Microsoft Wins U.S. Army Contract to Produce AR Headsets

The U.S. Army has awarded a $480 million contract to Microsoft to supply augmented reality system prototypes that it can deploy for training and combat missions. If successful, the contract could lead to Microsoft providing 100,000 headsets, which the Army says will be intended to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy.” The U.S. Army and Israel Defense Forces have already used Microsoft’s HoloLens in training, but using it in live combat would be a new step. Continue reading Microsoft Wins U.S. Army Contract to Produce AR Headsets

Amazon Unveils Graviton, Its Own ARM Chips for Data Centers

In a surprise announcement, Amazon revealed that it is making its own chips, dubbed Graviton, for its cloud computing division. Similarly, Google also recently stated its plans to create chips for artificial intelligence algorithms in its data center. Amazon’s chips are likewise targeting its data centers, where the company hopes to better integrate software and hardware, resulting in less expensive services for customers. Typically, companies like Amazon and Google would use AMD or Intel’s off-the-shelf chips. Continue reading Amazon Unveils Graviton, Its Own ARM Chips for Data Centers

Amazon On Track to Be a Bigger Player in Online Advertising

Amazon is poised to be an advertising behemoth, even as it dominates in online retail, handling almost half of all online sales in the U.S. The company currently holds the No. 3 spot in online advertising, behind Google and Facebook, with a mere 4 percent of the market. But Amazon is on a hiring binge for its advertising division, and, according to eMarketer, is on track to double its ad revenue this year to $5.83 billion. One source of tension is the fact that Amazon’s own products compete with retailers on its site. Continue reading Amazon On Track to Be a Bigger Player in Online Advertising

Hive Builds Tailored AI Models via 700,000-Person Workforce

Hive, a startup founded by Kevin Guo and Dmitriy Karpman, trains domain-specific artificial intelligence models via its 100 employees and 700,000 workers who classify images and transcribe audio. The company uses the Hive Work smartphone app and website to recruit the people who label the data, and recently introduced three products: Hive Data, Hive Predict, and Hive Enterprise. Shortly after the product launch, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and other venture capital firms invested $30 million in the startup. Continue reading Hive Builds Tailored AI Models via 700,000-Person Workforce

Nielsen and Microsoft Partner on Cloud-Based Platform for Data

Nielsen Holdings and Microsoft are partnering on a cloud-based platform, Nielsen Connect, to help retailers gain insights from its consumer and operational data related to, respectively, media/TV ratings, and purchases of consumer goods. Nielsen chief technology/operations officer John Tavolieri noted that, given the value of the data, the industry has thus far not found a good way to “unlock” it. Nielsen’s data will be loaded to Microsoft Azure where the latter’s AI tools and APIs will enable users to search. Continue reading Nielsen and Microsoft Partner on Cloud-Based Platform for Data

Intel Launches Neural Network Stick to Embed AI in IoT Devices

Intel just announced its latest invention: the Neural Compute Stick 2 (NCS2), a self-contained neural network on a thumb drive. NCS2 is intended to make the process of embedding intelligence into Internet of Things and network edge devices faster and easier. Edge devices, which include routers, switches, gateways and a range of IoT devices, are defined as any hardware that controls the flow of data between the boundaries of two networks. The announcement came just before Intel’s first AI developers’ conference in Beijing. Continue reading Intel Launches Neural Network Stick to Embed AI in IoT Devices

Google, Microsoft Target Triple-A Games via Cloud Streaming

Microsoft and Google are engaged in efforts to enable people to play triple-A games — the most visually complex, big budget games — on devices that are not connected to the Internet, without expensive specialized hardware. The two tech behemoths join game developer Electronic Arts in this 10+year push to allow gamers to stream from the cloud, anytime and anywhere, attracting those who don’t want to buy game consoles or high-end PCs. The move might also tempt existing gamers to play more and spend more time and money. Continue reading Google, Microsoft Target Triple-A Games via Cloud Streaming

AMD Debuts Zen 2 Chip Architecture, Turns to Chiplet Design

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) debuted Zen 2 processor architecture, a follow-up to the Zen design introduced in March 2017, to be launched beginning in 2019. AMD chief executive Lisa Su said the Zen 2 doubles performance of the first Zen generation, which itself could process 52 percent more instructions per clock cycle than its previous generation. The company hopes its new processors will help it surpass or at least maintain parity with Intel processors. AMD is also relying on new chiplet design to maintain growth. Continue reading AMD Debuts Zen 2 Chip Architecture, Turns to Chiplet Design

