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 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

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

Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Now out of beta, Amazon launched a new social feature in the U.S. yesterday that is designed to return social activity surrounding products back to the Amazon site while hopefully improving product discovery for its users. Similar to the approach of Instagram’s shoppable photos, Amazon Spark allows users to post images, new ideas and related posts regarding products they find interesting. To foster social interaction, other users can respond with their own comments and “smiles” — Amazon’s take on “favorite” and “like” buttons. Continue reading Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Reelgood Helps TV Fans Discover, Track Streaming Content

Reelgood is a new site that offers a single interface for tracking content across 250 streaming services, essentially providing a contemporary TV guide for the streaming era. The service, which started as a social iPhone app centered on movies and evolved into a tool for content discovery, exited beta yesterday. The idea behind Reelgood is to provide viewers with an effective, customizable central hub to navigate the offerings of multiple services, including subscription video on demand and cable TV, without having to deal with a variety of different apps and interfaces. Continue reading Reelgood Helps TV Fans Discover, Track Streaming Content

Music Industry, YouTube Battle Over Perceived ‘Value Gap’

As the $7.7 billion U.S. music industry has moved from CDs to streaming, the top venue has become — not Spotify or Pandora — but YouTube, which is responsible for 25 percent of all music streamed. But that’s a problem since accessing music on YouTube is free, and music labels are increasingly unhappy that the platform pays less for songs than other streaming sites, calling it a threat to the music industry. The music industry has begun taking its concerns to regulators, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Continue reading Music Industry, YouTube Battle Over Perceived ‘Value Gap’

Morgan Stanley Values Netflix Content Assets at $11 Billion

According to Morgan Stanley, as of March 2017 the net value of Netflix content was valued at $11 billion, significantly higher than the content assets of many top media companies. “At the same time, however, the revenue Netflix generates on that base of content trails traditional TV and film conglomerates,” reports Variety. “Netflix pulls in about $1 of revenue per dollar of net content value, versus $2-$4 among old-school entertainment companies.” There is no guarantee that Netflix, which just earned 92 Emmy nominations, can monetize its content similarly to traditional television networks, especially since it does not sell advertising. Regardless, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote “Netflix is building a much larger profit pool than the market understands.” Continue reading Morgan Stanley Values Netflix Content Assets at $11 Billion

Anytime: Amazon May Be Developing a New Messaging App

Amazon may be developing a standalone messaging app called Anytime that would allow people to connect without the need to include phone numbers, which is how other messaging apps such as Viber and WhatsApp typically connect. The company has reportedly been running a survey to gather feedback about a service “for smartphones, tablets, PCs and smart watches designed to let people chat with text and video, send each other fun photos with filters, play games and engage with other Amazon services,” reports TechCrunch. Earlier this year, AWS launched a communication service called Chime for enterprise customers. Continue reading Anytime: Amazon May Be Developing a New Messaging App

SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

SenseTime Co., a Beijing-based startup founded in 2014 that sells its facial recognition systems to the Chinese police, just scored $410 million in new venture capital funding that values the company at more than $1.5 billion. The valuation, which makes the company a unicorn, underscores how such surveillance technologies are increasing in importance. Facial recognition breaks down a face into measurements that create a template, and SenseTime uses artificial intelligence to match faces against those in an image database. Continue reading SenseTime Facial Recognition Firm Is Valued at $1.5 Billion

Facebook Vies With YouTube for Digital Influencer Content

YouTube is where 1.5 billion people go every month to watch videos for more than an hour a day, and influencers such as brothers Jake Paul and Logan Paul have millions of followers and draw in lots of digital ads. Facebook makes it easier for videos to go viral, but hasn’t had much success in getting viewers to watch videos for more than a few minutes. In an effort to do so, Facebook has turned to live sports, making its own programs and a handful of stars who crave Facebook’s enormous reach more than YouTube’s monetization. Continue reading Facebook Vies With YouTube for Digital Influencer Content

Microsoft to Provide White-Space Broadband in Rural Areas

Microsoft has a plan for providing inexpensive broadband access to underserved areas of the U.S., and its president/chief legal officer Brad Smith just declared the company’s support for that plan. The company has long advocated the use of so-called TV white-space technology — unused TV spectrum — to bring broadband especially to rural areas. As part of the plan, Microsoft would also urge the Trump administration and Congress to make sure that unlicensed white-space spectrum is available in every market in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Provide White-Space Broadband in Rural Areas

Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

Sony Music Entertainment has agreed to a new licensing deal with Spotify, which should be finalized in the coming weeks. “The agreement helps to clear the way for Spotify’s long-anticipated public offering, which is expected later this year or early next year,” reports Variety. An inside source suggests the deal is similar to the current Spotify agreements with Universal Music Group and digital rights agency Merlin. A major component of the deal is a windowing option, “whereby artists can withhold their releases from its free, ad-supported service for up to two weeks.” Continue reading Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

W3C Approves the EME Standard for DRM-Protected Video

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees standards for the web, approved a new system for handling DRM-protected video. Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) work by letting DRM systems connect directly to the user’s browser. EME lets streaming video services protect their content without forcing users to install plugins that can be insecure. But not everyone is happy. Some researchers and advocates of the open Internet believe EME will give browser developers and content providers too much power. Continue reading W3C Approves the EME Standard for DRM-Protected Video

Internet Firms Rally Users to Oppose the End of Net Neutrality

Internet companies, large and small, will begin to rally their users to join a “day of action” online protest against the demise of net neutrality. Many of these same Internet companies fought hard for these same net neutrality rules, instituted in 2015. FCC chairman Ajit Pai has said he supports an open Internet but that the Obama-era rules are too “heavy handed.” Net neutrality prevents large service providers from slowing down the Internet offerings, including media such as movies and music, of their rivals. Continue reading Internet Firms Rally Users to Oppose the End of Net Neutrality

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