Categories
Security

This new Windows 11 feature will help protect your passwords

The new Windows 11 22H2 update was just released, bringing an interesting security feature. Dubbed “Enhanced Phishing Protection,” this feature was made to help users protect their Windows passwords a little bit better.

Enhanced Phishing Protection will warn users whenever they enter their Windows password in places where it’s not needed. Here’s how it works.

Bleeping Computer

Many people use the same password across several websites, programs, and emails — even though it’s unsafe. Surprisingly, many of us pay quite little attention to the security of our Windows password, but it’s a good idea to stay vigilant about it. Microsoft has decided to make that easier to do by implementing Enhanced Phishing Protection in Windows 11. Microsoft talked about the feature briefly in a blog post.

Windows login credentials are especially valuable to potential attackers if they belong to someone within an organization. Infiltrating just one computer could grant a hacker access to the whole network, and from there, it only gets worse. Combine that with the fact that many of us don’t use secure passwords on our work computers, and there may be a problem.

While Microsoft is not addressing the security of the password itself, its new anti-phishing feature makes it easier to ensure that the password doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. It comes with two settings, one for password reuse and one for password storage.

“SmartScreen identifies and protects against corporate password entry on reported phishing sites or apps connecting to phishing sites, password reuse on any app or site, and passwords typed into Notepad, Wordpad, or Microsoft 365 apps,” Microsoft’s security product manager Sinclaire Hamilton told Bleeping Computer.

When both options are enabled in Windows 11, the feature will warn you if you’re trying to store your password in an app such as Notepad. It will also alert you if you input your Windows password on a website, letting you know that you shouldn’t reuse it outside of accessing Windows 11.

How to enable Enhanced Phishing Protection

Windows 11 Enhanced Phishing Protection feature.
Bleeping Computer

In order to try this feature out for yourself, make sure you have the latest Windows 11 update (22H2). Once you do, follow this path to locate the settings: Start > Settings > Privacy & security > Windows Security > App & browser control > Reputation-based protection settings.

In that section, you’ll be able to find Warn me about password reuse and Warn me about unsafe password storage. Toggle both of these on and enjoy the extra layer of protection.

This is definitely a strong feature and a good addition from Microsoft. Let’s hope that it will continue expanding it to include more apps in order to ramp up the security even further.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
AI

Report: 76% of non-IT workers say the pandemic prepared them to take on IT tasks

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ManageEngine commissioned Vanson Bourne to conduct a global study to examine the role of IT and how it will continue to evolve in the future of work. The report discovered that everyone across the enterprise, not just IT, has a stake in how technology is chosen, deployed, configured and used.

Most departments outside IT — particularly quality control (24%) and finance (21%) — are using artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML). In addition, 76% in North America agree that their organization encourages non-IT employees to develop their own applications using low/no-code platforms — the highest of any other region surveyed — with marketing as the top department creating their own applications.

Despite agreeing that non-IT employees are more knowledgeable about IT now than they were pre-pandemic (76%), business decision-makers believe that a lack of training (48%) and basic technical knowledge (47%) are key barriers for employees when it comes to taking advantage of the technologies available.

IT decision-makers (ITDMs) feel that other departments need more technical skills training, particularly marketing (52%), finance (45%) and sales (43%). This indicates these teams may be misusing these technologies and need greater support from IT to course-correct.

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Image source: ManageEngine.

Decentralization of IT could lead to increased collaboration and the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks. 74% of ITDMs in North America stated that their organizations have already successfully decentralized their IT structure, the highest of any other region surveyed.

Despite this, nearly all ITDMs surveyed (99%) stated their organization faces challenges if they continue to decentralize. Their top three concerns are centered around maintaining IT security levels (56%), maintaining quality levels (41%) and the reliability of ongoing support (37%).

Regardless, decision-makers believe the importance of IT’s role in the business will become more acknowledged as a result of decentralization (57%), with 89% agreeing that an IT department’s success is directly correlated with the organization’s overall success.

Methodology

Vanson Bourne conducted this global study of 3,300 decision-makers across IT and other key business functions, with 500 total across the U.S. and Canada.

Read the full report from ManageEngine.

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Categories
Game

The $350 Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld will arrive in October

Logitech is hosting an event today, during which it’s revealing some new products for gamers and streamers. Details on one of those leaked in advance as a preorder page for the Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld went live on Amazon Canada a bit early. The company has now officially unveiled the device.

According to the listing, which was spotted by Lbabinz on Twitter, the Cloud Gaming Handheld will arrive on October 18th and cost $400 CAD. Logitech’s press materials, on the other hand, say the product will ship next month. The system will also be available from Amazon in the US, where it costs $350 USD, or $300 if you preorder. That’s fairly pricey for a dedicated cloud gaming handheld, especially considering that a Nintendo Switch OLED is the same price (and can be jailbroken to run cloud gaming services).

Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld

Logitech

The specs and design align with leaked details from late August. You’ll be able to stream games in 1080p at up to 60 frames per second on the seven-inch, 450-nit touchscreen. The handheld, which is a customized Android tablet housed inside a controller unit, offers haptic feedback, gyroscope controls and remappable buttons. It has the inputs you’d expect, including a D-pad, face buttons, dual thumbsticks, bumpers and triggers, along with option buttons on both sides, a G button and a Home button.

