It’s a short roundup of the most enjoyable news stories this week, but rest assured that it is 100% gold.
From great GIFs to literally life-changing apps, there’s much to raise the spirits and interrupt your daily routine of email creation, client calls, spreadsheet wrangling, or whatever else it is that you do.
One small step for AI
Without doubt the highlight of the week was Deepmind’s AI teaching itself to walk, run and jump in the most charming, bizarre, dadaist, surreal fashion. The video below from TechInsider gives you a taste.
A blog post from Deepmind explains the results of three papers on ‘producing flexible behaviours in simulated environments’ that it recently published.
Trump sued for blocking folks on Twitter
The Knight First Amendment Institute, a free speech group at Columbia University, has filed a lawsuit against Trump for blocking Twitter users.
Seven Twitter users claim their accounts were blocked after they replied to Trump tweets with critical comments, and that this amounts to violation of their right to free speech.
Speaking of Trump, this is GIF of the week
Speaking of GIFs, scientists stored one in a bacterium
Shipman et al. working at Harvard have used a gene-editing system to encode a GIF into the genome of E.coli bacteria.
Nucleotides were used to represent each pixel, with five frames of an Eadweard Muybdrige stop-motion photograph encoded. The DNA was then sequenced to ‘re-assemble’ the GIF, with 90% accuracy.
Could DNA offer viable storage for large amounts of data? Read more in MIT Tech Review
Microsoft’s Seeing AI, a computer vision app for blind people
Microsoft’s Seeing AI is now available for iOS in the US. The app can recognise faces (and their expressions), text, objects, scenes and currency.
Remarkably, the functionality runs locally on your phone without the need for internet connection. Be amazed by the explainer video below.
Umbrella-sharing startup loses all umbrellas
Umbrellas are good at keeping you dry and at getting themselves lost. And that’s precisely what has happened to those owned by E Umbrella, an umbrella-sharing startup in China.
The startup launched in April with 300,000 umbrellas and now says that most have gone missing. Umbrellas cost the user a 19 yuan deposit and a fee of 0.50 yuan for every half hour.
Though lost umbrellas apparently cost the firm 60 yuan, more investment in brollies is planned. Brolly folly?
KFC has partnered with Huawei to release a limited edition smartphone. The phone celebrates 30 years of KFC in China, and features a chic Colonel Sanders logo on the reverse.
You’ll also get a number of KFC apps with the phone, including one which allows you to select music in KFC restaurants. The campaign video is really rather slick.
Candy Crush the TV show premiered this week
CBS debuted Candy Crush on Sunday night. Giant games of candy crush on TV. Most of the press merely asked ‘why?’ It was predictably a bit of a mess.
TV Guide’s reviewer seemed to enjoy the in-show commentary, including “the adrenaline-pumping ‘Now they’re swiping!’ And the saddest one that only extended the suffering: ‘That match got them another five seconds’.”