By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: A&R, or "artists and repertoire," are the people who look for new talent, convince that talent to sign to the record label and then nurture it: advising on songs, on producers, on how to go about the job of being a pop star. It's the R&D arm of the music industry. [...] What the music business doesn't like to shout about is how inefficient its R&D process is. The annual global spend on A&R is $2.8bn, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, and all that buys is the probability of failure: "Some labels estimate the ratio of commercial success to failure as 1 in 4; others consider the chances to be much lower -- less than 1 in 10," observes its 2017 report. Or as Mixmag magazine's columnist The Secret DJ put it: "Major labels call themselves a business but are insanely unprofitable, utterly uncertain, totally rudderless and completely ignorant." In the golden age of the music industry, none of that really mattered. So much money was flowing in that mistakes could be ignored. There was no way to hear most music other than to buy a record, and when CDs entered the market in the 1980s -- costing little to produce, but selling for a fortune -- the major labels were more or less printing their own money. But then came the internet: first file-sharing, then streaming slashed sales of physical music so deeply that the record business became a safety-first game. Every label executive has always wanted hits, but these days the people who run the big imprints want guaranteed hits. The rise of digital music brought with it a huge amount of data which, industry executives realized, could be turned to their advantage. In his first public speech as CEO of Sony, in May 2017, Rob Stringer asserted: "All our business units must now leverage data and analytics in innovative ways to dig deeper than ever for new talent. The modern day talent-spotter must have both an artistic ear and analytical eyes." Earlier this year, in the same week as Warner announced its acquisition of Sodatone, a company that has developed a tool for talent-spotting via data, another data company, Instrumental, secured $4.2m of funding. The industry appeared to have reached a tipping point -- what the website Music Ally called "A&R's data moment." Which is why, wherever the music industry's great and good gather, the word "moneyball" has become increasingly prevalent.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's gift-that-keeps-giving department
To celebrate this week's holiday, The Vindicator, a small newspaper in Texas, posted sections of the Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident." "The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States." Yadda, yadda. You get the idea. But a section of the text containing the phrase "Indian Savages" set off Facebook's hate-speech flags. The post was then temporarily taken down by Facebook, Business Insider reports. From a report: He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. After The Vindicator ran a story on the censorship, Facebook corrected the mistake. "The post was removed by mistake and restored as soon as we looked into it. We process millions of reports each week, and sometimes we get things wrong," a Facebook spokesperson said. And honestly, as far as Facebook getting things wrong, this is an ideal "mistake."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department
Japan's computer giant Fujitsu and RIKEN, the country's largest research institutes, have begun field-testing a prototype CPU for a next-generation supercomputer they believe will take the country back to the leading position in global rankings of supercomputer might. From a report: The next-generation machine, dubbed the Post-K supercomputer, follows the two collaborators' development of the 8 petaflops K supercomputer that commenced operations for RIKEN in 2012, and which has since been upgraded to 11 petaflops in application processing speed. Now the aim is to "create the world's highest performing supercomputer," with "up to one hundred times the application execution performance of the K computer," Fujitsu declared in a press release on 21 June. The plan is to install the souped-up machine at the government-affiliated RIKEN around 2021. If the partners achieve those execution speeds, that would place the Post-K machine in exascale territory (one exaflops being a billion billion floating point operations a second). To do this, they have replaced the SPARC64 VIIIfx CPU powering the K computer with the Arm8A-SVE (Scalable Vector Extension) 512-bit architecture that's been enhanced for supercomputer use, and which both Fujitsu and RIKEN had a hand in developing. The new design runs on CPUs with 48 cores plus 2 assistant cores for the computational nodes, and with 48 cores plus 4 assistant cores for the I/O and computational nodes. The system structure uses 1 CPU per node, and 384 nodes make up one rack.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: A recent study conducted by academics from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK has revealed that almost two-thirds of second-hand memory cards still contain remnants of personal data from previous owners. For their study, researchers analyzed 100 second-hand SD and micro SD memory cards purchased from eBay, conventional auctions, second-hand shops, and other sources over a four-month period. All in all, researchers say the memory cards they recovered were previously used in smartphones and tablets, but some cards were also used cameras, SatNav systems, and even drones. The research team says the analysis process consisted of creating a bit-by-bit image of the card and then using freely available software to see if they could recover any data from the card. Their efforts were successful and worrisome at the same time, as the team says it managed to recover data from the memory cards, including intimate photos, selfies, passport copies, contact lists, navigation files, pornography, resumes, browsing history, identification numbers, and other personal documents.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's record-breaking department
hackingbear writes: Researchers at the Chinese University of Science and Technology have demonstrated stable quantum entanglement with 18 qubits, surpassing the previous world record of 10, also held by the same team. This represents a step toward realizing large-scale quantum computing, according to a recent study published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Physicist Pan Jianwei and his colleagues achieved the new record by simultaneously exploiting three different degrees of freedom-paths, polarization and orbital angular momentum of six photons, the fundamental particle of light. The outcome combination resulted in a stable 18-qubit state. Full control over the number of entangled particles determines the fundamental ability for quantum information processing, according to the study. There are early-stage quantum computers out there that argue more qubits -- such as IBM's 50-qubit machine and Google's 72-qubit Bristlecone, but in those cases, the individual quantum states of the qubits aren't (fully) controllable. "The team's next step will be to realize a 50-qubit entanglement and manipulation," according to Wang Xilin, a member of the team. The same research team also held the world record on quantum communication distance as well as operating the world's first quantum communication satellite.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shiny-and-new department
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's new 2018 iPhones will come in a plethora of colors. The 6.5-inch iPhone will be offered in black, white, and a (new) gold, while the entry-level 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will debut in "grey, white, blue, red and orange." 9to5Mac reports: That's a potential five new colors for the LCD model. It is very possible that when Kuo says "grey" and "white" he is referring to the Space Grey and Silver finishes as seen on the current iPhone X. We've mocked up the new finishes by tinting an iPhone X, but note the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is not expected to have a dual-camera system. However, that still means Apple is looking to introduce four new options. It seems like the higher end models will add gold to the lineup...
