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How Mobile Platforms Will Change Gaming

Question: How are mobile platforms changing video games?

Nicole Lazzaro:  Yeah, the iPhone and other…  The iPhone is taking gaming to a whole other level of play because it’s always with you.  It always with you and there are a lot of new sensors, so you’ve got accelerometer and geocoding, that sort of thing, and more importantly I think is it’s also social and so that social interaction that through game play because it has your contact list on it for example, you know, being able to bridge out to your friends and play together in these micro payments of time if you will is going to be a huge thing for the iPhone.  And I say this even though I invented the very first game to use the accelerometer.  The very first version of Tilt I designed with Joe Hewitt at iPhone dev camp about a week after the iPhone came out and we…  It was really fun because we just two web pages, one YouTube video and yet we got 250,000 visits because we mapped the mechanics of the game into the new control set of the iPhone and then also it created that sense of wonder, that curiosity, wonder and surprise and when people who had an iPhone…  They didn’t have an app store, no API or anything like that, so they could play with the things that came on the device, but if they hopped over to our web page they could have a whole new experience to show to their friends.  There was a lot of over the shoulder play as well. 

And so, you know, just sort of wrapping back in what we’ve got is this whole now set of games and it’s not just the control.  It’s not just the micro form that fits in your hand, but it’s that connectedness and the fact that I can asynchronously play with my friends again to sort of weave more social fabric with them.  That’s what is going to be the real killer app if you will you know for the iPhone.  And in fact, you know, with the new… the newly announced iPad, I predict that e-reading isn’t going to be the dominant… You know, reading your newspaper is not going to be the dominant use case at all.  The dominant thing is actually going to be gaming and two player gaming though.  I don’t think many people will, you know, hold that device that that’s large you know in front of them you know for that long to let’s say drive a car.  What will happen though is I could put it down you know in between us and then we have a… then we have a game board between us and then kind of like that Star Wars chess scene, you know, in Episode Three or whatever.  You can actually make moves and we can share that environment or we have it in our lap and we have this Battleship kind of experience where I can see some of your screen, but not.  That’s going to be… For the first time we’re going to have real face-to-face electronic gaming.  I can’t wait.  We’re going to be obviously taking Tilt to the iPad, and I can’t wait to see what developers come up with.

Recorded on February 16, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

Those who think newspaper reading will be the dominant use of the iPad are fooling themselves, says Nicole Lazzaro. It’s going to be gaming—especially two-player gaming "like that Star Wars chess scene."

Does conscious AI deserve rights?

If machines develop consciousness, or if we manage to give it to them, the human-robot dynamic will forever be different.

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  • Does AI—and, more specifically, conscious AI—deserve moral rights? In this thought exploration, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, ethics and tech professor Joanna Bryson, philosopher and cognitive scientist Susan Schneider, physicist Max Tegmark, philosopher Peter Singer, and bioethicist Glenn Cohen all weigh in on the question of AI rights.
  • Given the grave tragedy of slavery throughout human history, philosophers and technologists must answer this question ahead of technological development to avoid humanity creating a slave class of conscious beings.
  • One potential safeguard against that? Regulation. Once we define the context in which AI requires rights, the simplest solution may be to not build that thing.

A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
  • The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
  • The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
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Hints of the 4th dimension have been detected by physicists

What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?

Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
Technology & Innovation

Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

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Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.

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