Korean university faces boycott over fears of AI weapons

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For all the joking we do about Skynet-scenarios and killer robots, there's some truth to the worrisome creations. To prevent Terminators from becoming a real threat, some 50 robotics experts are boycotting the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and…
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Leading AI researchers boycott Korean university over its work on ‘killer robots’

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<em>An unmanned military robot operates on a beach during a training exercise organized by the US Navy.</em>

More than 50 leading AI and robotics researchers have joined a boycott of South Korea’s KAIST university over the institute’s plans to help develop AI-powered weapons. The boycott was announced ahead of a UN meeting set in Geneva next week to discuss international restrictions on so-called “killer robots.” It marks an escalation in tactics from the part of the scientific community actively fighting for stronger controls on AI-controlled weaponry.

The boycott was organized by Professor Toby Walsh of the University of New South Wales, who warned in a press statement that the race to build autonomous weapons had already begun. “We can see prototypes of autonomous weapons under development today by many nations including the US, China,…

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University of Michigan launches outdoor lab for autonomous drones

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The University of Michigan's autonomous vehicle testing grounds are no longer limited to earthbound machines. It just opened M-Air, a 9,600 square foot, four-story facility designed for testing autonomous aircraft outdoors. The complex lets researc…
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University deploys satellites, IoT to fight North Sea plastic pollution

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Researchers at the University of Oldenburg in Germany are using satellite communications to combat the growing problem of plastic pollution in the North Sea.

A report in Science magazine estimates that there are 6.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste on the planet, with waste increasingly polluting our oceans, damaging marine life, and entering the food chain. An estimated eight million tonnes enters the oceans every year, according to a report from the World Economic Forum.

Mobile satellite voice and data services provider Globalstar has provided its SPOT Trace and communications technologies to help the team study the movement of floating plastic in the North Sea. In particular, researchers from the University’s Institute of Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment are trying to get a clear picture of the waste’s drift patterns.


The team has embedded low-cost satellite trackers in floating buoys, which provide a wealth of information on the plastic’s movements on the surface.

Each of the buoys is fitted with a 7×5 cm SPOT Trace device, which includes an integrated GPS receiver, simplex transponder, and motion sensor. This Internet of Things (IoT) solution allows researchers to track drift movements using the Globalstar LEO (Low-Earth Orbit) satellite constellation.

Modelling tools

The University’s 3D computer simulations and modelling tools use the SPOT Trace data to help the team both understand and predict surface drift behaviour, as well as how debris travels in the water column and on the sea floor.

Researchers said that one of the most revealing discoveries has been the huge effect of wind, with some buoys beaching after as little as one month, having travelled up to 700 miles.

“It is clear that the influence of the power of the wind on the movement of floating particles in the North Sea is greater than we anticipated,” said PhD student Jens Meyerjürgens.

“Seventy-five percent of the debris that washes ashore on our islands is plastic, mostly from fishing activity,” added Mathias Heckroth, managing director of Mellumrat eV. The NGO is dedicated to conservation and scientific research on the uninhabited island of Mellum, one of the 32 Frisian Islands in the North Sea being studied by the University of Oldenburg team.

Mellum is situated in the intertidal Wadden Sea region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site protecting more than 10,000 species of plants and animals, where up to 12 million migrating birds spend time each year.

“The study is playing an important role in helping to identify the source of the plastic litter. It is also showing unexpected drift movement; we usually have a west-to-east drift, but sometimes tracking the buoys reveals a drift in the opposite direction, and we are studying why,” added Heckroth.

The research team is also helping authorities to establish new rules and regulations to both people and businesses to pollute less. “A key role of the University’s research is to help bring all stakeholders together, to give them compelling evidence, and to raise awareness of this huge problem,” said Heckroth.

Just as important, this new ability to predict the movement of pollutants as they drift and wash ashore can help clean-up operations to be more targeted and efficient.

“We very much hope this study inspires others and that our methodology can become a template for use by fellow research institutions elsewhere in the world,” said the University’s Meyerjürgens.

Internet of Business says

This inspiring project reveals how sensors, IoT technology, satellite communications, and analytics can gather and investigate large amounts of data about environmental problems, and not only provide useful information, but also help predict where solutions can best be applied.

