Big Tech &
Apple just dismissed more than 200 employees from Project Titan, its autonomous vehicle group (2 minute read)
Apple fired over 200 employees from Project Titan, its self driving car project. It looks like Apple's car ambitions have been dialed back from having their own car to just focusing on software. They seem to be doubling down on healthcare instead, with Tim Cook saying "I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind?' it will be about health."
Chinese Scientists Have Cloned a Genetically Altered Primate For The First Time (2 minute read)
Chinese scientists have managed to clone primates after editing their genes. This used to not be possible because of the way genes lock down when faced with stress. The scientists produced five infant macaques with the exact same genes, including a copy of a gene that had been inserted into the original monkey using CRISPR. Creating clones helps limit variables in experiments, because each animal is identical to the last, making it easier to notice subtle effects that otherwise could be missed.
DeepMind's AI agents conquer human pros at Starcraft II (2 minute read)
DeepMind has created an AI called AlphaStar that has beaten a team of human pros at Starcraft II 10 games in a row. The humans managed to take one match at the end. While the AI was technically restricted to performing the same number of clicks per minute as a human, it did have some unfair advantages in being able to view the whole map at once, and it was able to move its units with inhuman precision. The AI was built using reinforcement learning, starting out by copying human players and then playing against itself.
Programming, Design & Data Science
CloudQuery (GitHub Repo)
This is a cool open source point and click tool to turn any website into a serverless API on AWS. There's a gif demonstrating how easy it is to create a serverless API for Hacker News with this tool, pretty nifty.
Nearly half of game developers want to unionize (2 minute read)
A survey of nearly 4,000 games developers found that 47% believed that they should unionize, 16% said they shouldn't, and 26% were unsure. However, only 21% thought a union would actually happen. This is in response to poor conditions where developers worked 100 hour weeks to finish Red Dead Redemption 2 and bitter layoffs at Telltale Games (producer of the Walking Dead game). One developer says "There is too much supply: too many people want into the industry. Those who unionize will be shoved out of the way as companies hire those with fewer demands."