Tech’s dangerous race to control our emotions

June 12, 2019

they make us feel anxiousIn a time when are suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety, the emergence of technology that can deal with negative emotions is arguably a positive development. However, as more and more companies aim to use AI-based technology to make us feel better, society is confronted with an extremely delicate ethical problem: Should we launch a concerted effort to resolve the underlying causes of stress, depression, and…


Biofourmis raises $35M to develop smarter treatments for chronic diseases

May 26, 2019

Biofourmis, a Singapore-based startup pioneering a distinctly tech-based approach to the treatment of chronic conditions, has raised a $35 million Series B round for expansion. The round was led by Sequoia India and MassMutual Ventures, the VC fund from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Other investors who put in include EDBI, the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, China-based healthcare platform Jianke and existing investors Openspace Ventures, Aviva…


Having Sleep Troubles? There’s a Gadget for That

March 23, 2019

Matteo Franceschetti began optimizing his life long before he started a tech company dedicated to sleep: heart rate monitored on an Apple Watch, a ketogenic diet, Peloton exercise bikes—one at home, one in the office. But sleep? The time he spent between the sheets felt, to him, unquantified and underutilized. Looking to squeeze more out of his unconscious hours, Franceschetti created Eight Sleep, to “unlock the full potential” of slumberland….


Presto raises $30M to bring its AI platform and tabletop ordering hardware to restaurant chains

March 1, 2019

The “restaurant of the future” may elicit thoughts of a chrome diner with robot servers and an otherwise hefty amount of Tokyo futurist kitsch, but the fact is that the forthcoming sit-down dining experience may just end up looking a lot like ordering from a takeout app. Presto is working with restaurants to update the 21st century dine-in experience, letting customers order and pay from their table with a tablet…


UK health minister sets out tech-first vision for future care provision

October 19, 2018

The UK’s still fairly new in post minister for health, Matt Hancock, quickly made technology one of his stated priorities. And today he’s put more meat on the bones of his thinking, setting out a vision for transforming, root and branch, how the country’s National Health Service operates to accommodate the plugging in of “healthtech” apps and services — to support tech-enabled “preventative, predictive and personalised care”. How such a…


This Hearing Aid Can Translate For Youand Track Steps Too

September 7, 2018

It’s too loud for me to hear inside the Cupertino coffee bar, but Achin Bhowmik says it doesn’t bother him. He’s got a superpower, he says. If I look closely—very closely—I can see the tiny plastic tubes reaching from his ear canals to small devices hidden behind his ears. The hearing aids are running machine-learning algorithms that continuously monitor his “acoustic environment” to help him hear what he wants to…


Pro Gamers Fend off Elon Musk-Backed AI Botsfor Now

September 2, 2018

One way to measure progress in artificial intelligence is to chart victories by algorithms over champions of increasingly challenging games—checkers, chess, and, in 2016, Go. On Wednesday, five bots sought to extend AI’s mastery to esports, in the fantasy battle game Dota 2. They failed, as a team of pro gamers from Brazil called paiN defended humanity’s honor—for now. A crowd of thousands in Vancouver’s hockey arena watched the bots…


Putting the voice assistant speaker craze in context

September 15, 2017

If you believe the hype, homes in the US are already lousy with speakers containing embodied AI — the most high profile being Amazon’s Echo, in its various incarnations, whose Alexa voice assistant can be commanded to do things like play music, answer trivia questions or tap into third party apps (via an ever-expanding set of so-called ‘skills‘). But the truth is these virtual personal assistant (VPA) speakers remain very…