news

New IBM Robot Holds Its Own In a Debate With a Human

Slashdot - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 16:55
PolygamousRanchKid shares a report: The human brain may be the ultimate super computer, but artificial intelligence is catching up so fast, it can now hold a substantive debate with a human, according to audience feedback. IBM's Project Debater made its public debut in San Francisco Monday afternoon, where it squared off against Noa Ovadia, the 2016 Israeli debate champion and in a second debate, Dan Zafrir, a nationally renowned debater in Israel. The AI is the latest grand challenge from IBM, which previously created Deep Blue, technology that beat chess champion Garry Kasparov and Watson, which bested humans on the game show Jeopardy. In its first public outing, Project Debater turned out to be a formidable opponent, scanning the hundreds of millions of newspaper and journal articles in its memory to quickly synthesize an argument on a topic and position it was assigned on the spot. "Project Debater could be the ultimate fact-based sounding board without the bias that often comes from humans," said Arvind Krishna, director of IBM Research. An audience survey taken before and after each debate found that Project Debater better enriched the audience's knowledge as it argued in favor of subsidies for space exploration and in favor of telemedicine, but that the human debaters did a better job delivering their speeches. The AI isn't trained on topics -- it's trained on the art of debate. For the most part, Project Debater spoke in natural language, choosing the same words and sentence structures as a native English speaker. It even dropped the odd joke, but with the expected robotic delivery. IBM's engineers know the AI isn't perfect. Just like humans, it makes mistakes and at times, repeats itself. However, the company believes it could have a broad impact in the future as people now have to be more skeptical as they sort out fact and fiction. "Project Debater must adapt to human rationale and propose lines of argument that people can follow," Krishna said in a blog post. "In debate, AI must learn to navigate our messy, unstructured human world as it is -- not by using a pre-defined set of rules, as in a board game."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Escape from Monkey Island now available via GOG

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 16:44

Escape from Monkey Island, the fourth chapter in LucasArts' beloved adventure game series, is now available on GOG.

The last entry in the series directly developed by LucasArts, Escape is also widely regarded as the weakest in the series - although enjoyable overall.

As Guybrush Threepwood, aspiring mighty pirate, you are once again tasked with exploring the Caribbean, solving puzzles and defeating demon pirate LeChuck - who this time is in league with an Australian property developer.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Ex-Sony dev says PS4 / console cross-platform block is all about the money

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 16:39

A former Sony developer has said the great PlayStation 4 cross-platform block is all about the money.

John Smedley is the ex-boss of Planetside 2 and H1Z1 developer Daybreak Game Company, which changed its name from Sony Online Entertainment in 2015.

In a tweet referencing the fact those who used their Epic account to log-in to Fortnite on PS4 can't use the same Epic account on other consoles, Smedley said Sony's controversial policy comes down to money.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

McDonald's To Test Plastic-Straw Alternatives in US Later This Year

Slashdot - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 16:14
Under pressure by environmentalists, McDonald's has announced that it will start testing alternatives to plastic straws at select locations in the U.S. later this year. From a report: The burger giant also announced that it will adopt more eco-friendly paper straws across all its 1,361 restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland, a region where the company started testing the alternative to plastic straws earlier this year. The regional rollout begins in September. Single-use straws are the scourge of the packaging-waste world because they don't easily biodegrade and aren't really necessary for most people when it comes to gulping a soft drink. The activist group SumOfUs estimates that every day, McDonald's alone dispenses millions of plastic straws that customers soon discard, leaving them to litter beaches or clog waterways and fill trash dumps.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Disney is making a Nintendo Switch TV game show

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 16:04

Nintendo Switch Family Showdown is a new family game show set to be broadcast this summer.

Nintendo and Disney are both partners on the project, which will be shown on the Disney Channel, Disney XD and via the DisneyNOW streaming app.

Each episode will see four families battling it out for points and prizes by playing Nintendo Switch games against each other.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Competition: Win a beta key for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 15:31

"Azeroth paid a terrible price to end the apocalyptic march of the Legion's crusade-but even as the world's wounds are tended, it is the shattered trust between the Alliance and Horde that may prove hardest to mend. As this age-old conflict reignites, join your allies and champion your faction's cause-Azeroth's future will be forged in the fires of war."

