Ungrateful Google Plebes Somehow Not Excited to Work on Military Industrial Complex Death Machines

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“Don’t Be Evil” has been one of Google’s corporate maxims for over 15 years. But it’s recent dealings with the Department of Defense has put that ideal on ice. For some reason, Google’s workers aren’t psyched about this!

Over three thousand Google employees signed a recent public letter demanding CEO Sundar Pichai shut down Project Maven — a Department of Defense contract to create a “customized AI surveillance engine” — and publicize a clear policy that “neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.”

The letter’s got some pretty direct language, calling the company out on its loss of the aforementioned core value: “Google’s unique history, its motto Don’t Be Evil, and its direct reach into the lives of billions of users set it apart.” The commoditization of people’s personal data (ergo, their psyches) not withstanding, obviously.

Gizmodo reported on Project Maven earlier last month, when they described it as “using machine learning to identify vehicles and other objects in drone footage, taking that burden off analysts.” Google and the Pentagon fired back, stating that the technology wouldn’t be used to create an autonomous weapons system that can identify targets and fire without a human squeezing the trigger.

CEO Pichai spun the letter and public exchange with the company as “hugely important and beneficial” in a statement to the New York Times, but of course, didn’t refer to any plans to throw the brakes on the project. Pichai’s statement went on to say that the tech used by the Pentagon is available to “any Google Cloud customer” and reserved specifically for “non-offensive purposes.”

Thing is, Google’s far from the only tech industry player in cahoots with the military. Red flags immediately went up when news broke that a team of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) was partnering up with weapons company Hanwha Systems — a company that produces cluster bombs, not exactly a popular form of warfare, as far as these things go. Fifty researchers from thirty countries called for an immediate boycott of the Korean institute.

Microsoft and Amazon both signed multi billion dollar contracts with the Department of Defense to develop cloud services. Credit where it’s due: At least the DOD isn’t trying to spin this as anything other than death machine-making. Defense Department chief management officer John Gibson didn’t beat around the bush when he said the collaboration was designed in part to “increase lethality and readiness.”

So that’s fun! And if Google’s recent advancements in AI tech faced a similar fate, think: Weaponized autonomous drones, equipped with private data, and a sophisticated AI. Not saying this is exactly how SkyNet starts, but, this is basically how SkyNet starts.

The counter to this argument, insomuch as there is one, is that these technological developments lead to better data, and better data leads to better object identification technology, which could also lead to more precise offensives, which could lead (theoretically) to less civilian casualties, or at least (again, theoretically) increased accountability on the part of the military (analog: the calculator should make it exponentially more difficult to get numbers “wrong” on your taxes, so the automated hyper-targeted death robots should make it exponentially more difficult to “accidentally” murder a school full of children).

All of which should go without saying that collaboration between the Department of Defense and various Silicon Valley tech companies is a dangerous game, and we have seen how quickly the balance can tilt in one direction. Having informed tech employees call out their CEOs publicly could hopefully lead to tech companies choosing their military contracts more carefully, or at least, more light being shed on who’s making what technologies, or rather, what technologies Silicon Valley coders are unknowingly working on.

More likely is that it just results in these companies being more discreet about the gobstoppingly shady (but profitable!) death machine work they’re doing. Good thing — like the rest of the world with a brain in their heads — we’re all ears.

The post Ungrateful Google Plebes Somehow Not Excited to Work on Military Industrial Complex Death Machines appeared first on Futurism.


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What are you most excited to see at WWDC 2018? [Poll]

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Apple today officially announced dates for annual developer conference, WWDC 2018. This year, the event will run from June 4th through June 8th in San Jose, California at the McEnery Convention Center.

WWDC 2018 will mark the unveil of Apple’s latest software updates, as well as some potential hardware updates. What are you most excited to see at this year’s event?



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Inside the AMNH’s new ocean exhibit, with 30 very excited fourth graders

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

<em>A partial replica of a Triton submersible in the new exhibit Unseen Oceans at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.</em>

I had hoped that getting a media preview of a new museum exhibition meant having the luxury of strolling around undisturbed, without the crowds that turn any museum visit in New York into Macy’s on Black Friday. Instead, there are dozens of other journalists with cameras on tripods — and about 30 very excited fourth graders.

It’s Tuesday morning, and I’m at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan to take a look at a new exhibition called Unseen Oceans. The museum has arranged for the fourth graders to be here so that the media can take nice pictures of children learning cool stuff. Like many things that are great for the cameras, it’s distressing as an experience.

Photo: AMNH / R. Mickens
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What new Apple product are you most excited for this year? [Poll]

As we head into March, we could be just days away from Apple’s first new hardware releases of the year. While 2018 has already marked the release of the HomePod, Zac outlined earlier today that Apple still has quite a few new products up its sleeve for this year.

What potential new product are you most excited for this year?



