Minecraft Meets AI; the Fall and Decline of Yahoo

Posted July 21st, 2016 at 11:49 am (UTC-4)
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Today’s Tech Sightings:

FILE - A child plays the Minecraft video game at the Minecon convention in London, Britain, July 4, 2015. Minecraft is a blocky world that lets players mine for resources and build elaborate structures, among other activities. (Reuters)

FILE – A child plays the Minecraft video game at the Minecon convention in London, Britain, July 4, 2015. (Reuters)

Minecraft Is Testing Ground for Human-AI Collaboration

Minecraft, the computer game of blocks, has been used to build all sorts of things for fun and educational applications. Now, Microsoft researchers have released an experimental version intended as an artificial intelligence (AI) training ground. Nicknamed Project Malmo, the open source effort allows a learning algorithm, which can control Minecraft characters, to cooperate with humans controlling other characters through a chat client.

Silicon Valley’s Yahoo Diaspora Mourns Company’s Decline

After a decade of decline, Yahoo is in the process of selling its core business. But loyalists who remember Yahoo’s 1990s glory days as Silicon Valley’s biggest startup are sad to see the company sold and possibly dismembered. For those who don’t remember, two Stanford students launched Yahoo in 1994 as a key portal to the World Wide Web. Over the years, a wealthy Yahoo made a lot of acquisitions, some more successful than others.

‘Candid,’ the Anonymous Chat App, Enforces Civility With AI

Whatever the justification, hate speech, bullying, bigotry, threats and slander are unacceptable behavior online and elsewhere. In some cases, the victims fight back. In order to find a better way to deal with this kind of rhetoric, two former Google employees created Candid, an anonymous chat app that uses artificial intelligence to process natural language and flag inflammatory words.


Aida Akl
Aida Akl is a journalist working on VOA's English Webdesk. She has written on a wide range of topics, although her more recent contributions have focused on technology. She has covered both domestic and international events since the mid-1980s as a VOA reporter and international broadcaster.

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