World of Warcraft's brand-new expansion Battle for Azeroth is just around the corner now, launching in mid-August and moving the story of Azeroth forward.

However! Our pals over at Blizzard have given us a number of beta keys to give away to lucky readers, allowing early access to the expansion.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Why FIFA 18 players think EA changed gameplay for the World Cup update - despite the fact it didn't

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 15:01

When EA Sports released the free World Cup update for FIFA 18, some players thought it played differently compared to the main game. Actually, it was more than some - there were loads of players who thought it played differently.

These players, who suspected EA Sports had tinkered with the gameplay of FIFA 18 for the World Cup update on the quiet, claimed it felt slower, with nerfed dribbling and passing. I've also seen plenty of people say the World Cup mode plays more "arcadey" than the main FIFA 18 game, with overpowered shooting from distance. I've also seen people say lofted through balls are more effective, and even spotted the suggestion the World Cup update reverts to gameplay before FIFA 18 was patched.

The truth is, the gameplay in the World Cup update is exactly the same as the gameplay in the main FIFA 18 game, Andrei Lazarescu, producer of the Switch version of FIFA and the World Cup update confirmed to me at E3. So, why do players think there's a difference?

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Ex-CIA Employee Charged In Major Leak of Agency Hacking Tools

Slashdot - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 15:00
schwit1 shares a report from The Washington Post: Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a former CIA employee with violations of the Espionage Act (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) and related crimes in connection with the leak last year of a collection of hacking tools that the agency used for spy operations overseas. Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked for a CIA group that designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries, was charged in a 13-count superseding indictment with illegally gathering and transmitting national defense information and other related counts in connection with what is considered to be one of the most significant leaks in CIA history. The indictment accused Schulte of causing sensitive information to be transmitted to an organization, which is not named in the indictment but is thought to be WikiLeaks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Cyberpunk 2077 E3 demo PC specs revealed

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 13:42

It's likely to go down in history as one of the greatest E3 demos, its iconic status only embellished by the fact that outside of behind-closed-doors visitors, nobody has actually seen it. But the trailer footage looks sensational and reports of Cyberpunk 2077's gameplay are stoking plenty of excitement. And now, we have confirmation of the PC hardware that was actually running it.

CD Projekt RED's junior community specialist Alicja Kozera posted on the game's Discord channel that Intel's Core i7 8700K was the CPU of choice for the demo, while Nvidia's GTX 1080 Ti provided the all-important graphics component. Digital Foundry's John Linneman witnessed the demo first-hand during E3 and noted that the game - which was fully playable and running entirely in real-time - was operating at a capped 30 frames per second on a large 4K screen, though it was unclear whether the in-development code itself was rendering at native ultra HD. John reports that performance was smooth by and large, but there were some occasional performance drops.

It's worth pointing out that CDPR brought along a development build of the game, rather than a vertical slice that would have been optimised specifically for demo purposes. In effect, what lucky attendees saw was a game clearly in a very early stage of development but still running rather well overall. Here's the full demo PC spec, as revealed by CDPR. The extent to which the current demo requires such a large amount of memory and state-of-the-art storage remains to be seen.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Splatoon 2 Octo Expansion review - a brutal and brilliant single-player add-on

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 13:00

I will be honest: my worry, for the first few hours, is that Octo Expansion, the new single-player DLC for Splatoon 2, was going to be Splatoon 2: The Lost Levels. As in Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels.

The Lost Levels are great - on paper, at least. In reality, though, they are kind of annoying. I loved them when I first played them, but that's because they were so hard to get hold of for a while. Imagine, a sort of pseudo-sequel to Super Mario Bros with a handful of new gimmicks: poison mushrooms, wind that has to be factored in to platforming. Just one glimpse of that poison mushroom in an old Mean Machines would have been enough to send me into sweet delirium. Games used to be like this: a thing of rumours and blurred photographs.

With the benefit of time, let me announce my final position on The Lost Levels. They are a thrill to think about, but a chore and a bore to play. Poison mushrooms are the chance for something bad to happen in a game that previously thrummed with the potential that something good might happen. And that wind? That wind picks up out of nowhere and messes your jumps - jumps which you have planned and executed perfectly, because this is Super Mario Bros, and its world always used to make sense, always used to be reliable. The Lost Levels introduce an element of unreliability. It's not that they're hard. It's that they're jerks about it.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Humble's offering up to 75% off the Hitman franchise this week

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 12:57

After IO Interactive's announcement of a new instalment of murder-sandbox-playground series Hitman due later this year, it seems apt for Humble to gather up every game in the series and have a big celebratory discount bonanza.

