IOS 11 BETA: SHOULD YOU DOWNLOAD APPLE’S NEW SOFTWARE FOR IPHONE AND IPAD?

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Most of the new features are on the iPad, and it can be the perfect device for testing out the update / REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Apple has released its iOS 11 beta to the public. That means everyone can get hold of the new software, months before it’s released – but there’s a big catch.

Because the iPhone and iPad operating system isn’t actually finished yet, it’s full of plenty of bugs as well as not being as refined as it will be when it’s officially unveiled. That means that using it comes with a huge warning: it might stop working properly at any time, and you can’t really complain about it if it does.

With that out of the way, it’s worth getting to what iOS 11 does actually give you. The new update – which brings probably the biggest changes ever made to the iPad, and some pretty major ones to the iPhone too – was unveiled at WWDC earlier this month.

It brings proper multitasking to the iPad, allowing people to easily do more than one thing at once and making the tablet into a proper, productivity-focused computer. It updates almost all of Apple’s apps, bringing social features to Apple Music and document scanning to Notes, for instance.

And it changes the way the camera works in a major way, adding new ways of taking and editing photos. That comes alongside support for ARKit – Apple’s new technology built to make it easier for people to create apps that use augmented reality.

How to install iOS 11 before everyone else

But the big question is whether you should start using it now, or wait until it’s officially released, probably in September.

The main thing you need to ask yourself is how much you rely on your device. If you need to make sure that it is always ready to respond for work, for instance, then don’t update to the beta: though bugs are rare within the software, they do have an annoying tendency to pop up exactly when you need to write an important email.

You might also found that apps haven’t been updated to work with the new software, and so might not work at all. You won’t know that until you upgrade – so if there is anything you rely on a lot, it’s also worth skipping this update.

Equally, if you don’t rely really on your device – if you have an iPad that you use only some of the time for reading or watching TV, for instance – then you should think about giving it a try.

In fact, the iPad is the perfect place to try the new update out on. Most of the biggest updates that iOS 11 brings are on the tablet – meaning that as well as being a less risky device to try it out on, you also get to experience the full joy of the new features.

Prime among those is multitasking, which also brings with it a redesigned home screen and way of using features like drag and drop. Those are explained to you when you first fire up iOS 11 on your iPad.

The problem is also that those new multitasking features also use up a lot of processing power – important, when the tablet is also trying to handle an operating system that doesn’t make use of the processing power in the most efficient way.

So if you do depend on your iPad for work, for instance, it’s probably best holding off for now. But if you can put up with it stuttering and becoming confused sometimes, then you’ll get the most out of putting it on there.

On the other hand, the upgrades to the iPhone are relatively few, though there’s still plenty of significant new features. While the updates to Siri, Apple Music, Messages, Maps and more are all fun, they’re relatively minor for the time being – while that means you’re less likely to run into problems, it also means that you’ll get a lot less out of taking the risk and diving into the new software straight away.

The same thing applies to macOS, which is also part of the beta programme. Apple has mostly focused on tightening up and straightening out parts of that software – which is great, but will be outweighed by the bugs of beta software and so it’s probably best to wait to update your MacBook or iMac for now.

In all cases, it’s worth remembering that you don’t need to sign up now, since the beta programme will be in effect all the time until the new software is officially released. With every new update to the preview, some of those bugs and problems are removed – so you can wait until later on and hold our for a more dependable version of iOS 11.

If you decide that you do want to get hold of the beta, head to beta.apple.com on the device that you want to sign up to it with. (You can do so on any Apple device that supports the update, which includes most iPads and iPhones, as well as the Apple TV.

[“Source-independent”]

Do You Know What it Feels Like to Get Hacked?

Do You Know What It Feels Like To Get Hacked? | Social Media Today

Hopefully your answers is “no”, and the intention of this blog is to keep you cyber safe in 2017.

Remember the hack of the Ashley Madison site? The top 3 passwords used on that site were “123456”, “12345” and “password”.

While there are no guarantees that malicious actors won’t get to your information, the following tips will decrease the probability of having your personal information hacked.

Let’s do some cyber maintenance. In addition to changing your passwords, learn other ways to make your cyber presence safer.

1. Have Complicated, Unique, Difficult-To-Crack Passwords

Hate changing your passwords for your social media, online banking, Amazon.com and other online accounts? So do I. But having someone invade your privacy, social channels, or even financial information is a lot worse.

