Friday round-up: A week in tech

Baby

An AI babysitting device has been withdrawn by its manufacturers, after concerns were raised.

Mattel, they of Barbie and Ken fame, announced the creation of ‘Aristotle’ earlier in the year – apparently, it would have told bedtime stories and sung lullabies to babies/young children, and maybe even lonely adults, too.

Additionally, a camera would have kept an eye on the children while the grown-ups drank cider downstairs, perhaps.

However, some have complained that AI shouldn’t take the place of actual human parenting, which has led Mattel’s chief technology officer, Sven Gerjets, to abandon the scheme.

Taking the place of parenting? Don’t kids just get plonked in front of a TV, or an iPad, or a laptop, or a games console for the first 10 years of their life, anyway?

Full tale here.

***

Poor old Puerto Rico: devastated by an unprecedently powerful hurricane when Donald Trump happens to be the person responsible for sorting that kind of mess out.

Since the disaster some weeks ago, most of the island remains without power – and the gruesome Trump has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t care very much.

But salvation may be on the way. Electric vendor Elon Musk has pledged to power the entire state with his solar technology.

Offering to help on Twitter, naturally, Musk’s largesse was enthusiastically accepted by Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, who tweeted ‘Let’s talk’.

Desperate for aid and support, the governor earlier tweeted Trump with ‘Let’s talk’, to which the president replied ‘Let’s not’.

***

Ofcom has finally decided to do something serious about ISPs constantly lying about broadband speeds.

The new proposals will give miffed customers the right to dump their contracts without a charge if their connections speed dips below that promised – which is going to be a hell of a lot of people.

The regulatory body seems to have just noticed that ISPs often advertise things like ‘60mbs connection’ when poor old punters are actually struggling with 0.5mbs, so it’s launched a public consultation.

In the interests of balance, some have sort of defended ISPs and their distortions by claiming that connection speeds are actually dictated by various factors, not just fibs.

The editor of Think Broadband, which I imagine is some sort of publication about broadband,  Andrew Ferguson, said that ‘it’s clear from years of experience that broadband providers are not deliberately and systematically ripping off the customer’.

He added: ‘The biggest problem for an ISP is balancing the desires of the marketing department against what consumers are actually experiencing every day. These rules, once implemented, should help to force providers to be more honest with their customers.’

Friday round-up: A week in tech

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