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Do You Know What Happened In Tech The Week Of May 30?

Twitter's adding a new button, Elon Musk has some wild ideas, and one tech platform is kicking people off for being racist.

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  1. 1. Google

    With all of Google's advancements in machine learning, some people are getting a little worried about the future implications. Once A.I. hits a certain point, the future looks a lot like a sci-fi movie, and Google starts to look a lot like Skynet. So, this week, Google's DeepMind division published a paper with Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute to find out how to stop self-directed artificial intelligence that might, say, decide that humanity is the true problem. What's the solution they came up with?
    Google

    With all of Google's advancements in machine learning, some people are getting a little worried about the future implications. Once A.I. hits a certain point, the future looks a lot like a sci-fi movie, and Google starts to look a lot like Skynet. So, this week, Google's DeepMind division published a paper with Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute to find out how to stop self-directed artificial intelligence that might, say, decide that humanity is the true problem. What's the solution they came up with?

    We should stop developing artificial intelligence immediately.
    Build an off switch into A.I. programs.
    Gifts to ply our robot overlords with.
    Only build A.I. for very specific tasks.
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's giving A.I. an off button.

    The paper, titled "Safely Interruptible Agents," "explores a way to make sure a learning agent will not learn to prevent (or seek!) being interrupted by the environment or a human operator." Essentially, we've got to make sure that artificial intelligence can't get so intelligent that it learns to ignore the command to turn off. Welcome to the future!

  2. 2. Racism

    This week, a major tech companies came under higher scrutiny than usual in the tech world after accusations of enabling racism, and ultimately banned a user from its platform. Which tech company had more racism problems than usual this week?

    Twitter
    Via Twitter
    Twitter
    Via Twitter
    Facebook
    Via Facebook
    Facebook
    Via Facebook
    Aibnb
    Via Airbnb
    Aibnb
    Via Airbnb
    Uber
    Via Uber
    Uber
    Via Uber
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's Airbnb.

    Airbnb removed a North Carolina host from its platform on Wednesday following a barrage of racist remarks directed at a guest. “We were horrified when we read these messages,” Airbnb spokesperson Nick Papas told BuzzFeed News. Airbnb faces mounting pressure to address racial discrimination on its short-term rental platform, a particularly challenging problem for the company. The Fair Housing Act exists precisely to protect consumers from discrimination, but Airbnb cannot always police how its users use the platform.

  3. 3. Elon Musk

    Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk talked about what he believes to be the nature of reality while onstage at Recode's Code Conference in Southern California. What does one of the leading figures in tech think?
    AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

    Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk talked about what he believes to be the nature of reality while onstage at Recode's Code Conference in Southern California. What does one of the leading figures in tech think?

    That we're all living in a computer simulation.
    That there are probably mer-people, we just haven't found them yet.
    That we're all going to live in virtual reality soon.
    That when we get to Mars there will be some really good parties.
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's the simulation one.

    "There's a billion to one chance we're living in base reality," Musk says. Essentially, he thinks that we're probably living inside of a video game. "If you assume any rate of improvement at all then games will become indistinguishable from reality," Musk said. "Even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now, let's just imagine it's 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale."

  4. 4. Snapchat

    This week, Snapchat was at the center of a huge controversy in India. What happened on the platform that prompted police to look into the situation?
    Snapchat

    This week, Snapchat was at the center of a huge controversy in India. What happened on the platform that prompted police to look into the situation?

    Sexting, obviously.
    People are using Snapchat to sell drugs.
    Snapchat is being used for bullying.
    A comedian face-swapped with two Indian celebrities.
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's face-swap.

    Tanmay Bhat, a comedian from Mumbai, swapped faces as renowned Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and legendary Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, and had the two characters argue with each other via his Snap Story. Now, Bhat is potentially in trouble for a unique issue: India’s laws around manipulating people’s photos (“morphing”) make Snapchat’s face-swap feature a legal gray area.

    It's face-swap.
    Via Facebook
  5. 5. Twitter

    This week, Twitter began testing a new button. What will it do?
    Twitter

    This week, Twitter began testing a new button. What will it do?

    Edit tweets.
    Search for GIFs.
    Start a Periscope broadcast.
    Fires Twitter's entire product team.
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It launches a Periscope broadcast.

    The social network is testing out a new button on its "Compose A New Tweet" screen. It really, really would appreciate it if you livestreamed more, people.

    It launches a Periscope broadcast.
    Via Katie Notopoulos

Do You Know What Happened In Tech The Week Of May 30?

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Brendan Klinkenberg is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Brendan Klinkenberg at brendan.klinkenberg@buzzfeed.com.

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