A good solution to create strong passwords (and track them at the same time) is to sign up for a password storage tool. 1Password carries a yearly fee, and I’ve also heard good things about a free tool called LastPass.

All you need to do, once you have such a tool, is to create one really complex password and remember it. Then you can let the tool auto-generate all your other long and tricky passwords, which you won’t need to remember.

2. Never Reuse a Password

Don’t use the same password or slightly modify it to use it on multiple accounts.

Make each password unique, with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, special characters – at least 9 characters, ideally more.

3. Update Your Passwords Regularly

Change your passwords periodically (at least every 6-12 months). While having a really difficult password is the number one way to protect your accounts, changing your password can’t hurt.

4. Prevent “Dictionary Attacks”

Don’t use dictionary words, your pet’s name, your college or any other words that have an obvious correlation to you as a person. These are easy to find, even just via Google, and so-called “dictionary attacks” – which are extremely common and simple – can crack those passwords in no time.

NOTE: Personally, I also discourage publishing your birthday on LinkedIn or Facebook as this date is a crucial detail to cracking and taking over your (online) identity; especially in the USA where birth date and social security number ARE your identity.

5. Keep Your Security and Privacy Settings Current

Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels occasionally change their privacy options, which is easy to miss (or dismiss) as such updates are not particularly interesting.

For a safe 2017, visit your social channels and review your privacy and notification settings. While you’re there, disconnect access for apps you no longer use.

6. Enable Two-Factor-Authentication

Something often dismissed as too complicated is two-step-verification.

Most social platforms, banks and other accounts now provide this as an option – here’s how it works:

  • In addition to your password, every time you sign in, you get a text message or app notification with a code that you need to enter before you get access to your account.
  • You’ll be asked to specify your trusted device(s) to receive the code, e.g. your iPhone or iPad, so only you have access.

7. Don’t Store Passwords in Your Browser

I know, it seems convenient but hackers feel the same way.

Browser attacks are very common – here’s some more information on common threats by Kaspersky.

8. Have a Security Program Installed

You need a virus protection program at a minimum, and many of these now come with privacy packages to help you in case you do get hacked.

Here’s a suggestion for 10 virus protection programs. Also consider a service that alerts you to invasions into your personal information, like changes in your credit report. One option is Lifelock.

9. Install Software Updates

Don’t dally when it comes to installing updates to your applications, operating system or website. While I admit that I sometimes wait a few days when a new OS update comes out so that the main bugs can be fixed first, I never wait for more than a week.

10. Be Suspicious of URLs Before You Click

Phishing is generally an attempt to get users to click on a malicious URL that will upload a virus if you do.

Never click on a URL sent by your bank, PayPal or other account that requires you to sign in.

Often, malicious actors will steal your password that way, or upload a virus. Instead, go to the site directly and log-in from there to check on any message.

Also, be suspicious about the senders of any message you receive via email or social media. Sometimes when I see a shortened link, I ask the sender to give me the URL to look it up myself or I pass.

 

 

[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

6 Skills You Can Learn Online for a Lucrative and Productive 2017

6 Skills You Can Learn Online for a Lucrative and Productive 2017

I am so much in love with this era we are in — an era where there is so much information online for self-development. A focused and determined person can learn many skills online and use them to diversify his or her income. With all the advanced, digital technology in this world, no one should give excuses of not having one or two skills to remain relevant and competitive.

In the days of yore, skill acquisition and dissemination were limited to certain geographical locations because of the low level of technological know-how. However, the advent of sophisticated technology — which propelled the development of many apps, software and social media — has made skills and knowledge easily disseminated and accessible.

 

There are countless websites readily available for you to acquire valuable skills and knowledge for free or with little fee for a productive 2017. These skills are:

1. Web design and development.

Web design and development is a highly sought-after skill. This is because we are in a digital transformation age where every business — small, medium and large scale — is extremely interested in showcasing their products and services to the world through their websites.

There are lots of sites that can teach you how to design and develop a website. By acquiring these skills, one is adequately positioned to scramble for millions of small, medium and large scale businesses who are contemplating launching or updating their websites.

2. Statistical data analysis.

Statistical data analysis is another vital skill that is in high demand by companies, entrepreneurs and students. The knowledge of Mini-tab,  Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and E-view, just to name a few, makes a person highly desirable.

As a researcher, I have smiled all the way to the bank numerous times because I have some knowledge of statistical data analytical software. Most students in tertiary institutions need an expert data analyst — companies too, especially when sophisticated software is needed for forecasting market shares, profit and other vital results that will aid managerial decision making.

