Meet your new chief of staff: An AI chatbot

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Navigator, the new project from the creators of Mailbox, launches with $12M

Years ago, a mobile app for email launched to immediate fanfare. Simply called Mailbox, its life was woefully cut short — we’ll get to that. Today, its founders are back with their second act: An AI-enabled assistant called Navigator meant to help teams work and communicate more efficiently.

With the support of $12 million in Series A funding from CRV, #Angels, Designer Fund, SV Angel, Dropbox’s Drew Houston and other angel investors, Aspen, the San Francisco and Seattle-based startup behind Navigator, has quietly been beta testing its tool within 50 organizations across the U.S.

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First smartphone app that can “hear” ear infections in children

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Dr. Randall Bly, an assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the UW School of Medicine who practices at Seattle Children’s Hospital, uses the app and funnel to check his daughter’s ear.

Ear infections are the most common reason that parents bring their children to a pediatrician, according to the National Institutes of Health.

This condition occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear behind the eardrum and is infected. This buildup is also common in another condition called otitis media with effusion. Any kind of fluid buildup can be painful and make it hard for children to hear, which can be especially detrimental when they are learning to talk.

Both conditions are hard to diagnose because they have vague symptoms: Sometimes children tug on their ears or have fevers, and sometimes there are no symptoms. In addition, young children may not be able to describe where they hurt.

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As cashless stores grow, so does the backlash

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Hembert Figueroa just wanted a taco.

So he was surprised to learn the dollar bills in his pocket were no good at Dos Toros Taqueria in Manhattan, one of a small but growing number of establishments across the U.S. where customers can only pay by card or smartphone.

Cash-free stores are generating a backlash among some activists and liberal-leaning policymakers who say the practice discriminates against people like Figueroa, who either lack bank accounts or rely on cash for many transactions.

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Two-thirds of all Android antivirus apps are frauds

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Only 23 Android antivirus apps had a 100 percent detection rate with no false positives.

An organization specialized in testing antivirus products concluded in a report published this week that roughly two-thirds of all Android antivirus apps are a sham and don’t work as advertised.

The report, published by Austrian antivirus testing outfit AV-Comparatives, was the result of a grueling testing process that took place in January this year and during which the organization’s staff looked at 250 Android antivirus apps available on the official Google Play Store.

The report’s results are tragicomical –with antivirus apps detecting themselves as malware– and come to show the sorry state of Android antivirus industry, which appears to be filled with more snake-oilers than actual cyber-security vendors.

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Mood-forecasting tech could help stop bad moods even before they strike

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Wearable devices might even help prevent suicide by giving a heads-up about worrisome behavior.

Watch for sports with smartwatch. Jogging training for marathon.

The same technology that is used to track physical activity could be used to track our psychological health.

Imagine an app or wearable device that could tell a day in advance that an at-risk individual would experience suicidal thoughts — and alert the person and their trusted contacts. That might soon be a reality, thanks to the nascent field of mood forecasting.

We’ve become used to fitness trackers and other electronic devices that monitor our physical activity, and now scientists say similar technology can be used to track our psychological health in ways never before possible.

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Online dating isn’t a game. It’s literally changing humanity.

 

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Global Thermonuclear War has nothing on Tinder.

In our Love App-tually series, Mashable shines a light into the foggy world of online dating. After all, it’s still cuffing season.

The swipe is about as casual a gesture as it gets.

On Tinder, Bumble and every copycat dating app, choices are made in the blink of an eye. You’re not making definitive decisions about this stream full of faces; it’s more a question “could this person be hot if we match, if they have something interesting to say, if they’re not a creep and we’re a few drinks in?”

You feel so far removed from the process of dating at this stage, let alone a relationship, that swiping is simply a game. (Indeed, the makers of the mobile medieval royalty RPG Reigns intended its simple left-right controls as a Tinder homage.) You’re like Matthew Broderick at the start of the 1983 movie War Games — enamored with technology’s possibilities, gleefully playing around.

When you swipe, the future of the human race is quite literally at your fingertips.

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Ex-con app developers are disrupting price-gouging prison phones

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 Bloomberg reports that inmate messaging apps like Pigeonly, InmateAid, and Flikshop now have millions of users — and are poised to disrupt prison phone companies’ decades-old monopoly.

All started by ex-inmates, these apps aim to give inmates and their families a more affordable way to stay in contact –and bring prisons out of the digital Stone Age without sacrificing their grip on security.

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Will there be self-lacing shoes in your future?

Hands-on with Nike’s self-lacing, app-controlled sneaker of the future.

Say hello to Adapt BB.

