this week

Uber being investigated in wake of "outrageous" data hack cover-up

Uber admitted this week that it concealed a massive data breach affecting 57 million drivers and passengers. The company is now facing government scrutiny around the world having paid hackers $100,000 to destroy information they stole and keep information about a breach in October 2016 quiet.

Source: The Guardian

Within a decade every other summer will shatter heat records

A study thas concluded that by the 2030s, every second summer over almost all of the entire Northern hemisphere will be hotter than any record-setting hot summer of the past 40 years, and by 2050, virtually every summer will be hotter than anything we've experienced to date.

Source: Motherboard

EU commissioner says the world is "astonishingly pessimistic" about AI

EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas believes the hyperbole around AI and alarmist views in the media risk confusing science with science fiction. “If you do any research on artificial intelligence these days, the results are astonishingly pessimistic. Nine articles out of ten on AI are negative,” said Moedas.

Robot developed to help keep hearts pumping

Researchers have developed a robot that helps to keep a heart pumping. It works by cradling the organ and uses a probe to anchor to the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers. The robot could lead to devices that let doctors assist a heart in its normal function rather than relying on transplants.

Source: Wired

Scientists use CRISPR to create world's smallest tape recorder

Scientists have created a "biological tape recorder" based on CRISPR DNA editing. To build their microscopic recorder, the scientists began by modifying a piece of DNA called a plasmid, and giving it the ability to create more copies of itself in the bacterial cell in response to an external signal.

Source: Phys.org

AI can spot a forged painting from just one brush stroke

Researchers have invented an AI system that is able to detect an artist's work by analysing a single brush stroke. The AI is able to learn what brush strokes and features correlated to a specific artist, and broke down line drawings from famous artists like Picasso and Matisse into 80,000 brush strokes.

Source: Alphr

Wishing you a futuristic Christmas and a fantastic New Year from team Factor

Factor is taking a break for the Christmas season, but we’ll be returning in January for more futuristic news and features.

Until then, check out our stunning new digital magazine, which is free to read on any device for your future fix.

From the issues of today, to the future of tomorrow and beyond, there’s something for everyone, from flying cars and Richard Stallman on privacy to life in the 22nd century and the space colonies of the future human race. There’s even a look at the Christmas dinners of the future.

And if you’re still looking for presents, check out of bumper futuristic gift guide for ideas to suit every budget.

Merry Christmas, and see you in 2018!

FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service on certain content. The FCC’s net neutrality rules were originally passed in 2015.

Doctors say Haemophilia A trial results are "mind-blowing"

Doctors say the results of a gene therapy trial into haemophilia A, whose suffers don't produce a protein needed to stop bleeding, are "mind-blowing". Thirteen patients given the gene therapy at Barts Health NHS Trust are now off treatment with 11 producing near-normal levels of the protein.

Source: BBC

Scientists use stem cells to make paralysed rat walk again

Scientists have used stem cells from an adult human's mouth to induce spinal cord regeneration in a rat. This effectively created a pathway circumventing the injured area so that instructions from the brain could reach the rest of the body, curing the animal that was previously totally paralysed.

NASA uses AI to find new exoplanet

Researchers have announced the discovery of an eighth planet orbiting the star Kepler-90. The discovery of Kepler 90i was made when researchers on the Kepler planet-hunting telescope teamed up with artificial intelligence specialists at Google to analyse data collected by the space-based observatory.

AI engine AlphaZero's win will "scramble" chess world

Having beaten the world's the highest-rated chess engine Stockfish, world champion chess player Viswanathan Anand believes the AI programme AlphaZero will change the way humans play the game. "We've got a clean start and the implications are very interesting," said Anand.

Source: ESPN

Following criticism, animal shelter fires security robot

A San Francisco animal adoption agency will immediately stop using a controversial security robot. The move comes after the San Francisco SPCA had been criticised for its deployment of a Knightscope K9 to mitigate vandalism and the presence of homeless people at its Mission District office.

Source: Ars Technica