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The Machines Are Learning, and So Are the Students

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Riiid claims students can increase their scores by 20 percent or more with just 20 hours of study. It has already incorporated machine-learning algorithms into its program to prepare students for English-language proficiency tests and has introduced test prep programs for the SAT. It expects to enter the United States in 2020.

Still more transformational applications are being developed that could revolutionize education altogether. Acuitus, a Silicon Valley start-up, has drawn on lessons learned over the past 50 years in education — cognitive psychology, social psychology, computer science, linguistics and artificial intelligence — to create a digital tutor that it claims can train experts in months rather than years.

Acuitus’s system was originally funded by the Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for training Navy information technology specialists. John Newkirk, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said Acuitus focused on teaching concepts and understanding.

The company has taught nearly 1,000 students with its course on information technology and is in the prototype stage for a system that will teach algebra. Dr. Newkirk said the underlying A.I. technology was content-agnostic and could be used to teach the full range of STEM subjects.

Dr. Newkirk likens A.I.-powered education today to the Wright brothers’ early exhibition flights — proof that it can be done, but far from what it will be a decade or two from now.

The world will still need schools, classrooms and teachers to motivate students and to teach social skills, teamwork and soft subjects like art, music and sports. The challenge for A.I.-aided learning, some people say, is not the technology, but bureaucratic barriers that protect the status quo.

“There are gatekeepers at every step,” said Dr. Sejnowski, who together with Barbara Oakley, a computer-science engineer at Michigan’s Oakland University, created a massive open online course, or MOOC, called “Learning How to Learn.”

He said that by using machine-learning systems and the internet, new education technology would bypass the gatekeepers and go directly to students in their homes. “Parents are figuring out that they can get much better educational lessons for their kids through the internet than they’re getting at school,” he said.

Craig S. Smith is a former correspondent for The Times and hosts the podcast Eye on A.I.



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A.M.D. Has the same opinion to Purchase Xilinx for $35 Billion in Inventory

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SAN FRANCISCO — Complicated Micro Units agreed to pay $35 billion in inventory for Xilinx, a deal aimed toward reshaping some of the laptop chip trade’s pioneers.

A.M.D., identified basically as Intel’s longtime rival in microprocessors that energy maximum computer systems, plans to make use of the purchase to increase its trade into chips for markets like 5G wi-fi communications and car electronics. The transaction may just additionally assist A.M.D. clutch a larger proportion of part gross sales for knowledge facilities and counter a distinguished rival, Nvidia, which may be bulking up.

The all-stock deal, introduced on Tuesday in conjunction with A.M.D.’s third-quarter monetary effects, could be with regards to essentially the most precious acquisition within the chip trade’s historical past. The ones bragging rights are these days held via Nvidia for its proposed $40 billion deal for British chip fashion designer Arm, which was once introduced closing month.

Chip makers have skilled a number of consolidation waves, pushed via elements reminiscent of replica product strains and cost-cutting methods. However A.M.D., which is playing one of the maximum powerful gross sales in its 51-year historical past, expects Xilinx to increase its trade whilst boosting earnings.

Lisa Su, A.M.D.’s leader govt, mentioned in ready remarks that Xilinx would assist determine her corporate as “the trade’s top efficiency computing chief and spouse of selection for the most important and maximum essential era firms on this planet.”

That type of popularity has lengthy eluded A.M.D., which for many years was once noticed as an Intel follower that basically gained gross sales with decrease costs. However the corporate has in recent years grabbed a lead over Intel in some key measures of computing efficiency, whilst its better rival has suffered technological and monetary stumbles.

Remaining Thursday, Intel reported a 29 p.c decline in quarterly earnings, which brought about its inventory to fall greater than 10 p.c. A.M.D., in contrast, reported on Tuesday that its quarterly benefit rose via 148 p.c.

A.M.D.’s inventory, which was once buying and selling 5 years in the past at about $2 a proportion, has risen just about 80 p.c this yr and closed Monday at relatively above $82. A.M.D.’s marketplace worth stands now at just about $100 billion.

Xilinx, based in 1984, is the largest maker of a category of chips that may be reconfigured for quite a lot of specialised duties once they go away the manufacturing facility. Such box programmable gate arrays, as they’re referred to as, have lengthy been specifically standard in telecommunications packages, reminiscent of cell base stations now being upgraded for the newest 5G era.

Xilinx has additionally been some of the largest chip firms harm via business limits on China’s Huawei, a big maker of networking apparatus this is one in all Xilinx’s largest consumers. The corporate closing week mentioned that earnings declined Eight p.c.

However Xilinx’s gross margins are a lot upper than A.M.D.’s, and the corporate continues to generate really extensive money. Xilinx’s marketplace worth these days stands at about $28 billion, reflecting a pointy soar after The Wall Side road Magazine reported deal talks between the corporations on Oct. 8.

