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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.
Artificial intelligence has taken the consumer world by storm. But should this technology, in which machines mimic human intelligence to perform tasks, be applied to wealth management? Some tech companies have started to work on applications for the advisor space. And Tim Welsh, Nexus Strategy president and CEO, believes AI will be the next big thing in wealthtech. Senior Tech Editor Davis Janowski agrees that AI will be big in this industry, but he argues that the tech is still in its infancy and that there's still a lot of hype out there.
In a critical episode of The Mandalorian, a TV series set in the Star Wars universe, a mysterious Jedi fights his way through a horde of evil robots. As the heroes of the show wait anxiously to learn the identity of their cloaked savior, he lowers his hood, and--spoiler alert-- they meet a young Luke Skywalker. Actually, what we see is an animated, de-aged version of the Jedi. Then Luke speaks, in a voice that sounds very much like the 1980s-era rendition of the character, thanks to the use of an advanced machine learning model developed by the voice technology startup Respeecher. "No one noticed that it was generated by a machine," says Dmytro Bielievtsov, chief technology officer at Respeecher.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: An alien arrives alone on Earth and learns about human culture. Along the way, they befriend a human or two and have to hide from dangerous government forces. I could be talking about anything from E.T. to The Iron Giant. Instead, I'm thinking of Showtime's new series, The Man Who Fell to Earth, which executes this classic science fiction storyline with a clear, fresh vision. The Man Who Fell to Earth is a sequel to the 1976 film of the same name (which is itself an adaption of the novel by Walter Tevis) but it is by no means redundant.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems are replacing skilled professionals and threatening employment opportunities in the performing arts industry, a union has warned. Equity, which represents performing arts workers, has announced a new campaign that aims to strengthen performers' rights to address what it describes as the "rapid development" of AI across the entertainment industry. The organisation says that the use of the technology across the audio and audio-visual sector – including in automated audiobooks and digital avatars – has advanced significantly in recent years and is replacing skilled professional performers due to the perception it's cheaper and more convenient. It said that many artists that get involved with AI work are not being compensated fairly and are sometimes not paid at all. "The explosion of artificial intelligence across the entertainment industry is a significant and growing concern for audio artists and other performers," warned Paul W Fleming, Equity general secretary.
With self-driving vehicles possibly arriving on UK roads later this year, the government is starting to put rules in place to accommodate them, the BBC has reported. As part of that, it will allow drivers in autonomous vehicles to watch TV from an infotainment screen in self-driving mode, as long as they're ready to take back control. That's a modification of a law that has been on the books since 1986 that prohibits drivers from viewing a "television-receiving apparatus" when behind the wheel. It will still not allow the use of mobile phones, which were officially banned in the UK last year. That's because automakers can implement technology to stop a car's built-in screen from displaying content when the driver needs to take back control, but can't do the same on a smartphone.
It's simple math, really: In a family with eight children, it stands to reason, surely one of them must be queer. Bridgerton has defied other expectations of a Regency-era love story: It is set in an alternate universe where the upper class is fully integrated and race is not an issue. The show's first two seasons focus on interracial romances, and the second season at least obliquely references the history of British colonialism in India. There's one obvious candidate for such a storyline: On the show, Eloise is the most outspoken, most feminist Bridgerton sibling. She is not interested in becoming a debutante, delaying her appearance to pursue another year of studies. She often dismisses marriage, questioning why a husband and children are all that are waiting in store for women.
It's strange that the silly but mostly tolerable horror Choose or Die was an acquisition rather than a homegrown Netflix original given how much it seems algorithmically modeled for the notoriously formula-obsessed platform. It stars Asa Butterfield, an in-house star thanks to the success of Sex Education. It also focuses on a cursed video game, making it a close cousin to the streamer's interactive Black Mirror hit Bandersnatch. It's a film destined to live its days in the "if you like" container. It'll probably fare well there as fans of the above might find just about enough here to play with although they might, like me, be a little surprised at just how nasty this quickie horror is, made with closer attention to the gore quotient than any level of creativity.
Netflix officially launched a new reaction button Monday in the form of "two thumbs up." According to a company blog post, the idea is to let people more effectively communicate to the streaming giant when a show or movie really, really hits their entertainment sweet spot. This new reaction joins the now underwhelming "single thumb up" and "thumb down" as a way for Netflix users to add intentional input into the recommendation algorithm powering their content gavage. "Consider Two Thumbs Up as a way to fine-tune your recommendations to see even more series or films influenced by what you love," reads Netflix's announcement. "A Thumbs Up still lets us know what you liked, so we use this response to make similar recommendations. But a Two Thumbs Up tells us what you loved and helps us get even more specific with your recommendations."
On Episode 15 of Season 2, we're joined by Eric Horvitz, Microsoft's first ever Chief Scientific Officer. His research spans theoretical and practical challenges with developing systems that perceive, learn, and reason. He's the company's top inventor since joining in 1993 with over 300 patents filed. He has been elected Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He was a member of the National Security Commission on AI and he also co-founded important groups like the Partnership on AI, a non-profit organization bringing together Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, DeepMind, IBM, and Microsoft to document the quality and impact of AI systems on things like criminal justice, the economy, and media integrity.