IoT weekly round-up: Thursday 14th December

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Welcome to this week’s IoT round-up. Today, the FCC will vote whether to scrap net neutrality, a move that would have far-reaching consequences. On the lighter side, there’s a new robot-written Harry Potter chapter, courtesy of Botnik Studios, and researchers from the University of California are trying to give machines an imagination. Read on for the latest.

39 senators urge FCC to abandon plan to scrap net neutrality

The FCC’s proposal to eliminate net neutrality rules is due to be voted on today. While the world holds its breath, 39 senators have written to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, urging him to withdraw the ‘radical and reckless plan.’ This is the biggest complaint against the proposal so far. The full letter is available here.

This robot-produced chapter of Harry Potter will make you chuckle

Robots have written a new Harry Potter chapter using a predictive keyboard, and the results are gleefully, delightingly bonkers. Botnik Studios, a community of artists, writers and developers committed to bringing the world “strange new things”, trained a predictive keyboard on all seven Harry Potter books. Then they strung the algorithmically constructed sentences together to create a new chapter in the Harry Potter series: “Harry Potter and the portrait of looked like a large pile of ash.” To fans of the franchise, the new chapter is just the right mix of familiar and absurd, and extraordinarily funny into the bargain, as this dramatic reading will show:

Researchers train robots to develop imaginative skills

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, are working on a technology called ‘visual foresight’, that will give robots the ability to ‘imagine the future of their actions.’ This capability is quite straightforward for now. It can’t quite mange ‘what will I wish I’d done when I’m eighty’, but it can make basic predictions a few seconds into the future. According to the researchers, the robots can ‘predict what their cameras will see if they perform a particular sequence of movements.’

Google opens AI center in China

It’s official: Google is definitely opening an AI center in Beijing, China. While the search engine is blocked in China, the company itself is very much present. Google still has lots of China-based staff working on its international services. The new team will work with AI experts in other Google offices, like New York, Toronto, London and Zurich. Dr Fei-Fei Li, Chief Scientist at Google Cloud, will lead the new team alongside Jia Li, formerly head of research at Snap.

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Bookmark the IoT weekly round-up series page to keep up with what’s going on in the wider world of IoT.

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