Weekend Roundup: Iron Man and A.I., Decade’s Most-Downloaded Games

It’s late December, which means that virtually everyone you know is ready to set that Away message on their email and flee the building for the holidays. Before you head out the door (remember: walk, don’t run), let’s run down some of the weirdest and most interesting stories from the week. Kicking things off: Did the mobile game on which you’ve wasted untold hours make the decade’s most-downloaded list?  

Most-Downloaded Mobile Games of the Decade

Over the past ten years, mobile gaming has become a massive business. Powerful smartphone hardware has delivered increasingly immersive game experiences, while better cloud-based infrastructure has allowed millions of players to simultaneously interact with a game. But which games have taken advantage of this new paradigm to become the most popular?

Fortunately, App Annie has crunched the numbers and come up with a list of mobile games that racked up the most downloads between 2010-2019. Check out this list:

“This decade has been a time of remarkable growth for the mobile economy,” read the App Annie blog post accompanying the data. “With a 5 percent increase in downloads, and 15 percent growth in consumer spend (excluding third-party Android) year-over-year in 2019 this looks set to continue in 2020.” 

While the games on this list generally had massive developer teams behind them, gaming is one of those areas where a relatively small crew of developers can build something with enduring popularity. “Flappy Bird,” for example, was built by a single person, and sparked off a global phenomenon during its short life. As we head into the next decade, keep that in mind if you have a great idea for a mobile game—it’s a dream that could actually become a reality. 

Iron Man Wants to Introduce You to A.I.

Curious about artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning? Fortunately, so is pretty much everyone else in tech, which is why there are a lot of cool resources online to teach you everything from computer vision to deep learning

But not all of those online resources feature Robert Downey Jr. His stint as Iron Man in the Marvel movies might be over, but the actor evidently can’t give up his character’s penchant for breezily delivered scientific monologues. In a new set of YouTube Originals videos, he breaks down the basics of A.I. Check out the first one:

The first two episodes cover how A.I. is powering everything from speech assistance to digital face animations, while also touching on some of the complexities and potential dangers inherent in this brave new world. It’s pretty neat.

California Opens Up More Autonomous Driving 

Speaking of A.I., the state of California has given approval for self-driving trucks to take to public roads for commercial purposes. It’s only “light” trucks (i.e., those weighing less than 10,001 pounds) for the time being, so you don’t need to fear that 18-wheeler beside you on the 101 is robot-controlled. (Right now, roughly 670 wholly self-driving vehicles are licensed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.) 

Right now, Google offshoot Waymo is the only tech company approved to test fully autonomous vehicles in the state, but trust that number will rise as more tech firms bring their own autonomous-driving platforms online. As we enter a new decade, the push to perfect self-driving technology will only increase.

Have a great weekend!