Lawyer bots take the hassle out of fighting parking tickets and property taxes — and could cost local governments real revenue

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

A new pain for cities.

After finding a parking ticket lashed to his windshield, Seattle resident Dan Lear normally would have bitten the bullet and paid up, even though he felt misled by street signage.

Instead, Lear decided to try his luck with DoNotPay, a free bot service that streamlines the process of contesting parking tickets. The service helped Lear win a dismissal in 2016, leaving him a little bit richer and Seattle a little bit poorer.

New technology-powered services like DoNotPay, WinIt and TurboAppeal are encouraging more people to challenge legal hassles like inaccurate tickets and property taxes online. While these tools can help citizens avoid unfair penalties, they also might tempt some users to game the system, and could strain the resources of local governments. These potential side effects might come at an inopportune time for municipalities, whose budgets may be squeezed under the new tax rules.

“I guess I’m torn between supporting my local government but also ensuring that people have the right to appeal things that they feel are not fair or not legal,” said the victorious Lear, who is an attorney by trade.

DoNotPay asks users a series of questions, such as whether a parking sign was difficult to read or a ticket had incorrect details, then produces a letter with a formal legal defense that drivers can mail in or submit online.

The free service has helped drivers across the U.S. and the U.K. squash more than 450,000 parking tickets representing $ 13 million in fines; users win dismissals more than 50 percent of the time, by founder Joshua Browder’s estimate. That compares to a dismissal rate of around 35 percent in Los Angeles and 21 percent in New York City.

Parking tickets are “used as a source of revenue, which is wrong, and something I’m trying to change for the longer term,” said Browder, who has been called the “Robin Hood of the internet” by the BBC. Local governments, he added, “generally don’t like me.”

Having recently clinched $ 1.1 million in seed funding, DoNotPay lists investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners and attorneys with the firm Wilson Sonsini. The company plans to expand into helping users fight property taxes and file for divorce, among other things.

WinIt, a mobile app that currently only services New York City but plans to expand this year, takes parking ticket challenges to the next level. It builds a legal defense with minimal or zero input, and then argues for a dismissal, often in court through a partner attorney, and proceeds “even if there’s a 5 percent chance that we can dismiss the ticket,” said WinIt CEO Ouriel Lemmel.

WinIt collects a fee — equal to half the fine — but only if it succeeds. Drivers can even sign up for WinIt’s “Ticket Guardian,” which will automatically challenge any new ticket associated with a customer’s license plate number as soon as it hits a government database.

Companies that depend on drivers are taking note: Ride-sharing app Via and delivery service Postmates both offer discounts on WinIt to their drivers.

WinIt expects to contest 3 percent to 4 percent of all New York City parking tickets this year, which could amount to well over 300,000 tickets, if 2018 ticket volume is similar to previous years. That could represent around $ 6 million in potential lost revenue for the city.

Appealing property taxes

At least one startup is also taking aim at a much larger source of municipal revenue: Property taxes.

Machine-learning-powered TurboAppeal makes it much easier for homeowners to challenge the property assessments used to levy property taxes. The company had raised more than $ 7 million from investors including online mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate, KGC Capital, Hyde Park Venture Partners and real estate brokerage @properties before being acquired by Paradigm Tax Group for an undisclosed sum last year.

Homeowners can get detailed data and instructions that can cut the time needed to prepare a compelling appeal from hours to 30 minutes, according to Stace Hunt, marketing director at Paradigm. Priced at $ 49, the automated service typically costs much less than a property tax attorney.

Amanda McMillan, a Chicago realtor who used TurboAppeal to shave $ 700 off her 2015 tax bill, said a few clients who probably would not have otherwise fought their property taxes followed her advice and gave TurboAppeal a whirl. To their delight, they won reductions, she said.

TurboAppeal had reportedly generated more than 100,000 property tax appeals as of May 2017; it covers 64 counties and 23 million single-family homes and has claimed a success rate of more than 75 percent in the past.

Some data suggests that self-service companies like TurboAppeal and DoNotPay have lots of room to grow.

The opportunity

Public New York City data, along with statistics provided to Recode by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, showed that fewer than 10 percent of parking tickets were challenged in those two cities over the last few years, while less than 5 percent of properties in all but one of New Jersey’s 21 counties saw their tax bills appealed in 2016.

