Episode 173 – Babel Fish

Computer to computer communications protocols used to start with a high pitched whine & crackle over a telephone line, using a modem – a modulator / demodulator – to establish a handshake.  Computer to computer interactions are nothing new — but AI to AI interfaces are becoming more and more common.  We discussed some of the ramifications in earlier episodes of the podcast — links below for those — and now we turn to how artificial intelligences create optimized methods of communication between themselves.  Like the Twitch example of two Google Home bots talking with one another, the first few articles tell the story of how Facebook and Google AIs created a new way to communicate more effectively by negotiating with one another.

The Google example for the translation services reminded Michael and Michael of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Babel Fish translation concept of a fish that fits in your ear to automatically translate one language to another.  The Bragi Dash in ear headphones are designed to do just this.  Pretty futuristic stuff.

Riffing on what our friend @epredator tweeted, the team discusses the ramifications of knowing what people are looking at in VR in the YouTube Creator Blog.   And the last item deals with gamification to improve cyber defense.  What would you think could benefit from a blue team vs red team gamified process?

Selected links 

The Atlantic article:  An Artificial Intelligence Developed Its Own Non-Human Language — https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/06/artificial-intelligence-develops-its-own-non-human-language/530436/

Tech Crunch article:  Google’s AI tool seems to have invented its own secret internal language — https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/22/googles-ai-translation-tool-seems-to-have-invented-its-own-secret-internal-language/

The Atlantic article:  What an AI’s Non-Human Language Actually Looks Like — https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/06/what-an-ais-non-human-language-actually-looks-like/530934/

Twitch: C:>Bots Chat — https://www.twitch.tv/seebotschat

Edelweiss Little Singers of Armenia — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JMHXbxZYf4

Wired article:  Bragi’s Fancy New Earbuds Translate for You in Real Time — https://www.wired.com/2017/05/bragis-fancy-new-earbuds-translate-real-time/

Babel Fish, probably the oddest thing in the galaxy — http://hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Babel_Fish

Games At Work Episode 51:  Tea.  Bojangles.  Hot. — http://gamesatwork.biz/2013/06/30/episode-51-tea-bojangles-hot/

Games At Work: Episode 159:  Virtually Secure — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/01/22/episode-159-virtually-secure/

Games At Work Episode 163:  Chat Me Maybe — http://gamesatwork.biz/2017/02/27/episode-163-chat-me-maybe/

YouTube Creator blog:  Hot and Cold: Heatmaps in VR — https://youtube-creators.googleblog.com/2017/06/hot-and-cold-heatmaps-in-vr.html

Mind over Machines blog: Symphony of Big Data — http://mindovermachines.com/blog/a-symphony-of-big-data/

Security Intelligence:  Game Over: Improving Your Cyber Analyst Workflow Through Gamification — https://securityintelligence.com/game-over-improving-your-cyber-analyst-workflow-through-gamification/

What are the co-hosts playing these days?

Michael R:  TechCrunch article:  SEGA’s new SEGA forever collection brings classic games to mobile for free — https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/21/segas-new-sega-forever-collection-brings-classic-games-to-mobile-for-free/

Michael M:  Yoga Studio — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yoga-studio/id567767430?mt=8


Episode 168 – Reboot vs Repeat

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.   Michael and Michael discuss the difference between reboots and repeats using movies such as the Matrix and Aliens, as well as in the gaming world such as Leisure Suit Larry and the Nimblebit games.  The review of Thimbeweed Park serves as a tremendous launch point for this conversation.

Rounding out the show, the team talks about the recent innovation from Adidas, shoes made from bioengineered spider silk.  3D printing remains a hot topic with both of them, as evidenced by Michael R’s recent creation, a sausage roll prop used for the Durham Savoyard’s recent Gilbert & Sullivan production of The Grand Duke.

selected links 

Ars Technica article : Thimbleweed Park review: Nostalgic to a fault — https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/04/thimbleweed-park-review-nostalgic-to-a-fault/

Daria creator imagines what the cast looks like 20 years later — https://consequenceofsound.net/2017/04/daria-creator-imagines-what-the-cast-looks-like-20-years-later/

Leisure Suit Larry — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leisure_Suit_Larry

Ultima — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_%28series%29

Nimblebit games — http://nimblebit.com

Nimblebit’s Bit City — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bit-city/id914343148?mt=8

Wired UK article : These lightweight adidas shoes are made from spider silk grown in a lab — https://www.wired.co.uk/article/adidas-futurecraft-biofabric-shoes

Durham Savoyards — http://durhamsavoyards.org

Grand Duke 2014 – 02, Opening Chorus, Sausage-roll song — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCDPIc8Yyvw


Episode 167 – Robotic Physics


Michael and Michael start this episode with big robots.  As in extra huge robots.  Like Mecha-sized robots.  The articulation of the robot Jeff Bezos piloted was reminiscent of the one that the character Eileen Ripley piloted in the Aliens movies (see video above).  Michael R was also reminded of the NASA Valkyrie robot, and it’s mission to go to Mars ahead of humans to set up the environment for human habitation.  Walking on two legs, and being roughly human-sized, the form factor is well suited to ensuring that the habitat structure such robots would build would be on the appropriate scale and work for the humans to follow.

