It’s been wild and rocky these past 13 days. It’s a shame that Trump is so heavily dominating headlines. He’s touched politics, economics, social science, and even my beloved technology. I promise some non-Trump stories this week, leading off with our robot overlords beating the best human players in Texas Hold’em.
LIBRATUS BEATS HUMANS WHO DON’T KNOW WHEN TO HOLD’EM OR WHEN TO FOLD’EM
Humans are having a tough time. Right now they’re living in fear of their political leaders, and the AI and robotic beings that are picking off their jobs. Two nerds at Carnegie Mellon, professor Tuomas Sandholm and grad student Noam Brown, designed an AI named Libratus, that has pulled out every bluff, feint, and trick beyond cheating against four top Texas Hold’em poker players. The feat is notable because excelling at Texas Hold’em requires more than probability theory. It requires bluffs, reading other players, and knowing how much to bet and when. The goal of Hold’em is to win the most money, not each hand. It requires long tail planning, probability theory, and luck. There’s nothing we can’t win using our minds now. I’m waiting for the robots vs. humans head-to-head football game.
SIX STRIKE POLICY IS NOW ‘OUT’ IN US
The Copyright Alert System had been used to notify Internet subscribers after they have downloaded copywitten content illegal. The proliferation of Napster and BitTorrent sites ecouragaed the RIAA and MPAA to devise a system in which ISPs would notify users when they illegally downloaded content. Since 2013, millions of alerts were sent out to users who may have downloaded media illegally, with 1.3 million going out in the first 10 months of use. Fast forward to today, and CaS is being disbanded. There’s debate on whether or not the system was effective. The Ependables 3 was downloaded over 60 million times. Just because the CaS is going away doesn’t mean it’s time to sail over to thePirateBay and fire up your favorite bit torrent client. Downloading pirated content is a federal crime and you’ll need to pay fines and suffer jail time.
IN A BID TO STORE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU FACEBOOK LAUNCHES NEW PASSWORD RECOVERY SERVICE FOR THIRD PARTY SITES
No, you’re not going to give Facebook your passwords to all of the other sites you use, but with a little help from your favorite websites, Facebook can help you recover forgotten passwords by sharing a specially generated token, scrambled data, between the third party site and Facebook. The service is designed to provide a more secure mechanism for recovering a password than the industry standard “ask 3 questions and enter a new password” scheme most places use. The system sounds great, but there’s one hitch. You have to remember your Facebook password to make it work! Right now, the service only works with GitHub but Facebook plans to make it available to other third party sites.
SUPERBOWL LI BRINGS BACK BUD-BOWL NOVELTY WITH VR THIS WEEKEND
SuperBowl LI, 51 for those who didn’t pass second grade, is this weekend. Like many I get kicks out of the zany commercials played during the big game. Some of my favorite commercials are beer commercials and if you’re a product of the 80’s like I am you may have a fondness for the Bud Bowl, the parodied bowl of Bud commercials that air through out the night. Many companies have tried novel marketing tricks during the Game, like the year the Bud Bowl was televised in 3D. This year, Fox Sports and LiveLike are fooling around with last Christmas’ gadget trend, virtual reality. This year, you can enter a VR suite and watch up to 20 clips of the game using the Fox Sports VR app. This could be an interesting application of the technology but it will not be a live virtual reality stream of the big game. We’ll need to wait and see what the experience is like. I’m hoping it’ll be a great one.
THE FATHER OF PAC-MAN AND FOUNDER OF NAMCO DIES AT 91
Masaya Nakamura, who founded the Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company, the legendary video game company, NAMCO, has died. Nakamura is known as the father of programmer, Toru Iwatani’s famous game, Pac-Man. Nakamura was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan’s highest honors in 2007.