TECHNOBYTE for 16 January 2015

Often the hardest part of traveling is navigating the local language. If you've ever asked for "pain" in Paris and gotten funny looks, confused "embarazada" with "embarrassed" in Mexico, or stumbled over pronunciation pretty much anywhere, you know the feeling.

Now Google Translate can be your guide in new ways. We’ve updated the Translate app on Android and iOS to transform your mobile device into an even more powerful translation tool. The Translate app already lets you use camera mode to snap a photo of text and get a translation for it in 36 languages. Now, we’re taking it to the next level and letting you instantly translate text using your camera—so it’s way easier to navigate street signs in the Italian countryside or decide what to order off a Barcelona menu.

While using the Translate app, just point your camera at a sign or text and you’ll see the translated text overlaid on your screen—even if you don't have an Internet or data connection. This instant translation currently works for translation from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, and we’re working to expand to more languages.

Intelligent robots and computers intent on destroying mankind may sound like science fiction to most of us. But to Elon Musk it's a real threat. That's why he's donating millions to ensure that Artificial Intelligence technology remains safe for humanity. Musk, the founder of both Telsa Motors (TSLA) and SpaceX, has long expressed concern about the threat he fears smart machines and computers could pose to human civilization. In remarks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last fall he called AI "our biggest existential threat," and said that with advances humans are "summoning the demon.

"Thursday he backed that rhetoric with cash, donating $10 million to the Future of Life Institute, to fund research aimed at keeping AI beneficial for humanity. The Future of Life Institute is a think tank that is focused on the threats posed by advances in Artificial Intelligence.

It’s yet another example of the Uberization of everything. Booking Now, which hit iOS stores today, is a hotel booking app that pairs a user’s GPS location with nearby hotels offering last-minute deals.

The app is part of a new push by hotel booking website to appeal to spontaneous (read: harried) travelers. It allows room bookings up to 48 hours in advance, filtering options based on users’ selected preferences—for instance, access to breakfast, parking, free Wi-Fi, on-site restaurants, and price range.

This article first appeared on 702 : TECHNOBYTE for 16 January 2015



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