A.M.D.’s pastime in Xilinx emulates a trail taken via Intel. In 2015, Intel entered the similar trade via paying $16.7 billion for Altera, Xilinx’s major competitor. That deal, impressed in part via the possibility of manufacturing Altera chips in Intel factories, has didn’t generate large returns as Intel’s production processes have fallen at the back of competitors.

A.M.D. is based closely on exterior production companions, as does Xilinx — specifically Taiwan Semiconductor Production Corporate, which has grabbed a lead in packing smaller transistors on each and every chip. Each firms even have driven new applied sciences for developing new merchandise from packaging more than one chips in combination.

The proposed transaction dwarfs A.M.D.’s most vital previous acquisition, a $5.four billion deal for ATI Applied sciences in 2006 that took the corporate into pageant with Nvidia for chips that render pictures in video video games. That graphics era would make A.M.D. a big provider of chips for online game consoles. But it surely additionally saddled A.M.D. with a heavy debt load that took greater than a decade to erase.

A.M.D. reported about $1.7 billion in money on the finish of September.

The firms mentioned the deal was once anticipated to be finished via the tip of 2021. Victor Peng, Xilinx’s leader govt, will proceed to guide the operation following the shut of the deal, the corporations mentioned.



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Driverless Automobiles Cross Humble to Get Actual

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This newsletter is a part of the On Tech publication. You’ll be able to join right here to obtain it weekdays.

The dream of computer-driven automobiles taking up the roads stays a myth. However slowly, and possibly extra modestly than tech idealists imagined, driverless automobiles are getting actual.

After a length of funk that integrated a pandemic-related freeze on highway assessments, driverless automotive traits were coming thick and speedy in the previous few weeks.

Waymo, which is a part of the similar corporate as Google, just lately expanded its driverless taxi carrier in Phoenix — and with no individual within the motive force’s seat in case one thing is going flawed. Basic Motors’ driverless automotive corporate may also quickly take away human minders from its self-driving take a look at automobiles in San Francisco. Tesla has mentioned it’ll quickly activate instrument options that shift lots of its automobiles at the highway into driverless take a look at automobiles.

For now, driverless automobiles function in remoted circumstances. It is going to be a few years ahead of they’re dependable, reasonably priced and popular in all highway and climate prerequisites. And I proceed to fret that optimism about driverless automobiles will make folks and policymakers keep away from arduous possible choices on inefficient and highway clogging transportation and dangle out as an alternative for computer-piloted automobiles to unravel the whole lot — which they received’t.

However growth is growth. Contemporary traits level to vow for driverless automotive era if we keep sensible about what it may well and will’t do.

Oliver Cameron, the manager government of the driverless automotive corporate Voyage, mentioned one problem going through this sort of era is that individuals — assuming they aren’t under the influence of alcohol or distracted, which occurs too continuously — are quite adept at dealing with cases at the highway they’ve by no means noticed ahead of. Computer systems aren’t.

One instance Cameron discussed is the it sounds as if now not unusual downside of a driverless automotive encountering a flock of untamed turkeys.

A human motive force may honk or inch ahead to check out to shoo away the birds, however Cameron says Voyage’s laptop gadget doesn’t know what to do but even so freeze in position. “It sounds truly easy, however you must reliably forestall or navigate round any and all stumbling blocks,” he informed me.

There are a zillion different situations like this which might be for my part unusual however jointly make dependable self-driving automobiles tough. And there’s little room for error when lives are at stake.

So Voyage is beginning “humble,” Cameron mentioned. The corporate just lately made over its custom designed computer-piloted taxis to function with no backup motive force, and automobiles function handiest in two retirement communities.

Low speeds, reasonably easy highway prerequisites and a small geography that Voyage laptop techniques have mapped upfront take away one of the vital headaches and possibility. And for seniors, get entry to to door-to-door automotive carrier can materially beef up their lives.

Even confined to quite area of interest circumstances, Voyage offers with complexities that boggle the thoughts. The automobiles have backup techniques to the backup techniques. Settings save you riders from grabbing the guidance wheel or urgent the fuel pedal whilst the auto is in self-driving mode. (Everyone knows individuals who would do that in a robot-piloted automotive.) Voyage additionally has folks status through who can take over automobiles remotely in the event that they’re wanted.

I requested Cameron when driverless automobiles are going to hit the roads in massive numbers all over the place. He was once hopeful however guardedly so given how driverless automotive backers have misjudged the era’s issue.

“The optimist in me says issues are handiest going to boost up from right here,” Cameron mentioned. Then he paused and mentioned he couldn’t give me a timeline. “It’s a non-answer,” he mentioned.

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Closing week, The New York Instances’s private tech columnist, Brian X. Chen, went over how one can forestall robocallers from bombarding our telephones. Now he tackles a linked annoyance: unsolicited textual content messages from entrepreneurs, political teams and others.

Right here’s what we will be able to do:

On iPhones, you’ll clear out messages from unknown senders. This doesn’t forestall the texts, however they received’t make your telephone vibrate or ding. The texts will display up in a listing classified “unknown senders.” That approach, the undesirable texts don’t distract you or clog the messages you wish to have to peer from folks you care about. To try this, open the Settings app, faucet Messages, scroll down and toggle on Clear out Unknown Senders.

