Twitter temporarily banned pro-Trump meme creator Carpe Donktum

This afternoon, Twitter caused a stir when it suspended the prolific pro-Trump meme creator, Carpe Donktum. People were quick to speculate that Carpe Donktum was suspended for his alleged connection to the violent video shown at Trump’s Miami resort…

Source: Engadget – Twitter temporarily banned pro-Trump meme creator Carpe Donktum

Titans Turned Superboy Into Frankenstein's Manchild, and It Was Awesome

Titans’ cast of superheroes and villains has gotten so large that the series has largely shifted away from dedicating entire episodes to single characters, but this week’s straightforwardly named “Conner” focused on nothing but the latest live-action incarnation of Superman and Lex Luthor’s genetically-engineered…

Read more…



Source: io9 – Titans Turned Superboy Into Frankenstein’s Manchild, and It Was Awesome

Microsoft wants to use AI to bleep out bad words in Xbox Live party chat

"I'm so happy that I didn't hear whatever curse word you just screamed at me during our friendly game of <em>Uno</em> on Xbox Live!"

Enlarge / “I’m so happy that I didn’t hear whatever curse word you just screamed at me during our friendly game of Uno on Xbox Live!” (credit: Future Publishing / Getty Images)

Today, Microsoft announced it’s rolling out filters that will let Xbox Live players automatically limit the text-based messages they receive to four maturiy tiers: “Friendly, Medium, Mature, and Unfiltered.” That’s a long-overdue feature for a major communication platform that’s well over a decade old now, but not really anything new in terms of online content moderation writ large.

What’s more interesting is a “looking ahead” promise Microsoft made at the end of the announcement (emphasis added):

Ultimately our vision is to supplement our existing efforts and leverage our company efforts in AI and machine learning technology to provide filtration across all types of content on Xbox Live, delivering control to each and every individual player. Your feedback is more important than ever as we continue to evolve this experience and make Xbox a safe, welcome and inclusive place to game.

That’s all a bit vague, but The Verge reports on the real thrust of that passage: an effort by the company to “tackle the challenge of voice chat toxicity on Xbox Live.” That means leveraging Microsoft’s existing efforts in speech-to-text machine-learning algorithms to automatically filter out swear words that might come up in an Xbox Live party chat.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments



Source: Ars Technica – Microsoft wants to use AI to bleep out bad words in Xbox Live party chat

The Samsung Galaxy Fold, again: Hard to love, even harder to hate

The Galaxy Fold lives.

I don’t just mean in the vague “Samsung bounces back from a fiasco” sense, either. My Galaxy Fold, which I’ve been tossing around for weeks, opening and closing it like a madman, mostly works the same as it did the day I u…

Source: Engadget – The Samsung Galaxy Fold, again: Hard to love, even harder to hate

A Code Glitch May Have Caused Errors In More Than 100 Published Studies

Scientists have uncovered a glitch in a piece of code that could have yielded incorrect results in over 100 published studies that cited the original paper. From a report: The glitch caused results of a common chemistry computation to vary depending on the operating system used, causing discrepancies among Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. The researchers published the revelation and a debugged version of the script, which amounts to roughly 1,000 lines of code, last week in the journal Organic Letters. “This simple glitch in the original script calls into question the conclusions of a significant number of papers on a wide range of topics in a way that cannot be easily resolved from published information because the operating system is rarely mentioned,” the new paper reads. “Authors who used these scripts should certainly double-check their results and any relevant conclusions using the modified scripts in the [supplementary information].” Yuheng Luo, a graduate student at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, discovered the glitch this summer when he was verifying the results of research conducted by chemistry professor Philip Williams on cyanobacteria. The aim of the project was to “try to find compounds that are effective against cancer,” Williams said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – A Code Glitch May Have Caused Errors In More Than 100 Published Studies

Faraday Future founder files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Faraday Future founder Jia Yueting has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a bid to settle his exorbitant personal debts. The move is part of a larger recovery plan, and it’s meant, in part, to regain credibility for Faraday Future. Though there’s no…

Source: Engadget – Faraday Future founder files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

India's Reliance Jio Unveils Video Call Assistant To Help Businesses Automate Customer Support

Before Google moves to bring its human-sounding robot calling service Duplex to help users automate their interactions with businesses to international markets, an Indian giant is deploying its own solution to get a jumpstart on the local market. From a report: Reliance Jio today unveiled AI-powered Video Call Assistant service that will allow businesses to automate their customer support and other communications. The service, built in collaboration with Radisys, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Reliance Industries, can be accessed via a 4G phone call and does not require installation of any additional app, Jio said. Executives of Reliance Jio demonstrated the technology on Monday at the third installment of Indian Mobile Congress, similar to but not affiliated with the trade show Mobile World Congress. They said they have already courted a number of customers for this service, including HDFC Bank. In the demo, a user dials a regular phone number and sees a video chat option. Once tapped, the user is greeted by a pre-recorded video message from a human. To demonstrate the AI’s capabilities, an executive of Reliance Jio asked the bot what was the interest rate on personal loans. The human-looking bot was able to answer the question without any delay. The company, which became the largest telecom operator in India in three years, is also offering audio and text bot options to brands, executives said. “It may be a large business or small, our bot service is built for all,” one of the two executives said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – India’s Reliance Jio Unveils Video Call Assistant To Help Businesses Automate Customer Support

