Everyone could use support staff to take a memo or remind us of important events. Jott Networks, based in Seattle, offers an online service that does this and more. The company’s Jott software, which came out of its beta phase late last year, turns your mobile phone into a digital secretary by transforming voice messages up to 30 seconds long to text and sending them as e-mail messages to you or anyone else or as text messages to your contacts’ cellphones.

This is especially useful when you want to share information with more than one person at the same time. Just call Jott’s toll-free phone number, say the name of the group (whose contact details you enter on your personal Jott directory) when prompted, leave a voice message, and everyone on your list will receive an e-mail or text.

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The Future of Deep Learning Is Photonic

Computing with light could slash the energy needs of neural networks

10 min read

This computer rendering depicts the pattern on a photonic chip that the author and his colleagues have devised for performing neural-network calculations using light.

Alexander Sludds

Think of the many tasks to which computers are being applied that in the not-so-distant past required human intuition. Computers routinely identify objects in images, transcribe speech, translate between languages, diagnose medical conditions, play complex games, and drive cars.

The technique that has empowered these stunning developments is called deep learning, a term that refers to mathematical models known as artificial neural networks. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning, a branch of computer science based on fitting complex models to data.

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