Mashable's series Algorithms explores the mysterious lines of code that increasingly control our lives -- and our futures. In hospitals and health systems across the country, physicians sometimes use algorithms to help them decide what type of treatment or care their patients receive. These algorithms vary from basic computations using several factors to sophisticated formulas driven by artificial intelligence that incorporate hundreds of variables. They can play a role in influencing how a doctor assesses kidney function, if a mother should give birth vaginally once she's had a Cesarean section, and which patients could benefit from certain interventions. In a perfect world, the computer science that powers these algorithms would give clinicians unparalleled clarity about their patients' needs.
TL;DR: The Build Your Own First-Person Shooter Game Development Bundle is on sale for £31.39 as of Sept. 25, saving you 97% on list price. You don't need a massive bank account, a giant team, or a million-pound contract with a publishing giant to make a hit video game these days. All you need is an idea, a computer, and a little bit of training. Just look at Minecraft, which started its reign as an indie game over a decade ago and has become one of the best-selling video games of all time. Even if you have no coding experience, you can try your hand at video game creation.
A world in which AI-powered surveillance systems appropriate the work of canines is not a world in which I want to live. As a canine member of a loving home, I was stunned by the features Amazon announced that it has afforded its new home security system, Alexa Guard Plus. Building on its previous Alexa Guard system, the "Guard Plus" now offers new features, such as the ability to detect the sound of breaking glass, or to dial a helpline in case of an emergency. As an intruder deterrent, users can tell this "Alexa" to mimic the sounds of our barks. These are just some of the emotions I feel at Amazon's reduction of the steadfast security provided by dogs to their families to a digital facsimile of our voice.
Amazon's nightmare surveillance network is going mobile. Not merely content to film both the outside and inside of your home from fixed points, the company announced Thursday a Ring drone that will fly around the interior of your home, shooting and livestreaming video in the process. Say hello to the Always Home Cam, a product that's very existence poses the question: What the absolute fuck is Amazon thinking? According to Amazon, its latest connected monstrosity will cost $249. And don't worry, an Amazon liveblog made clear that this aerial peeping Tom won't violate your privacy -- unlike, say, the hacker who watched and yelled slurs at an 8-year-old girl through a Ring camera, or the Ring contractors who reportedly watched customer videos... or the Ring employees who tried to watch customer videos.
The watchful eye of Amazon just got smarter. At its hardware release event Thursday, Amazon debuted its latest smart assistant with a screen, the Echo Show 10. If you move around a room while you're on a video call, the camera will follow you. This feature actually is pretty convenient if you're trying to multi-task while on a video call, or if you're doing some sort of presentation that requires you to move around. The camera supposedly "pans and zooms" to keep you centered and in focus.
Save $35: The Echo Dot (3rd Gen) Kids Edition is on sale at Amazon for $34.99. If you've been quarantined with your little one/s, we commend you. Between trying to help them with virtual classes and getting your own work done, it's no easy task. If you're in need of a break and want them to keep themselves busy for a bit, an Echo Dot can do the trick. But don't worry, you don't have to hand yours over and risk the possibility of them drawing on it with marker or somehow dropping it in the toilet.
I can say this much about Console Wars, the new CBS All Access doc about the Nintendo vs. Sega clash of the 1990s: It's lovely to look at. The 90-minute journey into mainstream gaming's formative days could have easily landed as a dry account of the business machinations behind gaming's earliest console "war." But the documentary is awash with archival footage and creatively designed interludes that insert key players into pixelated scenes that themselves resemble video games. So when former Nintendo marketing executive Peter Main describes a verbal dispute he had with Sega of America's ex-CEO Tom Kalinske that led them into the snowy streets of Manhattan, it's not just talk. We see a Street Fighter-like fight scene featuring a gang of blue suits lined up against a gang of red suits, with the two central players squared off beneath a dim streetlight. There are flourishes like graffiti and torn posters adorning a brick wall in the background and dirty piles of snow visible in the foreground.
The Walmart drones just keep coming. Over the past few weeks, Walmart has announced drone delivery trials for health and wellness products, as well as groceries with Flytrex and Zipline. Now, the company has started delivering COVID-19 self-collection kits by drone, too. Starting Tuesday, customers in the North Las Vegas area will be able to order and receive kits dropped off by DroneUp-powered drones. Then, next month as the trial service continues, those drones will also start delivering kits to customers in Cheektowaga, New York (near Buffalo).
It's taken almost four years, but it feels like Fitbit has finally found its footing in the world of smartwatches and the Fitbit Sense is proof -- sort of. At this point, it's no secret that Fitbit is extremely capable of manufacturing accurate, easy-to-use, sleek, and affordable fitness trackers. But when it comes to smartwatches, it's safe to say the journey hasn't been as smooth. Between 2016 and 2017, Fitbit released two devices that straddled the line between smartwatch and fitness tracker: the Blaze and Ionic. While both packed every sensor necessary to track your daily fitness needs, each one was just as clunky and unattractive as the one before it. These just weren't wrist-worn accessories anyone really wanted to wear on a daily basis.