Day: June 10, 2019

June 10, 2019 Off

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki addresses hate speech controversy

By Jill T Frey

YouTube chief executive officer Susan Wojcicki is standing by the company’s decision to allow conservative commentator Steven Crowder to remain on the platform. Her comments come one week after an investigation confirmed the right-wing pundit’s treatment of Vox host Carlos Maza was not in violation of its policies, despite Crowder’s consistent use of racist and homophobic slurs. Crowder has more than 3.8 million subscribers.  

“The challenge is when we get an allegation like this we take it very seriously,” Wojcicki told Recode’s Peter Kafka at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Monday. “We need to enforce those policies consistently because if we were not to enforce them consistently, there would be millions of other people saying what about this video, what about this video, what about this video? If you look at the content on the internet, you look at rap songs, late night talks, a lot of Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Pepe the Frog creator reaches settlement over Infowars usage

By Jill T Frey

Once released, art belongs to the world. No one knows that better than Matt Furie. The Boys Club cartoonist has spent several years grappling with how the internet has coopted Pepe, turning his fun-loving stoner frog into one of the most prominent symbols of the alt-right.

Furie has launched campaigns, including a Kickstarter, aimed at taking back Pepe the Frog. Things finally came to a head when Alex Jones’ Infowars site began selling a poster using the amphibian’s likeness in 2017 and 2018. The case has become an important landmark in the fight for intellectual property online. The math of the issue clearly changes when one begins to profit using that art.

“What we asked for at the beginning of the case is for Infowars to stop selling the poster and to turn over all of their profits,” Furie lawyer Louis Tompros said in a statement. “Anyone who is … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

WarnerMedia is making a ‘Dune’ series for its streaming service

By Jill T Frey

WarnerMedia has placed a straight-to-series order for “Dune: The Sisterhood,” a show based on Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novels and tied to the big-screen “Dune” adaptation coming from Warner Bros. next year.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film’s director Denis Villeneuve will also be helming the show’s pilot, which is being scripted by one of the movie’s writers, Jon Spaihts.

“Dune” tells the story of warring noble families against the backdrop of the desert planet Arrakis. Since its publication in 1965, it’s become one of the most famous science fiction novels of all time. It was eventually followed up by five sequels written by Herbert himself, as well as countless prequels and additional sequels from his son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson. It was also turned into a film directed by David Lynch — who was notoriously unhappy with the results — and later into a … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Salesforce’s Tableau acquisition is huge, but not the hugest

By Jill T Frey

When you’re talking about 16 billion smackeroos, it’s easy to get lost in the big number. When Salesforce acquired Tableau this morning for $15.7 billion, while it was among the biggest enterprise deals ever, it certainly wasn’t the largest.

There was widespread speculation that when the new tax laws went into effect in 2017, and large tech companies could repatriate large sums of their money stored offshore, we would start to see a wave of M&A activity, and sure enough that’s happened.

As Box CEO Aaron Levie pointed out on Twitter, it also shows that if you can develop a best-of-breed tool that knocks off the existing dominant tool set, you can build a multibillion-dollar company. We have seen this over and over, maybe not $15 billion companies, but substantial companies with multibillion-dollar price tags.

Read the rest
June 10, 2019 Off

Ubisoft is launching a $15 a month subscription service in September

By Jill T Frey

If you can’t beat ’em, launch your own service. Today at its E3 press event, Ubisoft announced that it will be joining the growing list of companies launching their own streaming service. UPlay+ will be up and running on September 3, priced at a lofty $14.99 a month. Ubisoft is also opening access to preorders this week — and those who get in early will be get the month of September for free.

That price includes access to a library of more than 100 of the publisher’s titles, with more on the way. That includes classics like Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell and Beyond Good & Evil. The list also includes upcoming titles like Watch Dogs: Legion and Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the latter of which will open in beta on September 5, with early access on October 1.

