When a person's intelligence is tested, there are exams. When artificial intelligence is tested, there are games. But what happens when computer programs beat humans at all of those games? This is the question AI experts must ask after a Google-developed program called AlphaGo defeated a world champion Go player in four out of five matches in a series that concluded Tuesday. Long a yardstick for advances in AI, the era of board game testing has come to an end, said Murray Campbell, an IBM research scientist who was part of the team that developed Deep Blue, the first computer program to beat a world chess champion.
When Microsoft showed off Minecraft for the Oculus Rift last fall, the experience was quite realistic--and so was the nausea. On Monday, Microsoft said it's begun shipping the VR version of Minecraft to everyone, complete with two important tweaks that should help reduce VR vertigo. Microsoft began shipping a free update to Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition Beta on Monday that added VR support for the Oculus Rift. It's actually the second VR-specific update Microsoft and developer Mojang have released for Minecraft, following the Minecraft for Gear VR edition the company released in May. "Simulator sickness," one of the names given to the sort of nausea that can accompany virtual reality software, depends on a number of factors, all of which boil down to convincing your brain that what you're seeing is actually "real," rather than an illusion that should be dispelled.
Minecraft--the popular world-building game--is now available in virtual reality. Minecraft: Gear VR Edition went on sale Wednesday in the Oculus Store, selling at 7 to download. The game includes all the features of Pocket Edition, including a "creative" mode that lets you build out a world, "survival" mode for fighting, and a multiplayer option. While available in the Oculus store, the game is meant to be played on the 100 Samsung Gear VR headset, which in turn requires the use of a Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6, or Galaxy S6 Edge. "Experiencing (Minecraft) in virtual reality changes it from an abstract activity to a visceral one," Oculus's John Carmack said in a blog post announcing the game.
Google cut power usage in its data centers by several percentage points earlier this year by trusting artificially intelligent software derived from 1980s-era Atari video games. And in the years to come, the Internet giant not only could save much more electricity, but also solve far larger problems by taking on a much more complex video game. Research scientists at Google's DeepMind unit announced Friday they are developing a computer program that reads data about Blizzard Entertainment's "StarCraft II" games and learns how to play on its own. The software would have to figure out how to split its attention between micromanagement and long-term strategic decisions. It's that maneuvering that could deliver big breakthroughs.
A newly discovered fake Pokemon Go game will actually lock your phone and then secretly run in the background, clicking on porn ads. Security firm ESET found it on Google Play and its called Pokemon Go Ultimate. Instead, it simply appears as an app called "PI Network." It will then go online, secretly clicking on porn ads to generate revenue for the app's developers.