Anki’s Vector is getting Alexa access next week

Anki’s Vector is getting Alexa access next week

Vector’s already got the adorable bit down, courtesy of a team staffed by former Pixar and Dreamworks animators. But Anki’s grownup version of Cozmo can use a bit of help when it comes to smarts. Starting next week, the desktop robot will be able to tap into Amazon Alexa’s deep base of answers. The new feature will arrive as a software update on December 17. As evidenced by the below preview video, it’s not a direct integration into Vector’s AI personality. “Hey Vector” will get you an answer from the…

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IMAX pulls the plug on its dream of VR arcades

IMAX pulls the plug on its dream of VR arcades

The company behind the biggest screens in cinema is giving up on bringing VR screens within a few inches of users’ faces. The company announced today in a SEC filing that it will be shutting down its three remaining virtual reality centers including its flagship location in Los Angeles. Via the filing: In connection with the Company’s previously-announced strategic review of its virtual reality pilot initiative, the Company has decided to close its remaining VR locations and write-off certain VR content investments. The locations in LA, Bangkok and Toronto will…

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These face-generating systems are getting rather too creepily good for my liking

These face-generating systems are getting rather too creepily good for my liking

Machine learning models are getting quite good at generating realistic human faces — so good that I may never trust a machine, or human, to be real ever again. The new approach, from researchers at Nvidia, leapfrogs others by separating levels of detail in the faces and allowing them to be tweaked separately. The results are eerily realistic. The paper, published on preprint repository Arxiv (PDF), describes a new architecture for generating and blending images, particularly human faces, that “leads to better interpolation properties, and also better disentangles the latent…

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Online ads and games would benefit from more rewards, according to UCLA survey

Online ads and games would benefit from more rewards, according to UCLA survey

A new study from Versus Systems and the MEMES (Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports) Center at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management examines at how gaming and advertising are evolving, and how one influences the other. As Versus Systems CEO Matthew Pierce put it, the goal was to study, “What is the impact on advertising as interactive media grows, and as more people consume interactive media?” The individual findings — People like rewards! Not everyone who plays games calls themselves a gamer! — may not be that shocking…

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Tumblr’s back in the App Store following porn ban announcement

Tumblr’s back in the App Store following porn ban announcement

Tumblr is back. Sort of. The social blogging platform reappeared on Apple’s App Store this week, some three weeks after being pulled over child pornography concerns. Ten days ago, the company adopted a scorched earth response to the issue, announcing a blanket ban on adult material as part of a “better, more positive Tumblr.” The move appears to have paid off on one front, at least. The iOS version has returned to Apple’s hallowed halls with a version history noting that “this particular update[…]includes changes to Tumblr’s Community Guidelines, which…

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Powering customer journeys in the age of AI

Powering customer journeys in the age of AI

Anirudh Pandit Contributor Anirudh Pandit is head of Solution Engineering, NA-West, office of the CTO, MuleSoft. Technology has been the cornerstone of economic growth around the world for hundreds of years. It has underpinned the last three industrial revolutions and is now the driving factor in today’s Fourth Industrial Revolution — marked by emerging technologies in a variety of fields. Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence is one of the key technologies driving this new revolution. As described in the 1950s by the father of modern computer science, Alan Turing, “What we want…

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US intelligence community says quantum computing and artificial intelligence pose an ’emerging threat’ to national security

US intelligence community says quantum computing and artificial intelligence pose an ’emerging threat’ to national security

It’s not often you can put nuclear weapons, terrorism and climate change on the same list as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, but the U.S. government believes all pose an “emerging threat” to its national security. Several key agencies in the U.S. intelligence community were asked what they saw as long-term threats faced by the country in the next decade and beyond, and the future of “dual-use technologies” took center stage. Agnostic technologies like encryption, autonomous and unmanned systems, AI and quantum computing rank at the top…

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Scammers are sending bomb scares to nab BTC

Scammers are sending bomb scares to nab BTC

A new scam is making the rounds that promises to disrupt countless offices and schools. The scam is simple: the scammers send an email threatening to detonate a bomb if they don’t get a certain amount of Bitcoin within a specified timeframe. Because there is little upside to ignoring a bomb threat at this point in history, entire offices are now being evacuated as this scam spreads. The scammers usually send something like this: My man carried a bomb (Hexogen) into the building where your company is located. It is…

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This early GDPR adtech strike puts the spotlight on consent

This early GDPR adtech strike puts the spotlight on consent

What does consent as a valid legal basis for processing personal data look like under Europe’s updated privacy rules? It may sound like an abstract concern but for online services that rely on things being done with user data in order to monetize free-to-access content this is a key question now the region’s General Data Protection Regulation is firmly fixed in place. The GDPR is actually clear about consent. But if you haven’t bothered to read the text of the regulation, and instead just go and look at some of the self-styled…

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The annual PornHub year in review tells us what we’re really looking at online

The annual PornHub year in review tells us what we’re really looking at online

PornHub, a popular site feature people in various stages of undress, saw 33.5 billion visits in 2018. There are currently 7.53 billion people on Earth. Y’all have been busy. The company, which owns most of the major porn sites online, produces a yearly report that aggregates user behavior on the site. Of particular interest, aside from the fact that all of us are horndogs, is that the US, Germany, and India are in the top spots for porn browsing and that the company transferred 4,000 petabytes of data or about…

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