Wireless carriers around the world are beginning to deploy 5G, the latest and greatest in mobile broadband technology. Like the evolution from 3G to 4G, the jump to 5G will mean faster speeds, lower latency and many other benefits. It'll be a major boost for businesses, gamers, livestreamers and more. It could be a huge leap in other ways, too -- 5G is so much faster than 4G, and has so much less latency, that it could become the platform for all sorts of new services. Of course, there are also downsides.
As a digital artist and experimental games designer, I was one of the first in line to dive into Dreams – a PlayStation 4 game that aims to give everyone the ability to unlock the potential artist within – when the developer Media Molecule opened up limited early access in April. From the breadth of its artistic toolset to the community of creators it is enabling, Dreams feels like the start of a genuine revolution in accessible, creative play. The promise was that Dreams would represent a space where almost anything is possible, and Media Molecule has somehow got closer than I ever imagined. Dreams is hard to sum up succinctly, but it sits somewhere at the intersection of art studio, game engine and vibrant creative community hub. Almost the first thing new players see is a fun video of the development staff, smiling together in their office and holding up handmade "Welcome" signs.
In the last 10 years, we've seen some significant breakthroughs in the domain of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. In 2011, IBM Watson showed the world that it can be a reality TV show winner. In 2014, Google acquired an AI company called DeepMind, and one of its project, AlphaGo, beat the European Go champion in 2015. In 2016, Google made its TensorFlow library open source, which made machine learning accessible to the masses. Last year, people were left dumbfounded when Google Duplex made a haircut appointment over the phone.
Conditions in Amazon's warehouses are notoriously grueling, but the company has a new tactic it thinks will make employees' lives easier: turn work into a video game. As detailed in a new report from The Washington Post, Amazon has started installing screens next to workers' stations that feature simple games with names like PicksInSpace, Mission Racer, and CastleCrafter. Their physical actions, assembling orders and moving items, are translated into virtual in-game moves. So, the faster someone picks items and places them in a box, for example, the faster their car will move around a virtual track. The games are intended to make work less tedious, but also encourage higher productivity by pitting workers against one another in the virtual game world.
Digit-diallers in Japan will be jumping for joy as the country plans 10 billion new phone numbers – that's 80 per person, which is probably enough. Researchers have used an X-ray laser to create the loudest possible underwater sound, at 270 decibels. Any louder, and the water would boil. In a battle of the blocks, Minecraft has become the best-selling video game of all time, beating Tetris with 176 million copies sold. The cryptocurrency hit a recent high of $8000, but, honestly, who knows what the price will be by the time you're reading this.
The competitive video gaming industry has become a serious business over the past few years. As prize pools and viewership continue to grow year after year the industry is attracting more and more players. With new players coming in every day, the competition is getting saturated with talented professionals. How does one gain an edge in such a competitive world? Well, some would say to just practice as much as possible but I think we are getting to the point where that will not be enough.
A camera films Dr. Emma Fisher, an astronaut aboard what seems to be an otherwise empty International Space Station, as she floats through the facility's tangled modules just after some horrible accident. The situation looks bleak: the rest of the crew is missing, and the ISS is no longer in Earth orbit. Fisher must piece together what happened and why. Wires creep like blue veins into a centralized hub, connecting the live feed to a station-wide artificial intelligence system called "S.A.M." As the game begins, Fisher's trapped in a station module, and needs S.A.M.'s help to escape -- but moreover, S.A.M. needs her help, too.
The behavioral revolution in economics was triggered by a simple, haunting question: what if people don't act rationally? In the online world, once expected to be a place of ready information and easy collaboration, lies and hate can spread faster than truth and kindness. For example, when predicting sales, employees often hide bad deals and selectively report the good ones. AI stands at the crossroads of the behavioral question, with the potential to make matters worse or to elicit better outcomes from us. The key to better outcomes is to boost AI's emotional quotient -- its EQ.
Facebook is certainly a high-tech company, but it's not one you would necessarily associate with robots. However, as the firm revealed today, that's exactly where its researchers are looking next -- trying to see how experiments in robotics can further its work in AI. A lot of firms, including Google, Nvidia, and Amazon, use robots as a platform to explore avenues of AI research. Controlling robots is, in many ways, trickier than challenges like playing board games and video games. With these latter tasks, researchers have access to simulated game environments, which allows AI agents to play and learn at accelerated speeds.
Another sign that esports has become big business: One of its biggest star athletes, Turner "Tfue" Tenney is suing his pro team, FaZe Clan, over what he calls a contract that is "oppressive, onerous, and one-sided." In the complaint filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, Tenney, 21, charges that FaZe Clan, an esports organization with professional teams that compete in video games such as "Call of Duty, "Fortnite Battle Royale" and "Counter-Strike," has players sign gamer agreements so that the team will "essentially'own' Tenney and other content creator/streamers and professional gamers." A popular streamer on YouTube and Twitch, Tenney signed an agreement with FaZe Clan when he was 20. He says in the suit that FaZe Clan takes up to 80% of revenue paid by third parties for Tenney's services such as sponsored online videos. 'Minecraft' update: Video game gets new blocks, better villages, and pillagers with crossbows Cloud gaming: Microsoft and Sony team up for video games in the cloud, but what's it mean for gamers? Esports star Turner "Tfue" Tenney, shown here on his Twitch channel, is suing his team FaZe Clan, saying its contract is "oppressive" and takes up to 80% of his earnings. Tfue, who recently qualified for the $30-million Fortnite World Cup Finals in July in New York, has more than 10.7 million followers on YouTube, more than 6 million followers on Twitch, and 5.5 million Instagram followers. "Anti-competitive provisions" in the agreement prevent Tenney from pursuing other deals, the suit charges. FaZe Clan violates state law because it acts as a talent agency but does not have "the requisite talent agency license," the complaint charges. The esports organization also forced Tenney to drink alcohol at parties before he turned 21, the suit charges. Tenney wants the court to void the contract with FaZe Clan and award any suitable damages. "Until now, FaZe Clan has enjoyed the fruits of this illegal business model with impunity because no one could or was willing to stand up to Faze Clan," the suit says. Through this action, Tenney seeks to shift the balance of power to the gamers and content creators/streamers, those who are actually creating value and driving the industry. As a result of this action, others will hopefully take notice of what is going on and help to clean up esports."