Google’s DeepMind, Master of Go, Takes on Popular Video Game Starcraft

Google's DeepMind, Master of Go, Takes on Popular Video Game StarcraftGoogle’s DeepMind, Master of Go, Takes on Popular Video Game Starcraft
Google’s DeepMind AI unit, which earlier this year achieved a breakthrough in computer intelligence by creating software that beat the world’s best human player at the strategy game Go, is turning its attention to the sci-fi video game Starcraft II.

The company said it had reached a deal with Blizzard Entertainment Inc, the Irvine, California-based division of Activision Blizzard, which makes the Starcraft game series, to create an interface to let artificial intelligence researchers connect machine-learning software to the game.

London-based DeepMind, which Google purchased in 2014, has not said it has created software that can play Starcraft expertly – at least not yet. “We’re still a long way from being able to challenge a professional human player,” DeepMind research scientist Oriol Vinyals said in a blog post Friday. But the company’s announcement shows it’s looking seriously at Starcraft as a candidate for a breakthrough in machine intelligence.

Starcraft fascinates artificial intelligence researchers because it comes closer to simulating “the messiness of the real world” than games like chess or Go, Vinyals said. “An agent that can play Starcraft will need to demonstrate effective use of memory, an ability to plan over a long time and the capacity to adapt plans to new information,” he said, adding that techniques required to create a machine-learning system that mastered these skills in order to play Starcraft “could ultimately transfer to real-world tasks.”
Virtual mining
In the game, which is played in real-time over the internet, players choose one of three character types, each of which has distinct strengths and weaknesses. Players must run an in-game economy, discovering and mining minerals and other commodities in order to conquer new territory. A successful player needs to remember large volumes of information about places they’ve scouted in the past, even when those places are not immediately observable on their screen.

The player’s view of what an opposing player is doing is limited – unlike chess or Go where opponents can observe the whole board at one time. Furthermore, unlike in a game where players take turns, a machine-learning system has to deal with an environment that is constantly in flux. Starcraft in particular also requires an ability to plan both a long-term strategy and make very quick tactical decisions to stay ahead of an opponent – and designing software that is good at both types of decision-making is difficult.
Facebook, Microsoft
Researchers at Facebook and Microsoft have also published papers on ways to interface artificial intelligence systems with earlier versions of Starcraft. And some Starcraft-playing bots have already been created, but so far these systems have not been able to defeat talented human players.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has taken swipes at Google’s focus on games in its AI research, telling the audience at a company event in Atlanta in September that Microsoft was “not pursuing AI to beat humans at games” and that Microsoft wanted to build AI “to solve the most pressing problems of our society and economy.”

Games have long-served as important tests and milestones for artificial intelligence research. In the mid-1990s, International Business Machines Corp.’s supercomputer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov on several occasions. IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence beat top human players in the game show Jeopardy in 2011, an achievement that showcased IBM’s strides in natural language processing. In 2015, DeepMind developed machine learning software that taught itself how to play dozens of retro Atari games, such as Breakout, as well or better than a human. Then, in March of 2016, DeepMind’s Alpha Go program, trained in a different way, defeated Go world champion Lee Sodol.

In the twenty years since Starcraft debuted, the game has acquired a massive and devoted following. More than 9.5 million copies of the original game were sold within the first decade of its release, with more than half of those being sold in Korea, where the game was especially popular. Starcraft II shattered sales records for a strategy game when it was released in 2010, selling 1.5 million copies within 48 hours. Pitting two players against one another in real-time, Starcraft was a pioneer in professional video game competitions and remains an important game in the world of e-sports, although its prominence has since been eclipsed by other games.

© 2016 Bloomberg L.P.

Tags: Google, DeepMind, Artificial Intelligence, AI, Gaming, Starcraft


LeEco takes on tech titans in US

LePro 3 will be priced at $399 and Le S3 at $249 when they become available to US buyers. Photo: AFP

LePro 3 will be priced at $399 and Le S3 at $249 when they become available to US buyers. Photo: AFP

San Francisco: A Chinese Internet colossus referred to as a combination of Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Tesla announced on Wednesday it is taking on US tech titans on their home turf.

LeEco is jumping into a fiercely competitive US smartphone market with LePro 3 and its ‘little brother’ Le S3, pricing them lower than flagship models from rivals to entice people over to its “ecosystem” of online offerings.

LePro 3 will be priced at $399 and Le S3 at $249 when they become available to US buyers at the company’s e-commerce website on 2 November.

