Today’s Tech Sightings:
The Future of Life Institute recently announced 37 winners of research grants in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), following concerns and warnings from luminaries such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence. The project is part of a bigger effort to prevent AI from running amok.
That title goes to Australia, a world leader in solar panels to power homes. Now, the Sunniest Continent is hoping to attract solar battery suppliers from Tesla Motors seeking battery storage – an emerging market – which will allow solar-powered homes to store excess energy for later use.
Several prefectural governments and Japan’s NTT Docomo, one of the country’s leading wireless carriers, have teamed up to launch free Wi-Fi on Mount Fuji on July 10. The move coincides with the start of the mountain’s climbing season and finally will provide connectivity to visitors.
Writer Robert Rosenkranz argues that digital currency Bitcoin has successfully ensured anonymity to dealers and enabled transactions without third-party guarantors, but that its biggest problem is the lack of market value.
Bitcoin has had its share of problems, including numerous hack attacks that have cost users millions of dollars. Now, a new problem – a double-spending bug – has cropped up. The bug, the result of a planned upgrade, makes it possible to spend the same bitcoins twice. The Bitcoin Foundation said all transactions confirmed by 15:00 on July 4 are safe.
The Hacking Team, an Italian company that sells surveillance tools and vulnerability exploits to governments and law enforcement agencies, was hacked over the weekend. Security researchers said up to 400 gigabytes of corporate communications have been dumped online as a result of the attack.
The ironic hacking of the Hacking Team firm also has exposed unpatched Adobe Flash glitches, according to Trend Micro security researchers. After analyzing the hackers’ data dump, researchers said there are at least three exploits that target Adobe Flash Player and the Windows operating system. Some of these already have been patched.
Mozilla has announced some serious changes to its Internet browser, Firefox, which will focus on private browsing. The changes could include a move away from the XBL markup language and XUL interface, though it remains unclear if that will be replaced with open Web technologies.