You’ll be able to additionally block a selected telephone quantity from texting you. Within the offending textual content message, faucet the title and quantity on the most sensible of the message after which faucet the Data icon at the correct. Faucet the “data” button once more and make a selection Block this Caller.

Android software homeowners too can block explicit numbers from sending them texts. On Pixel telephones, as an example, open the textual content message after which faucet the icon within the higher correct hand nook that appears like 3 vertical dots. Choose Main points after which make a selection Block & file junk mail.

There also are third-party apps that provide to stop spammers from texting you, however I most often am now not keen on them. In my assessments, the ones apps nonetheless let a lot of undesirable messages thru — plus they get pricey to make use of through the years.

We will have to proceed urgent the cell phone firms to mend this downside on a community stage. Till then, we’re on our personal with some imperfect gear.


  • From blah to influential due to the worst of social media: My colleague Kevin Roose has an engrossing, aggravating article about how a suffering information group affiliated with a Chinese language non secular motion was a power in right-wing media. The group, Epoch Instances, did this through capitalizing at the incentives of Fb after which YouTube to push hyperpartisan messages and conspiracy theories that had been rewarded on the ones web pages with extra stream and engagement.

  • Google is a verb. Alipay is the monetary identical of a noun, verb, article, preposition and adjective: You need my colleague Ray Zhong to provide an explanation for Ant Staff’s Alipay, one in every of two extensively used virtual cost apps in China that experience made money and different types of bills just about out of date in that nation, and be offering loans, investments and insurance coverage insurance policies.

  • How one can communicate to family members who percentage conspiracy theories: Charlie Warzel, an Opinion author for The Instances, inspired chatting with folks concerning the mechanics of on-line knowledge, strolling them thru a conspiracy to suss out its holes and now not scolding or mocking family members for what they consider.

As an alternative of financial institution branches on each nook in The united states, are we able to have those wonderful dancing financial institution mascots from Thailand?


We need to listen from you. Let us know what you bring to mind this article and what else you’d like us to discover. You’ll be able to achieve us at ontech@nytimes.com.

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Five Classes on Voter Incorrect information From Kentucky’s Election in 2019

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Native election officers, politicians and disinformation researchers proceed to specific fear about how incorrect information about vote casting may just disrupt Election Day subsequent week. False and deceptive knowledge, analysis displays, has already been spreading broadly.

The 2019 race for governor of Kentucky illustrates what can cross unsuitable, as we explored in the most recent episode of “Wired Election.” In that race, the status governor, Matt Bevin, a Republican, disputed the consequences when the vote tally confirmed him narrowly shedding to his Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear.

Mr. Bevin and a few of his allies argued, with out appearing any proof, that there have been vote casting irregularities and fraud, echoing some false and deceptive statements made on social media. The governor to start with refused to concede although returns confirmed him trailing via about 5,000 votes. Mr. Bevin conceded a few week later.

The race provides some classes concerning the energy of disinformation in American elections:

1. Incorrect information efforts don’t wish to be subtle to achieve success. In Kentucky, an account with simply 19 fans despatched out a tweet on election night time that claimed to have “shredded a field of Republican ballots.” The tweet, despatched as a funny story via a school pupil, would sooner or later achieve 1000’s.

2. Preventing the unfold of deceptive election knowledge isn’t simple. Election officers spotted the false “shredded” tweet, which used to be retweeted via a couple of well-liked conservative accounts, and reported it to Twitter. The corporate got rid of the submit inside of an hour, however screenshots of the submit had been retweeted via dozens of accounts, with retweets attaining neatly into the 1000’s. Monitoring all of the ones screenshots proved tough for each election officers and Twitter.

3. One piece of incorrect information can beget a lot more. The unexpected unfold of the false tweet about shredding ballots gave the look to be a inexperienced mild for different claims. Some tweets began to query the accuracy of voter rolls in Kentucky, others puzzled about “hackers” attacking the “cloud” the place election effects had been saved, aside from there’s no “cloud” utilized in Kentucky elections. And baseless claims of voter fraud had been rampant.

4. There are networks able to enlarge and unfold incorrect information. Some teams on Twitter unfold numerous conspiracies, be it the QAnon cabal conspiracy or an anti-mask conspiracy. Those networks can temporarily grasp on a work of conspiratorial incorrect information and enlarge and boost up its unfold, which is a part of why a unmarried tweet from an difficult to understand account reached such a lot of in Kentucky.

5. A particularly shut election is especially ripe for incorrect information. Following election night time in Kentucky, the comb hearth of incorrect information that used to be spreading on-line temporarily took cling offline. Mr. Bevin’s supporters staged information meetings with baseless claims of fraud, and arrange a robocall community telling folks to “please record suspected voter fraud” to the state elections board. On-line, the dialogue had now moved a long way past a case of shredded ballots to accusations of a stolen or rigged election.



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