The UK Just Got More Power From Renewables Than Fossil Fuels, a First Since 1882

It’s been an eventful year for carbon-free energy in the UK. First, Great Britain went a week without coal for the first time since the Industrial Revolution. Then the country fired (wound?) up the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – The UK Just Got More Power From Renewables Than Fossil Fuels, a First Since 1882

A Study That Linked Shorter Lifespans to CRISPR Baby Mutation Has Been Retracted

An alarming study that added fuel to the fire over a recent controversial genetic experiment in China has now been invalidated. The study, which suggested that a mutation induced by Chinese scientist He Jiankui in human babies could shorten their lives, was retracted late last week, after other scientists failed to…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – A Study That Linked Shorter Lifespans to CRISPR Baby Mutation Has Been Retracted

Girl Scouts can earn five STEM badges through Microsoft partnership

As part of its ongoing campaign to foster STEM education, the Girl Scouts of the USA has partnered with one of the biggest names in tech: Microsoft. Moving forward, Girl Scouts troop members will be able to earn five separate badges by taking part in…

Source: Engadget – Girl Scouts can earn five STEM badges through Microsoft partnership

Safari in iOS 13 Sends Chinese Users' Browsing Data to Censorship-Friendly Tencent

It seems like Apple’s China-related controversies aren’t over just yet. It appears that Safari in iOS 13 now sends browsing data to Tencent, a giant Chinese conglomerate that owns the country’s biggest digital platforms, including QQ, WeChat, and Qzone. It’s also known for helping the Chinese government keep its iron…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Safari in iOS 13 Sends Chinese Users’ Browsing Data to Censorship-Friendly Tencent

Typhoon Hagibis Is Japan's Latest Multi-Billion-Dollar Disaster

Typhoon Hagibis may now be a swirl of clouds near Alaska, but its impacts on Japan are still playing out. The country was walloped by the storm over the weekend, with some areas receiving 40 percent of their annual rain in the span of a few days.

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Typhoon Hagibis Is Japan’s Latest Multi-Billion-Dollar Disaster

Uber Lays Off Another 350 Employees Across Eats, Self-driving and Other Departments

Uber has just laid off around 350 employees across a variety of teams within the organization, marking what the company says is its third and final phase of layoffs of the process it began earlier this year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said to employees today in an email. From a report: Those affected include employees from Eats, performance marketing, Advanced Technologies Group, recruiting, as well as various teams within the global rides and platform departments. Some employees have also been asked to relocate. “Days like today are tough for us all, and the ELT and I will do everything we can to make certain that we won’t need or have another day like this ahead of us,” Khosrowshahi wrote in the email. “We all have to play a part by establishing a new normal in how we work: identifying and eliminating duplicate work, upholding high standards for performance, giving direct feedback and taking action when expectations aren’t being met, and eliminating the bureaucracy that tends to creep as companies grow.” In total, the layoffs represent about 1% of the company, an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. Further reading: Uber Posts $5.2 Billion Loss and Slowest Ever Growth Rate (August 2019).

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Uber Lays Off Another 350 Employees Across Eats, Self-driving and Other Departments

AT&T charged customers for a corporate tax that it doesn’t have to pay

An AT&T logo seen on the outside of a building.

Enlarge / An AT&T store in Chicago. (credit: Getty Images | jetcityimage)

AT&T charged customers in Portland, Oregon for a corporate tax that AT&T doesn’t actually have to pay. AT&T has agreed to provide refunds to customers who were wrongly charged the tax over the past few months, but it’s facing a lawsuit that seeks additional payments of at least $200 to each of those customers.

AT&T’s mistake relates to Portland’s new Clean Energy Surcharge, a 1% tax on retail sales in the city. AT&T has been passing this tax along to its mobile customers, even though the city law exempts utilities such as AT&T from the tax.

“The city only recently notified us that we are exempt from the tax,” AT&T said a statement Friday, according to The Oregonian. “We will be issuing refunds to our customers.”

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments



Source: Ars Technica – AT&T charged customers for a corporate tax that it doesn’t have to pay

The world’s oldest leftovers, left in Pleistocene storage containers

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments



Source: Ars Technica – The world’s oldest leftovers, left in Pleistocene storage containers

Inside Mark Zuckerberg's Private Meetings With Conservative Pundits

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hosting informal talks and small, off-the-record dinners with conservative journalists, commentators and at least one Republican lawmaker in recent months to discuss issues like free speech and discuss partnerships, Politico reported on Monday. From the report: The dinners, which began in July, are part of Zuckerberg’s broader effort to cultivate friends on the right amid outrage by President Donald Trump and his allies over alleged “bias” against conservatives at Facebook and other major social media companies. “I’m under no illusions that he’s a conservative but I think he does care about some of our concerns,” said one person familiar with the gatherings, which multiple sources have confirmed. News of the outreach is likely to further fuel suspicions on the left that Zuckerberg is trying to appease the White House and stay out of Trump’s crosshairs. The president threatened to sue Facebook and Google in June and has in the past pressured the Justice Department to take action against his perceived foes. “The discussion in Silicon Valley is that Zuckerberg is very concerned about the Justice Department, under Bill Barr, bringing an enforcement action to break up the company,” said one cybersecurity researcher and former government official based in Silicon Valley. “So the fear is that Zuckerberg is trying to appease the Trump administration by not cracking down on right-wing propaganda.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Private Meetings With Conservative Pundits