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Tears of the Kingdom's Bridge Physics Have Game Developers Wowed

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 7:00md
Nicole Carpenter, reporting for Polygon: There's a bridge to cross the lava pit in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom's Marakuguc Shrine, but it's broken. More than half of the bridge is piled on top of itself on one side of the pit, with one clipped-off segment on the other. The bridge is the obvious choice for crossing the lava, but how to fix it? A clip showing one potential solution went viral on Twitter shortly after Tears of the Kingdom's release: The player uses Link's Ultrahand ability to unfurl the stacked bridge by attaching it to a wheeled platform in the lava. When the wheeled platform -- now attached to the edge of the bridge -- activates and moves forward, it pulls the bridge taut, splashing lava as it goes, until the suspension bridge is actually suspended and can be crossed. But it wasn't the solution itself that resonated with players; instead, the clip had game developers' jaws on the ground, in awe of how Nintendo's team wrangled the game's physics system to do that. To players, it's simply a bridge, but to game developers, it's a miracle. "The most complicated part of game development is when different systems and features start touching each other," said Shayna Moon, a technical producer who's worked on games like the 2018 God of War reboot and its sequel, God of War: Ragnarok, to Polygon. "It's really impressive. The amount of dynamic objects is why there are so many different kinds of solutions to this puzzle in particular. There are so many ways this could break." Moon pointed toward the individual segments of the bridge that operate independently. Then there's the lava, the cart, and the fact you can use Link's Ultrahand ability to tie any of these things together -- even the bridge back onto itself. [...] Tears of the Kingdom was seemingly built on top of Breath of the Wild, reportedly with a large portion of the same team working on it. "There is a problem within the games industry where we don't value institutional knowledge," Moon said. "Companies will prioritize bringing someone from outside rather than keeping their junior or mid-level developers and training them up. We are shooting ourselves in the foot by not valuing that institutional knowledge. You can really see it in Tears of the Kingdom. It's an advancement of what made Breath of the Wild special."

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US 'Won't Tolerate' China's Ban on Micron Chips, Commerce Secretary Says

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 6:04md
The United States "won't tolerate" China's effective ban on purchases of Micron Technology memory chips and is working closely with allies to address such "economic coercion," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Saturday. From a report: Raimondo told a news conference after a meeting of trade ministers in the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework talks that the U.S. "firmly opposes" China's actions against Micron. These "target a single U.S. company without any basis in fact, and we see it as plain and simple economic coercion and we won't tolerate it, nor do we think it will be successful." China's cyberspace regulator said on May 21 that Micron, the biggest U.S. memory chip maker, had failed its network security review and that it would block operators of key infrastructure from buying from the company, prompting it to predict a revenue reduction.

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AI Means Everyone Can Now Be a Programmer, Nvidia Chief Says

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 5:00md
Artificial intelligence means everyone can now be a computer programmer as all they need to do is speak to the computer, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said on Monday, hailing the end of the "digital divide." From a report: Speaking to thousands of people at the Computex forum in Taipei, Huang, who was born in southern Taiwan before his family emigrated to the United States when he was a child, said AI was leading a computing revolution. "There's no question we're in a new computing era," he said in a speech, occasionally dropping in words of Mandarin or Taiwanese to the delight of the crowd. "Every single computing era you could do different things that weren't possible before, and artificial intelligence certainly qualifies," Huang added. "The programming barrier is incredibly low. We have closed the digital divide. Everyone is a programmer now -- you just have to say something to the computer," he said. "The rate of progress, because it's so easy to use, is the reason why it's growing so fast. This is going to touch literally every single industry."

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Temasek Cuts Salary of Staff Responsible For Its Failed FTX Investment

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 4:00md
Temasek, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund that manages assets worth around $300 billion, has cut the pay of staff involved in its FTX investment that soured after the crypto exchange collapsed. From a report: An independent team conducted an internal review of the investment and found that although there was no misconduct by its investment team, the team and senior management "took collective accountability and had their compensation reduced," Temasek said Monday. It did not detail the amount of compensation cut. Temasek had invested $275 million in FTX and FTX U.S. and wrote off all of its investments to zero after Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto group filed for bankruptcy in November. Temasek had taken a 1% stake in FTX International and a 1.5% stake in FTX U.S. as part of its investments.

