Tech Digest daily roundup: Facebook shuts down facial recognition system


Facebook’s facial recognition system will be shut down and faceprints will be deleted for over a billion people, the social media giant has announced. The technology automatically identifies users in pictures and videos but Facebook has decided to remove it, citing increased concerns about its use. Jerome Pesenti, vice president of artificial intelligence at Facebook, wrote in a blog post: “This change will represent one of the largest shifts in facial recognition usage in the technology’s history. “There are many concerns about the place of facial recognition technology in society, and regulators are still in the process of providing a clear set of rules governing its use. “Amid this ongoing uncertainty, we believe that limiting the use of facial recognition to a narrow set of use cases is appropriate.” Sky News

Netflix is launching its first games worldwide as it seeks to break into the game subscription market. Starting Tuesday, the company will roll out updates to its Netflix app on Android smartphones, showing what games are available for download. To begin with, five mobile games are included for Netflix subscribers. The company is promising more to come – with no adverts in the game and no in-app purchases like those common in other mobile games. Of the five games launching with the service, two are linked to the streaming giant’s popular Stranger Things series. BBC

Big change is coming to the Mini range, and sooner than you may think, as the brand begins its transition to become fully EV-focused in 2023. As well as aligning Mini to the environmentally-friendly mission statement of its BMW Group parent company, we’re hoping this big change to the model range will also bring back some of the magic that made previous Mini generations so lovable.  This transformation will begin with an all-new electric Mini 3dr in 2023, designed from the ground-up as the centre of the new range. Mini has released images of a prototype model, and despite a familiar collection of retro-inspired design elements like the round headlights, floating roof and frameless glass, the vehicle confirms a few of the seismic changes to come. Evo 

Tom Hanks has claimed that he was offered William Shatner’s flight into space first, but was unwilling to pay a $28m (£20.5m) fee for it. Shatner was launched into space last month as part of a scheme masterminded by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. The 90-year-old Star Trek star became the oldest person to have travelled into space. During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night (2 November), Hanks discussed his own flirtation with space travel. “Is it true that you were asked to go to space by Jeff Bezos before William Shatner?” asked the host. “Well, yeah, provided I pay,” said Hanks. “And, you know, it cost 28 million bucks, or something like that. Independent 

Image: Samsung/Dr Denim

Samsung has announced a partnership with Dr Denim, an Australian jeans brand. As the marketing assets imply, the companies have combined to create a pair of Galaxy Z Flip3-focused jeans, appropriately called the Z Flip Pocket Denim jeans. Samsung states that it partnered with Dr Denim because: “Smartphones are often not pocket friendly, so we’ve leveraged Dr Denim’s style credentials to design jeans that shake up the pocket norm and perfectly fit our compact Galaxy Z Flip3. Our Galaxy Z Flip3 users expect the very best in design and pocketability, and what better to accompany our premium phones than the perfect pair of bespoke jeans.” Strangely, the sole pocket on the Z Flip Pocket Denim jeans is not large enough to hold the Galaxy Z Flip3. Instead, the foldable smartphone pokes out the top, making it liable to fall out at an inopportune moment. Notebook Check

Chris Price
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