed, in a specific lane and a certain distance away from the car in front of it — but the driver has to keep a hand on the wheel the entire time or an alarm will go off. But aside from the technology and sensors, Volvo is trying to understand how drivers interact with autonomous vehicles. The New York Times

AI Could Replace Your Attorney

The McKinsey research group estimates 22 percent of a lawyer’s job and 35 percent of a law clerk’s job can be automated, so even though bots and AI are helping advance the field, it might be troubling to some law students and paralegals. Currently, AI-powered document discovery tools have the biggest impact. These tools are fed millions of documents, case files and legal briefs, so machine-learning algorithms can flag sources a lawyer may need for a case.

JPMorgan is using a tool called Contract Intelligence. It’s capable of doing document review tasks in seconds, which takes legal workers more than 300,000 hours. This kind of document work is usually training material for first-year associate lawyers, and some of it is already being taken by AI.

For example, India-based CaseMine, a legal technology company, builds on document discovery software with a virtual associate. It can take an uploaded brief, suggest changes and provide more documents to help the lawyer’s argument. Legal tech company funding is rising, too, so either legal aides work with AI-powered tools, or fear being replaced by them. MIT Technology Review

San Francisco is Over its Delivery Robots

The tech-heavy city is banning delivery robots on most of its sidewalks and restricting their use where permitted, and ZDNet describes the as “the strictest in the nation.”

Apparently, there’s some heat between tech companies and San Francisco’s legislators, but even with the benefits of robot delivery, pedestrians have complained about how the bots crowd sidewalks and cause hazards.

The city adopted the autonomous robots earlier this year after the company Marble partnered with Yelp Eat 24 to deliver food. The robots have four wheels and are the size of an office copy machine, but are monitored by humans in real-time.

The bots did endure a testing period in select neighborhoods, but a month after they hit the sidewalks in May, the city supervisor tried to ban them because of safety concerns. The ban didn’t have the proper backing back then, but after photos and written complaints from angry pedestrians, the board of supervisors voted last week that not all innovations are that great. ZDNet

Google AI Finds a Home in China

This week, the tech giant announced it’s opening the Google China AI Center in Beijing, a research lab dedicated to AI that will be led by two chief scientists and AI researchers at Google Cloud. Google still has staff in China working on its international services, and the AI lab has already hired some top talent — but there are still more than 20 jobs open. The team will work AI colleagues in Google offices worldwide, in New York, Toronto, London and Zurich.

The AI China Center will publish its own work as well as support the AI research community by funding and sponsoring AI conferences and workshops, according to Google Cloud’s Chief Scientist Dr. Fei-Fei Li. The center willalso work closely with the Chinese AI research community, but is competing with the country’s largest tech companies for talent (Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent).  

No word yet on whether China will unblock the search engine, though. TechCrunch


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