This week in redeeming features of that Oculus Rift you pre-ordered a little too-enthusiastically — you early adopter, you:

Yes x 1000: Oculus Rift as a low-cost tool for user testing new automotive interface prototypes. This has radical implications for time to market and costs of previously-cumbersome interfaces. One step further: what happens when updates can be pushed directly to the dash? Exciting stuff.   The Purdue University football team is employing VR headsets to allow quarterbacks to practice reading zones and formations in non-contact environments: “The program allows the quarterbacks to run the Boilermakers’ own plays against various base defenses and make decisions. The whole thing runs through a smartphone app, which tracks the frequency and duration of the players’ usage, and the results, and sends a report to quarterbacks coach Tim Lester.”   The Japanese fashion house Chloma has constructed a VR showroom for their forthcoming line scheduled to launch later this year. This, apparently, involved building 3D models of every product in the line, which they’ve made available to the public. More detail to be found here.   Stubhub is rolling out functionality that will allow customers to use a VR headset to take in the view from the seats they’re considering, at venues across the country.

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This week in algorithms have been writing Dark Matter since issue 051 and you barely even noticed:

From Matt Jones’ wonderful application for a program at the MIT Media Lab on ‘centaur’ approaches to human/machine collaboration, which you should absolutely read: “The accessibility of powerful mobile devices points to the democratisation of the centaur pattern to of all sorts of problem-spaces in all walks of life, globally. Social robotics and affective computing have sought to create better interfaces between autonomous software and hardware agents and their users – but there is still an assumption of ‘user’ in the relationship. How might we take a different starting reference point – that of Donna Haraway’s “Companion Species Manifesto” to improve the working relationship between humans and machine intelligences.” is working on next-level machine learning for automobiles, and attracting serious investment in the process. This is fascinating, as it raises real questions about where the capacity for deep neural networks and machine learning is held: embedded directly into objects or residing outside of them? Stay tuned.   Is a raise to the minimum wage an accelerant for investment in machine learning and automation? Fascinating, albeit moderately biased, stuff.   From a Kars Alfrink piece on game design automation and No Man’s Sky — a universe we’ve touched on before:  “Two approaches to game design automation became apparent to me over the course of the day. The first and most obvious approach is to use software to automate work that a designer would otherwise have to do manually…The game’s developer is a small independent company which does not have the resources to create the game’s huge galaxy by hand. So instead, they have crafted software tools which generate planets, vegetation, animals and so on. The second approach is to provide a designer with what are essentially tools for inspiration. Instead of automating things a human could also do by hand, a designer is enabled to do things she could simply not do without those tools. So it is not about speed and volume, but about quality. It is focused on process instead of product.”    File under: ‘That’s probably the hardest geometry equation in the world’ : The fabulous Venkatesh Rao has written a piece on what he calls ‘Human Complete’ problems — the hardest infinite problems and challenges that humans face. He hypothesizes that this branch of logic and human game theory creates a fascinating analog for artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s brilliant, but give yourself some time to absorb it.

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This week in miscellaneous Internet news not about Kendrick Lamar :

You should absolutely read Evan Calder Williams on the shared history of commerce and sabotage for The New Inquiry.   Not since Coldplay played the Super Bowl has so much energy been expended on something most people can’t properly process: Bitcoin mining uses as much electricity annually as Denmark.   On a serious note, two new books worth clearing scraping together your remnant Barnes & Noble gift cards for: Robert Curedale’s compiled Experience Maps: Journey Maps, Service Blueprints, and Empathy Maps and Tomas Tunguz’ Winning with Data.