But more fine dismissals and property tax reductions would mean less money for local schools and police departments, noted Megan Randall, a research associate at the Urban Institute. Property taxes reportedly make up roughly 30 percent of local government revenue nationwide.

Illustrating how services that target this revenue could pose a fiscal nuisance, New Jersey’s Monroe County was forced to issue a bond in 2011 to cover $ 5 million in refunds due to a spike in property tax appeals. The increase was driven by the housing meltdown, though the town’s finance director at the time also cited attorneys “trying to convince residents to file mass appeals,” the Star-Ledger reported.

Parking tickets, meanwhile, account for less than 1 percent of local government revenue nationwide, but some municipalities are much more reliant on fines than others.

For example, in 2013, 21 of the 90 municipalities in Missouri’s St. Louis County collected more than 20 percent of revenue from court fines and fees, of which parking and speeding tickets are a large contributor.

Drops in traffic tickets can cut into state budgets, too. A decrease in ticket volume forced the Nevada Supreme Court to seek a bailout in 2015. DoNotPay and WinIt can help users fight moving violations such as speeding tickets, so they could also nibble away at revenue from a range of traffic fines, not just parking tickets.

A jump in appeals would also increase the workload of municipal employees who are tasked with reviewing ticket and tax challenges.

“At this point, we don’t have an automated process, so it may cost our constituents money,” said Mark Granado, manager of parking operations and support for the LA Department of Transportation.

Moreover, many people may use these services to try to game the system, not to right a wrong.

WinIt and DoNotPay can help users get off on technicalities, such as if a ticket incorrectly describes a car’s color or make. Such errors can cost big bucks: New York City recently announced that it would refund a reported $ 26 million worth of parking tickets due to the omission of a zero from the ordinance code on roughly 500,000 tickets.

The government finance, parking enforcement and county appraiser employees that Recode spoke to said they didn’t believe that services such as WinIt, DoNotPay or TurboAppeal have boosted ticket and tax challenges so far, but generally acknowledged the potential for this to occur.

Some, including Granado, the Los Angeles parking enforcement official, said they would welcome services that professionalize more appeals, while a few employees encouraged consumers to consider using government systems, questioning whether third-party services add value.

Asked about concerns with their services, WinIt, DoNotPay and TurboAppeal emphasized that they are simply empowering more consumers to exercise their legal rights.

Municipalities could try to deal with more appeal volume by increasing property tax rates and fines or by investing in technology. But this could be harder than ever, given that the recent tax reform may impose downward pressure on property taxes, among other budget constraints.

“In an ideal world, governments would invest in the necessary resources to adapt,” Randall said in an email. “However, in reality, we often become reliant on private-sector actors who derive material benefit from a complex and opaque tax system.”

Teke Wiggin is a Brooklyn-based reporter who covers technology, labor and housing. Reach him @tkwiggin.

Recode – All

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Rainforest Connection is fighting deforestation with old phones and machine learning

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

Machine learning is pretty cool—in fact, the only computer science course I took in college was related to it. So we tend to get excited by novel uses for the technology here at Android Police, and in a recent post to Google’s blog, a company called Rainforest Connection came up with an interesting application: Deforestation. 

The specific implementation here is ingenious. By chaining together a system of solar-powered recycled Android phones, each device is able to record ambient audio and upload it online via existing cellular networks.

Read More

Rainforest Connection is fighting deforestation with old phones and machine learning was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

GDC 2018: ‘Bearsus’ is a ‘Divekick’-inspired Fighting Game with Bears, What More Do I Need to Say?

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

I love fighting games and I love puns, and if there’s two things the upcoming Bearsus from Arf Game Studio is chock full of it’s fighting and bear puns. First of all Bearsus itself is a portmanteau of bear and versus, but the puns run much deeper than that. It’s extremely early in its development so they characterized the demo they put together for showcasing at GDC as “bearly” playable. Puns, puns, everywhere. Bearsus itself is a simplified fighting game inspired by the awesome Divekick, and features just two buttons: One to bounce and one to pounce. However, certain button combinations can create various types of attacks and the fighting system here is actually quite deep and tightly designed. There was only a single character type and background in this demo but much more is planned before the game’s planned release in early 2019. Check it out in action in our hands-on demo below.

