What’s new in tech
Canon goes fully digital
“Canon is officially done with film,” said Gordon Gottsegen in CNET.com. The camera maker says it’s ending the sale of the EOS-1V, its final film camera. Rumors circulated in 2006 that Canon was about to stop producing all of its film cameras, although “the company never officially confirmed this.” Eventually, instead, the camera maker quietly ended production, in 2010. Ever since, it has merely been selling the few units remaining in stock. The EOS-1V was “the last of a dying breed,” and for those holding one, Canon says, they will continue repairing it until Oct. 31, 2025—with the caveat that some replacement parts may be unavailable after Oct. 31, 2020.
Amazon creates new moon-shot lab
Amazon has a secretive lab “working on a series of bold projects involving cancer research, medical records, and last-mile delivery,” said Eugene Kim in CNBC.com. Dubbed Grand Challenge, the group has more than 50 team members, mostly employees selected through an internal competition, and is being led by Google Glass creator Babak Parviz. The project has parallels to Google X, Google’s own moon-shot lab, as it explores new, ambitious ventures that can ultimately be parlayed into helping grow Amazon’s vast footprint. Grand Challenge’s primary health focus is geared toward “attempting to apply machine learning in ways that can help prevent and cure cancers.” Another Grand Challenge project is taking “unstructured data from electronic medical records to identify an incorrect code or the misdiagnosis of a patient.”
Google backs out of military project
After an outcry by employees, Google won’t extend its contract with the Pentagon to build artificial intelligence programs that analyze drone video, said Drew Harwell in The Washington Post. Google announced last week that it would stop working on its piece of the military’s AI endeavor known as Project Maven when its 18-month contract expires in March. The company “faced widespread public backlash and employee resignations for helping develop technological tools that could aid in warfighting.” Launched more than a year ago, Project Maven aims to help the military use AI to “process battlefield data or pinpoint military targets.” When Google joined the project, “thousands” of staff members petitioned CEO Sundar Pichai, arguing it “directly countered the company’s famous ‘Don’t be evil’ motto.”