Testing the Hyperloop
Tubular transportation has edged closer to reality. Hyperloop One, the company racing to fulfill Elon Musk’s vision of a new kind of transit system, shot a test pod through a prototype version of the loop over the weekend.
The pod, which is 28-feet long and constructed of aluminum and carbon fiber, “looks a bit like a bus with a beak,” writes Alex Davies in Wired. “A fast bus with a beak. Once loaded into a 1,600-foot-long concrete tube in the Nevada desert, the pod hit 192 mph in about 5 seconds, using an electric propulsion system producing more than 3,000 horsepower.”
That’s unquestionably impressive. I’m glad to see the project moving forward, even if the first test is only a short hop.
Facebook Buys AI Startup to Improve Messenger
Facebook is apparently hoping to make its Messenger app smarter and more appealing. Early this week, the social network announced that it had acquired Ozlo, an AI startup that could help Messenger evolve into a digital personal assistant.
“Ozlo, which developed the Ozlo app for iOS and Android, specializes in understanding ambiguous phrases in subjective text-based conversations – for example, determining whether a restaurant is ‘group friendly’ or serves good oysters,” writes Rayna Hollander in Business Insider.
This is interesting news, since it clearly indicates that Facebook wants to be a seen as a serious competitor in the virtual assistant space.
The New Normal: Cyber Attacks as Statecraft
A former White House cyber advisor says it’s time to wake up and accept the fact that cyber attacks have become a normal part of international relations.
“More and more countries are beginning to incorporate cyber capabilities into their tools of statecraft. We need to recognize that it is going to become a tool of statecraft, not just for the U.S. and the high-end players like Russia, China, Israel, and Great Britain, but for almost everybody,” said Michael Daniel, former top cyber advisor for President Obama, in an interview with MIT Technology Review. “As a result, we need to begin to think through how we set up norms of behavior and rules of the road.”
I recommend reading the interview, and I’m interested in your opinions. Is he overstating or understating the case? In any event, I think he’s right when he recommends greater cooperation between the private and public sectors. From the perspective of a cyber attacker, the difference between “private” and “public” is essentially meaningless.