BBC News


Siri storm caused by economist's comments

BBC News

Nobel prize laureate Sir Christopher Pissarides's comments at a conference in Norway attracted fierce criticism. The gender and accent of Apple's voice assistant across iPhone, iPad, Mac and other Apple devices has historically been dependent on regional settings. "The comments made do reflect consistent results that people make social judgements about computer speech outputs, and those seem to relate to gender stereotypes that exist in the wider world," Dr Kate Hone, a computer science academic at Brunel University, told the BBC. Out of the 15 male and 17 female participants interviewed, the participants mainly preferred male voices because they found the voices to be more reassuring.


Petrol stations to go electric

BBC News

The measure forms part of a government push to increase the number of electric vehicles on UK roads. The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill also contains plans to push driverless car technology. But, he added: "Legislation enabling driverless cars doesn't mean that there will be a universal buy-in overnight. Official government research suggests that the market for automated vehicles in the UK will be worth £28bn by 2035.


Card game bridge 'should be exempt from VAT'

BBC News

The card game bridge is a sport and should be exempt from VAT, according to an opinion by the top adviser to the European Court of Justice. In an ongoing case brought by the English Bridge Union, advocate-general Yves Bot said it was a sport because it required mental effort as part of a challenge. HM Revenue and Customs had refused to reimburse the English Bridge Union for VAT payments on entry fees to tournaments. EU law requires proof of benefits to physical or mental well-being for a sport to claim VAT exemption.


Trump foreign payments: Democrats in Congress file lawsuit

BBC News

Nearly 200 Democrats in the US Congress have joined forces to file a legal case against President Donald Trump over receipt of payments from foreign governments via his businesses. The plaintiffs accuse Mr Trump of violating the Constitution's emoluments clause, prohibiting receipt of gifts without congressional approval. State officials and private businesses are suing Mr Trump in similar cases. Mr Trump's worldwide organisation includes more than 500 business entities, including hotels, golf courses and apartment buildings, many of which have done business with foreign governments.


The Papers: May backs Gove, Boris backs May

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The Daily Express and the Sun both focus on Boris Johnson's declaration of loyalty to Mrs May and his attempt to rally support for the prime minister - or, as the Sun's headline puts it: "Bojo - binning May is a no-no." The Guardian reports that Donald Trump's state visit to Britain is "on hold" after he told Mrs May that he didn't want to face large public protests. Google's artificial intelligence creation, Deep Mind, has beaten board game champions, mastered poker and taught itself to get around the London Underground. The Times reports that while Deep Mind can accurately recognise objects in photographs, it struggles when confronted with videos of activities such as slapping, falling on one's face or eating donuts - a particular passion of Homer's.


News Daily: The UK decides

BBC News

The weather forecast for Thursday is mixed, with some rain expected in south-west England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and other areas remaining largely cloudy and dry. All the victims have now been named and 29 people remain in hospital, 10 of them in a critical condition. Former FBI director James Comey is set to tell Congress the president asked him to drop an inquiry into fired National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. According to his opening statement, Mr Comey - whom Mr Trump fired in May - will also say Mr Trump wanted a "patronage relationship" and asked for his "loyalty".



Faces recreated from monkey brain signals

BBC News

Scientists in the US have accurately reconstructed images of human faces by monitoring the responses of monkey brain cells. The researchers showed pictures of human faces to macaques and then recorded patterns of brain activity. Then they inserted electrodes into the brains of macaque monkeys so that they could record individual signals from single face cells within the face patches. Professor Reza Zadeh, who researches machine learning - among other areas - at Stanford University in California, told BBC News: "This study is exciting because the authors demonstrate reconstructing faces seen by primates through only recording neuronal activity with fMRI.


Hay Festival 2017: Stephen Fry's warning for the web

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Fry criticised the "technophobes", including politicians, who he said had been too slow to react to developments like artificial intelligence. Fry was delivering one of the Festival's Reformations lectures - one of a series of special lectures inspired by the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Protestant reformation. "Whether it will alter the behaviour, cognition and identity of the individual in the same way that it is certain to alter the behaviour, cognition and identity of the group, is a hard question to answer. This year's 30th anniversary festival has 800 events and its line-up includes Graham Norton and US politician Bernie Sanders.


General election 2017: Workers' rights v robo jobs - a quandary for all campaigns

BBC News

What are the parties vying for power in the general election saying on the subject? Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) - a field of computer science in which machines are taught to carry out tasks that require human traits of thought or intelligence - have led some to predict a knock-on catastrophe for jobs. Up to 46% of jobs in Scotland could be at risk within the next decade, the Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland recently claimed. This time around machines are coming for our cognitive jobs," said Mr Chace.