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March 2016
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Syndication

On this episode we the Microsoft AI Disaster, Apple Event results, VR Porn and texting & walking could be a crime.

Microsoft launched an AI experiment on Wednesday, in the form of a Twitter chat-bot named Tay. Tay was supposed to be aimed at Millennials, with the tag-line 'AI Fam from the internet that's got zero chill", whatever that means. The program was designed to learn from other Twitter users and adapt it's language and posts in the process.

Problems quickly arose, when 4Chan and Reddit users decided to "help" in this process, by tweeting specific questions and comments to Tay. What probably started as a very innocent AI experiment, resulted in Tay being taught to tweet some of the most racist and horrible things ever said online. AI will eventually be running a lot of things in our lives and we discuss whether learning from the crowd, is such a good idea.

The Apple Event was held on Monday of this week and the consensus appears to be that it was....a bit lackluster. Our prediction that they were going to get rid of the headphone jack in the new iPhones proved to be false. In fact, one of the few "highlights" of their announcement was the new, smaller iPhone SE. What was definitely absent was the lack of any new MacBooks. Does this signal a change in the company's focus, away from traditional laptops?

Virtual Reality finally appeared to go more mainstream this week with an announcement from the internet juggernaut known as Pornhub. They now have a free VR Channel on their site, which will surely receive record "incognito" site visits. We go into discussion of what this means for the industry as a whole and whether or not it will make a difference in VR device sales.

The state of New Jersey is on the verge of a ground-breaking law. They have a proposed bill that would make it illegal to walk and text at the same time. It's most likely that everyone reading this post would be guilty of this. If it passes, violators could receive a $50 fine, or 15 days behind bars. Text responsibly when in New Jersey, everyone!

Finally, Red Man and Methodman just invested in a new Kickstarter app that will help you find stores that sell a specific product. Can you guess what it is? It's exactly what you think it is.

 

Today's episode features Nick Mokey, Drew Prindle, Rick Stella and Greg Nibler.

Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits, visit digitaltrends.com and send in YOUR questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We also broadcast the show live on Periscope and YouTube every Thursday at 2:30pm PST.

Direct download: dtpodcast075.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm PST

On this episode we discuss favorite cereals, the new HTC Vive VR set, preview of the Apple Event & jamming Cell Phones.

We start off with a round table discussion of our favorite cereals. Not tech-related, but a very important and divided conversation ensued.

Then, we get in to the big story of the day. Digital Trends received a brand new HTC Vive Virtual Reality set in the mail. This piece of equipment is truly revolutionary. Compared to the previous Virtual Reality sets that have been out, it's like going from an Atari 2600, to a Sony Play Station. We get pretty in depth as to what the system is like in person and the advantages it has. 

The pricing of the HTC Vive, however, will be prohibitive for the average person. Starting at $800 for the basic unit, you'll also need a computer with a powerful enough graphics card to run it. The product itself though is so ground-breaking, that once you try it, you can actually see investing in the necessary hardware.

We also speculate on how game developers must be adapting to the new mobility of this platform. It is positioned to become a very addictive experience and it's not even out on the market yet. There are so many possibilities! Where does it go to become more of a group experience, rather than a solitary one? 

From there, we get into speaking about the Apple Event taking place on March 21st. The tagline for the event is "Let us loop you in". It could mean a new Apple Watch, which would really need a big improvement to be worthy of the focus. Something new they are set to announce is the removal of the standard headphone jack from the iPhone 7. This is a game-changer for a number of reasons. Will we all need to buy new headphones for our phones? The answer is yes....and no.

Finally, we have all had the experience of an annoying person on mass transit, using their cell phone. We're not talking about the person playing a game so much, it's the people that want to include everyone in their loud, private conversation. One guy in Chicago has been doing something about it, with a jamming device. It's a dream for some of us, but before you think about getting one, there are some pretty severe consequences for using it.

 

Today's episode features Caleb Denison, Nick Mokey, Matt Smith and Greg Nibler.

Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits, visit digitaltrends.com and send in YOUR questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We also broadcast the show live on Periscope and YouTube every Thursday at 2:30pm PST.

Direct download: dtpodcast074.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm PST

On this episode we discuss Live Virtual Reality, social VR, Amazon space adventures & the advent of Cyborgs.

We start off with a discussion regarding the onset of live Virtual Reality programming. Fox Sports announced this week that they would be broadcasting the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament in VR, via the NextVR app. We tried it and it is an entirely new experience in viewing sports. While it is a little odd "sitting" next to people at a game who may not know you are watching, it's definitely a unique viewpoint. 