The team also looks at a few learning games, starting with Big Bang Legends, which teaches the players about particle physics, and uses a SaaS subscription method the game company Lightneer calls “Learn to Play” that replaces video ads with a monthly fee.  This game reminded Michael M of DragonBox, a game that his kids really enjoyed that taught them algebraic skills while they weren’t really looking.

Michael R gave a shot at compiling the ported Pokemon Yellow Game Boy game to Apple Watch, but did not succeed during the recording session — will be interesting to see how it goes!

Rounding out the show, and just as Michael R predicted in the last episode, Michael M has been playing the new Nimblebit Bit City game, and, again, just as Michael R predicted, has been crushing it.

selected links 

PC Mag article: Jeff Bezos Pilots a Giant Robot — http://www.pcmag.com/news/352476/jeff-bezos-pilots-a-giant-robot

TechCrunch article: In a Massachusetts warehouse, NASA’s Valkyrie robot helps lay the groundwork for Mars settlements — https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/18/nasa-valkyrie-robot/

NASA’s Valkyrie robot — https://www.nasa.gov/feature/valkyrie/

Mecha — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecha

Robotech — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macross

Mashable article: This game is teaching particle physics to five-year-olds — http://mashable.com/2017/03/23/big-bang-legends/

Big Bang Legends — http://www.bigbanglegends.com

DragonBox — http://dragonboxapp.com

Making Giovanni, a Game Boy Emulator for the Apple Watch — http://gabrieloc.com/2017/03/21/GIOVANNI.html

Nimblebit’s Bit City — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bit-city/id914343148?mt=8


Episode 164 – Addictive AR




Michael and Michael start this episode off with an excellent roundup of how technology gets that dopamine drip going with an article from The Guardian that focuses on the newly published book by Adam Alter, Irresistible.  Starting with the psychological and cultural affinity with liking content, and proceeding quickly to the linkages between gambling and games, the article walks the path to augmented reality and virtual reality — what makes an experience repeatable and desirable to come back to again and again.

Turning their attention to augmented reality, Michael and Michael imagine the the future of not only designing 3D spaces with the Microsoft Hololens, but also how the perspective of the user of such technology is afforded the chance to see directly what could not be physically possible.  Not everyone can have a front row seat in the operating (or other) theater, but with AR & VR you can — and this begins to open up whole new worlds of possibility.

Michael M shares his experience from an Uber ride in New York this past week, where the car was outfitted with a Mobileye device that watches for speed limits, distance between the driver’s car and those ahead, as well as lane departure warnings.  This aftermarket option provides visual and audio alerts to the driver, and sparked a conversation on the nature of event data recording in automotive black boxes.

The team rounded out the episode with the Sony Xperia Touch Projector, which turns any surface into an interactive environment, prompting Michael R to break out his Magic Cube virtual laser keyboard.  Only a matter of time before the sharks with lasers appear…

selected links 

The Guardian article:  How Technology Gets Us Hooked — https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/feb/28/how-technology-gets-us-hooked

Irresistible by Adam Alter — http://adamalterauthor.com/irresistible/

Mashable article:  Why I Flooded Instagram With Likes — http://mashable.com/2014/02/14/lovematically-instagram/

Microsoft Devices Blog:  Stryker chooses Microsoft Hololens to bring operating room design into the future with 3D — https://blogs.windows.com/devices/?p=259304?ocid=newsletter_ema_omc_hol_Stryker

Techcrunch article:  Mobileye outfits 4,500 for-hire cars in NYC with collision avoidance tech — https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/17/mobileye-outfits-4500-for-hire-cars-in-nyc-with-collision-avoidance-tech/
Mobileye features YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXpiyLUEOOY

Event data recorder — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_data_recorder

A Car’s Black Box — http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/09/how-your-car-is-tracking-you/index.htm

Wired article:  Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium screen is so high-quality it’s better than most people’s TVs  — https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/17/mobileye-outfits-4500-for-hire-cars-in-nyc-with-collision-avoidance-tech/

Magic Cube virtual laser keyboard — http://www.virtual-laser-devices.com/Magic%20Cube_Final.pdf


Episode 137 – Augmented Reality in the Boardroom & Beyond

Episode 137 – Augmented Reality in the Boardroom & Beyond was recorded on Friday, the 20th of May 2016.

