Microsoft Debuts Project to Adopt Blockchain for Digital IDs

Last year, Microsoft described the idea of a “self-sovereign digital identity,” and has now introduced a project that would shift login credentials to blockchain. With this model, users — not Microsoft — would be responsible for their own digital identities and the portable credentials would, in principle, allow access to numerous applications. Advocates of blockchain champion the concept as more private, preventing anyone from following the user’s activity on the Internet and limiting the opportunity for hacks. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts Project to Adopt Blockchain for Digital IDs

Microsoft Shares Vision For Present and Future Productivity

Microsoft recently invited journalists into its Envisioning Center for a peek into its vision of the future — in particular, its vision of the future of productivity. Inside the center, Microsoft houses some of its prototype work. Journalists witnessed teams working together on giant collaborative screens, meeting in rooms equipped with devices to automatically recognize participants, and doing work at touch-powered desks. The bulk of all provided demonstrations revolved around the use of touch, voice, and augmented reality. This marks a new way forward for Microsoft.

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Microsoft Announces Launch of Azure Blockchain Services

In the past year, Microsoft has demonstrated a focus on blockchain technology. It previously launched a blockchain developer kit along with its Azure Blockchain Workbench. Just last week, ahead of its Build developer conference, Microsoft announced the launch of Azure Blockchain Services, a “fully managed service that allows for the formation, management, and governance of consortium blockchain networks” which are “meant to help businesses build applications on top of blockchain technology,” according to TechCrunch.

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Epic Takes on Steam, Plans to Gift 500 Magic Leap Glasses

Epic Games has just made Steam an offer that’s hard to refuse: that it would “retreat from exclusives” if Steam “committed to a permanent 88 percent revenue share for all developers and publishers.” Since Epic opened its own store with that revenue share model in late 2018, a long list of high profile game developers left Steam to debut new titles with Epic. The company also partnered with Magic Leap to award 500 Magic Leap One glasses — normally priced at $2,295 — to developers working in augmented reality. Continue reading Epic Takes on Steam, Plans to Gift 500 Magic Leap Glasses

Amazon, National Science Foundation to Further AI Fairness

Amazon is teaming up with the National Science Foundation (NSF), pledging up to $10 million in research grants over the next three years to further fairness in artificial intelligence and machine learning. More specifically, the grants will target “explainability” as well as potential negative biases and effects, mitigation strategies for such effects, validation of fairness and inclusivity. The goal is to encourage “broadened acceptance” of AI, thus enabling the U.S. to make better progress on the technology’s evolution. Continue reading Amazon, National Science Foundation to Further AI Fairness

Google GPipe Library Speeds Deep Neural Network Training

Google has unveiled GPipe, an open-sourced library that makes training deep neural networks more efficient under the TensorFlow framework Lingvo for sequence modeling. According to Google AI software engineer Yanping Huang, “in GPipe … we demonstrate the use of pipeline parallelism to scale up DNN training,” noting that larger DNN models “lead to better task performance.” Huang and his colleagues published a paper on “Efficient Training of Giant Neural Networks Using Pipeline Parallelism.” Continue reading Google GPipe Library Speeds Deep Neural Network Training

Google Adopts Open-Source, Secure Password-Less Logins

The FIDO Alliance, a consortium for open source authentication standards, is trying to make passwords obsolete, expanding its secure login protocols. Its efforts were boosted by Google’s announcement that it added certified support for the FIDO2 standard, impacting the vast majority of devices running Android 7 or later. That means owners of these Android 7-based devices should be able to log in seamlessly without passwords on mobile browsers such as Chrome. Websites can now be designed to interact with FIDO2 management. Continue reading Google Adopts Open-Source, Secure Password-Less Logins

