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Trends with Benefits: Pokéspiracies, NES Classic, augmented reality gets real

Pokémon Go was absolutely unavoidable this week. Between people wandering into traffic, getting into accidents, getting robbed and even finding dead bodies, it seems the world has gone insane over the new mobile game. Some of the most interesting aspects are the conspiracy theorists proclaiming their thoughts. Conspiracy Dan makes a triumphant return to the show, now with all his teeth, to give his ideas on what the app could “really” be doing.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claims that the HoloLens stands to benefit from the success of Pokémon Go. It’s definitely introducing a very basic AR to a population that may have previously had a hard time understanding the concepts of the platform. Will Pokémon Go be the watershed product that puts new AR development on the fast track for mass consumption?

There is currently a literal plague affecting prairie dogs, which are the main food source for endangered black ferrets, and the solution, weirdly enough, will come from drones. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is using drones to drop peanut-smeared, vaccine-laced M&Ms near prairie-dog habitats.

A long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network was recently used to write a sci-fi movie called Sunspring, after studying hundreds of scripts. Now artificial intelligence has been used to write a new Harry Potter book, after studying the first four in the series. The results are unnerving, but we proceed to speculate on what this kind of technology could lead to.

Finally, Nintendo has continued its dominance of gaming news this week, by going retro. The NES Classic Edition plug-and-play system is launching in November and will retail for $60. The system is pre-loaded with classics such as the Super Mario Bros. 1 & 2, Metroid, Mega Man 2, Excitebike and many more! Which games would you like to revisit?

Today’s episode features Dan Gaul, Nick Mokey, Brad Bourque and Greg Nibler. Watch us live next time! We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Thursday at 2:30 pm PST. And don’t forget to check out our other live-streamed shows, Between the Streams and Close to the Metal.