However, outside of live sports programming, what other kinds of programs would be enhanced with Virtual Reality? Is there any kind of live program that would be a tipping point for you to purchase a system? Let us know in the comments below. 

So far, one of the drawbacks of consuming VR content, is that it is mainly a solitary activity. Sure it's nice if you're sitting alone on a couch but no one wants to be "that person" in a group setting. Oculus announced this week that they are introducing more ways to increase the social aspect of Samsung Gear VR users. In addition to a search function to find friends, you can now interact with each other via a select number of games.

Amazon may have tipped their hand regarding their own VR aspirations, via a job advertisement on Glass Door. It's not cheap to create this sort of content, but they certainly have the deep pockets to make a run at it. Could this be the way they attempt to beat out Hulu and Netflix, in original content?

Not only is Amazon moving into VR, they now want to take you to space! Jeff Bezos announced that Blue Origin hopes to be launching manned space missions as early as 2017. The goal is to get to a point where they are sending up 100 suborbital flights a year, via their reusable New Shepard rocket.

Finally, we talk about a topic that sounds like it could come straight from the ramblings of your favorite conspiracy theory friend. The difference is that this is from an actual interview given by the US Military's own Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Per CNN's article, they plan to "open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics".

The bottom line is that they plan to make Cyborgs a reality. Admittedly there is a lot of good that could come from this, especially for anyone who has a disability. On the other side, it could be a real-life take on a Terminator origin story.

 

Today's episode features Rick Stella, Drew Prindle, Caleb Denison and Greg Nibler.

Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits, visit digitaltrends.com and send in YOUR questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We also broadcast the show live on Periscope and YouTube every Thursday at 2:30pm PST.

Direct download: dtpodcast073.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm PST

On this episode we discuss Apple vs. FBI, Apple Support, Amazon Alexa & the Echo Dot, Live Streaming ESPN, VR Roller Coasters, HTC Vive & Legends of the Hidden Temple.

The Apple vs. FBI public debate has quieted slightly in recent days, but the stakes are as high as ever. We discuss what could possibly be next in the ongoing court battle and what it means for consumer privacy concerns.

Apple was also in the news this week for the launch of @AppleSupport on Twitter. This is a new approach for their Customer Service, but how effective will it be? We've all had some successful and unsuccessful attempts at seeking help from corporations via a tweet.

Amazon beat out the Apple vs. FBI controversy in the news cycle today, with the introduction of two new Alexa-enabled devices. The Amazon Tap and Echo Dot are speakers that can connect to any bluetooth device you have in your house. With the increasing number of smart devices entering our homes, Alexa is attempting to be your gateway assistant. Caleb had a live Facebook video, demonstrating how to order the new speakers via Alexa.

Amazon is also in talks to bring live-streaming TV to their ever-increasing roster of programming. AMC and ESPN are rumored to be the initial live channels that the service would bring on. So far Sling TV has had the most successful platform for live programs, with little to no competition. Amazon certainly has the muscle to make a big splash, if the deals work out.

The viability of Virtual Reality received another boost this week, with pre-sales for both the Microsoft Hololens and the HTC Vive. The Vive alone sold 15,000 devices in 10 minutes, at $800 per unit! Ryan was able to try one out at MWC in Barcelona and his reaction is surprising.

There is also a push to take VR from a single-user experience and bring it into a group setting. Six Flags theme parks and Samsung have teamed up to accentuate rides at several of their parks with the Gear VR. The rides themselves sound fantastic, but would you really want to share a sweaty headset with a stranger?

Finally, it seems as if many television content producers are running out of ideas. Fuller House is just latest example and now Nickolodeon is jumping into the fray. Fans of Legends of the Hidden Temple may get to see their dreams come true, with the possibility of a TV Movie based on the show! If you have no idea what Legends of the Hidden Temple is, you are definitely not alone. Ryan fills us in on his dream and we all discuss what we'd like to see remade.

Trends With Benefits is a weekly tech podcast and live video broadcast. It brings together experts from Digital Trends to discuss the tech topics of the day and beyond.

Today's episode features Marie Pardo-Garber, Ryan Waniata, Caleb Denison and Greg Nibler.

Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits, visit digitaltrends.com and send in YOUR questions to podcast@digitaltrends.com. We also broadcast the show live on Periscope and YouTube every Thursday at 2:30pm PST.

Direct download: dtpodcast072.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30pm PST

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