Similar systems are being deployed in the air, as well as at sea, to help monitor extreme weather conditions, or clouds of pollution. For example, the MAVIS project, developed by the UK’s Southampton University, releases disposable paper drones at high altitude in order to track the movement of storms.

Read more: Oil spill detection enhanced by Norwegian IoT partnership


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Dublin City University, Talent Garden team up for IoT campus

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Dublin City University and Talent Garden team up for new IoT innovation campus

NEWSBYTE: Dublin City University (DCU) and co-working and learning space provider Talent Garden are to launch a new hub for digital innovation this autumn, which will focus on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Talent Garden was founded six years ago and now claims to be the largest European co-working and digital innovation network. It hosts hundreds of start-up companies and works with enterprises such as BMW, Google, and Electrolux in 23 campuses across eight European countries.

The latest hub will be based in DCU’s Alpha Innovation campus, and will provide a workspace for freelancers, tech start-ups, and corporate innovation labs, with capacity for 350 people.

The building will also feature Talent Garden’s Innovation School, a digital skills bootcamp education platform, which will work in partnership with DCU Business School to upskill entrepreneurs and assist corporates on digital transformation projects.

Topics covered in the bootcamp include digital transformation, artificial intelligence, growth hacking, augmented reality/virtual reality, coding, and blockchain. In the future, Talent Garden will host more formal, accredited training, delivered in partnership with the university.

Members of Talent Garden Dublin will also be able to make use of the platform anywhere in the Talent Garden network of facilities across 18 European cities.

DCU and Talent Garden hope that the space will appeal to early-stage startups and larger corporate innovation labs, as well as the existing community of digital and IoT companies based in DCU Alpha.

Epicentres of innovation

Professor Brian MacCraith, president of DCU, said that the partnership placed the university at the “epicentre of the technological transformation” taking place across Ireland and Europe.

“The worlds of work and learning are rapidly blending together, and Talent Garden Dublin offers a unique combination of innovation and education, which will help startups, SMEs and multinationals, navigate the opportunities created by the burgeoning IoT sector in particular,” he said.

“Through this unique partnership, Talent Garden Dublin goes way beyond coworking as it is currently understood in Ireland, and into the fields of accredited digital skills training, corporate digital transformation, as well as creating international connectivity for Irish startups looking to scale up in other markets.”

“In DCU, we have found a University partner with the same entrepreneurial DNA and ambition as Talent Garden, which made the selection process easy,” added Talent Garden founder and CEO, Davide Dattoli.

“The existing DCU Alpha community of digital and IoT innovators is the perfect home for us, while the university partnership will help us to scale our Innovation School offering globally.”

Internet of Business says

The recent success of a similar venture, Liverpool’s Sensor City – which brings together technology expertise, university partnership, a community focus, and a nurturing environment for startups – reveals how well this model works. For example, it was announced this week that Sensor City has received new funding from the British government to explore 5G opportunities.

We wish the new Dublin hub every success – particularly as it may gain the funding from Europe that British initiatives risk losing, post Brexit.

Read more: Sensor City awarded £3.5m to explore 5G community Wi-Fi

Read more: Sensors for all! Exclusive Q&A with Alison Mitchell of Sensor City


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Google is tempting Italian university students with cryptocurrency lectures

Google has cooked up an interesting new strategy to lure talent in to its university recruitment events: talking to students about cryptocurrency and blockchain. The search engine titan will be hosting a talk on the “Fundamentals and Some Recent Innovations in Crypto-Currencies” at the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy. The lecture is scheduled to take place on March 8 and will preface the company’s two-day recruitment event, where Googlers will share details about the company and its hiring process. We spoke with representatives of the Polytechnic University of Milan who confirmed to TNW that the event is indeed official and organized…

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Ohio State University teams up with Apple for new ‘My OSU’ app

Ohio State University teamed up with Apple to build a new app aimed at new college students. As reported by local news outlet 10TV, the app’s goal is to make the transition to college easier for students by connecting to them to services available on campus…



Ohio State University expands on Apple educational partnership with app for first-year students

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Taking advantage of an educational partnership with Apple, Ohio State University this year will launch an app developed by students for students designed to ease the sometimes jarring transition into college life.
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