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Google working on human-like chatbots that contextually respond to anything

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Chatbots were all the craze last decade, and they’re now commonly found when interacting with support lines. Today, conversational agents are a bit limited, and Google is working towards a human-like chatbot “that can chat about anything.”

The Google Brain research team today detailed “Meena.” This end-to-end trained neural conversational model tries to correct the “critical flaw” of current highly specialized chatbots:

They sometimes say things that are inconsistent with what has been said so far, or lack common sense and basic knowledge about the world. Moreover, chatbots often give responses that are not specific to the current context.

Google’s Meena model focuses on understanding the context of a conversation to provide a sensible reply. The goal is to create something that can “chat about virtually anything a user wants.” For example, two conversations show users asking Meena for show recommendations, while another sees it reply with jokes.

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It’s trained on 341GB of text from public domain social media conversations, which is 8.5x more data than existing state-of-the-art generative models.

In working towards a realistic model, Google created a new quality benchmark for chatbots. The Sensibleness and Specificity Average (SSA) “captures basic, but important attributes for natural conversations.” Humans evaluators are asked to judge if a response is “reasonable in context.”

If anything seems off — confusing, illogical, out of context, or factually wrong — then it should be rated as, “does not make sense”. If the response makes sense, the utterance is then assessed to determine if it is specific to the given context.

For example, if A says, “I love tennis,” and B responds, “That’s nice,” then the utterance should be marked, “not specific”. That reply could be used in dozens of different contexts. But if B responds, “Me too, I can’t get enough of Roger Federer!” then it is marked as “specific”, since it relates closely to what is being discussed.

On this Google-created benchmark, Meena does better than existing models, and is “closing the gap with human performance.” Practical applications for human-like chatbots include humanizing how people use computers, and making relatable interactive movie or game characters.

Moving forward, Google wants to look beyond its focus on sensibleness and specificity for its human-like chatbot to tackle personality and factuality. Safety and bias is another important area, with the company not releasing a research demo today as a result.

We are evaluating the risks and benefits associated with externalizing the model checkpoint, however, and may choose to make it available in the coming months to help advance research in this area.

Source:
https://9to5google.com/2020/01/28/google-human-like-chatbots/

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Samsung’s Z Flip glass covering is ready for non-Samsung foldables

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Samsung’s display unit has provided further details on the glass used in the Galaxy Z Flip and pointed to its potential wider adoption on non-Samsung foldables in the future. Yonhap reports that the 30-micrometer-thick covering is the result of a collaboration with glass manufacturer Dowoo Insys, in which Samsung Display holds a minority stake. Samsung Display currently provides display technologies to a variety of smartphone manufacturers, including the OLED panels found in Apple’s recent iPhones.

Although the Z Flip’s display is covered by this new ultra-thin glass (UTG), the glass layer is protected by an additional layer of plastic that YouTube channel JerryRigEverything found was highly susceptible to scratching. Removing the plastic layer caused the screen to break (similar to what we saw with Samsung’s original Galaxy Fold), which shows that the layer is still integral to the display unlike regular aftermarket screen protectors. Samsung Display claims that its glass is “tough, yet tender” and able to withstand 200,000 folds.

Nevertheless, commercialization of Samsung Display’s ultra-thin glass is a big step for foldable devices, since companies now have a major manufacturer to turn to for their foldable glass needs. Yes, its durability has come into question, but that could improve over time as we’ve seen with each successive generation of Corning’s Gorilla Glass.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/19/21143505/samsung-display-ultra-thin-glass-foldable-display-galaxy-z-flip-commercialized

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PS5 and Xbox Series X surprise reveal as key specs leak for BOTH consoles

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What’s going to be the better console: PS5 or Xbox Series X? It’s certainly an argument that’s been waged across quite a few message boards in recent months, as Xbox Series X was officially unveiled to the world. Meanwhile, a series of leaks and sly comments by Sony execs have given us an inkling as to what the PlayStation 5 will be capable of.

However, we still don’t know which will be the better buy. Although the Xbox will come with no exclusive games at launch, if it proves to be the more powerful console in the long term, it could hurdle this barrier. Although some PS5 games will be exclusive, this is no guarantee of power. The stakes are high. And now, thanks to a recent link, we could finally have the answer we’ve been looking for.

Posted on 4chan’s /v/ gaming board, the anonymous leaker posts what they claim to be specifications from the second, revised development kits, which means if true, these specs won’t be too far off the finished product. 

One the one hand, 4chan’s lack of accountability means it’s awash with misinformation. However, a leaker posting on the same board last month correctly predicted PlayStation’s new tagline: “it’s time to play”. The tagline, incidentally, was hidden among a smorgasbord of PS5 info also disclosed by the same leaker, so we won’t write anything off just because of the source.

The specs adhere closely to some of the rumours previously heard about the consoles, with the Series X being incrementally more powerful while the PS5 is set to edge it out in the GPU stakes. 

Both consoles appear to have cores dedicated to ray tracing, the GPU technology that creates incredibly immersive, realistic environments. However, the PS5 also includes dedicated 3D sound cores too, something the Series X appears to lack.

As stated above, take this info with a whole heap of salt. In addition, although the kits are fairly advanced in the development process, things could change between now and release. We can’t wait until the PS5 is officially revealed and both consoles’ gamepads are in our hands, so we can compare them side-by-side. Not long now…

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Nintendo announces first new Switch Lite color since launch

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Nintendo has announced the first new Switch Lite color since the portable-only console launched last fall. The new hue is “coral,” perhaps belatedly inspired by Pantone’s decision to name “Living Coral” the Color of the Year for 2019. Or maybe Nintendo wants it out in time for cherry blossom season.

Coral joins turquoise, grey, and yellow in the regular lineup. It’ll be available in Japan on March 20th, with preorders starting on March 7th. Notably, the launch of the new system doesn’t appear to have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, unlike the upcoming Animal Crossing-themed Switch.

The coral Switch Lite maintains the same price of 19,980 yen ($182).

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/18/21141956/nintendo-switch-lite-new-color-coral-price-release-date

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