The trial of the century came to a thrilling end yesterday. I’m talking, of course, about the Gwyneth Paltrow ski accident trial. Terry Sanderson, a doctor, sued Paltrow for $300,000 in damages after he says she ran into him at a Utah ski slope in 2016; the actor and lifestyle influencer countersued for $1 in a widely…
With the Tetris movie hitting Apple TV+ this week, we chat with the game’s creator, Alexey Pajitnov, and Henk Rogers, the man who helped bring it out of the Soviet Union. We discuss just how realistic the film is (it definitely takes plenty of liberties), the impact of Tetris on gaming and where it could be headed in the future. Also, Cherlynn and Devindra dive into the recent letter from the Future of Life Institute, which was signed by Elon Musk and other tech leaders, and called for a pause on AI development beyond GPT4. It turns out that wasn’t entirely altruistic.
Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you’ve got suggestions or topics you’d like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!
Interview with Tetris designer Alexey Pajitnov and Tetris publisher Henk Rogers – 1:17
The open letter asking for a 6-month pause of AI development is more suspicious than you think – 16:57
Do the proposed U.S. DATA and RESTRICT acts reach too far in trying to ban TikTok? – 26:48
Pres. Biden bans the use of commercial spyware – 36:20
Microsoft is focused on security, AI and a light processor friendly version in Windows 12 – 39:11
Google unveils AI planning tool to help beat extreme heat due to climate change – 43:21
Apple’s WWDC dates announced: June 5 to 9 – 45:12
Working on – 57:39
Pop culture picks – 1:02:16
Credits Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar Guests (Audio): Alexey Pajitnov and Henk Rogers Producer: Ben Ellman Music: Dale North and Terrence O’Brien Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos Graphic artists: Luke Brooks
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/engadget-podcast-tetris-movie-interview-123036482.html?src=rss
Satellite swarms built and operated by SpaceX and OneWeb are poised to fundamentally alter the way in which we access the internet and where we connect to the grid. On the surface, the two internet service offerings would seem to be in competition with each other, but this isn’t exactly the case.
It’s a day of reality catching up with the chatbot boom. In the last 24 hours alone, we’ve had hoaxes, FTC complaints and… ads. Hooray. We’ll get into how Microsoft is bringing ads to its Bing chatbot – bound to happen – while OpenAI may have to halt ChatGPT releases in the face of FTC complaints.
The nonprofit research organization, Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP), says OpenAI’s models are “biased, deceptive” and threaten privacy and public safety. The CAIDP says OpenAI also fails to meet Commission guidelines calling for AI to be transparent, fair and easy to explain. There’s no guarantee the FTC will act on the complaint. If it does set requirements, though, the move would affect development across the AI industry.
Over the past few days, users have reported seeing ads inside Microsoft’s Bing chatbot experience. Based on the limited examples we’ve seen, the GPT-4-powered chatbot embeds relevant ad links in response to users’ actual questions. Ads don’t seem to appear for most people (including us) yet, but they’ll most likely pop up more frequently and in more places soon. In a post on the Bing blog, Microsoft Corporate VP for Search and Devices Yusuf Mehd, explained that ads would come in the form of a linked citation, along with additional links in a “Learn More” section below Bing’s response to their query. In the future, Microsoft could add functionality where hovering over a link from an advertiser would display more links from its website to drive more traffic to it.
The tool had been used to fake images of Trump and the Pope, among others.
Midjourney CEO, David Holz, announced on Discord that the company is ending free trials due to “extraordinary demand and trial abuse.” New safeguards haven’t been “sufficient,” and you’ll have to pay at least $10 per month to use the image generator going forward. As The Washington Post reported, Midjourney has picked up unwanted attention in recent weeks. Users relied on the company’s AI to build deepfakes of Donald Trump being arrested, and Pope Francis wearing a trendy coat.
The Polestar 3 was recently showcased in New York for its North American debut, so we had to check it out. It might just be the best-looking new SUV in 2023. The Polestar 3 is built on the same platform as the Volvo EX90, but the company has made some significant changes that ensure there won’t be confusion between the two. Instead of three rows of seats, the Polestar 3 maxes out at two, with slightly less rear storage in favor of a more spacious cabin.