The ~$700 6.1-inch LCD 2018 iPhone (which will mostly resemble an iPhone X's design from the front) will have a larger lineup including blue, red and orange. This harkens back to the iPhone 5c era when Apple rolled out a cheaper iPhone sibling in colorful chassis. We have heard some mumblings prior to today's report about Apple expanding the color options for the cheaper phone, but this is the first time someone reputable has reported specifics. It's not clear if the "red" color means PRODUCT(RED)... Kuo also says that the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone Model should be priced around $1,000 like the current iPhone X, and will feature dual SIM capabilities. Meanwhile, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone X style device should retail for around $700. The other iPhone expected to be released later this year will be a spec-bump upgrade to the 5.8-inch iPhone X currently available.
In other Apple-related news, Intel will reportedly not provide the 5G modems for Apple's 2020 mobile devices.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's rise-of-the-machines department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: AI agents continue to rack up wins in the video game world. Last week, OpenAI's bots were playing Dota 2; this week, it's Quake III, with a team of researchers from Google's DeepMind subsidiary successfully training agents that can beat humans at a game of capture the flag. DeepMind's researchers used a method of AI training that's also becoming standard: reinforcement learning, which is basically training by trial and error at a huge scale. Agents are given no instructions on how to play the game, but simply compete against themselves until they work out the strategies needed to win. Usually this means one version of the AI agent playing against an identical clone. DeepMind gave extra depth to this formula by training a whole cohort of 30 agents to introduce a "diversity" of play styles. How many games does it take to train an AI this way? Nearly half a million, each lasting five minutes. DeepMind's agents not only learned the basic rules of capture the flag, but strategies like guarding your own flag, camping at your opponent's base, and following teammates around so you can gang up on the enemy. "[T]he bot-only teams were most successful, with a 74 percent win probability," reports The Verge. "This compared to 43 percent probability for average human players, and 52 percent probability for strong human players. So: clearly the AI agents are the better players."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's paper-free department
The plan to replace passport check-ins with more face scans is being trialed by Quantas on passengers for select flights into the Sydney Airport starting this week. The move is an attempt to replace the "inconvenience" of relying on more traditional paper passports. TechCrunch reports: It's still very early stages in a process that isn't exactly being rolled out overnight. After all, implementing such technology for Sydney's 43 million annual passengers is pretty large undertaking, even without myriad security and privacy concerns to contend with. To start with, the technology will be utilized for select international flights, to help automate check-in, boarding, lounge access and bag drop. Moving forward, the airport also hopes to implement it for mobile check-in and customs processing. "We've worked with Qantas from the outset and are delighted to be partnering with them as we trial this technology," Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said in a statement provided to the press. "In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass," he added. "Your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's on-the-horizon department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Arm is teaming up with Samsung's foundry to manufacture the recently announced Cortex-A76 CPU, which the pair say will run at speeds above 3GHz. At that speed the Cortex-A76 will be more powerful than Qualcomm's best Cortex-A75 SoC, the Snapdragon 845, which tops out at 2.8GHz. At launch, Arm said Cortex-A76 chips would even challenge Intel's Core i7 on performance, meaning it could benefit not just smartphones but laptops too, such as "always connected" Windows 10 on Arm devices from HP and Lenovo, which use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835.
The collaboration will involve the Arm-designed chips being manufactured on Samsung's 7LPP (7nm Low Power Plus) and 5LPE (5nm Low Power Early) process technologies, combined with Arm's Artisan physical IP platform. However, it could still be some time before consumers see these high-powered Arm CPUs in devices. Initial production on the 7LPP process is set to begin in the second half of 2018. Samsung says 5LPE, the process technology after 7LPP, will allow greater area scaling and ultra-low power.Read Replies (0)