I am trying to stay away from most of the news about the pandemic, so there's some trivial stuff in this newsletter. I know there is some amazing stuff happening as tech attempts to challenge the virus, but I am going to skip it here. This week:
👃A computer that can smell.
🧑🏿🤝🧑🏾 Crowdsourced distractions for your lockdown.
✏️ Amazing 3D illustrations made with Blender.
📰 From the Newsroom
Is this the eSports revolution? 🎮
Real drivers, virtual cars, zero points F1 will be holding virtual versions of all canceled races. F1 has had an eSports division for some time, so the pivot was simple. It's not really part of the competitive gaming world, not all of the 20 drivers will take part, the roster will be filled out with celebrities, and World Championship Points will be on offer.
On the other hand, CS:GO is going hard At the start of March a CS:GO tournament was viewed by over a million spectators. Chart busting numbers are being seen on Steam every day; over 20 million online users a day, 6.5 million playing a game, and CS:GO players peaking at a record high 1,023,229. There were so many users that, for the first time ever, I didn't get an immediate update when I opened Steam.
Could eSports go mainstream? It already has. Remember the Fortnite fad of 2019? Even before this, universities, schools, England's Premier League and the NBA have official competitions and entry to the Call of Duty league costs $25 million. But the biggest indicator that we're not just playing in MUDs anymore arrived when Louis Vuitton partnered with League of Legends.
What to do? Based on these numbers, I have forbidden my son to play with soccer balls; there's no future in it. I make him play with an unattached Playstation control (so he learns the fundamentals).
In this world, first they get the jobs, then they get the thoughts, then they get the smells. 🤖
It has been a good week for the "weird things algorithms can do" file.
New materials Researchers at MIT used machine learning to speed up the discovery of new materials. The tool sifted through millions of options to deliver a new battery material in just five weeks (slicing 49-odd years off the standard delivery time). Could machine learning have delivered the genius that is velcro? That remains to be seen.
You didn't need to say anything, Dave Scientists have invented a mind-reading machine that converts neuron activity into words. It's only been tested on four people so far, but the error rate was as low as 3%. The good news is that it only works when someone is speaking out loud. My love for NKOTB is safe, for now.
Manufacturing at the olfactory The smell chip combines an electrical circuit with an algorithm to distinguish between different scents. This is just the beginning with researchers getting all Frankenstein with their promise to "work our way in and into the brain".
⛓️ Ten Must See Links of the Month
- A crowdsourced list of things to keep you away from the news updates during the pandemic.
- Cute 3D illustrations covering pop-culture's finest from Harry Potter through GoT to Star Wars.
- I consider myself a WFH expert because I successfully get out of my pjs each day. Turns out there's a lot more to it. 78 experts share better tips.
- If you read the entire list above, then you'll need tips to help you prevent burnout
- Loved this: Board Game Remixing Kit with ideas for new games using pieces from other board game staples.
- A great list of things to consider when looking for an agency. I'd also recommend it as a way for agency owners to help clients figure out what they want.
- If you enjoyed Uncut Gems, then read this article. It has a few real-life stories from the gem trade.
- Mailchimp has partnered with SXSW to screen the 2020 short films.
- Shimon is a musical robot with an album dropping on Spotify. I loved the fact that even with a robot there is still "creative friction".
- My link of the week 11 things to add to, free-range, scrambled eggs.
That's all for this week.
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Have a great week,