Apple Readies $1 Billion War Chest for Hollywood Programming

Company immediately becomes a considerable competitor in crowded market for original shows

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Aug. 16, 2017 5:00 a.m. ET

Apple Inc. AAPL 0.47% has set a budget of roughly $1 billion to procure and produce original content over the next year, according to people familiar with the matter—a sign of how serious the iPhone maker is about making a splash in Hollywood.

Combined with the company’s marketing clout and global reach, that immediately makes Apple a considerable competitor in a crowded market where new media players and traditional media companies are vying to acquire original shows. The figure is about half what Time Warner Inc.’s HBO spent on content last year and on par with estimates of what Amazon.com Inc. spent in 2013, the year after it announced its move into original programming.

Apple could acquire and produce as many as 10 television shows, according to the people familiar with the plan, helping fulfill Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue’s vision of offering high-quality video—similar to shows such as HBO’s “Game of Thrones”—on the company’s streaming-music service or a new, video-focused service.

Apple declined to comment.

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Nothing happens “Just Because”

China will stop U.S. if it tries to attack North Korea; State-run newspaper

China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis

If North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States then China should stay neutral, but if the United States attacks first and tries to overthrow North Korea’s government China will stop them, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday. 

President Donald Trump ratcheted up his rhetoric toward North Korea and its leader on Thursday, warning Pyongyang against attacking Guam or U.S. allies after it disclosed plans to fire missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific territory.

China, North Korea’s most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis. It has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behavior from South Korea and the United States that it sees as escalating tensions.

The widely read state-run Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, wrote in an editorial that Beijing is not able to persuade either Washington or Pyongyang to back down.

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Don’t get caught unprepared! No one will be coming to help you in a SHTF situation . . .

Cyberattack leaves millions without mobile phone service in Venezuela

Venezuela has two other private mobile phone operators: Spanish-owned Movistar and Digitel

Caracas (AFP) – A massive cyberattack that took down government websites in Venezuela earlier this week also has left seven million mobile phone users without service, the government said Thursday.

A group that calls itself The Binary Guardians claimed responsibility for attacks that targeted the websites of the government, the supreme court and the National Assembly.

“These terrorist actions which affected the Movilnet’s GSM platform on Wednesday left without communication seven of the state operator’s 13 million users,” Science and Technology Minister Hugbel Roa said.

Venezuela has two other private mobile phone operators: Spanish-owned Movistar and Digitel.

Roa said the outage was part of a wave of attacks that began Monday when dozens of government and private company websites were hacked.

Roa said there also have been nine cuts in the country’s fiber optic network, which has cut off already precarious internet service to seven states.

“The attacks were carried out with the help of foreign agents, trying once again to disrupt our country’s connectivity,” Roa said, adding that an investigation was underway.

Don’t get caught unprepared!In a SHTF situation, no one will be coming to help you!

Meet The “Bionic Barrista” Whose Mission Is To Terminate Millions Of Minimum Wage Jobs

Tyler Durden

Tired of your barista giving you attitude, spitting in your coffee if you only mention Trump, or misspelling your name on your morning cup of joe? Surely a robot could do better. Well, we are about to find out, because on Monday, Cafe X opened its very first robotic cafe in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center Digital Trends reports. Promising “precision crafted specialty coffee in seconds, the way the roaster intended,” Cafe X thinks that anything a human can do, its machines can do better. Or rather just one machine.

Nicknamed Gordon, after a Cafe X employee, this robot mans, or robots, two standard professional coffee machines in order to serve up espressos and lattes. In the San Francisco location, customers can grab a cup of coffee with beans from AKA Coffee, Verve Coffee Roasters, or Peet’s. While the coffee itself may not make Cafe X stand out from the competition, the startup hopes that the robot’s efficiency and utility will.