You can learn these data analytical tools online, and consult an expert for clarification should you encounter some difficulties trying to grasp the calculations and interpretation of results.

3. Fashion designing.

Humans are always in need of food, clothes and shelter. These are three basic necessities of life. Both rich and poor are in need of clothes. In our contemporary world where fashion is always a trending issue, everybody wants to look classic and beautiful. This has made fashion designers kings and queens in their profession.

There are sites that can teach you how to draw fashion or make fashion sketches, and there are lots of online videos that can teach you make dresses. The beauty of having this skill lies in the way customers flock around fashion designers within few hours of setting up an office.

Fashion designing is synonymous to a football match; there is never a dull moment from the blast of the whistle. What do I mean? Even at the apprentice stage, customers are already flocking around you.

 

4. Make-up.

Believe it or not, the makeup business is growing at an incredible rate. There are lots of online videos that can teach you the rudiment of make up. An interview with Ifeoma Agu, the CEO of Ivonmelda Makeova, shocked me. She is an expert in hairstyle but felt she needed a makeup skill to enhance her business growth.

However, since she couldn’t afford the training fees, she decided to download lots of YouTube videos on makeup. The rest is history. She is one of the most sought-after makeup artists in her state as a result of her quality service delivery. Remember, she learned this skill for free. You can do same.

5. Business research.

Many people want to venture into business while those who are already in business are seeking other businesses to invest in. Many companies and investors are actually seeking well-researched business ideas to invest in.

As a business researcher, you can work on your own terms. You decide whether to sell your business ideas or become a partner in the businesses. At the end of the day, you will be surprised to see that you are a co-owner of chains of businesses.

Acquiring this skill is not as difficult as you think. I am saying this because most people are indifferent when it comes to research. All you need is to be patient, focus and determined. Read online articles and journals or watch videos on business research. It’s also a good idea to consult an expert.

6. Own a blog.

You can actually learn how to create and run a blog online. By systematically following the step-by-step instructions on creating a blog, you’ll be acquiring the skill to create more blogs for prospective clients. You can create a blog for your web design and development business, statistical data analysis, fashion designing, makeup and business research businesses.

 

Successful bloggers today started by simply creating a blog. The rest is history. You too can join the leagues of successful bloggers by meticulously following their footsteps.

There is so much to be gained by acquiring one or more skills online. Big organizations looked for people with the talents and skills discussed above in 2016. And 2017 will not be different. Learn a skill online today for a productive year.

 

 

[Source:- Entrepreneur]

Facebook’s Testing Out a New Tool to Help You Connect with Like-Minded Users

Facebook’s Testing Out a New Tool to Help You Connect with Like-Minded Users | Social Media Today

Facebook’s always looking to boost sharing and interaction on the platform – as The Social Network has noted previously:

Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook.”

Not only does this encourage more engagement (which is a crucial measure for social platform success), but more sharing means more data, and more data means better ad targeting. Facebook needs to facilitate connection in order to fuel their whole business model.

Which is why their latest test makes sense.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook’s rolling out a new “Discover People” option which will enable users to connect with others who are interested in similar things as they are, including upcoming events, people who work at the same company or even those who simply live nearby. The new feature was initially tested in Australia and New Zealand but it’s now in the process of being rolled out more widely.

The new option will be available within the options menu (the three lines) – some users will have access already.

Once selected, you’re prompted to update your profile bio and photo to ensure it’s accurate and up to date. Below that, you’re shown a list of all the events for which you’ve registered an interest in attending – when you click into any of these, you’re shown a listing of other people who will be heading along, and you can click onto any profile for more information.

As you can see, clicking on a profile will show you not only who each attendee is, but also any things you have in common with them, helping facilitate connection.

And as noted, in addition to events, you can also see a listing of work colleagues and people who live in the same area, further adding to the connective capacity of the tool.

It’s an interesting option, and it certainly adds something to the Facebook mix – but is connecting with strangers something Facebook users will warm to?

In the case of events – particularly business related functions – the tool makes some sense, and LinkedIn actually offers similar in their new platform prompts, introduced as part of their recent redesign.

 

 

[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

 

Get fit 2017: all the fitness gear you need to fight the festive flab

If the overindulgence of Christmas has inspired you to get fit in early 2017, we’ve got you covered.

Whether it’s the best fitness band to keep a track of your steps or a new treadmill for your home, we’ve rounded up all our top features into one handy guide.

Let’s kick off our ultimate fitness gear guide with five top tips from Nick Anderson. He’s a GB and EA running coach, PT, plus a coach for Saucony, High5, and the Running Bug. So basically, somebody who knows a lot about running!

Nick’s best running tips

  1. Enter a race or an event. This gives you a goal and real target, date and objective to work towards.
  2. Get a plan towards this goal or event and choose one thats realistic. It could be written by a top coach and aimed at your ability, pace and experience making it achievable.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people when chasing the resolution. This could mean training with friends or a running group to make your plan fun. Equally it could be buddying up with a friend to go to the gym or a new conditioning class.
  4. Join one of the communities aimed at supporting you and your new year resolution/pledge. RunningBug offer Run Yourself New and there is also the Jantastic community.
  5. Remind yourself why you set the resolution and how you were feeling at the time. We often get more time over the festive season in the build up to New Year to assess our lives, goals and direction. Then when New Year arrives we abandon the resolution as already too busy. Think about how you felt and ring fence the time to make this resolution work each day and week…..running just 3 times a week can see fantastic result for example!

Now read on for all the fitness gear you need in your life, from fitness bands to mobile apps

Best running shoes to buy

Picking up a great pair of running shoes is essential to ensuring your fitness regime goes to plan and we’ve tested a whole load of the best. Aside from making sure your feet are comfortable, a great pair of running trainers should offer support, let your feet breath and boast some extra nifty bits of tech to round things off. We’ve also got some top tips on choosing the right pair of shoes for your running style.

Read: best running shoes

Best running headphones

So, you’ve got your sparkly new fitness band, a treadmill for your home gym and stocked up on enough pairs of running shoes to last you the year, what else do you need? A great pair of running headphones, that’s what. Yes, we know, you could stick with the buds that came bundled with your phone, but we all know that they’re not very good. Instead, you should pick up a pair of dedicated ‘phones, which won’t fall out of your ears as soon as you start running. Many of these are resistant to sweat too, which is a must, for us anyway and they sound fantastic. Perfect for pumping out your handcrafted gym playlist.

Read: best headphones for running

Best football boots to buy

The options here range from solid, mid-range boots to wild flights of footwear tech fancy. Don’t forget to carefully choose between the various options that most of them offer with, for instance, variants for hard and soft ground. You should also probably be realistic about your skills. Having a boot that’s super-light and offers next to no protection is not a great idea if you’re not as fleet of foot as you once were. On the other hand, having a super-flash set of boots can give you added confidence and a better first touch, if you’re not completely hopeless in the first place.

Read: best football boots

Best sports sunglasses

If you’re looking for the best sports sunglasses you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put our eyes on the line testing the very best shades money can buy. Whether you’re running, cycling, golfing, or fishing this list is for you.

Read: best sports sunglasses

 Our buying guides for bikes

Nothing beats buzzing around town on two wheels during the summer months. Evening pub pints with pals are made even more appealing without the worry of sweaty public transport or the ferocious cost of cabs, while the daily commute can provide some much-needed post-winter fat removal when tackled on two wheels.

We’ve collated the best of this year’s offerings under £1,500 as well as the top electric bikes, road bikes under £2,000 as well as expensive elite choices.

 

[Source:- T3]

 

Best gap year tech: from Torino to Tokyo, these gadgets will help you have a great time

If you’re planning a gap year or packing for the trip of a lifetime, you’ll want to cram as many creature comforts into your backpack as possible, not to mention some tech on which to record and share some phenomenal views and bragging rights. We’re rounded up some near-essentials (aside from a huge backpack and warm coat) to make travelling easier and more exciting, whether you’re trekking through jungles and camping in the wild or catching trains and seeing the sights of Europe. Just don’t forget your toothbrush.

Sure, you’ll need a massive rucksack for lugging your worldly possessions from hostel to hostel, but it won’t be much use for sightseeing in a busy metropolis. Thankfully, there’s the Wolffepack that comes in many forms, including the ‘Capture’ for photographers that keeps all your tech, money and passport safe and sound.

Designed to allow users to reach into their bag without the hassle of unstrapping and taking it off, the backpacks all come with a  clever ‘orbital trapeze’ system that allows a wearer to swing the pack from their back to their front effortlessly. While this is a time saver, it’s also great if you want to keep your bag where you can see it on a sketchy street or busy train.

The Capture holds 26 litres and comes with a removable camera pod, three compartments, tripod clip, laptop sleeves and waterproof rain cover. With Carbon fibre, Kevlar and Dyneema cords, it’s also built to withstand the wildest of adventures.

GoPro HERO5 Action Camera

While serious photographers seldom travel without an SLR, the GoPro is brilliant for people on the go and perfect for recording bike rides and scenes you’ll want to remember in years to come. The HERO5 Black is dubbed the ‘best GoPro ever’ and supports video resolutions up to 4K at 30 frames per second, video stabilisation and stereo audio recording, as well as professional quality 12MP photos.

A simple one button control and two-inch touch display makes operating it a breeze and it’s waterproof without a housing up to 33 feet – great for recording a white water rapids ride or trip to a waterfall. Once users have recorded their envy-enduring footage, the HERO5 can auto-upload their photos and videos to the cloud for safe keeping and share it easily online. It makes bragging easy.

Cat S30 smartphone

You may be surgically attached to your iPhone or top-of-the-range Android in the city, but we all know dropping these handsets can prove to be an expensive mistake. Instead, why not invest in the Cat S30 handset. Built to be work in extreme environments, the water, dust and shockproof smartphone is designed to survive a 1.8-metre drop test and has an easy grip design as well as 12 hours talk time and up to 19 days standby – perfect if you’re staying in the back-of-beyond (or have mislaid your charger).

Price: £239.99 | Buy Cat S30 smartphone

Griffin Survivor Extreme

A tablet is a godsend when you’re pushed for space, working as a map, address book, novel, games console and internet café if you’re lucky. But they can be delicate, making a ruggedized case a sensible investment. Griffin Technology makes an array of ‘Survivor’ cases for different models, including the iPad Air 2 (pictured) to protect their backs and screens.

The new ‘Survivor Extreme’ is built to enable the iPad4 mini to survive drops onto concrete of up to 6.6-feet, cushioning falls within the impact-resistant shell. Its slide on design all but eliminates the air gap between touchscreen and the screen guard for extra protection, while its sealed shell protects the device from mud and water.

Price: £69 | Buy Griffin Survivor Extreme

ThermaCELL ProFLEx Heavy Duty Heated Insoles

Whether you’re trekking at high altitudes or staying in a drafty hostel, your toes can get chilly, especially once the sun has set. ThermaCELL ProFLEx Heavy Duty Heated Insoles heat up a user’s feet and can be controlled using a smartphone with a Bluetooth connection. The accompanying app lets users warm their feet to a chosen temperature. When this is reached, the insoles temporarily turn off before switching on again.

They’re cushioned to make walking boots more comfortable and include removable, replaceable extended life batteries so users can swap them out without having to wrangle their insoles out of their shoes or boots. One charge taking just two hours provides up to 8.5 hours of warmth. There are Bluetooth Pocket Warmers too for people who want heat on demand in a more flexible package.

 

 

[Source:- T3]

Why you should be using pattern libraries

featured_patternlibraries

Have you heard of pattern libraries, style guides, component libraries, design patterns or UI toolkits? Don’t worry if you’re confused or don’t know the differences. Here’s a secret—most people in the design industry are also a little confused.

With all these terms flying around it can quickly become overwhelming. But rest assured it’s actually much less complex than you might first think.

All these different terms can be grouped into two different categories:

1) STYLE GUIDES

These are brand guidelines for a website. They contain the logo, colours and typography. A style guide takes all the relevant parts of the brand guidelines and places them together.

2) PATTERN LIBRARIES / COMPONENT LIBRARIES / UI TOOLKITS

All these terms refer to the same thing.

They are a collection of reusable components that make up a website. Pattern libraries (as I’ll refer to them from now) are a way to represent everything that makes up a website. This includes the layout, structure and everything that is contained within them.

On an eCommerce website this would include a product item, a review, star rating, quantity, navigation, tables and buttons, to name a few. Each of these are called a component.

So, a pattern library is a collection of components that make up the website.

PATTERN LIBRARIES VS STYLE GUIDES

Websites require both a style guide and pattern library. They’ll often live together which might be where a lot of the confusion comes from.

Style guides apply branding while pattern libraries apply layout and structure. For example, the style guide for Levis would dictate the website should use red with a heavy font but the pattern library would dictate a product listing item should contain an image, title and price.

 

 

 

[Source:- webdesignerdepot]

Google DeepMind: What is it, how does it work and should you be scared?

Image result for Google DeepMind: What is it, how does it work and should you be scared?

Today concludes the five ‘Go’ matches played by AlphaGo, an AI system built by DeepMind and South Korean champion, Lee Sedol. AlphaGo managed to win the series of games 4-1.

‘Go’ is a strategy-led board game in which two players aim to gather and surround the most territory on the board. The game is said to require a certain level of intuition and be considerably more complex than Chess. The first three games were won by AlphaGo with Sedol winning the fourth round, but still unable to claim back a victory.

What is DeepMind?

Google DeepMind is an artificial intelligence division within Google that was created after Google bought University College London spinout, DeepMind, for a reported £400 million in January 2014. 

The division, which employs around 140 researchers at its lab in a new building at Kings Cross, London, is on a mission to solve general intelligence and make machines capable of learning things for themselves. It plans to do this by creating a set of powerful general-purpose learning algorithms that can be combined to make an AI system or “agent”. 

Suleyman explains

These are systems that learn automatically. They’re not pre-programmed, they’re not handcrafted features. We try to provide a large set of raw information to our algorithms as possible so that the systems themselves can learn the very best representations in order to use those for action or classification or predictions.

The systems we design are inherently general. This means that the very same system should be able to operate across a wide range of tasks.

That’s why we’ve started as we have with the Atari games. We could have done lots of really interesting problems in narrow domains had we spent time specifically hacking our tools to fit the real world problems – that could have been very, very valuable. 

Instead we’ve taken the principal approach of starting on tools that are inherently general. 

AI has largely been about pre-programming tools for specific tasks: in these kinds of systems, the intelligence of the system lies mostly in the smart human who programmed all of the intelligence into the smart system and subsequently these are of course rigid and brittle and don’t really handle novelty very well or adapt to new settings and are fundamentally very limited as a result.

We characterise AGI [artificial general intelligence] as systems and tools which are flexible and adaptive and that learn. 

We use the reinforcement learning architecture which is largely a design approach to characterise the way we develop our systems. This begins with an agent which has a goal or policy that governs the way it interacts with some environment. This environment could be a small physics domain, it could be a trading environment, it could be a real world robotics environment or it could be a Atari environment. The agent says it wants to take actions in this environment and it gets feedback from the environment in the form of observations and it uses these observations to update its policy of behaviour or its model of the world. 

How does it work? 

The technology behind DeepMind is complex to say the least but that didn’t stop Suleyman from trying to convey some of the fundamental deep learning principles that underpin it. The audience – a mixture of software engineers, AI specialists, startups, investors and media – seemed to follow. 

Suleyman explains 

You’ve probably heard quite a bit about deep learning. I’m going to give you a very quick high-level overview because this is really important to get intuition for how these systems work and what they basically do. 

These are hierarchical based networks initially conceived back in the 80s but recently resuscitated by a bunch of really smart guys from Toronto and New York.

The basic intuition is that at one end we take the raw pixel data or the raw sensory stream data of things we would like to classify or recognise. 

This seems to be a very effective way of learning to find structure in very large data sets. Right at the very output we’re able to impose on the network some requirement to produce some set of labels or classifications that we recognise and find useful as humans. 

How is DeepMind being tested? 

DeepMind found a suitably quirky way to test what its team of roughly 140 people have been busy building. 

The intelligence of the DeepMind’s systems was put through its paces by an arcade gaming platform that dates back to the 1970s. 

Suleyman demoed DeepMind playing one of them during his talk – space invaders. In his demo he illustrated how a DeepMind agent learns how to play the game with each go it takes. 

Suleyman explains 

We use the Atari test bed to develop and test and train all of our systems…or at least we have done so far. 

There is somewhere on the magnitude of 100 different Atari games from the 70s and 80s. 

The agents only get the raw pixel inputs and the score so this is something like 30,000 inputs per frame. They’re wired up to the action buttons but they’re not really told what the action buttons do so the agent has to discover what these new tools of the real world actually mean and how they can utilise value for the agent. 

The goal that we give them is very simply to maximise score; it gets a 1 or a 0 when the score comes in, just as a human would. 

Everything is learned completely from scratch – there’s absolutely zero pre-programmed knowledge so we don’t tell the agent these are Space Invaders or this is how you shoot. It’s really learnt from the raw pixel inputs. 

