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Vatican & Microsoft Team Up To Promote Ethics In Artificial Intelligence.

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The Vatican is teaming up with Microsoft on an academic prize to promote ethics in artificial intelligence.

Pope Francis met privately on Wednesday with Microsoft President Brad Smith and the head of a Vatican scientific office that promotes Catholic Church positions on human life.

The Vatican said Smith and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia of the Pontifical Academy for Life told Francis about the international prize for an individual who has successfully defended a dissertation on ethical issues involving artificial intelligence.

The winner will receive 6,000 euros ($6,900) and an invitation to Microsoft’s Seattle headquarters. The theme of the Pontifical Academy’ of Life’s s 2020 plenary assembly is AI.

Microsoft Claims A win Over Russian Plans To Hack US Politicians

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Microsoft has once again turned to US courts to seize six internet domains it says the notorious Fancy Bear hackers had set up for spear phishing US politicians and think-tanks ahead of the midterm elections in November.

Along with the domain seizures, Microsoft has launched a new security service aka Microsoft Account Guard, which will be available at no charge to all current US federal, state and local candidates, so long as they’re using Office 365.

The service includes threat detection and notifications for eligible Office 365, Outlook.com, and Hotmail accounts.

Microsoft will directly notify these organizations if it detects new threats targeting users’ corporate email addresses and personal accounts, while offering early access to security features usually reserved for large business and government customers.

Microsoft Says, Russia-Linked Hackers Target US Think Tanks & Political Organizations

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Microsoft’s president Brad Smith wrote in a blog It’s clear that democracies around the world are under attack. Foreign entities are launching cyber strikes to disrupt elections and sow discord.

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Microsoft Working On Tech To Eliminate Cashiers in Stores Like Walmart

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Microsoft is reportedly working on technology that will eliminate cashiers and checkout lines in stores, similar to Amazon’s technology already implemented in its Amazon Go brick-and-mortar store.

According to the report, Microsoft’s technology tracks which items customers put into their carts. While it’s unclear how far along Microsoft is in developing this technology, the company has reportedly shown sample tech to potential partners and has even talked to Walmart about implementing it.

The exact technology used in Microsoft’s service isn’t explained, but it may be linked to the company’s new Kinect for Azure project. Detailed at Microsoft Build last month, this project builds on Kinect’s current abilities and includes integrated computing power and a sensor package with a depth-mapping camera. It can be used to execute spatial mapping and motion tracking, which could come in handy when tracking customers’ hands as they reach for items on shelves.

Microsoft’s store tech is designed to help retailers “keep pace” with Amazon as the online shopping giant dabbles more in brick-and-mortar endeavors. Specifically, retailers who may use Microsoft’s technology could better compete with Amazon Go, the company’s cashier less convenience store.

Though, it’s unclear when Microsoft will roll out a final version of its checkout-free retail technology or if the project will be scrapped completely

Microsoft Acquiring Spotify

Microsoft Senior VP of Entertainment, Music & Gaming Jason Rutherford during a media presentation in Redmond, WA., March 30th, 2018

Microsoft has now finalized a massive, $41.8 billion acquisition deal involving Spotify.

Microsoft Corporation, one of the largest and most powerful tech companies in the world, is now acquiring Spotify in a deal valued at approximately $41.8 billion.

The deal will make  Daniel Ek a multi-billionaire overnight, with a large portion in cash.  Other top-ranked executives like Martin Lorentzon and Sean Parker will mint billions on the deal, while also gaining a sizable share of Microsoft (MSFT) stock  Spotify counts an impressive 71 million paying subscribers, and more than 150 million total users.  Those numbers are big, but Apple is rapidly catching up.  In fact, at least one analyst has declared Amazon — not Apple or Spotify — to be the biggest streaming music service in the world, thanks to two very lucrative properties: Amazon Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited.

Microsoft Builds Tree houses For Its Employees

The tree houses are connected to buildings around its Redmond campus. They feature weatherproof benches, hatches that hide electricity sockets, rustproof rocking chairs, a fireplace, wood canopies, and an outdoor Wi-Fi network. There are ramps built in for those who need them. If you get hungry, there’s also an indoor cafeteria that’s extended outside and a barbecue restaurant built into a shipping container.

Has It Made In The Shade

Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft Research Developing Classroom Technology To Assess Children’s Reading Ability

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Microsoft Research is developing technology which may end up in the next version Microsoft’s classroom software. In a recent publication, Microsoft Research describes an AI-driven system which could help teachers automatically assess reading performance for students, saving them time and allowing more individual attention to students who need it the most. Their research paper, “Automatic Evaluation of Children Reading Aloud on Sentences and Pseudo words,” automatically predicts the overall reading aloud ability of primary school children (6-10 years old), based on the reading of sentences and pseudo words.

 

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