Microsoft filed a patent for an AI backpack straight out of a sci-fi movie

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Students and office workers who carry heavy laptops and a plethora of personal items with them every day rely on backpacks to hold their belongings. For those people, there’s good news: Microsoft may soon be infusing backpacks with artifical intelligence (AI) to take a backpack’s function to a new level.

patent filed by Microsoft that showcases the concept of the AI backpack was filed on May 2, 2023, and published on August 24, 2023, as spotted by MSPowerUser

AlsoOne in four workers fears being considered ‘lazy’ if they use AI tools

The wearable would be able to do much more than your average smartwatch, with advanced capabilities such as scanning an environment, understanding voice commands, and performing contextual tasks. 

Threads overtakes ChatGPT as fastest growing app ever

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Threads, an Instagram app, has signed up 100 million users in less than five days since launch, a feat that took ChatGPT two months to achieve.

Meta’s Twitter rival hit the 100 million mark in the early hours of Monday (July 10th), according to the data platform Quiver Quantitative, beating an earlier record set by OpenAI’s ChatGPT app.

ChatGPT made history in January when it added 100 million active users in just two months after its launch. It took TikTok nine months and Instagram two and a half years to hit this milestone.

The user estimate for Threads is based on the account numbers shown on Instagram pages. It is too early to say how many of those will use the app regularly.

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MacOS vs Windows: Which Desktop OS Is Safest?

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Still think Macs can’t get viruses? That outdated thinking puts you and your data at risk.


It’s a tale as old as computing itself: Macs can’t get viruses. It’s not true, but a new survey by security site All About Cookies(Opens in a new window) seems to indicate that far too many macOS users believe their systems are immune, even though they’re security-conscious about other aspects of computing—at least, compared with Windows users.

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Google Flooded the Internet With AI News. Where’s Apple?

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Apple hasn’t publicly entered the generative AI race yet. But there’s a good chance we’ll see the technology baked into its upcoming software.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard the term “generative AI” at least a handful of times now, perhaps thanks to the wildly popular ChatGPT service. The AI-powered chatbot’s success didn’t just shine a spotlight on OpenAI, the creator behind it, but it also catalyzed an AI arms race in the tech industry – a race from which Apple has been noticeably absent.  

Earlier this month, Google made a flurry of AI-related announcements at its annual developer conference, including a new AI-infused version of search and Bard, its AI-powered chatbot, which is being rolled out across the world. It’s not just Google. Before that, Microsoft built generative AI into its suite of long-established productivity apps like Word, PowerPoint and Outlook in a move that’s changing how more than a billion people work. In February, Meta released its own sophisticated AI model, which has many of the same capabilities at ChatGPT and Bard, as open-source software for public use.

But what about Apple? 

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Paralysed man walks again via thought-controlled implants

source: yahoo news, contributed by Artemus Founder, Bob Wallace  |  image:


A paralysed man has regained the ability to walk smoothly using only his thoughts for the first time, researchers said on Wednesday, thanks to two implants that restored communication between brain and spinal cord.

The patient Gert-Jan, who did not want to reveal his surname, said the breakthrough had given him “a freedom that I did not have” before.

The 40-year-old Dutchman has been paralysed in his legs for more than a decade after suffering a spinal cord injury during a bicycle accident.

But using a new system he can now walk “naturally”, take on difficult terrain and even climb stairs, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

The advance is the result of more than a decade of work by a team of researchers in France and Switzerland.

Last year the team showed that a spinal cord implant — which sends electrical pulses to stimulate movement in leg muscles — had allowed three paralysed patients to walk again.

But they needed to press a button to move their legs each time.

Gert-Jan, who also has the spinal implant, said this made it difficult to get into the rhythm of taking a “natural step”.

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Solar-Powered Biofuel That Produces Net Zero Carbon Emissions

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The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, harnessed the power of photosynthesis to convert CO2, water and sunlight into multicarbon fuels – ethanol and propanol – in a single step. These fuels have a high energy density and can be easily stored or transported.

Unlike fossil fuels, these solar fuels produce net zero carbon emissions and completely renewable, and unlike most bioethanol, they do not divert any agricultural land away from food production.

