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Mobile Technology News, April 20, 2015

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • VIDEO: Meet the personal robot chef
    A US start-up is hoping to bring restaurant-quality food into kitchens – with a robot doing the cooking.
  • 'Ex Machina': The Consciousness Test
    If only Alan Turing was alive today.

    He would have enjoyed the acclaim of the movie about his life, The Imitation Game, and the great public interest around his role in helping to end WWII, the beginnings of the modern computer and the test for artificial intelligence that bears his name.

    Turing would have been able to share the thrill, as Stephen Hawking did while still alive, in the making of the movie of his life, The Theory of Everything — a film that dramatically places Hawking in the pantheon of great modern theorists.

    And he would have delighted in the artful and challenging, Ex Machina a movie set in the near future which uses the Turing Test as a starting point for an exploration of artificial intelligence and what it means to be human.

    The movie title is taken from the Latin phrase, Deus ex machina or God out of the machine — a reference to a Greek theatrical device whereby a god is lowered on a mechanical crane to resolve a conflict or problem the clueless humans can’t solve. Interestingly, while removing the god from the title of the movie, man’s god-like ambitions are on full display in this modern day drama.

    The action is set in a remote and wildly beautiful hideaway of Nathan, the fabulously wealthy founder of the world’s most dominant search engine, Blue Book. The fact that billionaire Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, describes his company as being in the business of AI or artificial intelligence is, perhaps, not entirely coincidental. The film opens with a Blue Book employee, Caleb, being flown out to his boss’s lair having “won” a chance to spend a week with the great man.

    Caleb quickly learns that he is actually there to be the human tester of an AI, named Ava, that Nathan has created. The “Ava Sessions” are scrutinized via CCTV which blankets the compound and Caleb gets to work interrogating his subject.

    In the test that Turing imagined, a computer would be deemed to have artificial intelligence if it could exhibit intelligent behavior and give responses that were indistinguishable from that of a human. The tester would be placed in a room separate from the computer, so there would be no visual cues as to who or what was responding.

    Ava, however, is fully visible to Caleb and he can clearly see that she is a robot. Her midriff is transparent — you can see right through her — exposing her cogs and wires. But she possesses an angelic face (provided by actress Alicia Vikander) and her intelligence (and beauty) is immediately apparent. She draws Caleb into a flirtatious and conspiratorial series of conversations and, not unlike in the movie, Her, the male protagonist becomes smitten with the machine he’s interacting with.

    Mid way through the film, and with Ava’s intelligence beyond a doubt, Caleb and Nathan move past what Turing was testing to debate a much deeper question: Does Ava have consciousness? And if so, is it true or simulated consciousness? She appears to be self-aware, manipulative, able to crack jokes, and doesn’t hide her sexuality.

    Of course, their discussion begs a much harder question: What exactly is consciousness and are we humans the only ones who can or who ever will possess it?

    This is a question that has vexed philosophers for millennia. And recently, the Australian philosopher, David Chalmers has named it “The Hard Problem” of consciousness. There’s even a play by Tom Stoppoard running at the National Theatre in London by that name. It’s a debate being taken up not just by philosophers and psychologists, but also neuro-scientists, AI researchers, ethicists and the religious. Is consciousness another word for “soul”? And, if so, can a robot have one?

    For Alex Garland, writer and director of Ex Machina, it’s only a matter of when, not if we create artificial intelligence — a view shared by many others including Elon Musk, the aforementioned Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates himself. These three have spoken out about the potential dangers of AI spelling doom for humanity. Others question whether intelligent and/or conscious machines will have rights and whether unplugging them will be tantamount to murder.

    Well, there’s plenty of mayhem to go round in the concluding scenes of the film. This will either unnerve or encourage you, depending on your view of human’s place in the universe. What the humanoid robot Ava proves is that if you can combine artificial intelligence with emotional intelligence, the world’s your oyster.

