Netflix Showcases Big-Budget Feature Films at Comic-Con

Netflix had a major presence at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, including an off-site installation to showcase numerous fan favorites, a screening of Adam Wingard’s upcoming supernatural horror-thriller “Death Note” (based on the popular manga series), a well-received trailer for season 2 of “Stranger Things,” and a collection of panels promoting other upcoming projects, including the David Ayer-helmed big-budget feature “Bright,” starring Will Smith. Making such a splash at the 4-day event is a first for Netflix, as the company continues its expansion into feature film projects with larger budgets. Continue reading Netflix Showcases Big-Budget Feature Films at Comic-Con

Microsoft Develops Its Own Chips to Power AI in the Cloud

Microsoft is developing a chip designed specifically for artificial intelligence processing. A version of its Holographic Processing Unit, used for its HoloLens headset, the new chip will be integrated with the next version of HoloLens, to be launched at an as-of-yet undetermined date. Microsoft isn’t alone in taking chip manufacturing in-house, especially with regards to AI processing. Apple’s iPhone prototypes include the company’s AI-specific chip, and Google is working on its own second-generation AI chip. Continue reading Microsoft Develops Its Own Chips to Power AI in the Cloud

Research Teams Make Advances in Wearable Sensor Tech

Researchers at two different universities have created wearable sensors that are ultra-thin, lightweight and breathable. Although they are based on different technologies, both of the new sensors can monitor vital signs, including electrical muscle activity and body temperature and can be worn over a long period without creating skin irritations or inflammation. That is in contrast to many existing wearable sensors, which because they are made of polyester or rubber, are not breathable and may irritate the skin. Continue reading Research Teams Make Advances in Wearable Sensor Tech

China Issues Plan to Become the World’s AI Leader by 2030

China’s State Council released a statement of intent to build a domestic industry in artificial intelligence worth $150 billion and become the world leader in AI by 2030. China is also planning a multi-billion dollar investment in startups and academic research related to AI, say two professors consulting with the Chinese government. At the same time, the U.S. is cutting back on investments in science, and budget proposals from the Trump administration aim to cut funds from agencies supporting AI research. Continue reading China Issues Plan to Become the World’s AI Leader by 2030

Google Brings Customized Feed to Its Search Landing Page

Google is introducing a new look for its search product that will appear just beneath its search box. The user will find a feed of news, entertainment and other content customized to her searches, video views and other personal information, including her location, email and digital calendars. Available first for the desktop, the new Google search page will eventually be available for mobile web browsers as well. Since Google launched in 1998, it has kept its landing page simple, only tweaking it in minor ways. Continue reading Google Brings Customized Feed to Its Search Landing Page

Amazon Adds TGI Fridays to Its New Payment App Feature

Amazon added restaurant chain TGI Fridays to Amazon Pay Places, the tech giant’s new payments feature for its mobile app that allows people to make purchases in stores and restaurants. Amazon Pay Places is available for pick-up orders at a limited number of TGI Fridays restaurants on the East Coast, but will expand to additional locations. Amazon isn’t alone in pursuing digital payment features; Apple, PayPal, Samsung and others are also focused on such services for online and in-store purchases. Continue reading Amazon Adds TGI Fridays to Its New Payment App Feature

Facebook Develops Metered Paywall, Debuts Analytics Tool

Facebook is developing a metered paywall to drive viewers to subscribe to source publications of stories posted on Instant Articles. The move is in response to the social media platform’s tense relationship with publishers, who are losing viewership of stories on their own websites, as well as revenue. While sources say that discussions about the paywall are in the early stages, and testing won’t begin until October, Facebook is currently introducing a new analytics tool for publishers. Meanwhile, Amazon is now paying publishers and digital influencers to post to its new commerce-centric social network Spark. Continue reading Facebook Develops Metered Paywall, Debuts Analytics Tool