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After 78 Years, Autonomous Underwater Robots Locate Sunken WWII Destroyer

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 1:34md
"Over the past 13 years, Tim Taylor and Christine Dennison have scoured the ocean floor using autonomous underwater robots," according to a history writer's commentary on CNN, "to discover and document the wrecks of seven US submarines lost in World War II." Taylor and Dennison are ensuring that more families of those lost know where their loved ones' deep-water graves reside. They are racing against time as underwater development threatens many of these wrecks... Budget constraints hinder the Navy from devoting resources to undertaking these kinds of searches, according to Taylor, and his team is showing how private groups can fill the gap. A philanthropic private investment group funds the expeditions, the article points out, adding that Taylor and Dennison "hope to employ the special autonomous underwater technology they created to help others map the ocean floor for environmental and other purposes." Their latest find was part of the 82-day battle of Okinawa in 1945: The USS Mannert L. Abele, which the explorers found 4,500 feet under the Pacific Ocean and 81 miles from the nearest landmass, was the first American ship sunk by an unusual type of rocket-powered Japanese kamikaze plane... Though the Abele managed to shoot down two aircraft and damage or fend off others, at six minutes in, a Japanese fighter plunged into the destroyer's engine room and exploded, cutting off all electrical power. Just a minute later, another, much more unusual, plane slammed into the destroyer's hull. The Abele had been struck by a unique rocket-propelled kamikaze plane called the MXY7 Ohka ("Cherry Blossom"), which due to its very short range had to be carried under the belly of a larger bomber until close to US ships, whereupon it was released to soar toward its target at immense speed. The detonation of this manned missile's 1.3 tons of explosives caused the ship to seemingly break into two and begin sinking. In a matter of minutes, 84 sailors and officers had been killed. Japanese aircraft strafed the surviving crew as they jumped into the oil-slick water, but two smaller landing craft escorting the Abele shot down two more planes and beat off the rest, managing to rescue 255 crew members. Nearly eight decades later, modern robotics technologies allowed Taylor and Dennison to find the destroyer's submerged hull. In the past, Taylor noted, it would have been practically inconceivable for a small, private team to have undertaken the cumbersome search process that, Taylor estimated, would have taken four to five times as long and cost significantly more money... It was on their last remaining day of a more-than-month-long search, just before bad weather would force them to conclude the expedition, that they spotted the Abele's wreck.

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The Moment for AI - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 1:00md
Red Hat President and Chief Executive Officer, Matt Hicks, shares insights and reflections from Red Hat Summit 2023.

Email Phishing Using Kali Linux - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 1:00md
No matter how often you go online and how or why you primarily use the Internet, you've probably seen phishing attack attempts. They're now so common and problematic that cybersecurity professionals regularly provide information to help people spot and avoid phishing attacks.

New Ransomware Group Uses Repurposed LockBit, Babuk Variants - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 1:00md
A new ransomware operation has been targeting Windows and Linux systems with a combination of payloads relying on leaked LockBit and Babuk code and custom-developed tools.

