Google cutting Assistant down

Plus, OG game console.
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The Futurist is your daily tech, cosmic, and science (both weird or otherwise) newsletter with articles and content curated just for you.

Nerd Trivia:

What was the first video game console?

Hint: Not the Atari 2600.


(Scroll to the bottom for the answer!)

Lassen Volcanic National Park bounces back after California's largest single fire | Atlas Obscura

“The events of August 2021 are seared into the landscape of Lassen. Hillsides are blackened, trees are charred and toothpick-thin. A drive along the park highway, around meandering mountains and bubbling mud pools, reveals swaths of land reminiscent of Mordor. Fire is a part of the ecosystem here, but the park had never before experienced one as destructive as the Dixie fire. … However, there is evidence of resilience among the devastation: sprouts emerging from the scorched soil and the black and green mosaic of the mountains. The recovering ecosystem in this off-the-beaten path national park serves as a reminder of the threats to the United States’s wild places and offers lessons about how to protect public lands in an era of climate crisis.”

Noom - A powerful combination of psychology, science, and support [Partner]

You’re a smart person, and smart people like you know that fad diets are more trendy than they are sustainable. Real diets use science, which is exactly why Noom works. Through a combination of psychology, technology, and human coaching, Noom’s platform has helped millions of users meet their personal health and wellness goals. That’s because the app isn’t just about weight management anymore; now you can get help with conditions like stress and anxiety, hypertension, and diabetes, all while maintaining a healthy, holistic diet. Keep your mind and body in tip-top shape with Noom’s proven and trusted approach. [Ad]

Google Assistant is about to lose a ton of features | Gizmodo

“Google Assistant is about to lose 17 different features that the company says are ‘underutilized.’ The changes come as the tech giant is in the midst of firing large amounts of staff, including many from its Google Assistant team, according to CNBC. Google published a blog post Thursday detailing the feature cuts, which it says will ultimately help create a ‘more consistent experience’ for users of the virtual assistant.”

How video game tech, AI, and computer vision help decode animal pain and behavior | Popular Science

“Back in 2013, Sandeep Robert “Bob” Datta was working in his neurobiology lab at Harvard Medical School in Boston when he made the fateful decision to send his student Alex Wiltschko to the Best Buy up the street. Wiltschko was on a mission to purchase an Xbox Kinect camera, designed to pick up players’ body movements for video games like Just Dance and FIFA. … It placed the team within a growing scientific movement at the intersection of artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and animal behavior—a field poised to change the way researchers use other creatures to study human health conditions. The Datta Lab is learning to track the intricate nuances of mouse movement and understand the basics of how the mammal brain creates behavior, untangling the neuroscience of different health conditions and ultimately developing new treatments for people.”

StackSocial - Experience the Costco difference [Partner]

Stop overpaying on groceries, household staples, clothing, electronics, fuel, and seasonal finds. Stretch your budget and find more value at Costco. Join today as a Gold Star Member and receive a $20 Digital Costco Shop Card* or become an Executive Gold Star Member and receive a $40 Digital Costco Shop Card* and earn 2% in Costco Rewards on most purchases. [Ad]

The Shortcut CES 2024 Awards: our favorite tech at this year's show | The Shortcut

“The Shortcut team, backed by one million followers and subscribers, is reporting on all of the amazing technology in the halls of CES – and looking past all of the AI hype when it’s just used as an empty buzzword. We’re spotlighting the most exciting gadgets and are offering a quick digest of what’s worth buying in the future.”

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The answer: Magnavox Odyssey

The answer: Magnavox Odyssey

According to the G2A webpage: “The first video games were developed in academic circles, but the idea of making this type of entertainment available to a wider group of people emerged very quickly – however, it required a proper device. Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972, stands as the first gaming console. Its designer Ralph H. Baer is often described as the father of video games. Magnavox Odyssey was a very simple, or, as we would call it today, primitive, machine connected to a television set. The selection of games was rather limited: ping-pong, hockey, and target shooting. It wasn’t a huge commercial success, but it was the beginning of a revolution.”

* To receive a Digital Costco Shop Card, you must provide a valid email address at the time of sign-up. If you elect not to provide a valid email address, a Digital Costco Shop Card will not be emailed. Valid only for nonmembers for their first year of membership. Limit one per household. Nontransferable and may not be combined with any other promotion. New members will receive their Digital Costco Shop Card by email within 2 weeks of sign-up. Costco Shop Cards are not redeemable for cash, except as required by law. Digital Costco Shop Cards are not accepted at Gas Stations, Car Washes, or Food Court Kiosks. A Costco membership is $60 a year. An Executive Membership is an additional $60 upgrade fee a year. Each membership includes one free Household Card. May be subject to sales tax. Costco accepts all Visa cards, as well as cash, checks, debit/ATM cards, EBT and Costco Shop Cards. Departments and product selection may vary.