Chess robot grabs and breaks finger of seven-year-old opponent

Last week, according to Russian media outlets, a chess-playing robot, apparently unsettled by the quick responses of a seven-year-old boy, unceremoniously grabbed and broke his finger during a match at the Moscow Open. “The robot broke the child’s finger,” Sergey Lazarev, president of the Moscow Chess Federation, told the TASS news agency after the incident, adding that the machine had played many previous exhibitions without upset. “This is of course bad.” Video of the 19 July incident published by the Baza Telegram channel shows the boy’s finger being pinched by the robotic arm for several seconds before a woman followed by three men…

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Can AI write good novels?

I expect that this is probably the year I’ll need to consider how my profession will change if students start relying on AI writing software. Like many people in my social media feed, this summer I’ve been playing a bit with AI image software, and thinking about how all the photographers and artists whose work is being sampled and remixed, without compensation or credit, to supply a commodity that serves someone else’s needs. “Julia was twenty-six years old… and she worked, as he had guessed, on the novel-writing machines in the Fiction Department. She enjoyed her work, which consisted chiefly…

Google worker says he was fired for blowing whistle on cult

A former Google video producer has sued the internet giant alleging he was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle on a religious sect that had all but taken over his business unit. The lawsuit demands a jury trial and financial restitution for “religious discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and related causes of action.” It alleges Peter Lubbers, director of the Google Developer Studio (GDS) film group in which 34-year-old plaintiff Kevin Lloyd worked, is not only a member of The Fellowship of Friends, the exec was influential in growing the studio into a team that, in essence, funneled money back to…

Internet Explorer cheated its way to the top, and I won’t miss it

I started teaching myself HTML in earnest after I attended a crowded presentation at the Modern Language Association in the early 90s. Midway through his demonstration of what a mouse was, the speaker asked a crowd of hundreds who had used a graphical web browser (everyone raised their hands), and who had used the Internet in their teaching and research (everyone raised their hands), and who had coded a web page (I saw just three hands… one of which was mine). The most important thing I took away from that presentation was that I could have been standing up there…

Farewell Internet Explorer: You Weren’t All Bad

The main reason I still dislike Internet Explorer was because its popularity often meant you had to create one version of a website that was compatible with emerging and established industrywide standards, and another version that worked in Internet Explorer. So I still cringe when I see that dizzy “e” icon — except in this image, where it’s on a gravestone. Having said that, I appreciated reading about the significant innovations that IE pioneered. Web 2.0 might have never happened without what was possibly the most reviled piece of software in history. Today, Microsoft Internet Explorer—which at one point accounted…

Google engineer put on leave after saying AI chatbot has become sentient

We’ve all encountered this scene in all the the AI-goes-amok stories, just before the scientist’s “Fools! I shall crush you all!” speech. The technology giant placed Blake Lemoine on leave last week after he published transcripts of conversations between himself, a Google “collaborator”, and the company’s LaMDA (language model for dialogue applications) chatbot development system. […] “I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others. I know that might sound strange, but that’s what it is,” LaMDA replied to Lemoine. “It would be exactly like…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In May, 2002, I was blogging about… typefaces in period movies; poets Paul Dirac and Stewart Conn; web usability; fired for making a satirical game

In May, 2002, I was blogging about Rating historical movies on how accurately they represent period typefaces The average UK reader spends 17 minutes a day reading a newspaper, compared to 11 minutes reading a novel. Paul Dirac, honorary poet laureate of modern physics. Student web project on poet Stewart Conn’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party” Fired for making a game (a government meat popsicle creates a satirical game that his superiors never bothered to play) Creator of Nancy Drew dies at 96 Why won’t we read the manual? Put a search box on your home page, not just a…

Inform 7 is now open source

Inform is a design system for interactive fiction based on natural language, and consists of a core compiler, together with extensions, kits and other resources, a number of outlying tools, and documentation, along with applications presenting the system in a friendly way on MacOS, Windows and Linux. This software had been used extensively since 28 April 2006, but by 2016 its source code was in considerable need of modernisation. In part that was wear-and-tear, but it was also the effect of years of experiment in which the code was often built without a full understanding of the concepts it was…

Mobile is a “really punishing format” for indies, says inkle’s Jon Ingold

Mobile is a really punishing format for independent developers. It used to be that the App Stores drove users to find games in viable quantities – 80 Days certainly benefitted enormously from Apple’s Editorial featuring – but that process has largely stopped. To be big – which is to say, to be viable – on the App Store now, a game needs to have a lot of push behind, a lot of other strategies for finding users and keeping them. That all means up-front money, investment, and ultimately a loss of creative independence. There’re plenty of studios thriving in that…

A Man Alone (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 4) Crime scene clues implicate Constable Odo; Keiko tries to start a school

Rewatching ST:DS9 After threatening a man who later turns up dead, Constable Odo becomes the prime suspect. The episode takes its time getting started, with character-driven bits developing Bashir’s one-sided interest in Dax, Sisko’s adjustment to his former mentor Curzon Dax’s new identity as Jadzia Dax, Sisko’s insistence that the Javert-like Odo play within the rules, Quark and Odo’s grumbly familiarity, the beginnings of a friendship between Jake and Nog, and tension between O’Brien and his wife Keiko. We also meet Rom (Nog’s father and Quark’s brother), but the writers obviously haven’t determined Rom’s personality yet — he seems brutish…

Past Prologue (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 1, Episode 3) A renegade seeking asylum tests Kira’s loyalties; Garak befriends Bashir

Rewatching ST:DS9 The pilot of a Bajoran ship under Cardassian fire requests asylum. Tahna is a former resistance colleague of Kira’s. Kira sees Sisko’s level-headed reaction as a sign of weakness, and on her own she works with Bajor to secure amnesty for her former comrade. A camouflaged Odo observes a clandestine meeting between Tahna and the Klingon sisters Lursa and B’Etor.  The suspiciously charming Cardassian merchant Garak arranges to have Bashir overhear details about their conspiracy.  Sisko, not sure of Kira’s loyalty, keeps his cards close to his chest — a decision the script seems to endorse (because Tahna…

The secret police: Cops built a shadowy surveillance machine in Minnesota after George Floyd’s murder

Many of the same people who reject masking and vaccinations on the grounds that they allegedly threaten the free will of the citizenry are perfectly OK with authoritarian police systems that harass and assault citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights to a free press and free speech. If you’re worried that vaccines are part of a deep state plan to surveil and suppress the populace, what until you read about what the Minneapolis police are still doing, long after the end of the protests that erupted over the actions of convicted murderer and former Minneapolis LEO Derek Chauvin.…

Windows 3.1 Turns 30: Here’s How It Made Windows Essential

After watching all the episodes of the 80s/90s Star Trek: TNG, with the beautifully designed fictional LCARS computer interfaces, it’s amazing to look at what actual computer interfaces looked like in the early 90s. (OK, the Macs of that era looked prettier.) 30 years ago—on April 6, 1992—Microsoft released Windows 3.1, which brought the company to a new level of success, kept the PC platform competitive with Macs, and set the stage for Windows PC domination. Here’s what was special about it. –Benj Edwards, How-To Geek