Because you’ll be streaming games for the most part, the Cloud Gaming Handheld doesn’t require a ton of processing power. That’s one likely reason why Logitech has been able to limit the weight to 463g, or just over a pound. For comparison, the Nintendo Switch weighs 0.88 pounds (398g) when the Joy-Cons are attached and the Steam Deck weighs around 1.5 pounds (669g).

The device runs on an octo-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G. It has 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 64GB of storage, which is expandable through a microSD slot. Logitech claims the battery will run for up to 12 hours on a single charge. If the power’s off, it should fully recharge in around 2.5 hours through a USB-C cable.

There are stereo speakers and a stereo microphone, which offers echo canceling and noise suppression. In addition, the device has Bluetooth 5.1 and USB-C headphone support, as well as, thankfully, a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Logitech G Cloud Gaming Handheld

Logitech

Logitech and Tencent (who built the device together) collaborated with Microsoft and NVIDIA to ensure there’s native support for Xbox Cloud Gaming and GeForce Now. You’ll be able to use the Steam Link app to play games from your PC remotely, while the Xbox app supports remote play from consoles. Logitech notes that users will be able to download apps from the Google Play Store. So, you should be able to access the likes of Google Stadia and Amazon Luna, as well as social media apps, Android games and streaming video services such as YouTube and Netflix (you can use the device in tablet mode).

“What we wanted to do was challenge ourselves to build a device that was perfectly optimized for cloud gaming,” Ujesh Desai, vice president and general manager of Logitech Gaming, said in a statement. “This meant precision controls – similar to a high-end Xbox controller – a large HD screen, amazing battery life and lightweight design so players can enjoy long gaming sessions, without any compromises.”

Update 12:12 PM ET: Added more details from Logitech.

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Categories
Computing

The best MacBook Pro bags

MacBooks are expensive investments, so naturally, you should get a bag to safely carry yours around. Whether you are commuting for work or you’re a student, you will want a bag that is sturdy, water-resistant, and roomy enough to fit the MacBook and its accessories. Here are some of the best MacBook Pro bags you can buy to keep your computer safe from the elements. 

A woman carrying the Timbuk2 Authority on her back.

Timbuk 2 Authority Laptop Backpack

The best bag overall

Pros

  • Made from recycled materials
  • Air mesh keeps your back cool as you carry it
  • Tons of storage

Why you should buy this: It’s a roomy, durable, and eco-friendly backpack.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a premium backpack to carry anything and everything for a long time to come.

Why we picked the Timbuk2 Authority:

Whether you need a bag for traveling, school, or your daily commute, the Authority Laptop Backpack from Timbuk2 will work for you. This premium backpack is a great choice for just about everyone because of its many pockets and comfortable straps.

The Authority has two main compartments, and the laptop compartment can hold up to a 17-inch laptop, so it will work no matter which MacBook you have. The larger compartment also has a series of pockets ideal for holding notebooks, pens, sunglasses, and anything else you might need to carry with you. There’s also a mesh pocket on the side that is perfect for carrying a water bottle.

Both the back panel and straps are built with an air mesh to help prevent excessive sweating while you are lugging it around. The straps are also padded to make carrying the bag comfortable. The Authority is made from 100% recycled pre-consumer nylon, so the bag is environmentally friendly as well.

It’s not the cheapest option on this list, but the premium build quality and universal appeal make the Timbuk2 Authority a worthwhile investment.

TIMBUK2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe, Eco Black Deluxe

Timbuk 2 Authority Laptop Backpack

The best bag overall

Someone with the Peak Design Everyday Messenger getting into a car.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Best messenger bag

Pros

  • Roomy interior for laptops, cameras, and other gear
  • Can be worn as a sling or over the shoulder
  • Premium construction
  • Magnetic latch

Cons

  • No side pockets
  • Expensive

Why you should buy this: It’s a surprisingly roomy messenger that can fit just about anything.

Who it’s for: People on the go who need to carry a lot of things, MacBook included.

Why we picked the Peak Design Everyday Messenger:

Messenger bags are excellent travel companions, and this option from Peak Design is one of the most versatile options available. The Everyday Messenger has Mag Latch hardware with four magnetic points of contact. This lets you adjust where the bag actually closes, allowing you to pack in a lot of contents while still being able to close the bag.

There are also a variety of pockets for laptops, tablets, and even extra pairs of clothes. The roomy compartment is also ideal for photographers who need to carry their camera and a couple of lenses. The exterior of the bag is made of recycled 400D nylon to keep the bag’s contents safe and dry.

The laptop sleeve can fit a 13-inch device, but you should still be able to fit in the 14-inch MacBook Pro because it has a similar form factor to the 13-inch model. This isn’t a good fit for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, however.

The v2 Everyday Messenger has a reinforced strap for added comfort. It can also be adjusted so you can carry the bag at your side or over the shoulder. The Everyday Messenger is one of the more expensive bags on this list, but its versatility and improved design make it the best messenger bag option around.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger V2 13L Black, Travel or Photo Carry with Laptop Sleeve (BEDM-13-BK-2)

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Best messenger bag

Mosiso Sleeve

Mosiso Laptop Sleeve Bag

Best sleeve for 14-inch MacBook Pro

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Lots of colors and styles available
  • Additional pocket for tablet/phone

Cons

  • Cannot fit 16-inch MacBook Pro

Why you should buy this: It’s an affordable and water-resistant sleeve to protect your MacBook Pro.

Who it’s for: Business professionals or people who need a protective case without lugging around a bag.

