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13Aug/180

DeepMind AI matches health experts at spotting eye diseases

At the moment, hospitals and clinics use flesh-and-bone specialists to dissect OCT scans. The sheer volume they have to process, however -- Moorfields Eye Hospital analyzes over 1,000 every day -- means there can be substantial delays between the initial scan, diagnosis and treatment. Occasionally, problems are caught too late and the developing symptoms cause permanent and irreversible sight loss.

DeepMind's ultimate aim is to develop and implement a system that can assist the UK's National Health Service with its ever-growing workload. Accurate AI judgements would lead to faster diagnoses and, in theory, treatment that could save patients' vision. "These incredibly exciting results take us one step closer to that goal," Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder and head of applied AI at DeepMind Health said. "And could, in time, transform the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with sight threatening eye conditions, not just at Moorfields, but around the world."

A consultant ophthalmologist analyzes an OCT scan.

DeepMind's system uses two separate 'networks' to tackle the problem. The first, called a segmentation network, converts the raw OCT scan into a 3D tissue map with clearly-defined, color-coded slices. "That map doesn't only describe the layers of the eye, but if there's disease in the eye, and where that disease is," Alan Karthikesalingam, a senior clinician scientist at Google DeepMind said. The network was trained to do this with a dataset that contained 877 OCT scans manually segmented by trained ophthalmologists.

A second 'classification' network analyzes the 3D tissue map and makes decisions about what the diseases might be and how urgent they are for referral and treatment. It was trained on 14,884 tissue maps that were produced by the segmentation network and checked by a trained ophthalmologist and optometrist.

The two-stage process is unusual. A conventional AI system would start with the original retinal scan and go straight to the final diagnosis. DeepMind developed its tool this way so clinicians can check the tissue map and see how the AI came to its final conclusion. "You might wonder, 'why did the system think that there's macular edema, which means fluid in the eye?'" Karthikesalingam explained. "And you could look back at that interpretable tissue map and say 'Oh I see, it's highlighting some fluid here,' And that would be, we think, potentially helpful."

An OCT scan.

That breakdown promotes trust and gives eye care professionals the information needed to debate complex cases with multiple treatment options. The separation also ensures that the system can be used with any type of OCT scanner. Oftentimes, a slight change in hardware will produce OCT scans that deviate slightly from the dataset the AI was originally trained on. These can be enough to break the system and require hundreds, if not thousands of new training images to be effective again.

"It's a big step toward AI systems that are agnostic."

"That's fine in many non-healthcare fields because of the widely available nature of non healthcare images, but in healthcare it could be a real challenge, because imagine a scanner gets updated — it wouldn't be great for patients to then have to wait for several years before hundreds of thousands of new images have been taken on the new scanner," Karthikesalingam said. Deepmind's system, by comparison, only requires 100 images to retrain the segmentation network. The classification network, meanwhile, can be left alone. "It's a big step toward AI systems that are agnostic, or at least very flexible and quick to adapting to new devices."

The system needs to pass clinical trials and regulatory approval before it can be used on the frontlines of the NHS. DeepMind also wants to validate its results with further testing and refinements to the underlying algorithms. That, according to Karthikesalingam, could take another three to five years. Moorfields Eye Hospital is hopeful about the technology's future, though. Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw, director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital said: "I am in no doubt that AI has a vital role to play in the future of healthcare, particularly when it comes to training and helping medical professionals so that patients benefit from vital treatment earlier than might previously have been possible."

Technician performing an OCT scan on a patient.

Last year, DeepMind was criticized over a data-sharing deal struck with the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust. The company used 1.6 million patient records to develop an app called Streams that could diagnose acute kidney injuries in NHS patients. The legal basis of the transfer, though, was deemed inappropriate by the UK's national data guardian and the Information Commissioner's Office. "There was some controversy about that project, and concerns were raised around, for example, how patients at the Royal Free were informed about how their data was being used," Dominic Kind, clinical lead at DeepMind Health said. "We have certainly learned from that work and the guidance given."

"We're working very hard to be as transparent as we can be."

