Google plans to bring ‘Smart Reply’ feature to all messaging apps

Representational Image
Image Credit: Techcrunch

Smart Reply is an artificial intelligence (A.I.) powered technology that automatically creates responses to a user’s inbound messages. It made its debut in Google’s email client inbox around two years ago, eventually reaching Gmail, Android messages on Project Fi, and finally, Allo. In the latest development, Google’s internal incubator Area 120 is attempting to bring this feature to all chat applications.

This current project is titled “Reply” and its availability will initially be restricted to Android users. It will offer suggested responses to questions like “Are you at the restaurant?,” or “When can you be home?” To come up with these suggestions, ‘Reply’ will take into consideration the user’s current location and the time it will perhaps take in going from one place to another.

Notably, Reply won’t be exclusively for Google’s own messaging apps. Going by the statement made by Area 120, the plan is to offer support for Reply within numerous mainstream chat apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Hangouts, Allow, Twitter DMs, and Skype, among others.

“One of the many projects that we’re working on within Area 120 is Reply, which suggests smart replies right in notifications from various chat apps,” a Google spokesperson said. “Like all other projects within Area 120, it’s a very early experiment so there aren’t many details to share right now.”

Sources: androidpolice, digitaltrends

Public facing problems in the PEDL scheme

The Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL) has claimed that its ‘PEDL’ scheme has become a huge success, within just two months of its launch. To substantiate its claim, it has been observed that over 800 cycles were made available at different locations at various places in the city. Regardless of the development, the public has been facing many issues while accessing the cycles.

The Pune Mirror on Sunday did a small test drive and discovered a lot of problems while accessing the cycles, ranging from missing cycles to malfunctions making them unavailable. Some vehicles just refused to get unlocked and others showed that they are already being used by someone else when they were just still at a station. Additionally, there was the problem of users being shown that there was insufficient balance to pay for the ride when they actually did.

As an answer to these problems, the authorities claimed that these were only temporary, and that they were working towards their resolution. An official told the Mirror, “We introduced these cycles based on public response, which is huge. Hence, with PMC’s help, we are expanding across the city. We cannot deny some glitches, but we are tackling them as they arise. Earlier, we were using cycles from another company, which were free — now, we are only introducing the paid ones, as they create less issues.”

India’s 1 per cent holds 73 per cent of the country’s wealth

In a show of worsening income inequality, a new survey proved that the richest 1 per cent in India cornered 73% of the wealth generated in the country. Additionally, the survey, released by the international rights group Oxfam, concluded that the wealth of 67 crore Indians, making up the population’s poorest, rose by just 1 per cent.

The global situation is even grimmer, where 82 per cent of the wealth generated worldwide went to the 1 percent, while 3.7 billon people, accounting for the poorest half, saw zero increase in their wealth. Last year, however, India’s richest 1 per cent held 58% of the country’s total wealth, higher than the global 50.This annual Oxfam survey is discussed in detail at the World Economic Forum Annual meeting, under the topic of rising income and gender inequality.

According to this year’s survey, the wealth of the richest 1 per cent in India increased by over 20.9 lakh crore during 2017.”2017 saw an unprecedented increase in the number of billionaires, at a rate of one every two days. Billionaire wealth has risen by an average of 13 per cent a year since 2010 — six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 per cent,” it said.

Talking of gender, the survey showed that women workers often find themselves at the bottom, and that nine out of 10 billionaires are men.

Sources: The Wire, Business Today

India beats Pakistan in the Blind Cricket Tournament final

Blind Cricket World Cup: India Beat Arch-Rivals Pakistan
Image Source: Twitter

India retained the Blind Cricket World Cup after beating rival Pakistan by two wickets in the final match played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium  in UAE on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Pakistan scored 308 runs at the loss of eight wickets in 40 overs, after they were sent to bat first by India, who won the toss.

Post the victory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the team for their achievement through his twitter handle, “Congratulations to our cricket team for winning the 2018 Blind Cricket World Cup! They make the nation proud and inspire every Indian with their game as well as phenomenal attitude. True champions!”

Pakistan made it to the final after defeating Sri Lanka by 156 runs while India beat Bangladesh by seven wickets to book their place in the final. India has remained unbeaten in this tournament. Deepak Malik and Rambir took two wickets for the country, while Sunil Ramesh snapped one. Pakistan reached the 200-run mark in 27 overs after losing five wickets.

ICC CEO David Richardson along with former Pakistan captain Zaheer Abbas and former Indian wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani had been invited by the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council to witness the final.

Sources: NDTV Sports, Times of India 

Smartphones and watches stolen from shop in Pune

On January 13, 2018, 26 smartphones and 48 watches were stolen from a mobile shop at Sasanenagar in Hadapsar. The total worth of all articles was Rs 1.28 lakh, and the robbery happened after breaking open the shutter lock.

The theft came to light when owner Swapnil Khilor came to open the shop ‘Brand 78 Venture’ around 9 am the next day.

Hadapsar police’s assistant inspector Sandip Deshmane on Monday said, “The thief broke the side locks of the shutter with a sharp object because it did not have a central security lock. He stole phones and watches from the counter and fled with the booty.” He added that the shop did not have CCTV cameras.

As per investigations, the thief hid himself behind the flex board such that he was not visible from outside. This helped him steal goods from the shop.

An FIR has been registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code. “We are checking criminals on record and working on certain clues. We hope to detect the case at the earliest,” Deshmane added.

Source: TOI

At least 27 killed in Baghdad twin suicide attacks

A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up in central Baghdad early Monday, killing 27 people and injuring much more in the second attack in the Iraqi capital in three days.

“Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in Tayyaran Square in central Baghdad,” said General Saad Maan, spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, which includes the army and the police.

The attackers struck during rush hour at the place which is a bustling centre of commerce and usually crowded by labourers seeking work. The second explosion came less than 10 minutes later.

There was no immediate claim for the bombings, which came just as electoral coalitions began taking shape this week ahead of expected national elections in May. Previous elections have also been marked by such terrorist activities. Monday’s violence raised concerns that despite the military victory over ISIS, this campaign season would be no different.

In December last year, the government had announced the “end of the war” against IS, expelling it from the Baghdad region and other urban areas of Iraq that it earlier controlled.

Sources – Financial Express, The Washington Post

Lamborghini launches ‘Urus’ in India; priced at 3 crores

Lamborghini, the Italian supercar manufacturer, launched its sports utility vehicle, the Urus, in India on January 8, 2018, for Rs 3 crores. The SUV made its entry into India after almost a month of its global unveiling and following the last product of the brand, the Huracan.

Being a coupe-shaped model, the car shares some design cues with other Lamborghini performance cars, and many with the brand’s first SUV, the LMOO2. The interior becomes even more luxurious with red leather upholstery and the use of carbon fibre on the dash. Moreover, it is a five-seater, with the front seats being 12-way adjustable, and carries ample boot space of 616 litres.

The car is capable of doing a sprint from 0-100 kmph in just 3.6 seconds, making it the fastest SUV ever.  It comes with six drive modes including the new Neve (snow), Terra (off-road) and Sabbia (sand) along with the usual Strada, Sport and Corsa, and a fully customisable mode – Ego.

The Urus features active torque vectoring and a rear-wheel-steering system borrowed from the Aventador S, along with an adaptive suspension system and the largest (440mm) carbon-ceramic front brake discs on any production car as standard.

While it competes with the likes of the Maserati Levante in India, all the allotted units of the Lamborghini Urus to the country have been sold out with advanced bookings.


Sources: NDTV, TOI