The aforementioned bonanza features the entire Hitman franchise on PC with discounts of up to 75 per cent, which is a bit nice.

Perhaps most notably, you can pick up the Hitman Game of the Year Edition - which features all episodes of the most recent Hitman title as well as all DLC - for £23.84 / $31.79. That'll give you plenty of murder adventures to go on while you wait for the game's sequel, though if you wanted to revisit some of 47's previous escapades, you can also pick up the following.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Shots Fired Again Between CPU Vendors AMD and Intel

Slashdot - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 12:00
Highdude702 shares a report from Tom's Hardware: AMD's feud with Intel took an interesting turn today as the company announced that it would swap 40 Core i7-8086K's won from Intel's sweepstakes with a much beefier Threadripper 1950X CPU. At Computex 2018, Intel officially announced it was releasing the Core i7-8086K, a special edition processor that commemorates the 40th anniversary of the 8086, which debuted as the first x86 processor on June 8, 1978. Now AMD is offering to replace 40 of the winners' chips with its own 16-core 32-thread $799 Threadripper processors, thus throwing a marketing wrench into Intel's 40th-anniversary celebration. AMD has a list of the complete terms and conditions on its site. But it is also noteworthy that "winners" of AMD's competing sweepstakes will have to pony up for a much more expensive X399 motherboard with the TR4 socket, which currently retail for more than $300, instead of Intel's less-expensive 300-series motherboards. Regardless, those who do swap their Intel Core silicon for an AMD Threadripper chip will gain 10 cores and quad-channel memory, not to mention quite a bit of resale value. In response, Slashdot reader Highdude702 said: "AMD is shooting back at Intel like its easy for them, even though 40 out of 8086 is kind of stingy. They are acting like they have the horsepower now. I believe it is going to be an interesting time for consumers and enthusiasts coming soon. Maybe we will even get better prices." Intel responded via its official verified "Intel Gaming" Twitter account, tweeting: ".@AMDRyzen, if you wanted an Intel Core i7-8086K processor too, you could have just asked us. :) Thanks for helping us celebrate the 8086!"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Quake Champions is free for another week on Steam

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 11:27

Yesterday evening I shot a railgun bolt through three players at once in Quake Champions instagib and I can't begin to tell you how satisfying it was - especially when Quake's iconic announcer said how impressive I was for doing it.

Through Quake Champions, you see, the frenetic multiplayer delights of Quake have gloriously returned, albeit slightly buried in cosmetic loot boxes and character hero powers, which maybe will make more sense to me over time.

Anyway. I've been playing Quake Champions during the free access period over E3, and I've been having a lot of fun. It's with a happy heart, then, I tell you the free access period has been extended! It'll now run until 25th June.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Xbox avatars just got a lot more diverse

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 11:19

Nearly 10 years after Microsoft introduced avatars to Xbox Live on the 360, the company has pushed a big update to the virtual gamer creation system that makes it more diverse than ever.

Today, Alpha ring Xbox Insiders can fiddle about with the new and improved avatars with the beta Xbox Avatar Editor app - this should be live by 8pm UK time.

There's a wide range of body types and gender-neutral clothing available. New categories of appearance items and accessories include fingernails, makeup, limbs, nose rings and moods.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Epic to remove accidental swastika from Fortnite

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 10:47

Epic will remove an accidental swastika from Fortnite.

Redditor EuBestCityEu posted an image showing the accidental swastika on the Fortnite sub, which sparked a swift response from an Epic developer.

It's achieved by placing four metal floors next to each other and editing them into a circle. As EuBestCityEu explained: "We were making a dance floor in Tilted when one of my teammates noticed this."

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Fallout 76 beta begins first on Xbox One

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 10:23

Fallout 76 will get a beta - and it begins first on Xbox One.

In a recently updated FAQ, Bethesda said the beta for Xbox One will begin first, followed by other platforms (PlayStation 4 and PC via Bethesda.net).

