Hot Links: Coder robot, 7 planet cluster, Nintendo’s big moment, mid-roll ads on Facebook, Uber’s culture in the spotlight
The hotness in tech this week
A coder robot has emerged on the Internet
A bot named DeepCoder has managed to build simple programs using code lying around on the Internet. Basically, the Microsoft and University of Cambridge invention has scoured open-source libraries for solutions, and patched together some working programs. According to academic work, if it were possible to filter a larger range of data and improve the ranking of said data, bots like Deep Coder could prove useful as an aid to developers.
How exactly did they spot 7 clustered planets 40 light years away?
It is perhaps the most important astrological discovery in modern times: 7 planets orbiting a dwarf star, some in the presumed “Goldilocks Zone” of habitation. And only 40 light years away! (Don’t kid yourselves, that’s still really far away.) The science behind the discovery is equally impressive. The high powered and super accurate Kepler telescope can spot transitions across the light of a star when a planet traverses. It detects a faint shadow cast light years away. Now, using detectable chemical signatures, Nasa scientists can start to uncover the basic compositions of the atmospheres.
Nintendo Switch approaches along with company’s fate
Nintendo is on the precipice of another make-or-break moment: the March 3 release of the much-hyped Nintendo Switch. The company seems to find itself in constant crisis as video gaming shifts platforms and the market matures. A writer for Engadget got to preview the device for 48 hours, and came out somewhat neutral, saying that the device is ambitious, but Nintendo will still need to prove itself. Like many Nintendo products, the Switch is imaginative in its hardware and usability. And truth told, with the right games, it could be an amazing gaming experience fit for the modern age.
Facebook publishers want to make money by interrupting your videos
Nothing is really free: Facebook is in the testing phase of implementing ‘mid-roll’ advertisements in the videos that publishers post. According to reports, the move is to appease publishers who have been clamouring to develop a profit model around engagement on Facebook. Now they will have the chance to insert ads in videos so long as they meet certain criteria.
Uber gives us glimpses of its unappealing underbelly
A big question surrounds recent allegations of sexual harassment at Uber: Has the company encouraged a Hobbesian culture, one where workers told to ‘perform’ are pitted against each other and a blind eye is turned to infractions by top ‘performers?’ The New York Times has blown the lid a bit more off of what Susan Fowler, an engineer who left Uber in December, revealed about the company in her exposing blog post. Over 30 interviews, as well as a review of internal emails, point towards an unsavoury corporate culture that women especially find oppressive and demeaning.