Common Networks Has a Plan to Compete With 5G Carriers

While major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon begin the rollout of 5G networks in select areas, a San Francisco startup named Common Networks is developing an alternative that combines 5G with tech open-sourced from social giant Facebook. The startup is competing with ISPs by offering home broadband instead of mobile service. In Alameda, California, for example, it is using millimeter wave 5G tech to offer 1 Gbps service for $50 per month (the speed matches that of Google Fiber’s home broadband service). The millimeter wave service uses hardware design Terragraph, which Facebook open-sourced through its Telecom Infrastructure Project. Continue reading Common Networks Has a Plan to Compete With 5G Carriers

HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Update

The Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), first introduced in late 2014, has made increasing inroads in the film industry. Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) Science and Technology Council managing director Andy Maltz said at least three of this year’s Academy Awards nominees in the Best Picture and Best VFX categories used ACES; SMPTE also has created seven standards related to the use of ACES. According to AMPAS’ ACES project chair Annie Chang, the group released ACES 1.1 this last year. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Academy Color Encoding System Update

Dropbox, Google and Sony Debut Tech at Sundance Festival

At the Sundance Film Festival, tech companies now pitch new tools to the M&E industry. This year, Dropbox is offering a time-based commenting feature for video files, and Google and Sony are open-sourcing a tool that will simplify cloud rendering. Dropbox’s new feature will aid audio and video review by adding time-based commenting. Google, in partnership with Sony Picture Imageworks, will introduce OpenCue, which breaks down rendering steps and then schedules and manages the job across rendering farms. Continue reading Dropbox, Google and Sony Debut Tech at Sundance Festival

Facebook Introduces Open-Source Image Processing Library

Facebook unveiled Spectrum, an open-source image processing library to help improve the quality and reliability of images uploaded through its own apps. Spectrum, which Facebook first showed publicly and launched in beta in November, is now on GitHub, available to the developer community. As higher quality cameras on smartphones have become a key selling point, consumers are dealing with larger image files, which can be a stumbling block since they eat up more device memory and more network bandwidth. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Open-Source Image Processing Library

CES Panel: Envisioning Entertainment in the 5G Ecosystem

UTA chief innovation officer Brent Weinstein convened technology and entertainment honchos to parse out 5G’s impact on a range of M&E applications. Intel senior vice president/general manager of the network platforms group Sandra Rivera opined that, “it’s never too early to be on the forefront of innovation.” “The work we did on 4G created the environment that drew in investment and services from Airbnb to Netflix and Uber,” she said. “We’re not quite at 5G, but the excitement is attracting the entrepreneurs and engineers.” Continue reading CES Panel: Envisioning Entertainment in the 5G Ecosystem

Intel Describes Tool to Train AI Models With Encrypted Data

Intel revealed that it has made progress in an anonymized, encrypted method of model training. Industries such as healthcare that need a way to use AI tools on sensitive, personally identifiable information have been waiting for just such a capability. At the NeurIPS 2018 conference in Montreal, Intel showed off its open-sourced HE-Transformer that works as a backend to its nGraph neural network compiler, allowing AI models to work on encrypted data. HE-Transformer is also based on a Microsoft Research encryption library. Continue reading Intel Describes Tool to Train AI Models With Encrypted Data

Nvidia Reveals Use of Neural Networks to Create Virtual City

Nvidia used processing power and neural networks to create a very convincing virtual city, which will be open for tours by attendees to this year’s NeurIPS AI conference in Montreal. Nvidia’s system, which uses existing videos of scenery and objects to create these interactive environments, also makes it easier for artists to create similar virtual worlds. Nvidia vice president of applied deep learning Bryan Catanzaro said generative models are key to making the process of creating virtual worlds cost effective. Continue reading Nvidia Reveals Use of Neural Networks to Create Virtual City

20th Century Fox, Google Use AI to Analyze Movie Trailers

Researchers at 20th Century Fox published a paper to reveal how they are using artificial intelligence to analyze movie trailers. Published last month, the paper described Merlin, the code name for machine vision systems examining trailers frame by frame and labeling the objects and events. Then this data is compared to data from other trailers, with the idea that trailers with similar labels will attract similar kinds of people. Movie studios already cull similar data via interviews and questionnaires. Continue reading 20th Century Fox, Google Use AI to Analyze Movie Trailers

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