Archives for January 9, 2018

Data Sheet—Nvidia CEO Sees AI Solving Problems Beyond Human Abilities

Greetings from rainy Las Vegas, where last night I interviewed Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, CEO of the 25-year overnight success chipmaker worth $134 billion.

Huang’s and Nvidia’s story is an epic tale of a very good market turning into a market for the ages. Nvidia for years made something called graphical processor units, chips that solved “massive computational problems” that made video games sing. The central processing units Intel sold powered a generation of PCs, while Nvidia occupied a lesser-followed but still lucrative niche.

A niche no more, Nvidia’s market has morphed into supplying the brains for artificial intelligence. The same smarts that create a “virtual reality” for gamers now envision what the world looks like for all sorts of industrial applications. Chief among them is self-driving cars, and Nvidia announced partnerships this week with Uber and Volkswagen.

Huang, the CEO for Nvidia’s entire existence, is enjoying his moment. I asked why Nvidia hadn’t experienced the same kind of security concerns Intel had, and he scoffed. Asked if today’s automobiles could be retrofitted with AI-worthy chips, Huang essentially said: Not so much.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

Huang painted a nuanced view of what autonomous vehicles will look like. Cars driving fixed routes in “geo-fenced” area will come first, followed by over-the-road truckers. True self-driving cars will be further off, and even once they come people will still drive for “entertainment,” he said.

The Nvidia CEO’s most fascinating observation is that his chips will power software that will write software. In other words, AI will beget AI to solve problems humans didn’t know they had.

NEWSWORTHY

Defensive moves. Apple fired back at critics who accused the iPhone maker of hooking kids on smartphones. “We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids,” Apple said after several big investors asked the company to do more.

Defensive moves, part II. Microsoft halted the distribution of one of its security patches intended to protect against the Spectre attack against CPUs. The patch was causing problems on some older PCs with CPUs made by Advanced Micro Devices, the companies said.

Offensive moves. The fired Google engineer who authored a sexist memo about the company’s hiring practices is suing. James Damore, who wrote that women were biologically less suited to the field of engineering, claims that Google “singled out, mistreated, and systemically punished and terminated” employees that didn’t agree with its stance on diversity.

Surprise. A policy change by a top tracker of of digital currency prices to exclude some markets in Korea made Monday’s fall in prices of many cryptocoins look more severe. Some digital currency enthusiasts said CoinMarketCap should have been more transparent about its intention to stop including data from the Korean firms.

Siri, get me a pizza. At CES, Toyota Motor unveiled its e-Palette concept vehicle, which will be part of a network of electric autonomous shuttle vans that can ferry people or packages. Toyota is partnering with Amazon, Uber, Didi Chuxing, Mazda, and Pizza Hut on the project.

Marathon music session. Also at CES, Qualcomm announced a new set of chips to power Bluetooth wireless gear, like headphones and ear buds. Qualcomm says the new “QCC5100 Low Power Bluetooth SoC” will triple battery life and make connections to phones and other devices more reliable.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The cost of mining digital currency is basically the price of a PC with a strong graphics card and then the ongoing bill for electricity. Some enterprising undergraduates have realized that they could use the free electricity they get at school to mint some cryptocash for themselves, as Karen Ho writes for Quartz. One MIT student, called “Mark” in the article, was making quite a profit.

Each time Mark mined enough ether to cover the cost, he bought a new graphics card, trading leftover currency into bitcoin for safekeeping. By March 2017, he was running seven computers, mining ether around the clock from his dorm room. By September his profits totaled one bitcoin—worth roughly $4,500 at the time. Now, four months later, after bitcoin’s wild run and the diversification of his cryptocoin portfolio, Mark estimates he has $20,000 in digital cash. “It just kind of blew up,” he says.

BEFORE YOU GO

The best Wi-Fi security standard, known as WPA2, is nearly 20 years old and was recently cracked. So the group that sets standards for the ubiquitous transmission technology, the Wi-Fi Alliance, finally announced a new, tougher security set up that will be called WPA3. Compatible devices should be on the market later this year.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.

Nvidia CEO Sees Massive AI Needs for Self-Driving Cars

This article first appeared in Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. Sign up here.

Greetings from rainy Las Vegas, where last night I interviewed Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, CEO of the 25-year overnight success chipmaker worth $134 billion.

Huang’s and Nvidia’s story is an epic tale of a very good market turning into a market for the ages. Nvidia for years made something called graphical processor units, chips that solved “massive computational problems” that made video games sing. The central processing units Intel (intc) sold powered a generation of PCs, while Nvidia (nvda) occupied a lesser-followed but still lucrative niche.

A niche no more, Nvidia’s market has morphed into supplying the brains for artificial intelligence. The same smarts that create a “virtual reality” for gamers now envision what the world looks like for all sorts of industrial applications. Chief among them is self-driving cars, and Nvidia announced partnerships this week with Uber and Volkswagen.