T2 is led by former Twitter employees who want to recreate Twitter’s “public square.”
With “legacy” Twitter checkmarks about to disappear (tomorrow!), one Twitter alternative hopes to lure some of those OG verified users to its platform. T2, an invite-only service led by two former Twitter employees, says it will allow accounts to carry over their “legacy” Twitter verification to its site. T2 is part of a growing crop of Twitter alternatives that have sprung up after Musk’s takeover. Founder Gabor Cselle has been clear that he intends to create “a pretty straightforward copy of Twitter with some simplifications”.
Hidden code references games on TV in the Netflix app.
Netflix might have started (or is at least looking to start) testing games for TV, based on code within its app that developer Steve Moser shared with Bloomberg. Moser reportedly found hidden references to games played on television, as well as additional code that indicates the possibility of using phones as controllers to play them. One line from within the app apparently reads: “A game on your TV needs a controller to play. Do you want to use this phone as a game controller?” The streaming giant launched several games on Android, iPhones and iPads in 2021, but on the Netflix app for TV, these games were notably absent.
Italy’s privacy watchdog said Friday it had blocked ChatGPT, saying the artificial intelligence app did not respect user data and could not verify users’ age. The decision “with immediate effect” will result in “the temporary limitation of the processing of Italian user data vis-a-vis OpenAI,” said the Italian Data Protection Authority.
Sound Open Firmware “SOF” 2.5 has been released as this open-source sound/DSP firmware initiative that was originally started by Intel but now is a Linux Foundation project and seeing hardware support from multiple vendors…
Welcome to Edition 5.31 of the Rocket Report! We’re about to tip over into April, and all signs continue to point to the likelihood of a Starship orbital launch attempt this month. I’ve heard all sorts of dates, but most recently, SpaceX appears to be working internally toward April 10. That lines up with about when a launch license is expected from the Federal Aviation Administration.
It probably won’t happen that soon, but we are pretty darn close, y’all.
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets and a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.
Researchers have discovered one of the most massive black holes ever discovered, clocking in at around 32.7 billion times the mass of the sun. It’s located in a galaxy at the center of a massive cluster named Abell 1201, some 2.7 billion light-years away. ScienceAlert reports: The new figure exceeds previous estimates by at least 7 billion solar masses, demonstrating the power of curved light for measuring masses with precision. One way we can find these black holes is looking for an effect called gravitational lensing. This occurs when space-time itself is warped by mass; imagine space-time as a rubber sheet, and the mass as a heavy weight on it. Any light traveling through that region of space-time has to travel along a curved path, and that can look very interesting to an observer watching from afar. […]
The central galaxy, or brightest cluster galaxy (BCG) of Abell 1201, is a large, diffuse elliptical galaxy well-known as a strong gravitational lens. A galaxy far beyond the BCG appears alongside it as an elongated smear, like an eyebrow closely wrapped around its outskirts. This smear was discovered in 2003; in 2017, astronomers found a second, fainter smear, even closer to the galactic center. This implies, astronomers proposed, the presence of a very large black hole at the center of the BCG, but the data available was not detailed enough to resolve the central mass, or reveal more about what was in there.
[Researchers] not only had access to more recent observations, but devised the tools to understand them. They conducted hundreds of thousands of simulations of light moving through the Universe, altering the mass of the black hole at the galaxy’s center, looking for results that replicate the lensing we observe with Abell 1021 BCG. All but one of their models preferred a massive black hole at the center of the galaxy; and the best fit for the mass of that black hole was 32.7 billion times the mass of the Sun. That pushes it well into ultramassive territory, black holes more massive than 10 billion Suns, and close to the theoretical upper limit for black hole masses of 50 billion Suns.
The research has been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Today is World Backup Day (March 31st), meant to remind everyone to protect their precious data. Amazon is having a large storage sale to commemorate the occasion with discounts of up to 67 percent on hard disks, memory cards, SSDs and more. Some standout deals include the WD Black 2TB NVMe SSD for PS5 consoles for $170 (43 percent off), the SanDisk 2TB Extreme Pro Portable SSD for $175 (24 percent off) and SanDisk’s 1TB Extreme microSDXC memory card for $100, a full two-thirds off the regular price.