While the technology is still at laboratory scale, the researchers say their ‘artificial leaves’ are an important step in the transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy. The results are reported in the journal Nature Energy.

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How Can the Intelligence Community Remain Indispensable to U.S. Policy Makers?

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EXPERT ANALYSIS — In an era of information overload, the rise of AI and machine learning tools, and intensifying competition with China, one question looms large: Is the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) effectively supporting U.S. policymakers? To explore this question, we at the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP) carried out an extensive e-survey from 1-25 March 2023. We reached out to 299 current and former national security officials to evaluate the intelligence support they received from the U.S. Intelligence Community during their time in the government.

A total of 86 people took our survey. Of those who took the survey, 27.9% are still serving in the government, 22.1% served as recently as the last year, 25.6% in the last three years, and 20.9% in the last five years. Those who took the survey included senior leaders (41.9%), managers (20.9%), advisors (25.6%), and analysts (5.8%).  The respondents included, among others, a National Security Advisor, two Deputy National Security Advisors, general and flag officers from the various military services, including those who had commanded in combat or held leadership positions in the European and Indo-Pacific theaters, foreign service officers, civil servants, and political appointees.

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Clever Defiance


source:, contributed by Artemus FAN, Steve Jones  |  Image: Pixabay via


An interesting footnote to the German occupation of France during WW II.
You might be aware that this year is the 100th anniversary of Citroën. Here’s a fascinating bit of wartime Citroën lore. It involves screwing with Nazis in a genuinely clever and subtle way that nevertheless had big repercussions. 
So, when France was occupied by the Germans in 1940, major French factories like Citroën were forced to produce equipment for the Nazis. Citroën president Pierre-Jules Boulanger knew he couldn’t just refuse to produce anything, but he also knew there’s no way in hell he’s going to just roll over and build trucks for a bunch of filthy Nazis. Pierre had a plan.  
John Reynold’s book Citroën 2CV describes Boulanger’s sabotage efforts. Of course, he instructed workers to set a nice, leisurely pace when building trucks (likely Citroën T45 trucks) for the Wehrmacht, but that’s fairly obvious. What was brilliant was Boulanger’s idea to move the little notch on the trucks’ oil dipsticks that indicated the proper level of oil down just a bit lower.
By moving the notch down, the trucks would not have enough oil, but German mechanics would have no idea, because the little notch on the dipstick says it’s just fine. 
Then, after the truck has been used for a while and is out deployed somewhere crucial, whammo, the engine seizes up and you’ve got a lot of angry, stranded, vulnerable Nazis, balling up their little fists and madly barking curses in German.
It’s such a fantastic act of sabotage: it’s extremely cheap to implement, it’s subtle, there’s no way to see something amiss is happening as the trucks are being built and it delivers its blow away from the site of the sabotage and when it will cause the most inconvenience and trouble.
That’s some mighty good sabotaging, Pierre.
Happy 100th Anniversary, Citroën!

Michigan Tech Researchers Develop ‘Smart’ Deep Brain Stimulation Systems for Parkinson’s Patients

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Researchers at Michigan Technological University are applying neuromorphic computing to improve the effectiveness and energy efficiency of deep brain stimulation systems used to treat Parkinson’s disease.


Currently incurable, Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions worldwide. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an alternative to medications that are effective but lose effectiveness as patients develop drug resistance. Over time, larger doses of medication become necessary to control the condition and with them come potentially serious side effects. DBS is one alternative.

Making Deep Brain Stimulation Systems Better for Patients

DBS systems function like a pacemaker for the brain. They suppress the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including slowed or delayed movements (called bradykinesia), tremors and stiffness. An electrode, implanted into a specific target in the brain, emits electrical impulses using a battery-powered device in the chest. 

DBS systems can be life-changing for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. But battery life is a challenge. Current devices use an implantable pulse generator (IPG), surgically inserted in the chest or abdomen, to send stimulation signals to the brain at a constant frequency, regardless of the clinical state of the patient. Nonchargeable batteries last approximately two to five years. Battery replacement can be disruptive for patients; it requires a surgical procedure. And there can be unwanted side effects caused by the IPG’s continuous stimulation.

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