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tv   Click  BBC News  September 16, 2021 3:30am-4:01am BST

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have testified before a senate committee hearing. they gave evidence about the fbi's failures in its sex abuse investigation of theirformer team doctor larry nassar. the director of the bureau has apologised for not examining the allegations promptly. the united states, britain and australia have announced a new defence and security partnership for the indo—pacific. the agrement was immediately condemned by beijing. the leaders of the three countries said the agreement would promote stability in the region, where china has expanded its military presence. the first space mission crewed entirely by civilians has taken off from cape canaveral in florida. four amateur astronauts were launched into orbit on a spacex rocket. it's hoped the flight will open up access for paying customers. the trip has been paid for by a billionaire businessman. now on bbc news, it's time for click.
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this week we're putting on our next gen specs, strapping on our brain controls and entering the metaverse. just another day in the office, really. hey, welcome to click. let me hit you straightaway with a buzzword. you might�*ve heard it being thrown around recently. are you ready? always ready. the metaverse. what you think of the idea? mark zuckerberg's vision that it won't be long before we are working, playing and living in this whole virtual universe. it reminds me of second life from about 15 years ago, remember that? i do, i do.
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this was an early realisation of the sci—fi idea that has been around for as long as i can remember. but the tech wasn't up to it, then. but things have moved along. we look a lot better online. it balances out the 18 bit at the last 18 months i felt a bit like living in a virtual world, so i have got mixed feelings about this because this is actually the last thing that people want right now? could it potentially help with some of the isolation and other the challenges? zuckerberg thinks we are ready. he's now talking about facebook evolving from a social media company into a metaverse company which begs the question, what are you on about, mark? well, here with metaverse 101, mark invites you to involve in click�*s metaversity. what did pop star ariana
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grande, facebook ceo and a games ceo and video games all have in common? they have all recently been cited as have altered the metaverse. the metaverse has been described as what comes after the internet. in its simplest terms it is a social hardware users can interact with one another as avatars across a host of digital worlds. is any of this starting to sound familiar? a lot of companies are talking about creating a metaverse in that they want to become a platform where people can exist at all times. they want to create social spaces where people can come and hang out with their friends, they can watch movies, they can do everything that they would do in a normal life but within that platform. almost like the movie ready player one, in a way. this is the oasis. it is a place where the limits of reality are your own imagination. stephen spielberg's adaptation
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of the novel of the same name tells the tale of a downtrodden teen hero who escapes the dystopian sprawl of the near future america by spending as much time as possible online in a multiplayer virtual world. a place which matches up characters and pop culture themes from movies, comics and games. it was another sci—fi novel that coined the phrase metaverse. the 1992 book snow crash which also has a hero who has got a crummy life who escapes into a virtual world, the metaverse. it does sort of exist today, championed by an australian outfit called zero latency. the closest we have to free—roaming vr is this spatial virtual reality set up from a company called meat space vr. i have a backpack which contains a computer,
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a vr headset and this rifle which has controllers in it. the headset looks for markers on the floor to figure out where it is in three—dimensional space. here, i'm solving puzzles in a mind—bending aztec temple in an experience called engineering. i don't have have the sensation that the floor is moving but my brain kind of thinks that it is. i can shoot stuff in the vr version of the action franchise far cry. with the headset and headphones on, i am completely immersed in these virtual experiences. part of the reason we're hearing so much about the metaverse is because technology like this now exists. richard was there at the very dawn of multiplayer experiences in 1978. he was one of the brains behind
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the words first multiplayer virtual world, the text adventure multi—user dungeon or mud. now a professor of computer game design at the university of essex, he believes there is a specific set of rules which define the idea of the metaverse. ok, so the metaverse is essentially a marketing concept. we have universes which are self—contained realities, then we have multi—verses which are realities that you can move between so they are effectively the same reality. and then we have a metaverse which is all one reality but it has got a whole bunch of other ones interconnected. so, as an example, something like world of warcraft is a universe, you can't take anything into or out of world of warcraft. it is self—contained. something like roblocks, however you want to pronounce it, is a multi—verse and your character can move
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from one interior world to another interior world. the metaverse, however, means that you can go from one universe to another universe so you can, in theory, have a character in a metaverse which would move from world of warcraft to final fantasy for and that is the theory. whether it will work in practice is another matter. you need a pretty big space to experience vr as elaborately as there is but perhaps the metaverse will be experienced in different ways. some would argue that the first seeds of the metaverse are being sown in contemporary video games. earlier this summer ariana grande became the latest performer to put on a series virtual concerts inside the popular online
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multiplayer game fortnite. so epic games getting such high quality acts is such a legitimising thing. it is really saying to the industry and beyond that that fortnite is not just a game. it is a place for people to come together and the importance of that is, you know, drawing on these acts that are sort of outside the usual gaming stream like ariana grande. shejoins a long list of artists to play a gig in the game, including djs. but so far ariana grande is probably the biggest and most mainstream act to perform in the game. so i think the metaverse is something that is going to get us closer to simulation and shared understandings with each other in a virtual space. like never before. and i think that is something that we are at the very beginning of.