And it surely will, because while its name may be Gordon, its title is the “bionic barrista” and its primary mission is to terminate millions of minimum wage jobs around the globe, boosting the bottom line for major coffee chains everywhere, whose growth has plateaued and who are desperate to cut on overhead costs. Already the average Cafe X coffee costs more than 10%, or 40 cents less than a similar drink at Starbucks. With greater scale the price will only drop.

While offering clear savings for the business, there will be some tradeoffs – introducing automation and robotics into food service will reduce costs and increase efficiency at the expense of customization and a “human touch.” Some companies – and clients – may prefer a personal experience to an efficient one, or a customized product. The company behind Gordon, however, disagrees: “There’s a lot of work that goes into great coffee. The Cafe X system is designed for humans and robots to collaborate,” Cafe X explains on its websites. “Smart robotics and machine learning working autonomously allows our operations team to focus on sourcing and using fresh ingredients, maintaining extremely high hygiene standards, and ensuring a great customer experience with every single interaction.”  According to Cafe X, a great customer experience involves efficiency and replicability. “By being automated, we guarantee every cup of coffee you are served from a Cafe X machine is how the roaster intended you to enjoy their coffee,” Cafe X CEO Henry Hu told CNET.

For clients, the efficiency improvements and passed-through cost savings will likely more than offset any loss of a “human touch” – you can order your cup of coffee ahead of time with the Cafe X mobile app and even schedule a pickup time, if you want. Thanks to the robot’s artificial intelligence software, your pre-orders are taken into consideration alongside walk-in orders to ensure that no one is waiting for too long. And with a single robot capable of making 100 to 120 cups of coffee in an hour, you likely won’t be waiting long at all.

And since bionic barristas not only do not expect a weekly paycheck, but need no healthcare of benefits, the choice for Howard Schultz’ replacement is clear. Oh, and to those 10,000 refugees who had hoped to get a job at Starbucks, our condolences.

Watch “Gordon” in action here:

… here:

… and here:

Facebook hiring neuroscientists to build potential mind-reading social network

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has said telepathy is the technology of the future

 

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Facebook is working on a “brain-computer interface”, apparently to let people talk to each other by reading their minds.

The company is secretly building a team apparently to work on new social media platforms that will use advanced neuroscience and electrical engineering.

Among other mysterious jobs, it is advertising for a “brain-computer interface engineer” in its Building 8 team. That team will work on Facebook’s most futuristic and secretive projects, according to the same listing.

That engineer will work on “developing advanced [brain-computer interface] technologies”, according to the ad. That will involve using computers and artificial intelligence to work with “neuroimaging and electrophysiological data”, according to the same listing.

Mark Zuckerberg has referred to a version of telepathy as the computer platform of the future, and the job ads suggest that Facebook is working on such technology. In a Q&A last year he described how people would be able to “capture a thought… in its ideal and perfect form in your head and share that with the world”.

Other jobs in the Building 8 team – which is apparently just being established – include jobs looking for people capable of building a “communications and computing platform of the future”.

That platform also seems to make use of new forms of interacting with computers. It requires that the person doing it has experience of “speech and audio signal processing algorithms and systems”, and that those will be used to build the new system.

Another job listing reveals that Facebook is looking for a haptics specialist, who would help the company use touch interactions to build “realistic and immersive” experiences.

All of the jobs are listed as temporary, two-year contracts that require someone who is “slightly impatient”. But it isn’t clear when or even whether any of those projects will actually come to fruition, and whether they’ll be included in Facebook products or entirely different, new projects.

 

Could ‘demonic voices’ take over YOUR phone? Listen to the terrifying hidden audio messages that can hijack smart assistants

  • Hack can embed hidden voice commands in YouTube videos 
  • Tests shows Android 10ft away from speaker playing malicious commands 
  • Commands sound demonic and are rarely understood by humans
  • Can make phones calls, take pictures, transfer money and more
  • Can make assistant download malware to control entire smartphone 

It may sound like YouTube has been possessed, but the demonic sounds coming from the clip below are voice commands to access a smartphone’s virtual assistant.

