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Microsoft acquires conversational AI startup Semantic Machines to help bots sound more lifelike

Microsoft announced today that it has acquired Semantic Machines, a Berkeley-based startup that wants to solve one of the biggest challenges in conversational AI: making chatbots sound more human and less like, well, bots. In a blog post, Microsoft AI & Research chief technology officer David Ku wrote that “with the acquisition of Semantic Machines, we will establish a conversational ...

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German ‘asylum fraud’ scandal probe widens to include 10 more migration offices

German migration authorities have widened their probe into asylum application fraud and are now investigating 10 additional field offices on suspicion of granting refugees permissions to stay in the country without proper grounds. On Friday, the German Federal Office for Migration and Asylum (BAMF) announced that it would review some 18,000 refugee cases in the city of Bremen going back ...

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US & China put trade war ‘on hold,’ agree more talks

The US-China trade war is “on hold” after the world’s two largest economies agreed to stop threatening new tariffs ahead of further negotiations on a wider trade deal. “We are putting the trade war on hold. Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we try to execute the framework,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told ...

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US has more billionaires than China, Germany & India combined

The number of billionaires worldwide has soared to a record high, according to a new report from wealth data company Wealth-X, which showed that there were 2,754 ultra-rich individuals on the planet in 2017. The report revealed that the billionaire population and their wealth skyrocketed to record levels last year. They now control around $ 9.2 trillion in wealth – ...

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WaPo issues correction as story claims more people killed in school shootings than in military

The Washington Post has been forced into making several corrections to a story claiming that the number of people killed in US schools this year was double that of those killed serving in the military. READ MORE: ‘Door control is the real issue’: Twitter reacts to Texas high school massacre The newspaper revised the piece after it emerged that reporter ...

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China to buy more US goods – outcome of talks amid trade tensions

China will purchase more American goods and services in order to reduce the US trade deficit, the two nations, which are on the brink of a trade war, agreed during high-level consultations in Washington. READ MORE: US examines ‘China threat’ – but how would the nation of ‘Eastern Pacifica’ view the US threat? “There was a consensus on taking effective ...

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AWS adds more EC2 instance types with local NVMe storage

AWS is adding a new kind of virtual machine to its growing list of EC2 options. These new machines feature local NVMe storage, which offers significantly faster throughput than standard SSDs. These new so-called C5d instances join the existing lineup of compute-optimized C5 instances the service already offered. AWS cites high-performance computing workloads, real-time analytics, multiplayer gaming and video encoding ...

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Japanese victims of forced sterilization file more lawsuits over inhumane eugenics law

Three Japanese pensioners have filed separate lawsuits against the government over irreversible damage caused by forced sterilization conducted under Japan’s eugenics law, which was in place for almost 50 years. Faced with life-long hardship, three Japanese citizens in their 70s filed lawsuits on Thursday, seeking total compensation of 80 million yen ($ 720,000) for being forcefully sterilized under a 1948 ...

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EU agrees to buy more US gas if Trump scraps tariffs – report

Europe will buy more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US if President Donald Trump agrees to cancel the heavy tariffs on steel and aluminum producers, RIA Novosti reports quoting its source in the EU. In late March, the US imposed duties on imports of steel and aluminum at rates of 25 and 10 percent respectively. For a number of ...

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Twitter algorithm changes will hide more bad tweets and trolls

Twitter’s latest effort to curb trolling and abuse on the site takes some of the burden off users and places it on the company’s algorithms. If you tap on a Twitter or real-world celebrity’s tweet, more often than not there’s a bot as one of the first replies. This has been an issue for so long it’s a bit ridiculous, ...

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