TouchArcade

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Bandai Namco’s newest mobile fighting game ‘Dragon Ball Legends’ is available for pre-registration

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

Bandai Namco has announced the upcoming release of Dragon Ball Legends. It is currently available on the Play Store as a pre-registration listing, and if you take a look at it on your phone, there are a few pre-registration rewards that can be unlocked depending on how many people sign-up. It’s clear the devs are aiming to create another free-to-play mobile fighting game that uses card-based gameplay for its battles, which of course sounds very similar to their recent release Tekken Mobile.

Read More

Bandai Namco’s newest mobile fighting game ‘Dragon Ball Legends’ is available for pre-registration was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Best New iPhone Games: ‘Fighting Fantasy Legends’, ‘Death Coming’, ‘Lost in the Dungeon’ and Loads More

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

As I mentioned earlier this morning, this week and the following week are the busiest time of our year with GDC. We’re putting this list together a bit earlier in the day than we usually do, so it’s possible there might be a few games we miss in this roundup. Keep your eyes on our forums for any big releases which will undoubtedly quickly bubble to the top!


 

.projekt

iTunes Description

.projekt is a new minimalistic puzzle from creator of Evo Explores.

.projekt requires you to look at things differently. Playing .projekt is like taking a geometry lessons but in a fun and relaxing way.

Forum Thread: .projekt (by Kyrylo Kuzyk)


 

Casino Resort Slots & Poker

iTunes Description

Life is a gamble, so raise the stakes, take the leap, and roll the dice! Test your wits and fortune on a variety of casino games and build the BEST and BIGGEST resort empire that there is while you’re at it! Compete against players from around the world, and find out who’s the BRIGHTEST and the LUCKIEST!

Forum Thread: Casino Resort (by Animoca Brands)


 

Cat Tower – Idle RPG

iTunes Description

TAP TAP & UPGRADE.
Collect best items and fight!!!

How far can you reach?

Forum Thread: Cat Tower – Idle RPG (by 111%)


 

Cobalt Dungeon

iTunes Description

Welcome to Cobalt Dungeon! This is a turn-based Puzzle Roguelike game, so you can play at whatever speed you’re most comfortable with. As you descend to each floor in the dungeon you will encounter harder and harder monsters to fight. Along the way you’ll find shops where you can save your progress and upgrade your character, bosses which you’ll need to defeat, and a whole lotta procedurally-generated levels to beat. Can you make it to the 21st floor?

Forum Thread: Cobalt Dungeon (by Thomas Hunter)


 

Death Coming

iTunes Description

You Died.
Pure and simple, but death was not the end. You have become an agent of Death: a Reaper. You have the powers of Death, but there are rules in this supernatural afterlife.

The Reaper ends lives, but it cannot control humans directly due to the Free Will Clause. As the Reaper, you must plan and execute your killings by using the environment to your advantage. In the meantime, be wary of Minions of Light, who will try to save humans from their grim fate!

Forum Thread: Death Coming (by Sixjoy)


 

Fighting Fantasy Classics

iTunes Description

Fighting Fantasy gamebooks are epic text-based adventures! Originally published in the 80s, Fighting Fantasy Classics brings these old favourites into a digital format, complete with on-screen dice rolls, Adventure and Encounter Sheets, battle mechanics and more!

Forum Thread: Fighting Fantasy Classics (by Tin Man Games)


 

Hopper

iTunes Description

Hopper is an immersive platformer that is free-to-play with minimal ads & IAPs. There are 40+ intricately designed levels across 4 unique worlds: Blockworld, Clocktower, Cloud Castle & Neon Techno. Each world has it’s own distinct style and challenges for you to crush. Shoot for high scores and collect plenty of coins & gems to unlock new balls .

Forum Thread: Hopper (by Sweet Gaming)


 

Idle Gangsters

iTunes Description

Rise through the ranks of the mafia in this fun, addictive idle incremental match-3 game.

Start out as a low life punk and work your way up through the mafia ranks to Godfather using every manner of lie, trick and scheme possible.

Forum Thread: Idle Gangsters (Mat Hopwood)


 

Keep Combo

iTunes Description

In the year of 2009, A Jump game let mobile phone casual games be popular. Ten yeas past, though hip an hop games seem to be out of date, I still have a fondness for hip and hop games. With this specil affection, I make a game, KEEP COMBO, to pay my respects to all casual games which had touched my heart, also to pay my respects to the palyers and gameplatforms at that time.