Samsung Wants Bixby Assistant to Control Multiple Devices

Samsung’s digital voice assistant Bixby just arrived on millions of the company’s Galaxy S8 phones. According to Samsung head of mobile software R&D Injong Rhee, the inspiration for Bixby was super-hero Tony Stark (“Iron Man”), who only needs to voice orders to activate all kinds of systems. Similar to Stark, Samsung wants to use Bixby to activate all kinds of devices, from dishwashers to TVs. While Bixby cannot control all apps yet and, like other digital assistants has some limitations, early reviews suggest it excels at function-based commands. Continue reading Samsung Wants Bixby Assistant to Control Multiple Devices

Google Looks to Personalize Music with New Release Radio

Google just announced that New Release Radio is now opened up to all users. The new feature uses machine learning to analyze the user’s taste in music and then suggests new music based on those tastes. The feature will introduce both albums and singles that have debuted in the last two weeks; Google promotes it as “a really quick way to check out all-new music that’s tailored just for you.” Samsung Galaxy S8 users have had early access to New Release Radio since June, as a result of Google’s global partnership with the electronics giant. Continue reading Google Looks to Personalize Music with New Release Radio

Alphabet Resurrects Google Glass for the Enterprise Market

Alphabet is launching Glass Enterprise Edition, a new version of Glass, its head-mounted computer. The first version, aimed at consumers, drew widespread concern about privacy, since it could record in public places. This second Glass, targeting corporate customers and training, has been tested at 50 corporations, including Boeing, General Electric and Volkswagen. Designed as a device that snaps on to eyeglasses, Glass allows workers to view instructional content, including video and images, and even broadcast what is viewed to others for real-time instruction. Continue reading Alphabet Resurrects Google Glass for the Enterprise Market

Meta AR Headset May Help Reimagine the Traditional Office

San Francisco-based startup Meta makes augmented reality headsets that its founder/chief executive Meron Gribetz wants to use to remake the traditional office. With his headset, the user can use a virtual floating screen to control 3D models, browse web pages, write code and send emails. Gribetz — who studied neuroscience and computer science at Columbia University — is now using his own employees to test the headset and its software to figure out how to improve it, an experiment described in a Bloomberg News “Decrypted” podcast. Continue reading Meta AR Headset May Help Reimagine the Traditional Office

Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

For Apple iPhone users looking forward to augmented reality, there will soon be another option to looking at images on the phone’s screen. Due to launch later this year, the Mira Prism, which looks like a sun visor or welder’s mask that fits over the user’s head, will reflect AR’s 3D images in front of the user’s face — and only costs $99. The visor comes from Los Angeles-based company Mira, founded by students from the inaugural class of USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Continue reading Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

Netflix Subs and Revenue Are Up, Operating Profit Is Down

Netflix has always wanted Wall Street to judge it based on revenue and global operating-profit margins rather than subscription growth. But the company’s Q2 report shows just how unpredictable those results can be. Netflix added 5.2 million subscribers, much more than the 3.2 million it predicted, for a total of 104 million global subscribers. But its global operating profit margin was down 4.6 percent from 9.7 percent in Q1, while revenue skyrocketed 32 percent to $2.79 billion. Continue reading Netflix Subs and Revenue Are Up, Operating Profit Is Down

Google Push Could Spark Quantum Computing in the Cloud

Google is getting closer to offering quantum computing over the cloud. It’s uncertain if a quantum computer, which is based on “qubits” rather than 1s and 0s, can out-perform a supercomputer, but Google and other companies are betting it will be able to perform certain important tasks millions of times faster. Google and its rivals would be more likely to rent quantum computing over the Internet, since the computers are too bulky and require too much special care to live in most companies’ data centers. Continue reading Google Push Could Spark Quantum Computing in the Cloud

Report Lists 29 Governments That Manipulate Social Media

The University of Oxford just released a disturbing report documenting increasing evidence that 29 governments around the world are exploiting Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to influence — both domestically and internationally — public opinion, distribute false news and sabotage those perceived as foes. As might be expected, autocratic rulers use these strategies, but so do governments that have been elected democratically. The tactics employed vary from country to country. Continue reading Report Lists 29 Governments That Manipulate Social Media

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