Weekly Web Wrap-Up

Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team.  Here are some of the stories that we’ve been reading:

Green Light for Driverless Car Testing in California

Faraday Future (FF) has gained approval to test self-driving cars in California—even though it doesn’t actually have a car yet.  Faraday Future unveiled its concept car, FFZero1, during CES 2016.  FF joins a growing club of automakers and startups currently approved to test self-driving cars in California, including, Google, Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, Tesla, Bosch, and Zoox.

Freaking Out About AI?  Tech Divided Over the Hypothetical AI-pocalypse

Blade Runner, Skynet, Ex Machina, the Geth—AI dystopias are firmly entrenched in pop culture.  But AI doomsday scenarios equally inflame the passions (or imaginations) of scientists and tech luminaries.  Google has developed a covert AI ethics board and a “safety interrupt” for its DeepMind.  Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk have been vocal about the dangers of full AI—drawing the ire, and Annual Luddite Award, of US think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).  Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, takes a more optimistic view in his recent op-ed, which reminds us all that robots don’t kill people, sentient supercomputers do.  Lookin’ at you Legion.

In Google’s Connectivity We Trust

Google Fiber, the high-speed internet service owned by Alphabet, has struck a deal to acquire Webpass in a bid to bolster its U.S. expansion and compete with broadband incumbents.  Since Webpass owns its own infrastructure, it doesn’t have to rely on phone and cable companies.  But the Webpass approach differs from Google’s Fiber’s usual model; WIRED breaks down the tech.

Is Hilary Tech’s Candidate of Choice?

The presidential candidate is racking up endorsements from tech executives and other major players in the industry.  The list of endorsements includes leaders at Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

A Prime Directive for Star Trek FanFic Creators

Amidst an ongoing copyright-infringement case between CBS, Paramount, and the crowdfunded fan film “Star Trek: Axanar,” CBS and Paramount published guidelines for future productions, which all burgeoning creators should read before endeavoring to boldly go to the fantastically strange world of Star Trek fanfic.  Trek yourself before you wreck yourself, friends.

‘Clash of Clans’ Game Firm Acquired for Billions

Chinese Internet Firm Tencent Holdings is set to acquire Finland’s Supercell, the maker of the hit game “Clash of Clans,” for $8.6 billion.  Tencent already holds a majority stake in Los Angeles-based Riot Games, which produces League of Legends.  With Supercell on board, Tencent is set to grab 13% of the nearly $100 billion global game market.  The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter, is subject to regulatory approvals in the U.S., Europe and South Korea.