I flew across the country to Portland to experience the Adapt BB, Nike’s new self-lacing, Bluetooth-enabled sneakers, but the guy showing me around campus is wearing a pair of Zoom Flys that refuse to stay tied. Within 10 minutes of tying them, they’re untied again, flailing all over. I hate when people point out my untied shoes, but his feel intentional. Of course I notice the laces. Of course I point them out. He laughs and swears he’s not doing this on purpose, that Nike hasn’t deliberately set up my visit with a scene out of an infomercial fail.

The Adapt BB — the BB stands for “basketball” — build on Nike’s decades-long dream to create an auto-lacing smart shoe that adapts to wearers’ feet. The company wants to fundamentally change footwear and, of course, sell more shoes.

Imagine: your feet swell during a basketball game because you’ve been running back and forth on the court, and your sneakers detect your blood pressure. Instead of reaching down and untying your laces, the shoes loosen automatically. Never again will you have to fuss around with your laces because, guess what, your shoes already know what you want to do.

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Ingestible capsule can be controlled wirelessly

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Electronic pill can relay diagnostic information or release drugs in response to smartphone commands

Researchers at MIT, Draper, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed an ingestible capsule that can be controlled using Bluetooth wireless technology. The capsule, which can be customized to deliver drugs, sense environmental conditions, or both, can reside in the stomach for at least a month, transmitting information and responding to instructions from a user’s smartphone.

The capsules, manufactured using 3-D-printing technology, could be deployed to deliver drugs to treat a variety of diseases, particularly in cases where drugs must be taken over a long period of time. They could also be designed to sense infections, allergic reactions, or other events, and then release a drug in response.

“Our system could provide closed-loop monitoring and treatment, whereby a signal can help guide the delivery of a drug or tuning the dose of a drug,” says Giovanni Traverso, a visiting scientist in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, where he will be joining the faculty in 2019.

These devices could also be used to communicate with other wearable and implantable medical devices, which could pool information to be communicated to the patient’s or doctor’s smartphone.

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The 5 years that changed dating

Tinder Co-Founders Sue Former Parent Company For $2 Billion

When Tinder became available to all smartphone users in 2013, it ushered in a new era in the history of romance.

On the 20th anniversary of The New York Times’ popular Vows column, a weekly feature on notable weddings and engagements launched in 1992, its longtime editor wrote that Vows was meant to be more than just a news notice about society events. It aimed to give readers the backstory on marrying couples and, in the meantime, to explore how romance was changing with the times. “Twenty years ago, as now, most couples told us they’d met through their friends or family, or in college,” wrote the editor, Bob Woletz, in 2012. “For a period that ran into the late 1990s, a number said, often sheepishly, that they had met through personal advertisements.”

But in 2018, seven of the 53 couples profiled in the Vows column met on dating apps. And in the Times’ more populous Wedding Announcements section, 93 out of some 1,000 couples profiled this year met on dating apps—Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn, and other specialized dating apps designed for smaller communities, like JSwipe for Jewish singles and MuzMatch for Muslims. The year before, 71 couples whose weddings were announced by the Times met on dating apps.

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72 cent test screens for disease in less than an hour

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A new easy-to-use device can quickly and accurately screen for a variety of diseases, including Zika, Ebola, hepatitis, dengue, and malaria.

The portable device, called enVision (enzyme-assisted nanocomplexes for visual identification of nucleic acids), can also screen for various types of cancers and genetic diseases. EnVision takes between 30 minutes to one hour to detect the presence of diseases, which is two to four times faster than existing infection diagnostics methods. The device also costs less than 75¢—100 times less than tests currently in use.

“The enVision platform is extremely sensitive, accurate, fast, and low-cost. It works at room temperature and does not require heaters or special pumps, making it very portable,” says team leader Shao Huilin, assistant professor from the Biomedical Institute for Global Health Research and Technology (BIGHEART) and biomedical engineering department at National University of Singapore.

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Gamification: The key to making cyber learning addictive

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How many times have you endured a dry-as-dust PowerPoint presentation or clicked through a tired e-learning course only to realize, despite hours of ‘teaching,’ you remember virtually nothing? It’s easy to blame yourself when this happens; you may feel guilty or even harbor doubts about your ability to retain knowledge. Don’t. There’s a good chance that the material simply wasn’t practical, engaging or relevant enough – flaws magnified when you are spoken at, instead of with, in a stale classroom environment.

I am not suggesting school-style learning should be outlawed, as it certainly has its merits. But some subjects, particularly those with a large technical element, demand a more innovative approach. Without doubt, cybersecurity falls into this category – something I first observed while delivering GCHQ’s Cyber Summer School. It was evident that people enjoyed completing practical exercises requiring analytical thinking and problem solving. It was also clear that when people had fun, they learned more.

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