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These AI learn by competing against each other, and it looks ridiculous

  • Researchers at Elon Musk's startup, OpenAI, think they have discovered the most efficient way to train artificial neural networks: have them compete against each other.

    The researchers have created simulations of human sports, like sumo wrestling and soccer, and pitted the AI players against each other. Winning techniques are rewarded through behavioral reinforcement, while the losing AI is encouraged to try different moves.

    The 'self-play' method ensures that the AI are always learning, and that their tasks are always the perfect difficulty: facing off against different versions of itself. And, yes, it looks pretty funny. Read more...

    More about Sports, Technology, Mashable Video, Artificial Intelligence, and Elon Musk

    1 week 2 hours ago

Tony Fadell-backed company sues Andy Rubin’s Essential over wireless connector tech

How to get a good PS4 deal this Black Friday in the US

  • When it comes to Black Friday in the US, there are two (near) certainties: people will be hysterically hunting down ridiculous deals, and that those deals will include some video-gaming goodness. PS4 deals will inevitably be among the top US Black Friday deals, too, so get those thumbs limbered up.

    It's the perfect storm of old PS4 stock and pre-Christmas sale shopping madness, with retailers looking to make room for fresh temptations at Christmas, as well as laying the path for a whole suite of gaming releases, including South Park: Fractured But Whole, Gran Turismo Sport and Assassin’s Creed Origins.

    US retailers will be selling the consoles at a discount, and inevitably make a pretty penny on the accompanying games, too.

    But not all deals are created equal. While the big guns won't show their hand until Black Friday itself, there are sure to be early deals popping up ahead of time, and some better than others right up until Christmas.

    You'll want to set some parameters and boundaries right out of the gate. How many controllers do you really need? Is a PS4 Slim console so important to you that you'd sacrifice the cost of an extra game for it? And, should you be saving for a 4K-ready PS4 Pro edition, future-proofed for the TVs of the coming years?

    And, what of the games themselves – regularly appearing in bundles are the likes of Fallout 4, FIFA 18 and Destiny 2. But is a game-free console a worthy purchase, if it saves you the money to make the software choices yourself?

    Features to look out for

    We'll be hunting down the best Black Friday 2017 PS4 deals in the US, looping you in before the big day. But read on for the knowledge you need so that you can confidently lay down the cash when that gorgeous deal funnel opens, helping you smash Black Friday out of the park. 

    A PS4 for all

    First things first: know your PlayStation 4. There are three different models to pick from these days; the original PS4, the PS4 Slim and the PS4 Pro. Whereas Microsoft has discontinued its first Xbox One (find the best Xbox One bundles and deals right now), Sony's older machine still holds its own – and is likely where you'll pick up the biggest bargains as a result.

    That's not necessarily too much of a compromise either, especially if it's a toss between the OG PS4 and the Slim model. Size aside, they're functionally identical machines, barring a small energy efficiency bonus to the smaller edition. Both are strictly outputting 1080p resolutions and lower, and stick with a standard Blu-ray player. The PS4 Pro is where you go for 4K resolutions, but it, too, only has a HD Blu-ray disk drive.

    For the cheapest deals, then, you'll be weighing up the relative merits of the Slim and the original and, if there's room in your AV cabinet for the older model, it's where you'll save the most moolah.

    Got a 4K TV? Go Pro

    It's the pricier option, but if you've got a 4K TV, or are planning to upgrade to one any time soon, you should really be considering the PS4 Pro. Sony's premium machine, it's got faster internals, more powerful graphics processing capabilities, and offers the option at playing games and videos at high 4K resolutions.

    Many games when running on the PS4 Pro, like Horizon Zero Dawn, use an upscaling process to make the most of the extra pixels you'd find on a 4K screen, while a handful of games can output to the higher resolution natively. Whichever technique is used, it will make your TV shine, with HDR smarts enhancing brightness and contrast levels, too.

    Video also gets a boost. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have films and TV shows that output in eye-caressing 4K HDR on the PS4 Pro. And, while it's sorely lacking a UHD Blu-ray player against the Xbox One S and Xbox One X competition, it still upscales standard Blu-rays with aplomb, meaning your existing collection isn't made obsolete by the coming of new resolution standards. It may cost you more initially, but a PS4 Pro will be worth it in the long run.


    As the only home console on the market today capable of VR gaming and video playback, if you're not at least considering a PlayStation VR headset to go along with your PS4, you're missing out on one of the things that makes the console so special. It's an expensive accessory, but a ground-breaking one, and Black Friday 2017 is a great time to look out for the headset.

