“Google’s soccer-playing A.I. hopes to master the world’s most popular sport - Digital Trends” plus 2 more

“Google’s soccer-playing A.I. hopes to master the world’s most popular sport - Digital Trends” plus 2 more

Google’s soccer-playing A.I. hopes to master the world’s most popular sport - Digital Trends

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 09:58 AM PDT

Think the player A.I. in FIFA '19 was something special? You haven't seen anything yet! That's because search giant Google is developing its own soccer-playing artificial intelligence. And, if the company's history with machine intelligence is anything to go by, it'll be something quite special.

In the abstract for a paper describing the work, the researchers note that: "Recent progress in the field of reinforcement learning has been accelerated by virtual learning environments such as video games, where novel algorithms and ideas can be quickly tested in a safe and reproducible manner. We introduce the Google Research Football Environment, a new reinforcement learning environment where agents are trained to play football in an advanced, physics-based 3D simulator."

Google's history with game-playing A.I. focuses most heavily on its deep learning subsidiary, DeepMind. DeepMind famously created a reinforcement learning-based A.I. that was able to learn to play (and master) classic Atari games. It could do this with no explicit instruction, and only the on-screen data to formulate its winning strategies. Reinforcement learning is a type of A.I. that focuses on the actions that should be taken in an environment to maximize a certain reward.

Soccer is, of course, more complex than a 2D game like Pong. In Google's physics-accurate virtual Football Environment, A.I. agents will need to "control their players, learn how to pass in between them and how to overcome their opponent's defense in order to score goals." The team is testing three reinforcement learning algorithms in a variety of soccer-related challenges. It will play against both human and machine players.

While there are plenty of soccer video games which can beat many human players (as the higher difficulty levels will attest), Google's project goes further. It's not only the attack or defense part of soccer that its bots will need to master, but also things like high-level strategy and when it's absolutely optimal to pass, shoot, or make other moves.

Google researchers aren't the only ones interested in getting machines to play soccer. Since 1996, the organizers of the robot competition RoboCup have been trying to teach robots to play the world's most popular sport. "The ultimate goal of Robocup is to develop humanoid soccer-playing robots that can beat the FIFA world champion team," Gerhard Kraetzschmar, general chair of the RoboCup, previously told Digital Trends. "We hope to reach that goal by 2050."

Nor is soccer the only sport A.I. experts want to teach computers to understand. As Digital Trends detailed recently, IBM has built a tennis-appreciating A.I., which it deployed at this year's Wimbledon to create automated highlights of the most exciting bits of each match.

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LGBTQ YouTubers file discrimination lawsuit, say leaders just paying 'lip service' to concerns - CNBC

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 12:39 PM PDT

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks during the opening keynote address at the Google I/O 2017 Conference at Shoreline Amphitheater on May 17, 2017 in Mountain View, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Several LGBTQ YouTube creators are criticizing executives' promises and apologies "lip service" in a new class action complaint.

"Whatever promises, apologies, and misunderstanding explanations Google/YouTube has given to the LGBTQ+, they were and continue to be 'lip service' as described by one LGBTQ+ YouTuber following his meeting with YouTube's management in 2017," the suit states. "Instead of fixing the problems, Defendants Google/YouTube have doubled down on their anti-LGBTQ+ animus and discrimination that now pervades the platform."

The complaint, which accuses YouTube of discrimination and fraud, includes eight plaintiffs who have their own channels about the LGBTQ community and have thousands of subscribers. They are seeking unspecified restitution and damages.

YouTube did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

It's part of an ongoing chain of criticism directed at YouTube, which most analysts believe contributes at least $15 billion a year to Google's revenues. Over the last year, YouTube has faced backlash for its vague policies, including when it suspended the monetization of a popular conservative creator Steven Crowder hours after defending him. Crowder harassed people of minority groups including gay journalist Carlos Maza.

CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized to the LGBTQ community at a tech conference but stood by her decision to host homophobic slurs. That motivated Google and YouTube employees to organize a protest march against the company in the annual Gay Pride Parade.

In an interview last week, Wojcicki again tried assuring creators she and company leaders cared about the LGBTQ community by speaking with YouTuber Alfie Deyes who appeared skeptical of the company's decision-making process. That same week, The Washington Post reported that the company made exceptions to its policies for popular conservative creators.

In the complaint, plaintiffs allege YouTube favors popular right-wing YouTube stars and pointed to a Brazil-based YouTube star who, like Crowder, reportedly made a profit from videos that contained homophobic slurs and conspiracy theories. The plaintiffs on the case include Chase Ross, whose videos like "How to come out" and "Trans 101" have drawn in 164,235 subscribers.

WATCH: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki faces tough questions at Code Con

Google insider leaks docs that include 'news black list' of popular conservative sites - BizPac Review

Posted: 14 Aug 2019 09:24 AM PDT

James O'Keefe's Project Veritas released on Wednesday internal documents leaked by a Google insider that seem to show the tech-giant could be breaking federal law.

This coming as the tech giants have all positioned themselves for what promises to be a tumultuous 2020 presidential election.

"This courageous young man leaked documents to Veritas that showed Google's political agenda and an editorial bias — potentially evidence that Google is running amiss of their exemptions under Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act," Project Veritas said in a news release.

The documents include a "news black list site for google now," which lists some of the most popular conservative websites on the internet — to include BizPac Review — that were reportedly being suppressed in Google's online search results. Google Now is no longer a feature of Google.

Project Veritas shared some of the sites, and a link to the rest, on Twitter:

At the end of the list, there is a description that reads "sites flagged for peddling hoax stories."

This coming from the liberal camp which reserves the right to decide what is and is not a "hoax."

The Google insider was anonymous in a previous story, but Zachary Vorhies decided to go public after receiving a letter from Google, which suspected him of leaking information, and after Google allegedly called the police to perform a "wellness check" on him, according to Project Veritas.

"I felt that our entire election process was going to be compromised forever by this company that told the American public that it was not going to do any evil," Vorhies told O'Keefe, in an interview shared Wednesday.

The senior software engineer said the public needs to understand what's happening.

"I'm going to publish this information so that other people can see the system that Google has built in order to control the entire information landscape," Vorhies said.

"It doesn't matter whether you're left or whether you're right, when you see this, both sides are going to agree that this is wrong," he added.

Vorhies said he hopes his actions produce a "Google Snowden moment," where an internal engineer comes forward to "tell the world what you already know to be true."

In a longer interview, Vorhies talked about "something dark and nefarious going on with the company," explaining how coming forward was like having a burden lifted from his shoulders.

"And there's people right now that are listening to this, that work inside Google and, and understand what I'm saying and agree with me and they feel tremendous guilt," he told O'Keefe. "I want to talk to them and say, look, it's okay."

"I've been living with this like burden for three years, since 2016 when they started changing everything and you know, and to have that burden lifted off of my soul is — I've never felt happier or more at peace with myself than I have like right now."


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