Forum Thread: Keep Combo (By cassplay)


 

Keep in Mind: Remastered

iTunes Description

Keep in Mind follows Jonas, a tormented alcoholic whose life is falling apart. One night, he awakens to a shadowy mirror world where beasts lurk and the stars don’t shine. Lost and scared, Jonas must face all those twisted beasts if he ever wishes to return home and learn the truth about his darkness.

Forum Thread: Keep in Mind: Remastered (by Akupara Games)


 

Lost in the Dungeon

iTunes Description

Lost in the Dungeon is a dungeon crawler based on a card system.

The goal of the player is surviving to a series of increasingly hard dungeons thus being rewarded with the loot they need to get stronger and stronger.

Forum Thread: Lost in the Dungeon (by Eggon srls)


 

Master of Eternity

iTunes Description

A galactic war fought by a colorful cast of Pixies, Master of Eternity!

Enlist now to launch into a universe full of endless excitement!

Engaging narrative that explores the backstory of every Pixie, mechanics, equipment and suits that grow more powerful and complex as you progress, and SRPG combat that’s as simple to learn as it is hard to master!

Forum Thread: Master of Eternity (by NEXON)


 

Meteor 60 Seconds!

iTunes Description

Meteor 60 seconds! is a simple, fun, comic-like action game that simulates your life if there were a meteor heading towards Earth and you had 60 seconds to live. Do anything you want to do with your last 60 seconds, even if it’s illegal! What about planting an apple tree?

Forum Thread: Meteor 60 Seconds! (by Avocavo)


 

Monster Chef

iTunes Description

At first look, the world you see may seem to be nothing out of the ordinary. Look beneath the surface however, and you’ll find an unimaginable place filled with strange, dangerous, and delicious creatures.

The Society of Dark Cuisine is an ancient and mysterious organization comprised of brave adventurers willing to explore the unexplored and to taste the untasted. With the help of the mystical Sootsoot, they seek out and capture strange monsters in order to farm their divine ingredients.

Forum Thread: Monster Chef (by Coconut Island Games Limited)


 

Mowy Lawn

iTunes Description

The oh-so-satisfying Mowing game that you just can’t put down!

Welcome to lawnmower heaven – a Garden of Eden where lucky blade-spinners are set free on fields of glorious bushy overgrowth.

Forum Thread: Mowy Lawn (by PlayStack)


 

My Tamagotchi Forever

iTunes Description

Raise your very own Tamagotchi characters, and share your adventures with your friends! Your Tamagotchi character needs your daily care to stay healthy and happy. Keep it well fed, washed, and entertained, then meet other Tamagotchi friends in town for more fun. But don’t forget to put your character to bed!

Explore Tamatown in full AR (Augmented Reality), find your hidden friends and collect treasure and bonuses in the first ever AR-enabled Tamagotchi game!

Forum Thread: My Tamagotchi Forever (by BANDAI NAMCO)


 

Mystery Dungeon: Roguelike RPG

iTunes Description

This is a Roguelike adventure role-playing game which features classic Roguelike elements such as dungeon, questing, building and mining.

Forum Thread: Mystery Dungeon: Roguelike RPG (by ColorfulApp)


 

Pixel Plex

iTunes Description

In Pixel Plex you are in charge of building your Plex however you want!
Invite your friends to join your city, trade resources, and work together to build HUGE
CITY-WIDE projects.

Forum Thread: Pixel Plex (by Toast Mobile)


 

Rooms of Doom

iTunes Description

So you wanna be a hero, save your beloved and do all those zany and crazy things that hero’s do?
Welcome to the rooms of doom a collection of 80+ rooms designed for your doom, actually that’s not quite true;
Yes there are rooms in which your death is most likely unavoidable there are many rooms designed for some seriously fun platforming and puzzling action.

Forum Thread: Rooms of Doom (by Terry Gill)


 

Royal Blade

iTunes Description

Everything’s falling down!
▶▶ SMASH and SHIELD to SURVIVE.

How long can you last?

