San Francisco News

Companies are increasingly tracking eye movements — but is it ethical?

Patrick Lecomte, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) When Facebook reinvented itself into Meta in October 2021, it was widely reported that Meta would be focusing on virtual reality (VR) by being at the forefront of the metaverse. But Meta has not given up on the world of bricks and mortar yet, as reflected by the company’s massive investment in augmented reality (AR) glasses. My research considers smart real estate and human-computer interactions in smart environments. Meta is only one among many companies betting that the future of physical space will involve merging with digital space, resulting in an augmentation

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Clampdown on chip exports is the most consequential US move against China yet

Professor Johanna Weaver, Australian National University When Nancy Pelosi travelled to Taiwan in August, it made front page news around the world and raised the spectre of all-out war between the US and China. Early in October, the Biden administration made a far more decisive move against China – but it barely made the news in Australia. Biden decided to unequivocally sever China’s access to high-end computer chips (aka semiconductors). Don’t be deceived by the technical-sounding subject. More than any other policy decision by an American president since the end of the Cold War, this measure is intended to tilt

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AI is changing scientists’ understanding of language learning – and raising questions about an innate grammar

Morten H. Christiansen, Cornell University and Pablo Contreras Kallens, Cornell University Unlike the carefully scripted dialogue found in most books and movies, the language of everyday interaction tends to be messy and incomplete, full of false starts, interruptions and people talking over each other. From casual conversations between friends, to bickering between siblings, to formal discussions in a boardroom, authentic conversation is chaotic. It seems miraculous that anyone can learn language at all given the haphazard nature of the linguistic experience. For this reason, many language scientists – including Noam Chomsky, a founder of modern linguistics – believe that language

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NASA successfully shifted an asteroid’s orbit – DART spacecraft crashed into and moved Dimorphos

David Barnhart, University of Southern California NASA recently crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid in an attempt to push the rocky traveler off its trajectory. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test – or DART – was meant to test one potential strategy for preventing an asteroid from colliding with Earth. The collision occurred on Sept. 27, 2022, and on Oct. 11, 2022, NASA announced that the mission had successfully changed the orbit of the asteroid Dimorphos. David Barnhart is a professor of astronautics at the University of Southern California and director of the Space Engineering Research Center there. He watched NASA’s

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