Tech Digest daily round up: AI wins its first crossword competition


Matt Ginsberg is good at a lot of things – he is an AI scientist, author, playwright, magician and stunt plane pilot. But he isn’t very good at crosswords. In fact, despite writing them for the New York Times, he says that when they are published, he often cannot solve his own. So when he was sitting in a hotel ballroom losing yet again in a major US crossword competition, he decided to do something about it. “I was with 700 people who were really good at solving crossword puzzles and it annoyed me that I was so terrible, so I decided to write a computer program that would get even on my behalf,” he told the BBC. And finally, he did. After 10 failed attempts, Dr Fill – as the program is known – has just won its first competition. It came first in the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, the leading crossword competition in the US. BBC 

Uber has announced a new partnership with British electric vehicle start-up Arrival, which will see the pair producing a purpose-built electric vehicle for ride-hailing drivers. Set to enter production in the third quarter of 2023, the electric vehicle will join Arrival’s previously announced commercial vehicles – the Bus and Van – and will be designed in partnership with Uber, with the ride-hailing firm’s drivers now being invited to join the design process in order to make it better suited to their needs. Both Arrival and Uber will also ‘explore a strategic relationship in key markets’, too. Tom Elvidge, senior vice president of Arrival Mobility UK said: “We are confident that electrifying ride-hailing vehicles will have an outsized impact on cities, and we are keen to support drivers as they manage this transition. Arrival Car will be designed around drivers’ needs to create a vehicle that is affordable, durable and desirable. ” Yahoo! News 

Facebook has warned advertisers that it may not be able to accurately measure the success of their adverts due to a privacy clampdown by Apple in iPhone software. The social media giant has added a disclaimer to its return on investment figures, which are crucial to advertisers’ confidence their money is well spent on its platform, saying they might now be missing data or partly based on “statistical modelling”. Advertisers told The Daily Telegraph that since Apple updated iPhone software last week, Facebook has provided unpredictable results that are much higher or lower than normal. One called the figures “nonsense”, while another described the system as “broken”. The change shows how Facebook’s $84.2bn (£60.1bn) advertising operation could be affected by Apple’s move, which the social network has said will damage millions of small businesses that rely on targeted adverts to grow. Telegraph 

And talking of Facebook, Former President Donald Trump will find out this week whether he gets to return to Facebook in a decision likely to stir up strong feelings no matter which way it goes. The social network’s quasi-independent Oversight Board says it will announce its ruling Wednesday on a case concerning the former president. Trump’s account was suspended for inciting violence that led to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riots. After years of treating Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric with a light touch, Facebook and Instagram silenced his accounts on Jan. 7, saying at the time he’d be suspended “at least” through the end of his presidency. AP News

The UK telecoms regulator is warning the public not to trust caller ID on their phones as it tries to help stop people becoming victims of fraud. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Money Box, Huw Saunders, a director at Ofcom, says caller ID should not be used as a means of verifying a caller’s identification. Fraudsters are increasingly changing their caller ID to disguise their identity, known as number spoofing. “This problem is global in its scope,” says Mr Saunders. “It’s an unfortunate place to be in, but the same message is being given by our counterparts in the US, Canada, France, Australia and elsewhere.” However, he admits the UK is behind other countries, such as the US, in tackling the problem. BBC 

Chris Price
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