Twitter's adding a new button, Elon Musk has some wild ideas, and one tech platform is kicking people off for being racist.
Posted on June 3, 2016, at 3:01 p.m. ET
With all of Google's advancements in machine learning, some people are getting a little worried about the future implications. Once A.I. hits a certain point, the future looks a lot like a sci-fi movie, and Google starts to look a lot like Skynet. So, this week, Google's DeepMind division published a paper with Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute to find out how to stop self-directed artificial intelligence that might, say, decide that humanity is the true problem. What's the solution they came up with?
It's giving A.I. an off button.
The paper, titled "Safely Interruptible Agents," "explores a way to make sure a learning agent will not learn to prevent (or seek!) being interrupted by the environment or a human operator."
Essentially, we've got to make sure that artificial intelligence can't get so intelligent that it learns to ignore the command to turn off. Welcome to the future!
This week, a major tech companies came under higher scrutiny than usual in the tech world after accusations of enabling racism, and ultimately banned a user from its platform. Which tech company had more racism problems than usual this week?
Airbnb removed a North Carolina host from its platform on Wednesday following a barrage of racist remarks directed at a guest.
“We were horrified when we read these messages,” Airbnb spokesperson Nick Papas told BuzzFeed News.
Airbnb faces mounting pressure to address racial discrimination on its short-term rental platform, a particularly challenging problem for the company. The Fair Housing Act exists precisely to protect consumers from discrimination, but Airbnb cannot always police how its users use the platform.
Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk talked about what he believes to be the nature of reality while onstage at Recode's Code Conference in Southern California. What does one of the leading figures in tech think?
It's the simulation one.
"There's a billion to one chance we're living in base reality," Musk says. Essentially, he thinks that we're probably living inside of a video game.
"If you assume any rate of improvement at all then games will become indistinguishable from reality," Musk said.
"Even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now, let's just imagine it's 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale."
This week, Snapchat was at the center of a huge controversy in India. What happened on the platform that prompted police to look into the situation?
Tanmay Bhat, a comedian from Mumbai, swapped faces as renowned Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and legendary Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, and had the two characters argue with each other via his Snap Story. Now, Bhat is potentially in trouble for a unique issue: India’s laws around manipulating people’s photos (“morphing”) make Snapchat’s face-swap feature a legal gray area.
This week, Twitter began testing a new button. What will it do?
It launches a Periscope broadcast.
The social network is testing out a new button on its "Compose A New Tweet" screen. It really, really would appreciate it if you livestreamed more, people.
Brendan Klinkenberg is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Brendan Klinkenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.