FrankenSWINE? Scientists bring some functions in a pig's BRAIN 'back to life'

Daily Mail

Scientists have been able to partially revive the brains of decapitated pigs that died four hours earlier in a groundbreaking study. Experts used tubes that pumped a chemical mixture designed to mimic blood into the decapitated heads of 32 pigs to restore circulation and cellular activity. Echoing Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein, billions of neurons began acting normally and the deaths of other cells was reduced over the course of six hours. Electrical brain activity across the brain associated with awareness, perception and other high level functions were not observed, however. While the find is an exciting breakthrough, it is still a long way from proof that a person's consciousness can be recovered after they die, experts caution.


Ethics Alone Can't Fix Big Tech

Slate

The New York Times has confirmed what some have long suspected: The Chinese government is using a "vast, secret system" of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology to identify and track Uighurs--a Muslim minority, 1 million of whom are being held in detention camps in China's northwest Xinjiang province. This technology allows the government to extend its control of the Uighur population across the country. It may seem difficult to imagine a similar scenario in the U.S., but related technologies, built by Amazon, are already being used by U.S. law enforcement agencies to identify suspects in photos and video. And echoes of China's system can be heard in plans to deploy these technologies at the U.S.-Mexico border. A.I. systems also decide what information is presented to you on social media, which ads you see, and what prices you're offered for goods and services.


Pete and Chasten Buttigieg's em Other /em Potential First: a White House App Marriage

Slate

It's common knowledge that Barack Obama met the woman who eventually became his wife, Michelle Robinson, when he came to work at her law firm as a summer associate. George W. Bush met the future Mrs. Bush, who was Laura Welch back then, at a barbecue and took her mini-golfing the next day. And we all remember that Bill and Hillary Clinton were law school sweethearts. The historical record is full of these president-and-first-lady origin stories: Harry Truman was just 6 when he met the woman he would go on to marry, in church. So it's only natural to ask how the current crop of presidential candidates' how-they-met stories stack up.


Anker's Roav Bolt brings Google Assistant to your car's 12V socket, even with an iPhone

PCWorld

If you want to summon Google Assistant in your car, you basically have two options: Enable "Hey Google" and Smart Lock on your Android phone or launch Android Auto (should you be lucky enough to have a car with it built in). But with the new Roav Bolt, Anker gives us a third option, and even iPhone users can get in on it. Like the Alexa-powered Roav Viva, the Bolt plugs into your car's 12V socket and connects via Bluetooth or an auxiliary jack. A pair of USB ports lets you keep your phone charged while driving, and a single button on the front lets you manually summon Google Assistant. Otherwise, the Bolt is all about its noise-canceling microphones, which should provide better voice pick-up than the mic on your phone.


Best smart speakers: Which deliver the best combination of digital assistant and audio performance?

PCWorld

Your message has been sent. There was an error emailing this page. You don't need to live in a smart home to benefit from a Wi-Fi-connected smart speaker. Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana, and other digital assistants can help you in dozens of ways, and you don't have to lift a finger to summon them--just speak their names. If you already know you want a smart speaker, scroll down for our top recommendations.


UK porn ban: What is it, when does it come into effect and can I get around it?

The Independent

The UK is about to introduce restrictions on watching pornography of a kind never before seen in the world. The government is planning to stop children being damaged by watching adult content by stopping anyone from doing so unless they go through a "rigorous" age verification process. Websites that aren't part of the blocks could find themselves being punished or blocked entirely within the UK. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.


Porn ban: VPN interest surges as people look for best ways to bypass ID checks

The Independent

The recently announced identity checks to stop under-18s from visiting pornographic websites in the UK have led to a surge in interest in technology that would allow people to bypass them. Critics claim the new rules are "disastrous" for people's privacy and are fundamentally flawed due to the ease of which they can be circumvented using virtual private networks (VPNs). Searches for VPNs on Google's search engine tripled in the hours following the government's announcement that the verification system would come into effect in July. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.


Google Home can gently wake you up using Philips Hue lights

Engadget

Smart lights still tend to offer a rude awakening if you tie them to your alarm, but Google wants to fix that. It's delivering a promised Gentle Sleep & Wake feature for Home speakers that gradually dims or brightens your Philips Hue lights to provide a more natural rest. Say the right command (such as "turn on Gentle Wake Up," "wake up my lights" or "sleep my lights") and the lights will change over the course of half an hour. You can set specific times if you intend to use it as part of your daily routine. The feature won't be widely available, at least not for a while.


Ubisoft is donating $564,000 to help rebuild Notre-Dame

Engadget

Following the fire that devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris this week, Ubisoft has pledged €500,000 ($564,000) to help restore the iconic church. The studio, which faithfully recreated Notre-Dame in Assassin's Creed Unity, is also offering that game for free until April 25th on PC to honor the landmark. "We want to give everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre-Dame the best way we know how," Ubisoft, which is headquartered in France and has studios in Paris, said. In solidarity with everyone moved by Monday's events we're donating to the restoration of Notre-Dame & giving you the chance to play @AssassinsCreed Unity on Uplay for free. Such is the level of accuracy and detail that Ubisoft put into its version of the cathedral, some have suggested the studio's efforts on Unity could help with the reconstruction more directly, though the developer is not involved as things stand.


Facebook is working on a voice AI rival to Siri and Alexa

Engadget

Facebook might introduce its own voice assistant à la Siri and Alexa in the future. According to CNBC, the social network's augmented and virtual reality team led by Ira Snyder has been developing a voice AI since 2018. The team has even started contacting smart speaker vendors, presumably to forge partnerships that would lead to devices powered by the new assistant. Based on what a spokesperson told Reuters, though, Facebook is mainly developing the assistant for its Oculus headsets, its Portal smart display and future AR/VR devices. "We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products."