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Tech News Roundup: June 2

Skype’s new look app takes inspiration from Snapchat

Microsoft has just relaunched its Skype app with a whole new set of features which borrow functionality from Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Like every other platform, there is a Stories analogue called Highlights, and users can simply swipe to access the camera. Sound familiar?

Uber fires star engineer over self-driving car battle

Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the centre of Uber’s driverless legal battle, has been given notice. In a termination letter, the company states he violated the terms of his employment by failing to turn over documents he has been accused of stealing from his former employer, Alphabet’s Waymo.

The state of AI adoption in media

According to research published this month, Google’s parent company Alphabet has acquired 11 artificial intelligence start-ups in the last five years, the most of any public company. These span across predictive analytics, visual search, and natural language processing. And both Google and Facebook (the so-called “dupololy” of tech) are currently seeking to hire large numbers of AI experts.

Researchers want to cut autonomous car testing by 99%

Testing is one of the most time-consuming steps in the process of innovation and taking a new product to market in the self-driving space, but researchers at the University of Michigan believe they have found a way to reduce testing times by 99%. Essentially, the new technique would involve subjecting vehicles to “worst case scenario” simulations rapidly and repeatedly in a controlled environment, allowing them to uncover problems more quickly.

The next big AI leap could come from warehouse robots

Geordie Rose and Suzanne Gildert, of the start-up Kindred, believe that the key to creating a machine with human-level intelligence is to give it a physical body. “If you want to build intelligence that conceptually thinks in the same way a human does… it needs to have a similar sensory motor as humans do,” says Gildert.

Get ready for a new Pokémon smartphone game

Pokémon Go was the phenomenon of summer 2016. And The Pokémon Company has just launched a website for its new game, Pokéland, which is currently only available in limited beta mode for Android users in Japan. The beta ends on Friday 9th June, and the game is expected to roll out as free-to-play soon after.

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