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Voice Actor Erika Ishii on Video Game Roles and Motion Capture

Slate

This week, host Karen Han talks to voice actor and performer Erika Ishii, whose very long resume includes video games, animated series, and live action projects. In the interview, Erika explains their process of bringing video game characters to life–characters like Valkyrie in the game Apex Legends. Then Erika discusses diversity among both characters and performers in the video game industry and the ability to say no to projects that aren't the right fit. After the interview, Karen and co-host Isaac Butler talk about diversity in entertainment and the progress that has yet to be made. In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, Erika lists some of the voice actors and performances that have inspired them over the years.


Designing societally beneficial Reinforcement Learning (RL) systems

Robohub

Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) is transitioning from a research field focused on game playing to a technology with real-world applications. Notable examples include DeepMind's work on controlling a nuclear reactor or on improving Youtube video compression, or Tesla attempting to use a method inspired by MuZero for autonomous vehicle behavior planning. But the exciting potential for real world applications of RL should also come with a healthy dose of caution – for example RL policies are well known to be vulnerable to exploitation, and methods for safe and robust policy development are an active area of research. At the same time as the emergence of powerful RL systems in the real world, the public and researchers are expressing an increased appetite for fair, aligned, and safe machine learning systems. The focus of these research efforts to date has been to account for shortcomings of datasets or supervised learning practices that can harm individuals.


'Stardew Valley' has sold more than 20 million copies

Engadget

Six years after its initial release, Stardew Valley has sold more than 20 million copies. Creator Eric Barone shared news of the accomplishment in an update posted to the game's press site and an interview with PC Gamer. "The 20 million copies milestone is really amazing," he told the outlet. But what's even more impressive is the increasing pace of Stardew Valley's sales. It took four years for the game to sell its first 10 million copies.


The most watched movies of the week: New releases and some unexpected classics

Mashable

Wondering what everyone's been watching this week? Well, spring is in the air and so is action, action, action! Every week, the popularity of movies across streaming might be determined by promotions, star power, critic raves, social media buzz, good old-fashioned word of mouth, or a new addition to a beloved franchise. While the reasons may vary, you can't argue with the numbers that streaming aggregator Reelgood collected from hundreds of streaming services in the U.S. and UK. As it has for weeks, The Batman continues to reign supreme.


Data the dog: Twitter turns its privacy policy into an old-school video game

The Guardian

On Friday, Elon Musk announced he was pausing his $45bn purchase of Twitter because he had only just discovered some of the accounts on the site were fake. But that's not the strangest thing that has happened to the beleaguered social media platform this week. Because on Tuesday the current top brass, perhaps trying to demonstrate their vision for the site, released a Super Nintendo-style browser game that recaps Twitter's private policy. The platform unveiled Twitter Data Dash, which plays like a vintage side-scrolling platformer that's been draped with a healthy dose of disinformation anxiety. You take control of a blue-hued puppy named Data and are tasked with retrieving five bones hidden in each of the game's day-glo urban environments.


It will soon be easy for self-driving cars to hide in plain sight. We shouldn't let them.

MIT Technology Review

It will soon become easy for self-driving cars to hide in plain sight. The rooftop lidar sensors that currently mark many of them out are likely to become smaller. Mercedes vehicles with the new, partially automated Drive Pilot system, which carries its lidar sensors behind the car's front grille, are already indistinguishable to the naked eye from ordinary human-operated vehicles. Is this a good thing? As part of our Driverless Futures project at University College London, my colleagues and I recently concluded the largest and most comprehensive survey of citizens' attitudes to self-driving vehicles and the rules of the road.


Families of Oxford High School shooting victims react after board again rejects independent investigation

FOX News

The parents of several Oxford High School students, including deceased Tate Myre, have filed a lawsuit against shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, his parents and school staff. The parents of two victims of the Nov. 30, 2021, shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan are demanding more transparency from the Oxford Community School District after the board voted against moving forward with an independent investigation into the tragedy last fall. The Oxford Board of Education on Tuesday announced that the district has, for the second time, declined an offer from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to conduct a third-party investigation into the school shooting with the goal of determining how shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, 15, managed to kill four students and injure seven others last fall. "To me, this is an admission of guilt," Buck Myre, father of deceased 16-year-old Tate Myre, said during a Thursday press conference. "They know that things didn't go right that day, and they don't want to stand up and fix it. They're going to hide behind governmental immunity and they're going to hide behind insurance and the lawyers. What's this teach the kids? "We just want accountability," he added later when asked why an independent investigation is important to parents. Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald revealed in December 2021 that school officials met with Crumbley and his parents to discuss violent drawings he created just hours before the deadly rampage. The 15-year-old suspect was able to convince them during the meeting that the concerning drawings were for a "video game." His parents "flatly refused" to take their son home. The shooting has also resulted in several lawsuits, including two that seek $100 million in damages each, against the school district and school employees on behalf of the family of two sisters who attend the school. Ethan Robert Crumbley, 15, charged with first-degree murder in a high school shooting, poses in a jail booking photograph taken at the Oakland County Jail in Pontiac, Michigan. Myre and Meghan Gregory, the mother of 15-year-old Keegan Gregory, who survived the shooting but witnessed and was traumatized by Crumbley's rampage, are suing the shooting suspect's parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, as well as school staff for negligence. JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, ETHAN CRUMBLEY'S MOTHER, SENT OMINOUS TEXTS ON DAY OF SHOOTING: 'HE CAN'T BE LEFT ALONE' "They're the ones that know what happened that day.


No gas rebates in sight as average prices in L.A. barrel toward $6 a gallon -- again

Los Angeles Times

Experts say a perfect storm of supply-and-demand issues are sending gas prices in Los Angeles soaring again, with the price-per-gallon increasing more than 14 cents in the last 16 days, according to the latest fuel prices tracked by AAA. L.A. fuel prices are again inching toward a $6-a-gallon record set in March. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the Los Angeles area is currently $5.91, with plenty of stations charging well over that. A year ago the price was $4.16. Overnight, the price jumped 2.2 cents, the highest level it has risen since February.


Disability Bias in AI Hiring Tools Targeted in US Guidance (1)

#artificialintelligence

Employers have a responsibility to inspect artificial intelligence tools for disability bias and should have plans to provide reasonable accommodations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Justice Department said in guidance documents. The guidance released Thursday is the first from the federal government on the use of AI hiring tools that focuses on their impact on people with disabilities. The guidance also seeks to inform workers of their right to inquire about a company's use of AI and to request accommodations, the agencies said. "Today we are sounding an alarm regarding the dangers of blind reliance on AI and other technologies that are increasingly used by employers," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke told reporters. The DOJ enforces disability discrimination laws with respect to state and local government employers, while the EEOC enforces such laws in the private sector and federal employers.


A guide to artificial intelligence and machine learning

#artificialintelligence

According to Gartner, AI applies advanced analysis and logic-based techniques, including machine learning, to interpret events, support and automate decision-making, and take action. In essence, the concept of AI centres on enabling computer systems to think and act in a more'human' way, by learning from and responding to the vast amounts of information they're able to use. AI is already transforming our everyday lives. From the AI features on our smartphones such as built-in smart assistants, to the AI-curated content and recommendations on our social media feeds and streaming services. As the name suggests, machine learning is based on the idea that systems can learn from data to automate and improve how things are done – by using advanced algorithms (a set of rules or instructions) to analyse data, identify patterns and make decisions and recommendations based on what they find.