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.
'Special Report' All-Star Panel reacts to the Senate voting to block a bill that would'codify' abortion nationwide. The Washington Post is facing accusations of activism over a report urging video game companies to take a stand on Roe v. Wade as the Supreme Court mulls overturning the decades-long precedent protecting the legalization of abortions on a federal level. On Wednesday, video game reporters Nathan Grayson and Shannon Liao penned a piece with the headline, "As Roe v. Wade repeal looms, video game industry stays mostly silent," documenting how giants in the gaming world are largely staying out of the abortion debate. The article began by citing Bungie, the "Destiny 2" studio owned by Sony that published a statement "in support of reproductive rights" that decried the overturning of Roe v. Wade among other studios and indie developers. The reporters appeared to side with the company as it faced viral backlash from critics, writing, "Bungie, for its part, stood firm."
In the midst of unprecedented volumes of e-commerce since 2020, the number of digital payments made every day around the planet has exploded – hitting about $6.6 trillion in value last year, a 40 percent jump in two years. With all that money flowing through the world's payments rails, there's even more reason for cybercriminals to innovate ways to nab it. To help ensure payments security today requires advanced game theory skills to outthink and outmaneuver highly sophisticated criminal networks that are on track to steal up to $10.5 trillion in "booty" via cybersecurity damages, according to a recent Argus Research report. Payment processors around the globe are constantly playing against fraudsters and improving upon "their game" to protect customers' money. The target invariably moves, and scammers become ever more sophisticated.
Is AI just a black box that we started trusting enough to drive cars, detect diseases, identify suspects just because of the hype? You may have heard of the Netflix documentary, Coded Bias (you can watch the film here). The film criticizes deep learning algorithms for their inherent biases; specifically their failure to detect dark-skinned and female faces. The film suggests that the solution to the problem is in government. To "push for the first-ever legislation in the U.S. to govern against bias in the algorithms that impact us all."
Thirteen university students from across Canada are in Ottawa to put their artificial intelligence skills to the test. It's called the Amazon Web Services DeepRacer League, where small 1/18th scale cars are being trained to complete a racetrack as fast as possible, by themselves. "It has major components in order to do the autonomous driving," says Amanda Foo, DeepRacer Senior Technical Program Manager. They are driven by what is called reinforcement learning. "It's just like training a dog," Carleton University mechanical engineering student Masoud Karimi says.
Sonos is introducing voice commands for its speakers, finally letting you start your depression playlist by groaning from the couch as God intended. Announced today, Sonos Voice Control will arrive in a free software update for all voice-capable Sonos speakers running the Sonos S2 operating system, including the Roam, Beam, Move, and Arc. This update will let you issue oral commands to find specific songs, ask what's playing, control the sound on their TV, and adjust volume and playback all without using your hands. You won't be able to set timers or reminders, as Sonos Voice Control isn't a fully fledged voice assistant. However if you have more than one Sonos speaker, you will be able to use it to change where your audio is playing.
Sonos, the wireless home-audio specialist, is launching a lower-cost model of its popular TV soundbars alongside its own new voice control system for its smart speakers after its public bust-up with Google. The new Ray soundbar is a more compact version of Sonos's popular Arc and Beam models, designed to fit neatly in TV stands without affecting sound quality. It connects to a TV through an optical cable, has wifi for streaming music and can be controlled with the Sonos app or a TV remote. The Ray will cost £279 in the UK or $279 in the US from 7 June, sitting below the £449 Beam as the firm's most affordable model. It has two tweeters and two midwoofer speakers, along with the company's Trueplay smart tuning system, promising balanced sound with solid bass and crisp dialogue.
Sonos devices have supported Amazon's Alexa voice assistant for almost five years now. The Sonos One from 2017 was the first speaker the company made with built-in microphones, and almost every speaker it's made since has worked with Alexa, not to mention Google Assistant. Despite supporting those popular services, though, Sonos has decided to build its own voice assistant. Dubbed Sonos Voice Control, the feature is specifically designed to work with music only, so this isn't exactly a competitor to Alexa and Google Assistant. Instead, it's meant to control your music as quickly as possible, and with privacy in mind.
This post contains spoilers for Outer Range and Yellowstone. Some viewers of Outer Range's first season may have been focused on parsing the Amazon Prime series's Lost-style mysteries: What is up with the big, swirling time hole in Royal Abbott's pasture? Why did Rebecca Abbott, his daughter-in-law, vanish without a trace? What does Autumn, the charismatic hippie camping on Royal's land, want with the Abbott family? I had a different question about the sci-fi Western: What the heck is this show doing with Taylor Sheridan's megahit Yellowstone?