Why we picked the Mosiso 14-inch sleeve:

If you are just looking for a simple sleeve to carry your MacBook, this option from Mosiso is an affordable option. This neoprene sleeve will fit comfortably in any briefcase or backpack, and it will protect your MacBook from any scratching that might occur. The sleeve is also lined with foam padding to protect the computer from bumps and drops.

It’s designed for 13-inch laptops, but it can comfortably fit the 14-inch MacBook Pro as well as the latest M2 MacBook Air because of their similar form factors. There are also a ton of colors to choose from, so you can get a sleeve that perfectly matches your style.

The Mosiso also includes a small carrying bag for charging bricks, cables, and any other accessories for your MacBook.

If you’re looking for something simple and affordable to carry your MacBook, this is the option for you.

MOSISO Laptop Sleeve Bag Compatible with MacBook Air/Pro Retina, 13-13.3 inch Notebook,Compatible with MacBook Pro 14 inch 2021 2022 M1 Pro/Max A2442,Polyester Vertical Case with Pocket, Gray

Mosiso Laptop Sleeve Bag

Best sleeve for 14-inch MacBook Pro

A man holding the tomtoc 360 waiting for a train.

Tomtoc 360 Protective Laptop Shoulder Bag

The best bag for the 16-inch MacBook Pro

Pros

  • Corner bumpers to reduce shock damage
  • Extra pockets to carry accessories
  • Retractable handle

Cons

  • Plastic D-rings make strap flimsy

Why you should buy this: It’s a tough and affordable bag designed to resist drop and fall damage.

Who it’s for: Anyone who will be traveling with the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Why we picked the Tomtoc 360 Shoulder Bag:

If you have the 16-inch MacBook Pro, you will want to get a bag that offers maximum protection. The best option for that is the 360 protective laptop shoulder bag from Tomtoc. The Tomtoc 360 has thick interior padding to protect the MacBook from drops and falls, and the ConerArmor bumpers offer further protection from that type of damage. The materials are also water-resistant to protect the bag’s contents from rain or accidental spills.

The 360 comes with a large main pocket for your computer and two smaller pockets for accessories, charging bricks, and cables. The bag can either be carried with the briefcase handle or removable shoulder strap. The Tomtoc 360 also comes in a variety of colors, so you can find one that matches your style.

The Tomtoc 360 is a little less than $40, which makes it a great deal for anyone looking for a secure and convenient bag for their 16-inch MacBook Pro.

tomtoc 360 Protective Laptop Shoulder Bag for 13-inch MacBook Air M2/A2681 M1/A2337 2022-2018, MacBook Pro M2/A2686 M1/A2338 2022-2016, 12.3 Surface Pro 8/X/7+/7/6/5, Water-resistant Accessory Case

Tomtoc 360 Protective Laptop Shoulder Bag

The best bag for the 16-inch MacBook Pro

The Matein travel backpack against a white background.

Matein Travel MacBook Pro Backpack

The best budget MacBook Pro bag

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Plenty of room for computer and clothes alike
  • Several different colors and styles available

Cons

  • A bit too much interior room for everyday use

Why you should buy this: It’s a spacious and affordable backpack that’s great for travel.

Who it’s for: Anyone who plans on traveling a lot or simply needs a cheap and spacious backpack.

Why we picked the Matein Travel Backpack:

If you’re looking for a large backpack to carry your MacBook but don’t want to break the bank, this Matein backpack is the best option for you. This backpack is designed with travel in mind, but that also makes it a great option for carrying a large MacBook around. The Matein is made of water-resistant polyester, and its large main compartment is perfect for packing clothes or camera gear. The main compartment also has a pocket that’s perfect for slipping your computer or accessories into.

The front has two pockets that are ideal for storing your phone, notebooks, or anything else you might carry with you. The Matein also comes with a toiletry bag that’s great for carrying the essentials, and it can also double as a dedicated case for chargers and accessories.

If you’re looking for a versatile bag or plan on doing a lot of traveling with your MacBook, the Matein is a great option.

MATEIN Travel Backpack

Matein Travel MacBook Pro Backpack

The best budget MacBook Pro bag

A man carrying the Timbuk2 Project against a blank backgorund.

Timbuk2 Project

The best premium option

Pros

  • Luxurious waxed canvas
  • Luggage pass-through
  • Fits up to 16-inch MacBook Pro

Why you should buy this: It’s a premium backpack to complement your premium laptop.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a compact yet spacious backpack.

Why we picked the Timbuk2 Project:

If you want a backpack that feels as luxurious as your expensive MacBook, look no further than the Timbuk 2 Project. This backpack has been designed with everything in mind, and it’s easily the most premium backpack on the market right now. It can fit up to 16-inch laptops, so the 16-inch MacBook Pro will fit perfectly. The backpack is comprised mostly of waxed canvas, which makes it water-repellant. It also has leather trims that heighten the overall aesthetic of the backpack.

The Timbuk2 Project has four compartments. The first one is for your laptop, and there is a larger compartment for carrying clothes or other items. The front pocket is perfect for carrying notebooks, pens, and other accessories, like charging bricks or cables. There is also a zippered side pocket that is ideal for your phone.

Despite being able to carry a 16-inch laptop, the Project is also very compact. That’s great if you don’t want to lug around a huge backpack, especially if all you carry is your computer anyway.

It’s $229, but that price is to be expected for such a high-end backpack.

TIMBUK2 Project Laptop Backpackcout

Timbuk2 Project

The best premium option

A photographer carrying the ProTactic BP 450 AW II as he photographs a motorcycle.