Adventures on Mars: 'Ingenuity' Helicopter Survives a Communications Blackout

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 9:34pd
The Mars helicopter 'Ingenuity' recently completed its 47th, 48th, and 49th flight, NASA reports on the blog for its Mars rover 'Perseverance'. That rover is making a "long ascent" up the delta in Mars' Jezero crater, "an area where scientists surmise that, billions of years ago, a river once flowed into a lake. On its 47th flight, Ingenuity attempted "tactical and scientific scouting" for the rover, but "just narrowly missing the main area of interest." But then... Ingenuity's 48th flight produced a treasure trove of aerial images showing the exact area of interest at a resolution several orders of magnitude better than anything prior. All of these images were downlinked to Earth and provided to rover planners and scientists a full two weeks before the rover would reach this area... [T]he team chose to send the helicopter farther up the delta rather than perform additional scouting flights in the region... The Guidance Navigation and Control team once again managed to push the flight envelope with a 16-meter vertical popup at the end of the flight. At the peak, Ingenuity snapped the highest suborbital picture taken of the Martian surface since landing... That downlink was the last time the team would hear from the helicopter for an agonizingly long time. Eager to continue up the delta, the team tried and failed to uplink the instructions for Flight 50 several times. Sol after sol, the helicopter remained elusive. Each time, the downlinked telemetry from the Helicopter Base Station (HBS) on the rover would come back showing no radio sign of the helicopter... When the rover emerged from the communications shadow on its way to Foel Drygarn and the helicopter was still nowhere to be found, the situation began to generate some unease... In more than 700 sols operating the helicopter on Mars, not once had we ever experienced a total radio blackout. Even in the worst communications environments, we had always seen some indication of activity... Finally, on Sol 761, nearly a week after our first missed check-in, our communications team observed a single, lonely radio ACK (radio acknowledgement) at 9:44 LMST (Local Mean Solar Time), exactly the time when we'd expect to see the helicopter wakeup. Another single ACK at the same time on Sol 762 confirmed that the helicopter was indeed alive, which came as a welcome relief for the team. Ultimately, this first-of-its-kind communications blackout was a result of two factors. First, the topology between the rover and the helicopter was very challenging for the radio used by Ingenuity. In addition to the aforementioned communications shadow, a moderate ridge located just to the southeast of the Flight 49 landing site separated the helicopter from the rover's operational area. The impact of this ridge would only abate once the rover had gotten uncomfortably close to the helicopter. Second, the HBS antenna is located on the right side of the rover, low enough to the deck to see significant occlusion effects from various part of the rover... Relying on the helicopter's onboard preflight checks to ensure vehicle safety and banking on solid communications from the rover's imminent proximity, the team uplinked the flight plan. As commanded, Ingenuity woke up and executed its 50th flight on the red planet, covering over 300 meters and setting a new altitude record of 18 m. The rover had closed to a mere 80 meters by the time the helicopter lifted off in the Martian afternoon Sun. And Flight 51 happened 9 days later...

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App That Lets Homeowners Rent Their Swimming Pools Draws Backlash

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 6:34pd
Somewhere in Maryland, an app that lets homeowners rent their swimming pools "has sharply divided suburban residents of Montgomery County as the local government considers formally regulating the short-term amenity rentals," reports the Washington Post, "potentially becoming the first in the nation to do so." Neighbors have spied on neighbors, reporting unwanted outsiders flocking to their quiet residential streets. "Our entire block has been disturbed," Constance Kiggans, a Chevy Chase resident, said in written testimony to the Montgomery County Council. "It is, for all intents and purposes, like having a pool club on the street..." Unlike long-established home rental and ride sharing apps, newer apps that let people rent out their pools, home gyms and backyards have largely been unregulated across the United States so far. In fact, several jurisdictions, from the city of San Jose to towns across New Jersey to the state of Wisconsin, have tried over the past three years to ban the rentals or set up strict rules that require private pools to meet the same standards as a public pool... Many homeowners are eager to earn easy money by renting out a backyard pool, despite a murky legal landscape that does not offer clear guidance on whether the rentals are legal or not... Chief among the complaints detailed by pool sharing opponents is the noise... [36 residents who signed a letter of complaint] argued that the rentals turn quiet residential neighborhoods into bustling business districts, without the infrastructure to support commercial activity. They raised dozens of concerns, largely over the added nuisance of strangers pouring into their neighborhoods because of the apps, congested roads, scarce parking, and noise and safety. Their complaints have shut down at least one pool rental in the county.

