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Updated: 2 min 13 sec ago

Movie Written By Algorithm Turns Out To Be Hilarious and Intense

Fri, 10/06/2016 - 12:30am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Ars is excited to be hosting this online debut of Sunspring, a short science fiction film that's not entirely what it seems. It's about three people living in a weird future, possibly on a space station, probably in a love triangle. You know it's the future because H (played with neurotic gravity by Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch) is wearing a shiny gold jacket, H2 (Elisabeth Gray) is playing with computers, and C (Humphrey Ker) announces that he has to "go to the skull" before sticking his face into a bunch of green lights. It sounds like your typical sci-fi B-movie, complete with an incoherent plot. Except Sunspring isn't the product of Hollywood hacks -- it was written entirely by an AI. To be specific, it was authored by a recurrent neural network called long short-term memory, or LSTM for short. At least, that's what we'd call it. The AI named itself Benjamin. The report goes on to mention that the movie was made by Oscar Sharp for the annual film festival Sci-Fi London. You can watch the short film (~10 min) on The Scene here.

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Tesla Suspension Breakage: It's Not The Crime, It's The Coverup

Thu, 09/06/2016 - 11:50pm
schwit1 quotes a report from Daily Kanban: For several months now, reports have circulated in comment sections and forum threads about a possible defect in Tesla's vehicles that may cause suspension control arms to break. Many of those reports appeared to come from a single, highly-motivated and potentially unreliable source, a fact which led many to dismiss them as crankery. But as more reports of suspension failure in Teslas have come in, Daily Kanban has investigated the matter and can now report on this deeply troubling issue. Our investigation began in earnest upon reading a thread titled "Suspension Problem on Model S" in the Tesla Motors Club forum. The original poster (OP) in that thread described the suspension in his 2013 Model S (with 70,000 miles) failing at relatively low speed, saying the "left front hub assembly separated from the upper control arm." Images of the broken suspension components showed high levels of rust in the steel ball joint and the OP reported being told by Tesla service center employees that the "ball joint bolt was loose and caused the wear," which was "not normal." Because his Tesla was out of warranty, the repair was reportedly sent to Tesla management for consideration. According to a subsequent post by the OP, Tesla management refused to repair the broken suspension under warranty despite the "not normal" levels of wear reported by the service techs. Then, just days later, the OP reported that Tesla had offered to pay 50% of the $3,100 repair bill in exchange for his signature on a "Goodwill Agreement" which he subsequently posted here (a scan of the stock agreement can be found here). That agreement included the following passage: "The Goodwill is being provided to you without any admission of liability or wrongdoing or acceptance of any facts by Tesla, and shall not be treated as or considered evidence of Tesla's liability with respect to any claim or incidents. You agree to keep confidential our provision of the Goodwill, the terms of this agreement and the incidents or claims leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill. In accepting the Goodwill, you hereby release and discharge Tesla and related persons or entities from any and all claims or damages arising out of or in any way connected with any claims or incidents leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill. You further agree that you will not commence, participate or voluntarily aid in any action at law or in equity or any legal proceeding against Tesla or related persons or entities based upon facts related to the claims or incidents leading to or related to this Goodwill." [Emphasis added] This offer, to repair a defective part in exchange for a non-disclosure agreement, is unheard of in the auto industry. More troublingly, it represents a potential assault by Tesla Motors on the right of vehicle owners to report defects to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's complaint database, the auto safety regulators sole means of discovering defects independent of the automakers they regulate. Reuters also reports today that U.S. auto safety investigators are reviewing reports of suspension problems in Tesla Motors Inc's Model S cars.

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Uber Rolling Out Scheduled Rides In Seattle

Thu, 09/06/2016 - 11:20pm
Scheduled rides are coming to Uber. The ride-hailing announced on Thursday that users in Seattle can now schedule a pickup request as far out as 30 days in advance. GeekWire reports: The ride-sharing service said scheduling is a top-requested feature from business travelers and the company said priority access will be given to riders who have Business Profiles or are linked to their company's Uber account. Uber says it will bring it to other "major" cities soon.

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Microsoft Makes Minecraft Education Edition Available To Schools

Thu, 09/06/2016 - 10:50pm
Mickeycaskill quotes a report from TechWeekEurope UK: Microsoft has bolstered its push into the education sector with the release of Minecraft: Education Edition for teachers around the world. The beta is an "early access" release, meaning it is free for testing purposes for schools. It comes after Microsoft last year launched a Minecraft site for educators to seek ideas on how the video game could be used as part of lessons. With the early access version of Minecraft: Education Edition now available, teachers have the chance to install and try an early version of the experience for free throughout the summer with classes of up to 30 students (without the need for a separate server). The complete version of Minecraft: Education Edition will be available in September. It will cost between $1 and $5 per user, per year depending on school size and volume licensing offers. Minecraft shows no sign of slowing down. It recently passed 100 million sales across all platforms and Microsoft, which acquired Mojang roughly two years ago, even has plans to bring Minecraft to China.

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China Plans Massive Sea Lab 10,000 Feet Underwater In the South China Sea

Thu, 09/06/2016 - 10:10pm
An anonymous reader writes: In an effort to hunt for materials, China is planning to build a manned deep-sea platform in the South China Sea. The lab may also serve for military purposes in the disputed waters as well. The lab would be located as much as 3,000 meters (9,800 ft) below sea level, according to a recent Science Ministry presentation viewed by Bloomberg. Bloomberg writes: "The project was mentioned in China's current five-year economic plan released in March and ranked number two on a list of the top 100 science and technology priorities." There are few public details specifying the timeline of the project, any blueprints, costs or where exactly it will be located. China's President Xi Jinping considers more than 80 percent of the waters its sovereign territory. The country has even created several artificial islands in the South China Sea covering 3,200 acres. Last year, the NYT posted a fascinated piece showing clear satellite imagery of the new islands being built.

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Oklahoma State Troopers Use New Device To Seize Bank Accounts During Traffic Stops

Thu, 09/06/2016 - 9:30pm
mi writes from a report via KWTV: KWTV writes, "You may have heard of civil asset forfeiture. That's where police can seize your property and cash without first proving you committed a crime; without a warrant and without arresting you, as long as they suspect that your property is somehow tied to a crime. Now, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a device that also allows them to seize money in your bank account or on prepaid cards. If a trooper suspects you may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan any cards you have and seize the money." But do not worry: "If you can prove that you have a legitimate reason to have that money it will be given back to you. And we've done that in the past," said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. John Vincent.

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Parents Are Worried the Amazon Echo Is Conditioning Their Kids To Be Rude

Thu, 09/06/2016 - 8:45pm
Quartz has a story today in which it documents several concerns from parents that Amazon Echo (and perhaps other AI-powered devices) is conditioning the kids of this generation to be rude. "How?" You ask. For one, unlike a human parent who gets annoyed listening to the same question numerous times, Amazon Echo doesn't mind that. From the report: "I've found my kids pushing the virtual assistant further than they would push a human," says Avi Greengart, a tech analyst and father of five who lives in Teaneck, New Jersey. "[Alexa] never says 'That was rude' or 'I'm tired of you asking me the same question over and over again.'" Perhaps she should, he thinks. "One of the responsibilities of parents is to teach your kids social graces," says Greengart, "and this is a box you speak to as if it were a person who does not require social graces."

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