Delicious Digest #8 – Deepfakes, Liquid People, and Immortal Avatars

A weekly newsletter of what I’ve seen in (mostly) tech & games and thought was interesting. This week: deepfakes, liquid people, and immortal avatars.

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😳 Must reads of the week

◼ “2019 Year In Review” from Superdata/Nielsen. Lots of stats and figures on games and interactive media overall. Key take-aways: mobile titles earn almost 3 out of every 5 dollars spent – and 4 out 5 dollars are spent in F2P. Link

◼ Liquid people, walking barcodes, and designing intelligence: Fjord’s 2020 Trends (Fjord is Accenture’s design and innovation unit). My favorite: digital doubles. Uncanny. Link

🗞 Tech News

◼ Facebook is trying to bans deepfake videos ahead of the next presidential election. Seems half-hearted given that the video who started the discussion would still pass as “parody or satire”. In the long run, this will be an interesting arms race to watch: AI-driven generators vs. AI-driven detectors. Link

◼ Speaking of which: Facebook and Reuters provide this online workshop to identify manipulated media. Link

◼ Amazon, meanwhile, has a problem with fake products that can be dangerous for kids, such as fake car seats. Most people don’t even know that buying from Amazon is not the same as buying on Amazon, which is a huge part of Amazon’s business. Link

◼ Google Assistant turns into a universal translator. Just imagine how good and immediate this will be in 10, 20 years. It’s these moments when I realize that my kids might never understand the joke about the Babel fish. Link

◼ Interview with Google AI chief Jeff Dean on machine learning trends in 2020. Link

◼ “Chinese criminal gangs spreading African swine fever to force farmers to sell pigs cheaply so they can profit”. Because they can. Link

🕹 Games

◼ Clash of Clans increased bookings by +27% in 2019 after a few years of continuous decline. How? Looks like mostly through the Battle pass. Link

◼ New game releases on Steam have slowed down a lot in 2019, while game prices increased for the first time since 2014. No platform is safe from the rapid consolidation in the market. Link

◼ PS4 has been sold 106m times and more than 1.15 billion games have been sold for the platform. Also, the PS5 logo is unsurprisingly boring. Link

◼ Number of adults over age 50 playing games regularly is on the rise (mostly mobile). This isn’t really surprising. It’s the first generation that grew up with videogames. What’s interesting is the fact that this segment will just keep growing - and most have money. Link

◼ Blizzard hands off running esports of StarCraft 2 and Warcaft III Reforged to ESL and Dreamhack. Link

◼ Top Mobile Games by Worldwide Revenue for December 2019: PUBG Mobile going really strong. Link

◼ Grand Theft Auto V was the most downloaded game of Christmas in Europe. It’s like the Candy Crush of console. Link

◼ How bullets work in video games (easy enough to understand for non-programmers). Link

😋 Tasty Tidbits

◼ The Year In Photos: Jason Kottke’s compiled a shortlist of most important and impactful photos of 2019 with links to full lists from outlets such as the NYT. Hong Kong protest, Greta, black holes and more. Link

◼ IndieWire’s Senior Film Critic David Ehrlich picks his 25 favorite movies of the year. Link

◼ Not new but I recently stumbled across it again: “history of japen” by Bill Wurtz. Pure Internet Gold (PIG™). Link (Video)

◼ “Downlink” is a nifty little Mac app that lets you download real-time satellite images – including setting a specific section of Earth and make it an ever-changing, custom screen saver. Link

◼ Making popcorn with a blow torch and a hair dryer. Don’t try this at home, kids. Link (Video)

I work for King. All views in this newsletter are personal and my own. They do not represent the views of King or ActivisionBlizzard. This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only and it’s surely no investment advice. This newsletter links to other websites and information obtained from third-party sources and I cannot ensure nor verify accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.