Intel, Tencent Partner on New AI Products to Advance Retail

Intel and China’s Tencent have partnered to create two AI-powered products. Announced at Tencent’s Global Partner conference, the two companies revealed DeepGaze, which uses artificial intelligence to track customers in brick-and-mortar stores, and YouBox, also designed for use in retail settings, an on-premises server that uses AI to input real-time feeds from up to 16 cameras. Both products were developed in Tencent’s YouTu Lab for computer vision research, and sport Intel’s Movidius Myriad chips. Continue reading Intel, Tencent Partner on New AI Products to Advance Retail

EA Announces New AI-Powered, Cloud-Native Gaming Tech

Electronic Arts unveiled Project Atlas, its “cloud-native gaming” technology, via a Medium blog post by chief technology officer Ken Moss. Although he did not say when it would be fully deployed and functional, Moss described Project Atlas as designed to “harness the massive power of cloud computing and artificial intelligence and putting it into the hands of game makers in a powerful, easy to use, one-stop experience.” The game engine combines rendering, game logic, physics, animation, audio, and more. Continue reading EA Announces New AI-Powered, Cloud-Native Gaming Tech

IBM Is Buying Red Hat, Aims to Be Top Hybrid Cloud Provider

IBM and open-source software provider Red Hat announced that they have reached an acquisition agreement. Marking what will be the third-largest tech acquisition in U.S. history, IBM will purchase all issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat in a deal valued at approximately $34 billion. Red Hat is the largest distributor of open-source operating system Linux. The deal reflects IBM’s ambitions for a piece of the fast-growing cloud computing market. “The acquisition of Red Hat is a game-changer,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM chair, president and chief exec. “It changes everything about the cloud market.” Continue reading IBM Is Buying Red Hat, Aims to Be Top Hybrid Cloud Provider

Microsoft Develops Hybrid Cloud Solution Strategy with Azure

Microsoft’s major investment in the cloud is beginning to pay off. In the last several quarters, this sector has grown so fast that the company’s market cap has soared to about $785 billion. Now, Microsoft reported that the results of its latest quarter have exceeded analyst expectations. When Satya Nadella became chief executive, Microsoft’s revenue largely came from marketing its Windows operating system on personal computers. Nadella turned the company towards cloud computing, with Azure as its core offering. Continue reading Microsoft Develops Hybrid Cloud Solution Strategy with Azure

Technology Giants Envision the Future of Augmented Reality

If Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft attain their goal, more of us will soon have our first experiences with augmented reality. These tech behemoths are hiring the talent and spending the money to make it a reality, with the hope that AR headsets will become lighter and sleeker — maybe even contact lenses. The experts note that all of our Internet-connected devices (IoT), paired with the cloud and AI, will dramatically “unlock the spaces around us.” But the potential applications also raise a number of potential privacy issues. Continue reading Technology Giants Envision the Future of Augmented Reality

Blockchain-Based RNDR Harnesses Power of 14,000 GPUs

Los Angeles-based OTOY, a company that has created software used for visual effects in projects such as “Westworld” and “The Avengers,” also launched a blockchain- and cryptocurrency-based rendering platform called RNDR to help other content creators harness the power of thousands of graphics processing units (GPUs). OTOY’s strategy is to gather a group of computer owners who can share their GPUs in the cloud in a decentralized way, and thus trade GPU power among members to accomplish data-intense imagery. Continue reading Blockchain-Based RNDR Harnesses Power of 14,000 GPUs

Gartner Labels AI a Megatrend, MIT Plans AI-Centric College

According to Gartner Research vice president Brian Burke, the democratization of AI is one of the five megatrends impacting emerging technologies. Although AI is currently in the “hype” stage of its evolution, to be followed by disillusionment, by 2020 it is expected to shape 80 percent of new technologies. Pursuant to that prediction, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) released plans for a college of artificial intelligence to be built with $1 billion in investment, of which two-thirds has already been raised. Continue reading Gartner Labels AI a Megatrend, MIT Plans AI-Centric College

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