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Tech News Today for May 15, 2017

Tech News for Monday May 15, 2017

Microsoft President and chief legal officer Brad Smith is once again calling for a Digital Geneva Convention after Friday's cyberattack that moved into China over the weekend. Writing on the Microsoft blog, Smith calls out the potential harm caused when governments, ours included, actively work to develop zero-day vulnerabilities and then hoard them. The WannaCry ransomeware attack exploited a vulnerability that Microsoft patched back in March, but that was originally stolen from United States National Security Agency who used it for spying. More than 200,000 computers in over 150 countries have been locked by the ransomware. Read more at blogs.microsoft.com.

Netfix is taking aim at Android users who unlock and root their devices by disabling the app’s visibility in the Play Store for them. Netflix said they’ve switched to Google’s Widevine DRM technology to restrict the app’s usage on uncertified and altered devices. However, as of now, the only restriction these targeted users are seeing is the ability to find the app in the Play Store. Those with the app installed on their device already can still use it, for now, but it sounds like the plan is to keep it from running on those devices altogether. Read more at androidpolice.com.

Facebook’s new initiative, ParlAI or "parlay" sounds like the AI from the movie Her, but in real life. TechCrunch reports that parlay is Facebook's plan to open-source the dialog used to train machines to have conversations, with a focus on computer vision and other fields of artificial intelligence involved in learning how to understand a task. When they say, "conversation," they don't just mean, "Play my podcasts" or "What's the weather," but real conversations. Parlay will connect directly to Amazon's Mechanical Turk, the easily accessible remote workforce of humans being paid next to nothing to help train the AI. Yann LeCun, the head of the research group at Facebook behind this new initiative says one of their objectives is to give you your own digital friend. Read more at techcrunch.com.

Dont cry for the MP3 file format now that its patent licensing has officially expired…it isn’t going anywhere, for now. But as of April 23, Fraunhofer Institute, the creators of the MP3 audio file format, terminated its licensing program, declaring the format officially dead. Also, don’t cry for Fraunhofer. They’re also responsible for AAC, the MP3’s successor as digital audio standard, with its higher quality, lower file size, and more efficient audio compression. Read more at appleinsider.com.

We have not one but two rumors about exciting apps coming to the iPhone soon. David Ruddock says at Google AI this week the company is planning to announce that Google Assistant will come to your iPhone soon as a standalone app. Ruddock said today that they have a specific reason for bringing it the iPhone, but he couldn't say, other than the fact that it might encourage more developers to integrate Assistant into their apps. The other news is that Legend of Zelda is coming to the iPhone at the end of this year, after Animal Crossing. Read more at androidpolice.com.

Megan Morrone and Jason Howell are joined today by Sam Abuelsamid from Navigant Research to talk about top Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski being blocked by a federal judge from any work relating to the company's LIDAR technology. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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