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We're still spending record amounts on gaming, a year into the pandemic

Engadget

Video game sales are still smashing records roughly a year after the COVID-19 pandemic led many people to stay indoors. The NPD Group has determined that video game spending in the US surged 18 percent in March 2021 compared to a year earlier, hitting a new record of $5.6 billion. Hardware sales in particular jumped 47 percent to $680 million, breaking a March record that hasn't been touched since 2008 -- yes, the heyday of the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. It won't surprise you to hear that new consoles helped fuel the hardware surge, but it wasn't all up to the new models. The PlayStation 5 is the fastest-selling console in US history both in dollars and units, NPD said. However, it wasn't the strongest seller in March -- that honor went to the four-year-old Nintendo Switch, which outperformed the PS5 in sheer volume.


Living in busy city doesn't increase chances of catching Covid, says Iran contact-tracing app data

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Living in a busy city doesn't increase the chance of getting Covid-19, but overcrowding does, a new study reveals. AC-19, which was withdrawn from Google's app store last year over alleged concerns of government spying, tracks positive cases and deaths by geographic location. After investigating the link between density and virus transmission in the city, the researchers found that'density alone cannot be considered a risk factor'. The experts stress the difference between high urban density – a high number of people inhabiting an urbanised area – and overcrowding. The right figure shows the state of pandemic spread at the city level and the left one depicts the status at the national level.


U by Moen smart faucet review: This kitchen tool is both smart and practical

PCWorld

Voice control, using either Alexa or Google Assistant, is the U by Moen smart faucet's star attraction, but after testing this kitchen tool for several months, I've concluded that its gesture control feature is far more useful. Voice control is no gimmick, as you'll see when I dig all the things you can do with voice commands. But the tasks for which I use a faucet most often--washing my hands, rinsing dishes, filling a watering can for my houseplants, and the like--waving my hand over the faucet to start the flow of water, and again to stop it is all the technology I need. I love my handmade farmhouse sink, but it seriously complicates changing out the faucet. But that could be because I live in a rural area and draw my water from a well.


Designing better antibody drugs with artificial intelligence

#artificialintelligence

IMAGE: Machine learning helps develop optimal antibody drugs. Antibodies are not only produced by our immune cells to fight viruses and other pathogens in the body. For a few decades now, medicine has also been using antibodies produced by biotechnology as drugs. This is because antibodies are extremely good at binding specifically to molecular structures according to the lock-and-key principle. However, developing such antibody drugs is anything but simple.


Is AI the Secret Behind Indian Start-ups Making it into Unicorns Club?

#artificialintelligence

India is a breeding ground for many industries. The increase in educated population and the run towards growth has unraveled technology into the country. Today, technology is a core element of growth in the Indian ecosystem. While well-established companies are embracing artificial intelligence for further improvement, Indian start-ups are ballooning like never before. Fortunately, technology-based Indian start-ups landscape has evolved to become the 3rd largest in the world.


AI and ML for Personal Customer Experiences (CX)

#artificialintelligence

In 2017, the Economist stated that the world's most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. Four years later, this concept is only increasing in truth. Thanks to the revolutionary promises of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) possibilities are transforming the value of the data collected on consumers and our habits every single day. With 5G usage predicted to explode in coming years with over 1 billion 5G connections by 2023, the possibilities of AI and ML solutions are seemingly becoming limitless. Gone are the days when your mobile phone or laptop are the only devices collecting your data.


Annual Survey Finds Seven in Ten Marketing Leaders Plan to Leverage Artificial Intelligence to Take the Guesswork out of Every Creative Touchpoint - My TechDecisions

#artificialintelligence

Persado's 2021 State of AI and Creativity Survey highlights the growing importance of technology to generate and deliver more predictive, personalized creative that can be directly attributed to business outcomes NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#AI–Persado, the leading AI content generation and decisioning platform that unlocks the value of the right words at every customer interaction, today announced the results of a first-of-its kind survey: 2021 State of AI and Creativity. More than 400 chief marketing officers and senior marketing leaders were asked to provide input on their company's readiness, and on best practices for applying AI to an area of business that receives significant time, energy, and investment: the creative process. The survey found a growing trend among senior marketing leaders to leverage AI and machine learning in new ways to deliver more effective messages to prospects and customers. Key findings of the survey from U.S. respondents include: "Marketers have been leveraging technology to gain insights and improve performance across their portfolios for many years – applying AI to targeting and segmentation, marketing mix optimization, promotions and discounts, and dynamic pricing," says Amy Heidersbach, Chief Marketing Officer of Persado. "But how to optimize creative at scale has largely remained a blind spot for data-driven, digital-first companies. Now, it's clear that marketing leaders are turning their attention toward creative to unlock new sources of value – replacing human-only guesswork with human-plus-machine certainty."


A year into the pandemic, game developers reflect on burnout, mental health and avoiding crunch

Washington Post - Technology News

Like Grenier, other developers speaking to The Washington Post shared that working in the pandemic was challenging from a mental health, personal workload and collaboration standpoint. As offices closed worldwide, developers shifted to working from their living rooms and kitchen tables. Meanwhile, gaming took off as people stayed home, increasing the demand for content and the appetite for multiplayer games and hardware. In 2020, 79% of United States consumers, or about 261 million people, played a video game, up from 73% of consumers, or 241 million, in 2019, according to market research firm NPD Group.


Katz School of Science and Health Will Offer M.S. in Artificial Intelligence

#artificialintelligence

In Yeshiva University's engineering-focused M.S. in Artificial Intelligence (AI), offered by the Katz School of Science and Health, students will learn the key skills most valued in today's marketplace, including machine learning and deep neural networks, along with cutting-edge technologies such as reinforcement learning, voice recognition and generation, and image recognition and generation. In the program's project-based courses, students will build systems, models and algorithms using the best available artificial intelligence design patterns and engineering principles, all done in the heart of Manhattan, a global epicenter for artificial intelligence work and research. Prof. Andrew Catlin is the program director for the AI program, with a background as a data scientist and production systems developer who has worked with such major clients as Fidelity Investments; Smart Money; Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette; Manufacturers Hanover Trust; and the National Football League. He is also a founder of multiple tech startups, including Hudson Technology and Metrics Reporting. He teaches graduate courses in recommender systems, natural language processing and neural networks, among others.


Tech looks to analytics skills to bolster its workforce

#artificialintelligence

While engineering remains a critical asset, the rise in cloud and XaaS services has affected computer and hardware roles such as server administrators, computer hardware support technicians, and professionals who work on the hardware side of router and storage management.2 The COVID-19 pandemic has hit electrical and hardware design engineering roles harder than others in the tech industry.3 By contrast, even as the pandemic was worsening business conditions in spring 2020, tech majors' job openings for data analyst, data engineer, and data architect roles continued to trend high.4 Tech companies have long been at the forefront of attracting professionals with advanced analytical skills,5 and since 2014, tech recruiters have particularly targeted professionals with math and statistical skills, looking to harness their ability to study and analyze data to help solve real-world business issues.6 The race to AI has accelerated the crunch, as the top Silicon Valley companies have ramped up their workforce aggressively, focusing on advanced analytical skills such as ML, natural language processing, data engineering, and data visualization and image processing.7 Demand for data scientists and ML and AI specialists began surging in 2016.8 Tech companies continue to ramp up data scientist and data analyst talent.9