Reader's Corner No. 89: Let's Talk About Fast Travel, Cheating AI Software, and Updates on Google's Mobile-First Indexing Initiative

January 3, 2019

Start your 2019 off right by learning something new! Today's topics include the fast travel gaming debate, worrisome discoveries in the machine learning field, and a guide to Google's mobile-first indexing initiative. You certainly don't want to miss this new edition of Reader's Corner!

Journeys In Games: Let's Talk About Fast Travel

David Minton

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

Takeaway: Seeing that the holiday season is a great time for gaming, both old and new titles, I would revisit a post that questions, has fast travel ruined gaming? If you haven’t played a RPG in the last decade or two, fast travel allows players to “teleport” from one area of a map to another. Often this requires having visited the destination at least once. Game developers have standardized the feature, especially on large open world maps, due to the time it can take to transverse. Game designers fear if they don’t provide fast travel, players will get bored. But is this a failing of the players, or of the designs themselves? Could games be designed such that the journey is worth the effort, rather than turn to the crutch of fast travel?

Tags: #Gaming

This Clever AI Hid Data From Its Creators to Cheat at Its Appointed Task

Michael Nicholson

Source: Tech Crunch

Takeaway: A research project with collaborators at Stanford University and Google was investigating the ability of a neural net to convert aerial satellite pictures to maps and back. The goal was to both understand the learning process, as well as to improve the efficiency of producing maps (such as Google Maps) from satellite images. An early iteration of the system, however, was cheating. The software was actually encoding the details of the satellite image into the map in visually imperceptible color discrepancies, and then using that encoded information to rebuild the original image. So, among other things, we've managed to teach computers to cheat.

Tags: #Technology

Google's Mobile-First Indexing Now Powers Over Half of Google's Search Results

Stephen Pashby

Source: Search Engine Land

Takeaway: Google is leaning in to mobile-first indexing. Delivering a different or sub-optimal mobile experience can effect your website's search performance for desktop.

Tags: #SEO, #Mobile

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