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Japan Will Try to Beam Solar Power from Space by 2025

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 3:34pd
An anonymous reader shared this report from Engadget: Japan and JAXA, the country's space administration, have spent decades trying to make it possible to beam solar energy from space. In 2015, the nation made a breakthrough when JAXA scientists successfully beamed 1.8 kilowatts of power, enough energy to power an electric kettle, more than 50 meters to a wireless receiver. Now, Japan is poised to bring the technology one step closer to reality. Nikkei reports a Japanese public-private partnership will attempt to beam solar energy from space as early as 2025. The project, led by Naoki Shinohara, a Kyoto University professor who has been working on space-based solar energy since 2009, will attempt to deploy a series of small satellites in orbit. Those will then try to beam the solar energy the arrays collect to ground-based receiving stations hundreds of miles away. Orbital solar arrays "represent a potentially unlimited renewable energy supply," the article points out -- running 24 hours a day.

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Automakers Ask Judge to Block Pending Enforcement of Massachusetts' Right-to-Repair Law

Slashdot - Hën, 29/05/2023 - 12:44pd
"Beginning next Thursday, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell plans to start enforcing the state's automotive right-to-repair law," reports the Boston Globe. "But this week, the world's top automakers asked a federal judge to stop her." The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a car industry trade group, sued to block enforcement of the law almost from the moment it was passed by voter referendum in 2020. Ever since, the law has been tied up in the courtroom of US District Judge Douglas Woodlock. Now the alliance has asked Woodlock to grant a temporary injunction that would stop Campbell from enforcing the law until he issues a final ruling in the case. Campbell's predecessor, now-Governor Maura Healey, repeatedly refrained from enforcing the law, pending Woodlock's decision. But Healey always reserved the right to reverse this policy if a ruling took too long. In March, Campbell said she would start enforcing the law effective June 1. "The people of Massachusetts deserve the benefit of the law they approved more than two years ago," she said in a document filed with the court. But the carmakers say that only the federal government has the authority to enact such a law. They claim the law is so poorly drafted that they can't comply with it, and even if they could, compliance would weaken vehicle security, making it easier for cyber criminals to steal digital data about vehicles and their owners. Two carmakers, Kia and Subaru, have tried to comply with the law by switching off the telematic services in their cars. But the carmakers argue that this deprives consumers of the right to use these features, which include emergency roadside assistance that could potentially save lives.

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A Quake on Mars Showed Its Crust is Thicker Than Earth's

Slashdot - Dje, 28/05/2023 - 11:44md
"Planetary scientists now know how thick the Martian crust is," reports ScienceNews, "thanks to the strongest Marsquake ever observed." On average, the crust is between 42 and 56 kilometers thick [26 to 34 miles], researchers report in a paper to appear in Geophysical Research Letters. That's roughly 70 percent thicker than the average continental crust on Earth. The measurement was based on data from NASA's InSight lander, a stationary seismometer that recorded waves rippling through Mars' interior for four Earth years. Last May, the entire planet shook with a magnitude 4.7 quake that lasted more than six hours. "We were really fortunate that we got this quake," says seismologist Doyeon Kim of ETH Zurich. InSight recorded seismic waves from the quake that circled Mars up to three times. That let Kim and colleagues infer the crust thickness over the whole planet. Not only is the crust thicker than that of the Earth and the moon, but it's also inconsistent across the Red Planet, the team found. And that might explain a known north-south elevation difference on Mars.

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A Japanese-Made Moon Lander Crashed Because a Crater Confused Its Software

Slashdot - Dje, 28/05/2023 - 10:44md
Last month Japanese startup ispace tried to become the first private company to land a spacecraft on the moon — but in the crucial final moments lost contact with its vehicle. Now the Associated Press reports that company officials are revealing what happened: while trying to land, their vehicle went into free-fall. Company officials blame a software issue, plus a decision in December to change the touchdown location to a crater. The crater's steep sides apparently confused the onboard software, and the 7-foot (2-meter) spacecraft went into a free-fall from less than 3 miles (5 kilometers) up, slamming into the lunar surface. The estimated speed at impact was more than 300 feet (100 meters) per second, said the company's chief technology officer, Ryo Ujiie. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photographed the crash site the next day as it flew overhead, revealing a field of debris as well as lunar soil hurled aside by the impact. Computer simulations done in advance of the landing attempt did not incorporate the terrain of the new landing site, Ujiie said. CEO and founder Takeshi Hakamada said the company is still on track to attempt another moon landing in 2024, and that all the lessons learned will be incorporated into the next try. A third landing attempt is planned for 2025.

