HPA Tech Retreat: In Pursuit of AI-Powered Film Restoration

What if you could restore a film — at 12 million frames per second — in two weeks? That’s a case study that Video Gorillas chief executive Jason Brahms described in detail at the HPA Tech Retreat, capping off how his company has spent the last ten years developing tools enabled by artificial intelligence. In 2007, Brahms, who was with Sony Pictures Imageworks, first met a developer pitching his facial recognition software. “I asked him if he had software that could compare different movie cuts and find differences between them,” he recalled. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: In Pursuit of AI-Powered Film Restoration

HPA Tech Retreat: Take a Tour of the Netflix Media Database

In a Wednesday morning session at the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, Netflix’s Rohit Puri, engineering manager of the Cloud Media Systems team took attendees on a tour of the Netflix Media Database. The Netflix service experience, he explained, is made up of a seamless user interface, personalized content recommendation, efficient media streaming and curated content catalog. Other assets that “go a long way in helping users find content,” added Puri, include promotional artwork and video. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Take a Tour of the Netflix Media Database

Firms Highlight Real World AI Solutions at HPA Tech Retreat

At the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert this week, Sony chief technology officer Don Eklund described how Sony has been using artificial intelligence as a toolset to create applications specific to its needs. “I was aware of AI but didn’t pay attention,” he said. “It’s now become pervasive.” He brought together three companies — Adobe, Rival Theory and Video Gorillas — that are researching and developing AI-enabled solutions over many years. Some of these tools are commercially available or will be soon. Continue reading Firms Highlight Real World AI Solutions at HPA Tech Retreat

Amazon Faces Opposition to its Planned New York Campus

According to sources, Amazon executives are rethinking the decision to build a New York City campus, which would create 25,000 jobs in Long Island City and $2.5 billion in investment. That’s heated up the conflict between government officials who support the project and local officials who have been vocally opposed to giving the company tax incentives worth billions. Should Amazon abandon its plan, it would also be a dramatic upset of its very public search for a second headquarters over a year’s time. Continue reading Amazon Faces Opposition to its Planned New York Campus

Electronic Dance DJ Marshmello Performs ‘Fortnite’ Concert

On February 2, electronic dance producer Marshmello performed a 10-minute concert — as a digital avatar — to gamers playing the popular game “Fortnite.” The runaway success of this unusual mix highlights how games can not only gather millions of players, but also become a stage for a variety of entertainment. Marshmello’s representatives stated that the concert “attracted millions of viewers.” In June, Marshmello participated in an Epic Games’ “Fortnite” tournament, teamed with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a celebrity gamer. Continue reading Electronic Dance DJ Marshmello Performs ‘Fortnite’ Concert

DP Curtis Clark Awarded Academy Sci-Tech’s Bonner Medal

Cinematographer Curtis Clark, ASC was presented with the John A. Bonner Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony on February 9. The award, which began in 1977 and is not awarded every year, acknowledges Clark’s “dedicated work in helping to shape the future of motion-picture technology and educate the industry at large.” Sixteen years ago, Curtis founded the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council (MITC), which he continues to lead. Continue reading DP Curtis Clark Awarded Academy Sci-Tech’s Bonner Medal

Photoshop and After Effects Honored With Sci-Tech Awards

On February 9, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Scientific and Engineering Awards to the teams behind Adobe’s After Effects and Photoshop. David Simons, Daniel Wilk, James Acquavella, Michael Natkin and David M. Cotter accepted the award for After Effects for motion graphics. Thomas Knoll and John Knoll accepted the award for the original architecture, design and development of Photoshop, and Mark Hamburg for its continued development and engineering. Both tools are a mainstay in the film and television industry. Continue reading Photoshop and After Effects Honored With Sci-Tech Awards

Facebook Watch Courts Content Creators at VidCon London

Facebook is increasing its efforts to boost content on Facebook Watch, promising content creators they can connect with communities and make serious money via ads. Even though Facebook is behind powerhouse YouTube, the company has also staked out an impressive presence at the first VidCon London, running February 14-17, and is holding an invitation-only Facebook Creator Day in London just prior to that. Self-help guru Jay Shetty, who has 20+ million Facebook followers, is the platform’s face at the event. Continue reading Facebook Watch Courts Content Creators at VidCon London

