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It's an understatement to say that casinos have been slow to adapt to mobile technology. Consumers use smartphones to find a ride, order groceries and coordinate their business and social lives; however, stepping inside a casino, is almost like travelling back in time to 2005. Want to play a game of blackjack or try your luck on your favorite slot machine? You'll have to use cash. Loyalty rewards are only earned by using a physical player card, and the most common marketing offers are distributed via direct mail.
This weekend, Jungle Cruise heads upriver towards the deep, dark heart of box office success, marking the eleventh feature film or TV movie based on an attraction at a Disney theme park. The studio's return on these projects has been, let's say, uneven: The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has been wildly successful, but the second-tier of Disney rides adapted for the big screen is a parade of embarrassments like The Haunted Mansion, oddities like Mission to Mars, and outright weirdness like the 1997 Tower of Terror TV movie starring Kirsten Dunst and Steve Gutenberg, a kid-friendly riff on The Shining that I promise actually exists: As Disney tries once again to create cinematic greatness out of amusement park rides, here are some of the Disney attractions that are most overdue for screen adaptations. Look, you can't create something as unholy and terrifying as the Donald Trump figure in the Hall of Presidents and not make a movie where it kills people, that's just mad science. The obvious choice for a Hall of Presidents movie would be a riff on Westworld or Five Nights at Freddy's, but this might work best as a Frankenstein-type story, as the audio-animatronic Trump cuts a bloody swath through the Imagineering department trying to find his creator and get him to admit he began life as Hillary Clinton. Maybe the Trump robot could team up with what's left of the original "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" figure from the 1964 New York World's Fair, who looks like he'd like to have a word or two with whoever stole his clothes: Verhoeven would knock this out of the park.
The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA), the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), and machinery manufacturer John Deere have once again pushed back on the proposal that any right to repair changes need to be introduced in Australia. In its response to the Productivity Commission's right-to-repair draft report, IGEA knocked back support for several of the recommendations that were put forward. These include enabling the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop and publish estimates of the minimum expected durability for products, such as video game consoles and devices, and requiring manufacturers to include additional mandatory warranty text that state entitlements to consumer guarantees under Australian Consumer Law (ACL) do not require consumers to use authorised repair services or spare parts. It repeatedly cited in its latest submission [PDF] that making changes would "cause confusion for consumers", pointing out for instance that additional text may "erroneously cause consumers to believe that their entitlements under the voluntary warranty (as opposed to the guarantees) do not require consumers to use authorised repair services or spare parts (which may not necessarily be true)". As part of providing additional information to the Productivity Commission, IGEA added that if manufacturers were required to make additional repair information available where they could bypass Trusted Platform Modules, it would open up the potential for the information to be "weaponised" by malicious actors, particularly as there are no licensing or certification schemes for electronic repairers that would help manufacturers discern between legitimate and illegitimate repairers. IGEA also took the opportunity to defend video game console manufacturers saying that it is in the "financial interest" of console makers that customers have "well-functioning and reliable devices that last for years".
It might not be obvious from the TV coverage, but the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (which of course are being held in 2021) are infused with big data and AI to an extent never before experienced in an Olympic games. It's been 53 years since the Olympics officially adopted electronic time-keeping equipment to track racers in Olympic events. Omega's Magic Eye camera, which debuted in 1948, gave us the first of many "photo-finish" for track events, and was soon adopted in other events too. Now the technology is going up a notch in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (which perhaps should have been called the 2021 games), and Omega is behind much of it. For example, Omega, which is the official timekeeper for 35 Olympic sports, is using cameras equipped with computer vision capabilities to track the movement of beach volleyball players, as well as the ball.
All the sessions from Transform 2021 are available on-demand now. DeepMind today detailed its latest efforts to create AI systems capable of completing a range of different, unique tasks. By designing a virtual environment called XLand, the Alphabet-backed lab says that it managed to train systems with the ability to succeed at problems and games including hide and seek, capture the flag, and finding objects, some of which they didn't encounter during training. The AI technique known as reinforcement learning has shown remarkable potential, enabling systems to learn to play games like chess, shogi, Go, and StarCraft II through a repetitive process of trial and error. But a lack of training data has been one of the major factors limiting reinforcement learning–trained systems' behavior being general enough to apply across diverse games.
There were three workshops held at AIIDE-20, held virtually October 19-23, 2020, including Experimental AI in Games, Intelligent Narrative Technologies, and Artificial Intelligence for Strategy Games. For more information the AIIDE conference, please see aiide.org. INT returned for its 12th meeting in 2020 with two excellent keynote talks and a wide variety of topics on applying AI to games and other interactive stories. The 12th workshop on Intelligent Narrative Technologies was held this year as part of the AAAI international conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment. INT brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers interested in artificial intelligence, narrative theory, game development, psychology, social justice, and many other topics. This year's workshop featured two keynotes.
A new robot known as the Dominator has set a Guinness World Record for placing 100,000 dominos in just over 24 hours. Created by YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober, the Dominator is the result of more than five years of work. Rober had help from two freshmen from Stanford University and a Bay Area software engineer in creating the googly-eyed robot. The group programmed more than 14,000 lines of code, and outfitted it with components like omnidirectional wheels and 3D-printed funnels to create what Rober says is a "friendly robot that's super good at only one thing: setting up a butt-ton of dominos really, really fast." Up against professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, the Dominator used its ability to lay down 300 tiles all at once to work about 10 times faster than a human. It took the robot about two hours to put down over 9,000 dominos.
Cassie has made history as the first bipedal robot to complete a five-kilometer (5K) run, having done so in just over 53 minutes. Developed by Oregon State University, the two-legged machine with knees that bend like those of an ostrich, taught itself how to run through a deep reinforcement learning algorithm. Yesh Godse, an undergraduate in the lab, said in a statement: 'Deep reinforcement learning is a powerful method in AI that opens up skills like running, skipping and walking up and down stairs.' Cassie's total time of 53 minutes, three seconds, included about six and a half minutes of resets following two falls. Cassie first stumbled when its computer overheated and the other came after it took a turn at too high of a speed. The robot's makers foresee it eventually delivering packages, managing warehouse tasks and helping people in their homes.
Simulation systems have become essential to the development and validation of autonomous driving (AD) technologies. The prevailing state-of-the-art approach for simulation uses game engines or high-fidelity computer graphics (CG) models to create driving scenarios. However, creating CG models and vehicle movements (the assets for simulation) remain manual tasks that can be costly and time consuming. In addition, CG images still lack the richness and authenticity of real-world images, and using CG images for training leads to degraded performance. Here, we present our augmented autonomous driving simulation (AADS). Our formulation augmented real-world pictures with a simulated traffic flow to create photorealistic simulation images and renderings. More specifically, we used LiDAR and cameras to scan street scenes. From the acquired trajectory data, we generated plausible traffic flows for cars and pedestrians and composed them into the background. The composite images could be resynthesized with different viewpoints and sensor models (camera or LiDAR). The resulting images are photorealistic, fully annotated, and ready for training and testing of AD systems from perception to planning. We explain our system design and validate our algorithms with a number of AD tasks from detection to segmentation and predictions. Compared with traditional approaches, our method offers scalability and realism. Scalability is particularly important for AD simulations, and we believe that real-world complexity and diversity cannot be realistically captured in a virtual environment. Our augmented approach combines the flexibility of a virtual environment (e.g., vehicle movements) with the richness of the real world to allow effective simulation.