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Otto delivers Budweiser with driverless truck, Google computers make their own encryption

Posted on Thursday, October 27 2016 @ 14:05:11 CEST by

There are a lot of fields in technology right now that are growing fast and are likely to change business, economy and society in profound ways over the next couple of decades. Earlier this week there was a news story about how Uber's Otto division completed a driverless delivery for beer giant AB InBev.

While a human driver was still required for busy city traffic, the driverless truck completed a 120-mile stretch of highway without a driver in the front seat. It's not going to happen tomorrow or even next year, but sometime in the not too far future driverless technology is going to severely disrupt the transportation industry.

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Another interesting field of technology involves deep learning. New Scientist writes Google managed to teach its neural networks how to use encryption techniques. The experiment involved three separate neural nets called Alice, Bob and Eve. The goal was to let Alice transmit encrypted messages to Bob, Bob's job was to decode this message and Eve's job was to attempt to eavesdrop. Alice and Bob started with a pre-agreed key, which Eve didn't have access to.

While neural nets are generally not meant to be great at cryptography, the experiment had some interesting results but neural nets are still far from the sophistication of human-made encryption methods.
Initially, the neural nets were fairly poor at sending secret messages. But as they got more practice, Alice slowly developed her own encryption strategy, and Bob worked out how to decrypt it.

After the scenario had been played out 15,000 times, Bob was able to convert Alice’s cipher text message back into plain text, while Eve could guess just 8 of the 16 bits forming the message. As each bit was just a 1 or a 0, that is the same success rate you would expect from pure chance.



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