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Mobile World Congress: Why do smartphones look so alike?

Media playback is unsupported on your device Is smartphone hardware treading water while industrial designers wait for bendy screens and other flexible, futuristic components to make more radical models possible? And will sales continue to decline until they do? Samsung is casting a long shadow over this year’s Mobile World Congress. The technology industry get-together in Barcelona is set to be dominated by the launch of its Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets. The reaction from many rivals – including Huawei, HTC and LG – appears to have been to hold…

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Trump says violent video games 'shape' young minds

President Trump has vowed to “do something” about the violence in games and films watched by younger people. In a meeting at the White House on school safety, President Trump said the violence played a role in shaping the way people saw the world. The meeting was held the week after a school shooting in Florida in which 17 people died. Some experts disputed the link between games and violence saying research showed no connection between the two. ‘Desensitised people’ In comments made during the meeting, President Trump condemned the…

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The trouble knowing how much screen time is 'OK'

Concerns about the harm caused by “too much” screen time – particularly when it is spent on social media – are widespread. But working out what a “healthy” amount might be is far from easy. Headlines rarely soothe nerves. Apple’s Tim Cook recently said he would not want his nephew on a social network, while child health experts wrote to Facebook warning excessive use of digital devices and social media “is harmful to children and teens”. There are many other such examples. Some negative experiences on social media – like…

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BT told to share poles for ultrafast fibre internet

BT must make it easier for rival internet providers to use its telegraph poles, telecoms regulator Ofcom says. Ofcom has published a list of new measures to make it cheaper for companies to install ultrafast full fibre broadband infrastructure. Connecting homes directly to the fibre network delivers much faster internet speeds than copper cables. Rivals Talk Talk and Hyperoptic welcomed the announcement. BT said it was “considering the implications”. What are the new measures? Ofcom says full fibre internet is currently available to 3% of UK homes and offices. It…

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Kylie Jenner 'sooo over' Snapchat – and Wall Street panics

The stock market value of Snap, owner of the Snapchat messaging app, fell $ 1.5bn after reality TV star Kylie Jenner said she no longer used it. Ms Jenner told her 24.5 million Twitter followers: “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” She was adding her powerful social media voice to the growing criticism of Snapchat’s re-design. Snap boss Evan Spiegel had something to soften the blow, though, with news his total pay was a huge $ 600m last year. Shares in Snap fell more than 8.4% to $…

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Disney loses in Redbox copyright row

Disney has lost a bid to stop movie rental company Redbox from reselling download codes for its films. Redbox bought Disney movies on DVD to offer for rental in its kiosks. The DVDs were often bundled with a code to download a copy of the film. Disney requested an injunction to stop the practice, saying that Redbox had no business arrangement with it. A California federal judge accused Disney of “copyright misuse”. Redbox rents and sells movies via tens of thousands of automated kiosks that dispense DVD and Blu-ray discs….

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Elon Musk quits AI ethics research group

Technology billionaire Elon Musk has quit the board of the research group he co-founded to look into the ethics of artificial intelligence. In a blog post, OpenAI said the decision had been taken to avoid any conflict of interest as Mr Musk’s electric car company, Tesla, became “more focused on AI”. He has been one of AI’s most vocal critics, stressing the potential harms. Mr Musk will continue to donate to and advise the group. In 2014, Mr Musk said AI was humanity’s biggest existential threat. And in 2017, he…

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