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II

The best rugged option

Pros

  • Rugged and tactical design
  • Tons of room for cameras and expensive equipment
  • Additional straps and pouches for hiking

Cons

  • Expensive, even by premium standards

Why you should buy this: It’s the most rugged and durable bag you can get. Perfect for hiking and offroading.

Who it’s for: Photographers and offroaders who need to protect all their gear.

Why we picked the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II:

If you plan on doing a lot of offroading or want the most protection for your MacBook, the Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II is the best option for you. It’s an expensive option, but the robust protection you get may be worth the price, especially if you’re carrying a lot of expensive equipment like cameras.

The BP 450 AW II holds up to a 15-inch laptop, but the 16-inch MacBook Pro should fit just fine. The laptop compartment also has a variety of pockets for chargers and cables. The backpack also comes with a storage compartment designed for a DSLR camera.

This durable bag is resistant to rain, snow, dust, and sand, so it’s the perfect companion no matter where you are going. It also has a sternum strap and a convertible utility belt, which makes it great for hiking.

If you’re looking for the most protection while you travel, or you’re a photographer looking for a backpack tailor-made for you, the ProTactic BP 450 AW II is a no-brainer.

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II

The best rugged option

Someone sliding a Macbook into the Herschel Pop Quiz backpack

Herschel Pop Quiz backpack

The best for style variety

Pros

  • Lots and lots of colors and styles to choose from
  • Fits up to 16-inch MacBook Pro
  • Dividers and pockets to store a variety of items

Cons

  • No exterior water bottle pocket

Why you should buy this: It’s a roomy and stylish backpack.

Who it’s for: Students looking for a backpack that expresses their personality.

Why we picked the Herschel Pop Quiz:

If you’re a student or someone looking to express themselves with their backpack, the Pop Quiz line from Herschel may be just what you need. The backpack is affordable, starting at $70, but it can still fit up to the 16-inch MacBook Pro in a relatively compact form factor. The bag is made of polyester and has a waterproof zipper, so your contents should be safe even if you’re caught in the rain.

The Pop Quiz has a 22-liter main compartment, perfect for carrying textbooks or notebooks, and the front pocket can easily house cables and chargers. The padded straps and air mesh back also make commuting and carrying the bag a more comfortable experience.

The best thing about the Pop Quiz, though, is the variety of styles it comes in. If you are looking for something to stand out on campus or show off your personality, this bag is an excellent way to do it.

Herschel Supply Pop Quiz Backpack

Herschel Pop Quiz backpack

The best for style variety

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
AI

The real opportunity in creative AI: Deepening human creativity

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We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift brought by generative AI — but it isn’t about making creativity “quick and easy.” Generative technology opens new heights of human expression and helps creators find their authentic voices.

How we create is changing. The blog you read earlier today may have been made with generative AI. Within 10 years, most creative content will be produced with generative technologies. 

The idea of using AI systems to create content is anything but new. By the 1980s David Cope had already created EMI (Experiments in Musical Intelligence), which composed music in the style of Bach and Vivaldi, and Harold Cohen was showcasing artwork created by his system, AARON. 

What is new is the long-overdue release of this technology from the ivory towers of academia and into the consumer market. Perhaps the single largest push in the industry came from OpenAI, with a B2B approach that shares its large, multi-purpose generative models with a wide range of startups. 

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Some of the most popular include Copy.AI and Jasper, which focus on simplifying the writing of marketing copy, but GPT-3 is also powering stories, news articles (don’t worry, not this one!), and dialog systems, to name a few. The impending release of DALL-E 2, a powerful text-to-image generator, will further expand opportunities for business-savvy entrepreneurs who would like to join the revolution without needing to develop their own technical IP.  

While OpenAI is supplying firms with versatile technology, startups are out there providing value to consumers. What is the role of generative AI in our everyday lives? What impact will it have on humanity at large and specifically our creative expression? What do consumers actually want from creative generative AI? 

Deepening human creativity

It is true that generative methods can be targeted to reduce work opportunities for creative people, helping larger corporations make a few extra bucks. But what I argue here is that this is actually a relatively weak opportunity. There are plenty of creatives who already work for (more than) reasonable fees, and competing with the quality of their work remains very challenging for autonomous AI systems. 

Generative AI has better uses than destroying jobs. Humans have a profound need to express themselves, and we will continue to express ourselves until the end of time. Consequently, the real opportunity in creative, generative technology is in deepening human creativity. In fact, the original purpose of the creators of generative AI, including David Cope and Harold Cohen back in the 1980s, was precisely to enrich their own creative expression. 

Since then, academics and technologically-savvy artists have been building systems to generate music, art and everything in between to enrich their own creative process. This has been how creative AI has been used since its inception, and this is where its true potential lies. 

I’ve been tackling the commercialization of generative AI since before the popularization of large generative models. My team and I have been crafting new experiences from scratch, from the development of the generative AI models to the smallest UI/UX decisions. This allowed us to gain profound insight into users’ needs in this emerging domain. 

A partner in creativity

Identifying the key user need — the desire for deeper self-expression — made all the difference. Users don’t want “quick and easy.” They want to go deeper within themselves, to find the right words to express how they feel. They want to be better artists, but only in a way that comes from finding new depths in their own unique creative expression.

Generative AI as a partner to help us find our authentic voice may seem like a contradiction. But other technological advancements — from electric pianos and Photoshop to Digital audio workstations and Canva — have always been used to expand human expression. Generative AI systems are no different. In fact, by acting like a creative partner, generative AI is best positioned as a personalized guide to help us discover new layers of creative expression dormant within ourselves.  