    I wonder if Turing would have approved?

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • If You Watched Leaked 'Game Of Thrones' Episodes, HBO Might Be Coming After You
    Notices are coming.

    According to reports, HBO is tracking down the people who watched those leaked “Game of Thrones” episodes. Though no serious legal action is being taken at the moment, the company is said to have sent “thousands of warnings” to those with Internet connections that shared the shows.

    Through anti-piracy partner IP-Echelon, HBO is reportedly telling providers to “contact the subscriber” and “take appropriate action.” The company tells HuffPost the anti-piracy efforts it’s implementing are “standard operating procedure.”

    Reddit users have seemingly posted examples of what they received:

    Just got the following in an email from my ISP Bell Canada. Someone in the apartment downloaded it.
    ————- Infringement Details ———————————-
    Title: Game of Thrones Timestamp: 2015-04-12-ANONYMIZED
    IP Address: mine
    Port: 51413
    Type: BitTorrent Torrent Hash: 008b8e8633010064ddbd78609002e5895a18ca64
    Filename: Game of Thrones S05E01 WEBRip XviD-FUM[ettv]
    Filesize: 424 MB –

    According to various sources, no strict legal action is being taken because HBO doesn’t have any violator names, but pirates should be wary. It’s apparent HBO is about to go all Khaleesi:


    Image: Tumblr

    This post has been updated to include comments from HBO.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Facebook's WhatsApp Hits 800 Million Users — 1 Billion By Year-End?
    WhatsApp now has 800 million monthly active users, continuing a pace of growth that may put the mobile messaging app on track to hit one billion users later this year.

    Jan Koum, the CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp, revealed the numbers on his Facebook page late Friday. The app, which Facebook bought last year for $22 billion, has added 100 million active monthly users roughly every four months since August, when it had 600 million users. In January, WhatsApp announced that it reached 700 million.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Post-Apocalypse Hacker Film Jackrabbit — All Style and No Substance
    The thing is — when you go to a film festival world premier, you know that you may find you’re in a film that isn’t exactly your style or taste. Part of the fun of a festival screening is the adventure of finding something new, a break out talent or a film that is going to make waves when it makes its way out of the festival circuit and to a mainstream audience.

    Simply put — you give the festival programmers your trust they they’re going to find gems early.

    So — with that in mind, I took a risk on a director i didn’t know — but a topic and genre that I like. I’m a fan of sci fi generally, and I’m certainly ok with a post-apocalyptic dystopian future.

    So Jackrabbit, was promised as the techno thriller — set in a world after the “reset” when computers with Tetris and old fashioned modems and text driven screens bring 80’s computing back to the future. Taking place in City 6, writer-director Carleton Ranney is clearly enjoying the flash-back nature of a future that looks like a low-tech past.

    2015-04-19-1429460076-3751775-Jackrabbit_Web_11024x562.jpg

    It’s a sexy premise, and the images on the screen are compelling. But after giving the film more than a fair chance, I have to say — the actually plot and storyline made no narrative sense to me.

    And Filmpulse isn’t any kinder. “Uneven pacing and the ultimately lackluster storyline keep this thriller from truly achieving its potential” writes Adam Patterson. “There are so many plot threads in Jackrabbit, and each is meant to further the story, enrich this world and develop the characters, but it never fully coalesces into the ambitious narrative it wants to be.”

    That’s kind. For me, it became harder and harder to care about the characters. Ranney doesn’t seem to mind having random characters enter and exit the plot — with little explanation or resolution. Yes, the soundtrack is thumping – with GMT’s Will Berman providing the retro-futuristic backdrop. And the aesthetic is appealing – – up to a point.

    But as indie sci-fi goes, this one is a bust. And it makes me wonder what Tribeca saw in it. Certainly programing a festival is no easy task, but given my love the genre and willingness to go to unusual places, I can’t help but wonder why Tribeca couldn’t have done better.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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