That cheer you can hear across Yorkshire and beyond is the collective clamour of the Maratopia virtual office as we prepare to log off for another well-earned weekend.
But before we do, we wanted to share with you some of the stories that captured our imaginations this week. From the internet’s latest gaming sensations to the wise words of artificial intelligence, take a wander through a world of online wonders with this week’s Friday Fiver!
✈️ Microsoft Flight Simulator Receives Update
Microsoft’s famous Flight Simulator game has received its first major update since 2006 and we are impressed. Using AI, the developers have created a replica of Planet Earth, complete with landmarks and off-limits zones like Area 51. It’s not quite perfect – the AI has recreated Buckingham Palace as a block of flats, for instance – but even these mishaps are sure to put a smile on your face.
📱 The Deepfake App Changing Selfie Culture
Deepfakes have been the subject of much controversy in the era of fake news spun by social media, but the developers behind Reface have created some cracking collaborations with their technology. From Keanu Reeves as Iron Man to, erm, Donald Trump as Kate Winslet in Titanic, this tech takes the weird and wonderful world of deepfakes to the next level.
📼 The World’s Last Blockbuster Goes Airbnb
After an impromptu (and short-lived) return to social media last week, the last remaining Blockbuster store, located in Oregon, has teamed up with Airbnb to open its doors for sleepovers and it’s everything you could dream of. Complete with snacks, video games and a VCR, this prime 90s nostalgia hangout will cost you and your pals just $7 each, although we haven’t priced up flights just yet!
🎮 Fall Guys Launches Charity Event
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, the latest battle royale to enjoy viral success with gamers, saw huge interest from brands after netting 1.5 million players within just 24 hours of its launch. But developers saw a golden opportunity to create a bidding war between brands, where the victor will see an in-game costume created in their honour. The event will raise money for UK disability charity Special Effect.
🤖 AI’s Philosophical Wisdom
“Feeling unproductive? Maybe you should stop overthinking.” So go the wise words of the AI created by University of California student Liam Porr. But when the bot posted this advice on Hacker News, thousands of readers thought this golden nugget was generated by a sagacious academic and upvoted the phrase, which fast became a top post. All hail our robot overlords!