Video game adaptations have a long history of being, well … mostly completely terrible, thanks largely to the vapid efforts of one Uwe Boll. And even the most ardent Angelina Jolie fan would presumably admit that the Tomb Raider movies were hardly the Oscar-winner's finest hour. So why would Alicia Vikander, Hollywood It girl and current art house dahling, sign up to star as Lara Croft in a reboot of the action-adventure series? Were there no Marvel superhero parts available? Critics have reacted with predictable sniffiness to Norwegian director Roar Uthaug's debut Hollywood outing, with the movie rated just 50% on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Friends of the first known pedestrian to be killed by a self-driving car have called for Uber to be held accountable as questions mount about how the autonomous technology failed to stop the vehicle from hitting a human in its path. Two days after an Uber SUV fatally struck the 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, while traveling in autonomous mode, friends of the victim have argued that the ride-share company should face consequences and criticized government officials for encouraging car companies to test the vehicles on the state's public roads. "This shouldn't have ever happened," said Carole Kimmerle, a Mesa resident who said she had been friends with Herzberg for more than 10 years and had previously lived with her. "I think this should be a negligent homicide … and the government should also be held accountable." Herzberg's loved ones said they were still in shock on Tuesday after police announced that the Uber car, an SUV Volvo, was driving roughly 40 miles per hour on its own and did not appear to slow down when it collided with the victim, who was walking her bicycle in front of the car at 10pm on Sunday.
Britain is pushing ahead with tests of self-driving cars on public roads despite mounting public concern over safety after a pedestrian was killed by one in the US. The country's biggest carmaker, Jaguar Land Rover, has been experimenting with autonomous cars on roads in the Midlands and is set to demonstrate more of the cars' features, including emergency braking assistance, on urban streets this week. Government-backed trials using small autonomous vehicles in south London are due to end on Friday, with organisers reporting widespread public unease about the implications for road safety and cybersecurity. A self-driving Uber car killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday night – the first time a self-driving vehicle has killed someone that was not its occupant. Elaine Herzberg, 49, was wheeling her bicycle when she was struck by the Volvo, and later died of her injuries in hospital.
Hundreds of millions of Facebook users are likely to have had their private information harvested by companies that exploited the same terms as the firm that collected data and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica, according to a new whistleblower. Sandy Parakilas, the platform operations manager at Facebook responsible for policing data breaches by third-party software developers between 2011 and 2012, told the Guardian he warned senior executives at the company that its lax approach to data protection risked a major breach. "My concerns were that all of the data that left Facebook servers to developers could not be monitored by Facebook, so we had no idea what developers were doing with the data," he said. Parakilas said Facebook had terms of service and settings that "people didn't read or understand" and the company did not use its enforcement mechanisms, including audits of external developers, to ensure data was not being misused. Parakilas, whose job it was to investigate data breaches by developers similar to the one later suspected of Global Science Research, which harvested tens of millions of Facebook profiles and provided the data to Cambridge Analytica, said the slew of recent disclosures had left him disappointed with his superiors for not heeding his warnings.
An autonomous Uber car killed a woman in the street in Arizona, police said, in what appears to be the first reported fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in the US. Tempe police said the self-driving car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash and that the vehicle hit a woman, who was walking outside of the crosswalk and later died at a hospital. There was a vehicle operator inside the car at the time of the crash. Uber said in a statement on Twitter: "Our hearts go out to the victim's family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident."
Downing Street expressed its concern for the Facebook data breach that affected tens of millions of people involving the analytics company that worked with Donald Trump's campaign team. No 10 weighed in on the row as almost $20bn (£14bn) was wiped off the social network company's market cap in the first few minutes of trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange, where Facebook opened down more than 3%. After less than two hours trading, the company's losses had multiplied to almost $30bn. Theresa May's spokesman said she backed an investigation by the information commissioner, which was prompted by a whistleblower who told the Observer how Cambridge Analytica harvested millions of Facebook profiles to influence voters through "psychographic" targeting. The European parliament president, Antonio Tajani, also said on Monday that the institution would "investigate fully".
Having once been an early adopter of tech, I was an unlikely early rejector. But it has now been over a year since I have phoned my family or friends, logged on to antisocial media, sent a text message, checked email, browsed online, took a photograph or listened to electronic music. Living and working on a smallholding without electricity, fossil fuels or running water, the last year has taught me much about the natural world, society, the state of our shared culture, and what it means to be human in a time when the boundaries between man and machine are blurring. My reasons for unplugging, during that time, haven't so much changed as shifted in importance. My primary motives were – and still are – ecological.
I found Moya Sarner's article on digital addiction and her story of Lady Geek's reverse ferret from digital guru to prophet of doom absorbing, timely, and somehow familiar (Is it time to fight the digital dictators?, 15 March). She also quotes Professor Mark Griffiths, director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University as having invented the term "technological addiction" in 1995. In 1971 I started a degree in maths, electronics and physics at Chelsea College, University of London which involved a certain amount of programming on the college's Elliott 803 mainframe. I remember clearly our lecturer warning us very sternly about the dangers of getting over-involved in programming, quoting the case of an earlier student who had spent so many nights in the computer room, addicted to getting his programs just-so, that he neglected all his other studies and eventually failed to make progress in anything. Remember that this was back in the days when our programs were written in Fortran on decks of hand-punched 80-column cards.
Spotify is experimenting with a voice-control interface, looking to free itself from reliance on Siri and Alexa and pave the way for the company's forthcoming smart speaker. Users of the service have spotted the new feature hiding in the search bar of Spotify's iOS app. After tapping the magnifying glass to search for a track or playlist, testers see a microphone icon inside a white bubble, according to the Verge. After users tap on the icon, Spotify suggests a number of typical requests for a voice-controlled music system: "Show Calvin Harris", "Play my Discover Weekly" and "Play some upbeat pop", for instance. The move comes as Spotify ramps up its efforts to build a smart speaker to challenge Apple, Amazon and Google in the hardware field, all of which have their own music services.
A US startup is promising to upload customers' brains to the cloud using a pioneering technique it has trialled on rabbits. The process is "100% fatal". Nectome, founded in 2016 by a pair of MIT AI researchers, hopes to offer a commercial application of a novel process for preserving brains, called "aldehyde-stabilised cryopreservation". Influential startup accelerator Y Combinator has taken Nectome in, with the organisation's chief executive, Sam Altman, becoming one of the 25 people to pay a $10,000 deposit to join its waiting list. "I assume my brain will be uploaded to the cloud," Altman told MIT Technology Review.