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it has become a word that, it has become very popular lately. we're still defining it and that is pretty exciting. i think everybody�*s going to put their own take on it. games give us a glimpse of what a potential metaverse might look like but there is a bigger question driving the recent interest in this idea. and that is who or what will have control over the platform? imagine back in the day when we had the internet there were companies vying to be the internet. there were about five of them in america. information providers, they call themselves. ultimately it didn't work. they had to accept that the internet was stand—alone platforms all communicating but the metaverse, that is another thing entirely because if you control the platform then you control all that goes on within it so if everybody did pile into roblox and they did all build all their worlds there then roblox would own the metaverse.
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so obviously the likes of google, microsoft would not like that to happen. they would like to be the one to own it. what we experienced over the past five years or so in particular during the pandemic, is a recognition of the behaviours that are here. virtual words are common, they are popular. there are diverse. we're now at that part where the metaverse starts to feel very real. even if it is... fortnight�*s rise and fall in companies taking those first steps down the long road to creating the metaverse might not even be around when and if the idea becomes reality. come on. where are you? hello. i hope you're having a good week and welcome to the week in tech. it is the week twitter is testing a soft blocking feature which removes followers without letting them know.
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apple wallet have capability to store a drivers licenses and spotify rolled out blend which selects songs to peoples tastes in music at the same time. el salvador has made crypto currency bitcoin legal tender amid protests and technical glitches. the el salvador government says using bitcoin could save money sent from abroad but some are worried about the stability and ease of adoption. this was illustrated on the day as bitcoin�*s price crashed by 20% at one point. two robots have been deployed in singapore to discourage poor social behaviour. they use cameras to detect people smoking in the hope to admit prohibited areas, flouting covid measures are packing bags improperly. and finally, mit turned on a massive high—temperature superconducting muppet called spark as part of its research into fusion power.
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with the field strength of 20 tesla you are looking at the most powerful magnetic field of its kind ever created on earth. the project, due for completion in 2025, aims to pave the way for carbon free power generation. i bet the engineers find this project very attractive. these are the first facebook glasses. a partnership with the luxury eyewear brand ray ban. it is no secret that facebook has been working on augmented reality glasses that can project images into your eyes and these glasses do none of that. these are basicallyjust a pair of glasses with cameras in. there are actually very similar to the snapchat spectacles that were released in 2016 although every time i mention that to facebook they insisted this is a very different product. to use them, you press the button to take a video. press and hold to take a photo and you can also use voice
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commands like, hey, facebook, take a video. there are also built in speakers so you can use them to listen to music or make phone calls although when i tried that, on the noisy high street, they were nowhere near loud enough to be remotely useful. so i'm going to focus on the cameras. the idea behind these is that you can leave your phone in your bag but still the way to capture little moments hands—free as and when they arise and i quite like that as a concept so taking it at face value a try them out over the weekend and i met up with some friends. i went to a concert. i took loads of footage and then when i came to download it to my phone the glasses had corrupted. and all the footage was lost. so you're not getting any of that. instead, here's my last—minute back—up option of meeting a friend for coffee in the park. the specs record these square videos and nothing is automatically posted to facebook or live stream. instead, you download the clips at the end of the day and you can post them wherever you like. facebook says one use is if you have children, and i can see that being fairly useful because you can put your phone away but still capture nice moments.
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it took a moment of this dog taking a swim and i think that is looks pretty good. here's the same moment captured on my smartphone and i think the smartphone version a greater selection of lenses on their and your bigger centre. with the camera glasses look ok and that was the only footage you had that's better than no footage. now, i did feel a bit silly wearing these and also take a video but they do version with clear lenses, sunglasses and some that transition between both. a lot people will have questions about privacy and i can see why they've branded these ray ban stories rather than facebook glasses are insta specs. ultimately, if somebody is going to take hidden camera footage in a changing room and they can do that with a phone already, they don't need to spend $300 on a pair of glasses but even so, thought they might be a bit more obvious when recording video because they do do spoke like an ordinary pairof ray bans. nothing lights up when you are recording but my house made thought it was a reflection on the glasses.
