Tay, Microsoft’s racist chatbot raises difficult questions – Tech weekly podcast

How the tech firm’s artificially intelligent Twitter chatbot went from sweet tween to Holocaust denier overnight

It’s the most compelling story out of the tech space so far this year: when AI goes rogue. Microsoft’s blunder has raised a myriad of questions and concerns regarding public-facing AI.

Joining Olly Mann to discuss the Tay incident and the future of AI are Guardian’s tech reporter Alex Hern, internet artist Darius Kazemi and comedian Myq Kaplan.

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Huawei unveils P9 and P9 Plus smartphones to take on iPhone and Galaxy

Rising Chinese smartphone manufacturer partners with Leica for new dual-camera phones as it attempts to compete at the top end

Chinese manufacturer Huawei has unveiled its latest attempt to take on smartphone giants Samsung and Apple, betting on dual cameras and premium design with its new flagship Android phones.

The two phones, the 5.2in P9 and 5.5in P9 Plus, are thin, made of aluminium and have narrow bezels around their Corning Gorilla Glass 4-protected screens. They are a step up in design and quality for Huawei.

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What is a chat bot, and should I be using one?

Kik’s new bot store offers weather, shopping and comedy video tools that plug into your messaging platform. But is it just a gimmick, or genuinely useful?

Once, a messenger app did just that – message. But with the rise of artificial intelligence, tech companies are falling over themselves to prove how much more useful and interactive their apps can be – which is why you’re about to see an explosion of “bots”.

Kik, the mobile chat application popular with teenagers, launched its Bot Shop on 5 April, and Facebook is poised to launch its own bot store for Facebook Messenger next week. Every brand from Barbie to the Washington Post seems to be working on a chat bot of its own.

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‘Scunthorpe’ is a four-letter word: Facebook stops band from promoting northern gig

The social network’s oversensitive content filters have blocked posts about a forthcoming tour by alternative rock band October Drift

Facebook censors have prevented a band from promoting a gig in Scunthorpe. As a result of the four-letter profanity spelt out in the middle of the word, the alternative group, called October Drift, were blocked from posting news about their show in the North Lincolnshire town.

The social network does not ban profanity, but it does identify and filter swearwords in boosted posts, the paid-for function that allows users to promote a message to a wider audience who have not already “liked” their page.

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Nest ponders compensation for owners of disabled Revolv hubs

Smart home brand, owned by Google’s holding company Alphabet, said it would refund customers on a ‘case by case basis’

Nest may offer compensation to owners of a smart home hub that it is remotely disabling in May, according to a statement given to The Verge.

The internet of things firm was bought by Google in 2014 and is now owned by Google’s holding company, Alphabet. In March, it announced the decision to shut down the Revolv hub, a smart home device that it had acquired in October 2014.

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Dear Esther: how the ‘walking simulator’ made it to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

The title that arguably kickstarted one of the most controversial gaming genres of the last decade is getting a re-release on the latest consoles

The intention was to explore the limits of the first-person shooter genre. This was the idea that drove a small group of researchers at the University of Portsmouth to develop the original version of Dear Esther in 2007. Set on a remote Hebridean island, the game offered no puzzles, no peril, no allies or enemies to interact with. The player progressed through the haunted, barren landscape while a tragic story of love and loss played out around them. They walked, they listened, they watched.

It was minimal, it was experimental, but there was something about the game – it’s beautiful environments, its haunting soundtrack, its sullen, almost despairing atmosphere, that caught people’s attention. This was a genre associated with fast-paced blasters like Doom and Unreal, but here was a game about a man descending into grief, the nature of which remained elusive, but centred on the titular Esther. It generated enough interest that co-creators Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry were able to set up their studio, The Chinese Room (named after the philosophical thought experiment), as a commercial venture to develop a standalone version.

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