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Why US airlines are scared of 5G

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Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Earlier this week, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the US, relented to requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration to delay the deployment of 5G services.

The decision was a culmination of a long period of disagreements between the aviation industry and mobile networks that ended in a compromise for the latter after US government intervention. The point of contention: airlines claim 5G interferes with flight signals.

Last month, United Airlines chief executive Scott Kirby called on AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans to use the C-Band spectrum for 5G wireless services due to be deployed on 5 January. Following a US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue, Kirby said “it would be a catastrophic failure of government” if it was allowed to proceed.

Requests from the aviation industry led to US transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sending a letter to the two mobile networks requesting them to reconsider their decision and delay deployment for two weeks.

After initially refusing to budge on the grounds that the aviation industry had two years to prepare for the deployment, AT&T and Verizon agreed to go ahead with the short delay on Monday (3 January). The deployment will now go ahead on 19 January.

“We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues,” AT&T said in a statement seen by Reuters.

Can 5G and airlines co-exist?

The short answer is yes, but there’s a catch. 5G mobile networks using C-Band spectrum and airline travel can indeed co-exist – and they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines regularly travel. Both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree on this.

In a statement on 3 January, the FAA admitted that the two industries have co-existed in other countries because the power levels have been reduced around airports and there has been ample cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment. “For years, we have been working to find a solution in the United States,” it said.

With no solution yet in place, the FAA asked AT&T and Verizon for an additional two weeks to prepare for potential flight disruptions caused by any interference that may arise from the 5G deployment.

Frequencies in the C-Band spectrum are close to those used by radar altimeters, an important piece of safety equipment used by aircraft. “To make sure that this does not lead to hazardous interference, the FAA requires that radar altimeters are accurate and reliable,” said the FAA statement.

AT&T and Verizon have agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months while the FAA takes time to further investigate the impact. This, according to Axios, is similar to restrictions imposed in France.

US president Joe Biden called the decision to delay “a significant step in the right direction”.

According to Reuters, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency said following the concerns raised in the US that “no risk of unsafe interference has been identified in Europe”. South Korea, too, has reported no interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in 2019.

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‘You may feel your cortisol levels declining’: why Siri should be an Irish man | Life and style

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Inside my iPhone is a cornucopia of Irish men.

“It’s currently clear and 25 degrees,” Colin Farrell replies when I ask him the weather.

“A 7.45am alarm is now off,” says Michael Fassbender when I beg him for some extra sleep.

“Here’s what I found on Google,” Domnhall Gleeson cheerily answers when I screech: “I have spilt coffee all over my stovetop – how to clean white shirt and kitchen bench?” I feel like he is negging me – or playing hard to get, perhaps.

Changing my iPhone’s Siri voice to that of an Irish man has been an exercise in self-soothing. Generic American register begone; now I have a generic Irish lilt – or, if I suspend my disbelief hard enough, the rapturous musings of Colin, Michael, Domnhall, or Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh.

Niall Horan was (obviously) my preferred One Direction member as a boyband-crazy teen. As everyone swooned for Paul Mescal and his chain-sporting ways last year, I finally felt vindicated. Good old Pauly had been telling me the forecast for years.

Of course, being Irish is not the only virtue of these men. They also have great faces – which you, too, can conjure up at a moment’s notice by navigating the labyrinth of settings on your phone. The payoff is well worth it; with each gentle instruction from your personal Irish smooth-talker, you may feel your cortisol levels declining. (Your doctor may disagree.)

There are more tangible psychological ramifications to be found: a 2019 study by the United Nations revealed that the female voices of digital assistants – like Siri and Alexa – were entrenching gender stereotypes. “The speech of most voice assistants … sends a signal that women are obliging, docile and eager-to-please helpers,” the study found.

By altering your Siri’s voice setting, you are training your brain to unlearn the coded biases within its subconscious – or at least that’s what you can tell yourself.

No more women doing your bidding. Just make Ronan Keating do it instead.

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Tesla self-driving car data worries California DMV • The Register

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In brief California’s Department of Motor Vehicles said it’s “revisiting” its opinion of whether Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving feature needs more oversight after a series of videos demonstrate how the technology can be dangerous.

“Recent software updates, videos showing dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the opinions of other experts in this space,” have made the DMV think twice about Tesla, according to a letter sent to California’s Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), chair of the Senate’s transportation committee, and first reported by the LA Times.

Tesla isn’t required to report the number of crashes to California’s DMV unlike other self-driving car companies like Waymo or Cruise because it operates at lower levels of autonomy and requires human supervision. But that may change after videos like drivers having to take over to avoid accidentally swerving into pedestrians crossing the road or failing to detect a truck in the middle of the road continue circulating.

FSD is now available to all Tesla owners, who are willing to fork over $12,000 for it. .

AI algorithms can figure out your chess moves

AI models can identify anonymous chess players by analyzing how they move pieces to play the game, according to new research.

A team of computer scientists led by the University of Toronto trained a system on hundreds of games from 3,000 known chess players and one unnamed player. After hiding the first 15 moves in each game, the model was still able to identify the anonymous player 86 per cent of the time. The AI algorithm could be used to capture different playing styles and patterns and be used as a tool to help players improve their techniques.