Forum Thread: Royal Blade (by 111%)


 

Runestone Keeper Final

iTunes Description

Runestone Keeper is a challenging roguelike to roguelite dungeon crawler that blends classic role playing elements and turn-based combat strategy.
Dive into the dungeon roguelite-ness and begin your very own epic adventure! Grab your rucksack, sharpen those dusty swords, step into the dark chamber and fight for glory!

Forum Thread: Runestone Keeper Final (by Cimu Co. Ltd.)


 

Runventure

iTunes Description

JUMP in to the action and EXPLORE mysterious lands in search of TREASURES. Avoid the DANGER, RUN through various locations. JUNGLES, TEMPLES, CASTLES and many other places loaded with deadly traps and hordes of enemies. Use your reflexes to jump over hot lava, or rope swing over piranha pools escape the deadly skeletons and hungry wolves.

Runventure is unique, beautifully designed mobile platformer. The first mobile platformer fully controlled with just one finger – thanks to completely new run-jumping-bar control! Build the team of experienced exploreres, level them up, complete challenges and unlock precious treasures. Now it’s time for adventure, it’s time for Runventure!

Forum Thread: Runventure (by DIGITAL MELODY)


 

Schemata

iTunes Description

Schemata is a fast-paced puzzle game based on digital logic diagrams. Race through logic circuits while organically learning how they work. The game is free with ads and has a $ 2 option to disable them. No other micro-transactions are in the game.

Forum Thread: Schemata (by Friendly Fish Games)


 

Seascapes : Trito’s Adventure

iTunes Description

Make a journey to legendary Greece where Gods and Heroes reign! And help Trito, son of Poseidon, to save his family and the entire underwater kingdom from the intrigues of sly Sea Witch. Wicked sorceress has charmed the Sea God, broke his trident and scattered its fragments across the ocean!

Forum Thread: Seascapes : Trito’s Adventure (by FredBear Games)


 

Siege of Dragonspear

iTunes Description

Experience the Siege of Dragonspear, an epic Baldur’s Gate tale, filled with with intrigue, magic, and monsters. Lead your party of heroes into deep dungeons filled with tactical battles and magical traps in this 30-hour Dungeons & Dragons adventure that expands the Baldur’s Gate saga.

Shortly after the conclusion of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, we return to the Forgotten Realms caught in a time of strife. A crusade marches from the north, seizing supplies, forcing locals into military service, and disrupting trade along the Sword Coast. A charismatic warrior known as the Shining Lady leads this army, her background shrouded in mystery.

Forum Thread: Siege of Dragonspear (by Overhaul Games)


 

Sushi Tycoon – Idle Game

iTunes Description

Kanpai! Welcome, sushi lovers all over the world, to Sushi Tycoon Clicker! World’s best sushi simulator!

Have you always dreamed of owning a Sushi Restaurant with Michelin 3-star or 5-star? Dreamed about being a sushi chef or a sushi master? Forming your own sushi restaurant chain all over the world in New York, Paris, London and more?

Forum Thread: Sushi Tycoon – Idle Game (by Family Play Pte Ltd)


 

Teenage Crush Love Story Games

iTunes Description

Hello, teenagers! Are you ready for an awesome love story adventure? Are you looking for high school games with high school love storyline? Are you willing to help an attractive heroine win the heart of the boy she likes? Download the brand new game Teenage Crush Love Story Games and create your own love story with the most attractive characters, excellent visuals, and tricky choices. This interactive story presents you with a deciding choice – once you choose your own path, there’s no turning back!

Forum Thread: Teenage Crush Love Story Games (by Midva Games)


 

To The UltraViolet

iTunes Description

You’re Ultra, a little violet square lost in all the colors.
Your goal is to reach the UltraViolet color by passing through 70 unique levels, in one go.

Be careful of the nine dangerous enemy types along the way, each offering a unique challenge!

Forum Thread: To The UltraViolet (by Bryan Schuller)


 

Twos!

iTunes Description

Twos is a puzzle and strategy game requiring quick thinking and efficient use of powerups to keep your board clear and generate higher matches and swipes.

The goal is to match and swipe your way to the Ultimate Goal. A three way swipe involving the highest number in the game. Can you manage to swipe three 2048 tiles? And if you manage it, can you do it quicker and in less moves then anyone else?

