philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology



The reason why Zoom exhausts us, but we can hunt for fossils with our friends in Animal Crossing for hours, is that the game takes advantage of new social opportunities in the digital environment (e.g. digitally fishing together) instead of trying to make the environment fit into a preconceived notion of social interactions (e.g. boardroom meetings).

Tom Boellstorff, a professor of anthropology at UC Irvine who studies online spaces, tells Inverse that dynamic, game-like platforms are likely to become more popular this year and next. It's all in service of ensuring that our online interactions can still be as emotionally and psychologically fruitful as they are in person.

If you're looking for a video conferencing platform that will incorporate more water cooler chat, Gather Town or Kumospace may be the solution for you.

 Spatial ... uses virtual reality to create life-like avatars of users that can interact together in a 3D space — even moving files and documents through the air like Tony Stark.

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He Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World.

But now, Mr. Berners-Lee, 65, believes the online world has gone astray. Too much power and too much personal data, he says, reside with the tech giants like Google and Facebook — “silos” is the generic term he favors, instead of referring to the companies by name. Fueled by vast troves of data, he says, they have become surveillance platforms and gatekeepers of innovation.

“Pods,” personal online data stores, are a key technical ingredient to achieve that goal. The idea is that each person could control his or her own data — websites visited, credit card purchases, workout routines, music streamed — in an individual data safe, typically a sliver of server space.

Companies could gain access to a person’s data, with permission, through a secure link for a specific task like processing a loan application or delivering a personalized ad. They could link to and use personal information selectively, but not store it.

Mr. Berners-Lee’s vision of personal data sovereignty stands in sharp contrast to the harvest-and-hoard model of the big tech companies. But it has some echoes of the original web formula — a set of technology standards that developers can use to write programs and that entrepreneurs and companies can use to build businesses. He began an open-source software project, Solid, and later founded a company, Inrupt, with John Bruce, a veteran of five previous start-ups, to kick-start adoption.

Inrupt introduced in November its server software for enterprises and government agencies. And the start-up is getting a handful of pilot projects underway in earnest this year, including ones with Britain’s National Health Service and with the government of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium.

Tech companies have formed a Data Transfer Project, committing to make personal data they hold portable. It now comprises Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter. The Federal Trade Commission recently held a “Data to Go” workshop.

Inrupt is betting that trusted organizations will initially be the sponsors of pods. The pods are free for users. If the concept takes off, low-cost or free personal data services — similar to today’s email services — could emerge.

Whether his team can realize that vision is uncertain. Some in the field of personal data say the Solid-Inrupt technology is too academic for mainstream developers. They also question whether the technology will achieve the speed and power needed to become a platform for future apps, like software assistants animated by a person’s data.

Inrupt faces a series of technical challenges, but none that are “go-to-the-moon hard,” said Bruce Schneier, a well-known computer security and privacy expert, who has joined Inrupt as its chief of security architecture.

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Fraunhofer IOF to Revolutionize Quantum Communications and Microscopy

New encryption methods

In the world of communication, Fraunhofer IOF is developing a new encryption technology known as "quantum key distribution" (QKD for short)  to protect data today against the cyber attacks of tomorrow. At CES 2021, Fraunhofer IOF will showcase the EPS (short for “Entangled Photon Source”) that generates entangled photon pairs that can serve as the basis for generating quantum-based keys. 


But that's not all that Fraunhofer IOF uses entangled photon pairs for. These elements also serve as the basis of a new microscopy technique that does not cause irreversible damage to the samples as light radiation does. This is because these two photons exchange information with each other without having to interact with the sample itself.


Glossary of the Most Popular AR Terms

AR Terms

AR Advertising

The use of augmented reality in advertising allows consumers to interact with brands in a more immersive and exciting manner. 3D objects and animations help maintain customer loyalty and make interactions with ads more engaging and meaningful.

ARKit and ARCore

These AR terms define the two software development kits (SDK) launched by Apple and Android to help developers create native AR apps for the most popular mobile operating systems.



