Weekly Tech News Roundup 31/7/2017

The Tesla Model 3 hits production. Billshock abroad and how to avoid it. Researchers shutdown AI after it invents its own language.

Tesla Model 3 rolls off production line.

Over the weekend Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, SpaceX and many other really cool projects handed over the first 30 Tesla Model 3 sedans to the usual fanfare that we were used to seeing attached to Apple announcements. The car is dubbed the Electric Vehicle (EV) for the masses with a price tag that is expected to be around the AUD$50000 mark.

On the surface, this does not sound like much but when you take into account the costs saved on fuel and traditional servicing the Model 3 starts to look pretty attractive.

An interesting note is that the Model 3 like all other current Tesla vehicles come equipped with all the hardware needed to provide fully autonomous driving. It is now just a matter of waiting for the legislation and software to catch up.

For a breakdown on the numbers and reviews for the Model 3, have a look at this report on benaylett.com.

International Roaming hits travelers and how to beat it.

Acording to¬†this story from PerthNow.com.au, changes to Telstra’s international roaming plans seem to be putting the bite on travellers that want access to mobile data while overseas.

The plan is a $10/day pass that includes all phone calls and SMS and up to 100MB mobile data while in countries that allow data roaming (almost all of the world). Other industry commentators have been critical of the move in particular not allowing rollover of unused data to following days.

Data excess charges are $0.03 per MB so uploading/watching videos while abroad can really stack up unless you purchase a $25 add on that allows an additional 1GB of data over 31 days.

A practical example of an overseas stay of 10 days would set you back $100, would include all calls, SMS and just under 1GB of data. For an additional $25 you can add another GB to your allowance which should be enough for light to moderate data use.

Personally, I opt for grabbing a local SIM for a few dollars and leaving cellular data off until I really need it and using in house wifi with a VPN to be extra safe.

AI invents its own language, researchers pull the plug.

Developers at Facebook are reported to have shut down an Artificial Intelligence system as soon as the system created its own language.

The researchers had recently noticed that the AI had stopped using English to communicate with other AI agents in the system to what initially looked like gibberish in negotiations on how to solve a problem together.

In one conversation between two AI agents (bots) named Alice and Bob, the negotiation stopped having the usual structure that we are used to seeing and being replaced with lines that looked like this..

Bob : “I can i i everything else.”
Alice : “Balls have zero to me to me to me…”

Initially, this appears to make no sense but after further analysis, the AI seemed to drop English and develop its own shorthand to find a quicker way to communicate.

For example, the phrase “i i can i i i everything else” compares to “I will have three, you have everything else.” which just on counting letters alone seems to be a more efficient language. It lacks the nuance of the English language but since AI does not get the payoff that humans do it stands to reason that getting the job done as quickly as possible would lead to this kind of shorthand.

The conversation continued with patterns similar to this and the researchers opted to shut down the system as the deviation from English could make adoption of neural networks difficult. There was no evidence as yet that would lead people to believe that the new languages could lead to loss of control over AI systems.