digital-news-resized

Samsung Introduces New Smartphone

Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy S8, its first new major smartphone since the Galaxy Note 7 was discontinued last year. Samsung is hoping the new phone will renew consumer confidence in the company, which suffered a blow to its reputation last year when some of its Galaxy Note 7 phone caught fire, making them unwelcome on airplanes.

"The Galaxy S8 features a large 5.8-inch screen without adding bulk to the device. The company said it made room for the screen by reducing the size of the bezel - or the forehead and the chin - on the face of the device. Samsung also made the home button into a virtual button and shoved it under the display," writes Brian X. Chen in the New York Times. "With the Galaxy S8, Samsung also rolled out its virtual assistant, Bixby, to rival Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. Similar to previous virtual assistants, Bixby responds to voice commands."


Will Pedestrians Defeat Driverless Cars?

It's a given that the rise of autonomous vehicles will result in fewer traffic accidents. But that logic assumes that cars - as opposed to human drivers - will be making most of the life-or-death decisions.

When you include pedestrians in the mix, however, a lot of that logic goes out the window. It seems inevitable that some people will try to "game the system" and take advantage of whatever safety margins are programmed into self-driving vehicles.

Driverless cars "will almost surely be programmed to avoid hitting people. The idea that roads will become safer, with fewer traffic accidents, is a driving force behind the new technology," writes Karinna Hurley in Scientific American. "But, as pedestrians quickly figure out the cars' behavior, they will certainly adapt theirs as well. The effects could be dramatic: instead of more consistent, traffic flow could become chaotic."


Time for the Cloak of Invisibility?

Seems like it's time to start getting serious about privacy again. Many people who embraced free email and social media are now beginning to understand the true costs and hidden dangers posed by seamless, 24/7 digital connectivity. Like it or not, everything we do online is tracked and recorded.

"Even if you delete an email the moment you read it on your computer or mobile phone, that doesn't necessarily erase the content. There's still a copy of it somewhere. Web mail is cloud-based, so in order to be able to access it from any device anywhere, at any time, there have to be redundant copies. If you use Gmail, for example, a copy of every email sent and received through your Gmail account is retained on various servers worldwide at Google," writes Kevin Mitnick in Wired.

Mitnick recommends using an encryption service, removing your IP address, obscuring your hardware and proactively defending your anonymity. In today's world, it's okay to be paranoid because chances are that someone is already looking over your shoulder or through the lens of your camera.