What’s new in tech
Bose’s cure for insomnia
Tech gadgets have made falling asleep ever harder, said Brian Chen in The New York Times. And until recently there’s been a dearth of gadgets to remedy our insomnia. Now Bose, the high-end audio equipment maker, has introduced a set of $250 ear buds that “mask noise and help people doze off.” Called Sleepbuds, they “fit snugly inside your ears and play soothing sounds, like the rustle of leaves or a crackling campfire, on a loop all night.” After five nights of using Sleepbuds, “my verdict was mixed.” The design is impressive enough—they are comfortable to wear lying down—and they mask the annoying noises I usually hear at night. But I didn’t get any more sleep than normal. Mostly what I found was that “noise was not the root of my sleep problems.”
Facebook ramps up fake-news fight
Facebook is ratcheting up its campaign against fake news, said Tony Romm and Drew Harwell in The Washington Post. The company said last week it would increase “its efforts to scan photos and videos uploaded to the social network for evidence that they’ve been manipulated.” Facebook will deploy “powerful algorithms” in 17 countries to identify fake images and videos. It will then forward the flagged results to its outside army of fact-checkers. Facebook aims to stamp out doctored content such as the photo of a Mexican politician that was recently “photoshopped onto a U.S. green card,” wrongly suggesting he is a U.S. resident. Lawmakers and security experts are especially concerned about the prospect of “deepfake” audio and video hoaxes, widely seen as the next propaganda battleground.
The war over 5G
China and the U.S. are locked in an arms race to control “the world’s fastest wireless internet,” said Josh Chin in The Wall Street Journal. The next era in mobile communications will be defined by emerging 5G—the fifth generation of cellular technology. New standards and networks promise speeds that are up to 100 times faster than 4G, but the National Science Foundation believes the U.S. is behind in development. The speed of the 5G networks could enable doctors to perform surgery remotely and driverless cars to share data about the roads around them. The stakes are massive: China is on “a quest to dominate the technology” and is investing heavily. In the U.S., Verizon is leading the charge and expanding the American footprint by experimenting with the technology in 11 markets.