Facebook to launch ‘smart glasses’ in 2021 but without augmented reality

The glasses, which are being built in partnership with Ray-Ban and parent Luxottica Group SpA, will connect to a device — though users won’t be able to overlay digital objects onto their real-world view, a foundational element of AR.

“These are certainly connected glasses, they are certainly providing a lot of functionality, [but] we’re being quite coy about which functionality precisely we are providing,” Bosworth said.


How This Weird Dreamcast Game Revolutionized A.I.

Seaman was the first of its kind in the sense that you could intelligently interact with the on-screen character.

Saito actually contemplated what it would be like to have a pet who asked you questions like “who was that woman you brought home last night?”

Seaman was that pet, and in this piece, we’re going to delve into some of the more fascinating aspects of the game’s A.I.

The Seaman gets angry when he’s hungry. He knows when the weekend is and tells you to go out — he even has intercourse (🤭). The game’s depth and wide array of interactions is what made it interesting. Thematically, the conversations with Seaman were all about real-world stuff; he was just one of the guys, despite looking a little different. It was possible to become — dare I say — friendly with Seaman despite him being an entirely different species. Is it a stretch to say that Seaman is an early icon for video game diversity?

The microphone peripheral was the key piece of hardware that made Seaman possible. Both the microphone and the game were simultaneously in development. 

...the software would listen for speech, map that speech as closely as possible to a pre-determined library, and then select the most plausible/appropriate response based on a pre-written vocabulary and sentence structure.

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Cadillac works with Cyberpunk studio on the UI for its Lyriq EV SUV

Cadillac's Lyriq SUV represents a fairly dramatic shift in purpose for the American luxury brand. It's the company's first fully electric SUV, and as such, Cadillac is looking to distinguish it from other models. One way that it's doing so is by going outside normal automotive channels to design the user interface for its infotainment system.

Cadillac announced Thursday that it's teamed up with Territory Studios, a veteran of the video game industry that recently contributed to CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077, and Rightpoint, a company focused on designing user experiences.


It's all clean, minimalist illustrations and clear, legible text. The digital buttons or touch points are clearly labeled as well, and as long as the system is as snappy and smooth as it appears to be in the video, there's plenty to be excited about.

Cadillac's Lyriq is set to go on sale in late 2022, with a starting price of around $60,000.

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US Army researchers discover technique for using Augmented Reality to overcome bright lighting conditions

The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory has recently announced that its researchers have discovered a new technique for using augmented reality (AR) to overcome bright lighting conditions during the day by using low contrast dimming highlights – something that DEVCOM says will open up new research questions that will improve warfighter AR and heads-up display performance in outdoor operations.

The discovery could help pave the way towards enabling the use of AR by US warfighters in challenging environments including desert, snow, marine and dense urban settings. The approach also has applications for other display technologies such as image intensifiers, infrared and fused night vision displays and also has potential for laser eye protection, according to DEVCOM.

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In Georgia, Facebook’s Changes Brought Back a Partisan News Feed

While Facebook’s controls were in place, we found that links to traditional news sites were present in almost all election-related posts that appeared on our Georgia panelists’ feeds. After Dec. 16, however, when Facebook flipped the switch to turn on political advertising for the Georgia election, we noticed that partisan content quickly elbowed out news sites, replacing a significant proportion of mentions of the election in our users’ feeds.

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China opens first 5G virtual reality theme park

China opened its first 5G virtual reality (VR) theme park in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The new theme park designed by VR entertainment company, Sky Limit Entertainment, is situated on a tourism street in the southern Chinese city of Liuzhou.

Visitors can enjoy simulation games and rides, player vs player games to parachute and ski simulators.

Meanwhile, VR Star Theme Park, located in Nanchang, previously led the way after opening its doors in 2019. Boasting three floors with more than 40 simulators, roller coasters, and high speed racing cars, it is heaven for VR fanatics.

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