In this weeks edition of Gaming and Tech news, we revel in the fact that it is now possible to win real life gold medal for playing FIFA, break down the announcement of a new offline mode for Instagram and we navigate our way through news of new facial recognition software to be set up in western airports!
It’s now possible to win a (real life!) medal for playing games!
eSports may be a relatively new term for most people in Zimbabwe, but it’s something that most people know about offhandedly. eSports is a profession that most prep and highs school kids (usually boys!) dream of pursuing: Playing video games professionally! The big news concerning e-sports right now is the fact that it will be included in the official sporting programme of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said it wanted to reflect “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation”. Competitive video gaming will also feature as a demonstration sport in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Alongside FIFA 2017, gamers can expect to compete in MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) and RTA (real time attack) games.
eSports generated $493m in revenue in 2016, with a global audience of about 320 million people. Revenue is predicted to rise to $696m in 2017, with 15% of that coming from China alone, according to e-sport analysts Newzoo.
Facial recognition tests for foreigners will soon be in Western airports
Soon, it may be hard for visa holders to board an international flight without submitting to a facial geometry scan. Face-reading check-in kiosks will be appearing at Ottawa International Airport in Canada this year, and British Airways is rolling out a similar system at London’s Heathrow Airport, comparing faces captured at security screenings with a separate capture at the boarding gate.
Now, a new project is poised to bring those same systems to every international airport in America. Called Biometric Exit, the project would use facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country. Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application. If there’s no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally.
Facial recognition critics have also raised concerns over racial bias. American recognition systems are typically trained on datasets of mostly white subjects, which leads to higher error rates when scanning other races. An FBI study in 2012 found three popular US algorithms were five to ten percent less accurate scanning African-American faces, with similar declines for women and younger subjects. If that bias isn’t corrected, it could present a serious civil rights problem — particularly since visa holders tend to be younger and less white than the US population at large.
New offline mode to be available for Instagram users
A lot of Zimbos will be happy to hear that Facebook is set to unveil a new offline feature for Instagram (yes that’s right Facebook owns Instagram!) Unfortunately, the offline mode in will only be available on Android devices for now.
The social media giant made the announcement at its ongoing developers conference, F8, in San Jose, US. This means that Instagram users can now access many of its features even when they don’t have internet connection. According to Instagram engineer Hendri, users will be able to see the previously loaded content in their feed, leave comments, Like things, save media and unfollow people.
Once the users’ device is back online, all his activities will be executed in the background. The profiles that users have visited before too will be visible, as well as the cached versions of the Explore tab and their own profile pages. The ‘offline mode’ feature is expected to be especially useful in emerging nations where internet connectivity is patchy.