These smart glasses get me excited about how cool Apple Glasses could be

BARCELONA, Spain — The best product I’ve tried out at this year’s Mobile World Congress is the Vuzix Blade AR glasses. These smart specs superimpose a sharp, high-definition display over your regular vision, making real life resemble an awesome Xbox game. The Blade basically delivers on everything that Google Glass tried to do, but without […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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iOS 11.3 coming next week? Don’t get too excited just yet

Accessory manufacturer Shure is claiming on Twitter that iOS 11.3 will be debuting next week. While it may seem they’ve been privy to some insider information, a release next week seems unlikely…. Read the rest of this post here

iOS 11.3 coming next week? Don’t get too excited just yet” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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These New ‘Witcheye’ Gifs are Getting Me Pretty Excited

Back at the beginning of December we posted about a very cool upcoming game called Witcheye from indie developer Peter Malamud Smith which was sort of a throwback NES-style platformer about a witch who could transform into a flying eyeball. You know, normal stuff. While Smith had previously released the clever puzzle/avoidance game Sattelina [$ 1.99] and its spinoff Satellina Zero [Free] on iOS, he was also part of the team that created the very well-received “lost” NES game The Great Gatsby back in 2011, which you can play in Flash in your browser. The Great Gatsby felt about as authentic of an NES game as you could get without having it actually be from the NES era, and that’s relevant to this discussion as Witcheye is going for that same authentic feel. We hadn’t really heard much about Witcheye since that original post, but responding to a progress update query Smith swooped into our upcoming forums like a flying eyeball and posted many new animated gifs of Witcheye in action. Enjoy!

That’s just a few examples of the latest look at Witcheye, and you can see many more as well as about a dozen of the original gifs from December if you drop on by the game’s forum thread. The game is looking so good I just want to post ALL THE GIFS all in a row right here and now, but I’d feel bad for crashing everyone’s browsers. Unfortunately Witcheye doesn’t have a firm release date beyond some point in 2018, but maybe if we all ask real nicely and post our enthusiasm for the game in the forum thread that will light a fire under our dear Peter Malamud Smith’s behind and get this thing finished up sooner rather than later.


Are you excited for Mario Kart Tour?

Mario Kart Tour

When Nintendo announced the Switch console, putting a focus on not just having great games to play at home, but also being able to take the console with you and play games like Mario Kart and Legend of Zelda outside of the living room, one of the reasons I was excited about the console was the company’s longstanding racing franchise with Mario behind the wheel.

I’m a big fan of Mario Kart. But, more than that, I thought it would be a fun experience for my two kids who could play the game while we were waiting to do other things. The mobility of the Switch is one of its strongest facets, and the games just add even more reasons to buy one.

Alas, I haven’t picked up a Switch yet. I’m not entirely sure one’s on the horizon, either.

Which is one of the reasons why when I started looking through the news cycle this morning, I got so excited to see that Mario Kart Touris a thing that’s coming to smartphones. I was hoping that it would be a game that was launching soon, but it looks like we will have to wait until at least the Spring of 2019 to see what a smartphone Mario Kart title looks like.

I’m hoping for some amazing things, but I know I should be realistic, too. This is a mobile game we’re talking about, which means the possibilities of what Mario Kart Tour actually looks like and plays like are vast. This could be some crazy card-battle game, or even a match-three title. Nintendo didn’t go into any details about the title, so there’s nothing to go on here.

Still, I’m excited to see what comes of it. I am really hoping there is some kind of multiplayer, and not just local.

This is admittedly a pretty strange move, too, especially if you consider the rumors that Nintendo is also developing a smartphone game within the Legend of Zelda franchise. After all, as I mentioned above, that mobility of the Switch is one of the strongest selling points for the console. If Nintendo launches ridiculously good titles for smartphones that tap the Mario Kart or Zelda (or Metroid, for that matter) franchises, one can’t help but wonder why a customer should fork over the cash for a Switch, too.

Which is why I’m going to try and remain skeptical about the Mario Kart Tour experience, especially this far out. I’m one of those customers that won’t buy a Switch if I can get a great Mario Kart experience on my smartphone and tablet, after all. One can’t help but wonder how the experience will be “limited” in comparison.

Super Mario Run is probably a nice way to judge it. That game really is a lot of fun, but it is a trimmed down Mario experience — especially when you compare it to Nintendo’s newest Mario game, Super Mario Odyssey. Nintendo has seen these mobile titles as a way to spark interest in a game, then bring more sales to the Switch and the full-fledged title customers enjoyed playing on their smartphone.

The same will probably be the case for Mario Kart Tour, so, who knows, maybe it’ll be the game to convince me I should have been playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch all this time.

What about you? Are you excited about playing a Mario Kart game on your smartphone next year? Do you wish it was launching sooner like I do? Or is this a title that won’t catch your attention at all? Let me know!

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Mario Kart is coming to mobile. Is it time to get excited or are you ready to chuck some blue shells?

Luigi death stare Mario Kart

This one is definitely an example of getting the hype train (or kart, I guess) started early. Nintendo has revealed that it’s developing a Mario Kart game for mobile. It’s called Mario Kart Tour, and it was announced yesterday over on Nintendo’s Twitter.

[Read more]
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Weekly poll: which 2018 features are you most excited about?

As we say goodbye to 2017, we’re already curious to see what 2018 will bring. It’s too early to tell what the big trends in smartphones will be this year but we might have an inkling. For example, most flagships – and even many mid-rangers – have dual cameras now. To stand out, new phones will need more – rumors suggest the Huawei P20 will have a triple camera. Or perhaps instead of basic cameras, makers will focus more on 3D scanners like Apple’s TrueDepth camera. Huawei announced competing tech, the new Exynos 9810 has built-in support for 3D face scanning. It’s been a few…

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