Before we wrap up, a final word of advice. I love what OpenAI is doing for the industry. But I would also like to encourage startups in the space not to shy away from developing your own AI. OpenAI is powerful — but it is also general-purpose, and not ideal for any specific application. For every unique domain, specialized generative technology can make a world of a difference to the user’s experience. It will also make your startup that much more defensible against competition. 

Seize the opportunity

Technology has long been used to speed up tasks and eliminate labor. Perhaps we’ve forgotten that these were never the only aims of computing innovation. When it comes to generative AI, the opportunities are a lot greater. We have before us the chance to take human creativity to new heights. 

The marriage of generative AI with the thriving new creator ecosystem is paving the way to a new world, ripe with opportunity that can only be compared with the tech boom of the 1990s. The question isn’t whether generative AI will take over, but who will seize the opportunity early enough to shape the industry and reap the largest harvest. 

Maya Ackerman is the CEO and Co-Founder of Silicon Valley startup WaveAI.

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Categories
Game

Ted Lasso and AFC Richmond are coming to ‘FIFA 23’

is coming to FIFA 23 and he’s bringing AFC Richmond with him. EA with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to include the stars of Ted Lasso in the game — Warner Bros. is one of the producers and distributors of . You’ll be able to play as Roy Kent et al in several modes, including Career Mode, Kickoff, Online Friendlies and Online Seasons.

 will make Richmond kits, , manager items (including Coach Beard ones) and other content available to unlock through FIFA Ultimate Team and Pro Clubs. Richmond’s Nelson Road stadium will be in the game too. Hopefully, we’ll hear a Roy Kent chant or two from the crowd.

As for Ted Lasso himself, you’ll be able to select him as the manager of Richmond or any other team in Career Mode. Alternatively, any other manager, including a created one, can take control of Richmond. You can also have your own created player take to the pitch alongside the likes of Jamie Tartt, Sam Obisanya and Dani Rojas. EA released a trailer that features Wayne Rooney, Jack Grealish and Trent Crimm (formerly of The Independent):

“It is so f***ing cool to be in FIFA. I’m not sure this is going to help dispel the CGI rumors but f*** it, totally worth it,” Brett Goldstein, who plays Roy Kent, said in a statement. “I look forward to beating my nephew in a game with me as Roy Kent and him as Jamie Tartt. He’s gonna be furious.”

FIFA 23 is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC (where it will have ) and Stadia on September 30th. It might not be Ted Lasso’s only appearance in a video game, though. he’ll be a playable character in Warner Bros’ crossover fighting game at some point.

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Categories
Computing

Why A.I. will never rule the world

Call it the Skynet hypothesis, Artificial General Intelligence or the advent of the Singularity — for years, A.I. experts and non-experts alike have fretted (and, for a small group, celebrated) the idea that artificial intelligence may one day become smarter than humans.

According to the theory, advances in A.I. — specifically of the machine learning type that’s able to take on new information and rewrite its code accordingly — will eventually catch up with the wetware of the biological brain. In this interpretation of events, every A.I. advance from Jeopardy-winning IBM machines to the massive A.I. language model GPT-3 is taking humanity one step closer to an existential threat. We’re literally building our soon-to-be-sentient successors.

Except that it will never happen. At least, according to the authors of new book Why Machines Will Never Rule the World: Artificial Intelligence without Fear.

Co-authors University at Buffalo philosophy professor Barry Smith and Jobst Landgrebe, founder of German A.I. company Cognotekt argue that human intelligence won’t be overtaken by “an immortal dictator” any time soon — or ever. They told Digital Trends their reasons why.

Digital Trends (DT): How did this subject get on your radar?

Jobst Landgrebe (JL): I’m a physician and biochemist by training. When I started my career, I did experiments that generated a lot of data. I started to study mathematics to be able to interpret these data, and saw how hard it is to model biological systems using mathematics. There was always this misfit between the mathematical methods and the biological data.

In my mid-thirties, I left academia and became a business consultant and entrepreneur working in artificial intelligence software systems. I was trying to build A.I. systems to mimic what human beings can do. I realized that I was running into the same problem that I had years before in biology.

Customers said to me, ‘why don’t you build chatbots?’ I said, ‘because they won’t work; we cannot model this type of system properly.’ That ultimately led to me writing this book.

Professor Barry Smith (BS): I thought it was a very interesting problem. I had already inklings of similar problems with A.I., but I had never thought them through. Initially, we wrote a paper called ‘Making artificial intelligence meaningful again.’ (This was in the Trump era.) It was about why neural networks fail for language modeling. Then we decided to expand the paper into a book exploring this subject more deeply.

DT: Your book expresses skepticism about the way that neural networks, which are crucial to modern deep learning, emulate the human brain. They’re approximations, rather than accurate models of how the biological brain works. But do you accept the core premise that it is possible that, were we to understand the brain in granular enough detail, it could be artificially replicated – and that this would give rise to intelligence or sentience?

JL: The name ‘neural network’ is a complete misnomer. The neural networks that we have now, even the most sophisticated ones, have nothing to do with the way the brain works. The view that the brain is a set of interconnected nodes in the way that neural networks are built is completely naïve.