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it could have been a red flashing recording might end in comparison the snapchat specs were a lot more obvious when recording. so i called facebook�*s had a vr to ask him about privacy. i think we deal with us today. we have got mobile phones that people all have cameras on them. and so there is a degree to which our goal is to be, you know, at least more overt than what people are doing today with their phones and i think we have achieved that goal. i mean, if you have your phone out you could be taking pictures, there's no way for bystanders to know that you're doing that and people known to have the phones out. so i think the glasses are quite a bit more overt than that. you have an audio sound and have to take an explicit action is over i move my hand on my temple and press the button or have to use my voice to say, take a picture. if i have enabled that feature. so i think there is a lot more opportunity is really for bystanders to know and this isn't something we left to chance.
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we knew this was one of the most important things to get right. one thing that makes me feel really old is that they say when you ask people our age take a photo, and we gesture like this and if you asked teenagers they go like this. going to take back this. that's right. absolutely. there has been a lot of talk about facebook bringing out full augmented reality glasses with a display in them. is this just a sort of stopgap to get people used to the idea of everybody wearing camera glasses? yes, you have nailed it chris. going even back a year we were talking about previous projects that we have had and we do have ar glasses in the pipeline. we really want to have a conversation, a dialogue with consumers around the world on, yeah, what are the standards and expectations they have for the types of computers that we are going to wear in the future. and this is really our first foray into putting something on someone�*s face and we're
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really excited about it and seeing how people react to it. and it is a great product and i have been using it myself but it is the first in a series of products that give people more functionality and more capability through a pair of glasses. that was chris talking about facebook. i really was expecting those glasses to be audmented reality glasses. it is not like that technology doesn't exist. there are smart swimming goggles that give you real—time data under water. i guess the tech is not quite compact enough to fit inside normal glass quite yet. but maybe one day they will be good enough to interact with the metaverse, and speaking of interacting, we've been trying a whole new way of controlling things with our minds. so here i am with a strange band strapped to my head looking very proud of myself for switching on a toy lightsaber.
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but, so what? well, whilst it looks like a poor man's comic con, i am actually here to experience the future of tech. it is all part of a new industry that wants technology to interface with our brains. what could go wrong? but whilst i'm playing with star wars toys, elon musk is planning to create superhumans by surgically implanting chips in their brains. they've already released footage of a monkey playing a video game with its mind and a real—time link to the neural activity picked up from a chip implanted in a pig's brain. you don't need brain implants to control machines. headsets like this let you control just by concentrating on them so all you need to do is strap on some headgear and use the power of your mind.
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in principle, it is quite straightforward. the eeg sensors on this headset measure electrical signals in your brain, deciphering two mental states. your focus or calmness. once you reach the threshold for either an action is triggered. all right, fine, switch on. hey! i switched on the fan. it is like technology telekinesis, isn't it? that is amazing. yes, of course, we get a point where we can say like, turn the lights off and on. but to me that has never been what is exciting. by focusing on simply moving things with the mind, i do think we take away from the real power of the technology which is being able to learn about our mind, being able to strengthen our mental faculties rather than just being able to do things so that we have to do less. the number one benefit we can bring to society and youngsters
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and the next generation is consciousness of mind. we have achieved far greater than any technology from the previous generation. much of the brain computer research has traditionally been to help people with restricted mobility and the breakthroughs prove that this could be a game changer. but now there are a whole host of headgear—based neurotech companies springing up in the consumer space and one of those is a french start—up nextmind, who have created a headset that lets you control computer interfaces just by thinking about it. so really simply, this is an eeg sensor that sits at the back of your head. it measures the electrical activity in the visual cortex and detects what you're looking at. the visual cortex is the part of the brain that processes what we see. when you're looking at specific points on the screen, the sensor detects that increase in visual concentration and communicates to a button you want to push. a few demos show you what's possible.
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i can blow up enemy squares in games, and use my mind as a television remote control. but the simplest demo actually had the greatest impact. you are asked to enter a pin numberjust by focusing on the buttons to click and the feeling of control is astonishing. wow. where i see it totally exploding with a combination of ar. so, in a few years from now, we will have ar glasses like your glasses right now, they will have ar and they are going to allow you also to be in symbiosis, in immersion with the environment by basically linking your brain directly to the virtual contents and then you will be able to basically control anything virtual, anything augmented directly with your brain. i drafted in my colleague paul to get his thoughts. go on, there we go.