WD’s Black Gen4 PCIe NVMe 2TB SSD can hold up to 50 games on your PS5 and delivers read/write speeds of 7,000MB/s and 5,300MB/s respectively, allowing for seamless gameplay. It’ll work equally well for your PC, particularly for content creation. The 2TB model is an incredible deal at $170, considering the regular price is $300. But if you want to spend a bit less and don’t need as much storage, the 1TB model is also on sale for $125 for a savings of 31 percent.
If it’s backup storage you’re after, Amazon has you covered here as well. The SanDisk 2TB Extreme Pro portable SSD, with speeds up to 2,000MB/s (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2) is $175, for a savings of $24 percent. You can also pick up the 1TB version for $130 (58 percent off), and the 4TB model is $400, a whopping $500 off the regular price — though you’ll actually spend less by getting two 2TB models.
The final product of note is SanDisk’s 1TB microSDXC card, on sale for just $100, or 67 percent ($200) off the regular price. You’ll also see a stellar deal on the 512GB version, which can be found for $48 or 56 percent off (again, it’s cheaper to get two of these than a single 1TB card, though the latter may be more convenient).
This month, OrangePi launched a new variant of the Orange Pi 5 Single Board Computer based on the Octa-core Rockchip RK3588S 64-bit processor. The Orange Pi 5B supports 8K@60fps video output, Gigabit Ethernet and it can be configured with up to 256GB eMMC storage. The new Orange Pi 5B features the same Rockchip processor with […]
Netflix released at least one movie a week over the past two years, but for 2023, the company is changing course. According to Bloomberg, the streaming giant is restructuring its movie division and releasing fewer movies overall. Netflix will combine the team working on small projects with a budget $30 million or less and the unit that produces mid-budget films that cost $30 million to $80 million to make. The restructuring will result in a “handful” of layoffs — the company didn’t specify a number — and the departure of two notable executives. Lisa Nishimura, who oversees documentaries like Tiger King and small budget films, as well as VP for film Ian Bricke are both leaving the company after over a decade.
As Bloomberg notes, Netflix ramped up its film development efforts after studios started building their own streaming services instead of licensing their movies to the company. In addition to the units working on small and mid-budget films, Netflix has one more division developing big-budget projects. It’s unclear if the last group is also affected by the restructuring.
Despite the sheer number of titles Netflix previously released, only a few had won accolades, had reached millions of hours of streaming, or had the kind of cultural impact some of the biggest blockbusters had achieved. (According to the company’s Top 10 page, its most watched movies for 2021 and 2022 include Red Notice, Don’t Look Up and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.) Netflix Film chief Scott Stuber reportedly decided to cut down on the titles the service is releasing this year so he could ensure that the division is producing more high-quality projects.
Stuber didn’t say how many people are losing their jobs from the shakeup, but the numbers are supposed to be smaller than the layoffs that happened at the company last year. Netflix implemented job cuts before many of its rivals in the film, TV and entertainment space did. HBO and HBO Max had to let some production staff members go as part of a larger Warner Bros. Discovery restructuring back in August, while Disney recently announced that it’s laying off 7,000 workers, including those involved with media and distribution.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/netflix-hopes-making-fewer-original-movies-will-make-them-better-075456182.html?src=rss
Virgin Orbit is ceasing operations “for the foreseeable future” after failing to secure a funding lifeline, CEO Dan Hart told employees during an all-hands meeting Thursday afternoon. The company will lay off nearly all of its workforce. CNBC reports: “Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to secure the funding to provide a clear path for this company,” Hart said, according to audio of the 5 p.m. ET meeting obtained by CNBC. “We have no choice but to implement immediate, dramatic and extremely painful changes,” Hart said, audibly choking up on the call. He added this would be “probably the hardest all-hands that we’ve ever done in my life.”
