Farm Giant John Deere Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup

Plus, social media grows as a news source, and an app to help protect your smartphone PIN.

by / October/November 2017

John Deere Aquires AI Startup for $305 Million

Farm equipment giant John Deere paid over $300 million to acquire artificial intelligence (AI) startup Blue River Technology. The 60-person company based in Silicon Valley uses AI to identify and spray herbicide on weeds. John Deere says the tech will allow its tractors to understand individual plants in crops like lettuce and corn. Blue River’s other farm tools include a device that trims lettuce and software for drones to analyze crops.
Source: Quartz

PIN Protection

When we carry our smartphones with us everywhere, all that stands between our secret stats and the outside world is a short series of digits. So what happens if that stranger standing in the coffee line behind you as you unlock your phone sees your PIN? A team of researchers at New York University is developing a solution: IllusionPIN. The idea is that the configuration of numbers you see changes based on how far you’re standing from the screen. The intended user, the closest to the screen, sees one configuration and enters the correct PIN. Someone standing 3 feet away will see a different configuration and therefore won’t know the right code. And since the “correct” screen changes with each use, a nefarious lurker can’t simply memorize one combination of positions. 
Source: NewAtlas.com

Study: 67 Percent of Americans Get News via Social Media

A new study by the Pew Research Center finds that about two-thirds — or 67 percent — of U.S. adults get at least some of their news via social media, up 5 percent from 2016. Notably, for the first time in the survey’s history, more than half of Americans over the age of 50 report getting news from social media. And while Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube increased their traffic from news-gatherers, Facebook remains the primary social platform Americans turn to: 45 percent of U.S. adults report they get news from the site.
Source: TechCrunch

Lauren Harrison Managing Editor

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 10 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.