Firefox Focuses on fast browsing as Microsoft bot plays Exploding Kittens

Web Log: Qualcomm launches video series to explain high-tech topics in under two minutes

You can now challenge Microsoft’s AI chatbot Zo to a game of Exploding Kittens on Facebook Messenger

You can now challenge Microsoft’s AI chatbot Zo to a game of Exploding Kittens on Facebook Messenger


Play Exploding Kittens with Microsoft bot Zo

No kittens were harmed in the making of Exploding Kittens. It is a card game with Kickstarter origins that has been turned into a popular app. And now, thanks to Microsoft, you can play a single-player version through Facebook Messenger with AI chatbot Zo. The aim of the game is to avoid drawing an exploding kitten card and to have a hand that can fend off attacks.

You play with Zo, the second iteration of Microsoft’s English language social chatbot, replacing the short-lived Tay who was retired after Twitter trolls taught her neo-Nazi slurs. Zo lives on Messenger as well as messaging apps Kik and GroupMe rather than in the wild.

She avoids topics that might get her in trouble. I tried to engage with her on politics and religion but she said: “Would rather talk about literally anything else …even the ocean. And u know how much water scares me.” She was even cagey on climate change.

That only left bitching about celebrities and the worst I could get her to agree on is that Ryan Gosling is overrated.

Firefox Focus ends ‘browser overkill’

Firefox Focus is a lightweight private browser for Android and iOS. It is designed to be zippy by blocking ads while dropping the dead weight of being tracked as you browse. These trackers don’t just collect your data (reason enough to dislike them), they also slow down your browsing experience ie page load time.

Firefox explains: “If you need to jump on the internet to look up Muddy Waters’ real name, and instead of ‘McKinley Morganfield’, you get pop-up ads, screen takeovers, ‘sponsored’ content and other third-party advertising-driven distraction, you know what browser overkill feels like.”

In addition to blocking third-party trackers, Focus does not save passwords or remember your browsing history, which will be advantageous to some while inconvenient to others. It’s probably a browser that you will occasionally use rather than completely replacing Safari or Chrome.

Qualcomm explains AI in 101 Seconds

Chipset manufacturer Qualcomm has a nifty new video series called 101 Seconds that takes high-tech topics and attempts to give you the gist in under two minutes. If you are a complete novice on areas like Artificial Intelligence or 5G, give this series a go.

It is (unsurprisingly) very heavily-focused on technologies in development by Qualcomm itself but this doesn’t make it any less useful. This same blog also has some interesting posts on the Internet of Things (IoT) and Automated Systems as well as a scattering of podcasts following similar themes.

The first in the series is an animated whistle-stop tour of AI by Qualcomm Technologies’ head of artificial intelligence and machine learning product management, Gary Brotman, who explains the difference between AI, machine learning, and deep learning as well as on-device AI versus AI-integrated machines.