Forum Thread: Twos! (by Slyddar Studios)


 

Wiggle Whale

iTunes Description

A simple, but addictive shooting game: Wiggle Whale! Destroy pirates to gear up. Stack more items and become the ultimate whale. Show who’s boss. Rule the ocean!

Something Cool
◆ Collect items to shoot new patterns
◆ Meet ocean friends that will help you
◆ Collect over 20 unique whales (and others)
◆ Mix ’n Match skins to create your own whale(?)
◆ Rank your score on leaderboard

Forum Thread: Wiggle Whale (by 111%)


 

Wizards of Brandel

iTunes Description

You wake up and notice… that your house is gone!

The young wizard Darius loses his house after he fails to make a loan repayment, and ends up living for free in the house of a wanted sorcerer!

He meets a female swordsman who has absolutely no sense of direction, and a young demon girl who shrivels up immediately if she doesn’t drink enough water. Fate decrees that they end up traveling together.

Where will the quarrels over differing principles lead to?

Forum Thread: Wizards of Brandel (by KEMCO/EXE-Create)


 

2 Knights

iTunes Description

Tap to jump and stay alive as long as possible !

Forum Thread: 2 Knights (by Laurent Bakowski)


TouchArcade
Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Bandai Namco’s free-to-play fighting game ‘Tekken Mobile’ has been officially released

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Well, how about that? It would appear that Tekken Mobile has come out of soft-launch today to finally release for the majority of Play Store users. It is, of course, a fighting game, but more along the lines of the mobile version of Injustice 2 than anything previously found in the Tekken franchise. So yes, this means you can expect collectible cards (in a fighting game no less), horrible controls that force you to use those collectible cards, and a plethora of in-app purchases that are of course used to buy all of those collectible cards.

Read More

Bandai Namco’s free-to-play fighting game ‘Tekken Mobile’ has been officially released was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

Canada to Devote $1 Billion of Federal Budget to Fighting Cybercrime

Next-Generation Cyber-Professionals

The Canadian government will release details of its federal budget this coming week, and local news outlets are reporting it will include a $ 1 billion cybersecurity fund. According to CBC News, federal government agencies requested for the funding to bolster Canada’s cybersecurity infrastructure, as multiple departments are facing growing cybercrime issues.

A bulk of the funding will be a much-needed supplement to Canada’s 2010 National Cyber Security Strategy — although the revised plan would not be included in the budget. The revised plan is expected to come out later this year from Public Safety Canada.

The proposed budget would finance a number of efforts to combat cybercrime in the country, which could include training the next-generation of so-called cyber-professionals and encouraging them to apply their craft in Canada. The money would also likely be used to strengthen military’s cybersecurity capabilities by outsourcing the expertise needed from local private companies. The idea is to keep the pool of cyber-security warriors trained in and working for Canada.

A Timely Decision

Many experts also see the budget translating to funding cyber “co-development” projects between the government and the private sector. Cybersecurity in Canada would be provided for by Canadian information and technology companies, which in turn would work with the federal government to develop both hardware and software solutions. Experts in the field have also noted that they’re looking forward to the revised plan outlining a national data strategy that would cover both private citizens and corporations.

At the same time, several anonymous sources told CBC News the federal government may also intend to secure separate funding to help protect the 2019 national elections from foreign interference. Such action would not be unexpected in light of what happened during the United States’ 2016 Presidential Elections.

Canada’s decision to bolster cybersecurity is timely: cyber crimes have become prolific over the past two to three years. That said, without a concrete plan in place, attempting to put a stop to every cyber attack are a waste of money and other resources. Setting aside a budget is just the first step. As United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a February 19 speech at the University of Lisbon, nations should start having clear rules — international rules, even — to protect citizens from cyber crimes.

The post Canada to Devote $ 1 Billion of Federal Budget to Fighting Cybercrime appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Tin Man Games Announces the Starting Line-Up for the Upcoming ‘Fighting Fantasy Classics’

A few months ago, Tin Man Games announced the upcoming release of Fighting Fantasy Classics, an app that serves as a sort of hub for Fighting Fantasy gamebook releases. It’s a great idea as it not only puts all of your Fighting Fantasy adventures into one convenient app, it also makes it easier for Tin Man to update the whole line should they need to. When the project was announced, Tin Man expected to release the app in February of 2018. Well, the days are running out on this month, but the good news is that Fighting Fantasy Classics will be coming soon. So soon, in fact, that Tin Man has decided to fill us in on what to expect in the first wave of releases.

