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Wearing the Teslasuit is a shocking experience - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2018-11-13 07:00
This full-body suit creates sensations on your skin so VR feels all the more real.

Drinkworks Home Bar is a literal Keurig for cocktails

Engadget - Tue, 2018-11-13 07:00
I have seen countless companies claim to deliver the Keurig of (fill in the blank). The "Keurig of cocktails" market in particular is crowded with wannabes that don't seem to be gaining much traction -- Barsy, Bartesian, Somabar, Bibo... am I missing...

Climate Change May Curtail Shorebirds' Need to Fly North

Scientifc America - Tue, 2018-11-13 06:45
Arctic predators have been eating twice as many shorebird eggs, threatening populations and potentially migration itself

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The Morning After: 'Detective Pikachu' and real-life Iron Men

Engadget - Tue, 2018-11-13 06:30
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. The lines between reality and fantasy are blurring in odd ways this morning, whether it's due to superhero-like stunts inspired by characters from the mind of Stan Lee (RIP) and Marvel, or a Roger Rabbit-like ne...

Tovala's newest oven is smarter and more stylish - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2018-11-13 06:00
Tovala improved on its first-generation smart oven with better controls and an expanded library of recipes in the Tovala app.

Tovala's latest smart oven looks and feels a little more familiar

Engadget - Tue, 2018-11-13 06:00
Last year, Tovala introduced its first smart steam oven, which was specially designed to go with the company's own meal delivery service. Think Blue Apron, but without the hassle of actually knowing how to cook. Just do minimal prep work, pop the rea...

How machine learning systems sometimes surprise us

TechCrunch - Tue, 2018-11-13 05:43

This simple spreadsheet of machine learning foibles may not look like much but it’s a fascinating exploration of how machines “think.” The list, compiled by researcher Victoria Krakovna, describes various situations in which robots followed the spirit and the letter of the law at the same time.

For example, in the video below a machine learning algorithm learned that it could rack up points not by taking part in a boat race but by flipping around in a circle to get points. In another simulation “where survival required energy but giving birth had no energy cost, one species evolved a sedentary lifestyle that consisted mostly of mating in order to produce new children which could be eaten (or used as mates to produce more edible children).” This led to what Krakovna called “indolent cannibals.”

It’s obvious that these machines aren’t “thinking” in any real sense but when given parameters and a the ability to evolve an answer, it’s also obvious that these robots will come up with some fun ideas. In other test, a robot learned to move a block by smacking the table with its arm and still another “genetic algorithm [was] supposed to configure a circuit into an oscillator, but instead [made] a radio to pick up signals from neighboring computers.” Another cancer-detecting system found that pictures of malignant tumors usually contained rulers and so gave plenty of false positives.

Each of these examples shows the unintended consequences of trusting machines to learn. They will learn but they will also confound us. Machine learning is just that – learning that is understandable only by machines.

One final example: in a game of Tetris in which a robot was required to “not lose” the program pauses “the game indefinitely to avoid losing.” Now it just needs to throw a tantrum and we’d have a clever three-year-old on our hands.

Fantastic Beasts 2 review: A lovable mess - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2018-11-13 05:30
The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second instalment of JK Rowling's wizarding series, is packed with magical concepts only fans will comprehend.

Facebook didn't check how phone makers handled the user data it shared

Engadget - Tue, 2018-11-13 05:01
The New York Times revealed earlier this year that Facebook gave phone makers access to detailed user data so people could access the social network's features without the need for an app. Facebook shared user information with those companies under a...

Douglas Rain, Voice of HAL 9000 In '2001: A Space Odyssey,' Dies At 90

SlashDot - Tue, 2018-11-13 05:00
schwit1 shares a report from The Hollywood Reporter: Douglas Rain, the veteran Canadian stage actor who provided the soft and gentle voice of the rogue HAL 9000 computer for Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, has died. He was 90. The first drafts of the 2001 script had HAL being voiced by a woman and was called Athena; afterward, it was decided that the computer should sound more like a man. Nigel Davenport, Martin Balsam and others were tried out -- and ruled out -- before and during filming of the 1968 sci-fi thriller. "Well, we had some difficulty deciding exactly what HAL should sound like, and Marty just sounded a little bit too colloquially American, whereas Rain had the kind of bland mid-Atlantic accent we felt was right for the part,' Kubrick told Newsday film critic Joseph Gelmis in an interview for the 1970 book The Film Director as Superstar. Kubrick told Rain that he had made the computer "too emotional and too human." So, in late 1967, the actor flew to New York City and spent a day and a half -- about 9 1/2 hours in all -- to voice HAL. As reported on the blog 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Rain "did the recordings with his bare feet resting on a pillow, in order to maintain the required relaxed tone."

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GM's Maven program will rent Teslas and Fords in 2019

Engadget - Tue, 2018-11-13 02:56
Earlier this year, GM officially launched a program called Maven that gives people a way to earn extra money by renting out their cars. It's only open to Chevrolet-, Buick-, GMC- and Cadillac-branded vehicles, though -- in other words, cars from GM's...

2020 BMW M340i revealed ahead of LA Auto Show debut - Roadshow

CNET News - Tue, 2018-11-13 02:00
Here's the scoop on the hotter, six-cylinder version of BMW's new 3 Series.

Amazon Picks New York, Northern Virginia For HQ2

SlashDot - Tue, 2018-11-13 02:00
The Washington Post is reporting that Amazon has picked New York's Long Island City and Arlington County's Crystal City neighborhoods as the company's second headquarters (Warning: source paywalled; alternative source). The two locations will split the duty and will reportedly bring the cities an infusion of jobs and tax revenue. From the report: Amazon will open major new outposts in Northern Virginia's Crystal City and New York City, splitting its much-sought investment of up to 50,000 jobs between the two East Coast sites. The choice of Crystal City in Arlington County as one of the winners would cement Northern Virginia's reputation as a magnet for business and potentially reshape the Washington region into an East Coast outpost of Silicon Valley over the next decade. It also represents a victory for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D), who had joked that he would change his name to "Amazon Cuomo" if necessary to land the prize. Amazon's decision to split the project rather than open a second headquarters on par with its Seattle campus has angered some who said the company had ginned up competition among cities only to change the rules midstream. Some said it was unfair that the company seemed to be considering only sites in more affluent communities.

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Amazon's split HQ2 announcement could happen later today

Engadget - Tue, 2018-11-13 01:24
According to the Wall Street Journal, the location(s) for Amazon's headquarters expansion have been locked down, and will be announced later today. After opening its search process more than a year ago, "people familiar with the matter" say that the...

Facebook reportedly failed to monitor partners' handling of user data - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2018-11-13 01:03
Social network granted device makers with special access to users' personal data but then failed to police their use, according to The New York Times.

If Google can make cars drive themselves, it should figure out diversity, CFO says - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2018-11-13 00:11
Ruth Porat also reiterated that her company continues to work with the US military.

Americans are checking their phones now more than ever, report says - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2018-11-13 00:00
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed by Deloitte are trying to cut back their screen time, but only around half of them are successful in doing so.

LG's OLED TVs get modest discounts for Black Friday

Engadget - Mon, 2018-11-12 23:31
LG is offering discounts on a number of its TVs for Black Friday, and these reduced prices are available now through December 1st. For its OLED C8 with AI ThinQ line of TVs, LG is discounting the 55-inch and 65-inch models by $800, bringing them to $...

AT&T CEO calls for privacy, net neutrality laws - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2018-11-12 23:28
Randall Stephenson also calls 5G "critical" to the future of media consumption.