Microsoft’s Hololens NFL of the future —

Phaedra and Michael M take time out to talk about mental wellness gaming applications, a “first person shooter” from the perspective of a civillian struggling to survive, and corporate collaboration applications making great use of data visualizations for problem solving now, and for the opportunities for machine learning and augmented reality for the future.

Michael was very impressed with the Microsoft Surface he saw at the SAP SapphireNow coference in Orlando last week, and made the connection for how the Microsoft Hololens product could make the collaboration even greater with augmented reality — not just for business applications, but also for medical scenaros, where a specialist could ‘beam into’ the operating theater, and highlight what needed to be done for the surgeons in the room.

We hope you enjoy the show!

Selected Links

War of Mine by 11 bit studios — http://www.11bitstudios.com/games/16/this-war-of-mine

SapphireNow — http://events.sap.com/sapphirenow/en/home

Knowledge Workspace (play at 1:26:00 mark) — http://tinyurl.com/zx5blzq

IMG_5400  IMG_5399
Digital Boardroom — (play at 38:51 mark) — http://tinyurl.com/h6zgbj6

IMG_5347 IMG_5348

Virtual Reality & the Digital Boardroom — http://blog-sap.com/analytics/2016/05/16/check-out-the-sap-digital-boardroom-and-virtual-reality-experience-at-sapphirenow/

Washington Post “Why virtual reality won’t transform sports viewing” — https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/05/16/why-virtual-reality-wont-transform-sports-viewing/


Episode 134 – Swords and Virtual Realities

Michael R and Phaedra are back after a prolonged absence, and we obsess about all kinds of conferences. Phaedra is in the middle of conference season, but joins Michael this week to look at a whole host of great ideas on MindCraft, NASA, App Challenges, Simulation, and Virtual Realities. We also take an amazing trip down memory lane to relive the Worst Game that Phaedra has ever played!

Do us a favor, drop us a five star rating on iTunes and for Review post a story on the worst game you’ve ever played!

Show Links:
East Coast Gamers Conference
SwitchPoint Conference
Egg Salad Sandwich – no actually EdSim Challenge!

MindCraft Segment
Medical MindCraft
Microsoft Training AI with MineCraft

Space and Simulations
breveWalker App
On The Origin of Species
Timex Sinclair
The Game of Life
Nasa Space Apps Challenge
The Marge-ian Chronicles

VR Segment
IBM’s real-life Sword Art Online
Sony PlayStation and VR

Star Wars Battlefront
STEM in 30 from Air and Space Museum
The NiceBot says “Hello”

Games we are playing
Michael R – Futurama game
Phaedra – A very old Gaming review for the Worst Game ever!


Episode 133 – Game Brains


Episode 133 – Game Brains was recorded on Friday, the 18th of February 2016.

Does playing video games make you smarter?  Michael and Michael answer this question with a resounding “maybe”, as they go through a tour of several interesting links, from Google’s DeepMind computer playing Go, to Volvos starting up without keys, to toys that think and 3D printing going back to 1964 with plastigoop.

We hope you enjoy the show!

Selected links
Can Video Games make you Smarter? — https://youtu.be/OOsqkQytHOs
Luminosity — http://www.lumosity.com
Gmailification — http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/17/google-launches-gmailify-a-way-to-use-gmails-best-features-with-non-gmail-accounts/
Mailbox — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mailbox/id576502633?mt=8
Airmail — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/airmail-your-mail-with-you/id993160329?mt=8
Google Now — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Now
Connected Toys and the Serious Business of Play — http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/15/the-serious-business-of-play/
Mattel 3d printer — http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/15/mattel-thingmaker-3d-printer/
Mattel’s Creepy Crawler Thingmaker with Plastigoop — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creepy_Crawlers
Sphero — http://www.sphero.com/starwars
Teddy Ruxpin — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy_Ruxpin
Monopoly — http://www.avclub.com/article/monopoly-now-cashless-economy-232281
DeepMind plays Go —  http://mashable.com/2016/01/27/google-ai-beats-go-champ
Pacman 256 — http://pac-man256.net
Rogue on iOS —  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rogue/id298113808?mt=8
Volvo keyless cars — http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35611130
Keyless remote app — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/car-remote-keyless-entry/id718121721?mt=8
Smartphone app ride pickup zone — https://twitter.com/doctorow/status/700734551132282880
Global Gamification Market estimated to be $11.1B by 2020 — http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160218006350/en/Global-Gamification-Market-Worth-USD-11.10-Billion

Games Michael & Michael are playing
Michael R — A Tiny Game of Pong — http://mashable.com/2016/02/17/apple-watch-a-tiny-game-pong
Michael M — Tomb of the Mask — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tomb-of-the-mask/id1057889290?mt=8


Episode 122 – Motivational Design


Phaedra and Michael M start off the show with a discussion about Phaedra’s experience at the SimTecT conference in Adelaide, Australia.  Phaedra reflected on an interesting question posed to her while at the conference — how motivational design could be used to extract someone from an indoctrinated, calcified way of thinking.  Motivational design leads to humanitarian design and then on to persuasive design, not just for simulation content, but also for how the experience is created and tailored for the user to know when and how to interrupt their flow for maximum benefit and impact.