If you look at the most primitive bacterial cell, we still don’t understand even how it works. We understand some of its aspects, but we have no model of how it works – let alone a neuron, which is much more complicated, or billions of neurons interconnected. I believe it’s scientifically impossible to understand how the brain works. We can only understand certain aspects and deal with these aspects. We don’t have, and we will not get, a full understanding of how the brain works.

If we had a perfect understanding of how each molecule of the brain works, then we could probably replicate it. That would mean putting everything into mathematical equations. Then you could replicate this using a computer. The problem is just that we are unable to write down and create those equations.

profile of head on computer chip artificial intelligence
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BS: Many of the most interesting things in the world are happening at levels of granularity that we cannot approach. We just don’t have the imaging equipment, and we probably never will have the imaging equipment, to capture most of what’s going on at the very fine levels of the brain.

This means that we don’t know, for instance, what is responsible for consciousness. There are, in fact, a series of quite interesting philosophical problems, which, according to the method that we’re following, will always be unsolvable – and so we should just ignore them.

Another is the freedom of the will. We are very strongly in favor of the idea that human beings have a will; we can have intentions, goals, and so forth. But we don’t know whether or not it’s a free will. That is an issue that has to do with the physics of the brain. As far as the evidence available to us is concerned, computers can’t have a will.

DT: The subtitle of the book is ‘artificial intelligence without fear.’ What is the specific fear that you refer to?

BS: That was provoked by the literature on the singularity, which I know you’re familiar with. Nick Bostrom, David Chalmers, Elon Musk, and the like. When we talked with our colleagues in the real world, it became clear to us that there was indeed a certain fear among the populace that A.I. would eventually take over and change the world to the detriment of humans.

We have quite a lot in the book about the Bostrum-type arguments. The core argument against them is that if the machine cannot have a will, then it also cannot have an evil will. Without an evil will, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Now, of course, we can still be afraid of machines, just as we can be afraid of guns.

But that’s because the machines are being managed by people with evil ends. But then it’s not A.I. that is evil; it’s the people who build and program the A.I.

DT: Why does this notion of the singularity or artificial general intelligence interest people so much? Whether they’re scared by it or fascinated by it, there’s something about this idea that resonates with people on a broad level.

JL: There’s this idea, started at the beginning of the 19th century, and then declared by Nietzsche at the end of that century, that God is dead. Since the elites of our society are not Christians anymore, they needed a replacement. Max Stirner, who was, like Karl Marx, a pupil of Hegel, wrote a book about this, saying that, ‘I am my own god.’

If you are God, you also want to be a creator. If you could create a superintelligence then you are like God. I think it has to do with the hyper-narcissistic tendencies in our culture. We don’t talk about this in the book, but that explains to me why this idea is so attractive in our times in which there is no transcendent entity anymore to turn to.

brain with computer text scrolling artificial intelligence
Chris DeGraw/Digital Trends, Getty Images

DT: Interesting. So to follow that through, it’s the idea that the creation of A.I. – or the aim to create A.I. – is a narcissistic act. In that case, the concept that these creations would somehow become more powerful than we are is a nightmarish twist on that. It’s the child killing the parent.

JL: A bit like that, yes.

DT: What for you would be the ultimate outcome of your book if everyone was convinced by your arguments? What would that mean for the future of A.I. development?

JL: It’s a very good question. I can tell you exactly what I think would happen – and will happen. I think in the midterm people will accept our arguments, and this will create better-applied mathematics.

Something that all great mathematicians and physicists are completely aware of was the limitations of what they could achieve mathematically. Because they are aware of this, they focus only on certain problems. If you are well aware of the limitations, then you go through the world and look for these problems and solve them. That’s how Einstein found the equations for Brownian motion; how he came up with his theories of relativity; how Planck solved blackbody radiation and thus initiated the quantum theory of matter. They had a good instinct for which problems are amenable to solution with mathematics and which are not.

If people learn the message of our book, they will, we believe, be able to engineer better systems, because they will concentrate on what is truly feasible – and stop wasting money and effort on something that can’t be achieved.

BS: I think that some of the message is already getting through, not because of what we say but because of the experiences people have when they give large amounts of money to A.I. projects, and then the A.I. projects fail. I guess you know about the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. I can’t remember the exact sum, but I think it was something like $10 billion, which they gave to a famous contractor. In the end, they got nothing out of it. They canceled the contract.

(Editor’s note: JAIC, a subdivision of the United States Armed Forces, was intended to accelerate the “delivery and adoption of A.I. to achieve mission impact at scale.” It was folded into a larger unified organization, the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer, with two other offices in June this year. JAIC ceased to exist as its own entity.)

DT: What do you think, in high-level terms, is the single most compelling argument that you make in the book?

BS: Every A.I. system is mathematical in nature. Because we cannot model consciousness, will, or intelligence mathematically, these cannot be emulated using machines. Therefore, machines will not become intelligent, let alone superintelligent.

JL: The structure of our brain only allows limited models of nature. In physics, we pick a subset of reality that fits to our mathematical modeling capabilities. That is how Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, or Schrödinger obtained their famous and beautiful models. But these can only describe or predict a small set of systems. Our best models are those which we use to engineer technology. We are unable to create a complete mathematical model of animate nature.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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AI

Why you need a data champion to score AI wins

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Making artificial intelligence (AI) work with humans requires having an internal data champion to help overcome fears and create a safe environment. That was the advice offered at Digital Procurement World in Amsterdam today in a session focused on combining humans and AI to help procurement become a top value driver in modern business. The biggest pain points for panelists? Working through overwhelming amounts of data and dealing with employee concerns that AI will take their jobs.

