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5 things to expect from a revamped Google Home smart speaker


After a four-year run, the original Google Home has finally shuffled out of Google's smart speaker lineup, and now comes word that a successor is likely on the way. What are we likely to see in a revamped Google Home, or whatever Google ends up calling it? We already have some ideas. The Google Home smart speaker, which made its debut back in 2016, has been listed as "not available" on the Google store for weeks, and a Google rep recently confirmed to TechHive that the original Google smart speaker has indeed been discontinued. If you still want to snag a Google Home, you can grab one on Best Buy for $30Remove non-product link, a steep discount considering its original $129 price tag.

Don't click on the traffic lights: upstart competitor challenges Google's anti-bot tool

The Guardian

The days of clicking on traffic lights to prove you are not a robot could be ending after Google's decision to charge for the tool prompted one of the web's biggest infrastructure firms to ditch it for a competitor. "Captcha" – an awkward acronym for "completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart" – is used by sites to fight automated abuses of their services. For years, Google's version of the test, branded reCaptcha, has dominated, after it acquired the company that developed it in 2009 and offered the technology for free worldwide. Google's introduction of charges for the service has prompted Cloudflare, a little-known firm that protects around 12% of the internet from bot attacks, to seek an alternative. The company's founder and chief executive, Matthew Prince, said: "It would have added millions of dollars in annual costs just to continue to use reCaptcha for our free users. That was finally enough of an impetus for us to look for a better alternative."

Saudi Arabia denies hacking Jeff Bezos' phone

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was reportedly hacked, but by whom? An investigation conducted by FTI Consulting revealed that the tech tycoon was probably hacked in 2018 after receiving a malicious WhatsApp message, The Financial Times reported. A digital forensic analysis found it "highly probable" that the number that texted Bezos originated from a chat account linked to Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, FT reported. Tuesday, Saudi Arabia denied it was responsible for the cyberattack and called for a formal government investigation. "Recent media reports that suggest the Kingdom is behind a hacking of Mr. Jeff Bezos' phone are absurd. We call for an investigation on these claims so that we can have all the facts out," the Saudi Embassy in Washington tweeted.

Face forward: Smile, please! Companies are monetising


How smart can technology be? Apparently, as smart as you make it to be. One of the first algorithms with which Google started marketing products and displaying advertisements was based on search results. You'd search for an air ticket, logged in to your Google account, and Google would throw up ads for air tickets. You want to buy an air conditioner; Google knows.

PRINCE: Provider-side Interpretability with Counterfactual Explanations in Recommender Systems Artificial Intelligence

Interpretable explanations for recommender systems and other machine learning models are crucial to gain user trust. Prior works that have focused on paths connecting users and items in a heterogeneous network have several limitations, such as discovering relationships rather than true explanations, or disregarding other users' privacy. In this work, we take a fresh perspective, and present PRINCE: a provider-side mechanism to produce tangible explanations for end-users, where an explanation is defined to be a set of minimal actions performed by the user that, if removed, changes the recommendation to a different item. Given a recommendation, PRINCE uses a polynomial-time optimal algorithm for finding this minimal set of a user's actions from an exponential search space, based on random walks over dynamic graphs. Experiments on two real-world datasets show that PRINCE provides more compact explanations than intuitive baselines, and insights from a crowdsourced user-study demonstrate the viability of such action-based explanations. We thus posit that PRINCE produces scrutable, actionable, and concise explanations, owing to its use of counterfactual evidence, a user's own actions, and minimal sets, respectively.

Uber chief tries to backpedal after calling Khashoggi murder 'a mistake'

The Guardian

Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive of Uber, has attempted to limit the damage after calling the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi "a mistake" similar to a fatal accident that occurred during tests of his company's self-driving car. Khashoggi, a Saudi national resident in the US, and a severe critic of the Saudi regime who wrote for the Washington Post, was murdered in Istanbul last year after visiting the Saudi Arabian consulate there. His body was dismembered and disposed of. His death has been described by Agnès Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, as a "deliberate, premeditated execution" that warrants further investigation into the responsibility of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The prince is a key US ally close to Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law and chief adviser.

Infographic: The Video Game Adaptations with Most Box Office Success


Video games have come a long way from clunky 2D optics and shrill sound effects. This Thursday marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the first edition of the video game Prince of Persia, which embodied the low-tech characteristics of the early days of the genre like few others. But the games sector has not only evolved in terms of visuals and player experience. Gaming has found its way into mainstream culture. Its characters now grip the imagination of a large and increasingly mature audience – so much that Hollywood had to get on board too.

AI Can Create Art, but Can It Own Copyright in It, or Infringe?


A 17-year-old bet his high school programming club that artificial intelligence (AI) could outperform human beings. To prove it, Robbie Barrat developed a program that could write its own rap lyrics using 6,000 Kayne West lyrics.1 He is not the only one creating art using AI. Major news organizations like The Washington Post are integrating AI into their business models.2 In addition, a painting created by Obvious using AI was recently auctioned off by Christie's for almost a half of a million dollars.3

Will a cabinet reshuffle fix Saudi Arabia's economic malaise?

Al Jazeera

When he emerged on the political scene in 2015, 33-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, known by his initials MBS, was given a rock star's welcome by US politicians and Silicon Valley executives. Saudi Arabia's young crown prince had a vision for the kingdom: He planned to diversify the economy, improve public services, such as healthcare and education, and drastically reduce dependence on oil. But nearly two years on, the world's youngest defence minister and de-facto ruler of one of its last absolute monarchies, has failed to keep pace with most of his proposed reforms. On Thursday, his ageing father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 83, reasserted his power as the kingdom struggles with its worst diplomatic crisis since the September 11, 2001 attacks. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who has repeatedly defended the monarchy following the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, was demoted to the position of minister of state for foreign affairs.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai admits 'we didn't live up to expectations'

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Google employees across the globe took part in a mass walkout in protest over the company's protection of Android mobile software creator, Andy Rubin (pictured in New York in June), who has been accused of sexual assault allegations Google's CEO has admitted'we didn't always do it right', but insists sexual harassment is a societal problem after the tech giant paid out $90m to a sex-pest executive. Thousands of employees took part in a mass walkout, dubbed the'Walkout For Real Change,' one week after Android software creator Andy Rubin was accused of coercing a woman into performing oral sex on him in a hotel in 2013, reported by the New York Times. Google CEO Sundar Pichai took to the stage yesterday, 'It's been a difficult time here,' he told the New York Times DealBook conference. 'There's been anger and frustration within the company. At Google, we set a very high bar, and we clearly didn't live up to our expectations.'