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China Deletes 1.4 Million Social Media Posts in Crackdown

Slashdot - Dje, 28/05/2023 - 9:44md
Reuters reports: China's cyberspace regulator said 1.4 million social media posts have been deleted following a two-month probe into alleged misinformation, illegal profiteering, and impersonation of state officials, among other "pronounced problems"... Beijing frequently arrests citizens and censors accounts for publishing or sharing factual information considered sensitive or critical of the Communist Party, the government or the military, especially when such information goes viral. Of the 67,000 accounts that were permanently closed, almost 8,000 were taken down for "spreading fake news, rumours, and harmful information," according to The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Around 930,000 other accounts received less severe punishments, from being removed of all followers to the suspension or cancellation of profit-making privileges. In a separate campaign, the regulator recently closed over 100,000 accounts that allegedly misrepresented news anchors and media agencies to counter the rise of online fake news coverage aided by AI technologies.

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Is Cybersecurity an Unsolvable Problem?

Slashdot - Dje, 28/05/2023 - 8:22md
Ars Technica profiles Scott Shapiro, the co-author of a new book, Fancy Bear Goes Phishing: The Dark History of the Information Age in Five Extraordinary Hacks. Shapiro points out that computer science "is only a century old, and hacking, or cybersecurity, is maybe a few decades old. It's a very young field, and part of the problem is that people haven't thought it through from first principles." Telling in-depth the story of five major breaches, Shapiro ultimately concludes that "the very principles that make hacking possible are the ones that make general computing possible. "So you can't get rid of one without the other because you cannot patch metacode." Shapiro also brings some penetrating insight into why the Internet remains so insecure decades after its invention, as well as how and why hackers do what they do. And his conclusion about what can be done about it might prove a bit controversial: there is no permanent solution to the cybersecurity problem. "Cybersecurity is not a primarily technological problem that requires a primarily engineering solution," Shapiro writes. "It is a human problem that requires an understanding of human behavior." That's his mantra throughout the book: "Hacking is about humans." And it portends, for Shapiro, "the death of 'solutionism.'" An excerpt from their interview: Ars Technica: The scientific community in various disciplines has struggled with this in the past. There's an attitude of, "We're just doing the research. It's just a tool. It's morally neutral." Hacking might be a prime example of a subject that you cannot teach outside the broader context of morality. Scott Shapiro: I couldn't agree more. I'm a philosopher, so my day job is teaching that. But it's a problem throughout all of STEM: this idea that tools are morally neutral and you're just making them and it's up to the end user to use it in the right way. That is a reasonable attitude to have if you live in a culture that is doing the work of explaining why these tools ought to be used in one way rather than another. But when we have a culture that doesn't do that, then it becomes a very morally problematic activity.

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The Problem with the Matrix Theory of AI-Assisted Human Learning

