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August 21, 2016

The Public Access Weekly: Weird science

by John_A

This week has been AI week here at Engadget, which means we’ve been examining the variety of ways that artificial intelligence is changing our technological landscape and our society as a whole — from meeting the bots that play Doom to looking at how AI could change the future of combat, policing and our roles in the workplace to asking why digital assistants often default to female voices and personalities, we’ve been all-AI, all week. It’s been pretty fun, actually.

Over in the community section, a quick heads up to our commenters: We’ve rolled out a “Censor” feature in comment threads which allows us to remove a comment that violates our community guidelines without removing the replies and responses to that comment. It looks like this:

So far we’ve only had to use this feature a handful of times — largely due to name-calling or cursing — but this at least gives us the ability to keep a conversation even if the person who started it was a bad actor.

Also, if you’re registering to be a Public Access member (which you can do here, hint, hint), please be aware that you must answer the specific registrations questions that are asked and please do not answer with joke replies. There are only a handful of questions on the Public Access registration form, which makes it occasionally challenging for our moderators to screen for spambots.

So, for example, if your answer to the question “Why do you want to join Public Access?” is “Your mom” or “42” then you may be mistaken for a bot. And we know it’s AI Week here, but… don’t get mistaken for a bot. (If you feel you’ve been rejected in error, you can always send an appeal with details to We’re pretty helpful.)

Looking for something to read? Check out:

Here are some things we said about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in the official Engadget review: “This is the best phone Samsung has ever made.” “..A premium device that can (and does) outshine the Galaxy S line on which it was based.” “…A fantastic smartphone that melds first-rate performance with a comfortable, water-resistant design.” That, of course, didn’t keep the commenters from disagreeing with us. Read on to find out what their objections and arguments are!

Over in our AI Week coverage, Jess Conditt’s article about artificial intelligence, consciousness and the human brain has provoked some truly interesting points, discussions and further reading suggestions in the comments.

The kerfuffle over disappearing headphone jacks, USB-Type C specs, adapters and the audio on smartphones is so, so very far from being over with Intel being the latest company to support an upgrade of the standard. This.. does not seem like a popular decision.

Looking for something to write about? Mull over:

We sat down with Xbox’s Aaron Greenberg to talk about gaming, Project Scorpio and whether this will be the “last console generation” which caused an immediate uproar in the comment section. Are the lines between PC gaming and console gaming blurring? Is there a reason to opt for one hardware option over the other? Will PC gamers and console gamers ever stop fighting over their respective platforms?

While the internet is particularly adept at helping consumers express their displeasure with a product or their bad service experiments, it’s rare to see positive feedback getting the same viral attention. On a more positive note: What tech company do you trust? What made/makes you trust them, and why do you continue to put your faith in this company?

Because there apparently aren’t enough chat apps out there already, Google is reworking Hangouts to focus more on business and enterprise users while consumers will be offered Duo, the new video chat app, and Allo, a text-based messaging app. Is business-use the best use of Hangouts? Are you eager to try out Duo and/or Allo? What’s your current favorite or most-used messaging app, and why?

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