Ladies and gentlemen, this is the news.
Your usual newshound, Ben Davis, is on holiday yet again this week, so it falls to me to do the roundup. I’ll try to retain his joie de vivre, I’d hate for anyone to think I was anything less than thrilled about writing this post for him.
Anyway, this week’s joyful roundup includes a dancing hot dog, sumo AIs, and Super Mario. But first…
Fido’s photo folder
Animal lovers rejoice! Google Photos can now recognise and categorise pictures of your pets. That’s probably useful for something.
Apparently it’s smart enough to distinguish between different breeds of an animal, but might struggle to differentiate if you happen to have identical Siamese cats.
Flying Mexican food
We’ve reached another milestone on our evolutionary journey towards becoming fleshy blobs that need never leave our gilded cages nor interact with other humans.
Google’s Project Wing is trialling burrito deliveries by drone in Australia. Why? Well, why not?
VR Mario Kart!
I feel that exclamation mark is warranted for this slice of news. I’ve only tried VR a handful of times but I’ve always been hugely impressed by just how immersive and real it feels. And who doesn’t bloody love Mario Kart?
Well the two are now combined in an arcade game that apparently doesn’t disappoint. According to The Verge: “What you’re waiting to hear is that this is an incredible experience. And, well, it really, really is. The sense of scale is phenomenal, whether you’re dodging giant Piranha Plants or being overtaken by a colossal Bowser.
“Although the graphics aren’t technically much more advanced than the Mario Kart arcade games, it’s hard to convey just how immersive it feels in VR.”
Currently you’ll have to travel to Japan if you want a go on the game, but hopefully it won’t be long before it’s available elsewhere. This video gives a glimpse, alongside a few of the other games on offer at the arcade.
Super Mario theme on a calculator
More Mario news. This time we owe a debt of thanks to The Next Web for highlighting a YouTube channel called It’s A Small World which has managed to recreate the Super Mario Bros. theme tune using four calculators.
The channel’s owners have taken on a number of other tunes, including Despacito and the Game of Thrones theme.
How’s that business model coming along?
Snapchat investors will be thrilled to find out that the company has stumbled on a new way to make money. The photo app is now flogging hot dog costumes on Amazon.
AI vs. AI
This video might look bizarre, but apparently it’s a very efficient way to train AI neural networks.
Researchers at Elon Musk’s OpenAI pitted two AIs against each other in simulations of human sports in order to teach them… I’m not sure what. Apparently this gameplay method ensures the AIs are always learning as they have to come up with new ways to defeat their AI opponent.
Facebook is testing
An intrepid designer called Luke Wroblewski gave us an insight into the extent of Facebook’s user testing this week.
With the help of Twitter users he managed to identify 66 different active versions of Facebook’s mobile nav. Which one are you currently lumbered with?
— Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) October 17, 2017