Day: July 4, 2018

Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best opens up about the real effects of intense backlash

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Sometimes people don’t realise that hating on a fictional character can have repercussions, particularly on the real human being playing the part.

Reminding us of this is actor Ahmed Best, who played Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars franchise, and who opened up about his experience with intense backlash on Tuesday.

Binks, the friendly Gungan, made his debut in 1999’s Episode 1, The Phantom Menace, with a smaller role in Attack of the Clones, and a brief cameo in Revenge of the Sith.

But although some adored Jar Jar, the character was quickly swept up in wave of audience and media criticism, eventually becoming one of the most railed-on characters in Star Wars history. Read more…

More about Mental Health, Suicide, Jar Jar Binks, The Phantom Menace, and Ahmed Best

Baidu and Softbank’s SB Drive are bringing an autonomous bus service to Japan

Chinese search engine giant Baidu have partnered with Softbank subsidiary SB Drive and manufacturer King Long to deploy a self-driving mini bus service to Japan early next year.

The agreement was announced at Create Baidu, the company’s annual AI developer conference in Beijing. Under the agreement, a version of Baidu’s Apolong autonomous mini bus will be exported to Japan from China in early 2019. This agreement, which for now includes an order of 10 buses, marks the first time autonomous vehicles will be exported from China.

Apolong, co-developed with King Long, is outfitted with Baidu’s Apollo autonomous driving system, which is capable of Level 4 operations, a designation by automotive engineering association SAE International that means the vehicles take over all driving in certain conditions. The buses, which will initially deployed in tourist spots, airports, and other controlled, or geo-fenced areas.

Baidu announced earlier at the conference that it has started volume production of the autonomous mini buses in partnership with King Long. The buses are being produced at King Long’s manufacturing facility in Xiamen, in southeastern China’s Fujian province.

Baidu plans to launch the autonomous bus service in several Chinese cities including Beijing, Shenzhen, Pingtan and Wuhan.