Collaborating Authors

Video Games Don't Have To Be Educational To Spark Learning

NPR Technology

Columnist Kaity Kline says a serious Assassin's Creed: Black Flag habit helped her ace a surprise quiz on the Caribbean. Columnist Kaity Kline says a serious Assassin's Creed: Black Flag habit helped her ace a surprise quiz on the Caribbean. When I was in high school, the best way I could describe myself was as a parent's worst nightmare: I didn't care about my education, didn't do homework, and was known to sleep in class. My SAT score was so bad that I still don't know how I did! My very frustrated mom threw that letter in the trash.

Google to reopen offices in July after coronavirus lockdowns

The Independent - Tech

Google will start reopening its offices from July, after coronavirus lockdowns sent all of its staff home. But the plans will be very phased at the beginning, with only a small number of staff allowed in on a rotating basis, according to its chief executive. In an email sent to staff, Google boss Sundar Pichai said city-based offices will begin to open to some members of staff from July 6. He said phased reopening will allow Google staff to return on a "limited, rotating basis", for example, one day every two weeks, with offices reaching around 10% occupancy. The technology giant began urging staff to work from home in March as the coronavirus outbreak spread around the world.

Amazon facial recognition falsely matches more than 100 politicians to arrested criminals

The Independent - Tech

Amazon's controversial facial recognition technology has incorrectly matched more than 100 photos of politicians in the UK and US to police mugshots, new tests have revealed. Amazon Rekognition uses artificial intelligence software to identify individuals from their facial structure. Customers include law enforcement and US government agencies like Immigration and Custome Enforcement (ICE). It is not the first time the software's accuracy has been called into question. In July 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found 28 false matches between US Congress members and pictures of people arrested for a crime.

Facebook knew its algorithm made people turn against each other but stopped research

The Independent - Tech

Facebook executives took the decision to end research that would make the social media site less polarising for fears that it would unfairly target right-wing users, according to new reports. The company also knew that its recommendation algorithm exacerbated divisiveness, leaked internal research from 2016 appears to indicate. Building features to combat that would require the company to sacrifice engagement – and by extension, profit – according to a later document from 2018 which described the proposals as "antigrowth" and requiring "a moral stance." "Our algorithms exploit the human brain's attraction to divisiveness," a 2018 presentation warned, warning that if action was not taken Facebook would provide users "more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform." According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, in 2017 and 2018 Facebook conducted research through newly created "Integrity Teams" to tackle extremist content and a cross-jurisdictional task force dubbed "Common Ground."

Xbox Series X will be 'most compatible console ever', says Microsoft, as next-gen battle against PS5 continues

The Independent - Tech

The Xbox Series X will be the most compatible console ever, Microsoft has claimed, as its battle with the PlayStation 5 continues. The new Xbox console will be able to play games from the original Xbox and will bring players' progression in these games to the latest generation, Microsoft said in a new update. Those older games should even look better on the new hardware, even if they were made for previous generations, the company has said. The new updates come after Microsoft said that as well as allowing games from the original Xbox to work on the new one, it will also allow all accessories that currently work with the Xbox One to work with the new console too. They are in keeping with the suggestion from Microsoft that the Xbox Series X is more of an iterative update than an entirely new generation, with the name intended to suggest that it is part of a range of Xboxes that include the current generation and any more that come in the future.

Apple Mac update changes how MacBooks charge to make them live longer

The Independent - Tech

Apple has rolled out a new Mac update that changes the way its computers charge. The company says the new technology will allow those batteries – and therefore the computers they are in – to last longer. As they do, the amount of charge they can hold drops, until they eventually become so short their life is over. The new feature aims to slow down the rate at which that ageing process happens. It does so by watching how hot it gets and when it tends to be charged.

MacBook Pro 13in 2020 review: Apple has 'created something extraordinary'

The Independent - Tech

The latest MacBook Pro, just released, means the entire Apple laptop range has now been refreshed with newer processors and, most importantly, the new Magic Keyboard. Apple's complete range of laptops offer striking design, sumptuous trackpads, excellent performance and gorgeous screens. The MacBook Air was the last to gain a Retina Display in late 2018. But there was one key ingredient which wasn't working quite as well as it should have been for many users: the keyboard. A few years back, Apple switched its keyboard mechanism from scissor-switch to butterfly.

From Street Fighter to Sonic the Hedgehog: 10 of the best retro games

The Guardian

In difficult times, nostalgia can be a balm, and sometimes you want your games to be totally uncomplicated. Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, the original iteration of Pac-Man still rules. It is a simple game – gobble the dots, avoid the ghosts – but the genius is in the details: did you know that each ghost behaves slightly differently according to their personality? A landmark game for storytelling with big swords and bigger hair, Final Fantasy VII might look a bit rough these days but the tale it tells is still rich and absorbing. There is a fancy, beautiful-looking remake available now, but the original version is much cheaper, still pretty great, and hits that 90s nostalgia spot.

Walmart Employees Are Out to Show Its Anti-Shoplifting AI Doesn't Work


In January, my coworker received a peculiar email. The message, which she forwarded to me, was from a handful of corporate Walmart employees calling themselves the "Concerned Home Office Associates." While it's not unusual for journalists to receive anonymous tips, they don't usually come with their own slickly produced videos. The employees said they were "past their breaking point," with Everseen, a small artificial intelligence firm based in Cork, Ireland, whose technology Walmart began using in 2017. Walmart uses Everseen in thousands of stores to prevent shoplifting at registers and self-checkout kiosks.

'Minecraft Dungeons' Makes Dungeon Crawlers Accessible to All


In the 1990s, before hitting at infinitely repeatable success with the action-adventure formula of the Lego Star Wars games, Lego used to put out a lot of videogames. Under the Lego Interactive banner, the company released a diverse slate of PC and console titles, in a variety of genres. If you were a kid with a PC in the late '90s, your first introduction to real-time strategy might not have been Starcraft but Lego Rock Raiders. These games were all aimed at kids, and at their best they made hardcore gaming more legible to kids by--and this is a terrible phrase, apologies in advance--leveraging the Lego brand. Lego aesthetics met fun, straightforward takes on interesting corners of the videogame universe.