Analysts expected it to take more than bargains on handsets to win people away from what Apple and Google provide when it comes to meshing mobile devices with digital content, applications and services.

“Oftentimes people are locked into ecosystems,” Gartner analyst Brian Blau told AFP.

“The trouble for LeEco is they have to create something that is going to impress people enough to switch.”

The LeEco cloud service was portrayed as a nervous-system of sorts that would connect the company’s various devices and be a conduit for digital content and services.

Apple and Google have invested heavily in meshing devices, software and content to get people to play, work and shop in “ecosystems” the companies have built.

“The market (LeEco) is entering with some devices is hyper-competitive with global players,” Blau said.

“To think that they can come in and have an impact early on is unrealistic.”

LeEco founder and chief executive Jia Yueting set a goal of winning hearts and minds in the key North America market before moving to lure the rest of the world into the LeEco ecosystem.

At a press event at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Jia acknowledged that some have told him “LeEco is crazy to come to the backyard” of companies such as Apple, Google, Netflix, Tesla and Amazon.

The company’s broad vision is to have self-driving electric cars, virtual reality headsets, smartphones, televisions, and smart bicycles all connected to its cloud platform for Netflix-style television streaming and other digital offerings.

“If they have a success here, it will be because of that cloud offering,” Blau said of LeEco.

“The ecosystems that are doing well are doing so because of services that tie devices together in the cloud.”

Along with smartphones, LeEco in November will hit the US with a line of Super4 X Series ultra high-definition televisions with prices beginning at $649 and topping out at $4,999 for a uMax85 that measures 85 inches diagonally.

The television market is rife with competitors, many making high-definition and smart models that tap into the Internet.

LeEco already provides on-demand streamed television in China, and announced it has an array of launch partners including film studio Lionsgate on board for its US debut.

“We have blazed a new path in the Internet content domain,” Jia said.

“This is the first time we will be able to achieve this in America.”

LeEco promised enticing bargains during a “flash sale” at LeMall on 2 November, out to make a splash in the market and get people using its Netflix-style subscription service for online content.

The company also displayed a virtual reality headset and its Super Bike packed with sensors, locks and other technology powered by Google-back Android software.

A new LeEco concept car that was being used in London for the filming of a new “Transformers” film directed by Michael Bay was rushed to San Francisco for the event.

Blau viewed the smart bicycles and electric cars shown off by LeEco “a bit of a tease” and something for the future.

LeEco had originally planned to have a prototype of a new generation self-driving electric car drive Jia up a ramp and onto the stage, but he jogged instead because the concept vehicle didn’t arrive in time.

No plans were revealed for releasing LeEco bicycles, cars or virtual reality gear in North America.

Jia maintained that LeEco wasn’t coming to North America to challenge US technology giants, but to “create an entirely new generation of products.”


Facebook Messenger Lite Takes Up Less Phone Space for Tech Challenged Areas


Small businesses and others seeking a better way to communicate with customers or partners in tech challenged areas should rejoice.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has launched lighter version of its Android Messenger app. The new bare-bones Messenger app is designed for people in areas with slow internet connections as well as for older phones with less powerful processors and less memory.

Introducing the Facebook Messenger Lite App

The new Facebook Messenger Lite allows you to send stickers, photos, links and text to anyone using Messenger or Messenger Lite.

“More than 1 billion people around the world use Messenger every month from a range of mobile devices on networks of various speeds and reliability,” said the Engineering Manager for Messenger Lite Tom Mulcahy in a blog post. “With Messenger Lite, more people can stay in contact, regardless of network conditions or storage limitations on their Android devices. Messenger Lite was built to give people a great Messenger experience, no matter what technology they use or have access to.”

Tom also adds that the app is fast and easy to download as it’s under 10MB.

Like Facebook Messenger, Messenger Lite uses the same bolt logo, but with reversed colors. The bolt is blue with a white chat bubble background while for Facebook Messenger, the bolt is white with a blue chat bubble background.

The new Messenger Lite is already rolling out to people in Malaysia, Kenya, Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela. Tom says that they will soon be rolling the app in other countries in the coming months.

This should come as good news for businesses that use Messenger as a means to communicate with their clients. You can now be able to upload real-time photos and links regardless of the Internet speeds or the speed of your phone.

While Facebook is quite clear on what you can do with the “Lite” version, they are not so clear on what you will not get but don’t get surprised if you can’t find features certain features.

Facebook also doesn’t disclose whether there will be a similar app for iOS. They are, however, clear that they chose markets with a “prevalence of basic Android smartphones.”

Young Mobile Users in Kenya Photo Via Shutterstock


LG Mocks Samsung, Takes a Jab at Galaxy Note 7 Recall in SMS Blast

LG Mocks Samsung, Takes a Jab at Galaxy Note 7 Recall in SMS Blast

While Samsung is busy putting out fires (literally) on the Galaxy Note 7 recall, other smartphone makers are getting the most out of Samsung’s misery. The latest to take a dig at the South Korean giant is LG. The company’s customer care department seems to be randomly sending messages to users ahead of the Diwali festival with a friendly, yet mocking message.

The message – “Heard the news of exploding products? At LG, our products go through multiple tests to ensure safety of our most valuable asset – YOU. Have a safe Diwali with LG.” – is a clear jab at the recent news of exploding Galaxy Note 7 devices from Samsung.

Samsung officially announced a recall of its Galaxy Note 7 on September 2. Reports of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones catching fire has resulted in an unprecedented recall, costing the company billions of dollars. Samsung has been slowly replacing affected Galaxy Note 7 devices and said on Thursday more than 1 million people globally are now using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones with batteries that are not vulnerable to overheating and catching fire.

In September, Lenovo-owned Motorola also took a jab at Samsung when it offered free Incipio offGRID Power Pack with every Moto Z Droid purchase with a quote that read “At Moto, our priority is safety first. Unlike some manufacturers, we adhere to the highest standards in quality and testing of all our batteries.”

The LG V20 is ready to go on sale this month and it looks like the company is hoping Samsung’s recent tragedy will attract customers over to its side. LG India’s Managing Director, Kim Ki-Wan, confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the company plans to bring the LG V20 smartphone to India soon, perhaps just in time for the Diwali festival.

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The Climate Corporation Takes Farming High Tech

farming high tech

The farming industry is going high-tech. And it isn’t necessarily just to increase output. For some farmers, using more technology has become a necessity thanks to changing climate conditions.

Founded by two former Google engineers, The Climate Corporation is a provider of tech services and products for farmers. The company utilizes data as a tool to combat the difficulties farmers face thanks to changing weather patterns. CEO David Friedberg told CNN:

“The increasing uncertainty in agriculture, with the changing patterns of weather we are seeing, is making it difficult for farmers to grow successful crops consistently. The tools we provide help farmers make smarter decisions based on analytical techniques, rather than intuition.”

To accomplish this goal, the company offers a number of tools. The free platform gives farmers a way to monitor their land and crops. It uses satellite imaging, growth modeling and simulations to give hyper-local forecasts for each individual farm. This can help farmers better make decisions about how they utilize their resources. There’s also a Pro version that includes extra features to optimize things like use of nitrogen fertilizer, pest control and harvest planning.

To date, the agriculture industry hasn’t done much to take advantage of technology on a wide scale. But The Climate Corporation’s founders think that their tools can not only save farmers money, but also help reduce their carbon footprints.

If each farmer can better utilize their own resources, less will be needed overall. And for an industry that occupies almost half of the planet’s total land, those extra resources can make a big difference.

The Climate Corporation isn’t the only company that’s working to integrate data into the farming industry. Edyn is a California startup that launched because of one of the state’s worst droughts. The company produces a sensor that allows farmers to micro-manage their plots to give only the optimal amount of moisture to each area.

This is another company with the goal of saving farmers money while also slowing the use of natural resources and harmful materials. Founder Jason Aramburu told CNN:

“If we do nothing, more farmers will have to leave their land over the next decades…which means creating new farmland, which would have a dramatic environmental impact.”


Back From Pakistan, Geeta Takes a Ride on the Delhi Metro, Tours Museum

Back From Pakistan, Geeta Takes a Ride on the Delhi Metro, Tours Museum

Geeta, a deaf-mute Indian woman who accidentally crossed over to Pakistan more than a decade ago takes a metro ride with members of Eidhi Foundation in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI:  A day after her return from Pakistan, Geeta took a ride today on the Delhi Metro and also visited the Metro Museum in New Delhi.

Accompanied by members of the Edhi Foundation, who had taken care of the deaf and mute girl during her time in the neighbouring country, 23-year-old Geeta wore a constant smile and waved at the commuters who greeted her as she spent about an hour on the Metro network.

She travelled from the Civil Lines station to Patel Chowk station after meeting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at his residence on Tuesday morning.

At the Patel Chowk station, she was also taken around the Metro Museum that houses several exhibits related to the construction and operations of the city’s Metro network.

“She was briefed about the Metro Museum with the help of an interpreter,” a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation spokesperson said.

Geeta, who also met President Pranab Mukherjee, was accompanied, among others, by officials of Delhi government during her ride on the Metro.

Over a decade after inadvertently crossing into the neighbouring country, Geeta returned to India on Monday to an emotional welcome.

She was received by senior officials of External Affairs Ministry and Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on her arrival from Karachi and also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.


Tottenham Hotspur F.C. supervisor Mauricio Pochettino Takes notion From Britney Spears

Tottenham Hotspur F.C. are in 4th region in ideal League standings, 7 factors in the back of Londoncompetitors Arsenal, who are 2d.
London: Tottenham Hotspur F.C. supervisor Mauricio Pochettino has mentioned American pop stars Britney Spears and will.I.Am as examples for his gamers to follow as they move in search of optimum Leaguesuccess. (Europa League: Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur Into last 32 as Celtic Crash)
Tottenham are on route for a first pinnacle4 end for the reason that 2012, but that fulfillment could beovershadowed if their fierce north London rivals Arsenal win the identify. (Arsenal must not allow intensitySlip, Says manager Arsene Wenger)
Pochettino, though, quoted Spears and will.I.Am’s music ‘Scream and Shout’ in an try to preserve hisgamers‘ minds focused on their own performances. (EPL: Tottenham Hotspur expand Unbeaten Runthrough preserving Chelsea F.C.)
“I suppose it’s like what Britney Spears and could.I.Am sing: ‘all and sundry inside the club, all eyes on us, all eyes on us,'” the Argentine stated, in remarks posted in British newspapers on Saturday.
because it‘s now not crucial what Arsenal do. For me it is critical to assess our season and the way we will compare with us, now not how we evaluate with any other group.”

CashKaro Founder Takes to Twitter for Pending payments From MobiKwik


MobiKwik is a leading bills pockets in India.
CashKaro is certainly one of the larger affliate entrepreneurs here.
CashKaro’s CEO tweeted that MobiKwik owes it six months of dues.
typically, when you see corporations chatting on Twitter, it’s a sad strive at smart humour to makeemblem partnerships and company mergers into trending topics. while CEOs chat on Twitter but, mattersget a little extra slicing.

On Thursday, CashKaro co-founder Swati Bhargava tweeted to MobiKwik CEO Bipin Preet Singh,announcing that payments from the organisation to CashKaro are pending for the closing six months now.

Funnily enough, the primary reply to the tweet comes from the MobiKwik assist manage, soliciting for theprice tag range of the grievance Bhargava had. The real difficulty is apparently of pending affiliate bills,but Singh did now not tweet in response.

update: Singh answered to our email with the following reaction, completely denying CashKaro’s claim.inside the mail, he states: “it’s no longer factually accurate that payments to cashkaro [sic] are pending formore than six months – affiliates are paid basis validation by way of the advertiser which takes time given the wide variety of transactions. also our phrases of engagement with affiliates make this clean andthere’s commonly ninety days of time we take to pay. this is all pre agreed with our partners.

devices 360 has reached out to CashKaro to shed more light on the difficulty, however neither employerhas shared any remarks – CashKaro stated that this is a regular conversation, and it has nothing to add.we’ve got shared Singh’s e-mail with CashKaro, however got no in addition reaction at this factor.

This might be the first time we are seeing a organization‘s co-founder and CEO having to tweet at every other CEO for unpaid dues. The closing time we noticed CEOs going at it on Twitter, it turned intoSnapdeal and Flipkart, as Flipkart government Chairman Sachin Bansal and Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl traded barbs, but normally, you may see regular customers like us complaining approximatelycorporations that aren’t doing their bit – it’s a little surprising to see it at this stage.

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Tags: Bipin Preet Singh, CashKaro, MobiKwik, Swati Bhargava, Twitter

facebook Takes on Twitch, YouTube With ‘stay’ In-game Streaming

Facebook Takes on Twitch, YouTube With 'Live' In-Game Streaming

people will use fb to log in to snowstorm amusement video games.
The collaboration will add social features to snowstorm games.
The circulate will let sport lovers broadcast play in real time.
facebook on Monday announced that it is entering into the e-sports recreation, leaping into the sphereof video video games as spectator sports against Amazon-owned Twitch and Google’s YouTube Gaming.

Later this month, people can be capable of use facebook money owed to log in to snow fall amusementcomputer games along withinternational of Warcraft.”

The circulate will pave the manner for snowstorm game fans to apply the main social network‘s livevideo service to broadcast play in actual time, the groups stated in a joint launch.

California-based snowfall, owned by using video game writer Activision, is in the system of making a “move livecharacteristic that would let gamers circulation on-screen movement to fb timelines, in keeping with the organizations.

snow fall games in line for the facebook streaming capability covered freshly launched “Overwatch.”

The collaboration will add social features to snow fall games whilst highlighting fb as a platform for sharing, viewing and discussing play, the agencies stated.

“Our collaboration on ‘Overwatch’ demonstrates facebook‘s commitment to partnering with AAA sportagencies, whilst further empowering snow fall gamers to connect and percentage the content materialthey’re most obsessed with with the friends they play with round the world,” stated facebookinternational video games director Leo Olebe.

“Overwatch” is a crewprimarily based shooter recreation played on-line.

facebook in advance this year ramped up its project to Twitter-owned Periscope with enhancements to the social community‘s live video broadcasting function.

a new featured turned into added to the stay streaming feature at facebook to let human beings“broadcast: to groups at the social network or in scheduled “occasions.”

fb live released within the middle of remaining 12 months and became to start with confined to celebrities however these days opened to a much wider audience of broadcasters.

e-sports heavyweights
moving into the e-sports activities sport will pit fb towards heavyweight competitors which includespioneering company Twitch and famous online video sharing service YouTube, owned by using Google-determine Alphabet.

Yahoo E-sports activities released about two months ago as an internet venue for stay tournaments,remark, functions, interviews and greater tailor-made for the booming trend of video games as spectatorsports activities.

The rollout of YouTube Gaming in the middle of ultimate year marked the public debut of a web spot in which online game fans can discover remark, stay play, on-demand snippets and greater.

the online area for online game channels includes the search smarts of Google to floor fresh or ought to-see content.

US on-line retail massive Amazon snatched up Twitch and its big target audience for live-streamed gaming in 2014.

the acquisition turned into one among the biggest in Amazon’s history $970 million (kind of Rs. 6,488 crores) in cash for the 3yrantique net organisation.

Twitch Interactive streams video games being performed for non-gambling visitors to look at, and hosts gaming activities.

It permits viewers to speak with the players and others, lending it a number of the features of social networking websites, and it additionally sells advertising and marketing to generate income.

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Tags: E sports, facebook, Gaming, net, Social, Twitch, YouTube

Samsung Takes India’s Premium Smartphone Crown in 2015: CMR

Samsung Takes India's Premium Smartphone Crown in 2015: CMR

2015 was another remarkable year for smartphones. We saw different companies getting increasingly competitive and launch affordable products, and we also witnessed several new players arrive in the market. According to CyberMedia Research, 96.4 million smartphones were shipped in India last year. Of this voluminous number, 3.4 percent handsets accounted for premium segment smartphones (priced at Rs. 30,000 or above). Samsung assumed the top-smartphone manufacturer spot in the category.

According to the marketing and research firm CyberMedia Research, Samsung assumed 46 percentcapture of the premium smartphone market in India. The South Korean smartphone manufacturer was closely followed by Apple, which boasts of 44 percent market share. Sony is the third biggest player in the premium smartphone race, capturing 3 percent of the pie. Overall, CyberMedia Research says, it saw 53 percent growth in the premium segment smartphones segment.

The research also claims that 98 percent of these premium smartphones shipped in the country last year supported 4G connectivity. Similarly, 99 percent of these smartphones were running eitherAndroid or iOS. What’s worth noting here is that Microsoft and BlackBerry didn’t launch many “premium” smartphones last year. Another observation made by the firm is that 63 percent of these phablets feature a 5-inch or larger display. The vast majority of them — 79.5 percent, to be exact — were powered by a Qualcomm-made SoC.

“This is an encouraging indicator that the premium segment is exhibiting such growth. As the Indian market moves from a volume game to value market, premium segment becomes significant for the industry where you sell lesser units for higher value,” said Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst Telecoms, CMR. “To mark the next level of growth, the India Mobile Handset brands need to leverage the premium segment as the units market shrinks.”

The firm believes that premium smartphone shipment will likely hit 5-million mark this year.

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Tags: Android, BlackBerry, India, iOS, iPhone, Microsoft, Mobiles, Samsung, Smartphones, Sony