Hashtag Trending May 17 – Texas turns off power plants, AI sees race in X-rays; keyless unlock in Teslas hacked

Texas turns off power plants ahead of scorching weather, AI can discern race and nobody knows how, and a security researcher defeats Tesla’s keyless entry feature.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday, May 17, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Faced with abnormally hot weather, Texas warns its residents to conserve electricity as the state turns off six power plants. The plants generated around 2900 megawatts of electricity, capable of powering 600,000 homes. Brad Jones, the CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said that demand for electricity will rise due to air conditioning, but did not say why the power plants were turned off during the time of need. The NBC report described the power grid as still vulnerable after the winter storm caused the blackout that left millions in the dark last year.

Source: NBC

To any human, the black and white images of a patient’s chest cavity should give no indication of their characteristics besides their illness. But Researchers found that an AI trained to read X-rays and CT scans can also guess the patient’s race with a 90 per cent accuracy. However, the researchers do not know what parameters the AI is using to reach its conclusions. The capability of this program has baffled the team of international researchers, which includes scientists from MIT and Harvard. Even when presented with x-ray images from patients similar in age and size, the AI was still able to distinguish between black and white patients. While researchers continue to look for a concrete answer, they suspect that melanin, the pigment that determines skin colour, maybe a contributing factor.

Source: Boston Globe

One security researcher has found a way to defeat the keyless unlock feature on Tesla Model 3 and Y cars, allowing the thief to drive the car without a key. According to Bloomberg, the researcher was able to fool the car into believing the owner was nearby by manipulating the signal between the car, key, and mobile device. More worryingly, the researcher said the hack isn’t just restricted to tesla. The good news is that it does not appear like the hack has been abused maliciously. To patch this vulnerability, Tesla needs to change its hardware and rework its keyless entry system. So far, the company does not deem the issue a significant risk.

Source: Bloomberg

Wondering if you have a screw loose? This new smart self-powered screw will tell you. A new screw called Smart Screw Connection has an IoT sensor attached to the washer to let engineers know if it needs a twist. The screw uses a thin film of photoresistive material to measure the mechanical force. This isn’t only for convenience; building inspectors can also add the metric to their checklist when ensuring the safety of buildings. The downside of course is that each screw needs a power source to remain operational, but researchers are looking towards energy harvesting to make the screws self-powered.

Source: Review Geek

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li. 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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