California Legalises Driver-Free Autonomous Vehicles
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has approved new rules that allow self-driving cars to operate on public roads in the state without a human behind the wheel. The regulations, which take effect on 2nd April, will allow major driverless car producers, including Waymo and Uber, to commence testing in the state.
Source: Ars Technica
Israel to Eliminate Major Fossil Fuels by 2030
Israel has unveiled a plan to end the use of coal, petrol and diesel fuel by 2030, making the country fully reliant on natural gas and renewable and alternative fuels within 12 years. The plan was unveiled by the Energy Ministry and will be now submitted as a master plan to the government for approval.
Source: The Times of Israel
Voice Cloning AI Can Swap Accents, Genders
Baidu has unveiled an updated version of its voice cloning AI that can replicate a human voice with only a few seconds of audio and can modify a voice to change both gender and accent. The AI, Deep Voice, was unveiled last year, but had fewer capabilities and far longer training times, making this an impressive advance.
Source: The Next Web
Leading US Lawyers Lose to AI in Competition
A competition between a legal AI platform and professors from some of the US' top law schools saw the AI win by a significant margin. The AI, LawGeex, was able to review five non-disclosure agreements for legal issues in 26 seconds, as opposed to the humans' 92 minutes, with an accuracy rate of 95%, compared to the humans' 85%.
Global Seed Bank Hits One Million Crops
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is designed to store the world's most important seeds against natural disasters, climate change and other catastrophic incidents, has passed one million deposits. The addition of 70,000 crops took the number to 1,059,646, ensuring the bank fulfills its role of protecting the world's food supply.
Bill Gates: Cryptocurrencies have Cause Deaths
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has expressed concern about cryptocurrencies, saying that the anonymity of the technology has resulted in deaths through the purchasing of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl. Making the comments on a Reddit AMA, Gates said the government’s ability identify terrorism funding and money laundering "is a good thing".