NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

In a keynote address at NAB in Las Vegas, ETC data & analytics project director Yves Bergquist described how the changing economics of media audiences require new measurement methods and metrics. For the first time, he said, the media and entertainment industry can leverage behavioral psychology, computational neuroscience and machine learning to understand the deep cognitive relationship between audiences and content. He pointed to director Alfred Hitchcock’s prescient statement that, “Creation is based on an exact science of audience reactions.” Continue reading NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

Pandora Takes On Spotify With Debut of Personalized Playlists

Pandora believes it can out-playlist Spotify. The music streaming service has released new personalized playlist options for users, catering to moods, activities and genres. The feature is powered by Pandora’s Music Genome, an information database that “has been in development for over a decade and is capable of classifying music at the song level across 450 different attributes — ‘genes’ that can be as specific as what types of strings are on the guitar,” reports TechCrunch. Pandora’s new feature arrives on the eve of Spotify’s public debut, slated for early April (as a direct listing rather than IPO).

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Google Initiates Rollout of its Mobile-First Indexing of the Web

After a year and a half of testing, Google is rolling out its mobile-first indexing of the web. According to TechCrunch, Google first detailed its plan in 2016, aiming to “change the way its search index operates, explaining how its algorithms would eventually be shifted to use the mobile version of a website’s content to index its pages, as well as to understand its structured data and to show snippets from the site in the Google search results.” The move caters to Google Search users, the majority of whom search via mobile devices.

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Startup Using AI to Help Create Effects for Movies, TV, Games

Palo Alto-based startup Arraiy is developing methods for automating part of the often-tedious process of producing visual effects for movies, TV shows and video games. “Filmmakers can do this stuff, but they have to do it by hand,” said CTO Gary Bradski, who has worked with tech companies such as Intel and Magic Leap. The Arraiy team, led by Bradski and CEO Ethan Rublee, “are building computer algorithms that can learn design tasks by analyzing years of work by movie effects houses,” reports The New York Times. “That includes systems that learn to ‘rotoscope’ raw camera footage, carefully separating people and objects from their backgrounds so that they can be dropped onto new backgrounds.” Continue reading Startup Using AI to Help Create Effects for Movies, TV, Games

Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Favors Family, Friends

Facebook has again tweaked its News Feed, this time in a major way. The social media giant will now prioritize what a member’s friends and family share and comment on, rather than content from publishers and brands. The change, meant to maximize what chief executive Mark Zuckerberg calls “meaningful interaction,” will take place over the next few weeks. Likewise, Facebook wants to diminish “passive content,” which is defined as that which requires nothing of the viewer than to sit back and watch or read. Continue reading Facebook News Feed Algorithm Tweak Favors Family, Friends

CES: Examining the Results of the Radical Disruption of News

“The Future of News” panel at CES 2018 drew together pundits across the political spectrum to puzzle out the difference between news and opinion, what exactly fake news is, and how to pop the partisan bubbles. A conversation led by United Talent Agency head of digital media Brent Weinstein started his challenge to define the line between news and opinion — if consumers even care. The Daily Wire editor-in-chief and conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro said that the news media should not portray itself as objective. Continue reading CES: Examining the Results of the Radical Disruption of News

Expect Security and Privacy to Emerge as Major CES Topics

As connected devices, big data technologies, and artificial intelligence play an increasingly important role across a growing list of business sectors, new approaches to security and privacy will be necessary to safeguard the lifeblood of these systems — data. We expect to see this manifest itself in a number of different ways next month at CES 2018. Differential privacy and, to a larger extent, blockchain technologies (and the growing attention paid to virtual currency systems) are the topics likely to dominate booths in Las Vegas and conference headlines. Continue reading Expect Security and Privacy to Emerge as Major CES Topics

Amazon Debuts Intel-Powered DeepLens Camera to Teach AI

On November 29 at the AWS re:Invent conference, Amazon Web Services introduced its AWS DeepLens, a video camera whose main purpose is to teach developers how to program AI functions. The camera comes loaded with different AI infrastructures and AWS infrastructure such as AWS Greengrass Core and a version of MXNet. Developers can also add their own frameworks like TensorFlow. The 4-megapixel camera can shoot 1080p HD video and offers a 2D microphone system for recording sound, in the form factor of an action camera on top of an external hard drive. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Intel-Powered DeepLens Camera to Teach AI

