It sometimes seems like technology is at odds with the art world — a tension between brain and heart. But plenty of artists, from Da Vinci to Cory Arcangel, have proved that’s not true, and continue to prove it as technology evolves. In Technographica, we explore how contemporary artists are using technology in unusual and unexpected ways. I’m standing in a massive warehouse studio in New York City, wearing a grey jumpsuit that’s randomly vibrating as I walk around. Sometimes, nothing happens, and the outfit just feels like an extra-thick space uniform that slightly restricts my range of motion. But every now and then, small buzzers near my shoulder blades and back will hop around against my skin. The jumpsuit, called Ceres, is connected to NASA’s Near Earth Object API, and those vibrations I’m feeling are indications of asteroids near Earth’s orbit. The suit is just a prototype, but the creators eventually want anyone to be able to wear it … [Read more...] about These three designers make wearables that measure the world around you
Experimental design psychology
Blizzard Entertainment doesn’t follow anyone’s playbook. It writes its own. We’ve seen that with games like Diablo, StarCraft, and Overwatch. And this approach applies to esports as well as to game development. In January, Hearthstone crowned its 2017 champion, Chen “tom60229” Wei-Lin, in Amsterdam, the first time Blizzard held finals for its card game outside of the company’s annual fan fest, BlizzCon. It was an ambitious trip, showing the importance of turning a championship round into a showcase for how a major publisher puts on a signature event. While in Amsterdam, I interviewed Che Chou and Matt Wyble, two of the people that run Hearthstone’s esports scene. Chou is the global franchise lead for the card game’s esports, and before he joined Blizzard in 2016, he ran Halo’s competitive gaming scene for 343 Industries and Microsoft. Wyble joined the Hearthstone team in 2013, and before that, he was an economics professor, a … [Read more...] about Hearthstone’s esports team has two secret weapons: a Halo vet and an Olympic aspirant
Google has been compared to Apple a fair bit lately. The company now produces two direct competitors to Apple’s biggest products with the Pixel 2 and the Pixelbook (going up against the iPhone and iPad Pro respectively). Samsung is still more likely to give Apple sleepless nights, but Google’s business model in many ways mirrors Apple’s more closely, as it is now responsible for producing both the hardware and the software for its flagship products. A comparison with Microsoft may be most apt But unlike Apple, Google is a software company first. Unlike Apple, it is only just getting into the hardware game in a big way. For that reason, I actually think a comparison with Microsoft may be most apt. Microsoft is a software company primarily. Windows is no doubt the company’s crowning achievement. But with the Surface line of products, the company has developed its own reference hardware to help lead the pack. With that comes improved performance that is only … [Read more...] about Google hardware: Where Google leads and where it lags
Hi. My name is Robbie, and I'm addicted to browser tabs. For years, I deluded myself into thinking they were an efficient way to gather information on a given subject. Or subjects. Sub-subjects, too. You see the problem. Which is why, for the past few months, I've been experimenting with a Chrome extension called xTab. It works by limiting the number of tabs I can have open in a given browser window. I set my limit at eight—the maximum amount I can open in a full-size window before the description field begins to shrink. The extension has advanced settings that will automatically close, say, my least-referenced tab, if I try to open more than eight, but I've configured mine to prevent me from opening another tab altogether. When I try to Command-T a ninth page into existence, it appears and disappears in a fraction of a second; my screen flashes white, and the row of tabs above my URL bar gives a glitchy judder. Tabbing occasionally offered me some organizational utility, but my … [Read more...] about Can Our Phones Save Us From Our Phones?
