Nearly 20 Percent of Adults Have Access to a Smart Speaker

Nearly one in five U.S. adults — 47.3 million, or 20 percent of the country’s adult population — has access to a smart speaker, according to Voicebot.ai research. In this case, “access to a smart speaker” means having a smart speaker in the home, even if the adult is not the primary user. Unlike smartphones and other personal technologies, not every person in the home is likely to have one. Thus, it’s likely most apt to compare smart speakers to TVs, which took 13 years to reach the 50 million mark versus just two years for smart speakers.

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Ubisoft’s New AI Assistant Helps Catch Bugs in Video Games

Another exciting AI development has arrived, and its aim is to keep pesky bugs out of video games. At the recent Ubisoft Developer Conference in Montreal, the gaming company unveiled Commit Assistant, its new AI assistant for game developers. The goal is to catch bugs before they’re coded, saving developers time, reducing in-game flaws, and cutting back on company costs. One of the most expensive and time-intensive aspects of game design is eliminating bugs, which can absorb significant manpower and as much as 70 percent of costs during development.

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Gartner: Global Smartphone Shipments Decline for First Time

According to Gartner’s Q4 sales report, the global smartphone market saw a dip in shipments for the first time. The world’s top vendors (besides Huawei and Xiaomi) experienced declines. Overall, there was a 5.6 percent slide compared to the previous year, representing 24.29 million fewer phones. Gartner research director Anshul Gupta cites “a lack of quality ‘ultra-low-cost’ smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones.” Additionally, “replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones.” Continue reading Gartner: Global Smartphone Shipments Decline for First Time

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

Google Brain Leverages AI to Generate Wikipedia-Like Articles

The latest project out of Google Brain, the company’s machine learning research lab, has been using AI software to write Wikipedia-style articles by summarizing information on the Internet. But it’s not easy to condense social media, blogs, articles, memes and other digital information into salient articles, and the project’s results have been mixed. The team, in a paper just accepted at the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), describes how difficult it has been. Continue reading Google Brain Leverages AI to Generate Wikipedia-Like Articles

ETC’s Bergquist to Deliver TR-X Keynote and Debut AI Primer

Yves Bergquist, project director data & analytics at ETC@USC, will deliver the TR-X keynote at next week’s HPA Tech Retreat and debut ETC’s AI primer for media and entertainment. The HPA Tech Retreat (February 19-23) will take place at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert, California. The TR-X Seminar (February 19, 1:00-5:15 pm), held in conjunction with the HPA Tech Retreat, will explore AI and machine learning in the M&E ecosystem. Panels will address real world AI case studies, partnering with AI in the creative process, marketing, research and more. Registration info is available online. Continue reading ETC’s Bergquist to Deliver TR-X Keynote and Debut AI Primer

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

YouTube Gaming’s Streamer Base Experiences Major Growth

A new Streamlabs report suggests that Twitch rival YouTube Gaming is gaining significant traction. While Twitch continues its lead in live streaming video, YouTube’s monthly active streamer base increased by 343 percent during 2017. Twitch attracted 27,000 concurrent streamers in Q4 2017, while YouTube Gaming had 7,000, notes TechCrunch. “Twitch also saw 788,000 concurrent viewers in Q4, up from 736,7000 in the prior quarter.” YouTube was “second with 308,000 concurrent viewers, followed by Periscope’s 80,000, Facebook’s 27,500 and Microsoft Mixer’s 5,000.” Continue reading YouTube Gaming’s Streamer Base Experiences Major Growth

Facebook, Google Pledge to Expand AI Investments in France

After top Google and Facebook executives met with French president Emmanuel Macron, the tech companies vowed to invest artificial intelligence resources in that country’s capital. Google will create a Paris-based AI lab focused on research into automatic learning, language and computer vision. Facebook, which already has created an AI lab in Paris, plans to double its 50-person team there by 2022 and spend 10 million euros ($12.2 million). Both companies also pledge to train that country’s citizens on digital tools. Continue reading Facebook, Google Pledge to Expand AI Investments in France

Report: About 16 Percent of Americans Own Smart Speakers

NPR and Edison Research released a report this week indicating that about one in six Americans (39 million people) now own a smart speaker, up 128 percent from last January. “Amazon’s Echo speakers are still in the lead, the report says, as 11 percent now own an Amazon Alexa device compared with 4 percent who own a Google Home product,” reports TechCrunch. Amazon and Google promoted their devices heavily and cut prices during the holiday shopping season. “The Echo Dot became a top seller across its site and by manufacturers through the Black Friday weekend.” Continue reading Report: About 16 Percent of Americans Own Smart Speakers

Alexa, Cortana and IBM Executives Envision the Future of AI

Amazon vice president of Alexa Engine software Al Lindsay, IBM general manager of Watson’s Content and IoT platform Cameron Clayton, formerly chief exec of The Weather Channel, and Microsoft AI and Research Group corporate vice president Andrew Shuman were prompted by moderator Avram Piltch, Tom’s Guide editorial director, during a CES panel to depict what artificial intelligence will look like in 2023. Clayton summed it up best. “It’s going to be ubiquitous,” he said. “All connected systems will have AI integrated into them somehow someway.” Continue reading Alexa, Cortana and IBM Executives Envision the Future of AI

Study Shows Consumers Worldwide Are Warming to AR, VR

According to new research released at CES this week, consumers are warming to the idea of virtual and augmented reality, but their interests are more focused on practical daily applications than gaming. Harris Interactive conducted a study for Accenture across 19 countries and learned that 47 percent of online consumers would be interested in using AR or VR headsets to play games, while percentages jumped into the 50s and 60s regarding consumers interested in learning about travel and new skills, visualizing how clothing would fit, and shopping for household items and furniture. Continue reading Study Shows Consumers Worldwide Are Warming to AR, VR

CES Tech Trends: 5G Ushers In a New Connected Ecosystem

On Sunday, January 7, CES 2018’s hottest trends were previewed in an event open only to press. CTA senior director of research Steve Koenig and senior manager of research Lesley Rohrbaugh divided tech trends into three parts: Ingredient or B2B technologies such as 5G, AI and robotics; In the Market tech comprised of native interfaces, digital senses and realism redefined; and Emerging Tech focused on smart cities, sports innovations and digital therapeutics. The technology that will make all of it possible, they say, is 5G. Continue reading CES Tech Trends: 5G Ushers In a New Connected Ecosystem

CES 2018: Toyota Shows Off Its Prototype Self-Driving Vehicle

At CES 2018 this week, Toyota will be showcasing its prototype autonomous vehicle, Platform 3.0, which is built on a Lexus LS 600hL. The car isn’t ready for purchase yet, but it does a good job of demonstrating what the Toyota Research Institute has been up to. Toyota has integrated many if not all of the sensors into the car’s body, creating a rather sleek design that it calls “intelligent minimalism.” The rooftop panel, sensors on the side of the car and even the trunk, for example, are part of a smooth, aerodynamic design. Continue reading CES 2018: Toyota Shows Off Its Prototype Self-Driving Vehicle

Harvard Metalens Research Could Impact AR/VR Applications

Researchers at Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) made a breakthrough in metalenses, flat surfaces that focus light via nanostructures. Metalenses, which would replace curved lenses, have thus far been able to focus only on a limited spectrum of light, but SEAS engineers created a metalens that can focus, in high resolution, on the entire visible spectrum of light in the same spot. Previously, that effect could only be achieved by stacking many conventional lenses. Continue reading Harvard Metalens Research Could Impact AR/VR Applications

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