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IBM

IBM's Question-Answering System "Watson" Revisited 170

religious freak writes "IBM has created and made the question answering algorithm, Watson, available online. Watson has competed in and won a majority of (mock) matches against humans in Jeopardy. Watson does not connect to the Internet to answer his questions, but rather seeks answers using many different algorithms then employs a ranking algorithm to choose the best answer." We mentioned Watson last year as well.
The Media

Esquire Launches First Augmented Reality Magazine 82

An anonymous reader writes "We've seen augmented reality applications for years (and seen the GE windmill replicated in PopSci), but now Esquire Magazine seems to be trying to show off the undying value of print by launching its 'AR issue' — which, from the demo video, looks pretty cool. Applications include a 3D cover with Robert Downey Jr., a weather-changing fashion portfolio with The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner, a time-sensitive Funny Joke from a Beautiful Woman with Community's Gillian Jacobs, plus a song, a photo slideshow, and a face-recognition ad from Lexus. From the behind-the-scenes geekery: 'Advancements to further involve the user were happening even as we produced this issue, and while motion-sensor recognition already exists, so-called "natural-feature tracking" technology could soon put you inside AR without any googly-looking [note: not in the Google sense] boxes at all.'" Enjoying Esquire's AR issue requires downloading software — Windows and Mac only.
Movies

Ray Kurzweil's Vision of the Singularity, In Movie Form 366

destinyland writes "AI researcher Ben Goertzel peeks at the new Ray Kurzweil movie (Transcendent Man), and gives it 'two nano-enhanced cyberthumbs way, way up!' But in an exchange with Kurzweil after the screening, Goertzel debates the post-human future, asking whether individuality can survive in a machine-augmented brain. The documentary covers radical futurism, but also includes alternate viewpoints. 'Would I build these machines, if I knew there was a strong chance they would destroy humanity?' asks evolvable hardware researcher Hugo de Garis. His answer? 'Yeah.'" Note, the movie is about Kurzweil and futurism, not by Kurzweil. Update: 05/06 20:57 GMT by T : Note, Singularity Hub has a review up, too.
IBM

IBM Computer Program To Take On 'Jeopardy!' 213

longacre writes "I.B.M. plans to announce Monday that it is in the final stages of completing a computer program to compete against human 'Jeopardy!' contestants. If the program beats the humans, the field of artificial intelligence will have made a leap forward. ... The team is aiming not at a true thinking machine but at a new class of software that can 'understand' human questions and respond to them correctly. Such a program would have enormous economic implications. ... The proposed contest is an effort by I.B.M. to prove that its researchers can make significant technical progress by picking "grand challenges" like its early chess foray. The new bid is based on three years of work by a team that has grown to 20 experts in fields like natural language processing, machine learning and information retrieval. ... Under the rules of the match that the company has negotiated with the 'Jeopardy!' producers, the computer will not have to emulate all human qualities. It will receive questions as electronic text. The human contestants will both see the text of each question and hear it spoken by the show's host, Alex Trebek. ... Mr. Friedman added that they were also thinking about whom the human contestants should be and were considering inviting Ken Jennings, the 'Jeopardy!' contestant who won 74 consecutive times and collected $2.52 million in 2004."
Toys

Demo of Spatially Aware Blocks 109

Chris Anderson writes "This 5-min demo just posted from last week's TED — got a big crowd reaction. It's a new technology coming out of MIT, about to be commercialized. Siftables have been seen before, but not like this. They're toy blocks/tiles that are spatially aware and interact with each other in very cool ways. Initial use may be as toys, but there's big potential for new paradigm of spatially-aware physical mini computers."
Security

Flash Mob Steals $9 Million From ATMs 232

Mike writes "A global flash mob of ATM thieves netted $9 million in fraud against ATMs in 49 cities around the world. The computer system for a company called RBS WorldPay was hacked. One service of the company is the ability for employers to pay employees with the money going directly to a debit card that can be used in any ATM. The hacker was able to infiltrate the supposedly secure system and steal the information necessary to duplicate or clone people's ATM cards. Shortly after midnight Eastern Time on November 8, the FBI believes that dozens of the so-called cashers were used in a coordinated attack on ATMs around the world. Over 130 different ATMs in 49 cities worldwide were accessed in a 30-minute period on November 8. 'We've never seen one this well coordinated,' the FBI said. So far, the FBI has no suspects and has made no arrests (PDF) in this scam."
PC Games (Games)

Massive EVE Online Alliance Disbanded 352

tnt001 writes "In the world of EVE Online, the infamous Band of Brothers alliance has been disbanded. It seems that rival alliance Goonswarm had a spy in the holding corporation, and he stole money as well as capital ships and other assets. The spy then disbanded the alliance. 'One of GoonSwarm's stated motivations from their early days as an alliance was to punish what they viewed as the arrogance of Band of Brothers. If they've held true to that ideal, stealing the alliance out from under BoB effectively means GoonSwarm has accomplished what they set out to do years ago.' As of 11:00 GMT, BoB lost all its sovereignty (its outposts are conquerable now, cyno-jammers are offline, jump bridges are inoperable)."
Books

A Look Back At Kurzweil's Predictions For 2009 307

marciot writes "It's interesting to look back at Ray Kurzweil's predictions for 2009 from a decade ago. He was dead on in predicting the ubiquity of portable computers, wireless, the emergence of digital objects, and the rise of privacy concerns. He was a little optimistic in certain areas, predicting the demise of rotating storage and the ubiquity of digital paper a bit earlier than it appears it will actually happen. On the topic of human-computer speech interfaces, though, he seems to be way off." And of course Kurzweil missed 9/11 and the fallout from that. His predictions might have been nearer the mark absent the war on terror.
Security

A Hacker's Audacious Plan To Rule the Underground 313

An anonymous reader writes "Wired has the inside story of Max Butler, a former white hat hacker who joined the underground following a jail stint for hacking the Pentagon. His most ambitious hack was a hostile takeover of the major underground carding boards where stolen credit card and identity data are bought and sold. The attack made his own site, CardersMarket, the largest crime forum in the world, with 6,000 users. But it also made the feds determined to catch him, since one of the sites he hacked, DarkMarket.ws, was secretly a sting operation run by the FBI."

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