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Why Horror Films Are More Popular Than Ever - Issue 95: Escape

Nautilus

Horror films were wildly popular on streaming platforms over the past year, and 2020 saw the horror genre take home its largest share of the box office in modern history.1 In a year where the world was stricken by real horrors, why were many people escaping to worlds full of fictional horrors? As odd as it may sound, the fact that people were more anxious in 2020 may be one reason why horror films were so popular. A look at typical horror fans may provide some clues about the nature of this peculiar phenomenon. For example, horror fans often mention their own anxiety and how horror helps them deal with it.


Retailers Say Skip Returns of Unwanted Items

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

Retailers have a new message for consumers looking to return an item: Keep it. Inc., Walmart Inc. and other companies are using artificial intelligence to decide whether it makes economic sense to process a return. For inexpensive items or large ones that would incur hefty shipping fees, it is often cheaper to refund the purchase price and let customers keep the products. The relatively new approach, popularized by Amazon and a few other chains, is being adopted more broadly during the Covid-19 pandemic, as a surge in online shopping forces companies to rethink how they handle returns. "We are getting so many inquiries about this that you will see it take off in coming months," said Amit Sharma, chief executive of Narvar Inc., which processes returns for retailers.


There Are No Real Rules for Repairing Satellites in Space--Yet

WIRED

The communications satellite Intelsat 901 had lived a useful life, having beamed signals back and forth from Earth since 2001. But by late 2019, it was starting to run out of fuel. Without an intervention, it would have to go live in a "graveyard orbit"--a region away from operational instruments. There, beyond the population of more lively satellites, Intelsat 901 would ellipse impotently around Earth, along with other satellites that were perhaps totally functional but running on empty. But luckily for this Intelsat, an intervention was on the horizon.


The robot kitchen that will make you dinner – and wash up too

The Guardian

Finally, the ultimate kitchen gadget you never knew you wanted is here – but it will cost you about the same as the average UK house. For those stumped as to what to buy the super-rich person in their lives this Christmas, how about a fully robotic kitchen that promises to whip up a choice of up to 5,000 recipes at the press of a button? A London-based robotics company on Sunday unveiled the world's first robot kitchen, which it promises "cooks from scratch and even cleans up afterwards without complaint". The Moley Kitchen robot, brainchild of Russian mathematician and computer scientist Mark Oleynik, promises to make restaurant standard meals without its owner having to lift a finger or order a takeaway. It's not cheap though: the robot costs a minimum of £248,000, roughly the same as the average UK house.


Amazon to grow total Australian fulfilment centre footprint to six by late 2021

ZDNet

Amazon Australia has announced plans to open a second fulfilment centre in Melbourne, Victoria late next year. With construction in Ravenhall, Melbourne already underway, the new centre, according to the global e-commerce giant, will more than double the company's footprint in Victoria. "Our investment in this new Melbourne fulfilment centre will benefit customers around Victoria, while creating hundreds of jobs for Melbournians in a safe work environment, with competitive pay at a time when they are needed most," Amazon Australia director of operations Craig Fuller said. "This fulfilment centre will also provide additional capacity for Victorian-based small and medium-sized businesses who utilise the Fulfilment By Amazon service to benefit from our expanded capability and seamlessly serve customers across the country." When completed, the new centre will be 37,000 square metres, with capacity to house up to six million items from its online store.


Country music fans are extroverts and blues lovers are emotionally stable, Spotify study shows

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The music you listen to can indicate your personality type, a study claims, with country fans more extroverted and blues lovers more emotionally stable. Spotify asked 5,808 volunteers to complete a personality test that rates them on openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and emotional stability. It then looked at their musical history and found that the songs people listened to could predict their personality type with'moderate to high accuracy'. For example, people who like Aretha Franklin and soul music generally tend to be more agreeable, and lovers of folk music are more likely to be open. Spotify was this week granted a patent for technology that uses personality types to'personalise user experience' by changing the tone of voice used in spoken messages delivered within the service.


What Can We Do to Improve Peer Review in NLP?

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Peer review is our best tool for judging the quality of conference submissions, but it is becoming increasingly spurious. We argue that a part of the problem is that the reviewers and area chairs face a poorly defined task forcing apples-to-oranges comparisons. There are several potential ways forward, but the key difficulty is creating the incentives and mechanisms for their consistent implementation in the NLP community.


Landscape of Machine Implemented Ethics

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Abstract: This paper surveys the state-of-the-art in machine ethics, that is, considerations of how to implement ethical behaviour in robots, unmanned autonomous vehicles, or software systems. The emphasis is on covering the breadth of ethical theories being considered by implementors, as well as the implementation techniques being used. There is no consensus on which ethical theory is best suited for any particular domain, nor is there any agreement on which technique is best placed to implement a particular theory. Another unresolved problem in these implementations of ethical theories is how to objectively validate the implementations. The paper discusses the dilemmas being used as validating'whetstones' and whether any alternative validation mechanism exists. Finally, it speculates that an intermediate step of creating domain-specific ethics might be a possible stepping stone towards creating machines that exhibit ethical behaviour. Computers are increasingly a part of the socio-technical systems around us. Domains such as smartgrids, cloud computing, healthcare, and transport are but some examples where computers are deeply embedded. The speed and complexity of decision-making in these domains have meant that humans are ceding more and more autonomy to these computers (Nallur & Clarke 2018). Autonomy, in machines, can be defined as the effective decision-making power over goals, that influences some action in the real-world. For instance, smart traffic lights can autonomically change their timings, depending on the flow and density of traffic on the roads.


Prioritization of IoT a Conundrum for Digital Manufacturing Technologies

#artificialintelligence

The competitive landscape in the manufacturing sector has changed dramatically in 2020. The commercial aerospace and automotive industries, for instance, have struggled with steep demand declines. But some manufacturers such as ventilator and disinfectant manufacturers, have seen business surge. Against that backdrop is the theme of digital transformation, which has transitioned from eventual necessity to immediate need for many manufacturers. Digital manufacturing technologies, including industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), promise to boost efficiency and agility while protecting workers.


Dystopic Population Control System Supported by China's AI Development Program

#artificialintelligence

Since its conception, people have worried that an artificial intelligence would turn against humanity and threaten our lives. While this may be a result to be feared several years in the future, right now the more pressing danger is AI used to oppress millions of people and facilitate the threat of a controlling regime. Homebound in the pandemic quarantine, my daughter and I have been rewatching Person of Interest on Netflix. In essence, the former network series is about a man who created a nearly omniscient artificial intelligence that watches everyone through networks of cameras, computers and smartphones. Each week, our team of heroes, assembled by the AI creator, tries to help a person whom the AI has identified as a likely soon-to-be murder victim.