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em Monster Hunter Rise /em Is Infuriating, but I Love It

Slate

Both things can be true: I spent my first three hours playing Monster Hunter Rise screaming, "I hate this game!" at my Nintendo Switch screen. Since then, I have logged more hours in Rise than in any other game this year, and I've successfully convinced several friends to pick the game up as well. For some further context, I'd never played a Monster Hunter game before. I knew that the title did most of the explaining as to what the franchise is about--you hunt big monsters--but that was about it. Rise's debut marks the sixth main Monster Hunter game (the games have been popular enough to spawn several spinoffs, as well as a recent blockbuster adaptation starring Milla Jovovich), but that success has been a mixed blessing, as the series has become notorious for having a steep learning curve.


Tech in a no-touch world: How Covid changed and will keep changing life as we know it

#artificialintelligence

The Covid-19 pandemic did more than just pause the world. It took away a fundamental aspect of being human -- touch. No more greeting familiar faces at work, no everyday commute rituals, no get-togethers, and worse, it kept, and is keeping, us from holding our loved ones, our family. Fatefully, in this Covid-induced skin hungry world, the familiarity of contact is kept alive by digital technology. Even as Covid-19 threatens to put modern lifestyle on the fringes and individual cocoons, we're in times where touch and connectedness is seeing new meaning and function.


Researchers Rank These Artificial Intelligence Labs As The Best In World

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence is one of the most revolutionary technologies of our time, which is advancing as each day goes by. AI labs contribute to these advancements by housing scientists and researchers under one roof to study this disruptive technology for further developments. While there are quite a few AI labs across the globe, artificial intelligence researchers go perplexed when people ask them to rate the top labs in the world. And rightfully so, because they're all unique in the way they work. While every lab focuses on different domains of artificial intelligence, commercial AI labs like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, the U.S Big Tech, have set up dedicated AI labs too.


Apple unveils new iPad Pro that features facial recognition and cameras with LiDAR sensor

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Apple announced a new iPad Pro during its'Spring Loaded' event that is said to be the most powerful and advanced yet. The device is the first to include the tech giant's in-house M1 chip, providing the iPad Pro with similar performance of its iMac desktop computer. With the upgraded processor, Apple says the graphics performance is over 1,500 times faster and boasts a battery life of up to 10 hours. The iPad Pro features a new Liquid Retina XDR display, 5G capability and an all-new Ultra Wide front camera. The new iPad Pro is available as an 11-inch and 12.9-inch, and starts at $799 – orders open April 30 and shipping begins in the second half of May.


iOS 14.5 will roll out next week

Engadget

Seven months after iOS 14 was released, Apple has today revealed that iOS 14.5 will begin rolling out the week of April 26th. At its iPad event, the company declined to offer a specific date, but its press materials said that the new software would arrive "next week." Despite being a .5 release, this is a significant software update that adds a number of features for all iOS-device users. The list of changes includes a prompt to choose how Siri sounds, the ability to unlock FaceID-capable iPhones with an Apple Watch and some big changes to how the software handles your privacy online. We know, from the various beta launches that have happened along the way, that iOS 14.5 will offer users a way of unlocking their phone while wearing a face mask.


Microsoft adds personalized homepages to Bing on Android

Engadget

Like Google, Bing has long graduated from being a simple search engine. Yes, you can use it exclusively for searching the web, but it's also a place to read the news, learn about history and more. And on Android, Microsoft has updated the Bing Search app to better reflect that complexity (via Windows Central). The most notable new feature is the addition of a personalized homepage. Here you'll find shortcuts to topics you might search frequently such as the current weather forecast or what's nearby.


Apple Store is down ahead of the 'Spring Loaded' event this evening

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The Apple Store landing site is down in preparation for the firm's'Spring Loaded' product unveiling event this evening. The store's homepage features the Apple logo on a stark black background with the message'We'll be right back'. 'Updates are coming to the Apple Store,' it says. After the event, Apple Store should be back online with the new products available to order, which may include two new iPads, object-tracking devices called AirTags and even a new range of computers inspired by 1998's iMac G3. Apple usually takes the Apple Store down in preparation for any major product unveiling, although it's not expected to unveil any phones at tonight's event. Spring Loaded, which won't have an in-person audience due to the pandemic, will be live-streamed on YouTube from 18:00 BST (10:00 PDT).


New AI Tool Tracks Evolution of COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories on Social Media - ELE Times

#artificialintelligence

A new machine-learning program accurately identifies COVID-19-related conspiracy theories on social media and models how they evolved over time--a tool that could someday help public health officials combat misinformation online. A lot of machine-learning studies related to misinformation on social media focus on identifying different kinds of conspiracy theories. Instead, we wanted to create a more cohesive understanding of how misinformation changes as it spreads. Because people tend to believe the first message they encounter, public health officials could someday monitor which conspiracy theories are gaining traction on social media and craft factual public information campaigns to preempt widespread acceptance of falsehoods. The study, anonymized Twitter data to characterize four COVID-19 conspiracy theory themes and provide context for each through the first five months of the pandemic.


AI reveals how Bill Gates Covid conspiracy and other theories evolved online

The Independent - Tech

Scientists have developed a new machine learning tool that can identify Covid-19-related conspiracy theories on social media and predict how they evolved over time, an advance which may lead to better ways for public health officials to fight misinformation online. The study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, analysed anonymised Twitter data to characterise four Covid-19 conspiracy theory themes – such as one that erroneously claims the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation engineered or has malicious intent related to the pandemic. Using the AI tool's analysis of more than 1.8 million tweets that contained Covid-19 keywords, the scientists from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US categorised the posts as misinformation or not, and provided context for each of these conspiracy theories through the first five months of the pandemic. "From this body of data, we identified subsets that matched the four conspiracy theories using pattern filtering, and hand labeled several hundred tweets in each conspiracy theory category to construct training sets," explained Dax Gerts, a computer scientist and co-author of the study from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The four major themes examined in the study were that 5G cell towers spread the virus; that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation engineered or have "malicious intent" related to Covid-19; that the novel coronavirus was bioengineered or was developed in a laboratory; and that vaccines for Covid-19, which were still in development during the study period, would be dangerous.


Brilliant Smart Dimmer Switch review: A simple addition to a luxe smart home system

PCWorld

Four years after its introduction, the Brilliant platform remains an ambitious but niche product: You can replace light switches with video-enabled touchscreens, complete with a full Amazon Alexa hub, motion detection, and more. The $299 to $449 price per control panel--based on the number of integrated switches--has not budged since launch, making it one of the most expensive ways to outfit your home with smart tech. Interested in Brilliant but don't have five figures handy to kit out your entire home in touchscreens? Good news: Brilliant alleviates some of its platform's sticker shock with a dimmer switch that forgoes the touchscreen, replacing it with a simple touch slider that works just like the sliders on its multi-switch units. It sells for $70, which makes it a whole lot cheaper than a full control panel, but it's still quite a bit more expensive than smart dimmers based on other wireless technologies (Lutron Caséta, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Zigbee, et al).