NCTA Lobbies For Paid Prioritization in Net Neutrality Rules

NCTA (National Cable TV Association) chief executive Michael Powell told Congress’ Communications and Technology subcommittee that the lobbying group agrees, “there should be no blocking or throttling of lawful content … [or] paid prioritization that creates fast lanes and slow lanes.” Even so, he did ask for exceptions that would allow Internet providers to charge for prioritization “under certain circumstances.” His request highlights the stark divide between the broadband industry and net neutrality advocates. Continue reading NCTA Lobbies For Paid Prioritization in Net Neutrality Rules

German Antitrust Ruling Restrains Facebook Data Collection

Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the country’s competition authority, issued an antitrust argument to restrict Facebook’s data collection. Stating that Facebook currently provides users with a stark choice between allowing the company to collect unlimited data or not using the site, the Federal Cartel Office stated that Facebook must allow users to refuse the company’s bid to collect their data and automatically merge it with data from Instagram, WhatsApp and non-Facebook sites. The decision impacts 32 million German users. Continue reading German Antitrust Ruling Restrains Facebook Data Collection

Microsoft Advocates For Washington State AI Regulation Bill

Washington State has introduced a bill to regulate facial recognition software, and tech giant Microsoft is advocating for its passage, while e-commerce leader Amazon remains undecided. Amazon asked state senator Reuven Carlyle, who sponsored the bill, for clarification as well as a change to the requirement that AI software developers claiming the ability to identify faces must allow third parties to test it. Carlyle explained he would examine all submitted requests and introduce a revised version of the bill. Continue reading Microsoft Advocates For Washington State AI Regulation Bill

Samsung, LG, Others Advancing MicroLED TV Screen Tech

Samsung has been demonstrated MicroLED wall-sized TV screens at the last two CES confabs in Las Vegas. Dubbed The Wall, the screen comes in a gigantic version at 219 inches and, now, a smaller one at 75 inches. The latter is only a prototype, but the 146-inch version is for sale, for a price that depends on installation costs. The last new screen technology to be debuted was OLED, on Sony XEL-1 TVs in 2008. OLED now dominates high quality images on TVs and most high-end smartphones, although there are plenty of older LCD screens to be found. Continue reading Samsung, LG, Others Advancing MicroLED TV Screen Tech

Snap Maintains User Numbers, Aims for Profitability in 2019

The number of Snapchat app users will remain the same this quarter, news that was a relief to investors and helped propel Snap shares up 22 percent, to $8.62 in after hours trading. Since it went public in March 2017, Snapchat has competed with Facebook’s Instagram, which adopted many Snapchat features. Snap also redesigned the app, to the dismay of some advertisers and users. In Q4, Snap, with 186 million daily active users, was on a par with the previous quarter, although down one million from the same period a year ago. Continue reading Snap Maintains User Numbers, Aims for Profitability in 2019

WhatsApp Combats Fake News as India Preps for Elections

In India, where fake news on Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging platform has led to violence, company executives publicly described a plan to stop the flow of misinformation. India is WhatsApp’s largest market, and WhatsApp’s announcement comes as India prepares for its biggest election. Based on machine learning, said software engineer Matt Jones, the new system will use data of past activity to bar automated fake accounts and troublemakers at three stages: when registering, while messaging and when reported by others. Continue reading WhatsApp Combats Fake News as India Preps for Elections

AI-Powered Tools Assist Human Reporting at News Outlets

Robot reporters are on the rise, in use at Bloomberg News, The Associated Press, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times among other news outlets. The Cyborg system helps Bloomberg reporters produce thousands of articles on company earnings and analyze/write financial reports very quickly. Not only do business reporters find this kind of writing dull, but Cyborg’s speed helps it compete with rival Reuters. The other news outlets above use robots to report on sports, although the LAT relies on them for earthquakes. Continue reading AI-Powered Tools Assist Human Reporting at News Outlets

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