Yummly’s cooking app is now available to Android-owning home chefs


If you like to cook with your smartphone or tablet, you’ve always been better off owning an iOS device where recipe and cooking apps tend to gravitate. But popular recipe search engine Yummly has made the jump to Google’s operating system, acknowledging the fact millions of Android users gotta eat too.

Yummly isn’t just an aggregator of recipes from popular cooking sites on the web, it’s also a semantic search engine for food that lets you tailor your menu to specific nutritional requirements, cuisines and even your own personal tastes for salty and sweet, spicy and bitter. It parses individual recipes for food data, and personalizes its recommendations based on your cooking history.

The iOS app has already been a big hit for Yummly. In the 12 months since its iPhone app launch, its iOS apps have been downloaded 3.5 million, and it’s grown in monthly unique visitors from 10…

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Why we need a secular sabbath


As technology accelerates our lives, many of us feel an urgent need to slow down. One seductive solution: A secular sabbath. Pico Iyer makes the case, in this meditative excerpt from his new TED Book, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

The idea of going nowhere is as universal as the law of gravity; that’s why wise souls from every tradition have spoken of it. “All the unhappiness of men,” the seventeenth-century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal famously noted, “arises from one simple fact: that they cannot sit quietly in their chamber.” After Admiral Richard E. Byrd spent nearly five months alone in a shack in the Antarctic, in temperatures that sank to 70 degrees below zero, he emerged convinced that “Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need.” Or, as they sometimes say around Kyoto, “Don’t just do something. Sit…

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Time to abandon the CAPTCHA? AI software solves them with 90 percent accuracy


It’s not just you: CAPTCHAs have gotten more difficult in recent years, thanks to artificial intelligence progressing to the point that machines can bypass older CAPTCHA versions. Software can still beat modern iterations to some extent, but Google’s reCAPTCHA(s goog) has done a decent job of remaining unbreakable.

Vicarious CAPTCHA softwareNot anymore. Vicarious, an artificial intelligence startup, announced today that it has developed software that can crack any type of CAPTCHA with at least 90 percent accuracy. Its secret is an advancement in crunching CAPTCHAs where letters are squished together and overlapped, which is what makes reCAPTCHA so effective.

“Recent AI systems like IBM’s Watson and deep neural networks rely on brute force: connecting massive computing power to massive datasets,” Vicarious co-founder Scott Phoenix said in a release. “This is the first time this distinctively human act of perception has been achieved, and it uses relatively minuscule amounts of data and…

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Applications are driving investment in deep learning startups


Deep learning, the popular approach to machine learning currently driving new capabilities in fields such as computer vision, is beginning to attract some serious investment. Like most things machine learning, though, the big money appears to be in applications rather than attempts to sell the technology wholesale.

In the past year or so, much of the investment activity in the deep learning space has come via M&A. Google’s $400 million acquisition of DeepMind is by far the biggest deal, but there’s also Twitter’s acquisition of Madbits and Yahoo’s acquisition of LookFlow, among others. With the exception of DeepMind, which continues to produce some very interesting research that should power novel capabilities for future Google products, many of the deals have revolved around real, working applications of the technology. Often, they’ve been in the area of computer vision and image recognition.

The same holds true for the handful publicly announced venture capital deals involving…

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