“More players are in the digital ecosystem than ever before, and a … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Netflix snags Ubisoft’s ‘Tom Clancy’s The Division’ adaptation starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain

By Jill T Frey

Netflix has snagged the distribution rights to Ubisoft’s adaptation of “Tom Clancy’s The Division” starring Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Directed by David Leitch, the new movie will come with a screenplay from Rafe Judkins, who’s also penning and showrunning Amazon’s adaptation of the “Wheel of Time” series.

The story is apparently set in the future when a pandemic virus spread via paper money kills millions across New York City. The heartening Christmastime-set story will focus on an attempt by a group of ragtag civilians who are trained to address catastrophes and attempt to shore up what remains of civilizations against its ruins.

According to Variety, the producers include 87North Productions, Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories, Chastain’s Freckle Films along with Ubisoft Film and Television.

Video games are another vein that Hollywood is mining for potential tentpole franchises. While their success has been mixed, “Tomb Raider,” “Resident Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey now offers a way for you to create your own quests

By Jill T Frey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was definitely my favorite game of 2018, and it’s getting even better thanks to a couple of new updates Ubisoft announced at E3 this year that help make the most out of the game’s incredibly detailed depiction of a mythically massaged Ancient Greek setting.

Starting today via an open beta, players can get in on one of these new features — Story Creator Mode, which is a web-based way for anyone to design, build and share their own in-game story-based quests. That’s right: You’re the myth-maker now, with a quest-building mechanic that lets players choose from six kinds of quest objectives, including assassination of specific targets; rescuing individuals; visiting different locales throughout the world and more. You can write your own dialog, with branches that respond to player choices, and you can add options for in-dialog lying or even let the player go ahead and attack NPCs … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

It’s 2019 and the Nintendo Wii still isn’t dead

By Jill T Frey

The Nintendo Wii still has some play left in it.

It was already ridiculous that Just Dance 2019 supported the Nintendo Wii, even after axing PS3 support, but now the 2020 version of the dancing video game is still supporting the aged system, Ubisoft said onstage at its E3 press conference.

Just Dance 2020 has some real diversity in its system support. It will be coming to Stadia, Wii, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch in November.

The console originally launched in 2006 is far from powerful, but its popularity with an unconventional crowd is bringing it staying power that its successor the Wii U apparently did not have.

At this point, Ubisoft is probably holding onto the title for at least a little bit of notoriety though I’m sure some of those Wii customers that weren’t traditional “gamers” are probably still a solid audience for this quirky title.

Long … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

To detect fake news, this AI first learned to write it

By Jill T Frey

One of the biggest problems in media today is so-called “fake news,” which is so highly pernicious in part because it superficially resembles the real thing. AI tools promise to help identify it, but in order for it to do so, researchers have found that the best way is for that AI to learn to create fake news itself — a double-edged sword, though perhaps not as dangerous as it sounds.

Grover is a new system created by the University of Washington and Allen Institute for AI (AI2) computer scientists that is extremely adept at writing convincing fake news on myriad topics and as many styles — and as a direct consequence is also no slouch at spotting it. The paper describing the model is available here.

The idea of a fake news generator isn’t new — in fact, OpenAI made a splash recently by announcing that its own … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Get your tickets to the TechCrunch 14th Annual Summer Party

By Jill T Frey

Hey startuppers, it’s time to save the date and get your ticket to the best Silicon Valley soiree of the season. This year marks the 14th return of the TechCrunch Summer Party — a time to relax, connect and imbibe with your startup siblings.

We’re excited to announce that we’re hosting more than 1,000 guests at the beautiful Park Chalet, San Francisco’s coastal beer garden. Come out, kick back, grab a drink and enjoy a variety of tasty bites, while enjoying the park views. We’re also excited to announce our VC firm partners for the event: August Capital, Battery Ventures, Data Collective, and Uncork Capital.

Tickets to this popular event will go fast, which means get them while you can! Tickets are available on a rolling basis, so if you miss out on this batch, don’t despair. Simply sign up here and we’ll let … Read the rest