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Apple releases iPhone update to patch 'Unc0ver' zero-day hack

The Independent - Tech

Apple has released a new version of its operating system, iOS 13.5.1, in order to provide "important security updates [that are] recommended for all users." It means Apple has patched the infamous "Unc0ver" jailbreak which allowed even the most recent iPhones to be compromised. Apple's security page states that the update was pushed out in order to stop software from "execut[ing] arbitrary code with kernel privileges" – which is how jailbreaking works. To "jailbreak" an iPhone means to remove the usual restrictions imposed by Apple, allowing users more control such as loading apps that are not available in Apple's App Store at the risk of lower device security. It was discovered that the Unc0ver jailbreak has been circulating on the internet since at least February, with some speculating that hackers and researchers had the code since December 2019.


Electric Elves: Agent Technology for Supporting Human Organizations

AI Magazine

The operation of a human organization requires dozens of everyday tasks to ensure coherence in organizational activities, monitor the status of such activities, gather information relevant to the organization, keep everyone in the organization informed, and so on. Teams of software agents can aid humans in accomplishing these tasks, facilitating the organization's coherent functioning and rapid response to crises and reducing the burden on humans. Based on this vision, this article reports on ELECTRIC ELVES, a system that has been operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at our research institute since 1 June 2000. Tied to individual user workstations, fax machines, voice, and mobile devices such as cell phones and palm pilots, ELECTRIC ELVES has assisted us in routine tasks, such as rescheduling meetings, selecting presenters for research meetings, tracking people's locations, organizing lunch meetings, and so on. We discuss the underlying AI technologies that led to the success of ELECTRIC ELVES, including technologies devoted to agent-human interactions, agent coordination, the accessing of multiple heterogeneous information sources, dynamic assignment of organizational tasks, and the deriving of information about organization members.


Learning Compact Visual Descriptors for Low Bit Rate Mobile Landmark Search

AI Magazine

Coming with the ever growing computational power of mobile devices, mobile visual search have undergone an evolution in techniques and applications. A significant trend is low bit rate visual search, where compact visual descriptors are extracted directly over a mobile and delivered as queries rather than raw images to reduce the query transmission latency. In this article, we introduce our work on low bit rate mobile landmark search, in which a compact yet discriminative landmark image descriptor is extracted by using location context such as GPS, crowd-sourced hotspot WLAN, and cell tower locations. The compactness originates from the bag-of-words image representation, with an offline learning from geotagged photos from online photo sharing websites including Flickr and Panoramio. The learning process involves segmenting the landmark photo collection by discrete geographical regions using Gaussian mixture model, and then boosting a ranking sensitive vocabulary within each region, with an "entropy" based descriptor compactness feedback to refine both phases iteratively.


How Documentary Theater Goes From Interviews to Final Production

Slate

This week, host Isaac Butler talks to documentary theater makers Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, whose plays include The Exonerated, about the criminal justice system, and Coal Country, about the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia. Blank and Jensen explain how documentary theater works, from interviews with subjects to the final product, where actors perform interview excerpts verbatim. After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas discuss why documentary theater is such a great way to communicate important information to an audience. Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com.


From Street Fighter to Sonic the Hedgehog: 10 of the best retro games

The Guardian

In difficult times, nostalgia can be a balm, and sometimes you want your games to be totally uncomplicated. Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, the original iteration of Pac-Man still rules. It is a simple game – gobble the dots, avoid the ghosts – but the genius is in the details: did you know that each ghost behaves slightly differently according to their personality? A landmark game for storytelling with big swords and bigger hair, Final Fantasy VII might look a bit rough these days but the tale it tells is still rich and absorbing. There is a fancy, beautiful-looking remake available now, but the original version is much cheaper, still pretty great, and hits that 90s nostalgia spot.


Three Priorities for Businesses Looking to Attract Connected Customers

#artificialintelligence

Customer expectations are constantly changing in the business landscape due to digitization. Before, a website or a mere digital presence was enough to separate you from your nearest competitor. But today, businesses have to continuously innovate and ensure they are providing new, exciting digital experiences– or risk being left behind. Case in point, an HBR report cites the number one reason more than half (52 percent) of the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000 is their failure to achieve digital change. Though a relatively new term, the Connected Customer describes those customers that interact with brands through digital channels such as websites, apps or Alexa skills.


Apple can solve our Face ID mask woes by stealing one of Android's best features

PCWorld

If you own an iPhone X or later and have gone out into the world recently, you probably noticed an unfortunate side effect of the new mask-wearing culture: Face ID doesn't work. It is more of a feature than a bug, but the fact of the matter is that if Apple's True Depth camera system can't scan your whole face, it won't unlock your phone. If you're wearing a mask like most stores and restaurants require, you're left typing in your passcode whenever you want to check your shopping list or pay your bill. Apple offered up a workaround with the recent iOS 13.5 update, but it's hardly a fix. Now, instead of waiting for Face ID to fail a couple times before the passcode screen pops up, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to quickly enter your code.


Coronavirus: Isolation and Aspiration

Slate

Why has Japan been less affected by the global pandemic than the United States? One theory suggests that the Japanese language has weakly aspirated consonants compared with English. Which might mean that Japanese people are less likely to "spray" while speaking and therefore less likely to transmit the virus. John looks at the linguistic evidence.


Sony image sensors with AI unveiled

#artificialintelligence

Sony has announced two new image sensors -- the IMX500 and IMX501 -- that stack a traditional sensor on top of an AI-powered chip designed to process video and images. On paper, the idea isn't all that new, and companies like Apple and Google have been doing it with their smartphones for years. From dimly lit restaurants to moonlit beaches, the new Night mode uses intelligent software and A13 Bionic to deliver low‑light shots never before possible on iPhone. And it all happens automatically. You can also experiment with manual controls to dial in even more detail and less noise.


The Morning After: Texas Instruments makes it harder to cheat on its calculators

Engadget

Graphing calculators have clung on to school lives despite us all carrying around smartphones that are several magnitudes more powerful. In a bid to reduce cheating in exam settings, Texas Instruments is pulling support for assembly- and C-based programs. If you install the latest firmware update, those kinds of programs won't work, and you won't be able to roll-back the device. While this could please teachers worried that students will use apps on their calculator to cheat during exams, enthusiasts are, unsurprisingly, mad. It reduces the control programmers have over their calculator apps.