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Gaming

Meditative trance via SoundSelf immersive video game

Meditative trance via SoundSelf

Are you ready for an out-of-body experience while staying safe at home? A calming, meditative trance may just be what you need in this time of crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Publisher Andromeda Entertainment says that SoundSelf: A Technodelic is the first video game to produce transcendent states of consciousness guided by your own voice. SoundSelf will be available on April 22 for Mac, PC, Steam, and Oculus Rift. This immersive experience aims to take you to a higher state of consciousness.

“Video games are an incredibly powerful medium for inducing trance states. Just look at any child fall into a game to see for yourself. Weaving music, cinematic graphics, and interactivity, there’s nothing else in the world that can capture a player’s attention with as much sophistication as a video game. It just so happens, however, that most designers are not using that incredible sophistication to intentionally shift the player’s consciousness,” Andromeda Entertainment CEO and Co-Founder Robin Arnott told Digital Life Asia via email.

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Gaming

Game companies, WHO unveil #PlayApartTogether

Pocket Gems is one of the game companies supporting the #PlayApartTogether campaign. Image credit: Pocket Gems via Business Wire
Pocket Gems is one of the game companies supporting the #PlayApartTogether campaign. Image credit: Pocket Gems via Business Wire

Time for gamers to become real-life heroes. Game companies have joined forces with the World Health Organization to launch the #PlayApartTogether campaign. By disseminating WHO’s health guidelines to their vast network of players, they hope to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re at a crucial moment in defining outcomes of this pandemic. Games industry companies have a global audience – we encourage all to #PlayApartTogether. More physical distancing + other measures will help to flatten the curve + save lives,” WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy Ray Chambers tweeted.

Through games, the #PlayApartTogether campaign will promote preventive measures such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.

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Science Technology

Coronavirus denial and the new normal

Coronavirus denial
Photo credit: Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Many of us are still in denial about the coronavirus pandemic. And this coronavirus denial is the deadlier disease.

The world has changed. This is the new normal. This isn’t something that will blow over in a few weeks or months. This is actually the World War III that nations never planned for, because we were so complacent despite previous outbreaks.

Yes, we should remain hopeful, live one day at a time, and encourage and help each other so that we can overcome this crisis. But we can only fix a problem if we stop denying that it exists. It’s better to face the bitter truth than to tell ourselves comforting lies.

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A Life Less Analog Science Technology

How to practice mindfulness amid the coronavirus crisis

Technology column header

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to take better care of our mental health. Now, more than ever, we need to learn how to practice mindfulness.

Thankfully, online community Mindful Manila is helping people deal with the stress of living in this urban jungle. Coping with anxiety has become even important in the age of social distancing and the enhanced community quarantine.

“I love the idea of being able to gather like-minded people and kindred spirits in a single space, even if it’s online. And now we’re proving that we can converge, converse, and connect even if we’re physically miles apart,” Niña Terol, the creator of Mindful Manila, shared via email.

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Technology

Polarization on social media: Why facts fail to convince

Polarization on social media
Photo credit: Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, another virus might be worse: polarization on social media. As social media continues to tear us apart, we are finding it even more difficult to communicate and cooperate. Even in the face of disaster.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t discuss or criticize ideas, or speak out against injustice. Or refrain from posting or commenting about controversial topics such as politics and religion. The reality, however, is that many people on social media have become intolerant of people with opposing views.

True, polarization on social media is partly due to deliberate attempts to sow discord and spread disinformation. The use of paid trolls is an example of the manipulation of social media. But we can’t blame trolls for all our problems—for our failure to communicate.

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Technology

AI for business gets boost with new IBM Watson tech

AI for business: Project Debater
The Project Debater AI was not only a good debater, but also an aspiring comedian

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is hardly elementary for AI for business. IBM Watson, however, will now have a better understanding of the language of business. This is thanks to the incorporation of new technologies from IBM Research’s Project Debater.

Project Debater made headlines in 2018 when the IBM AI successfully debated humans and even made jokes. The new IBM Watson technologies represent the first commercialization of Project Debater’s groundbreaking NLP abilities. Now companies can reap the benefits of an AI for business that understands idioms and colloquialisms in conversational English. IBM Watson will not just analyze human language for information. It can now also understand the thought and opinion of customers. This is in line with IBM’s vision for the relationship between humans and AI in the workplace.

“This combination of human and machine makes AI both powerful and transformative. It’s why IBM refers to AI as augmented—not artificial—intelligence. This is a critical difference. IBM believes in systems that can enhance and scale human expertise, rather than those that attempt to replicate human cognition,” IBM Philippines Chief Technology Officer Lope Doromal Jr. told Digital Life Asia via email.

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Technology

Online giving: 5 simple ways to use technology for good

Online giving

(Editor’s note: A different version of this article on online giving was originally published on TessDrive.com. Reposted with permission.)

Online giving allows us to make a difference—sometimes, with the simplest of acts.

That’s how powerful technology is. And that’s how connected we all are.

Here are five simple ways you can take advantage of online giving to help people even while staying home because of the enhanced community quarantine.

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Technology

Tech startups helping Filipinos cope with quarantine

Tech startups that can help you while you stay home

With the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon forcing us to stay home, these eight tech startups can be a godsend.

More and more Filipinos have been embracing ecommerce over the years. Expect online services to become even more popular in the age of social distancing and quarantines due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Need to buy groceries? Have food delivered? Or have someone run errands, or make repairs? Find out how foodpanda, Gawin.ph, GrabFood/GrabExpress, LalaFood/Lalamove, Lazada (LazMart), MEDIFI, MetroMart, and MyKuya can make life a bit easier for you in these unusual times.

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A Life Less Analog Technology

Civil society vs online trolls: Reclaiming social media

Technology column header

Social media has been weaponized against civil society. In the Philippines, the pro-government troll army continues its online attacks on citizens even in the midst of the novel coronavirus crisis.

Most recently, these online supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte have attacked two government officials that have earned praise for their efforts in helping citizens cope with the enhanced community quarantine in the main island of Luzon.

On March 18, Vice President Leni Robredo slammed social media users who were spreading fake news about the free shuttle service that her office was providing to frontline health workers. Meanwhile, #ProtectVico became the No. 1 Twitter Trending Topic in the Philippines on March 19 as online users defended Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto against troll army attacks.

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Technology

Cryptocurrency compliance to ensure bright future in PH

SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lee talks about cryptocurrency regulation in the Philippines
Commissioner Kelvin Lee of the Securities and Exchange Commission talks about cryptocurrency regulation

As cryptocurrency continues to grow in popularity in the Philippines, industry stakeholders launched on March 5 the first in a series of quarterly meetups.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Kelvin Lee was the keynote speaker at the first “Crypto Compliance Conversations” meetup. The meetups will provide a deep dive into compliance issues for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) while also encouraging innovation.

Also joining via Zoom from Singapore were Elliptic Chief Operating Officer Simone Maini and Elliptic Head of Growth Seimin Kuan. They shared the blockchain analytics firm’s expertise in helping businesses protect themselves from financial crime in cryptocurrency.