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May 25, 2018

Microsoft and Google say they have found a fourth Meltdown-Spectre variant

Bad news, everyone. If you thought we were out of the woods when it comes to the Meltdown / Spectre CPU security flaws, then think again. Researchers from Microsoft and Google have identified a previously unknown fourth variant of the processor design issues that made front page news when they were discovered last year.

Like its predecessors, variant 4 (or CVE-2018-3639, to give its full name) describes a processor design issue that could allow malicious software to discover hidden information, such as a user’s password. For example, a webpage set up by a malware programmer could discover passwords, credit card numbers and other private information input elsewhere in the [...]

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May 21, 2018

Microsoft buys a start-up that wants A.I.

Microsoft has bought Semantic Machines, an artificial intelligence (AI) start-up, as it looks to boost its efforts in developing conversational AI.

Berkeley, California-based Semantic’s approach to AI is using machine-learning to add context to conversations with chatbots. This means taking information received by the AI and applying it to future dialogue.

The firm’s speech recognition team previously led automatic speech recognition development for Apple’s personal assistant Siri.

Microsoft did not disclose any financial details of the acquisition.

Big players are trying to make their personal assistants more human-like. Amazon has said [...]

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