Some Things I Read Last Week Jan 2 — Jan 8

By Andrew Nemr

Holographic video, teaching a computer to play MarioKart 64, the coolest tech from CES, and more in this edition of Some Things I Read Last Week.

In case you missed last week:

Society & Social Media

It’s a common fallacy that forcing people to use their real name or identity online will prevent harassment. This article breaks down why that’s wrong, and how to address harassment and identity online. This particularly struck a chord with me, as I’ve heard this fallacy repeated frequently in regards to VR.

Artificial Intelligence

This is a great and fun article on teaching AI to play the classic MarioKart 64 just by capturing screenshots and button presses of a player. What’s impressive to me is how much easier it is to do something like this than it would have been several years ago.

While at times this article seems to imply that other AI companies are unaware of these challenges, it does a good job of covering why processing language is so challenging even when compared to other AI tasks like object recognition.

Technology

This article is about Firefox moving from their several decade old Gecko rendering engine to the Rust based Servo rendering engine, but this is a reoccurring issue in software. How do you transition to a new technology while still addressing current users of your software? Other projects that have tried to make the changes “While Still Flying” have taken years to complete, or never completed the change. We’ll have to see how Firefox fares.

Terminals are the powerhouse for most developers. So why are they still using slow outdated technology under the hood?

Science & Mathematics

Prime numbers are at the core of most public encryption and number theory. This fantastic article breaks down the most famous prime number conjecture, The Riemann Hypothesis.

Virtual Reality

Goole announce a new Artist In Residence program for VR that includes 60 artists!

This was one of my favorite things from CES. Intel showed off their technology to take truly holographic video. Meaning, you can actually look and move around in the video!

Tech From CES

The Consumer Electronic Show was last week, and there were a lot of exciting announcements, particularly in the world of VR & AR.

Acer, Dell, HP, and 3Glass all announced Windows Holographic compatible VR head

HTC announced a new tracker accessory for the Vive allowing all sorts of new accessories to be used with their VR system (including some new VR gloves!). Personally, I’d love to see one of these attached to a phone or tablet case, so that I can see what a person inside the headset is seeing. It’d also be great to see this tracker attached to a Daydream or GearVR headset to allow for positional tracking

Ricoh currently makes one of the most popular 3D cameras, and their newly announced model is capable of 24hr live streaming.

This new phone from ASUS is capable of 3D scanning in the environment and using that to provide AR and VR capabilities.

Intel announced a VR headset, code named Alloy, that has all of the components built into the headset, allowing for a completely untethered experience.

ODG announced a new Augmented Reality headset with up to 50 degrees field of view.