Tech

News about computers, smartphones, gadgets, apps, the Internet and the tech industry.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

The U.N. is planning to launch its first space mission into orbit, packed with scientific experiments from countries that can't afford their own space programs.

It's teaming up with the Sierra Nevada Corporation, which makes the Dream Chaser, a reuseable spacecraft that, when it returns from orbit, can land at an ordinary airport. They formally announced the plans this week at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.

This is the way the Rosetta ends: not with a bang, but with a slow-motion crash.

The historic spacecraft has transformed scientists' understanding of comets over the past two years, as it orbited the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet and sent a stream of images and data back to Earth.

Now scientists have steered it into the comet for a "Grand Finale" of data-collection, and Rosetta has lost contact with Earth forever.

Since their launch in 2012, cellphone emergency alerts have become a frequent tool for public safety officials to alert people to missing children, warn them of impending weather calamities or notify them of dangers specific to the local community.

In Mountain View, Calif., a couple of miles down the road from Google, there's a new pizza shop. Only instead of a dozen blue-collar workers pouring marinara sauce, Zume Pizza has — you guessed it! — robots and algorithms running the show.

Their job is to solve a familiar problem: It's game night. You order pizza for you and your buddies. It arrives later than you'd hoped, aaaand it's cold.

"Pizza is not meant to sit in a cardboard box, ever," Zume co-founder Julia Collins says. "The best pizza you ever had came right out of the oven."

In recent weeks, Uber launched autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, Tesla updated its autopilot software and researchers in Amsterdam announced an initiative to explore driverless boats. And now, Nissan offers the world self-driving chairs.

Americans want to stay in control of their cars, a new study finds.

According to a study by Kelley Blue Book, 80 percent of Americans say people should always have the option to drive themselves.

This study comes just a week after the Department of Transportation released regulatory guidelines for self-driving vehicles.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Artificial intelligence is advancing rapidly, the ethics surrounding it are not. We are talking about an increasingly normal feature of life. When you talk with your smartphone or use Google Translate, you're using AI.

Artificial intelligence is one of those tech terms that seems to inevitably conjure up images (and jokes) of computer overlords running sci-fi dystopias — or, more recently, robots taking over human jobs.

But AI is already here: It's powering your voice-activated digital personal assistants and Web searches, guiding automated features on your car and translating foreign texts, detecting your friends in photos you post on social media and filtering your spam.

A decade after Martin Cooper made the world's first public call from a portable phone in 1973, telephones were becoming truly mobile.

"It's still pretty rare to see someone using a telephone in a car. But it's about to become a lot more common." That's how NPR host Jim Angle introduced a piece on Nov. 5, 1983, titled "Cellular Phones Are Completely Mobile" — the earliest mention of the term found in NPR's archives.

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says his space transport company, SpaceX, will build a rocket system capable of bringing people to Mars and supporting a permanent city on the red planet.

"It's something we can do in our lifetimes," he said in a speech at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico that was streamed online and watched by more than 100,000 people. "You could go."

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head to head Monday night in the first presidential debate.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact check.

As we surf from website to website, we are being tracked — that's not news. What is news, revealed in a recent paper by researchers at Princeton University, is that the tracking is no longer just about the "cookies" that record our tastes. The researchers surveyed a million websites and found that state-of-the-art tracking is a lot more sophisticated, allowing websites to track the fingerprints left by our devices.

Pages