As you pass through the rabbit hole, and into the game, you learn something new.

We hope you enjoy this episode!

Selected links

SimTecT conferencehttp://www.simtect.com.au
SimTecT speakers, with Phaedra on the top rowhttp://simtect.com.au/speakers
Phaedra’s Master Class on Gamificationhttp://simtect.com.au/master-class–phaedra-boinodiris-
Coleco Head to Head Footballhttp://www.ebay.com/sch/items/?_nkw=coleco+football&_sacat=&_ex_kw=&_mPrRngCbx=1&_udlo=&_udhi=&_sop=12&_fpos=&_fspt=1&_sadis=&LH_CAds=&rmvSB=true 
Switchpoint conference in Saxapahaw, NChttp://event.switchpointideas.com
Pokemon Go — http://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-go/


What’s been going on

There is something about spring that seems to impact our co-hosts getting together.  Between the demands of work schedules, conferences, and holidays with friends and family I would like to apologize for the infrequency of our podcast.  At one point in time we had planned on having a bunch of reserve episodes in backup that we could post, but that is not really fair to you, the listeners.  So for this week, I am going to write a quick post about some interesting things I’ve seen lately.

My schedule has been impacted by a bunch of customer visits and conferences lately, one of those conferences was RSA in San Fransisco.  RSA is one of the largest security conferences each year, and it was completely overwhelming.  You can go to my other blog for my daily quick reports on the conference over at Triangle App Show. There were two items at that conference that I think would have made great discussion topics on this podcast,  however, I will blog about them instead.

Bugcrowd and Cyber Patriot:

Bugcrowd – is a crowd sourcing platform which specializes in security testing of public applications.  It uses many of the traditional gamificafion techniques of leaderboards, non-traditional currencies (Kudos), and adds in real bug bounties for cash.  Companies will hire bugcrowd to get a group of testers who are unleashed on a site or app, and have to report bugs that they find.  While talking to the team at bugcrowd one of the original founders at topcoder came up and asked how they vet their participants.  This was a big issue for TopCoder when they looked at offering a similar service, and due to liability they decided not to offer it.  How do you stop a would be black hat from using the service to uncover bugs and not report them, only to then sell them on the gray market.  To me this was the part where bugcrowd didn’t understand the dynamics of the game.  Their basic premise is they only open up the call for participants on public sites or apps, so a real black hat wouldn’t join the game and just do their hacking independently.  I am not sure that this is true, since the black hat can see what exploits others are finding and sell them as short lived zero days.  I have been reading the book Future Crimes by Marc Goodman, and the value of zero days on social sites, even short lived, could easily be worth more on the gray market than the entire bounty of the bugcrowd game.  Setting up the right game mechanics could solve this, but could reduce the incentive for participants to build on the work of others.

Cyber Patriot
The Cyber Patriot program is a aimed at grade school kids to teach them about ethical hacking, security and privacy on the internet. At the RSA conference there was an area with an entire focus on cyber safety for kids. This area included many interesting companies (more on them over at my other blog – Triangle App Show. At the time of the show, the Cyber Patriot program had two competitions, one for Middle-school kids and one for High School kids. The structure of the contest allowed for state and regional competitions all leading to a national competition where the best of the best got a free trip for the team and their instructor. The national competition allows for students to compete head to head on identifying and solving a cyber security challenge. What I found interesting talking to the individual at the booth, was that they Cyber Patriot program recognized that waiting for Middle School was too late. As such they were about to launch in a few weeks (and they have by now) a program for younger kids – all the way down to Kindergarten. The younger children will get a much more “mario type” gaming mechanic as a way to help them learn and understand cyber safety and cyber security. I find this a great way of teaching kids the implications of our online lives.
A quick parallel to the last thought, as we’ve had more and more breaches of customer information in the news, healthcare systems, store credit cards, social networks, etc. the issue of identity theft is becoming more critical. Not just the identity of an adult, but that of our children. If a cyber criminal can get an identity tied to a young child, they can leverage that for 10+ years of fraud, ultimately ruining the future reputation of your children. Think about how you are protecting your children from this identity theft.

As we move forward with the podcast, I am sure we will be opening the aperture and extending our topics beyond just the gamification discussion. Having said that, please drop us a note if you have any ideas of what you’d like to hear more of. Thanks for all your support – and keep Playing Games!! AT WORK!