If you didn’t read our earlier story about this app, the basic idea is that you download the main app and can then pay to unlock new gamebooks that you want as they are released. You can enjoy one gamebook for free, however. Bloodbones, once known as the lost Fighting Fantasy book due to its cancellation in the original Puffin publishing run, will be ready and waiting for everyone to play at no added cost. Written by Jonathan Green, this one was released before on the App Store by Tin Man and is still available, but hey, ghost pirates aren’t the worst way to tickle the imagination for newcomers.

As we had guessed earlier, a more traditional adaptation of the book that started the whole series back in 1982 will be part of the initial line-up. The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was released a long time ago on the App Store by the previous holders of the Fighting Fantasy license, and Tin Man themselves did a fascinating board game-style version of it themselves early last year. Those who want to have the original in their pockets again can look forward to what is sure to be a faithful mobile version via the Fighting Fantasy Classics app.

Bloodbones isn’t the only returnee from Tin Man’s older Fighting Fantasy releases. The Forest of Doom, Island of the Lizard King, and Caverns of the Snow Witch aren’t new to iOS gamers, but they’re putting on their newest coats and hats to join the Fighting Fantasy Classics. All three of these games were among the initial releases in the book series as well, so it’s only fitting that they are following a similar pattern here. They’re tough challenges from one of the series creators, Ian Livingstone, so you’d best hope for a lucky roll of the dice or ten if you take these ones on.

But what if you’re a dedicated Tin Man fan? What other new releases are waiting for you apart from Warlock? Worry not, friends. Tin Man has you covered with much-requested mobile conversions of Steve Jackson’s The Citadel of Chaos and Ian Livingstone’s City of Thieves. These are both stone-cold classics that are beloved by many a fan of Fighting Fantasy, and it will be great to have them among the rest of the games in the app.

This is just the starting wave, of course. Tin Man will be following up with a second wave later in the year that will likely fill in a few of the missing holes that some of you may be wondering about. This initial bunch should keep gamebook fans busy until the next lot comes around, though. We’ll have more information on Fighting Fantasy Classics, including pricing and a more firm release date, when we get it from Tin Man. It shouldn’t be too far off now.

 

TouchArcade

AIs Are Finally Doing Something Useful: Fighting Hospital-Acquired Infections

With all the attention given to artificial intelligence (AI) that can do impressive stunts like play chess, name paint colors, and write weird sci-fi shorts, it’s easy to forget that some of these systems are actually really useful. Case in point: A new algorithm that can predict a patient’s risk of contracting clostridium difficile (C-diff), a potentially deadly healthcare-related infection.

While the primary purpose of a hospital is to help sick people get well, it doesn’t always work out that way. Each year, 453,000 people contract a C-diff infection during or after exposure to a hospital setting in the United States, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. C-diff causes diarrhea, intestinal distress, and in some cases, life-threatening inflammation in a patient’s colon.

These infections can prove deadly if not diagnosed and treated quickly enough; in the U.S., 29,000 people die annually of C-diff infections.

To address this issue, Erica Shenoy, an infectious-disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and Jenna Wiens, a computer scientist and assistant professor of engineering at the University of Michigan, decided to see if they could use AI to predict which patients were most vulnerable to these infections.

A Life-Saving Algorithm

For their study, Shenoy and Wiens extracted information from a dataset of 374,009 adult inpatient admissions from MGH and the University of Michigan Health System. Given that C-diff spreads through physical contact with infected objects or people, the researchers had to take into account every possible interaction between patients and the infection when developing their algorithm.

“We have data pertaining to everything from lab results to what bed they are in to who is in the bed next to them and whether they are infected. We included all medications, labs, and diagnoses. And we extracted this on a daily basis,” Wiens told Scientific American. “You can imagine, as the patient moves around the hospital, risk evolves over time, and we wanted to capture that.”

Using that information, the duo created a model to predict the likelihood that a patient would contract a C-diff infection at each hospital. According to their research, these models predicted the infection an average of five days sooner than doctors could.

If their system is widely implemented, those five days could be the difference between life or death for hospital patients in the United States and across the globe.

The post AIs Are Finally Doing Something Useful: Fighting Hospital-Acquired Infections appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism