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This AI can explain how it solves Rubik's Cube--and that's a big deal

#artificialintelligence

However, these AI algorithms cannot explain the thought processes behind their decisions. A computer that masters protein folding and also tells researchers more about the rules of biology is much more useful than a computer that folds proteins without explanation. Therefore, AI researchers like me are now turning our efforts toward developing AI algorithms that can explain themselves in a manner that humans can understand. If we can do this, I believe that AI will be able to uncover and teach people new facts about the world that have not yet been discovered, leading to new innovations. One field of AI, called reinforcement learning, studies how computers can learn from their own experiences.


A Fight Over GameStop's Soaring Stock Turns Ugly

WIRED

Today, a war over the value of video game retailer GameStop's stock has caused what market guru Jim Cramer called "the squeeze of a lifetime." Howling with glee along the way, traders on the chaotic and obscene subreddit Wall Street Bets helped push GameStop's stock price up from $20 on January 11 to $73 after traditional analysts deemed the stock a clunker. While this isn't the first time Wall Street Bets has contributed to a surprising market shake-up, GameStop's unlikely trip to the moon is unique in both its velocity and allegations of harassment and hacking that accompanied it. Like other physical retailers, GameStop's business has suffered throughout the last year. Few gamers would rather hit the mall than Amazon's significantly safer "Buy Now" button.


These virtual robot arms get smarter by training each other

MIT Technology Review

A virtual robot arm has learned to solve a wide range of different puzzles--stacking blocks, setting the table, arranging chess pieces--without having to be retrained for each task. It did this by playing against a second robot arm that was trained to give it harder and harder challenges. Self play: Developed by researchers at OpenAI, the identical robot arms--Alice and Bob--learn by playing a game against each other in a simulation, without human input. The robots use reinforcement learning, a technique in which AIs are trained by trial and error what actions to take in different situations to achieve certain goals. The game involves moving objects around on a virtual tabletop.


The best presidents in video games

Washington Post - Technology News

Most presidents in real life and in games have stained their hands with the blood of innocents, and Sonic the Hedgehog's president is no different. In "Sonic Adventure 2," we learn that Mr. President requested Eggman's grandfather, Gerald Robotnik, to unlock the secrets of immortality. Robotnik was driven by his need to cure his fatally ill granddaughter, Maria Robotnik. Of course, these experiments led to the creation of the "ultimate lifeform" Shadow the Hedgehog, as well as a galaxy-level threat in some kind of biolizard thing that Sonic kills as Super Sonic. Anyway, the point is that there's a direct line of cause and effect from Mr. President's decisions and the creation of the Eggman Empire, which threatens the peace of the United Federations.


Start 2021 off right with a great gaming laptop — get a Dell G7 for $400 off

Mashable

SAVE $400: The Dell G7 4K gaming laptop is a great way to experience PC gaming without the bulk of a desktop -- it's $400 off at Best Buy as of Jan. 20. Before they all start coming out, you're going to want to prepare by getting the right gear, whether that's one of the elusive new consoles or a high-end PC. If you haven't had any luck snagging a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, you should definitely look at dipping your toes into the world of PC gaming. A gaming laptop is a good way to start, and the Dell G7 is $400 off at Best Buy as of Jan. 20. The Dell G7 gets you a high-quality pc gaming experience without the bulk of a desktop.


'Hitman 3' is the grandest stage for your own stories, even as it tries to end its own

Washington Post - Technology News

I've already talked at length about how the brilliant second mission alone, based on "Knives out" or Agatha Christie's "Poirot" murder mysteries, already justifies this game's existence. Chongqing is another highlight, a deliberate throwback to the old Hong Kong levels of the original PC release. It's a rain-drenched district that once again illustrates the kind of grand interconnectivity and neon sheen that "Cyberpunk" tried to achieve, and "Hitman" does effortlessly. Rain slithers off his leather-coated back as he waits outside his mark's building, assessing the place. In the meantime, he can open an umbrella and make small talk with a woman waiting for her girlfriend, just one of the series' many small but important storytelling flourishes to make each level feel more alive than you've seen in any action adventure.


This Nintendo player turned 'Mario Kart 8 Deluxe' into a fitness game. Here's how he did it.

Washington Post - Technology News

The lengthy video breaks down how Choi built his "Labo Fit Adventure Kart Kit." The heart of his creation is TAPBO, a small robotic device he engineered that holds the Joy-Con in place and has motorized arms that press down on two of the controller's buttons for accelerating and slowing down in "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe." To play, you sit on the bike (which he comically calls the Bike-Con and covered in cardboard to resemble Nintendo Labo's line of products), hold the Ring-Con in both hands like a steering wheel, and peddle to move forward.


Artificial intelligence beats us in chess, but not in memory

#artificialintelligence

In the last decades, artificial intelligence has shown to be very good at achieving exceptional goals in several fields. Chess is one of them: in 1996, for the first time, the computer Deep Blue beat a human player, chess champion Garry Kasparov. A new piece of research shows now that the brain strategy for storing memories may lead to imperfect memories, but in turn, allows it to store more memories, and with less hassle than AI. The new study, carried out by SISSA scientists in collaboration with Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience & Centre for Neural Computation, Trondheim, Norway, has just been published in Physical Review Letters. Neural networks, real or artificial, learn by tweaking the connections between neurons.


Why Do Exploding Barrels Make Video Games So Much More Fun?

WIRED

Too often game worlds can feel like static backdrops for gameplay. But by incorporating elemental reactions, developers bring complexity and characterization to a player's surroundings. By now we're all familiar with the overused exploding barrel trope. A single bullet is all it takes to create an explosion that can take out multiple enemies, turning an element in the environment into an interactive arrow in your quiver as you progress. While environmental storytelling has stolen the spotlight when it comes to designing spaces, emergent environmental narrative design is quietly the bigger innovation happening in games right now, with elemental reactions being the easiest to grasp.


This clever bot turns Reddit arguments into video game scenes

Mashable

There's plenty of drama on Reddit, but it's not often that drama gets to play out on the screen. On Sunday, 24-year-old software engineer Micah Price from Cape Town, South Africa, unveiled what can only be described as a niche-but-genius creation: a bot that takes everyday arguments on Reddit and has them play out in the style of scenes from Ace Attorney, Capcom's animated courtroom-based video game series. The end result is a gloriously dramatic affair that shines a whole new spotlight on Reddit's comment section. Price's video was shared on Reddit's r/Videos sub shortly after it went live on YouTube, and at the time of writing it's racked up over 21,000 upvotes. Price told Mashable he's always been a fan of Ace Attorney, which sees players taking on the role of defense attorneys who must carry out investigations to protect their clients (the game's episodes culminate in a courtroom trial where you have to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence to a judge).