WannaCry ransomware attack: Dry those tears and get back to basics

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CIO news roundup for week of May 15

The WannaCry ransomware attack wasn’t the only news that was grabbing headlines this week; here’s what else made news:

Google lays out an “AI-first” company roadmap. The annual Google I/O developer conference this week brought news of upcoming plans for the tech giant’s services, including Android OS, Google Assistant and Google Home. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) was a recurring theme, as Google announced its intentions to implement the technology into all of its consumer products. “We’re talking about an important shift from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during the opening keynote. Pichai unveiled an artificial intelligence app called Google Lens, which uses smartphone cameras to analyze users’ surroundings and display relevant content on their screens. The company will also publish the results of its AI research through an initiative called Google.ai, where it will share research papers and other findings. Also during the keynote, Pichai revealed that the number of monthly active Android devices now exceeds 2 billion.

FCC votes to overturn net neutrality. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted 2-1 Thursday to start the process of eliminating net-neutrality rules that prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling legal content, and from accepting payment to prioritize data. “Today, we propose to repeal utility-style regulation of the internet,” said Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed to head the FCC by President Donald Trump. The rules in question were adopted by the FCC in 2015, when it was headed by Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler. Ahead of the FCC vote, a group of Senate Democrats that included Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) published an open letter in TechCrunch defending the net-neutrality rules the FCC passed two years ago. The senators argued that rolling back the rules would limit access to only select websites and completely block access to some internet services. The FCC plans to take comments on the plan until Aug. 16, and will make a final decision about rescinding the rules after that.

OpenAI teaching robots to learn like humans. OpenAI, a San Francisco nonprofit research lab backed by Elon Musk, has developed an algorithm allowing a human to perform a task in virtual reality that it then communicates to an artificial intelligence. The research is based on “one-time imitation learning,” a technique used by OpenAI to allow software guiding a robot to mimic a physical action based on a single example. “With a single demonstration of a task, we can replicate it in a number of different initial conditions,” OpenAI staff member Josh Tobin explained in a video demonstrating the algorithm. The long-term goal of the research is to give AI the ability to learn new behaviors quickly, then use that knowledge to adapt to unpredictable environmental changes.

Senior Site Editor Ben Cole contributed to this week’s news roundup.