Before the invention of the computer, most experimental psychologists thought the brain was an unknowable black box. You could analyze a subject's behavior—ring bell, dog salivates—but thoughts, memories, emotions? That stuff was obscure and inscrutable, beyond the reach of science. So these behaviorists, as they called themselves, confined their work to the study of stimulus and response, feedback and reinforcement, bells and saliva. They gave up trying to understand the inner workings of the mind. They ruled their field for four decades. Then, in the mid-1950s, a group of rebellious psychologists, linguists, information theorists, and early artificial-intelligence researchers came up with a different conception of the mind. People, they argued, were not just collections of conditioned responses. They absorbed information, processed it, and then acted upon it. They had systems for writing, storing, and recalling memories. They operated via a logical, formal syntax. The … [Read more...] about Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs
From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century. I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil, the deservedly famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind and many other amazing things. Ray and I were both speakers at George Gilder's Telecosm conference, and I encountered him by chance in the bar of the hotel after both our sessions were over. I was sitting with John Searle, a Berkeley philosopher who studies consciousness. While we were talking, Ray approached and a conversation began, the subject of which haunts me to this day. I had missed Ray's talk and the subsequent panel that Ray and John had been on, and they now picked right up where they'd left off, with Ray saying that the rate of improvement of technology was going to accelerate and that we were going … [Read more...] about Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us
This article was originally published at The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. There is growing concern about crystal methamphetamine (ice) use in Australia and internationally, in part because of the psychological effects of the drug. Although most people who use ice do not experience psychological problems, about one in three people who use it regularly report experiencing psychosis in their lifetime. Research also suggests that up to 30% of people who experience ice psychosis go on to develop a long-term psychotic illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Our new study aimed to find out why some ice users are more likely to experience psychosis than others. Read more: Ice causes death in many ways, overdose is just one of them So what is ice psychosis? Psychosis refers to a range of mental health symptoms, including suspiciousness and paranoia, hallucinations, and unusual or … [Read more...] about What Is ‘Ice’ Psychosis?
Baba Is You is an innocuous little puzzler that emerged from the Nordic Game Jam last year — and it’s received nominations for four different awards for March’s Independent Games Festival. Its curious charm is undeniable, and draws on developer Arvi Teikari’s deep love for brainteasers like Jonathan Blow’s iconic indie title Braid and the quirky yet elegant Stephen’s Sausage Roll from Increpare. Teikari is hoping to release the game sometime this summer for PC, though he’s also considering “The theme of the [game jam] was ‘Not There,’ which made me think of the logical operator ‘Not,'” said Teikari in an email to GamesBeat. “I didn’t think much of it at first, but during the evening/night of the day the theme was announced, I got the mental image of a Sokoban-like game that used the Not operator. The mental image didn’t feel very interesting and I was sure that I’d run into some large … [Read more...] about The IndieBeat: Baba Is You is a charming puzzle game where words matter
The best that the PC has to offer For PC Gaming Week 2018, we here at TechRadar are celebrating all things PC gaming – and, we’ve collected all the best PC games you can play today right here on this list.Now that the best graphics cards are actually affordable again, right now is the best time to get into the best PC games available right now. Maybe you’ve heard all they hype around Far Cry 5 and Quake Champions and you want to see what all the hype is about. So, let this be your introduction.We went through the hundreds of PC games we’ve played to bring you the 40 best PC games – and you definitely need to try these games out for yourself. Even if a few of these games are best played with mouse and keyboard, many of the best PC games can also be played with a controller, if that’s more your style – we won’t judge. Also, some of the best PC games are also available on Xbox One or PS4, in case you haven’t hopped on the PC gaming … [Read more...] about 40 best PC games: the must-play titles you can’t afford to miss
Digital transformations are fashionable these days. You won't find an enterprise that isn't leveraging some combination of cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to better serve customers or streamline operations. But here's a hard truth about digital transformations: Many are failing outright or are in danger of failing. Half of 400 U.S.-based senior executives polled by Wipro Digital in 2017 believe their company isn’t successfully executing 50 percent of their strategies. One in 5 say their company’s digital transformation is a waste of time. Experts surveyed by CIO.com say there are specific impediments to driving the requisite change that transforms an enterprise. Following are 12 issues derailing digital transformations today. 1. Lack of consensus on what digital transformation means Lack of a clear transformation strategy was cited by 35 percent of executives as a key barrier to achieving its full digital potential, according to Wipro Digital. … [Read more...] about 12 reasons why digital transformations fail