Huang, the CEO for Nvidia’s entire existence, is enjoying his moment. I asked why Nvidia hadn’t experienced the same kind of security concerns Intel had, and he scoffed. Asked if today’s automobiles could be retrofitted with AI-worthy chips, Huang essentially said: Not so much.

Huang painted a nuanced view of what autonomous vehicles will look like. Cars driving fixed routes in “geo-fenced” area will come first, followed by over-the-road truckers. True self-driving cars will be further off, and even once they come people will still drive for “entertainment,” he said.

The Nvidia CEO’s most fascinating observation is that his chips will power software that will write software. In other words, AI will beget AI to solve problems humans didn’t know they had.

What You Can Do Now to Restrict Your Kids’ iPhone Use

Apple has promised new ways for parents to control what their kids see on its products.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Apple said that it’s “constantly looking” for opportunities to protect children and will, in a future software update, make parental controls that are “even more robust” available on its many products.

Apple’s decision came after two prominent investors, Jana Partners and California State Teachers’ Retirement System, sent a letter to Apple over the weekend requesting the company build new tools to help parents curb their children’s use of iPhones. They cited the potential for negative effects on a child’s mental health with too much smartphone use, and suggested Apple, as one of the most prominent technology companies in the world, could lead a charge to safeguard children.

But while you’re waiting for that update, you can take action now if you believe your kids are spending too much time on their favorite apps.

Apple’s iPhone (and iPad) parental controls are already quite useful and give you broad control over what your kids can and cannot do. Here’s a quick guide on how to restrict app access on your kids’ iPhones:

Ensure You Have a Passcode Set

In order to create restrictions—and ensure your children can’t easily turn them off—you’ll need to turn on passcodes in your iPhone settings. The passcode will need to be input to access the Restrictions settings.

To create a passcode, go to Settings > General > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode). Create the passcode you want and you’ll be all set.

Open the Restrictions App

To access the Restrictions app, you’ll need to open your Settings and go to General. In there, you’ll see an option for Restrictions. Once you tap it, the software will request you input a passcode. Do that and you’ll see a long list of restrictions.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter

Make Some Basic Adjustments

First things first, decide whether you want your children to access built-in apps, including Apple’s Safari browser, the Camera app, and FaceTime. You can also decide whether iTunes and the ability to install apps should be turned on. If you don’t allow apps to be installed, only you will be allowed to install programs when you turn off the restriction and install apps from the App Store.

Choose an Age Rating

If you’ve decided to allow your children to download apps but want to restrict what they can access, scroll down on the Restrictions menu to the “Allowed Content” section.

There, you’ll decide whether Apple should automatically filter explicit content. You can also choose the “apps” pane and determine whether the iPhone should allow any apps to be accessible, or only those that are appropriate for a variety of ages, including 4+, 9+, 12+, or 17+.

Similar control is available on TV show access, music, and allowed websites. In fact, the Allowed Websites pane lets you determine which websites your kids can access at any time.

Focus on Games

If games is the real problem you’re dealing with, Apple makes it easy to control that behavior.

If you scroll the bottom of the Restrictions menu, you’ll see a “Game Center” section. There you can decide whether your kids should be allowed to play multiplayer games or communicate with others inside a game.

Ford wants to wire cities to ease congestion

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) plans to offer cities networks and technology to smooth the flow of goods and people as ride hailing and automated delivery services are making congestion worse, the U.S. automaker’s top executives said on Tuesday.

In addresses at the CES technology show here, Chief Executive Jim Hackett and Marcy Klevorn, executive vice president for mobility, said Ford wants to build a “transportation mobility cloud” and technology that would allow cities, fleet operators and others to use a shared platform to manage vehicles and connect people to different types of transportation.

“Nobody else is talking about providing an open community like this for mobility,” Klevorn said. She asked CES attendees to work with Ford to develop systems to improve “transit choreography.”

In a blog post, Rich Strader, Ford’s vice president for Mobility Product Solutions, and Sunny Madra, CEO of Ford’s software partner, Autonomic, said the common technology platform could be used to build applications or run fleets of connected vehicles.

Cities could re-route traffic away from congested streets, or make sure that self-driving cars are not cruising around searching for passengers, exacerbating traffic jams, Strader and Madra wrote.

Ride services companies and advocates of self-driving vehicles have argued that the shift away from human-driven, personal vehicles would result in less congestion. Auto industry executives talk of a world with “zero congestion.”

A study of New York City traffic released in December concluded that 59 percent more ride hailing cars and cabs were operating in the city center in 2017 than in 2013. One-third of those vehicles were empty, according to the report by consultant Bruce Schaller, a former New York City transportation official.

New York officials are weighing various proposals to counter the trend, including assessing fees on ride services companies.

Cities such as London are also considering or instituting new fees aimed at curbing traffic.

Reporting by Joe White; Editing by Richard Chang