But the research has been cautioned by some experts, according to Science. It could be used as a technique to uncover the identities of people online. One reviewer of the paper accepted for the Neural Information Processing Systems conference last month, said: “It could be “of interest to marketers [and] law enforcement.”

The model could also be expanded to analyze the styles of players in different games like poker. The researchers have decided not to release the source code for now, according to Science.

GitHub’s Copilot AI programming model can talk to you whilst you code

A developer experimenting with GitHub’s AI pair-programming software Copilot shows just how sensitive its text-generated outputs are to its inputs.

Copilot is a code completion tool. As programmers type away, it suggests the next few snippets of code to help them complete the task more efficiently. But one developer has, instead, been trying to get it to write plain English.

It’s not surprising that Copilot can do this considering the model is based on OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model. GitHub’s software, however, is not really designed to generate text so it’s interesting to see how capable it is compared to GPT-3.

One developer, Ido Nov, found that Copilot was capable of holding a simple chatbot-style conversation, it could answer questions somewhat, as well as summarize Wikipedia pages, or write poetry. The model’s outputs, however, can vary wildly depending on the inputs.

“I noticed a bit of a strange thing,” he wrote in a blog post. “The way letters are formatted had an effect on its behavior, and I’m not talking about compilation errors. It might mean it understands the difference in tone between TALKING LIKE THIS, or like this.”

Here’s an example of the oddity in a fictional chat between the coder and Mark Zuckerberg. The prompt: Mark: FACEBOOK IS NOW META, Me: WHY? led to copilot generating Mark: FACEBOOK IS NOW META (which isn’t that great). But if you fed Copilot the same prompt now all in lower case, it replied “Mark: because it’s easier to implement” (which is much more interesting.) Weird. ®



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Young Scientist winners use a new method to solve an old maths problem

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Two Dublin students were awarded the top prize at a virtual awards ceremony for their project focused on Euclidean geometry.

Aditya Joshi and Aditya Kumar, both 15 years old, have been named the overall winners of the 2022 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE).

The third-year students from Synge Street in Dublin won with their project entitled ‘A New Method of Solving the Bernoulli Quadrisection Problem’.

The Bernoulli quadrisection problem is an old, difficult problem in Euclidean geometry. The students devised a new method to solve it using an algorithm that was inspired by natural phenomena such as the flocking of birds.

Joshi and Kumar have been awarded a €7,500 prize and will go on to represent Ireland with their project at the EU Contest for Young Scientists later this year.

“I’m very speechless and happy,” Kumar said when their project was announced as the winner.

Joshi said the idea was inspired by a project his brother did for BTYSTE in 2018. As well as being part of the winning team, Joshi turned 15 today (14 January).

Speaking to SiliconRepublic.com, the boys said it felt surreal to win the young scientist competition. “It felt like a dream,” said Kumar.

Explaining their project, Joshi said they took an old problem and used the modern technique of particle swarm optimisation to solve it. “It worked out really well. So then we were able to use that method and then solve lots of other problems with it.”

Joshi also said the problem has a practical real-world application in the design of electronics.

Kumar said in the future he either wants to go down the route of becoming a software engineer or a doctor, while Joshi has ambitions of going into robotics. “Also, I kind of want to start a business but I have no ideas as of yet,” said Joshi.

‘A testament to the tenacity of the students’

Now in its 58th year, BTYSTE launched on Wednesday with more than 1,000 students representing 219 schools from 29 counties competing.

A total of 550 projects were chosen from 1,440 entries and climate, health and new technologies featured heavily among the projects.

The award for best individual young scientist went to Ross O’Boyle from Portmarnock Community School for his project investigating the effectiveness of various ventilation methods using CO2 as a proxy for the spread of Covid-19 in both controlled and real-life scenarios.

The runner-up individual prize went to St Aidan’s CBS student Andrei Florian for his project focusing on electoral voting systems using blockchain, while the runner-up group comprised Dara Newsome and David Hughes from Mercy Secondary School in Kerry for a wearable smart device for dementia patients.

Other Young Scientist award winners included Taha Fareed and Jevin Joy, two 15-year-old students from Coláiste Phadraig in Lucan, who created a website with an AI model that uses deep learning to predict the value of cryptocurrencies with high precision. They came joint second in the intermediate technology group category and bagged a special award from Science Foundation Ireland.

Additionally, the Tom Burke bursary worth €1,000 went to Robert Troy from CBS Charleville for his project Smart Yard, which looked at IoT monitoring of farm metrics to reduce emissions.

Ahead of the winner’s announcement, BT Ireland boss Shay Walsh thanked the students and said the judges were blown away by the projects, particularly with the extra challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“You are a generation that is actively seeking solutions some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces,” he said. “Please keep your passion for STEM and the possibilities that come with it.”

Minister for Education Norma Foley, TD, added that it was heartening to see the level of creativity in this year’s projects. “The calibre of entries are a testament to the tenacity of the students behind them.”

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