The company will eliminate all but 100 positions, amounting to about 90% of the workforce, Hart said, noting the layoffs will affect every team and department. In a securities filing, the company said the layoffs constituted 675 positions, or approximately 85%. “This company, this team — all of you — mean a hell of a lot to me. And I have not, and will not, stop supporting you, whether you’re here on the journey or if you’re elsewhere,” Hart said. Virgin Orbit will “provide a severance package for every departing” employee, Hart said, with a cash payment, extension of benefits, and support in finding a new position — with a “direct pipeline” set up with sister company Virgin Galactic
MYIR launched today a CPU module based on the Renesas RZ/G2L System-on-Chip optimized for HMI, IoT and embedded devices with video capabilities. The MYC-G2LX CPU module is equipped with up to 2GB DDR4, 8GB eMMC and support for Linux. The MYC-G2LX is featured in a very similar form factor as the MYC-YT507H (ALLWINNER T507-H) module […]
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: What does a stressed plant sound like? A bit like bubble-wrap being popped. Researchers in Israel report in the journal Cell on March 30 that tomato and tobacco plants that are stressed — from dehydration or having their stems severed — emit sounds that are comparable in volume to normal human conversation. The frequency of these noises is too high for our ears to detect, but they can probably be heard by insects, other mammals, and possibly other plants. “Even in a quiet field, there are actually sounds that we don’t hear, and those sounds carry information,” says senior author Lilach Hadany, an evolutionary biologist and theoretician at Tel Aviv University. “There are animals that can hear these sounds, so there is the possibility that a lot of acoustic interaction is occurring.”
The researchers used microphones to record healthy and stressed tomato and tobacco plants, first in a soundproofed acoustic chamber and then in a noisier greenhouse environment. They stressed the plants via two methods: by not watering them for several days and by cutting their stems. After recording the plants, the researchers trained a machine-learning algorithm to differentiate between unstressed plants, thirsty plants, and cut plants. The team found that stressed plants emit more sounds than unstressed plants. The plant sounds resemble pops or clicks, and a single stressed plant emits around 30-50 of these clicks per hour at seemingly random intervals, but unstressed plants emit far fewer sounds. “When tomatoes are not stressed at all, they are very quiet,” says Hadany.
Water-stressed plants began emitting noises before they were visibly dehydrated, and the frequency of sounds peaked after five days with no water before decreasing again as the plants dried up completely. The types of sound emitted differed with the cause of stress. The machine-learning algorithm was able to accurately differentiate between dehydration and stress from cutting and could also discern whether the sounds came from a tomato or tobacco plant. Although the study focused on tomato and tobacco plants because of their ease to grow and standardize in the laboratory, the research team also recorded a variety of other plant species. “We found that many plants — corn, wheat, grape, and cactus plants, for example — emit sounds when they are stressed,” says Hadany. The researchers suggest that these noises “might be due to the formation and bursting of air bubbles in the plant’s vascular system, a process called cavitation,” reports Phys.Org. It’s unclear if the plants are producing these sounds in order to communicate with other organisms.
“The Gaurdian reports on a document leak from Russian cyber ‘security’ company Vulkan,” writes Slashdot reader Falconhell. From the report: Inside the six-storey building, a new generation is helping Russian military operations. Its weapons are more advanced than those of Peter the Great’s era: not pikes and halberds, but hacking and disinformation tools. The software engineers behind these systems are employees of NTC Vulkan. On the surface, it looks like a run-of-the-mill cybersecurity consultancy. However, a leak of secret files from the company has exposed its work bolstering Vladimir Putin’s cyberwarfare capabilities.
Thousands of pages of secret documents reveal how Vulkan’s engineers have worked for Russian military and intelligence agencies to support hacking operations, train operatives before attacks on national infrastructure, spread disinformation and control sections of the internet. The company’s work is linked to the federal security service or FSB, the domestic spy agency; the operational and intelligence divisions of the armed forces, known as the GOU and GRU; and the SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence organization.
One document links a Vulkan cyber-attack tool with the notorious hacking group Sandworm, which the US government said twice caused blackouts in Ukraine, disrupted the Olympics in South Korea and launched NotPetya, the most economically destructive malware in history. Codenamed Scan-V, it scours the internet for vulnerabilities, which are then stored for use in future cyber-attacks. Another system, known as Amezit, amounts to a blueprint for surveilling and controlling the internet in regions under Russia’s command, and also enables disinformation via fake social media profiles. A third Vulkan-built system — Crystal-2V — is a training program for cyber-operatives in the methods required to bring down rail, air and sea infrastructure. A file explaining the software states: “The level of secrecy of processed and stored information in the product is ‘Top Secret’.”