It's decided: Facebook will be fined a whopping $5bn over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The consumer protection agency in the US, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began investigating Facebook in March of 2018 following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.
As it turns out, the political consultancy firm was able to improperly obtain the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.
The investigation focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement under which it was required to clearly notify users and gain "express consent" to share their data.
In a 3-2 vote, the record $5bn settlement was approved by the FTC. The fine still needs to be finalised by the Justice Department's civil division, and it is unclear how long this may take.
If confirmed, it would be the largest fine ever levied by the FTC on a tech company.
Facebook had been expecting this. It told investors back in April that it had put aside most of the money, which means the firm won't feel much added financial strain from this penalty.
What we don't yet know is what additional measures may be placed on the company, such as increased privacy oversight, or if there will be any personal repercussions for the company's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.
The settlement, which amounts to around one quarter of the company's yearly profit, will reignite criticism from those who say the fine isn't much more than a slap on the wrist.
Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash
The fully-interactive Doctor Who VR game ‘The Edge Of Time’ is arriving in September.
The Doctor has been hurled through time to the end of the universe. A virus that threatens to rip apart reality itself has been unleashed. Players can pilot the TARDIS on a journey across worlds both familiar and strange to recover a series of powerful time crystals that can repair spacetime and ultimately save the universe itself.
Following the recent reveal of the animated VR experience Doctor Who: The Runaway, a new cinematic, feature-length Doctor Who VR videogame is coming this September.
Published by PlayStack and developed by Maze Theory, Doctor Who: The Edge Of Time will transport fans into a globally-beloved world of aliens, mystery and wonder, letting them embark on a brand-new and fully-interactive adventure, inspired by the show’s 55-year history and starring the Doctor’s current incarnation, played by Jodie Whittaker.
Armed with the iconic Sonic Screwdriver, players will solve mind-bending puzzles, grapple with classic monsters and encounter new horizons in a quest to find the Doctor and defeat a powerful force that threatens to destroy the fabric of reality. They will face the infamous Daleks and other known faces from the Doctor’s universe plus some brand new never-before-seen monsters as they travel through stunning cinematic environments that truly bring the show to life!
Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson
An artificial intelligence system created by researchers at the University of California has solved the Rubik's Cube in just over a second.
DeepCubeA, as the algorithm was called, completed the 3D logic puzzle which has been taxing humans since it was invented in 1974.
Prof Pierre Baldi, who authored the report in Nature Machine Intelligence said, "It learned on its own." The researchers noted that its strategy was very different from the way humans tackle the puzzle.
Prof Baldi says, "My best guess is that the AI's form of reasoning is completely different from a human's."
The computer algorithm is not the first or the fastest non-human to solve the puzzle. That honour goes to a system devised at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, dubbed the min2phase algorithm, which solved the puzzle three times faster.
But that system did not use a neural network - which mimics how the human brain works - or machine learning techniques. By contrast, it was programmed specifically to solve the puzzle.
Creating a system that teaches itself to complete the challenge is seen as the first step towards creating an AI that can move beyond games to solve real-world problems.
Prof Baldi says, "The solution to the Rubik's Cube involves symbolic, mathematical and abstract thinking, so a deep learning machine that can crack such a puzzle is getting closer to becoming a system that can think, reason, plan and make decisions."
Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson
Intel has unveiled its new AI system, Pohoiki Beach. It's a neuromorphic computer capable of simulating 8 million neurons.
Neuromorphic engineering, also known as neuromorphic computing, describes the use of systems containing electronic analog circuits to mimic neuro-biological architectures present in the nervous system.
The goal of neuromorphic research is to achieve a supercomputer a thousand times more powerful than any today.
During the DARPA Electronics Resurgence Initiative summit in Detroit on Monday, Intel unveiled a 64-chip computer capable of simulating 8 million neurons in total. Intel Labs managing director Rich Uhlig said Pohoiki Beach will be made available to 60 research partners to “advance the field” and scale up AI algorithms like spare coding and path planning.
Pohoiki Beach packs 64 Loihi 128-core, 14-nanometer neuromorphic chips, which were first detailed in October 2017. Each Loihi processor has a 60-millimeter die size and contain over 2 billion transistors, 130,000 artificial neurons, and 130 million synapses, in addition to three managing Lakemont cores for task orchestration.
According to Intel, Loihi processes information up to 1,000 times faster and 10,000 more efficiently than traditional processors, and it can solve certain types of optimization problems with more than three orders of magnitude gains in speed and energy efficiency as compared to conventional CPU operations. The chip consumes roughly 100 times less energy than widely used CPU-run simultaneous location and mapping methods.
Intel says that later this year it will introduce an even larger Loihi system — Pohoki Springs — that will deliver an “unprecedented” level of performance and efficiency for neuromorphic workloads with upwards of 100 million neurons.
Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson