Tech News Feed

UK Decides AI Still Cannot Patent Inventions

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 19:30
The UK's Intellectual Property Office has decided artificial-intelligence systems cannot patent inventions for the time being. The BBC reports: A recent IPO consultation found many experts doubted AI was currently able to invent without human assistance. Current law allowed humans to patent inventions made with AI assistance, the government said, despite "misperceptions" this was not the case. Last year, the Court of Appeal ruled against Stephen Thaler, who had said his Dabus AI system should be recognized as the inventor in two patent applications, for: a food container [and] a flashing light. The judges sided, by a two-to-one majority, with the IPO, which had told him to list a real person as the inventor. "Only a person can have rights - a machine cannot," wrote Lady Justice Laing in her judgement. "A patent is a statutory right and it can only be granted to a person." But the IPO also said it would "need to understand how our IP system should protect AI-devised inventions in the future" and committed to advancing international discussions, with a view to keeping the UK competitive. Many AI systems are trained on large amounts of data copied from the internet. And, on Tuesday, the IPO also announced plans to change copyright law to allow anyone with lawful access - rather than only those conducting non-commercial research, as now -- to do this, to "promote the use of AI technology, and wider 'data mining' techniques, for the public good." Rights holders will still be able to control and charge for access to their works but no longer charge extra for the ability to mine them. In the consultation, the IPO noted the UK was one of only a handful of countries to protect computer-generated works with no human creator. The "author" of a "computer-generated work" is defined as "the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken," it says. And protection lasts for 50 years from when the work is made. Performing-arts workers' union Equity had called for copyright law to be changed to protect actors' livelihoods from AI content such as "deepfakes," generated from images of their face or voice. The IPO took this issue seriously, it said, but "at this stage, the impacts of AI technologies on performers remain unclear." "We will keep these issues under review," it added.

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Russian Parliament Approves Tax Break For Issuers of Digital Assets

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 18:50
Russian lawmakers on Tuesday approved a draft law that would potentially exempt issuers of digital assets and cryptocurrencies from value-added tax. Reuters reports: Unprecedented Western sanctions have hit the heart of Russia's financial system over events in Ukraine and lawmakers have scrabbled to bring in new legislation to soften the blow. The draft law, approved by State Duma members in the second and third readings on Tuesday, envisages exemptions on value-added tax for issuers of digital assets and information systems operators involved in their issue. It also establishes tax rates on income earned from the sale of digital assets. The current rate on transactions is 20%, the same as for standard assets. Under the new law, the tax would be 13% for Russian companies and 15% for foreign ones. The draft must still be reviewed by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law.

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How You Can Help NASA Solve a Mars Mystery Online - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 18:19
Just spot the clouds. Martian clouds.

Tesla reportedly lays off 200 Autopilot employees in latest jobs cut

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 18:16

Tesla has reportedly laid off approximately 200 workers from its Autopilot team and closed an office in California. According to Bloomberg, the company notified staff of the move on Tuesday. Many of the affected employees were annotation specialists whose jobs involved evaluating and labeling Autopilot data obtained from customers. Along with the layoffs, Tesla closed its San Mateo location; Bloomberg reports what remained of the 350-person team was transferred to another nearby office.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment. The automaker has not operated a public relations department since 2020

The cuts are almost certainly part of a broader effort by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to reduce costs at the company ahead of a potential recession. At the start of June, Musk told employees in a company-wide email he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy and that layoffs were coming. He later told Bloomberg he planned to reduce Tesla's salaried workforce by about 10 percent over the next three months. The admission came after Musk told remote workers to return to the office or lose their jobs. Tesla reportedly bungled its back-to-office plan, with The Information reporting that many employees returned to the company’s Fremont facility to find there weren’t enough parking spots and desks.

FBI Says People Are Using Deepfakes To Apply To Remote Jobs

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 18:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: The FBI wrote to its Internet Crime Complaint Center Tuesday that it has received multiple complaints of people using stolen information and deepfaked video and voice to apply to remote tech jobs. According to the FBI's announcement, more companies have been reporting people applying to jobs using video, images, or recordings that are manipulated to look and sound like somebody else. These fakers are also using personal identifiable information from other people -- stolen identities -- to apply to jobs at IT, programming, database, and software firms. The report noted that many of these open positions had access to sensitive customer or employee data, as well as financial and proprietary company info, implying the imposters could have a desire to steal sensitive information as well as a bent to cash a fraudulent paycheck. What isn't clear is how many of these fake attempts at getting a job were successful versus how many were caught and reported. Or, in a more nefarious hypothetical, whether someone secured an offer, took a paycheck, and then got caught. These applicants were apparently using voice spoofing techniques during online interviews where lip movement did not match what's being said during video calls, according to the announcement. Apparently, the jig was up in some of these cases when the interviewee coughed or sneezed, which wasn't picked up by the video spoofing software. Companies who suspect a fake applicant can report it to the complaint center site.

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2023 Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic: The Displacement Replacement - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 18:01
Through the magic of electrification, the new AMG C43 is more powerful and responsive than its predecessor despite its much smaller engine.

‘Axie Infinity’ is back open for business following $625 million hack

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:30

After a massive $625 million hack, the cryptocurrency pay-to-earn game Axie Infinity is once again open for business. The hack took advantage of flaws in the Ronin network, an Ethereum sidechain the game's owner, Sky Mavis, propped up to facilitate faster transactions. Surprisingly, the news today is that Axie Infinity will... continue to use Ronin, which has been revived after a few audits. In a blog post, the company described a new “circuit-breaker” system designed to flag “large, suspicious withdrawals,” withdrawal limits and human reviewers. It also promised players that a new land staking feature — which claims to allow the game's owners of digital land to earn passive income — will be released later this week.

In March, a group of hackers pilfered nearly 173,600 Ethereum and nearly 26 million USDC (worth roughly $26 million) from the game’s network. US officials have since linked the North Korean-backed hacking group Lazarus to the heist. Last week Sky Mavis said it would begin reimbursing the victims of the hack — but didn't account for Ethereum’s drop in value over the past three months, which means that users would only recover about a third of their losses. In all, Sky Mavis is returning $216.5 million in funds to its users.

Moving forward, Axie Infinity players are warned not to send funds directly to Ronin Bridge’s smart contract address. “The Ronin Bridge should only be accessed and used for deposits/withdrawals through the Ronin Bridge UI. Any funds sent directly to the Ronin Bridge’s contract addresses will be permanently lost," wrote the company in its post. recently pointed out a flaw in Axie Infinity’s design — a drop in the number of players causes the value of its in-game currency to plummet. Bloomberg noted earlier this month that the game’s user base has declined by 40 percent since the hack. As of this writing, the value of AXS is at $15.30 (a drop from its high of $160.36 in July 2021) and the value of SLP is at 0.0039 (down from an all-time high of 0.364).

Modern City Dwellers Have Lost About Half Their Gut Microbes

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:30
Comparing genomes of intestinal bacteria in various primates and human populations begins to pinpoint the possibly helpful microbes that have gone missing from our guts. From a report: Deep in the human gut, myriad "good" bacteria and other microbes help us digest our food, as well as keep us healthy by affecting our immune, metabolic, and nervous systems. Some of these humble microbial assistants have been in our guts since before humans became human -- certain gut microbes are found in almost all primates, suggesting they first colonized a common ancestor. But humans have also lost many of these helpers found in other primates and may be losing even more as people around the world continue to flock to cities, a researcher reported last week at a microbiology meeting in Washington, D.C. Those absent gut microbes could affect human health, he says. "This work helps us develop a new understanding of the course of human biological and cultural development," says Lev Tsypin, a microbiology graduate student at the California Institute of Technology who was not involved in the new study. The microbiome comprises all the bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microscopic life that inhabit an individual, be it a person, a plant, or a planaria. For humans and many other species, the best characterized microbiome centers on the bacteria in the gut. The more microbiologists study these gut microbes, the more they link the bacteria to functions of their hosts. In humans, for example, gut bacteria influence how the immune system responds to pathogens and allergens, or interact with the brain, affecting mood. Andrew Moeller, an evolutionary biologist at Cornell University, was one of the first to show that gut bacteria and humans have built these relationships over a very long time. Six years ago, he and colleagues reported the work showing human gut microbes are very similar to those in other primates, suggesting their intestinal presence predates the evolution of humans. But his follow-up studies, and work by others, also indicate the human gut microbiome has, in a general sense, become less diverse than the gut microbes in our current primate cousins. One study found 85 microbial genera, such as Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium, in the guts of wild apes, but just 55 in people in U.S. cities. Splitting the difference, people in less developed parts of the world have between 60 and 65 of those bacterial groups, an observation that ties the decrease in microbial diversity to urbanization.

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Hyundai Ioniq 6 Debuts As a Fantastically Weird Electric Sedan - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:22
Originally previewed by the Prophecy concept, this slippery sedan is sure to be divisive.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV Is a Slippery Sedan with Strange Details - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:22
Hyundai continues to put out the industry's most interesting designs.

Sony's new hardware brand will launch with gaming headsets and PS5-optimized monitors

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:00

Sony has announced the launch of Inzone, a new brand of PC gaming displays and headsets. They'll be coming out of the company's Electronics division (not to be confused with its Interactive Entertainment unit) and its flagship product will be the Inzone M9, a 27-inch 4K monitor. The M9 boasts an IPS panel with full-array local dimming, a 144Hz refresh rate and a claimed 1-millisecond gray to gray response time.

Sony says the panel is also DisplayHDR 600-certified and covers 95 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut. Additionally, the monitor is G-Sync compatible and features support for variable refresh rate (VRR) gaming thanks to the inclusion of an HDMI 2.1 port. If you connect the M9 to a PS5 through that port, you’ll get access to a feature that will automatically switch the monitor between its included low-latency and picture processing modes when it detects you’re about to play a game or watch a movie. Sony has also optimized the PS5’s HDR output for the M9, and you’ll see the benefits of that tuning automatically as well. Sony's M9 will hit shelves this summer and retail for $899.

Alongside a 4K display, Sony will also offer a 240Hz Full HD monitor. Like the company’s new flagship, the M3 will boast a 1-millisecond gray to gray response time, PlayStation 5-specific features and compatibility for both G-Sync and VRR. As you might expect, high dynamic range performance won’t be as good as the 4K variant, with the monitor only earning VESA’s DisplayHDR 400 certification. Sony plans to begin selling the M3 sometime this winter for $529.

If you’re looking for a new gaming headset, Sony has you covered there too. For those who want it all, there’s the $299 H9. It features active noise cancellation, Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, support for spatial audio and the same synthetic leather found on Sony’s recently announced WH-1000XM5 headphones. For a more affordable option, there’s the H7. It omits the H9’s ANC and “soft fit” leather features for a $229 price tag. The H7 will also come with better battery life. Sony claims you can get 40 hours of use from its new mid-tier headphones compared to 32 hours from the H9. Lastly, there’s the $99 H3, which you can connect to your PC or PS5 through a 3.5mm headphone jack or wired USB adapter. Sony will release all three models this summer.

Sony InZone H3 Gaming Headset Review: A Comfy Wired Choice for PC, PS5 - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:00
Sony's $100 wired gaming headset covers the basics for its price range.

Mojo's Smart Contact Lenses Begin In-Eye Testing - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:00
CEO Drew Perkins discusses what the first demo was like. By year's end, I could be next.

Sony’s new gaming brand merges the best of its PlayStation and consumer gear

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:00

I've always wondered why aside from a handful of peripherals like the Pulse 3D headset and that weird 3D display, Sony never really tried to expand the PlayStation brand outside of consoles. And while you won’t find any PS logos on its new line of headsets and monitors, with Inzone it really feels like Sony is finally bringing its wider tech expertise to gaming.

Now the reason we haven’t seen a ton of PlayStation-branded peripherals before is because the Sony most people think about is actually a conglomerate of several companies that make everything from medical diagnostic tools to camera sensors. And in the case of Inzone, its new gaming gear isn’t being made by the same Sony that produces its iconic consoles (Sony Interactive Entertainment) but instead by the Sony that makes everyday consumer gadgets (Sony Corp/Sony Electronics) like TVs and headphones including the excellent WH-1000XM5.

The first three new headsets part of Sony's Inzone gaming line are the $99 H3, $229 H7, and the $299 H9.Sam Rutherford/Engadget

That’s important because, while these devices have design cues borrowed from the PS5, including their black and white color scheme and sleek sci-fi lines, much of the tech inside has trickled down from a range of Sony Electronics' devices. And after using a handful of Inzone’s new peripherals for about a week, it really feels like you’re getting a great mix of tech from two different branches of Sony.

Let’s start with Inzone’s headphones which consist of three different models: the entry-level $99 H3, the mid-range $229 H7 and the high-end $299 H9. As the cheapest of the three, the H3 are incredibly simple and straightforward. Unlike their more expensive siblings, they don’t support wireless audio and instead rely on either a 3.5mm cord or a USB cable for connecting to your console or PC. On the bright side, the thick padded headband and cloth earcups make the H3 a joy to wear, even during marathon gaming sessions.

The top-end Inzone H9 headset features dual wireless connection modes along with built-in digital noise cancellation, RGB lighting and up to 32 hours of battery life. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Another bonus is that due to cooperation between two arms of Sony, all Inzone headsets, including the H3, support the PS5’s Tempest 3D audio engine just like you get on the official Pulse 3D headphones. That means you get spatial audio and customizable sound profiles that make it easier to hear things like the footsteps of someone trying to sneak up behind you. That said, with the Pulse 3D also costing just $99 for wireless headphones that are just as comfortable as the H3, I think they’re probably the better buy for anyone on a budget.

Where things get really interesting though is when you move up to the H7 and H9, which feature dual-mode wireless connectivity (Bluetooth and a dedicated 2.4GHz wireless dongle), a slightly more streamlined design and strong battery life. On top of that, the H9 also feature digital noise canceling using the same tech as Sony’s 1000X line, and it shows.

Unlike the cloth earcups you get on the H3 and H7 headsets, the flagship H9 features soft fit leather earcups just like you get on Sony's WH-1000XM5 headphones. Unlike the cloth earcups you get on the H3 and H7 headsets, the flagship H9 features soft fit leather earcups just like you get on Sony's WH-1000XM5 headphones. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Now I should mention Sony was only able to send out the H3 and H9 for testing, so I’ve been using those for my comparisons. But the H7 and H9 are fairly close in terms of specs, with the main difference being the H7’s lack of exterior RGB lighting, no support for digital noise canceling and the use of cloth earcups instead of the soft fit leather padding you get on the H9 (which is the same material Sony uses on the WH-100XM5). In return, because they don’t have built-in noise canceling, the H7 offer slightly longer battery life (around 40 hours) compared to the H9 (around 32 hours).

Regardless, my time with the H9 so far has been great, and in a lot of ways, they feel like a pair of WH-1000XM5 that have been tuned for gaming. The noise cancellation works wonders for drowning out background sounds, and the super supple leather makes wearing them feel like putting a cloud around your head.

Sony's first monitor under the Inzone brand will be the 27-inch M9 which features a 4K resolution, 144Hz refresh rate and full-array local dimming with 96 lighting zones. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

I also really appreciate some of the small details Sony added to the H9. On a lot of headphones that offer two modes of wireless connectivity, you can typically only use one type at a time. But with the H7 and H9s, you can connect to two different devices simultaneously. This means you can use the wireless dongle to connect to your PlayStation or PC, and then use Bluetooth to get audio from your phone. And because the PS5 doesn’t have native support for chat apps like Discord, this makes it much easier to talk to your friends regardless of what platform you’re on at the moment.

Additionally, the H7 and H9 are the only other headphones besides the Pulse 3Ds that can use the PS5’s on-screen status notifications, which means you can see stuff like volume levels, battery status, mic mute, and game/chat balance all at glance. So while they aren’t the PS5’s official headphones, they behave like they are, while also offering even more features and better audio quality. And just like the WH-1000XM5, you can even use your phone to take a picture of your ear, to tune their sound even further.

The back of the M9 has similar design elements to the PS5 along with customizable RGB lighting and a height and tilt-adjustable stand. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

As for Inzone’s new monitors, there’s the $529 M3 and the $899 M9. However, since the M3 won’t be available until sometime this winter, I’m going to focus on my time with the M9. Featuring a 27-inch 4K IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, the M9 isn’t the biggest or fastest gaming monitor around. But for the money, it packs a ton of features compared to similarly-priced rivals. Not only does it support VRR and NVIDIA G-Sync, it also sports a strong one millisecond gray-to-gray time, DisplayHDR 600 certification and a gamut that covers more than 95 percent of the DCI-P3 spectrum. In short, colors are bright, rich and vivid while also being largely immune from the ghosting you often see on less sophisticated displays.

However, the M9’s biggest advantage is its full-array local dimming (FALD) which is made up of 96 different lighting zones compared to just eight or 16 on competitors like the LG 27GP950 or the Samsung S28AG700. And after seeing the results side-by-side, I was kind of shocked at how much of a difference the M9’s FALD makes. A lot of gamers can spot bloom in games when something bright moves quickly across a dark background, which often produces ring of light around the object. But not only does the M9 almost completely eliminate halos, the ability to adjust lighting zones with greater precision also gives the monitor improved dynamic range. So in games like Elden Ring, I saw backgrounds that were much darker and atmospheric compared to the washed-out gray tones I saw on other monitors. This allows you to get much better contrast and black levels without needing to upgrade to more expensive QD-OLED displays like Alienware’s $1,300 AW3423DW.

Sony says it intentionally designed the M9's stand to protrude towards the rear to give gamers more room to position their keyboard close to the monitor. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

And just like its headphones, Inzone’s first monitor has a lot of really thoughtful smaller features. It has a built-in KVM switch, which is extremely useful if you have multiple PCs connected to the same display. It also has a native FPS counter so you can easily keep tabs on performance, while the monitor’s Auto Genre Picture Mode can switch between settings like Cinema Mode and Gaming Mode depending on the content coming from your PS5. And in addition to being height and tilt adjustable, Sony even designed the M9’s stand so that its feet stick out towards the back, which means PC gamers who need to place their keyboard as close as possible to their monitor like Dafran totally can.

But perhaps my favorite little touch, is the software that allows you to navigate the monitor’s on-screen display with your mouse, instead of having to fumble around with the joystick on the back of the panel. The M9 even comes with built-in stereo speakers, so you can plug in your PS5 and get straight to gaming without worrying about audio. And thanks to two HDMI 2.1 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4 jack, support for video over USB-C (DP Alt mode) and a built-in USB Hub, there’s a wealth of connectivity.

All of Inzone's new headsets and monitors will be available this summer except the M3 display, which will go on sale sometime this winter. All of Inzone's new headsets and monitors will be available this summer except the M3 display, which will go on sale sometime this winter. Sam Rutherford/Engadget

So aside from the H3 which is somewhat basic, I’ve come away quite impressed with Inzone’s first batch of PC and console gaming peripherals. That said, looking at the pedigree of these two faces of Sony, that probably shouldn’t be a surprise. It might not say so on the box, but in a lot of ways, this feels like the marriage between PlayStation and the tech from some of Sony’s best gadgets. But what might be the most promising part is that while Inzone hasn’t shared any future plans just yet, after talking to some of its reps, it’s clear Sony has big plans for its new gaming brand going into 2023 and beyond.

Sony InZone M9 Gaming Monitor Review: A Bright Spot for PC, PS5 Dualists - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:00
The flagship 27-inch monitor from Sony's new InZone gaming line shines in HDR mode.

Sony InZone H9 Gaming Headset Review: Great for PC and PS5, for a Price - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 17:00
Sony's flagship headset for its InZone gaming accessories launch stands out in a crowded field.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 102

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 16:53
williamyf writes: Today, Mozilla released Firefox 102. New features include:* Tired of too many windows crowding your screen? You can now disable automatic opening of the download panel every time a new download starts. Read more.* Firefox now mitigates query parameter tracking when navigating sites in ETP strict mode.* Subtitles and captions for Picture-in-Picture (PiP) are now available at HBO Max, Funimation, Dailymotion, Tubi, Disney+ Hotstar, and SonyLIV. This allows you to view video in a small window pinned to a corner of the screen while navigating between apps or browsing content on the main screen. But do not get fooled, the most important feature is that this release is an ESR, this is super-important of a host of reasons: * Firefox ESR is the basis for KaiOS (an evolution of BootToGecko), an OS for Semi-Smart Phones very popular in India (100milion+), SE Asia + Africa (~60Milion), so, whatever made the cut in 102 will define the base capabilities for KaiOS for the next year. * Firefox ESR is the basis for Thunderbird, so, if you use Thunderbird or a derivative, whatever made the cut in 102 will underpin Thunderbird for the next year. * Many popular Linux distros (like Debian or Kali) use Firefox ESR as the default browser. * Many companies and organizations use Firefox ESR as their default browser, and many SW development companies certify Firefox ESR as an alowed browser for their SW. So, 102 is a very important release, becuase it brings a year of advances to ESR.

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Google Makes Earth Engine Available To All Businesses and Governments

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 16:10
For the past decade, researchers in academia and the nonprofit world have had access to increasingly sophisticated information about the Earth's surface, via the Google Earth Engine. Now, any commercial or government entity will have access to Google Cloud's new enterprise-grade, commercial version of the computer program. From a report: Google originally launched Earth Engine for scientists and NGOs in 2010. One of the world's largest publicly available Earth observation catalogs, it combines data from satellites and other sources continuously streaming into Earth Engine. The data is combined with massive geospatial cloud-computing resources, which lets organizations use the raw data for timely, accurate, high-resolution insights about the state of the world. That means they can keep a near-constant eye on the world's forests, water sources, ecosystems and agriculture -- and how they're all changing.

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Pokemon Go Events for July 2022: Go Fest, Starly Community Day and More - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 16:00
Here's what's happening in Pokemon Go next month.

Apple Rumored Struggling to Make 5G Modems, Will Rely on Qualcomm - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 16:00
A well-known analyst and leaker's report on Apple's efforts to build its own 5G modems sent Apple shares down and Qualcomm shares up.