Microsoft Uses Cabbies and Fancy Math to Provide Better Driving Directions Microsoft, Cabbies Team Up to Improve GPS Directions

How good is your GPS in city traffic? Certainly not better than a cabbie 20 years on the job. That's the premise of ingenious project called T-Drive.

Does your GPS know how to navigate city traffic? Hardly. And certainly not better than a cabbie 20 years on the job. That's the premise of an ingenious project at Microsoft Research called T-Drive.

Anyone who has ever driven in a city knows there's often a faster route—down a side street, or a bit longer on the odometer but far speedier, maybe the lights are longer. Anyway, GPS isn't so good at making the call to get off the highway and hit the back streets. So, researchers Xing Xie and Yu Zheng turned to the experts: over 33,000 cabbies in China. They monitored the GPS locations and times of taxis over three months to determine which routes were the fastest, essentially mining their collective intelligence and human knowledge to defeat the machine algorithm using something called Variance-Entropy-Based Clustering. The data revealed which stretches of which roads were consistently chosen, and which were avoided and when.

Right now GPS, Mapquest, and the rest of them use distance and posted speed limits to choose your route. That's about as useful in dense cities as asking a tourist for directions. So there's clearly room for improvement. In the end, Xing and Yu were able to build a model that consistently beat traditional GPS directions by about five minutes for a 30-minute ride. Not bad.

They've made a prototype available for members of Microsoft Corp to test out. To have this work in U.S. cities, they'd have to repeat the massive data gathering undertaking in each city. That's only possible if the expert drivers are GPS equipped—and don't follow the suggested directions. It's probably worth the effort, though. After all, time is money, and five minutes per ride adds up.

Via MIT Technology Review. Image: Microsoft Research

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

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The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

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Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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