Tech News 2Night 106 (Transcript)


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Tech News 2Night 106

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Tonight! Amazon is telling customers to buy elsewhere, Alibaba's online store to take on Amazon and eBay, and the FAA approves the first commercial drone

Tech News 2Night is Next!

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This is Tech News 2Night Episode #106, for WEDNESDAY JUNE 11, 2014

I'm Sarah Lane, Let's get right to the Tech Feed!

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We've been following Amazon's standoff with book publisher Hachette, and publisher Bonnier in Germany, over e-book terms. And now, it appears since mid-may the standoff has been spreading to movies, with Amazon refusing to take advance orders and delaying shipments on upcoming Warner Home Video features, including wildly popular titles like the "Lego Movie", "Winter's Tale", and "Transcendence". Amazon's page for the movies says that customers’ only option is to sign up to be notified when they become available. Amazon previously issued a statement regarding its dispute with Hachette, saying disputes with suppliers were routine, and anyone who really wanted the books immediately should go to a competitor. What Amazon doesn't seem to be doing with Warner is imposing shipping delays on the DVDs once they go on sale.

Meanwhile, that Amazon music streaming service that's been rumored for a few month may launch as early as this week, according to several sources speaking to the New York times. The new feature is said to give subscribers to Amazon’s Prime service access to thousands of songs free and without interruptions from advertising. But it will omit most new releases, and will not include the catalog of the Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company.

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Ahead of its US IPO, Alibaba Group officially launched 11 Main today, an online retail site for goods and crafts for local American businesses that gives Alibaba a window into the US market. Offerings include fixed-gear bicycles and women’s jewelry, the marketplace features vendors and boutiques that are meant to provide as close to an online representation of an average US town's Main street as possible.

Alibaba has also announced it will fully acquire mobile browser firm UCWeb in the biggest merger in Chinese internet history, and gives it further edge with competitors Tencent and Baidu. Alibaba previously owned 2/3rds of UCWeb. Tencent is currently China's biggest listed internet firm and owns mobile messaging app WeChat, which Alibaba executives have described as a monopoly. Alibaba said in a blog post "This integration will create the biggest merger in the history of China's Internet," and added that it will be larger than Baidu's $1.9 billion acquisition of 91 Wireless last year. Reuters estimates this would value the deal at more than $630 million dollars.

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The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has eased restrictions on commercial drone use in the US and has given permission for a commercial drone to fly over land. The approval went to drone maker AeroVironment and BP energy corporation, who can fly unmanned Puma aircrafts over Prudhoe Bay in Alaska -- home to the largest oilfield in North America -- to survey pipelines, roads, and equipment for BP. Last week, the FAA said it might allow some movie and TV studios to commandeer unmanned aircrafts throughout the country's skies. The FAA has given permission for unmanned commercial aircraft flights over the Arctic waters before, but today's announcement is the first approval for over-land flights.

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Coming up, how close are we from the Singularity? Did a chatbot 'really' get mistaken for a human? We'll get to the truth!

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"But first I am joined by Dan ""Shoe"" Hsu Editor-in-Chief at GamesBeat. Dan you are live at E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

We’ve heard all the announcements with Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo battling it out, what is going on today after the big announcements?

Showgoers are checking out the games. Tell us what it is like on the floor?

Would you say this is the day for the hard-core fan?

What can we expect tomorrow?

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If a computer is mistaken for a human more than 30% of the time during a series of five minute keyboard conversations it passes what's known as a Turing test. Over the weekend, a press release from the University of Reading started a chain of press around the tech world about how a "chatbot" passed the Turing Test for "the first time," with lots of publications passing along the story and talking about what a big deal it was. 'Eugene', a computer programme that simulates a 13 year old boy, was developed in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The development team includes Eugene's creator Vladimir Veselov, who was born in Russia and now lives in the United States, and Ukrainian born Eugene Demchenko who now lives in Russia. Which is all fine and good, but this story simply isn't real. Better luck next time, computers.

[good bye] That's it for this edition of Tech News 2Night.

Subscribe to this show at Twit.tv/tn2, and write us at tn2@twit.tv

Don't miss our morning news program, Tech News Today, tomorrow and every weekday at 10am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern. I'm Sarah Lane, thanks for watching.

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