Skynet of the Day: Stephen Hawking Wants Your Artificial Intelligence Questions for His Upcoming AMA

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Ask Stephen Hawking your questions on artificial intelligence.
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Stephen Hawking will come to Reddit's r/science next week for his first ever AMA and he has a specific topic in mind.

It may not be entirely an 'Ask Me Anything' as Prof. Hawking wants to field questions dealing with artificial intelligence and the hurdles that we face as a species as technology moves forward in the field.

According to CNET:

Typically, a Reddit AMA is live as people throw questions at the subject, and the person tries to keep up with the barrage by responding as best as possible. But for Hawking's AMA, you'll present the questions ahead of time, and he'll answer them over the following weeks.

Specifically, you can submit your questions starting Monday July 27 at 8am ET through Tuesday, August 4, at reddit.com/r/science, and Hawking will respond over the next few weeks. Hawking, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, uses a computer to communicate. So the delayed format will allow him the time necessary to answer questions."



Hawking joined Elon Musk and other notable industry figures earlier this year in an open letter to promote studying the possible dangers of AI research and how to avoid them.

In his first AMA, Hawking surely wants to continue that conversation.

But of course, someone will ask him about his favorite sandwich.

Secret of the Day: UK Manager Confirms that a McDonalds Secret Menu Exists

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McDonald's secret menu confirmed on Reddit.
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What began as an innocent AMA on reddit became a treasure trove of secrets.

Redditor u/orchidhibiscus, who seems to have since deleted his account, claimed to be a manager at a UK McDonalds and set out to answer some questions people had about fast food production.

Then someone dropped the big question:



If you are unaware, the idea of the secret menu was popularized by the west coast burger chain In-N-Out. They have a slew of items that can be made from mixing and matching other items on the existing menu and just decided to go ahead and let it be its own thing.

In that particular AMA, only two of those items were defined. Users seemed to agree that the Land, Air, and Sea burger probably consisted of beef, chicken and fish patties. And the McGangbang is not just a classy name, rather it's a Jr. Chicken sandwich encased within a double cheezeburger.

For their part, McDonald's answers the secret menu question on their website.

We have no secret menu — or do we?

Actually, our customers are pretty clever when it comes to customizing their orders with our menu items, so you may have seen some of their creations online. But we have no official secret menu of our own.



Well, tell that to their customers or the websites set up to describe McDonald's secret menu.

Or, you can do one better and watch some video reviews of those items off a menu that 'doesn't exist'.

This guy goes after that elusive McGangbang and finds the sandwich has a lot more taste than the name.



Op Ed of the Day: Former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Says "The Trolls are Winning."

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Ellen Pao writes an op ed for The Washington Post about how The Trolls are Winning.
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Six days after former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao stepped down from her position she took to the pages of The Washington Post to deliver a scathing op ed on the present state of the Internet.

In the long opinion, she openly states that the freedom espoused by the exchange of ideas inherent in the Internet has led to a takeover by those seeking to spread negativity and harassment.

The Internet started as a bastion for free expression. It encouraged broad engagement and a diversity of ideas. Over time, however, that openness has enabled the harassment of people for their views, experiences, appearances or demographic backgrounds. Balancing free expression with privacy and the protection of participants has always been a challenge for open-content platforms on the Internet. But that balancing act is getting harder. The trolls are winning.

The foundations of the Internet were laid on free expression, but the founders just did not understand how effective their creation would be for the coordination and amplification of harassing behavior. Or that the users who were the biggest bullies would be rewarded with attention for their behavior. Or that young people would come to see this bullying as the norm — as something to emulate in an effort to one-up each other.



It's been a rough couple of weeks for the self-proclaimed 'Front Page of the Internet'. Reddit's grumbling began earlier in the year as some provocative subreddits were banned based off of newly established harassment policies.



Pao said the reaction to those decisions brought her face to face with the harassment the policy was meant to combat.

Reddit is the Internet, and it exhibits all the good, the bad and the ugly of the Internet. It has been fighting this harassment in the trenches. In February, we committed to removing revenge pr0n from our site, and others followed our lead. In May, the company banned harassment of individuals from the site. Last month, we took down sections of the site that drew repeat harassers. Then, after making these policy changes to prevent and ban harassment, I, along with several colleagues, was targeted with harassing messages, attempts to post my private information online and death threats. These were attempts to demean, shame and scare us into silence.



Perhaps disappointingly, she didn't go into the politics around her resignation and did not touch on the swirl of recent theories that Pao was merely something of a patsy in the slew of recent changes.

However, she did end on a positive note.

In the battle for the Internet, the power of humanity to overcome hate gives me hope. I'm rooting for the humans over the trolls. I know we can win.



What do you make of all this?

Hoax of the Day: Reddit Post Warns of Deadly Outbreak in Arizona Town

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Slender Man is not real, and Mammoth, Arizona is NOT ground zero to some grisly outbreak or zombie apocalypse.

But many people were fooled into thinking the latter was the case, this week, after a fictional post on Reddit was taken as fact.

The post, titled "WTF is going on in Pinal county, Arizona??" is part of a subreddit called "No Sleep," which contains shared horror stories (both real and fake) submitted by Reddit users. The page also notes that "suspension of disbelief is key here."

But with the country in panic about a potential Ebola outbreak in their neighborhood, it's not hard to believe that someone would take it seriously.

From the post:

Entire families were being found beaten to death all over Mammoth. Blood, bruises, nails and teeth missing, hair ripped out- all of them. I heard reports of anywhere from 14 to 55 dead bodies, depending on who you were talking to. In a state of completely shock, I did the only thing I could do really well on autopilot - I wrote an article about it for my blog.

People from all over the country started calling local businesses and the police chief to inquire about the horror they had been reading about online.

"It's all unfounded, the only thing we've taken in the last few days is loud music calls and barking dogs," he said.

So no real-life horror movie in Mammoth, but it does have a ghost town!

Links of the Day: What You Might Have Missed This Weekend

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Watch Out Nate Silver. Bing Accurately Predicted 95% of the Mid-Term Elections [Bing]

Reddit Was on TV Sunday Night, But Not in a Good Way [WaPo]

Nude Subway Rider Proves New York is Becoming More and More Like Jerry Seinfeld's New York [New York Post]

Matt Groening's Worlds Continue to Collide with "Simpsons"/"Futurama" Crossover Episode [EW]

A Grieving Father Asked Redditors to Photoshop a Picture of His Late Baby Daughter Without Any Tubes. The Response Was Heartwarming.

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The request started here. The response was overwhelming:









Photoshop Battle of the Day: The Very Happy Husky

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