“I need to be a champion for the digital journey,’’ said Ralf Peters, vice president of procurement, Europacific partners, at Coca-Cola. “Once you have that established, everything else will fall into place, because then you can figure out how many resources to have dedicated.” Having a digital champion allows you to build an AI strategy, Peters added.

It’s also important for leadership to show how people and AI can align. Then they can help employees overcome the fear of new technologies that will change the way they work, the panelists said.

How to take advantage of a data-challenged world

In a procurement context, the trick to dealing effectively with data is creating an environment that allows every procurement category manager and team to move from, “I need to use that to I want to use that” and see the benefits of that approach, Peters said. 

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Creating a safe, consistent environment will help category managers feel confident about using AI-driven data insights from their systems and providing feedback. “Every insight created by a category manager matters,’’ Peters said. “There’s a value for me and I can choose over time to use it and trust the tool because it helps me fulfill an overarching task.”

A safe environment means you don’t have to present feedback as the answer to a problem but, rather, as a potential solution, added moderator Omer Abdullah, cofounder of The Smart Cube, and author of “Risk & Your Supply Chain: Preparing For The Next Global Crisis.”

This gives people the opportunity to “play with tools and present something, and when a situation happens, you’re much more confident in how to solve it,’’ Abdullah said.  

Jurriaan Lombaers, senior vice president and chief procurement officer of Air France-KLM said that leaders must make changing their organization and growing their employees’ skills a priority. 

By default, Lombaers said, every buyer needs to be data-driven and focused on sustainability, since that is a key change occurring. This takes time, but he advised the audience to “find the people who love it” and “nurture them,’’ because part of having a safe environment is focusing on the champions and then the vast majority will follow.

Organizations also need to have data scientists, analysts and people who understand digital procurement build new services into the organization — something Air France-KLM is currently doing “as we speak,’’ Lombaers said.

How to transform people

Transforming people to be more data- and analytically driven also needs to be top of mind. 

A safe environment plays a key role here, too, but there’s also the challenge of transitioning from creating reports to creating reports with insights, said panelist Paula Martinez, chief procurement officer at Novartis. This requires figuring out the right questions to ask the data and knowing the business insights you want to achieve. She advised the audience to interact with stakeholders and find out what they want to solve. 

“Data can be cleaned. It’s coming up with questions that is the biggest struggle for organizations,’’ Martinez said. When analytic capabilities are built, the procurement organization should “continue using that new muscle,’’ she said, adding that this is a learning curve everyone has to go through. It’s good to do a lot of experimentation around what is working and what isn’t, she noted.

Abdullah called this an “interesting foundational point,’’ saying that it‘s one thing to understand the potential of what technology can unleash, “but it’s a little scary because it exposes how people need to change their thinking and be more strategic and less tactical.” Internal stakeholders need to know how to translate that, he said.

In response to a question about how organizations should inventory people’s skill sets to determine who is ready for transformation, Lombaers said, “you learn by doing. Get on with it and allow for failures.”

Peters recalled years ago being part of the team responsible for implementing handheld devices for drivers. “I had to put technology into the hands of guys who carry pallets of beverages from forklifts to trucks,” he said. But the process proved quite simple. Peters asked the drivers if they are able to use a mobile phone in their private life. Demystifying it took the bias out, he said. 

Evolving your organization with data champions

Becoming attuned to the digital world doesn’t require anyone to learn to code, Martinez stressed. What is required is developing a digital mindset and understanding and owning your data, she said. That means partnering with a data analytics team to clean it and make it work for you by thinking of value cases and questions. 

“Data is an asset, that’s the fuel you have to thrive in your job,’’ Martinez said. “Understand the basics and own it and understand … what is the data subset being used” as well as the timeframe. “All those things are enabling you to have a digital mindset, which will enable you to change your attitude and behaviors.”

She added that people must be open to change. “Every industry, every function, every role is affected by digital. If you don’t have a basic understanding around what is an algorithm and new solutions and the intelligence embedded there … then you won’t be able to thrive.”

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Categories
Game

2K confirms its support desk was hacked to send malware to gamers

Video game publisher 2K is warning the public not to open any emails from its support account after confirming it had been hacked. “Earlier today, we became aware that an unauthorized third party illegally accessed the credentials of one of our vendors to the help desk platform that 2K uses to provide support to our customers,” the official 2K Support Twitter account posted on Tuesday.

News of the security breach broke yesterday after  shared screenshots of phishing emails sent to 2K customers. The emails took the form of unsolicited support tickets. Those who opened the message were subsequently sent a second email prompting them to download “the new 2K games launcher.” Putting the 107MB executable through and , Bleeping Computer found it contained designed to steal any passwords its target may have stored on their browser.

For anyone who may have clicked on a link in the emails, 2K recommends immediately changing any passwords stored in your browser, enabling two-factor authentication where possible, installing anti-virus software and checking that the forwarding settings on your email accounts haven’t been changed.

2K shares the same parent company as Rockstar Games. Over the weekend, the studio suffered an unprecedented security breach that saw early gameplay footage of shared widely online. While there’s no evidence to suggest the two incidents are linked, the Rockstar Games hacker claimed they were also responsible for the recent . On Monday, the company said it was working with the FBI to investigate the incident.

