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Call to ban killer robots in wars

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption This is not about terminator robots but “conventional weapons systems with autonomy” A group of scientists has called for a ban on the development of weapons controlled by artificial intelligence (AI). It says that autonomous weapons may malfunction in unpredictable ways and kill innocent people. Ethics experts also argue that it is a moral step too far for AI systems to kill without any human intervention. The comments were made at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington DC. Human…

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Lifestyle 

War’s terrifying reality made virtual by Red Cross

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The crack of a sniper round strikes terror as you crouch behind a cinder-block wall. An explosion rips into your ear drums. Down the street a building collapses into dust. A helicopter gunship emerges through the smoke, leaving nowhere to hide. This is not a real battle, however, but a virtual reality simulation evolved by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help train those who work in war zones. “We had some people who tested our product from Syria and they could not finish…

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Technology 

Star Wars AT-ST stalks Devon and other technology news

BBC Click’s Marc Cieslak looks at some of the best technology news stories of the week including: The value of cryptocurrency Bitcoin falls below $5,000 (£3,889) for the first time since October 2017 Nasa announces it will send its 2020 Mars rover to a location known as Jezero Crater, which they believe could hold a clue to ancient life on the planet A man installs a replica of an AT-ST Walker by a roadside in Devon in the hope it would be a tourist attraction See more at Click’s website…

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The streaming wars: Can Disney topple Netflix?

Image copyright Marvel/Disney Image caption Disney, owner of the Avengers and Star Wars franchises, will test its brand appeal with the start of its own streaming services Last year Disney put Netflix on notice, announcing it would launch its own streaming services and end distribution agreements with the online video giant. The move was yet another warning that the world of streaming television, where Netflix had long been the leading player, was getting increasingly crowded. The firm’s shares slumped immediately after Disney’s announcement, before later bouncing back. So how big…

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Lifestyle 

The Great War’s end: a grandmother remembers

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jubilant New Yorkers took to the streets when the Great War ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, my late grandmother’s ninth birthday. FILE PHOTO: A crowd in Times Square hold up copies of newspapers with a headline about the signing of the Armistice to end World War One, in New York, U.S., November 11, 1918. U.S. National Archives/via REUTERS The gritty Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood where she lived celebrated mightily, but a grim legacy of the war went on to take…

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Roman Vishniac: Jewish photographer between World Wars

Image copyright Mara Vishniac Kohn Image caption Jewish school children, Mukachevo, Ukraine, c. 1935-38. The Jewish Museum London and The Photographers’ Gallery are staging the first UK retrospective of Russian-born American photographer Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), one of the most important social documentary photographers of the 20th century. Vishniac is perhaps best known for his widely recognised photographic records of Jewish life in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars. Born to a Jewish family and raised in Moscow, Vishniac immigrated to Berlin in 1920, where he joined some of the…

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Gary Kurtz, Star Wars producer, dies at 78

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Kurtz came up with the film title for The Empire Strikes Back Gary Kurtz, producer of the first two instalments in the Star Wars series, has died in north London aged 78. In a statement, his family said he died of cancer and would be “hugely missed”. Kurtz worked with George Lucas on American Graffiti, the original Star Wars and its first sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. His other films included The Dark Crystal and Return to Oz. Peter Mayhew – Chewbacca in Star…

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US trade wars: The farmers who trust Trump, but not without worries

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionMichelle Erickson-Jones: “We definitely want to get back to free trade” Support for President Donald Trump remains strong in the American farming heartland but, as BBC North America correspondent James Cook found in Broadview, Montana, there are also concerns about the drift away from free trade. Michelle Erickson-Jones should be celebrating. On the Great Plains, the harvest is coming to a close and she is cutting the very last of this year’s wheat, rattling across a golden field in a combine harvester…

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‘May the toys be with you’: Huge crowds for Star Wars show

Image copyright Matt Fox Image caption The exhibition’s crowd numbers have beaten previous records An exhibition featuring one of the UK’s largest collections of Star Wars toys has attracted about 30,000 people in its first month. “May The Toys Be With You”, at the New Walk Museum, Leicester, includes toys made by Palitoy in Coalville, as well as posters and unpublished artwork. The gallery’s previous record holder was a celebration of Leicester City winning the Premier League. Matt Fox, 46, who owns the collection, said it has “intergenerational” appeal. Image…

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