Will AT&T’s DirecTV Now streaming offer entice even more cable cutting?

Suddenly, those scissors look better than ever

If you’re a cable TV cord-cutter, it looks like there’s an interesting option on the horizon. According to Variety, AT&T is going to give streamers free Apple TVs and Amazon Fire TV Sticks with its new $35-per-month streaming TV service, which it will call DirecTV Now. Customers who sign up for a three-month run of the service will get an Apple TV streaming kit, and month-to-month users will get an Amazon Fire TV stick.

Variety says AT&T is lining up content channels for the service and so far, HBO, ESPN, Disney, AMC, Viacom and some other heavy hitters are on board. But what about Netflix and Amazon? Well, since it’s a streaming service, we’ll just assume your regular accounts will be accessible through either device as usual. And this doesn’t seem like some trial run, either. Bloomberg is saying that streaming – not cable or satellite – will be AT&Ts primary TV platform by 2020.

Samsung, please make sure the A.I. does not explode

Couple of A.I. stories for you now: Following the disaster that is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the South Korean electronics giant is focusing on the upcoming Galaxy S8 flagship phone, and it could get a new dedicated A.I. built in, in order to compete against Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and so on. Samsung has copyrighted the name “Bixby” and just last month, the electronics giant bought up Viv, the A.I. designed by the same team that created Siri.

The new S8 is expected to debut at Mobile World Congress in February, and will likely come in 5.1 and 5.5-inch variations. Other rumors include a dual-camera system but one more oriented towards low-light performance rather than making pretty portrait pictures, and a 4K screen on the big version of the phone. Sounds great, just make sure to get those batteries squared away, Samsung.

We’re not so sure this was the smartest idea

And hey, if you want to smarten up an A.I., what do you think would be the best approach? A sit down with Stephen Hawking? Watching Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson? Reading all of Marilyn vos Savant’s columns? Seems reasonable, but Google has other ideas: They’re having their A.I. “DeepMind” play StarCraft II, because nothing apparently works better at creating a touchy-feely A.I. than battling alien hordes with insanely powerful energy weapons.

But Google says the gameplay will teach their apparently teenage A.I. that never leaves the  basement how to better deal with the intricacies – or what Google calls the “messiness” – of everyday life by having to make rapid-fire decisions and coordinate simultaneous tasks.

So, DeepMind will either emerge victorious from its marathon gaming sessions, or be mad as hell at being taken out by a tween in Saskatchewan. Apparently teaching it to play the Sims was just too obvious.

 See more on DirecTV Now here

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