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AI chatbots started talking in their own language, so Facebook pulled the plug

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Face print

Let’s get the latest Apple iPhone 8 rumor of the week… or day… out of the way first thing! According to Bloomberg, Apple is indeed working on a 3-D facial recognition system for the iPhone 8 – or perhaps more models than just the newest iPhone. And will it replace the home-button fingerprint reader? So far no one really seems to know the answer there. But another question is: why a face reader instead of a print reader for security?

According to Bloomberg, a 3-D facial recognition system is both faster and more secure than a print reader because it scans more data points. And a 3-D reader is even more secure since it’s harder to fake it out with, say, a 2-D photo of someone’s face. Anyway, it seems like Apple is planning to either, A) include both systems on the new phone, B) only use the 3-D facial tech, or C) include both but activate the new technology in a future software update. Place your bets.

My GPU is floppier than your GPU

It’s full-on warfare in the graphics card segment as AMD and Nvidia continue to roll out faster, more complex GPUs. The latest entry: AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 64, a 12.6 teraflop monster that will ring in at a surprisingly affordable $500. In their crosshairs: Nvidia’s popular GTX 1080 series of cards. Oh, and if you can afford a $200 bump for the liquid-cooled version of the new Vega 64, performance rises to nearly 14 teraflops. (What’s a teraflop and why should you care?)

Is gaming driving this war for your GPU dollar? Yes, but the increasing demand for GPUs to dig through digits while mining crypto currency is also pushing demand – and the drive to improve performance. And by the way, if $500 or $700 dollars for a GPU isn’t in your budget, AMD is also offering a $400 card, the Vega 56, as well. And if you order now, you might even get your Vega 64 card in a lovely collectors-edition aluminum casing. Hit the link for all you need to know about the new AMD Vega cards and several card/video monitor package deals, which are expected to ship on August 14th.

Probably not pig Latin, either

How scary is AI? Well, if you’ve seen a lot of sci-fi movies, you probably have a good idea, but, of course, those are just movies. In terms of real-life AI scares, it seems Facebook just had one, and they even shut down the systems involved.

What happened? According to Android Headlines, Facebook AI researchers were teaching their AI bots how to communicate with each other and they developed – on their own – a language that the researchers could not decipher. The language system was highly efficient, much more so than the cumbersome regular version of English their lowly human creators were using, and it also appeared that the AI chatbots were beginning to negotiate and plan for the future.

That was enough for Facebook to pull the plug on the project. But you know how it goes, someone will think they figured out a way to continue the research in a “safe” way, and we’ll be fighting Terminators inside the Matrix by this time next year. Better start building that bunker and hoarding those CostCo instant noodles.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.




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