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Self-driving cars, Usual Cat Day, NFL robot MVP and much more

What We're Reading

Welcome to another edition of What We’re Reading, Marxent’s weekly series featuring staff members highlighting the best articles, videos, music and more they saw over the prior 7 days. This week, those finds included stories from Wired, Buzzfeed News, YouTube and many more. Up first, it’s …

The Best Thing We Read This Week …

Self-driving Cars - What We're Reading


Marxent Core Engineer Ken Moser had self-driving cars on his mind this week, and shared this fascinating article on why solving the technical issues associated with AI-enabled vehicles may not be as easy as some people think. “This article discusses the emerging self-driving car market and the important aspect of verifying the correctness of AI, with regards to safety in choices,” Ken explains. The problem is figuring out “what would be needed in order to verify the correctness of an AI algorithms without actually needing to expose the intellectual property behind the workings of the algorithm.” Or to put it another way, how do you properly read a computer’s mind without a) misreading the information, or b) seeing that information leak out into the real world?

The Best Thing We Heard This Week …

Not sure what was in the office water cooler on Friday, but Marxent’s St. Pete crew (led by CFO Rick Hanley) ended up watching the above video, a mostly continuous shot from the POV of a cat — all a parody of ’90s electronica heavyweight The Prodigy’s 1997 hit, “Smack My Bitch Up.”

The Best Thing We Wrote This Week …


By now you’ve noticed big box retailers and department stores leasing space on their sales floor to other brands. Think Sephora in JC Penney, or Microsoft in Best Buy. This concept is called “store-within-a-store,” and it’s seeing rapid adoption by retailers as a way to address a glut of retail space and a fall in foot traffic. Marxent Senior Project Manager Tim Sandlund explains the concept, and explores how mixed commerce solutions are leveling the playing field for retailers of all sizes and profit margins.

But Wait, There’s More …

The robots are ready for some football! Primarily the above robot, who is being used by the NFL to help players practice tackling while helping reduce injuries. “It’s a pretty awesome, and somewhat hilarious, robot,” Ken Moser correctly points out.

Quality Assurance Analyst Ang Boehmer was researching the iPhone 7+’s dual camera setup when she happened upon this article about how the new camera system could make augmented reality applications a foundational part of the iPhone experience. “Makes me super excited to see how augmented reality will look on it,” she says.

Speaking of augmented reality, it’s about to change retail as we know it. “Furniture store Jerome claims that shoppers who virtually viewed Jerome furniture in their homes were 35 percent more likely than other website visitors to contact the company,” points out sales director Jeff Morrow. “Moreover, they were 65 percent more likely to purchase furniture.”

Want to get a peek at the future? Director of Account Management Robby Schoenhoft has got you covered, with this article titled “The Future of Immersive Environments: Virtual Home Design, Backcasting the Future and a Look at How VR/AR Get Social.”

Malls have been struggling for some time, but new strategies for reinvigorating sinking sales have shopping centers offering cocktails, cinemas and concierges in the hopes of enticing customers to pay them a visit.

Apple CEO Tim Cook kept up his steady verbal boosterism for augmented reality, telling Buzzfeed News, “Augmented reality will take some time to get right, but I do think that it’s profound. We might … have a more productive conversation, if both of us have an AR experience standing here, right? And so I think that things like these are better when they’re incorporated without becoming a barrier to our talking. … You want the technology to amplify it, not to be a barrier.”

And Finally …

Bringing this week’s What We’re Reading full circle, here’s a great video featuring WIRED editor in chief Scott Dadich, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, and guest editor President Barack Obama discussing ethical concerns around artificial intelligence used in self-driving cars.

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