    It’s more than just a fancy gimmick thanks to some super VR titles like Superhot and Resident Evil 7. Plenty of VR games have been retuned and improved for the more powerful PS4 Pro, too, making it another significant reason to buy the more costly console. 

    As well as any PS4 model and the headset itself, you'll need to pick up a PlayStation-branded camera for the console and, to get the most of the best PSVR games, a pair of Move motion controllers, too. It's a pricey bundle as a result, but with the news that a revised, HDR-friendly version of the headset will be on shelves soon, there's a good chance that last year's model will get discounted in the US in preparation for the new stock.

    Deal predictions

    It's never easy to predict exact US bargains ahead of Black Friday. There will always be shockingly-good deal to be found in some hidden corner of the internet, and the best-laid predictions can easily bear no fruit, too. But we can still make some educated guesses. These are the PS4 deals we'd expect to see this Black Friday 2017.

    PS4 Pro and PSVR bundle

    It'd make sense, right? Neither are brand-new, and in the face of the Xbox One X, a tempting deal on Sony's most lust-worthy gaming gear could turn the tide in its favor ahead of Christmas. An “ultimate” PS4 Pro bundle for the US that includes the PSVR headset, a PS Camera and a Move controller would be everything you need for the full PS4 experience, bar a great big HDR-ready 4K TV. 

    This is also likely to offer great value, although you’ll have to break it down to appreciate this. The actual cost may be fairly high, so prepare your wallet. Remember that the PS Move controller and PS Camera are usually separate purchases, not bundled with the console. 

    PS4 Slim with Destiny 2

    Brand-spanking new PS4 Slim bundles feature on-line co-op shooter Destiny 2 as part of the package. It's a top-notch shooter (provided you can find the friends and the hours to to get the most out of it). 

    However, note that the bundled version of the PS4 Slim often sees the 500GB hard drive model pushed, rather than a 1TB one. This gives you, obviously, a lot less room on which you can install games and store save files. However, you can now also just plug-in an external hard drive. It’ll need to be a USB 3.0 drive so check any old drives you have lying around. USB 2.0 ones won’t work.

    That said, Black Friday is also a great time to pick up a cheap external hard drive

    PS4 Slim 1TB

    Unlike the bundle options, if you find a PS4 Slim being sold solo, you'll likely find it to be one of the larger-capacity 1TB models. That's plenty of room to install games without being at risk of running out of storage too quickly, and without having to track down an external drive to supplement the internals.

    A game like Destiny 2 takes up more than 30GB, for instance, and other titles consume even more. So, unless you like juggling installed games, you can see the benefit of investing early in this respect.

    PS4 Slim with GT Sport and racing wheel

    Black Friday in the US lands just after the release of Gran Turismo Sport, one of the most anticipated racing games in years. As racing wheels have appeared on Black Friday in recent years, a big package that includes the game, a PS4 and a racing wheel from Thrustmaster or Logitech is possible. 

    Look out for a deal that includes the Thrustmaster T300 RS or Logitech G29. These are force feedback racing wheels that use motors to emulate the forces you’d feel out on the road. They are a lot of fun. The Thrustmaster gets our vote out of the two.

    1 week 2 hours ago

Tesla unveils a brand new dual-charging port for Chinese vehicles

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    1 week 2 hours ago

If you can't handle the heat, this watch might help

Xbox One's new fall update is now open to everyone

  • After months of testing across all tiers of its Insider program, Microsoft has announced that its Xbox One fall update is now finally available for all users. 

    Since we first got a brief look at what the update might offer back in August, Microsoft has been gathering feedback and testing and refining new features ahead of this worldwide roll out announced by Mike Ybarra on the Xbox blog.

    Coming just ahead of the release of the highly anticipated new Xbox One X this update is, as you’d expect, a pretty big one and there are a lot of new features for users to get to grips with. 

    A new look

    There’s a heavy emphasis on personalisation with this update through the much more modular home screen. Now the home screen will be taken up by customizable blocks into which you can add things such as your favorite games, friends, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Game Pass so that you can quickly access what’s most important to you at that time. 

    If you’re playing a lot of one particular game, for example, you can make sure it has its own dedicated block on your home screen so that you can access it as quickly as possible. 

    Or, if you’re particularly interested in what one of your friends is up to on their console, you can add them as a home screen block and more easily see all of their latest activities. 

    There’s also more of a choice when it comes to color schemes, with new light and high-contrast options alongside the more traditionally dark palette.

    The Guide is also much faster to maneuver despite the fact that it packs in more features. Now, for example, if you bring up Guide while in an active party or broadcast it’ll have the smarts to open the party or broadcast section by default so that you can quickly access the controls. 

    There’s a new “friends in games” flyout which will let you know when your friends are playing the same game as you and if you get an invite it’ll be much easier to see since it’s now housed in the Guide’s Multiplayer tab.

    While a more convenient guide is good for when you’re actively using your console, there are also new features allow you to stay connected when you’ve stepped away. 

    If you’ve left your console idle, the new enhanced notification system means that time-sensitive activities and status updates will be visible from far away. If it’s been a while since you’ve even turned your console on, it’ll also be easier to catch up on all the friend and game activity you’ve missed with the new community feed.

    There are, of course, important changes being made that’ll be useful to those making the move to Xbox One X. 

    To make set up as simple as possible for both new users and those making an upgrade, the new update will make it possible to transfer games via an external drive or copy them over your home network through network transfer (a slower method, but one that doesn’t require a sizable drive). Those who have a lot to transfer will be glad to know that the new bulk transfer feature means you won’t have to move each game and app individually.

    Those moving from Xbox One or Xbox One S will be able to download the 4K content for certain games to their console ahead of time so that they can transfer their Xbox One X titles over as soon as they have the new console. 

    Speaking of Xbox One X Enhanced titles, they now have their own section in the store and it’ll be possible to sort and filter your installed and ready to install games library to find Enhanced titles specifically. 

    Creators will be glad to know that Microsoft is also putting in some features to cater to their needs this time around, too. Taking the chance to push its Mixer streaming service, Microsoft has added a Mixer tab to the dashboard while will display broadcast previews so that you can see popular streams before jumping into them. 

    Whether you’re broadcasting or watching, if your bandwidth supports a 1080p broadcast it’ll be automatically upgraded across your Xbox family of devices. For Xbox One X owners specifically,  GameDVR will now be able to capture up to 4K/HDR screenshots and game clips and you’ll be able to capture content directly to an external hard drive.

    Overall, this is the biggest update we’ve seen for the Xbox One X in a long time and given that Microsoft has put it through several levels of testing and several rounds of feedback we imagine it’s going to be as smooth as it sounds. 

    That said, Microsoft has said that it still wants to hear feedback from all fans so when you download it for yourself, it’s always worth letting them know if there’s something that doesn’t sit well with you. 

    1 week 3 hours ago

The Xbox One is getting a major update today, including a faster dashboard

  • Microsoft has been gradually improving its Xbox One dashboard to make the experience a lot faster to use. While the original Xbox One launched with Kinect and voice controls, much of the navigation with a controller was slow and clunky. Microsoft started addressing some of those performance issues with some updates earlier this year, but today’s Xbox One dashboard goes a step further.

    Microsoft is once again moving the guide so it’s ordered horizontally. You can switch between different sections using the Xbox controller bumpers or left thumbstick and d-pad. Sign-in, achievements, parties / LFG, friends, Home, messages, broadcasts, and a new action center (with settings) now form part of the updated guide. It works very similar to how it...

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    1 week 3 hours ago

An addict’s tale: My week without social media

  • By Monday I’d deleted Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn applications off my phone and logged out of all accounts on my laptop: it had begun Hi, my name is Inés and I’m a social media addict. But this week, I decided to go through digital detox by turning off all of my major distractions. The challenge The first day was tough. I would constantly press the Twitter bookmark on Chrome, or type in, in the hope that something would show up. Nada. The login page would stare me right in the face saying “Nope. Nothing to see here.”…

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Finding the needles in the haystack: How to meet journalists at conferences

  • Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s not only due to the changing autumn leaves. Much less romantic, I particularly enjoy this time of the year as it offers a chance for our team to regroup after the madness of the conference season summer months. With so many new events popping up, it can be hard to choose which conferences to attend. While it would be great to go to every event, this would be extremely expensive, time consuming and — from my personal experience — exhausting. As such, most CEOs assess events based on the ROI they…

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These gadgets are all you need to be a ‘professional’ ghost hunter

  • With Halloween around the corner its time to forget about smartphones and drones in favor of more important technology. Aliens are among us, the end is near, and ghosts are everywhere – these are the devices you’ll need to hunt down and expose all things paranormal. First, let’s get an EMF meter, because that’s how other people know you think you’re a paranormal investigator. You can spend $60.00 and get one that, as one reviewer put it, “When used to detect ghosts the readings will pulsate at higher than normal readings. A great tool for electricians as well as ghost…

    This story continues at The Next Web

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