Finally, an official Craigslist app

4 Dec

Fancy websites and services come and go, but Craigslist endures. And now one of its main shortcomings is fixed: there’s an official app. Currently available for iOS and in beta for Android, the app provides a true-to-form Craigslist experience: useful, unfussy, and anonymous.

This 16-game arcade for AIs tests their playing prowess

4 Dec

Figuring out just what an AI is good at is one of the hardest thing about understanding them. To help determine this, OpenAI has designed a set of games that can help researchers tell whether their machine learning agent is actually learning basic skills or, what is equally likely, has figured out how to rig […]

Scientists turn undersea fiber optic cables into seismographs

28 Nov

Monitoring seismic activity all over the world is an important task, but one that requires equipment to be at the site it’s measuring — difficult in the middle of the ocean. But new research from Berkeley could turn existing undersea fiber optic cables into a network of seismographs, creating an unprecedented global view of the Earth’s tectonic movements.

Apple and Google Maps accommodate Russia’s annexation of Crimea

27 Nov

Global politics are difficult to navigate ordinarily, but in times of conflict companies that aim to provide an unbiased service, such as a map or search function, may have to come down on one side or another. Apple just came down at least partly on the side of Russia in its controversial annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and Google has accommodated Russian interests as well.

This robot scientist has conducted 100,000 experiments in a year

27 Nov

Science is exciting in theory, but it can also be dreadfully dull. Some experiments require hundreds or thousands of repetitions or trials — an excellent opportunity to automate. That’s just what MIT scientists have done, creating a robot that performs a certain experiment, observes the results, and plans a follow-up… and has now done so 100,000 times in the year it’s been operating.

More than 1 million T-Mobile customers exposed by breach

23 Nov

T-Mobile has confirmed a data breach affecting more than a million of its customers, whose personal data (but no financial or password data) was exposed to a malicious actor. The company alerted the affected customers but did not provide many details in its official account of the hack. The company said in its disclosure to […]

Y Combinator abruptly shutters YC China

21 Nov

Prolific startup accelerator Y Combinator has abandoned plans to establish a branch of the program in China. The company cites a general change in strategy, but a deafening silence on the complexity and controversy of working with China right now suggests there’s more at play.

Google limits political ad targeting and all ‘demonstrably false claims’

21 Nov

Google has joined Twitter in revising its political ad rules ahead of what promises to be a brutal election season. But while the latter chose to ban political advertising altogether, Google is mainly limiting the ability to target political demographics, and promises to take action against “demonstrably false claims.” In a blog post Wednesday afternoon, […]

This room-sized LED egg captures amazing 3D models of the people inside it

19 Nov

Capturing human performances in high-definition 3D is a complicated proposition, and among the many challenges is getting the lighting right. This impressive new project from Google researchers puts the subject in the center of what can only be described as an prismatic LED egg, but the resulting 3D models are remarkable — and more importantly, […]

Army photogrammetry technique makes 3D aerial maps in minutes

16 Nov

Aerial imagery is a common asset in military matters, but 3D maps can be difficult to collect on short notice without specialized equipment. This new photogrammetry technique from the Army Corps of Engineers, however, can make accurate 3D maps from ordinary aerial footage in just minutes. Photogrammetry is the process of comparing multiple photos of […]

The House and Senate finally agree on something: Robocalls

16 Nov

In these times of political strife, it’s nice that despite our differences we can still band together as a nation in the face of a catastrophe that affects us all equally. I speak, of course, of robocalls, and it seems that the House and Senate have put their differences aside for the present in order to collaborate on a law combating this scourge.

Twitter makes its political ad ban official

15 Nov

The ban on political ads announced by Twitter two weeks ago has come into effect, and the rules are surprisingly simple — perhaps too simple. No political content as they define it may be promoted; Candidates, parties, governments or officials, PACs, and certain political nonprofit groups are banned from promoting content altogether.

The Math of Sisyphus

13 Nov

“There is but one truly serious question in philosophy, and that is suicide,” wrote Albert Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus. This is equally true for a human navigating an absurd existence, and an artificial intelligence navigating a morally insoluble situation.