Researchers have found an attack that uses ‘hidden voice commands’ embedded within clips that lets hackers prompt the assistant to perform a number of tasks.

This attack lets hackers make phone calls, use Venmo to transfer money or worse, download malware giving cyberthieves complete control of the handset.

Scroll down for videos

 Researchers have found an attack that uses ‘hidden voice commands’ embedded within YouTube videos that lets hackers prompt the assistant to perform a number of tasks. They placed an Android 10ft away from the speaker and the ‘demonic sounds’ said ‘OK Google’The bizarre hack was discovered by a group of Ph.D candidates at Georgetown and the University of California, Berkley, which found the commands are ‘unintelligible to human listeners but which are interpreted as commands by devices’.’Voice command systems are becoming ubiquitous,’ notes Micah Sherr, a computer science department professor who worked with colleagues Clay Shields and Wenchao Zhou on the project.’The attack we envision as most feasible is that someone has a YouTube video of kittens or something popular and in the background, there’s something that says, open a URL.’ ‘This introduces an opportunity for attackers to try to issue unauthorized voice commands to these devices.’

In order for you to become a victim, you just have to listen to a malicious YouTube clip via your smartphone or have it nearby – researchers placed the device 10.1 feet away from the speakers and it was hacked.

And when successful, the hacker can take control of your phone by making phones call, using Venmo to transfer money or access other personal information, reports Vocativ.

‘Voice interfaces are becoming more ubiquitous and are now the primary input method for many devices,’ the researchers wrote.

‘We explore in this paper how they can be attacked with hidden voice commands that are unintelligible to human listeners but which are interpreted as commands by devices.’

Another instance, which may be more damaging, would let cybertheives open websites and download malware – letting them have full control of the device.

In order for you to become a victim, you just have to listen to a malicious YouTube clip via your smartphone or have it nearby – researchers placed the device 10.1 feet away from the speakers and it was hacked

‘So a possible scenario could be that a million people watch a kitten video, and 10,000 of them have their phones nearby and 5,000 of those phones obey the attacker’s voice commands and load a URL with malware on it,’ Sherr says.

‘Then you have 5,000 smartphones under an attacker’s control.’

The team used their knowledge about how speech recognition systems work to construct audio recordings that can be understood as speech by computers but lack the necessary resolution for human comprehension.

‘We learned that if you remove those parts and keep everything else, you get something that a computer can still understand but the human brain cannot,’ Sherr explains.

During their work, the team discovered that it is easy to change voice commands in a way that are nearly unrecognizable by humans, but still prompt the phone to do a task.

When successful, the hacker can take control of your phone by making phones call, using Venmo to transfer money or access other personal information. Cybertheives can also open websites and download malware – letting them have full control of the device

When successful, the hacker can take control of your phone by making phones call, using Venmo to transfer money or access other personal information. Cybertheives can also open websites and download malware – letting them have full control of the device

The results were condensing the words into a demonic growl.

‘Ok Google, Open XKCD.com,’ the voice says, and a nearby phone opens that URL.

And humans in the study could only understand ‘Ok Google’ 20 percent of the time, whereas the Android device in the experimental video executed the command 95 percent of the time.

The team also offered some solutions’

‘We then evaluate several defenses, including notifying the user when a voice command is accepted; a verbal challenge-response protocol; and a machine learning approach that can detect our attacks with 99.8% accuracy.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1221560.html

Brain-to-Brain Communication Is Closer Than You Think

Don’t call it telepathy, but call it very cool.

When neuroscientists used a monkey’s thoughts to control computers, it was a huge breakthrough in mind-machine research. But harnessing brain waves has become even more complex now that humans are the subjects. Recently, researchers used the thoughts of one human’s brain to control the physical actions of another. Really. As a panel of experts explained at the World Science Festival this week, brain-to-brain linkups are just getting started.

