Overwatch League team releases player over hateful speech

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Overwatch League player Felix "xQc" Lengyel has been suspended twice for using both homophobic and racist slurs, and he's now bowing out entirely. Dallas Fuel and Lengyel have announced that they've "mutually agreed to part ways" in the wake of his…
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Apple’s Eddy Cue talks content, Texture, free speech, and the future in SXSW appearance

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Apple hasn’t traditionally had a great deal of participation in the annual South by Southwest festival, but Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue sat for an on-stage interview at the event.
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Ubisoft clamps down on ‘Rainbow Six: Siege’ hate speech

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It's not just Blizzard taking more aggressive steps to fight toxic behavior. Ubisoft has revealed that it's implementing an upgraded system for banning players who use hate speech in Rainbow Six: Siege matches. The developer now tracks how often pl…
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Frances McDormand champions ‘inclusion riders’ during her Best Actress speech

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Frances McDormand won the 2018 Oscar for Best Actress for her starring role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. During her acceptance speech, she set her statuette down on the floor beside her, then commanded all the other women nominees in the room to stand up in solidarity.

“If I could have all the women stand up with me in this moment,” she said, waving them to their feet. “Look around, everybody, look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell, and we all have projects we need to finance.”

She encouraged people to discuss future women-centric projects seriously during meetings, rather than during drinks tonight. “I have two words to leave with you tonight: ‘inclusion rider,’” she said. The words refer…

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Amazon’s Alexa Could Soon Translate Speech in Real-Time

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According to several close sources, as reported by Yahoo Finance, Amazon is “seriously exploring” real-time translation abilities for Alexa. The intelligent personal assistant is currently capable of deciphering single words and phrases, but with these improvements, Amazon hopes that Alexa will work seamlessly in conversations as a real-time translator.

Beyond language itself, the company wants Alexa to gain a well-rounded knowledge of the cultures in which the translated languages are spoken. By incorporating this knowledge into translation, the device could help users to communicate more respectfully and effectively.

“The cross-culture, cross-language piece is going to be big for Amazon and Alexa, and it has a lot of potential,” an anonymous source told Yahoo Finance.

A real-time translator, supported by cultural understanding, could be a game-changer for travelers. Whether traveling for business, family, or pleasure, Alexa could let you know who to speak to, what is most appropriate to say, and how to say it — all in real time.

Yahoo’s anonymous sources also discussed the physical Alexa device. Instead of relying on a large home device, they expect that Alexa will be able to translate through any smart device. This would make the technology much more accessible, as anyone with any smart device would be able to use it.

The sources also expect that one day Alexa will be so advanced that a single device could translate multiple people speaking multiple different languages at the same time. While these prospects are exciting, the technology still has a long way to come before this is possible.

“To truly realize that vision, you’ll want a number of things: you’ll want to have it everywhere, be able to talk to it from anywhere, be able for it to do all of the things you would want an intelligent assistant do for you, and ultimately do it in a very conversational way,” Amazon Vice President of Alexa, Al Lindsay, told Yahoo Finance in an interview last year.

Other companies have tried to create similar tech, with mixed to poor results. Google’s Pixel Buds fell somewhat short of expectations; they work only with the Pixel phone, and presently have trouble with both background noise and complex conversations. While Samsung’s Bixby assistant can translate text fairly well, it isn’t capable of translating full conversations yet. Skype’s in-app translator is exciting as well, but it has some issues, and wouldn’t be useful in a face-to-face conversation.

Existing translating technologies are ambitious, but not the seamless devices we’ve seen in sci-fi narratives like Star Trek. Amazon seems to hope Alexa will change that, making real-time, conversational, culturally-sensitive translation a reality.

The post Amazon’s Alexa Could Soon Translate Speech in Real-Time appeared first on Futurism.


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YouTube bans Neo-Nazi group following backlash over hate speech

YouTube has banned the Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen, but only after a Daily Beast report shamed the platform for its inaction. Since the Logan Paul fiasco, YouTube introduced a stricter content policy and (somewhat) more serious consequences for content…
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What did Barack Obama say at his secret sports speech in front of hundreds of people?