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yeah! there we go. are you actually doing this? yeah, i think so, anyway. this is awesome. and it turned out that the key takeaway was not put the headset on too tightly. my head actually feels numb. i feel you cut off the blood supply. ow! i have got pins and needles in my scalp! in terms of what this might offer people with restricted mobility and can't move, can't use arms and need new ways to interface with technology then, look, potentially this is absolutely extraordinary. does it need a bit of work, yes. but i'm tempering that with about that i just sat here and controlled things with my brain and it's incredible. but despite some amazing
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applications, there could be a dark side to this technology. the problem comes when we don't just measure the activity in the brain but we try to directly influence it. that means we could do things like read someone�*s thoughts or change their perception reality or even make them act against their free will. my biggest worry is mental privacy. you can imagine using them for interrogation, for example. you ask a question, just by the image the person recalls, they can figure out what the person is thinking. technology companies have jumped into neurotech in a big way and it also means that they are very keen on getting their hands on mental data. on neural data. and i think that should be protected. it may sound far—fetched but elon musk is already working towards writing to the brain to augment human knowledge and another doctor has taken control of a mouse�*s mind and is campaigning for ethical frameworks and
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strict regulations. this type of technology is so powerful this goes to the heart of what makes us human which is the human mind. this is the first time that the humanity has technology that enables you to directly tap into the mind. this is not another little privacy issue. this is the mother of all privacy issues. this is your mental privacy. this is not going to work, is it? so why is there a danger that our brains could be manipulated in the future, if my experience of mind control is anything to go by, we should be safe. at least for now. that was oz. what a fascinating topic. fascinating but frightening. i know. what do you think about it? what are your thoughts? thank you.
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and that is it for this week. as ever, you can keep up with the team on social media and find us on youtube, instagram, facebook and twitter. thanks for watching and we'll see you soon. goodbye. hello. autumn is now gently, slowly but surely creeping in across the northern hemisphere. our days are getting shorter, but there is still some warmth in the september sunshine, and certainly, it was a good—looking day across a large swathe of the uk on wednesday, although scotland and northern ireland did get lumbered with more in the way of cloud and some outbreaks of rain. we should see some more sunshine here, though, in the next few days.
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another sign that autumn is upon us is the presence of some early morning mist and fog. the reason it'll be drier for scotland on thursday is high pressure starting to extend up here. it's also the reason that i think we will see some early mist and fog, under the ridge where we've had light winds overnight. the sun, however, should burn that back pretty quickly, and then a lot of fine weather and sunshine to come through. thursday, we lose any early showers in the north—east of scotland. temperatures 21 or 22 degrees. through the afternoon, though, more cloud starting to show its hand into northern ireland. that's the forerunner of this weather front that will push into the west of the uk for friday daytime. we move through thursday evening, into the small hours of friday, and we get the rain into northern ireland. it's quite patchy across western scotland. it stays dry across england and wales. a mild enough night, temperatures in double figures, up to 15 in belfast, we get quite a strong southerly wind as this weather front pushes in. it will move its way into the west of the uk, but then it kind of
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grinds to a halt, actually, for friday. so, because it does that, that means the rain willjust keep on coming for the likes of northern ireland, possibly for the south—west of scotland. later on in the day, some downpours for the south—west of england and for wales. but it's northern ireland stuck under the cloud and with the rain on friday. quite breezy here as well, quite gusty winds at times. big contrast between east and west — just mid teens, the temperatures in the west under the rain, we could still see 22, maybe 23 in the sunshine further east. our front will gradually make its way eastwards across the uk through the weekend. for scotland and northern ireland, i think it will bring some patchy cloud, but for england and wales, it does bring the threat of perhaps some quite punchy showers, longer and more persistent outbreaks of rain at times. certainly, saturday looks like it could be quite wet across england and wales. the showers should thin out somewhat for sunday.
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this is bbc news. i'm ben boulos. our top stories: america's most decorated gymnast, simone biles, breaks down as she talks about the abuse she and her colleagues suffered at the hands of their team doctor. to be clear, i blame larry nassar, and i also blame... entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. china condemns a new defence and security deal between the us, britain, and australia aimed at boosting their influence in the indo—pacific. the first space mission crewed entirely by amateur astronauts has blasted off from cape canaveral. it's hoped the flight will open up access for paying customers.
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and the photo—sharing app instagram may have a harmful


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