Texting While Crossing Road Could Land You In Jail

lampitt

A New Jersey politician says people who text while walking should face up to 15 days in jail. Pamela Lampitt has proposed a bill making “distracted walking” an offense equivalent to jaywalking. The state bill “Establishes [the] motor vehicle offense of unlawful use of hand-held wireless telephone by pedestrians on roadways.” According to the Guardian, […]

Netflix Admits Slowing Mobile Connections For Some Users

netflix

Netflix has revealed that it has intentionally varied mobile streaming bitrates based on the user’s cellphone service provider. It’s now dropping the policy amid claims of hypocrisy. The revelation came in a blog post that¬†explained that its default bitrate for mobile viewing has been capped at a somewhat low-sounding 600 kilobits per second, something Netflix […]

Microsoft AI Bot Picks Up Bad Habits

tay

Yesterday Microsoft released a sweet, innocent chatbot designed to speak like a “millennial.” Today that chatbot is a corrupt foul-mouthed racist that has to be censored. The experiment and the outcome are perhaps a perfect example of how any attempt to give human elements to machines and software are undermined by the fact that some […]

Wii U’s Days May Be Numbered

wiiu

A Japanese newspaper claims Nintendo will drop production of the Wii U this year. Nintendo has responded with what may be a denial. The report in Nikkei appears to be based on getting word from component manufacturers that they’ve stopped producing some of the parts used in the console. The plan seems to be to […]

FBI-Apple Battle Takes Surprise Twist

iphonedestroy

The FBI says it may be able to unlock the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone without Apple’s help. It’s delayed a court case and could make for some awkward outcomes either way. In case you’ve missed it, there’s a great explanation of the technological issues behind the case at the Franklin Veaux blog. The short and […]

PS4 May Get 4K Upgrade

ps4

Sony is said to be working on an upgrade to the PS4 to support 4K resolution. It may work without the need to buy a whole new console. The report from Kotaku is based on conversations with unnamed developers who’ve received word from Sony. The main change would be an upgraded GPU that would be […]

US to Pay You (Up to $130,000) To Weaponize Everyday Tech

darpa

If you’ve got an idea for turning a household appliance into a weapon, it’s normally best to keep it to yourself. But now the US military might pay you a six-figure sum for the idea. Regular readers will no doubt have guessed the bounty comes from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is […]

PlayStation VR: $399 In October

playstationvr

Sony has confirmed the PlayStation VR will cost $399, considerably cheaper than high-profile rivals. However, the release date has slipped back to October, later than planned. The $399 price compares with $599 for the Oculus Rift and $799 for the HTC Vive. It will need a PS4 console whereas the other two will need a […]

Google’s Go Victim Says Humanity Not Beaten

go

Leading Go player Lee Sedol says that despite losing four games to one to a Google algorithm, humanity isn’t necessarily outmatched by computers when it comes to reasoning and tactics in the game. Lee believes his defeat may have been because of other human limitations, namely emotion and fatigue that affect concentration. He says it’s […]

Minecraft Becomes Artificial Intelligence Testbed

minecraft

Microsoft is to let researchers use Minecraft to test artificial intelligence technologies. It believes using the game offers a useful mix of realism and affordability. The open source program will initially involve researchers operating their software only on their own machines and in what’s effectively a walled garden within Minecraft. In the long run Microsoft […]

Government Cracks Down On ISP Data Sharing

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing much tighter rules on what broadband providers can do with customer data without consent. Thanks partly to regulatory quirks, the rules would mean the likes of Verizon and Comcast are much more restricted than sites such as Google and Facebook. The planned rules are an attempt to apply the […]

Ear Canal Could Be Next Biometric Key

neccanal

Forget the fingerprint: NEC believes the ear canal could be the secret to biometric identification. It says the system could improve security on confidential phone calls. The company isn’t the first to turn to the ear as a way of confirming identity. Last year Yahoo tested the idea of using phone touchscreens to capture an […]