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Napster creators launch video service via Facebook

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The creators of the original Napster music-sharing site on Tuesday launched a new video service which allows people to chat online using their Facebook accounts.

The service called Airtime was launched by Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning along with a host of celebrities at a New York event.

The browser-based video chat allows users to share live video without downloading any programs, by using Facebook and a webcam.

“There’s something exciting about bringing spontaneity to the Internet,” said Parker.

“All of your interactions online are constrained by the people you already know. That wasn’t always the case. If it weren’t for the Internet, Fanning and I would have never become friends. As we move from a social graph to an interest graph, there are great possibilities for our world. That’s what we’re trying to tap into with Airtime.”

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Entertainment stars including Jim Carrey, Alicia Keys, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Snoop Dogg helped demonstrate the features of Airtime.

“We look at Airtime as if it were a smart and engaging host,” said Fanning. “Airtime is a service that does everything it can to help you find the people that you should know, and then guide your conversations further. These are connections that wouldn’t be possible in the real world.”

In addition to supporting seamless video chat with friends, Airtime connects users based on location and shared Facebook interests. Once connected, the users are anonymous until they decide to reveal themselves.

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Napster was launched in 1999 as a peer-to-peer file-sharing service, becoming one of the most popular sites on the Web before it was shut down by the US courts in 2001, and eventually acquired by software firm Roxio.

Parker and Fanning later invested in other startups, Parker notably becoming an early stakeholder in Facebook.


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Elon Musk shows off progress on brain-machine interface

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Futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk late Tuesday revealed his secretive Neuralink startup is making progress on an interface linking brains with computers, and said they hope to begin testing on people next year.

Musk has long contended that a neural lace meshing minds with machines is vital if people are going to avoid being so outpaced by artificial intelligence that, under the best of circumstances, humans would be akin to "house cats."

Musk and members of the Neuralink team laid out progress they have made on their mission at an event held in San Francisco to recruit talent in software, robotics, neuroscience and more.

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Senators press Facebook on ‘trust’ in hearing on digital currency

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US senators Tuesday questioned whether Facebook can be trusted with a massive financial responsibility at the first public hearing on its plan for a global digital currency called Libra.

The lawmakers added to criticism of the plan unveiled by Facebook last month with two dozen partners on the digital coin, touted as a way to lower costs and facilitate cross-border money transfers.

David Marcus, Facebook's executive heading the digital coin effort, defended the plan during more than two hours at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Libra, pledging to comply with all regulations to thwart money laundering and criminal activity.

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One in five US Twitter users follows Trump: survey

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Nineteen percent of US Twitter users follow President Donald Trump on the social platform, and a majority of those people approve of his job performance, a survey showed Monday.

The Pew Research Center report suggests Trump's @realDonaldTrump account -- with more than 60 million followers worldwide -- has succeeded in developing an audience largely favorable to his comments, which often generate controversy.

The report is based on a survey of 2,388 US adults who use Twitter and gave Pew permission to review their personal public-facing accounts, between December 2018 and July 2019.

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