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Computing

Why I’m almost ready to switch to AMD GPUs for streaming

Although AMD makes some of the best graphics cards, they’ve been much less competent than Nvidia GPUs for streaming. Nvidia GPUs have almost always offered better encoding performance and extra features absent on AMD cards. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to switch to Nvidia graphics despite being a longtime fan of AMD; I just don’t want to give up a good streaming experience.

But all that might be different now thanks to two key updates to AMD software: a brand new encoder and AMD Noise Suppression, which are competitors to Nvidia NVENC and RTX Voice. I tested out AMD’s new tools and the results make me think switching to AMD is a possibility now.

Streaming looks just as good on AMD

From left to right, AMF vs. NVENC. Matthew Connatser/Digital Trends

When it comes to streaming, it’s crucial to have a good encoder, and if you’re streaming games you’ll probably want to use GPU encoding rather than CPU encoding. Not only does Nvidia’s NVENC encoder have good quality, but it also doesn’t use very much data, which is crucial for streaming. You want the best ratio of visual quality to data usage possible, and in this area, Nvidia’s encoder was far ahead of AMD’s. But now that the latest version of AMD’s encoder AMF is finally out, I think Nvidia has lost this advantage.

The above image is from the opening shot of 3DMark’s Time Spy benchmark, which I recorded using streaming optimized settings at 6000Kbps. I selected this specific part because there’s lots of foliage, which is often difficult to capture with good quality (especially when there’s very little data to go around), but as you can see the difference between AMF and NVENC is essentially nonexistent. AMF did well in the rest of the benchmark as well, and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if the two recordings weren’t labeled.

It’s especially important that AMF was able to achieve this using the same bitrate that NVENC was using. It would be pretty pointless if AMF looked good but needed a substantially higher bitrate to compensate. Twitch, arguably the most popular game streaming platform, only allows up to 6000Kbps, which is a very small amount of data to work with. With respect to recording, each video was only about 3 minutes long and each was about 100MB, which is really good for people who upload unedited stream VODs to YouTube for archival purposes.

AMD RX 6950 XT graphics card on a pink background.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

That being said, only AMD GPUs based on the RDNA2 architecture (which includes RX 6000 series GPUs) can take full advantage of the AMF encoder because older GPUs don’t have support for B-Frames, which help to increase image quality. This is a limitation of the hardware, not the software, so your RX 5700 XT will never be quite as good as an RX 6950 XT for streaming.

What AMD really needs to focus on in the future is updating its encoder just as often as Nvidia. The newest version of AMF was done and just sitting as open source software until Open Broadcast Software contributors finally added it to the app, and now we have to wait for all the streaming services to update so you can use the new encoder. I’d like to see AMD assume as active of a role as Nvidia has in this area, not just when it comes to making updates but also distributing those updates.

AMD Noise Suppression is good but has poor support

A podcast microphone with headphones on top.
Getty Images

Audio quality is an important (and sometimes neglected) part of streaming, and here too Nvidia held the edge thanks to its RTX Voice software, which is basically an AI-enhanced noise gate. AMD is catching up in this area with its new Noise Suppression tool, which is supposed to do the exact same thing as RTX Voice.

Given that AMD GPUs have no AI acceleration features like Nvidia GPUs, I was skeptical that Noise Suppression would be any good. Much to my surprise, the results were quite good: my gaming keyboard was nearly inaudible, even while I was talking, and the quality of my voice wasn’t reduced. If I switched to AMD Noise Suppression, I don’t think anyone that watches my streams would be able to tell the difference.

But did AMD GPUs even need this feature? Why not just set a noise gate in OBS? Well, the problem with noise gates is that they can only work based on volume, and background noise can get quite loud, especially the clicky noises from gaming keyboards. RTX Voice is a critical part of my streaming setup because it can intelligently separate my voice and my keyboard. Now that AMD GPUs have the same exact functionality, I can actually consider streaming on AMD hardware, like my ROG Zephyrus G14.

I also like that AMD’s Noise Suppression is built into the Radeon driver suite, whereas RTX Voice is only usable by installing Nvidia Broadcast. Not only is AMD’s solution more simple, but it’s also more reliable. I can’t tell you how many times I started my stream just to realize my mic audio wasn’t coming through because Nvidia Broadcast was closed for some reason. Nvidia could learn much from AMD when it comes to driver suites, not just for this specific feature but in general.

But I do have quite a bit of criticism for AMD here when it comes to support. Not only does Noise Suppression require an RX 6000 GPU, but it also requires a Ryzen 5000 CPU or newer. The CPU requirement in particular is frustrating and almost certainly arbitrary. Not only does it lock out users running older versions of Ryzen (most of which are still fast enough in 2022), but it also excludes everyone that uses an Intel CPU. It’s impossible to justify this requirement when some of the best CPUs available today are made by Intel.

Finally caught up in key areas, for now

Having finally bridged the gap in video and audio quality features, AMD GPUs are finally as capable as Nvidia GPUs for streaming in the most important areas. While the level of support AMD offers leaves much to be desired, with current generation AMD hardware you can stream games with the same kind of quality you’d see from an Nvidia-powered PC. There are some other features that Nvidia offers, such as a digital green screen for webcam users, but AMD doesn’t really need to offer the same feature when third-party software can do the same thing.

AMD’s focus right now should be ensuring it never falls this far behind ever again. AMF was worse than NVENC for several years, and RTX Voice has been around since 2020. Technology is always a moving target, and it’s hard to see Nvidia resting on its laurels any time soon. In order to compete with Nvidia, AMD can’t just rely on open source software and hoping someone makes something. AMD needs to do that itself.

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