Snapchat Redesign Aims to Curb Fake News, Boost Revenue

Snap Inc. just unveiled a remake of Snapchat that, thus far, has been identifiable for its posts that disappear after 24 hours, smaller social circles and human editing and curation. In its new incarnation, Snapchat separates the social and media into two parts. On the left side of the app, users will see chats and stories shared with friends. On the right side, they’ll find content from DIY creators, publishers, celebrities and Snap-curated content. Part of the reason for the redo is Snap’s disappointing user and revenue numbers. Continue reading Snapchat Redesign Aims to Curb Fake News, Boost Revenue

AMD, Intel, Nvidia Race to Build AI Chips for Booming Market

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Intel and Nvidia are racing to develop artificial intelligence chips as the market for AI hardware and software skyrockets. Nvidia, which has specialized in high-end GPUs, and AMD, its chief rival, have found that their products have proven useful in AI applications, an incentive for them to focus on that sector. Growth in the semiconductor industry has been volatile in recent months, leading to consolidation, such as the recently announced $105 billion bid by Broadcom to acquire Qualcomm. Continue reading AMD, Intel, Nvidia Race to Build AI Chips for Booming Market

Google Project Aims to Use AI to Develop More AI Algorithms

Google Senior Fellow Jeff Dean, who works on the Google Brain team, recently highlighted AutoML (for machine learning), a project aimed at using AI-empowered machines to build other AI machines, removing humans from the equation. The need for AI algorithms grows as its capabilities are becoming important to a wide range of industries. But only an estimated 10,000 people worldwide have the education, expertise and ability to construct those algorithms, and Facebook, Google and Microsoft pay millions of dollars for them. Continue reading Google Project Aims to Use AI to Develop More AI Algorithms

Viewer Engagement Increasing for Longer Facebook Videos

For years, Facebook counted any video auto-play that lasted three seconds or longer as a view, which resulted in many publishers producing very short clips. Last year, the social media platform tweaked its News Feed algorithm to favor longer videos, and, with the debut of mid-roll ads, publishers had incentive to post clips longer than 90 seconds. Social video publishing specialist Wochit has collected data from over 200 publishers, including CBS, NBC News and USA Today that proves Facebook’s strategy is working. Continue reading Viewer Engagement Increasing for Longer Facebook Videos

Nielsen Expands Marketing Cloud With Gracenote’s TV Data

Nielsen is introducing “smart TV viewership data from Gracenote,” reports TechCrunch, so that “advertisers using the Nielsen Marketing Cloud will be able to take advantage of detailed, real-time information about who was watching what.” Nielsen exec Kelly Abcarian said the goal is to deliver “person-level television data” to digital marketing and “bring the scale to a whole new level.” This will enable advertisers to target consumers who watched a TV spot by following up with a direct response mobile ad. Nielsen has expanded its ad targeting and digital ad business efforts with the purchase of eXelate in 2015 and Gracenote earlier this year. Gracenote’s Video Automatic Content Recognition tech can be found in 27 million smart TVs today. Continue reading Nielsen Expands Marketing Cloud With Gracenote’s TV Data

MIT and Netflix Testing AI-Based Algorithms to Curb Buffering

Waiting for a video to buffer may become an annoyance of the past. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are working on streaming algorithms that use AI to improve load rates and, thus, reduce buffering. Dubbed Pensieve, the new technology relies on machine learning to navigate the often-chaotic and ever-changing conditions of networks in real-time, based on a system of rewards (when the video loads smoothly) and penalties (when it’s interrupted). Meanwhile, Netflix is working on its own AI solution to address buffering. Continue reading MIT and Netflix Testing AI-Based Algorithms to Curb Buffering

Steemit: Social Media Platform Pays Contributors for Content

Users of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter enjoy moments of entertainment in exchange for giving up personal data to social media platforms that monetize the information. Steemit, a social news and networking site on top of a blockchain database, has a plan to change that paradigm, paying users in cryptocurrency for every post. The virtual currency, dubbed Steem, can be cashed out into hard currency — or amassed for those who believe in Steemit’s future. The new company started as a 44-page white paper released in March 2016, arguing that content creators should be paid. Continue reading Steemit: Social Media Platform Pays Contributors for Content

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