Attendees at Barack Obama’s speech at the Sloan Sports Analytics ConferenceBarack Obama spoke in front of several hundred people yesterday at a sports conference.

We don’t know what he said.

That’s because Obama’s session at MIT’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was off the record — conference organizers prevented attendees from tweeting, livestreaming or reporting on any part of Obama’s appearance during or after the event.

The penalty for breaking the rules, per Sloan: You couldn’t come back to Sloan.

Sloan is a conference dedicated to the Moneyball wing of sports business and fandom. It’s the kind of place you can go to see Nate Silver chatting with Steve Ballmer.

It makes sense that Sloan would want Obama to come and discuss “a wide range of subjects… from his most memorable moments in the White House, to his post-presidency plans,” along with Kraft Analytics CEO Jessica Gelman and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

But I can’t fathom why that talk would be off-the-record. I’ve asked a Sloan rep for comment; a rep for ESPN, which is the lead sponsor for the event, declined to comment.

It looks like Reporters For Sports Outlets You’ve Heard Of complied with Sloan’s rules, which isn’t surprising. Complying with rules of the events you attend is the kind of thing you do when you’re a Reporter For Sports Outlets You’ve Heard Of.

ESPN had a pre-write of Obama’s appearance (and obliquely referenced the off the record part in the headline, and spelled it out in the last graph), but nothing else. And if there was any coverage at all from Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report or my Vox Media colleagues at SB Nation, I missed it. Ditto for the bad boys at Deadspin and Barstool Sports. (Barstool does not like Obama’s portrait, though).

Still: It’s 2018. There’s no such thing as an off-the-record event, especially not one held in the United States, in front of hundreds of people with internet-connected phones, right?

Maaaaybe. Here’s a post from Justin McMahon, whose bio describes him as a student at UNC Chapel Hill and the CEO of Daily Insider, a fantasy sports site.

I’m not sure Justin was actually at the Sloan event, though some of his preceding tweets were about other Sloan speakers. I’ve asked him for more information.

And here are a couple from someone who controls the Twitter account for Women in Sports Tech, whose Twitter stream suggests they were also at the event:

@Simon_pouliot’s timeline has three tweets. This is one of them.

Alanna Astion’s bio says she’s getting a masters at UMass in sport management. This is one of the two Sloan tweets she published today:

And… that’s it?

All those people? Nothing else? Really?

If I’ve missed something, please let me know. And if you attended and want to share something confidentially, that would also be great. My email is on my bio page.

(UPDATE: Heard from one bold attendee who passed along this assessment of Obama’s comments: “It was the kind of stuff that you would say at a high school graduation. I don’t know why it would have to be off the record.” Thank you, bold attendee! Happy to hear from others.)

But to recap:

  • Anyone can go to one of Donald Trump’s private golf clubs and come away with photos of the The President of the United States watching TV, or discussing his North Korea strategy.
  • The last President of the United States spoke at a public forum yesterday where he may have discussed: the importance of playing team sports; his support for diversity in sports, and the need for reform in college sports.
  • But we don’t know that for sure, because there was a surprisingly effective media blackout.

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Twitch updates policies on hate speech, harassment and sexual content

The fight against online hate speech and harassment continues to gain momentum. Twitter's new policies against such behavior went live last November, while Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg began the new year with a new pledge to combat abuse and hate, too….
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Why Waymo might play the Michael Douglas “Greed is Good” speech in court

Even before the jury took their seats on the second day of Waymo v. Uber, the lawsuit reached a new milestone of absurdity as Waymo argued that they should be allowed to play a clip of Michael Douglas’s “Greed is Good” speech from Wall Street (1987). Uber would really rather they not.

Ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Anthony Levandowski were in frequent contact, and forensic analysis uncovered countless deleted text messages, including one where, according to Waymo, Kalanick says, “wink wink” and links to a YouTube video of Michael Douglas’s famous speech.

Judge Alsup, not immune to the mounting silliness of the proceeding, joked that it was the “best moment in Hollywood.” After the laughs died down, lawyers for Uber objected that…

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