Weekly Recap: AlphaGo champion, SQL Server Linux, moot hired, Seagate scam, Chihira v. 3

AlphaGo: a Historic Victory for Artificial Intelligence

The Go board game has always posed a special challenge to artificial intelligence. As a comparison, IBM’s Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov at chess back in 1997. But DeepMind’s AlphaGo and its new algorhythm is batting virtually 100 compared to every other program on the market, with just 1 game lost out of 500. Having beaten the European Champion, Fan Hui, in a world first, AlphaGo is now taking on the World Champion, South Korean Lee Sedol. It has already won the first two matches of five. After the second match, Lee said: “Yesterday, I was surprised; but today, it's more than that — I am speechless”. DeepMind, a UK company founded in 2010, was bought out by Google in 2014.

The Verge, “Google’s DeepMind beats Lee Se-dol again to go 2-0 up in historic Go series.”

The Verge, DeepMind dedicated hub.

Microsoft Loves Linux

SQL Server aime Linux

For several months now, Linux distributions have been supported on Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud platform. Now, the Redmond company is taking it a step further, with the announcement this week of the porting of its SQL Server database on Linux. While Microsoft hasn’t revealed the cost, one can presume it will be in line with the Windows version. The Linux version should be available within the the next 12 months. In September, we learned that Microsoft was running its Cloud on Linux (Azure Cloud Switch) and that the company was beefing up its Linux capabilities.

Microsoft Blog, “Announcing SQL Server on Linux.”

Microsoft.com, “SQL Server on Linux.”

From 4chan to Google

Chris moot Poole, 4chan

We had to re-read this piece three times before we were sure we weren’t hallucinating; then we checked the information with three different sources to make sure it wasn’t a hoax. It would seem that Google has recruited Chris “moot” Poole, creator of 4chan.

BBC News, “Google hires creator of notorious 4chan forum.”

Chris Poole, “My next chapter.”

Seagate a Victim of E-mail Fraud

Seagate Technology, Cupertino

You can be a leading technology company with layers and layers of security tools and procedures, and still have your data pirated through low-tech means, such as an innocuous email preying on the recipient’s good faith. On March 1, that is what happened to Seagate Technology, the hard-drive titan, when pirates phished a file containing the personal data of all of its U.S. employees, past and present, including SIN numbers and salaries. Some 10,000 people have been affected and are at risk of identity theft. Snapchat also fell for a similar scam last month.

Krebs on Security, “Seagate phish exposes all employee W-2’s.”

CNN Money, “Snapchat employee fell for phishing scam.”

Chihira Kanae, Toshiba’s New Communication Android

Toshiba introduced the third iteration of the Chihira robot at the Berlin ITB fair. The Chihira Kanae Android is made for the tourism industry, answering visitors’ questions in English, German, Chinese and Japanese. Noel Sharkey, a robotics engineer at Sheffield University, said: “As a robot, it is very good, but it still has that slight look of a psycho killer”. The Japanese have always been more open to humanoid robots than Westerners, while North Americans prefer their robots to look like robots, like the adorable Nao.

BBC News, “Toshiba’s robot is designed to be more human-like.”


Vantablack, developed by the UK-based company Surrey NanoSystems, is a super-black coating that holds the world record as the darkest man-made substance. Vantablack absorbs virtually all incident light. It produces some startling optical effects; when it's applied to a three-dimensional object, Vantablack is so black that it becomes extremely difficult to discern any surface features, and three-dimensional objects appear to become two-dimensional.

Petapixel, “The darkest material on Earth is now even darker.”


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