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PC Magazine

PC Magazine May 2017

PC Magazine provides lab-tested reviews, detailed tips and how-tos, insightful feature stories, expert commentary, and the latest tech trends to help you at work, at home, and on the road. And for a limited time, we're offering a copy of Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation with new subscriptions. This brand-new book is all about what made Atari's computers great: excellent graphics and sound, flexible programming environment, and wide support.

Pays:
United States
Langue:
English
Éditeur:
Ziff Davis
Fréquence:
Monthly
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2 min.
need a little help?

This month’s cover story has been a long time in the making. I first started covering assistive technology back in the 1990s at Computer Shopper, the 1,000-plus-page bible for direct PC sales. The topic was important to me, so I snuck coverage into the advertising-heavy magazine’s voluminous back pages. Since then, though, the definition of assistive technology has changed a lot. The voice-driven interfaces that were a pipe dream in the 1990s, for instance, are now built into smartphones that are given away for free with a two-year service contract. And new challenges have emerged, too: Touch-centered interfaces are wonderful, but they are distinctly unhelpful to the blind. Our May cover story shows how far we have come—and how far we have yet to go. One of the technologies discussed in the story is…

2 min.
do robots and ai deserve rights?

For me, when AI [artificial intelligence] is sufficient and able to think for itself, then yes, it will deserve rights. We have human beings walking around with artificial or transplanted organs and that number will only grow as our medical knowledge grows. Will these people be considered less than human? —Ronnie Volkert Always remember: No matter how clever computers might seem to you, they are nothing more than glorified shovels. —ModerateExtremist A sufficiently advanced AI should have just as many rights as a human. The brain is essentially just an advanced biological computer. There is nothing magical that separates us from a theoretical conscious machine; we’re not more special just because we’re made of flesh. The brain is just as much a machine as any. The fear and ignorance in this comment section is…

3 min.
elon musk wants to implant an ai interface in your brain

Elon Musk has had another bright idea. Nobody can accuse Mr. Musk of a lack of intellectual diversity in his pursuits, which have ranged from glitzy solar roof tiles to cartoonishly fast cars, colonizing other planets, and domestic energy infrastructure. He’s someone who thinks in the future tense. And he clearly believes that AI is the future. As AI advances, humans will have to find a comfortable coexistence with machines that learn or risk winding up as “house cats” to intelligence beyond ours. Toward that goal, and with a happy side effect of therapeutic benefits for certain brain disorders, Elon Musk has been funding a company called Neuralink that wants to implant an AI interface in your brain. The company is currently working with syringe-injectable, flexible, sub-micron-thickness substrates (note the regular grid…

3 min.
the coolest features in windows 10 creators update

Windows 10 is now considered by Microsoft to be a service. What that means is that the OS is continually updated with new features and fixes in small increments (such as the redesigned Photos app—see our review in this issue) and big releases. The Creators Update is the latest big one, and it starts rolling out to Windows 10 users for free on April 11. The previous major release, Anniversary Update, fine-tuned the interface and added features including Digital Ink input, more Windows Hello secure authentication possibilities, and Cortana interaction from the lock screen. This time, Creators Update does add one very creator-specific tool—the new Paint 3D—but much of what’s new concerns gaming and the web browser. Read on for all the most interesting new things in Windows 10. MORE GAMING FEATURES Some of…

1 min.
microsoft teases new minecraft marketplace, currency

Microsoft’s Minecraft game is getting a new marketplace and its own currency. With the launch of the Minecraft Marketplace, businesses will—for the first time—be able to sell their original content to players within the game. Arriving this spring, the Marketplace will be packed with “amazing adventure maps, texture packs, minigames,” and other goodies available for purchase, all accessible across devices via Xbox Live. “Unlock new avatar skins, change your world or explore incredible new maps from a community with unlimited imagination,” Microsoft said in a statement. The software giant is already working with several businesses to populate Marketplace but said anyone with a registered business can apply. “The idea is to give Minecraft creators another way to make a living from the game, allowing them to support themselves in the creation of…

3 min.
iot botnet mirai now forces smart appliances to mine bitcoin

Earlier this year, I declared the Internet of Things had officially hit peak stupid, courtesy of a new smart toaster being shown at CES. I should have known better. What’s even more useless than a smart toaster? A smart toaster that’s been hacked to mine Bitcoin. This is a concept as incomprehensible as it is stupid. Seven years ago, mining bitcoins on CPUs was totally a thing people did. Six years ago, GPUs such as AMD’s HD 5000 series were tearing up the hash charts. Four to five years ago, you could still earn some money mining on GPUs, but the specter of custom-built ASICs was rising, and those offer performance benefits no GPU could compete with. According to IBM’s X-Force initiative, there was a brief spike in a specific variant of…