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The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Magic Leak, 'Silicon Valley' is coming back and poker-playing AI.
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'Silicon Valley' / HBO

Letter from the Editor

It's been another eventful week in Trump's America. The Ninth Circuit effectively administered a coup de grace to the president's Muslim travel ban after hearing from most of Silicon Valley about said ban's deleterious effects. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell censored Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor for trying to read a letter critical of would-be Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And, despite all the work to be done forming a new government and horrific conflict of interest implications, the President found time to take Nordstrom to task on Twitter (via his personal and official POTUS accounts) for dropping his daughter's clothing line.

As Ivanka's prospects as a fashion mogul were trending down, Cherlynn Low was reading the tea leaves of Snap Inc.'s IPO filing to see if the future is bright for the company's first foray into hardware, Spectacles. Turns out that the glasses aren't yet a revenue driver of significance, and probably won't be for some time -- the company must overcome serious manufacturing and supply chain challenges before they'll become a big moneymaker.

An AI named Libratus is ready and able to make tons of money right now at the poker table, however. Chris Velazco trekked to Pittsburg to see the culmination of a heads-up, no-limit Texas Hold 'em poker competition between Libratus and four human poker professionals. After 20 days and 120,000 hands, "the fight wasn't even close," as the machine had over $1.7 million dollars more in its virtual stack than the meatbags it was playing -- and thusly the dawn of the gambling robopocalypse was upon us.

While fears of an all-powerful poker-playing AI are doubtlessly coursing through you now, you should probably be more concerned with technology corporations and the information they've gathered about you. Vizio was busted this week for surreptitiously installing software on smart TVs to track customer viewing habits, then selling that information to advertisers without consent. Meanwhile, Violet Blue dug into Facebook's complicity with police forces around the world and the company's habit of giving law enforcement access to vast troves of personal data it collects about all of its user -- regardless of the chilling effect that it has on free speech and political activism.


FinallyAndroid Wear 2.0 makes Google's watch OS faster and easier to use

Android Wear 2.0 arrived this week, two years after the first version. Its initial flagbearers are LG's Watch Style and Watch Sport, but it will come to other devices soon. So far, we've found the update worth the wait, with its focus on addressing the user interface, navigation and notifications. Plus, putting Google's Play Store on the Watch makes it easier to use if you happen to have an iPhone.


Magic LeakThe first public photo of Magic Leap's prototype hardware is here

Courtesy of Business Insider, we have what appears to be our first look at the "Product Equivalent" that augmented reality startup Magic Leap has put together. To be honest, it looks like it's in rough shape, with exposed wiring, a handheld battery and a schlumpy backpack full of exposed chips. Still, that can be the case as a device comes together, especially one promising so much new technology. What matter most is probably what the wearer sees inside its headset, and how closely that matches the early teasers Magic Leap showed.


Ludicrous+Tesla Model S breaks acceleration record

0-60 mph in 2.275507139.


There are some rough edgesSamsung Chromebook Pro (p)review

This premium Chrome OS device won't go on sale until April, but Nathan Ingraham has an early look. Its high-res screen and thoughtful design mark some checkboxes, however, a shorter-than-expected battery life and shaky pen input disappointing. Of course, there's still time for Samsung and Google to work some of these issues out before it debuts, so we'll see if they do.


Don't get hackedNow Whatsapp's two-factor authentication is rolling out to everyone

Usually, phone number verification comes after passwords to provide both sides of the two-factor authentication setup. Whatsapp went in the other direction, but now all users on iOS, Android and Windows Phone can add a six digit passcode to provide additional security for their account. Use it.


Not Waymo, ArgoFord drops $1 billion on a self-driving AI company

Argo AI features veterans from Google and Uber, and it just sold a majority stake to Ford for $1 billion. The mostly-unknown company will continue to operate independently as it develops AI for Ford's self-driving car, due in 2021.


Think 'Pacific Rim' but cuter'FTL' successor 'Into the Breach' shows off adorable mech battles

Developer Subset Games has just launched a teaser trailer for its new game, Into the Breach. It looks similar to their previous game FTL: Faster Than Light, but this time the retro-pixel sci-fi mayhem is all about mech combat and leans more towards turn-based combat.

But wait, there's more...

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