Facebook Suspends Apps, Removes its Own From Apple Store

Facebook has suspended 400 apps, about double the number it previously said it removed due to “concerns around the developers who built them or how the information people chose to share with the app may have been used.” The company is now investigating these apps and developers. Elsewhere, after Apple ruled that Facebook’s data-security app violated its data collection policies, Facebook pulled the app from the store. Facebook used the app to track the competition and learn more about new product categories. Continue reading Facebook Suspends Apps, Removes its Own From Apple Store

Experian Uses Machine Learning for Predictive Maintenance

The credit reporting company Experian is adopting machine learning to get a jump on identifying problems and predicting application behavior more reliably. Machine learning tools can help such Experian tools as ServiceNow, which monitors infrastructure performance and spots unusual, potentially threatening behavior. With machine learning, Experian hopes to head off and/or fix problems that could impact, and potentially lose, customers. The company also now mandates that monitoring be built into all new applications. Continue reading Experian Uses Machine Learning for Predictive Maintenance

Facebook, Twitter Plan to Minimize Disinformation, Bad Ads

Facebook and Twitter will increase scrutiny of the searchable archives of ads running on their sites, to stop fake news in the months leading up to the midterm elections. Twitter is debuting an Ads Transparency Center to open public view of a database of all ads on its platform, having already established the requirement that anyone running a campaign go through a verification process. Facebook, which also has a database of political ads, now plans to make it easier to find background details on all its platforms. Continue reading Facebook, Twitter Plan to Minimize Disinformation, Bad Ads

Allstate’s Digital Assistant ‘Amelia’ Now Helps Call Center Reps

Allstate’s AI-powered chatbot, Amelia, continues helping the insurance company’s call center employees solve customer service issues efficiently. Since her original deployment in September, she’s already helped these employees with more than 3 million client conversations, answering questions through an instant messaging platform on employee desktops. In January alone, Amelia helped on 250,000 calls. Allstate and other insurance companies are turning to chatbots to stay ahead of insurance-focused startups looking to compete.

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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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HPA 2018: Imagining the Future of AI and Storytelling in Media

At the HPA Tech Retreat Wednesday breakfast roundtables, program director Yves Bergquist led a discussion on the work he is doing at ETC on storytelling and artificial intelligence. “We’re doing a lot of research around how to create a more semantic understanding of narrative structures and create a machine-readable understanding of storytelling,” he explained. HPA Tech Retreat regular Jim Burger, an attorney who sat at the table, engaged in a conversation with Bergquist about the copyright infringement potential of AI and storytelling. Continue reading HPA 2018: Imagining the Future of AI and Storytelling in Media

IBM Quantum Computers Engage Researchers, Corporations

Quantum computing is beginning to gain traction since, two years ago, IBM made its IBM Q 5-quantum bit (qubit) computer available to researchers. Now, 70,000 users around the world have registered to use the IBM Q, and Big Blue has quadrupled the qubit count. Also recently, IBM and Intel announced quantum computers with 50 and 49 qubits respectively, and Google is reportedly nearing launch of its own qubit computer. Experts are now waiting for the quantum computer to rise above the best supercomputer at accomplishing tasks. Continue reading IBM Quantum Computers Engage Researchers, Corporations

Apple to Purchase Music Recognition App Shazam for $400M

Apple is purchasing Shazam Entertainment Ltd. for a reported $400 million. Shazam’s music recognition app, which lets users identify songs that are playing nearby, skyrocketed in popularity when it debuted in 2009, and has been downloaded more than one billion times. If the transaction is successful, Apple could integrate the Shazam feature into its iPhones, thereby helping the company gain an edge over the latest phones from Google and Samsung. Google already has a similar feature in its Pixel 2 smartphone. Continue reading Apple to Purchase Music Recognition App Shazam for $400M

Mozilla Intros Open-Source Speech Recognition, Voice Dataset

Mozilla unveiled Project DeepSpeech and Project Common Voice to leverage the capabilities of speech recognition. The company says it has just reached “two important milestones” in the project out of its Machine Learning Group. Mozilla is releasing its open source speech recognition model, which it states is nearly as accurate as what humans can perceive from the same recordings, and is also unveiling the world’s second largest publicly available voice dataset, with contributions by almost 20,000 people around the world. Continue reading Mozilla Intros Open-Source Speech Recognition, Voice Dataset

Twitter Rolls Out New API to Increase its Revenue From Data

Twitter’s advertising business is in a slump, and the company is focusing on new ways to sell data to make up for the shortfall. Businesses can pay for “enterprise APIs,” which gives them access to more information about tweets including a searchable archive. Last year, this segment of its revenue comprised 15 percent of the company’s total business, equal to $87 million. For that reason, Twitter unveiled a new version of its “search tweets API,” which is the dataset for those who want a searchable database of user posts. Continue reading Twitter Rolls Out New API to Increase its Revenue From Data

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

Google Offers Up its Global Cloud-Based Database Technology

Google’s Spanner, developed a decade ago, created a way to store information across millions of machines in a multitude of data centers around the world. Despite its global reach, Spanner behaves as if it operates in a single location, meaning it can reliably replicate and change data without contradicting actions taken at a different location, and retrieve copies if one of the centers goes down. Since its creation, Spanner has become the foundation for 2,000 Google services including Gmail and AdWords. Now, Google plans to unveil Spanner to everyone as a cloud computing service. Continue reading Google Offers Up its Global Cloud-Based Database Technology

Hulu Acquires The VGP to Improve Recommendation Options

Hulu just bought the assets of The Video Genome Project (The VGP), whose technology automatically aggregates metadata around video content, classifies it into subgenres and then uses the data to connect titles. The VGP makes connections beyond obvious criteria such as genre, director or cast. Hulu says a “small team” from The VGP will join the company, and, with this technology, Hulu will be able to offer classifications similar to Netflix’s more granular offerings, such as “Action Sci-Fi & Fantasy Based on Books.” Continue reading Hulu Acquires The VGP to Improve Recommendation Options

Comparing Newly Released Google Home with Amazon Echo

Google just released Home, a smart speaker that competes directly with the recently introduced Amazon Echo, powered by the virtual assistant Alexa. Since its release, Amazon’s Echo has been a hit, as users have relied on it for everything from a home automation tool to kitchen companion and shopping assistant. Now, the two products, from two technology behemoths, will face off in the marketplace. These devices are still early in their development, and the virtual assistants powering them offer limited abilities. Continue reading Comparing Newly Released Google Home with Amazon Echo

Google Merges DoubleClick Database with Gmail Information

Google has changed language in its privacy policy that once promised not to track information in DoubleClick’s database of Web-browsing records. When buying advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy was his “number one priority,” and its records would be kept separate from information collected from Gmail and other accounts. New language says instead that, “browsing habits ‘may be’ combined with what the company learns from the use of Gmail and other tools.” Continue reading Google Merges DoubleClick Database with Gmail Information

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