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


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.

Hype or Not? Episode 3: Artificial Intelligence


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.

Raising Robovoices

Communications of the ACM

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.

'The Man Who Fell to Earth' review: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomie Harris shine in smart sci-fi series


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.

AI threatening jobs in the entertainment industry, warns union


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.

UK regulators will allow drivers to watch TV in autonomous cars


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.

The Historical Case for a Gay Bridgerton


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.

Choose or Die review – gory Netflix video game horror

The Guardian

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.

The Robot Brains Podcast: Eric Horvitz of Microsoft on AI for the greater good on Apple Podcasts


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.

Chatbot Conference is coming to the Metaverse in 5 Days!


In this year's Chatbot Conference, we will explore the latest on Conversational AI, Voice, and Chatbots/Digital Assistants with a strong focus on both how Enterprises are using this technology and how it's becoming implemented in the Metaverse. This promises to be one of our most exciting events, and we are featuring speakers from Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, Charisma, CDI, and more. One of our core topics we will explore is how Brands are starting to use Digital Humans to create experiences in the Metaverse. Imagine that you are watching a great TV Show, like'The Game of Thrones'. Soon, you'll be able to go to The Game Thrones Metaverse, interact with the characters, and open up new stories and plot lines that the TV show can't cover in a 10hr season!