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Computer chess: how the ancient game revolutionised AI

The Guardian

Tue 19 May 2020 06.14 EDT Last modified on Tue 19 May 2020 06.16 EDT When legendary chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov found himself beaten by IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer, it was seen as a seminal moment in the evolution of artificial intelligence. A road trodden by war heroes and student researchers alike, whose singular desire to create a program that could beat the very best in the world would shape an entire science. Early origins Chess lends itself well to computer programming. Where other games can depend more on gut instinct or physical skill, chess is a game of strict binary rules – a move is either correct or it isn't. It's a game where multiple permutations, strategies and responses to moves and gambits could all be pre-programmed.


Japan enacts high-tech 'super city' bill

The Japan Times

The Diet enacted a bill Wednesday to create "super cities" where artificial intelligence, big data and other technologies are utilized to resolve social problems. The bill revising the national strategic special zone law passed the House of Councilors by a majority vote with support mainly from the ruling coalition. The revision stipulates procedures to speed up the changing of regulations in various fields to facilitate the creating of such smart cities. The government hopes to utilize cutting-edge technologies to address issues such as depopulation and the aging of society. In such cities, data-linking platforms to collect and organize various kinds of data from administrative organizations and companies will be established for autonomous driving, cashless payments, telemedicine and other services.


Gamemakers Inject AI to Develop More Lifelike Characters

WIRED

A truly kick-ass videogame combines clever code, gorgeous graphics, and artful animation--plus thousands of hours of hard work. Researchers at Electronic Arts--the company behind FIFA, Madden, and other popular games--are testing recent advances in artificial intelligence as a way to speed the development process and make games more lifelike. And in a neat twist, the researchers are harnessing an AI technique that proved itself by playing some of the earliest console videogames. A team from EA and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver is using a technique called reinforcement learning, which is loosely inspired by the way animals learn in response to positive and negative feedback, to automatically animate humanoid characters. "The results are very, very promising," says Fabio Zinno, a senior software engineer at Electronic Arts.


The End of Handshakes--for Humans and for Robots

WIRED

Elenoide the android was made to shake your hand. She looks like a Madame Tussad's rendition of a prim fifth-grade teacher. She's dressed in a salmon cardigan with scalloped edges, a knee-length striped skirt, and a wig made of ashy blonde human hair. Her hands are warmed by heating pads hidden beneath the palms. During experiments, she wears white butler gloves.


Disney , Hulu, Prime Video on Echo and Google displays

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Upgrading from a smart speaker (like the Echo Dot) to a smart display (like the Echo Show) can be a game-changer. With a display, you can have recipes at your fingertips in the kitchen, a multi-functional digital photo frame in your living room, and easily enjoy a hands-free video chat from anywhere in the house. You can also quickly see information like the outside temperature and control your smart light switches and door locks from the touch screen. But smart displays are also great for watching your favorite shows while you work, whether you're cooking in the kitchen or putting away laundry in the bedroom. There's just one caveat: Different devices support different streaming platforms.


Miss Your Office? Some Companies Are Building Virtual Replicas

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

File-transfer service WeTransfer BV opened its virtual space on May 1, almost seven weeks after closing its physical offices in New York, Los Angeles and Amsterdam as part of the global effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Graphics reminiscent of early "Tomb Raider" videogames depict a version of the company's Dutch headquarters, adapted to include pool tables, techno music and in-jokes such as a "memorial" library named for the very- much-alive chief creative officer. Staff roam around in the form of avatars such as robots and panda bears. Gordon Willoughby, the chief executive of WeTransfer, said the platform helps provide the social experience of office life in the way that Zoom calls and Slack have replaced business meetings and desk-side chats. That is particularly valuable for recent hires, he said.


Tech Workers Fear Their Jobs Will Be Automated in Wake of Coronavirus

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

The results are based on a survey of 1,000 full-time and part-time workers across a range of industries, including 223 employed in the tech sector, the firm said. The survey was conducted in April. Technology workers' fears could be a harbinger for the broader labor market in the aftermath of the pandemic, as tech company trends often spread across the corporate world over time, said KPMG tech-industry practice leader Tim Zanni. "Workers in the tech industry are closer to the technology and thus have a unique understanding, more so than other industries, of technology and its capabilities," said Mr. Zanni. He said workers at technology firms see emerging digital capabilities in early stages of development and are more likely to be thinking of the impact of these tools on their jobs.



CMU Joins Roborace Autonomous Racing Championship

CMU School of Computer Science

A student team from Carnegie Mellon University is joining the upcoming season of Roborace, an international competition involving autonomous, electrically powered vehicles. CMU's Roborace team includes students and alumni from the Language Technologies Institute (LTI) and Robotics Institute, as well as the Information Networking Institute. It will be the first U.S. team to join Roborace and anticipates competing in a Roborace event later this year. "Having the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects such as this is what attracted me to Carnegie Mellon," said Jimmy Herman, an ex-NFL athlete now enrolled in the LTI's Master of Computational Data Science (MCDS) program. "We are pushing to innovate and create technology with impact potential beyond the racing domain," he added.


South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

Daily Mail - Science & tech

South Korea s top infectious disease expert says the country may need to reimpose social distancing restrictions it eased in April, with coronavirus transmissions creeping up in the populated Seoul metropolitan area and elsewhere in recent weeks. Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of South Korea s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a virus briefing on Wednesday, May 27, it s becoming increasingly difficult for health workers to track the spread of COVID-19, which has coincided with increased public activity amid warmer weather and eased attitudes on social distancing. South Korea reported 40 new cases on Wednesday, its biggest daily jump in nearly 50 days, as officials scrambled to trace hundreds of infections linked to nightspots, restaurants and a massive e-commerce warehouse near Seoul. 'We will do our best to trace contacts and implement preventive measures, but there s a limit to such efforts,' Jeong said. 'There s a need to maximise social distancing in areas where the virus is circulating, to force people to avoid public facilities and other crowded spaces.'