Slashdot - Dje, 28/05/2023 - 7:09md
In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Vox co-founder Ezra Klein worries that early AI systems "will do more to distract and entertain than to focus." (Since they tend to "hallucinate" inaccuracies, and may first be relegated to areas "where reliability isn't a concern" like videogames, song mash-ups, children's shows, and "bespoke" images.) "The problem is that those are the areas that matter most for economic growth..." One lesson of the digital age is that more is not always better... The magic of a large language model is that it can produce a document of almost any length in almost any style, with a minimum of user effort. Few have thought through the costs that will impose on those who are supposed to respond to all this new text. One of my favorite examples of this comes from The Economist, which imagined NIMBYs — but really, pick your interest group — using GPT-4 to rapidly produce a 1,000-page complaint opposing a new development. Someone, of course, will then have to respond to that complaint. Will that really speed up our ability to build housing? You might counter that A.I. will solve this problem by quickly summarizing complaints for overwhelmed policymakers, much as the increase in spam is (sometimes, somewhat) countered by more advanced spam filters. Jonathan Frankle, the chief scientist at MosaicML and a computer scientist at Harvard, described this to me as the "boring apocalypse" scenario for A.I., in which "we use ChatGPT to generate long emails and documents, and then the person who received it uses ChatGPT to summarize it back down to a few bullet points, and there is tons of information changing hands, but all of it is just fluff. We're just inflating and compressing content generated by A.I." But there's another worry: that the increased efficiency "would come at the cost of new ideas and deeper insights." Our societywide obsession with speed and efficiency has given us a flawed model of human cognition that I've come to think of as the Matrix theory of knowledge. Many of us wish we could use the little jack from "The Matrix" to download the knowledge of a book (or, to use the movie's example, a kung fu master) into our heads, and then we'd have it, instantly. But that misses much of what's really happening when we spend nine hours reading a biography. It's the time inside that book spent drawing connections to what we know ... that matters... The analogy to office work is not perfect — there are many dull tasks worth automating so people can spend their time on more creative pursuits — but the dangers of overautomating cognitive and creative processes are real... To make good on its promise, artificial intelligence needs to deepen human intelligence. And that means human beings need to build A.I., and build the workflows and office environments around it, in ways that don't overwhelm and distract and diminish us. We failed that test with the internet. Let's not fail it with A.I.

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JWST Discovers a Supermassive Black Hole is 'Far Larger Than Expected'

Slashdot - Dje, 28/05/2023 - 5:34md
The Guardian reports that a supermassive black hole discovered at the center of an ancient galaxy "is five times larger than expected for the number of stars it contains, astronomers say." Researchers spotted the immense black hole in a galaxy known as GS-9209 that lies 25bn light-years from Earth, making it one of the most distant to have been observed and recorded. The team at Edinburgh University used the James Webb space telescope (JWST) to observe the galaxy and reveal fresh details about its composition and history. Dr Adam Carnall, who led the effort, said the telescope — the most powerful ever built — showed how galaxies were growing "larger and earlier" than astronomers expected in the first billion years of the universe... Carnall said the "very massive black hole" at the centre of GS-9209 was a "big surprise" that lent weight to the theory that such enormous black holes are responsible for shutting down star formation in early galaxies. "The evidence we see for the supermassive black hole was really unexpected," said Carnall. "This is the kind of detail we'd never have been able to see without JWST."

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6.4-rc4: mainline

Kernel Linux - Dje, 28/05/2023 - 1:49md
Version:6.4-rc4 (mainline) Released:2023-05-28 Source:linux-6.4-rc4.tar.gz Patch:full (incremental)

Google Search Starts Rolling Out ChatGPT-style Generative AI Results

Slashdot - Enj, 25/05/2023 - 8:09md
Google's "Search Generative Experience" is a plan to put ChatGPT-style generative AI results right in your Google search results page, and the company announced the feature is beginning to roll out today. At least, the feature is rolling out to the mobile apps for people who have been on the waitlist and were chosen as early access users. From a report: Unlike the normally stark-white Google page with 10 blue links, Google's generative AI results appear in colorful boxes above the normal search results. Google will scrape a bunch of information from all over the Internet and present it in an easy list, with purchase links to Best Buy and manufacturers' websites. If this ever rolls out widely, it would be the biggest change to Google Search results ever, and this design threatens to upend the entire Internet. One example screenshot of a "Bluetooth speaker" search on desktop shows a big row of "Sponsored" shopping ads, then the generative AI results start to show up in a big blue box about halfway down the first page. The blue box summarizes a bunch of information harvested from somewhere and lists several completely unsourced statements and opinions about each speaker. In Google's example, users are never told where this information comes from, so they can't make any judgment as to its trustworthiness.

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