Get ready, Player One: In a time of pandemic and depressing headlines, millions of Americans have turned to online gaming for a good time and an escape. But playing games is even more fun with friends, and for thousands of fans across the country, Briana Williams is that best buddy who can turn a gaming session into an actual Mario party. Better known as Storymodebae, Williams is one of a small, but growing number of Black women tapping into the multibillion-dollar online gaming business. Williams is an avid gamer, content creator, and Twitch ambassador. She has been profiled by InStyle magazine and Yahoo. On Friday's episode of A Word, I spoke with Williams about online gaming as a Black woman and how gamers like her are making the industry better.
This year's Oscar hopefuls include some names you might not expect among the nominees: Respawn Entertainment and Oculus Studios. No, the publisher of video games "Titanfall" and "Apex Legends," and Facebook's virtual reality studio are not nominated for best visual effects. "Colette," a short film the companies co-produced along with the U.K. media outlet The Guardian, is nominated for best short documentary at the Academy Awards, being doled out Sunday. The 25-minute film tells the story of Colette Marin-Catherine, 92, who was part of the French resistance during World War II. Along with French history student Lucie Fouble, she visits the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in Germany where her brother Jean-Pierre had died in 1945, three weeks before allied troops freed prisoners there.
Both things can be true: I spent my first three hours playing Monster Hunter Rise screaming, "I hate this game!" at my Nintendo Switch screen. Since then, I have logged more hours in Rise than in any other game this year, and I've successfully convinced several friends to pick the game up as well. For some further context, I'd never played a Monster Hunter game before. I knew that the title did most of the explaining as to what the franchise is about--you hunt big monsters--but that was about it. Rise's debut marks the sixth main Monster Hunter game (the games have been popular enough to spawn several spinoffs, as well as a recent blockbuster adaptation starring Milla Jovovich), but that success has been a mixed blessing, as the series has become notorious for having a steep learning curve.
Artificial intelligence is one of the most revolutionary technologies of our time, which is advancing as each day goes by. AI labs contribute to these advancements by housing scientists and researchers under one roof to study this disruptive technology for further developments. While there are quite a few AI labs across the globe, artificial intelligence researchers go perplexed when people ask them to rate the top labs in the world. And rightfully so, because they're all unique in the way they work. While every lab focuses on different domains of artificial intelligence, commercial AI labs like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, the U.S Big Tech, have set up dedicated AI labs too.
This week, the Justice Department indicted a 22-year-old on charges of tampering with the water facility where he used to work. It's a stark reminder that while the power grid gets most of the attention, it's not the only piece of critical infrastructure that's vulnerable to potentially devastating attacks. We also took a look at YouTube's ongoing problems with moderating kid-focused content; a WIRED investigation found dozens of creepy thumbnails on videos for Minecraft and child-centric pursuits that were at or near the top of the platform's "Topic" pages. It's not quite as dire a situation as the so-called Elsagate controversy from a few years back, in which the YouTube Kids app was flooded with grotesque videos featuring popular children's characters performing unspeakable acts. But it still shows that YouTube has a lot of moderation work still ahead of it.
Discord chief executive Jason Citron talked to NPR about his chat app and his plans. Discord's active monthly users have doubled in the pandemic and Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy the company. Discord chief executive Jason Citron talked to NPR about his chat app and his plans. Discord's active monthly users have doubled in the pandemic and Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy the company. Social networking platform Discord is having a moment.
On YouTube Friday morning, several hundred viewers watched a live, animated video of a female Minecraft avatar with bare breasts opening a present full of the poop emoji. In the video's thumbnail, two inflated breasts held up a poop Minecraft brick. It's one of several disturbing and grotesque animated Minecraft videos identified by WIRED featured under YouTube's Minecraft "Topic" page, a content-sorting feature introduced in 2019. Similar Minecraft-style thumbnails found there include an avatar with heart eyes and a bloody knife smiling at a chained-up woman in a bikini, a mother and father holding sticks up to a crying toddler, and a woman pregnant with feces about to sit on a man. The live videos loop for hours on end, some racking up tens of thousands of total views.
The graph represents a network of 4,752 Twitter users whose tweets in the requested range contained "#VR", or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets. The network was obtained from the NodeXL Graph Server on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 at 17:54 UTC. The requested start date was Tuesday, 23 March 2021 at 00:01 UTC and the maximum number of days (going backward) was 14. The maximum number of tweets collected was 7,500. The tweets in the network were tweeted over the 1-day, 10-hour, 57-minute period from Sunday, 21 March 2021 at 13:01 UTC to Monday, 22 March 2021 at 23:59 UTC.
Video game photography is arguably enjoying a golden age. In recent years, the photo mode has exploded into blockbuster titles such as Spider-Man, offering intricate tools to pause the action, compose a shot, and tweak the finished result. You'll find the results peppered throughout social media feeds thanks to the Share button found on modern controllers. Often these depict "cool" moments, sometimes even absurd glitches, but mostly such photos, like those of popular snapper and EA DICE screenshot artist Petri Levälaht, are concerned with the beauty of big-budget video games. With each like, retweet, and share, we collectively revel in the technical artistry of worlds now so visually detailed they appear to rival our own, enthralled by the sheer density and arrangement of their pixels.
Zhang, Daniel, Mishra, Saurabh, Brynjolfsson, Erik, Etchemendy, John, Ganguli, Deep, Grosz, Barbara, Lyons, Terah, Manyika, James, Niebles, Juan Carlos, Sellitto, Michael, Shoham, Yoav, Clark, Jack, Perrault, Raymond
Welcome to the fourth edition of the AI Index Report. This year we significantly expanded the amount of data available in the report, worked with a broader set of external organizations to calibrate our data, and deepened our connections with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI). The AI Index Report tracks, collates, distills, and visualizes data related to artificial intelligence. Its mission is to provide unbiased, rigorously vetted, and globally sourced data for policymakers, researchers, executives, journalists, and the general public to develop intuitions about the complex field of AI. The report aims to be the most credible and authoritative source for data and insights about AI in the world.