YuMi the robot conducts Verdi with Italian orchestra

Humanoid robot YuMi conducts the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra performing a concert alongside Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli at the Verdi Theatre in Pisa, Italy, on September 12, 2017. (File photo by Reuters)
Updated 13 September 2017
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YuMi the robot conducts Verdi with Italian orchestra

PISA, Italy: YuMi the humanoid robot showed no signs of nerves on Tuesday night as it raised its baton to conduct the Lucca Philarmonic orchestra alongside Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.
The two-armed robot, designed by Swiss firm ABB, made its debut at Pisa’s Verdi Theatre to mark the First International Festival of Robotics in the Tuscan city.
“YuMi has a high level of gesture and fluidity in its movements, as well as an incredible nuance of expression,” Andrea Colombini, the usual conductor of the Lucca orchestra, told Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper.
“It is an incredible step forward given the normal rigid gestures seen in robots up until now.”
YuMi, whose name is derived from the phrase ‘you and me’, was taught all the movements by Colombani, who held its arms in rehearsals so the computer could memorize the correct gestures. The robot is not able to improvise and any unexpected change in tempo from the musicians would have been ruinous.
The robot conducted three of the 18 pieces performed on Tuesday night, including the famous aria La Donna e’ Mobile, from Verdi’s opera Rigoletto.


EU adopts powers to respond to cyberattacks

Updated 17 May 2019
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EU adopts powers to respond to cyberattacks

  • The EU can now impose asset freezes and travel bans on individuals, firms and state bodies implicated in cyberattacks
  • Sanctions will be considered if a cyberattack is determined to have had a ‘significant impact’ on its target

BRUSSELS: The European Union on Friday adopted powers to punish those outside the bloc who launch cyberattacks that cripple hospitals and banks, sway elections and steal company secrets or funds.
EU ministers meeting in Brussels said the 28-nation group would now, for the first time, be able to impose asset freezes and travel bans on individuals, firms and state bodies implicated in such attacks.
“The Council (of EU countries) established a framework which allows the EU to impose targeted restrictive measures to deter and respond to cyberattacks,” it said in a statement.
It added that sanctions will be considered if a cyberattack is determined to have had a “significant impact” on its target.
The goal is to bolster the security of EU institutions, firms and individuals against what Britain called an increase in the “scale and severity” of cyberattacks globally.
“This is decisive action to deter future cyberattacks,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said after Britain and its EU partners drafted the measures.
“For too long now, hostile actors have been threatening the EU’s security through disrupting critical infrastructure, attempts to undermine democracy and stealing commercial secrets and money running to billions of euros,” Hunt said.
“Our message to governments, regimes and criminal gangs prepared to carry out cyberattacks is clear,” Britain’s top diplomat added.
“Together, the international community will take all necessary steps to uphold the rule of law and the rules based international system which keeps our societies safe.”
The British government has pledged to continue close cooperation with the EU after it leaves the bloc in line with the 2016 referendum.
Under the sanctions regime, diplomats said, the 28 EU countries would have to vote unanimously to impose sanctions after meeting a legal threshold of significant impact.
For example, countries would look at the scope and severity of disruption to economic and other activities, essential services, critical state functions, public order or public safety, diplomats said.
They would examine the number of people and EU countries affected and determine how much money, intellectual property and data have been stolen.
EU diplomats told reporters it could also cover the hacking of European elections by a third party or country. Elections for a new European Parliament take place May 23-26.
In line with US intelligence assessments, EU officials highlight in particular the threat of disinformation and election hacking from Russia.
EU countries would also study how much the perpetrator has gained through such action.
A Dutch diplomat told reporters that the powers amount to a “big step forward” toward building a more secure cyberspace.
European leaders in October had called for a regime to impose sanctions against cyberattacks.
US and European police said Thursday they have smashed a huge international cybercrime network that used Russian malware to steal 100 million dollars from tens of thousands of victims worldwide.
EU diplomats said the bloc will now start drawing up a blacklist for potential sanctions in cyberattack cases.
A number of powerful people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin appear on a blacklist of 164 Russians and Ukrainians that was established after Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
Those blacklisted are under travel bans and asset freezes just like those that would be imposed on those implicated in cyberattacks.