Last week in tech: Bye for now, Net Neutrality
With Apple announcements behind us and new video games ahead, we charge into a new week.
Summer isn’t always the most exciting time for tech news, but there are more interesting announcements happening right now than there are little bits of pollen floating into our allergy-ridden eyes. With Apple’s big developers conference in our rearview mirror and the biggest video game trade show happening as we speak, there’s a lot going on in the world of bits, bytes, and murderous AI (sorry that one doesn’t start with a “B”).
Download the latest episode of the Last Week in Tech podcast
This week’s episode of the podcast covers some recent cyber-security issues that could very well affect you. We also talk about the rise of gaming-specific smartphones and Amazon’s curious new streaming box, the Fire TV Cube. You can check it out in the player above, subscribe via iTunes, follow us on SoundCloud, or add us to your Stitcher. Be sure to give a rating and review if you like what you hear—feedback warms our cold, robotic hearts.
Net Neutrality was officially repealed
It’s been months in the making, but the Net Neutrality repeal officially went into effect on Monday, June 11. You can see what that means for you, and catch up on the continuing fight by clicking this link.
Apple threw a moderately exciting developers conference
We dedicated an entire podcast to Apple’s 2018 WWDC announcements and you can listen above if you want to dig into the details. If you want a recap on all of Apple’s new stuff—from the digital wellness tools coming to iOS 12 to the new MacOS “dark mode”—you can check it out here. You can also take a deeper dive into the “digital fingerprint” phenomenon Apple is tackling in the new version of Safari.
A new soundbar from Sonos
The Sonos Beam made its debut last week at a press event in California. The new $400 soundbar boasts compatibility with the whole gang of digital assistants, including Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. It’s considerably cheaper than the other Sonos soundbar options, the Playbase and the Playbar, both of which check in around $699.
Parrot made a folding drone
Parrot Anafi Drone
DJI makes some of the best consumer drones on the market right now, in the form of its folding Mavic line, but now Parrot hopes to compete in that space with its new Anafi. The folding craft weighs 0.7 pounds, has a 4K video camera that can take 21-megapixel still photos, and promises 25 minutes of flight on a single charge. It will cost $699 when it hits store shelves on July 1.
MIT created a psychopathic AI
Norma, the psychopathic AI
Lots of people fear that AI will someday turn on humans, but researchers at MIT are actively pushing it in the murderous direction. Norman is an AI bot trained using some of the darkest content from sites like Reddit. As a result, it interprets seemingly innocuous ink blots as gruesome scenes like “A man is electrocuted and catches to death.” Sounds like AI is hitting its ego phase.
Amazon has a new streaming box called the Fire TV Cube
Amazon Fire TV Cube
The latest streaming device from Amazon dishes out streaming content to your TV, but it also works as a universal remote replacement, allowing you to control your old entertainment devices with Alexa commands. The secret sauce is a set of infrared blasters that operate in the same way as a typical remote control. Here’s a full breakdown of the box’s features, as well as some context about how it fits into the increasingly confusing Amazon hardware landscape.
Check your Facebook posts for privacy settings
Last week, Facebook acknowledged a bug that accidentally changed the default status for some Facebook posts to “public” when they should have been private. It didn’t reveal any previously-posted private stuff, but if you weren’t paying attention when you shared your undoubtedly insightful social media thoughts, you could have been addressing a much wider audience than you intended. The bug was active between May 18 and May 27.