The November 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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FTC Says the Videogame Industry Scores

Gamers get a good report card from Uncle Sam

1 min read

How many times have we heard that videogames are corrupting kids?  But despite all the concern, the industry is doing a better job at self-regulation than critics might think.

The Federal Trade Commission released a report this week finding that game makers are doing a better job of protecting kids that those in the movie and music business.  "Retailers are enforcing age restrictions on the sale of M-rated [mature] games to children, with an average denial rate of 80 percent," the report says.  But there are still gaps.  Kids are buying M-rated games using gift cards online, and also accessing them on mobile devices. 

"It will be particularly important to address the challenges presented by emerging technologies – such as mobile gaming – that are quickly changing the ways that children access entertainment,"  FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz says.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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