For every set of inputs the agent is trying to assess which action is optimal given that set of inputs and it’s doing that repeatedly over time in order to optimise some longer term goal, which in Atari’s sense, is to optimise score. This is one agent with one set of parameters that plays all of the different games.

Live space invaders demo

An agent playing space invaders before training struggles to hide behind the orange obstacles, it’s firing fairly randomly. It seems to get killed all of the time and it doesn’t really know what to do in the environment. 

After training, the agent learns to control the robot and barely loses any bullets. It aims for the space invaders that are right at the top because it finds those the most rewarding. It barely gets hit; it hides behind the obstacles; it can make really good predictive shots like the one on the mothership that came in at the top there. 

As those of you know who have played this game, it sort of speeds up towards the end and so the agent has to do a little bit more planning and predicting than it had done previously so as you can see there’s a really good predictive shot right at the end there. 

100 games vs 500 games

The agent doesn’t really know what the paddle does after 100 games, it sort of randomly moves it from one side to the other. Occasionally it accidentally hits the ball back and finds that to be a rewarding action. It learns that it should repeat that action in order to get reward. 

After about 300 games it’s pretty good and it basically doesn’t really miss. 

But then after about 500 games, really quite unexpectedly to our coders, the agent learns that the optimal strategy is to tunnel up the sides and then send them all around the back to get maximum score with minimum effort – this was obviously very impressive to us. 

We’ve now achieved human performance in 49/57 games that we’ve tested on and this work was recently rewarded with a front cover of Nature for our paper that we submitted so we were very proud of that. 

How is it being used across Google? 

Google didn’t buy DeepMind for nothing. Indeed, it’s using certain DeepMind algorithms to make many of its best-known products and services smarter than they were previously. 

Suleyman explains

Our deep learning tool has now been deployed in many environments, particularly across Google in many of our production systems.

In image recognition, it was famously used in 2012 to achieve very accurate recognition on around a million images with about 16 percent error rate. Very shortly after that it was reduced dramatically to about 6 percent and today we’re at about 5.5 percent. This is very much parable with the human level of ability and it’s now deployed in Google+ Image Search and elsewhere in Image Search across the company.

As you can see on Google Image Search on G+, you’re now able to type a word into the search box and it will recall images from your photographs that you’ve never actually hand labelled yourself. 

We’ve also used it for text and scription. We use it to identify text on shopfronts and maybe alert people to a discount that’s available in a particular shop or what the menu says in a given restaurant. We do that with an extremely high level of accuracy today. It’s being used in Local Search and elsewhere across the company. 

We also use the same core system across Google for speech recognition. It trains roughly in less than five days. In 2012 it delivered a 30 percent reduction in error rate against the existing old school system. This was the biggest single improvement in speech recognition in 20 years, again using the same very general deep learning system across all of these. 

Across Google we use what we call Tool AI or Deep Learning Networks for fraud detection, spam detection, hand writing recognition, image search, speech recognition, Street View detection, translation. 

Sixty handcrafted rule-based systems have now been replaced with deep learning based networks. This gives you a sense of the kind of generality, flexibility and adaptiveness of the kind of advances that have been made across the field and why Google was interested in DeepMind.

GoogleDeepmind, AlphaGo and Go: the discussion

Techworld editors discuss the implications of AlphaGo beating all the humans.

The number of scientists and world-famous entrepreneurs speaking out on the potential dangers of AI is increasing week-by-week, with renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and PayPal billionaire Elon Musk being two of the most outspoken anti-AI advocates. 

The pair, along with several others including Bill Gates and Sky cofounder Jaan Tallinn, believe that machines will soon become more intelligent than humans, just as they do in recent Hollywood blockbuster Ex Machina. 

Despite this, Google is keen to develop its AI algorithms as much as possible in order to improve its offerings and boost its profits. 

Suleyman tried to put people’s minds at ease and explain the logic behind all the hype. 

Suleyman explains

Over the last 18 months or so, AI breakthroughs have, I think, created a sense of anxiety or in some cases hype around the potential long term direction of the field. 

This of course is not least induced by Elon [Musk] who recently Tweeted that we need to be super careful with AI because it’s “potentially more dangerous than nukes” and that’s obviously backed up by various publications including Nick Bostrom’s – all culminating in this kind of sense that AI has the potential to end all human kind. 

If you didn’t really pay attention to the field and all you did was read, as I think the vast majority of people do, descriptions of the kind of work that we do on the web then you could be forgiven for believing that AI is actually about this. Whether it’s Terminator coming to blow us up or societies of AIs or mad scientists looking to create quite perverted women robots.

This narrative has somehow managed to dominate the entire landscape, which I think we find really quite remarkable. 

It’s true that AI has in some sense really arrived. This isn’t just a summer. These are very concrete production breakthroughs that really do make a big different but it’s also sad how quickly we adapt to this new reality. We rarely take time to acknowledge the magic and the potential of these advances and the kind of good that they can bring. In some sense, the narrative has shifted from isn’t it terrible that AI has been such a failure to isn’t it terrible that AI has been such a success. 

Just to address directly this question of existential risk. Our perspective on this is that it’s become a real distraction from the core ethics and safety issues and that it’s completely overshadowed the debate. 

The way we think about AI is that it’ll be a hugely powerful tool that we control and direct whose capabilities we limit, just as we do with any other tool that we have in the world around us, whether they’re washing machines or tractors. 

[Source:- Techworld]

Twitter may soon let you edit your tweets

Bringing more controls to the platform, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the company was thinking to bring editing functionality to tweets.

According to a report on the Variety on Thursday, Dorsey made these remarks as part of an impromptu public town hall with Twitter users, asking them for feedbackon how to improve the service.

In a tweet on Thursday, Dorsey asked users what changes they wanted to be made in Twitter.

“Following the footsteps of Brian Chesky: what’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017? #Twitter2017,” Dorsey tweeted.

Users made repeated requests to add edit function to the microblogging site.

“The request for an edit button for tweets came up multiple times, and Dorsey seemed to signal that the company is gearing towards a time-limited window to allow for the correction of typos right after a tweet was sent,” the report noted.

Dorsey argued that allowing users to edit tweets they sent hours or days after the fact would lead to a more complicated solution, “including the need for a change log to give users the ability to review different versions of the same tweet.”

Twitter users also asked Dorsey to fight hate and harassment to which the CEO responded by saying that bringing transparency to Twitter was a “big priority”

 

 
[Source:- Techrader]

New Ethernet standards will offer up to 5Gbps performance using cables you already own

Catcables

Consumer Ethernet performance has been stuck at gigabit speeds for nearly 20 years. Apple was the first company to ship gigabit Ethernet in motherboards. Intel’s 875P chipset popularized the feature in the PC market by connecting the Ethernet controller to the northbridge, thereby offering improved performance. Thirteen years later, gigabit is still the standard for wired Ethernet — but that might be about to change, thanks to a new wired networking standard from the IEEE 802.3bz task force.

There are multiple reasons why we’ve been stuck on gigabit for as long as we have. 10GbE requires more expensive cabling — either fiber optic cable in some cases, or more expensive Cat6a or Cat7 cabling for others. It’s not as backwards-compatible with previous standards (half-duplex operation isn’t supported), and routers, switches, and network cards that can support 10GbE are all far more expensive than their gigabit counterparts.

But one simple reason gigabit Ethernet has stuck around so long is that it’s taken a long time for the average home network to demand enough bandwidth to saturate it. That’s slowly starting to change. Wireless performance improvements, the increased popularity of media streaming, and the slow rollout of gigabit fiber across the US (thanks in part to Google) are all signs that in the long run, we’re going to need a faster standard.

The two new IEEE standards, known as 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T, should satisfy that need. These two standards were specifically created to use 10GbE signaling, but at a rate that would be compatible with existing runs of Cat5e and Cat6 cable out to 100 meters. The 2.5Gbps standard can run on Cat5e out to 100 meters, while the 5Gbps standard requires Cat6 cable to run 100 meters. Both should be far easier — and cheaper — to bring to market than current 10GbE technologies.

Image by Wikipedia

This is still a long-term rollout for most of us. Typical homes and small offices pull more data from the internet than across local networks, and the vast majority of Americans don’t have access to gigabit yet. Home and small office networks may also still require new hardware to take advantage of the standard. Many lower-end routers and switches that advertise themselves as gigabit capable only support that standard on a single port rather than across the entire device.

Still, the nature of a standard is to be forward-looking. Technically proficient consumers who build their own networks could still see immediate performance improvements from higher-speed networking cards and gear, and newer wireless standards are already capable of challenging gigabit wired performance. Hopefully the appearance of the new 2.5GbE and 5GbE standards will spur companies like Intel and AMD to start work on compatible chipsets.

 

 

[Source:- Extreme tech]