TechSummit Rewind #068

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Spotify family plan now cheaper at $14.99/month for six people


Families can now subscribe to Spotify Premium for $14.99/month for up to six people.

The plan is available in every country Spotify is, except for Canada, with slightly different pricing depending on your region.

Google launches new research project to see if computers can be truly creative

During the last session at Moogfest, a Durham, NC-based music and technology festival, Google Brain researcher Douglas Eck outlined a new group focusing on figuring out if computers can be creative.

The group, called Magenta, will launch publicly in early June, but attendees got a peek at what they’re going to be working on as part of the company’s artificial intelligence research project. Magenta will use TensorFlow, Google’s machine learning engine, to determine whether AI systems can be trained to create original music, art, or video.

The group aims to create tools to help other researchers, along with its own team, explore computers’ creative potential. According to Eck, Magenta’s tools will be made available to the public, starting with a program that helps researchers import music data from MIDI music files into TensorFlow and train the systems on musical knowledge.

Magenta member Adam Roberts showed off a simple digital synthesizer program he’s been working on, where an AI can listen to notes he played, and play back a more complete melody from those notes. That video is embedded above.

According to Eck, the group’s inspiration came from other Google Brain projects, like Google DeepDream, where AI systems are trained on image databases to “fill in the gaps” in pictures, and try to find images structures that weren’t present in the images themselves.

Microsoft purging terrorist content from its services


Microsoft is officially prohibiting users from posting anything inciting terrorist acts on its services, including Xbox Live, Outlook’s consumer version, and the Docs document-sharing website.

In a blog post, Microsoft explained its actions, saying that they have “a responsibility to run [its] various internet services so that they are a tool to empower people, not to contribute, however indirectly, to terrible acts.”

For Bing, the company will only remove website links if the authorities demand it.

According to the Redmond, Wash.-based company, “terrorist content” is material “posted by or in support of organizations included on the Consolidated United Nations Security Council Sanctions List that depicts graphic violence, encourages violent action, endorses a terrorist organization or its acts, or encourages people to join such groups.”

The company has also launched a page where you can report anything you think fits its description of terrorist content. If it agrees, Microsoft will take it down. The company is also funding the development of a technology that can scan and flag known terrorist images, audio, and video.

Google launches Science Journal to turn your phone into a research lab


Google is launching Science Journal, a new app that turns your phone into a research lab.

The app uses your phone’s sensors to measure and record data in real time, including movement, light, and sound. For more detailed measurements, Science Journal can connect with Arduino devices.

These measurements can be recorded into graphs and charts, along with allowing you to take and organize notes on your observations.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has also partnered with Exploratorium to sell lab kits to go along with Science Journal, including craft materials and extra sensors to help supplement data or measure variables your phone can’t. Google also tells you how to assemble the materials yourself if you prefer.

Science Journal is available now in the Play Store.

Google working with IMAX on a cinema-quality 3D camera


A year after unveiling the JUMP GoPro VR camera rig, Google is now working on a cinema-quality 3D camera rig in partnership with IMAX.

“IMAX is known for incredibly immersive capture and audio. And they’re going to be bringing theMiir decades of experience with camera design, optics, sensors, and more to JUMP.”

-Clay Bavor, Google virtual reality VP


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