The real trombone champ, Google’s special treatment, and more: THE WEEKLY RECAP (2022#39)

Lots of funny stories this week. Trombone Champ is blowing it, Jack Dorsey is a maniac, AI keeps spreading over all the aspects of our life, Google manages to be evil again, and people are finally starting to take action against the nonsensical fashion industry. Let’s start:

The real trombone champ

That was quick! People are already playing Trombone Champ (the first real contender for Elden Ring as game of the year) with real trombones.

In case you did not know, Trombone Champ is the best musical video game since Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. Take a look if you do not believe me:

Trombone Controls Virtual Trombone, on Hackaday
Modders are playing Trombone Champ with trombones, on Eurogamer

Fashion this

In less than 100 years, people went from having clothes that laster for decades to buying stuff that will be used less than 100 times. Also, the clothing industry grew to an astonishing size while generating an environmental footprint that has destroyed not only multiple ecosystems, but also many societies. Take, for example, the case of Inditex (Zara, etc.). First they made every tailor around working for them, then they moved their production to poor countries (which caused those people to lose their jobs), where you pay ridiculous amounts of money and use natural resources to produce cheap pieces that richer people will buy year after year (if they can afford it after losing their jobs, of course). Fast fashion at its finest.

The people at Nature wrote an interesting piece on how this crazy system could be improved, and while the future does not look too bright, there is still hope that people will start consuming in more reasonable ways (and from better sellers).

Small steps are good, but big changes are needed. There’s no time to waste when it comes to changing textiles manufacture and design. The shameful environmental cost of a whizzy new wardrobe needs to be tackled immediately, at scale, with style and panache.

How fast fashion can cut its staggering environmental impact, on Nature

Among us ඞ

More news on AI this week. The people on Nature did a nice writeup on the changes that automatic image analysis has seen in the recent years based on deep learning:

“We’ve really had a Cambrian explosion of tools for deep learning in the past few years,” says Beth Cimini, a computational biologist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Then there were a couple announcements on the field of text-2-image generators. First, OpenAI removed the waitlist for DALL·E 2, so now anyone can go play with the technology. Second, Facebook has shown their AI text-2-video generator. I can’t wait to see which democracy they try to destroy first with this tool.

Five ways deep learning has transformed image analysis, on Nature
Meta’s new text-to-video AI generator is like DALL-E for video, on The Verge
OpenAI removes the waitlist for DALL-E 2, allowing anyone to sign up, on TechCrunch

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Another service that gets the Google treatment. Even if this was not a surprise at all (I have the feeling everyone was waiting for the announcement), I cannot help but wonder on how the company manages their services. I think it has been almost a decade I do not use any new service from them, and the main reason is that I feel they will kill it in just a few months, no matter whether it ends being useful or not.
This particular case is amazing, as they launched a video game streaming service that has been out there for a shorter time than modern games take to make. Anyway, I am sorry for the (small) user base, but even more for the people who were working there and the devs that were planning to launch their titles on the platform.

A message about Stadia and our long term streaming strategy, on
Sunsetting Google Stadia, on Michael Tsai – Blog
Google is shutting down Stadia, on The Verge
Source: Stadia turned down an exclusive Death Stranding follow-up from Kojima, on 9to5Google

Twitterverse news

A couple interesting articles this week related to Twitter (but for very different reasons). The first one is another perfect example of how delusional Silicon Valley overlords can be. It covers the release of several text messages between Elon Musk (that guy), Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter), and Parag Agrawal (current CEO of Twitter, let’s see for how long) in relation to Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy Twitter a few months ago.

Dorsey is entirely on board with the acquisition — “I won’t let this fail and will do whatever it takes. It’s too critical to humanity,” he pledges. 

The second one covers the start and later buildup of a fake news piece, in this case about the Chinese government and a supposed coup. The story was spread through Twitter at an incredible speed, amplified first by some activists against the government, and shared later by thousands of accounts on India.

How Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and Parag Agrawal cratered the Twitter deal, in texts, on The Verge
How the false rumor of a Chinese coup went viral, on the MIT technology review
China’s Xi reemerges after trip abroad quashing unfounded ‘coup’ rumors, on CNN

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

Featured image: Trombone Champ

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