Friday Five for August 4th, 2017

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 at 9:54

Did Facebook Shut Down an AI Experiment Because Chatbots Developed Their Own Language?


Facebook's artificial intelligence scientists were purportedly dismayed when the bots they created began conversing in their own private language.

It is probably not a coincidence that two of the top-trending news stories of July 2017 were, in the first case, a warning from billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk that artificial intelligence (AI) poses an "existential threat" to human civilization, and, in the second case, the announcement that an AI experiment sponsored by Facebook was, according to some sources, "shut down" after researchers discovered that the chatbots they programmed had begun communicating with one another in a private language of their own invention. 


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Snopes says...


IBM Scientists Have Captured 330TB of Uncompressed Data Into a Tiny Cartridge


In a new world record, scientists at IBM have captured 330 terabytes of uncompressed data -- or the equivalent of 330 million books -- into a cartridge that can fit into the palm of your hand. The record of 201 gigabits per square inch on prototype sputtered magnetic tape is more than 20 times the areal density currently used in commercial tape drives. Areal recording density is the amount of information that can be stored on a given surface.


Tape drives were invented over 60 years ago and were traditionally used for archiving tax documents and health care records. IBM's first tape unit used reels of half-inch-wide tape that could only hold about 2 megabytes.


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Back to tape drives?


Aboriginal Man's Story of Maralinga Nuclear Bomb Survival Told with Virtual Reality


In an unlikely collision of cultures, state-of-the-art 3D film technology is bringing an Aboriginal man's unique tale of nuclear bomb survival to audiences across Australia.


In the 1950s Nyarri Morgan was a young man, walking and hunting in South Australia's northern deserts. His dramatic first contact with whites came when he witnessed a nuclear bomb explosion at the British testing site at Maralinga.


Now, as an old man, and with the help of director Lynette Wallworth and some technology, he is sharing his story in a film called Collisions that is screening in selected venues around Australia.


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Quite the introduction.


Hackers Breach Dozens of Voting Machines Brought to Conference


One of the nation's largest cybersecurity conferences is inviting attendees to get hands-on experience hacking a slew of voting machines, demonstrating to researchers how easy the process can be.


The DEF CON cybersecurity conference is held annually in Las Vegas. This year, for the first time, the conference is hosting a "Voting Machine Village," where attendees can try to hack a number of systems and help catch vulnerabilities.


The conference acquired 30 machines for hackers to toy with. Every voting machine in the village was hacked.


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Disappointing, but not all that surprising.


100x Faster, 10x Cheaper: 3D Metal Printing is About to Go Mainstream


We've been hearing for years now about 3D printing and how it's going to revolutionize manufacturing. As yet, though, it's still on the periphery. [Your Friday Five editor disagrees.]


Plenty of design studios and even home users run desktop printers, but the only affordable printing materials are cheap ABS plastics [not true!!]. And at the other end of the market, while organizations like NASA and Boeing are getting valuable use out of laser-melted metal printing, it's a very slow and expensive process that doesn't seem to scale well.


But a very exciting company out of Massachusetts, headed by some of the guys who came up with the idea of additive manufacturing in the first place, believes it's got the technology and the machinery to boost 3D printing into the big time, for real.


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I'll believe it when I see it!!