The field got its start in 1998 in the lab of Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian researcher working at Duke University. Before Nicolelis started experimenting with the brain, scientists were measuring the electrical output of a single neuron at a time. But Nicolelis and his colleagues began recording information from the brains of rats, where they discovered that to make their bodies move, rat brains would fire 48 neurons at a time. Believing that they could advance their understanding further, Nicolelis and his team then turned to monkeys.

They recorded 100 neurons firing at once in the brain of a monkey. Believing they might be able to take this data and use it to perform a task, the team connected a probe into the area of the monkey’s brain that controlled for arm movement. Then they gave the monkey a game to play: Using a joystick, the monkey moved a dot around on a screen until it entered a circle in the center. When the monkey moved the dot into the correct location, she received a reward of juice. Once they recorded the brain patterns that resulted from the movement, the team took the joystick away. The monkey was now able to move the dot around simply by imagining it move.

“Somehow she figured out that she could just imagine. She realized this is the prototype of a free lunch,” Nicolelis said. The innovation was the grandfather of the brain-to-brain interface. “This was the first time a primate’s brain liberated itself from the body,” he said.

After Nicolelis’s study, other neuroscientists began taking the work to humans. In 2013, Chantel Prat and Andrea Stocco, both researchers at the University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, wanted to see if they could send a message to control physical movement from one brain to another. Because it’s a breach of research ethics to connect probes directly into a living human brain, they had to figure out how to do it using non-invasive techniques.

Using an electroencephalography (EEG) cap, which records brain activity, they positioned two researchers in separate areas of the campus. In one room a colleague, Rajesh Rao, played a videogame using his mind. Each time Rao saw an enemy he wanted to shoot in the game he would think about pressing a button. Across campus, Stocco sat with his back to the same video game while wearing noise-canceling headphones so he wouldn’t know when to respond. On his head was a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil (a device that can emit a focused electrical current), which was positioned directly over the part of the brain that controlled the movement of his finger.When Rao thought about moving his finger, the signal was transmitted across campus to Stocco who, without any knowledge of it, would twitch his finger and trigger the game to shoot an enemy.

“The first time I didn’t even realize my hand had moved. I was just waiting for something to happen,” said Stocco.

That reaction, Prat says, is an important aspect of this science. “There is this idea that I would like to dispel. This is not the X-Men version of telepathy where you hear a disembodied voice. My brain would have no way of knowing that your thoughts are mine. Whatever shape [future brain-to-brain communication] takes is going to be very different than listening to someone’s thoughts in your head.”

“I don’t think we will ever be able to broadcast from one brain to another the essence of the human condition.”

The neuroscientists all agreed that, while this technology is still rudimentary there are implications for future uses. Nicolelis, for example, has adapted the brain-to-machine interface to help paralyzed patients walk by using their brain signals to control prosthetic devices. He says that over the two years he’s been working with them several of his patients have recovered some sensory ability in their paralyzed lower limbs. “The conjunction of output to control device and feedback may have triggered axons that survived to start working again,” he says.

Prat, who is especially interested in the differences between individual brains, believes that the technology could also eventually be used to improve learning by harnessing the EEG’s ability to distinguishing between a brain that is focusing and one that is “zoning out.” That way, perhaps in the future, when a “good learner” starts to focus on a learning task their brain can trigger someone who is not paying attention to focus in on the task at hand. Brain-to-brain communication, she says, may one day be especially good at transmitting a state of mind.

In the end the researchers agreed that despite the technology’s many potential benefits one future we won’t see is one in which you can connect your brain into a computer and download all the Earth’s knowledge. According to Nicolelis, downloading massive amounts of data or mimicking telepathy will be impossible because the brain is just too complex.

“I don’t think we will ever be able to broadcast from one brain to another the essence of the human condition. We don’t even know how to record those things let alone broadcast them and then interpret that broadcast. We love analogies, metaphors, expecting things, and predicting things. These thing are not in algorithms. We’re not going to be broadcasting my dreams to your head.”