This Week in Digital



Did a robot really create its own language?

Rumours were circulating this week that Facebook robots had to be turned off after creating their own language, which humans couldn’t understand. Stories began appearing on various news sites claiming the AI had become too intelligent.

Turns out the whole story was a bit of an exaggeration! It all stemmed from a Facebook blog post from June, which discussed a test they had done to try to teach robots negotiation skills.

The aim was to create a robot that would learn from humans how to negotiate deals. During the conversation, the robots began creating random words as they were learning from each other rather than from a human.

In summary, no super-smart robots had to be turned off for fear of them taking over!

Facebook to favour faster loading websites 

Facebook has announced a change to its algorithm, which will impact where websites are served in their News Feed feature. Site speed will now be a determining factor for where a website will be displayed.  

According to the social network, websites with a slower speed may appear lower in the News Feed of users and therefore receive less referral traffic. In comparison, those with a faster load time may appear higher and be seen by more users.  

Google begins ad blocker tests

Google has started testing a new built-in ad blocker for its Chrome browser. Whilst the company isn't planning to introduce the change until next year, it is now being tested in the Chrome Canary app for Android.

Google makes a large proportion of its revenue from adverts, but it is aiming to challenge 'intrusive ads'. These include videos that auto-play with sound or adverts that take over a user's whole screen. 

Google enhances their image search

Google is enhancing their image search on the Google app for Android and mobile web. Badges will now appear on images to indicate what related content the image is referring to. 

Google said: “If you look for ‘cupcakes’ in Image Search, you'll see badges for both video and recipe results. For other queries, you may also see badges for products and GIFs as well.”

Google's algorithms will detect GIFs and display a badge automatically, but Google is advising publishers to add recipe, product and video markups on their websites for them to display in image search results. 

And finally...

The BBC and Microsoft have teamed up for a new experiment. Using iPlayer, the BBC's online video service, the two companies have come together to develop a new voice recognition feature.

It will allow users to choose shows by talking to their smart TV. Users will also be able to log in to the system using their voice rather than a password. Watch the video below to find out more.