Bethesda has yet to say when the Fallout 76 beta will kick off, but we do know you have to pre-order the game to get in. Bethesda said that's the only way to get access to the beta.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Games need to take a Minit and think about their huge worlds

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 09:00

Time limits are a much maligned bit of game design. A single level with a race against time is fine, Halo's final warthog run or Call of Duty Modern Warfare's desperate fight through a nuclear silo. But turn that into a whole game? People still argue over The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and Dead Rising. The creeping pressure is quite the stress, and finding a balance that still pays off people's potentially lengthy investment should they fail to meet certain actions in time is evidently not easy. Minit's solution is right there in the name and it's magic.

Minit has a time limit, at the end of which you will die and lose your progress through the game's world. Some things are kept but you'll be starting from the last bed you slept in. What makes it work? You're only sent back a mere minute in time. That sharp focus and tiny scale turns the time limit from just an obstacle and into a way to actively encourage the player. 60 seconds isn't much to lose and so instead of a frustration, it's a prompt to do things better, quicker and smarter next time. It pushes you to really engage with the world because, when every second counts, you've got to find every shortcut, every exploit and get very good at taking out or avoiding enemies. That self-imposed limit means the designers have to fill every space, every single screen with things to do as players will return again and again. Density over vastness.

This mechanic highlights so many of the problems in other game worlds, especially open worlds. Some games are so big, and yet we engage with such a small percentage of their space in a meaningful way. When time isn't an obstacle, why not have miles and miles of samey fields? "More is better" is such a common characteristic of big budget titles and the result is big spaces, filled with repetitive content and scarcely anything memorable. Our interactions with so many gaming worlds is passive. Even when they're pretty enough to make us stop and snap a screenshot we're still not learning them or unravelling them. They just want to get us to the next item on a checklist.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Kickstarter Bets On 'Wired' Arduino-Compatible IoT Platform

Slashdot - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 09:00
L-One-L-One writes: Most IoT home projects today are based on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and friends. But this is not always the ideal solution: you end up swapping batteries frequently, which becomes annoying quite quickly. You also have to deal with signal strength issues and interferences. To address this problem, a new Kickstarter campaign called NoCAN is proposing an Arduino-compatible internet-of-things platform based on wired connections that combine networking and power in one cable. The platform uses a set of cheap Arduino-compatible nodes controlled through a Raspberry Pi. The network uses CAN-bus and offers a publish/subscribe mechanism like MQTT and over-the-network firmware updates. It can also be controlled by a smartphone or tablet. Even with such features, can it succeed in going against the all-wireless trend? We'll know in a few weeks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Elon Musk Emails Employees About 'Extensive and Damaging Sabotage' By Employee

Slashdot - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an email to all employees on Monday morning about a factory fire, and seemed to reference possible sabotage. Now, CNBC has learned that Musk also sent an e-mail to all employees at Tesla late on Sunday night alleging that he has discovered a saboteur in the company's ranks. Musk said this person had conducted "quite extensive and damaging sabotage" to the company's operations, including by changing code to an internal product and exporting data to outsiders. In the email, Musk said "the investigation will continue in depth this week" to "figure out if [the saboteur] was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organizations [that want Tesla to disappear]." You can read the full email via CNBC's report.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Senate Votes To Reinstate ZTE Ban That's Nearly Shut Down the Company

Slashdot - Tue, 19/06/2018 - 03:40
The U.S. Senate has voted to reinstate a ban on ZTE that prevents the Chinese telecom company from buying U.S. components and using U.S. software. As The Verge notes, "it's still not clear if the reversal will make it into law: it has to clear a conference with the House, and then avoid a veto from President Trump, who advocated for cutting a deal that would lift the ban." From the report: ZTE was hit with the trade ban by the U.S. Commerce Department in April after failing to following through with a punishment for violating sanctions on Iran and North Korea. That ban essentially shut down ZTE, which relies on U.S. parts like Qualcomm processors. Shortly thereafter, Trump said he would cut a deal to revive the company, and a deal was reached -- with additional penalties that the department said were uniquely stringent -- earlier this month. But senators on both sides of the aisle immediately threatened to stop the deal and reinstate the ban, citing ZTE as a national security risk. And ultimately, a bipartisan group worked to get legislation introduced. The Senate voted 85 to 10 in support of reinstating the ban. It was included as an amendment on the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass piece of legislation that has already moved through the House.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
Syndicate content