TIME AI

Elon Musk: Don’t Bother Running to Mars Because the Robots Will Get Us There, Too

Elon Musk & SpaceX
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), speaks before the unveiling of the Manned Dragon V2 Space Taxi in Hawthorne, California, U.S., on Thursday, May 29, 2014. Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg via Getty Images

The head of Tesla Motors and SpaceX is concerned about artificial intelligence turning into Skynet.

Elon Musk is best known for his work on electric cars and rocket ships, but he’s also invested in a couple of artificial intelligence startups. It’s not for the money, he says, but because “I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence.”

Speaking to Kelly Evans and Julia Boorstin on CNBC Tuesday, Musk discussed why he’s an investor in Vicarious, and why he invested in DeepMind (before it was acquired by Google), both AI companies.

Musk said there is “potentially a dangerous outcome” for the technology, and that “there have been movies about this, you know, like Terminator.”

Unfortunately, Musk was short on ideas for how we might stop intelligent computers from turning against us. Here’s the best–or, most terrifying–part of the exchange:

JB: But what should A.I. be used for? What’s its best value?

MUSK: I don’t know. But there are some scary outcomes. And we should try to make sure the outcomes are good, not bad. Yeah.

KE: Or escape to Mars if there’s no other option.

MUSK: The A.I. will chase us there pretty quickly.

TIME Apple

Apple Slammed Amazon in the Most Covert Way Ever

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook addresses the crowd during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 in San Francisco
Stephen Lam—Reuters

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

If U.S. District Judge Denise Cote needed a reminder that she backed the bully in the 2013 e-book antitrust ruling that made her infamous on the Internet, Apple and Hachette on Tuesday engineered a doozy.

On Monday, Judge Cote received from Apple and 30 states attorneys general the terms of the deal they’ve cut – presumably a dollar amount in millions — to settle the separate civil case that rode like a room full of expensive suits on Cote’s decision. Apple has promised to take its appeal to the Supreme Court, if necessary. (See The big ‘if’ in Apple’s e-book settlement.)

A few hours after the deal was made public, a reporter with good connections with Apple PR posted a screen shot of Hachette titles being discounted on Apple’s iTunes bookstore. “Apple is happy,” Peter Kafka wrote on Re/Code, in a widely retweeted headline, “to sell you the Hachette books Amazon won’t stock.”

For the rest of the story, go to Fortune.com.

 

TIME

Re-Live the French Revolution: Assassin’s Creed – Unity the Inside Scoop

Try not to lose your head, Assassin's Creed Unity puts players in the midst of revolutionary France.

Assassins’s Creed is the Da Vinci Code for video games; steeped in mystery, lush with the tales of secret societies, and fueled by a search for mysterious artifacts. On October 28th, 2014, the world of Assassin’s Creed is coming out with another piece to the puzzle of its long and tangled alternate universe: Assassin’s Creed – Unity. Set during the French Revolution in the late 1700’s you take control of the character Arno Dorian, following his journey from a child to becoming another instrument of war in a centuries long battle between the Templars and the Assassins.

This latest entry in the franchise was designed completely from the ground up for the current generation of consoles, unlike the last iteration Assassin’s Creed – Black Flag, which was a multi-generational title. That means that this game won’t be limited by the horsepower of 9-year-old consoles – It’s truly ‘Next-gen.’ For more of the inside scoop, watch the video above.

TIME Apple

Apple’s New iMac Is $200 Cheaper

Apple

The new all-in-one trims a few specs to hit $1,099 price tag

Apple just released a cheaper version of its iMac all-in-one computer, with a $1,099 price tag.

That’s $200 less than the previous baseline iMac, but it makes a couple of sacrifices to get there. The Intel Core i5 processor is a 1.4 GHz dual-core chip, compared to the 2.7 GHz quad-core chip in the $1,299 iMac, and it uses Intel HD 5000 graphics instead of Intel’s beefier Iris Pro integrated graphics. Storage space is also cut in half, from 1 TB to 500 GB.

A computer with those specs won’t be a gaming or graphic design powerhouse, but it should be good enough for everyday computing. If you’re keen on Apple’s software, build quality and design, but want to spend as little as possible, at least there’s an option for you now.

TIME emoji

This Is What All Those New Emoji Actually Look Like

The Unicode Consortium

The news this week that hundreds of new emoji were on their way caused a stir online. Now, the Unicode Consortium has published a document that shows what they new icons will look like. The list (available here) shows 240 new “Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs” being added to version 7.0 of the Unicode Standard, which overall adds 2,834 new characters to the current standard. Some highlights include: spooky hacker, joystick, fax machine, stunner shades and, natch, the “live long and prosper” hand sign. For 15 more emoji we need right now, check out this list.

[The Verge]

The Unicode Consortium
The Unicode Consortium
TIME technology

Yahoo Is More Diverse Than Google, but Not by Much

Slight difference here

Following a demographics disclosure trend in tech firms these days, Yahoo released data Tuesday about the diversity of its workforce.

According to self-reported data collected by the company, its workers are 37% female and 67% male, with 1% “undisclosed.” This hinges very closely to statistics released by Google last month, which revealed a labor pool similarly dominated by men (70% in Google’s case).

When it comes to race, Yahoo appears to be not quite as overwhelmingly white as Google (which was 61% white in its May disclosure). Yahoo’s data puts its workforce at 50% white and 39% Asian. However, the diversity still seems to suffer, as Hispanics represent just 4% of the labor force; black people, people of two or more races or those who did not disclose their race each encompass 2% of Yahoo employees.

“Here at Yahoo we are committed to attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce,” the company said. “We’re in the business of building products for hundreds of millions of users worldwide and that starts with having the best possible talent — a Yahoo team that understands and reflects our diverse user base.”

TIME iPhone

These Scientists Just Sent Smells Via Smartphone

Because smellable texts are what we all want, right?

We all agree that the main thing missing from your smartphone experience is the ability to send smells.

Right?

Well, anyway, a startup called oPhone has come to the rescue and met this pressing challenge. Harvard scientists sent on Tuesday the first “scent transmission overseas,” from an iPhone app in Paris to an oPhone console in New York City.

The oPhone is a creation from Vapor Communications, founded by Harvard professor David Edwards along with his students Rachel Field and Amy Yin.

Vapor “intends to bring scent messaging to mobile-phone users wherever aroma matters, for health and memory, self-expression and entertainment, travel and the marketing of aromatic content online,” the groups says in a statement.

In tandem with its transatlantic smellagram (sorry), the oPhone project launched an Indiegogo campaign aimed at raising $150,000 to help bring the oPhone to market. In the meantime, you’ll soon be able to receive sent smells at locations in Paris, New York City and Cambridge, Mass. The company says, though, that “eventually users will be able to share and experience oNotes anywhere with their personal oPhone.”

The puerile part of my brain is already plotting practical jokes, but I’m sure the rest of you will stick to sending roses and honeysuckle.

TIME technology

The 15 New Emoji We Need Right Now

15 New Emojis We Need Right Now
Emojis are becoming increasingly popular in texting. On Twitter, the most used Emoji is the heart. Damien Meyer—AFP/Getty Images

In July, 250 new Emoji—from “Dove of Peace” to “Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended”— will be installed in the Emojipedia for all of us to use and enjoy. But if that’s not enough for you, here’s 15 more Emoji that should really be a part of the next batch.

1. Black People

While the new Emoji installment boasts nearly every imaginable meteorological setting (“White Sun With Small Cloud,” “White Sun Behind Cloud,” “White Sun Behind Cloud With Rain,” the list goes on), we’re still waiting on some basic ethnic diversity here. Get on this, Emoji people.

2. Burritos

Making dinner plans at Chipotle? Burrito Emoji. Hungry? Burrito Emoji. Bored at work? Burrito Emoji.

3. Sad Poop

There’s already the “Pile of Poo,” but in Emojipedia’s own words, that’s “for some reason smiling in a friendly and approachable manner”—hardly appropriate for something that gets mercilessly flushed away every day.

4. Sigmund Freud

So that you can tell your friends their ego is showing. Plus, Freud’s face in nearly every one of his portraits looks like he’s creepily staring into your unconscious — great Emoji material there.

5. Sarcastic Eye Roll

Helpful in a complex digital language in which “Ok” and “Ok.” mean two completely different things.

6. A Wrecking Ball

People come in like wrecking balls frequently, but not always with relationships: at an open bar, for example, or when someone leaves their Seamless account logged-in on your computer.

7. Beyoncé

Beyoncé may have an Emoji interpretation of her song “Drunk in Love,” but an Emoji of Beyoncé herself would kill two birds with one stone: a way to express that you’re feeling like a queen, and also Emoji #1 (that much-needed racial diversity).

8. A Flying Pig

So that when someone asks you to hang out, to go on a date or to help move their furniture, you can reply with, “when pigs fly.”

9. White Wine

Not everyone likes red wine.

10. Fork in Eye

It’d be much cuter in Emoji form.

11. Unimpressed McKayla Maroney

For when you get an A- on a paper, or less than 100 likes on your profile picture—or when you land on your tailbone during the Olympics vault finals and get a silver medal.

12. Talk to the Hand

For those people who haven’t yet discovered that you can block someone’s messages on iPhone.

13. Grumpy Cat

When your friends want to go to Sunday brunch at 10 a.m. or stand you up for dinner, let grumpy cat do the texting.

14. Aziz Ansari

This way, Emojipedia could trash their stereotypically South Asian Emoji—Aziz Ansari is Indian, but there’s no turban on his head.

15. Foot in Mouth

The perfect morning follow-up to your texts from last night.

TIME animals

There’s a Kickstarter to Help People Experience Life as a Cat

Celebrate by knocking over a houseplant

For all those who have stretched out on the patch of sunlight your window illuminated on your living room floor, all-the-while wondering what life would be like if you were a cat: Have we got news for you.

Catlateral Damage—a first-person, destructive cat simulator, obviously—premiered last year and after receiving a positive response, it launched a Kickstarter to expand to become a full-fledged game. The project aims to earn $40,000 by July 11, and it is already more than $15,000 into its goal.

So what is Catlateral Damage? As the Kickstarter video explains, “Here’s you. You’re a cat! Go be a cat.”

That means human you gets to live a virtual existence as a catnip eating feline who runs around and knocks things over. Like books. And shoes. And plants. A more explicit explanation is as follows:

“Your goal is to reach the fancy mansion down the street and destroy the super secret, super valuable object hidden within its locked safe. You start in your home apartment, traversing and trashing various houses on the street until your reach the mansion. In each house, you start in a locked room and make messes in rooms to unlock adjacent ones.”

And the donation perks? With a $9,999 donation, founder Eitan Glinert will adopt a cat from a local animal shelter. “There is no limit! Make him adopt ALL THE CATS,” the Kickstarter reads. “He’ll periodically send you pitches of the cat, and you are invited to come and hang out with him or her when you are in Boston.”

The game will be available of Windows, Mac, Linux, and Ouya.

TIME Companies

TaskRabbit Is About to Change Dramatically

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Grocery bag Steve Mcsweeny—Getty Images

TaskRabbit, the website that lets people pay others to run errands for them, is getting a big overhaul next month. The service will shift away from the auction system it currently uses, in which contractors seek out and bid on tasks they’d like to complete. Instead, it will move to a system that matches people assigning tasks and workers seeking to complete odd jobs through an algorithm.

The revamped site will boast a transparent pricing system as well as the ability to choose a contractor with a single click.

The new approach is aimed at boosting the efficiency of TaskRabbit’s task-assigning process and boosting the company’s stagnant growth rate. The number of completed tasks on the site began to decline last year even though the number of users was rising. The company added 1.25 million new users in 2013 and expects to double that figure this year.

More than 25,000 people currently earn income by completing jobs through TaskRabbit.

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