The AI system developed with Moorfields, however, is strictly a research project and falls under a different legal purview. Moorfields applied to the UK's Health Research Authority for anonymized OCT scans and retains control of the resulting database. (Moorfields is already using the database for nine other medical research studies.) Brown says the team has taken steps to inform the public about the project through various charities, the Moorfields website and hospital, and DeepMind's own website. The Alphabet-owned division is now working on technical infrastructure that logs every time one of its AI systems interacts with sensitive data.

"Patients and the public have an absolute right to know how their data is being used, and by who," King said. "We're working very hard to be as transparent as we can be."

Images: Moorfields Eye Hospital

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/deepmind-ai-moorfields-eye-hospital-disease/

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13Aug/180

Elon Musk explains funding plans for taking Tesla private

He also confirmed rumors of Saudi Arabia's involvement, and suggested they'd played an integral role in the news. The country's Public Investment Fund had brought up going private "multiple times" starting in early 2017, he said, expressing interest in the move as a way to reduce its dependence on oil. The fund's managing director "strongly expressed" a desire to back Tesla going private in a meeting on July 31st, and he reiterated that support after Musk's tweets. As far as Musk was concerned, it was just a matter of when Tesla got the money for going private.

The founder simultaneously tried to calm anxieties over the deal. Tesla would provide full details on going private before it asked anyone to make a decision. He also rejected ideas that it would take over $70 billion to clinch the deal. The $420 price he quoted would only apply to shareholders on the way out, not those sticking with Tesla. Only two thirds of shares would carry over, according to Musk, and it would be paid for through equity rather than debt.

The post could mollify investors worried that Musk had talked about going private purely on a whim. However, it's not likely to satisfy SEC investigators looking into whether or not Musk's tweets were legal. Regulators are concerned that Musk might have broken the rules if he'd tweeted without telling investors to expect news from his Twitter account. If he had, all those advanced talks might not matter.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/elon-musk-defends-tweets-on-taking-tesla-private/

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13Aug/180

Security flaws could open body cameras up to hacks

Additionally, all five devices had vulnerabilities that could let an attacker track their location or manipulate their software. In the latter's case, that could include delivering malware to the device that might eventually give an attacker access to a police network. Further, Mitchell found that the devices lacked mechanisms to verify whether recorded footage is intact, had unsecured WiFi access points and had WiFi radios that gave away too much information about the devices themselves.

"With some of these vulnerabilities -- it's just appalling," Mitchell told Wired. "These videos can be as powerful as something like DNA evidence, but if they're not properly protected there's the potential that the footage could be modified or replaced. I can connect to the cameras, log in, view media, modify media, make changes to the file structures. Those are big issues."

In all, the findings point to a number of serious flaws that could threaten the integrity of body camera footage and, therefore, the whole point of body cameras themselves. "If there aren't reliable ways of ensuring that such equipment meets strong security standards, then something is deeply broken," ACLU Senior Policy Analyst Jay Stanley told Wired. "No police equipment should be deployed that doesn't meet such standards." Mitchell told Wired that he notified the five body camera companies of the issues he discovered and is working with them to close the vulnerabilities.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/security-flaw-body-cameras-hacks/

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13Aug/180

The nine headphones that made our back-to-school guide

So you're headed off to college in the fall. What are you going to use to help you focus when you're on deadline? To tune out the rowdy partiers down the hall? Whether you need a pair of earbuds, a set of sound-cancelling cans or just a pair of budget headphones that don't suck, our annual back-to-school guide has you covered.

If you can only afford one pair, Jabra's Elite 65t wireless earbuds are our go-to recommendation. Athletes will appreciate the Jaybird Run earbuds or perhaps the wired Beats X 'buds, while market leader Bose remains our top pick in the noise-canceling category. (Go with the QuietComfort QC35 II.) And if you're looking for an over-the-ear-style headset, we have picks from Audeze, Blue, TMA-2, Corsair and Even, including a few models designed for gamers. Find all that and all our other picks in Engadget's full back-to-school guide.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/best-headphones-back-to-school/

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13Aug/180

Netflix’s CFO for the last eight years is stepping down

Netflix is undergoing some changes at the top of the company, as Chief Financial Officer David Wells plans to leave after helping to find his successor. He's held the role since 2010 and has been with Netflix since 2004. Wells plans to focus on philanthropy, though says he isn't entirely sure what his future holds. The timing of his departure is somewhat notable, as Netflix fell shy of its subscriber target last quarter.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/netflix-chief-financial-officer-david-wells-leaving/

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13Aug/180

Volkswagen kicks off EV awareness campaign

The commercial uses two familiar cartoons to make a point about EVs over standard vehicles. In the ad, you see a man in an orange car stopped at a red light while the Flintstones theme song plays. Then a man in an orange Chevy Bolt drives up to the light while the Jetsons theme takes over. Once the light turns green, the man in the Chevy Bolt drives away, leaving the other man behind, while a speaker says, "With instant acceleration, electric cars are more fun to drive and more affordable than ever. Electric cars are here." The message from the education campaign, dubbed Plug Into The Present, is "Say goodbye to the Stone Age."

The brand neutral ad features multiple automakers' EVs. Along with the Chevy Bolt, it also includes Hyundai's Ioniq, BMW's i3, Honda's Clarity, Nissan's Leaf and Volkswagen's e-Golf. Volkswagen agreed to put $2 billion towards clean driving infrastructure and education as part of the settlement over its diesel emissions scandal.

"Electric cars are not something of the future, they are here now and more accessible than many people know," Steinberg said in a statement about the education initiative earlier this month. "The JetStones campaign is just the beginning of our work to educate and demonstrate that electric vehicles offer a full array of features that customers expect, and they are totally fun to drive."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/volkswagen-ev-awareness-campaign/

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13Aug/180

What we’re playing: ‘Dead Cells’

In Dead Cells, the player controls a fiery spirit inhabiting bodies to go tearing through hordes of enemies in procedurally-generated levels. Every time you die, you start over in the prison dungeons and slouch into a new corpse to try and fight your way out again. The game's setting is grim, though it's lightened with oddball (dare I say gallows) humor. Appropriately, the game itself is a bit brutal: Dying ends your run and any 'cells' (in-game currency used to expand your armory and upgrades) not spent are forfeit. But the gameplay is fun and frenetic, with a wide array of weapons and tools to dispatch your foes. Much like Dark Souls, once you get a hang of enemies' rhythms, you'll easily dodge and interrupt their attacks.

Just to be clear, the Switch version doesn't have any extras or bonus features compared to its release on other platforms. But much as we saw with Hollow Knight's recent re-release on the console, there are many reasons -- the handheld controls, the intimate mobile experience -- why the Switch is a great way to play an indie like Dead Cells. What sets this game apart is how easy it is to pick up and play in short spurts. Unlike other more long-winded games on the Switch, Dead Cells has many built-in breaks that split up its hectic gameplay into manageable chunks -- I found just enough time to beat a level or two on the subway to work, for example. Runs last anywhere from ten to forty minutes, but you spend 'cells' at every between-level intermission, so it's easy to feel like you're making progress even if you have rotten luck on item drops.

If you squint, the game resembles Hollow Knight's side-scrolling sword-slashing action and somewhat punishing difficulty. But Dead Cells is noticeably lighter weight. You won't get a carefully-designed map or spooky, well-woven world. Instead, the procedural levels jumble up sprawling networks of rooms and enemies that evoke an overall tone: Dark and noxious for the underground levels, towering and vertiginous on the aptly-named Ramparts, and so on. The game knows you'll get skilled enough to speed through the early levels every time you restart, and even rewards fast play by peppering in time-locked rooms bursting with goodies that lock you out if you take too long.

As someone who groaned over Hollow Knight's arduous traversal and tough bosses, Dead Cells is a great chaser for those like me who want to give their brain a rest and let their fingers do the work. Which isn't to say it's necessarily easier -- you'll die a lot. But the game lets you flexibly choose which blueprints you want to buy to expand your playstyles -- like loading up on freezing grenades or ice bows to pair with weapons that deal extra damage to frozen enemies. It's all dependent on what you pick up during your runs, of course, but that makes lining up a great combo all the more exciting. And if not, restarting after a 10-15 minute run isn't too painful.

So what does this say for Nintendo's impending flood of Nindies? Just that compact, low-stakes, pick-up-and-play experiences are king when taking the Switch on the go, which is where the console shines. PC titles fitting that bill will likely thrive when ported to the system. Dead Cells might not be the easiest or the deepest game, but it's addictive fun with background progression that makes every play session, no matter how brief, feel well-spent.

"IRL" is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they're buying, using, playing and streaming.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/motion-twin-dead-cells-nintendo-switch-irl/

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13Aug/180

Uber uses AI to determine if your trips are for business or pleasure

It's not a flawless system -- Uber said the initial suggestion is right 80 percent of the time. You can always override the suggestion, though, and just getting that suggestion may prevent a slip-up.

Uber is also improving the oversight for those trips. Companies can designate trip reviewers to study rides for individual staffers or entire teams. Instead of having to rely on a dedicated travel manager, a business could rely on those who know the most about workers' travel patterns (say, a department leader). Employees can tackle disputes inside the app, rather than waiting for email.

On top of all this, there's now a wider list of expense service integrations that includes the likes of Expensya and Zoho Expense.

The aim for these upgrades is clear: Uber wants to be seen as a trustworthy option for work trips. The less friction there is when hailing Uber for business uses, the more likely companies may be to use it as their go-to travel option. Not that you'll necessarily complain if this helps you avoid the hassles that sometimes come up with taxis and airport shuttles.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/uber-machine-learning-account-switching/

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13Aug/180

Pixel XL may lose fast charging after Android Pie update

According to some users on Google's Issue Tracker website, the issue has been in place since earlier, beta versions of Android Pie, as well, but has not been fixed as of the public release. One poster notes that they have four chargers, two official and one unofficial. "None of these work," they posted. "This never happened before Pie." The poster also notes that the charger that came with the phone still charges rapidly. This specific issue seems to only be affecting the larger devices. In our own testing, the smaller 5-inch Pixel still shows the fast charging message. Pixel 2 devices of both sizes don't seem to be affected, either.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/pixel-xl-fast-charging-android-pie-update/

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13Aug/180

Dozens of kids hack election site replicas in just minutes

On the first day of the event, 39 children tried to hack into the site replicas and 35 were able to do so in under half an hour. The fastest exploit was completed in under 10 minutes by an 11-year-old boy. "It's not surprising that these precocious, bright kids would be able to do it because the websites that are on the internet are vulnerable, we know they are vulnerable," University of Pennsylvania Professor Matt Blaze, who helped organize the Voting Village, told PBS NewsHour. "What was interesting is just how utterly quickly they were able to do it."

The event gave out awards to three age group categories for fastest exploit, most innovative, most social engineering and youngest exploiter. Those that cracked the sites changed candidates' names -- to Kim Jong Un, Bob Da Builder and Tonald Drump, for example -- and altered vote tallies. A portion of the $2,500 in prize money was furnished by the DNC.

The National Association of Secretaries of State released a statement about the results, saying it believed the replica websites made for an unrealistic exercise. "It would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems since many states utilize unique networks and custom-built databases with new and updated security protocols," the organization wrote. "While it is undeniable websites are vulnerable to hackers, election night reporting websites are only used to publish preliminary, unofficial results for the public and the media. The sites are not connected to vote counting equipment and could never change actual election results."

But Blaze told PBS NewsHour that the replicas used in the contest were in many cases more rigorously protected than actual secretary of state-run election websites. And Nico Sell, co-founder of r00tz Asylum, said changing reported voting results is still a problem even if the actual tallies aren't affected. "To me that statement says that the secretaries of states are not taking this seriously," she said to PBS NewsHour. "Although it's not the real voting results it's the results that get released to the public. And that could cause complete chaos. The site may be a replica but the vulnerabilities that these kids were exploiting were not replicas, they're the real thing."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/08/13/kids-hack-election-site-replicas-def-con/

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