Walmart Bolsters Advertising Business with Vizio Acquisition

Walmart is acquiring Vizio in a deal valued at $2.3 billion. The retail giant is following a template established by Amazon by expanding into entertainment media and connected TV advertising. The majority of Vizio’s growth from the last five years has come from ads on its WatchFree+ platform, which offers more than 260 channels, Walmart said touting a deal point. Vizio’s primary business is manufacturing value-priced TV sets. It also makes soundbars. The deal will instantly vault Walmart into a mix of players including Amazon, Roku, Samsung Ads and Google’s YouTube. Continue reading Walmart Bolsters Advertising Business with Vizio Acquisition

GlobalFoundries Receives $1.5 Billion in First U.S. CHIPS Grant

GlobalFoundries has been selected to receive the first major grant in the Biden administration’s CHIPS and Science Act program to reinvigorate U.S. chip production. The $1.5 billion in grants will be used to construct and expand facilities in Vermont and New York. Additionally, the administration plans to make available $1.6 billion in federal loans. The grants are estimated to triple GlobalFoundries’ New York state production capacity within the next 10 years. Chipmakers including Intel, Micron Technology, Samsung Electronics and TSMC have submitted grant applications for government assistance in building new or updating existing facilities. Continue reading GlobalFoundries Receives $1.5 Billion in First U.S. CHIPS Grant

Google Targets Global Security with AI Cyber Defense Initiative

Google has unveiled a new policy, the AI Cyber Defense Initiative, designed to harness the power of artificial intelligence to improve global cybersecurity defenses. The proposed policy aims to counteract rapidly evolving threats by using AI to improve threat detection, automate vulnerability management and enhance incident response effectiveness. The Alphabet company introduced its new plan at the Munich Security Conference, where it also announced it has a pool of $2 million to award businesses and academic institutions for research initiatives involving large language models, code verification and other AI uses for cyber offense and defense. Continue reading Google Targets Global Security with AI Cyber Defense Initiative

Amazon Claims ’Emergent Abilities’ for Text-to-Speech Model

Researchers at Amazon have trained what they are calling the largest text-to-speech model ever created, which they claim is exhibiting “emergent” qualities — the ability to inherently improve itself at speaking complex sentences naturally. Called BASE TTS, for Big Adaptive Streamable TTS with Emergent abilities, the new model could pave the way for more human-like interactions with AI, reports suggest. Trained on 100,000 hours of public domain speech data, BASE TTS offers “state-of-the-art naturalness” in English as well as some German, Dutch and Spanish. Text-to-speech models are used in developing voice assistants for smart devices and apps and accessibility. Continue reading Amazon Claims ’Emergent Abilities’ for Text-to-Speech Model

OpenAI’s Generative Video Tech Is Described as ‘Eye-Popping’

OpenAI has debuted a generative video model called Sora that could be a game changer. In OpenAI’s demonstration clips, Sora depicts both fantasy and natural scenes with photorealistic intensity that makes the images appear to be photographed. Although Sora is said to be currently limited to one-minute clips, it is only a matter of time until that expands, which suggests the technology could have a significant impact on all aspects of production — from entertainment to advertising to education. Concerned about Sora’s disinformation potential, OpenAI is proceeding cautiously, and initially making it available only to a select group to help it troubleshoot. Continue reading OpenAI’s Generative Video Tech Is Described as ‘Eye-Popping’

Cineverse to Launch cineSearch Powered by Google’s Vertex AI

Global streamer Cineverse has launched an AI-powered search and discovery tool called cineSearch. Developed using the Vertex AI platform from Google Cloud, cineSearch will be released in public beta this spring. A waitlist has already been started, and Cineverse says it will be made more widely available in partnership with OEM and third-party streaming platform partners in the coming months. Simultaneously, the Los Angeles-based firm is rolling out a new ad platform called Cineverse 360, or C360 for short, that will connect brands across omnichannel services reaching 82 million monthly viewers at launch. Continue reading Cineverse to Launch cineSearch Powered by Google’s Vertex AI

MoviePass Reaches 1 Million Tickets Sold and Turns First Profit

MoviePass says it has sold more than 1 million tickets since relaunching last spring, and has also announced the first profitable year in the company’s 13-year history. Co-founder and CEO Stacy Spikes, who purchased the company out of bankruptcy in 2021, is giving artificial intelligence much of the credit for the turnaround. The MoviePass Cinematic Marketplace is an aggregator for the theatrical industry that uses AI and machine learning to improve attendance engagement and ticket sales. Spikes says hitting the milestones “highlights the powerful impact” the technology enhancements have had “from the previous business model.” Continue reading MoviePass Reaches 1 Million Tickets Sold and Turns First Profit

Apple’s Keyframer AI Tool Uses LLMs to Prototype Animation

Apple has taken a novel approach to animation with Keyframer, using large language models to add motion to static images through natural language prompts. “The application of LLMs to animation is underexplored,” Apple researchers say in a paper that describes Keyframer as an “animation prototyping tool.” Based on input from animators and engineers, Keyframer lets users refine their work through “a combination of prompting and direct editing,” the paper explains. The LLM can generate CSS animation code. Users can also use natural language to request design variations. Continue reading Apple’s Keyframer AI Tool Uses LLMs to Prototype Animation

Stability AI Advances Image Generation with Stable Cascade

Stability AI, purveyor of the popular Stable Diffusion image generator, has introduced a completely new model called Stable Cascade. Now in preview, Stable Cascade uses a different architecture than Stable Diffusion’s SDXL that the UK company’s researchers say is more efficient. Cascade builds on a compression architecture called Würstchen (German for “sausage”) that Stability began sharing in research papers early last year. Würstchen is a three-stage process that includes two-step encoding. It uses fewer parameters, meaning less data to train on, greater speed and reduced costs. Continue reading Stability AI Advances Image Generation with Stable Cascade

Slack AI Brings Generative Features to Channels and Threads

Slack AI is a new paid add-on for enterprise clients that want to boost productivity using artificial intelligence. Generative capabilities in the initial release include personalized responses to questions, channel recaps and thread summaries that promise to “catch you up on long conversations in one click.” Slack says pilot data indicated customers including Uber and Anthropic “could save an average of 97 minutes per user each week using Slack AI to find answers, distill knowledge and spark ideas.” Slack AI is backward compatible, generating information based on the history built over time on the platform. Continue reading Slack AI Brings Generative Features to Channels and Threads

Google Intros Gemini Advanced Chatbot, One AI Subscription

Google has rebranded its Bard chatbot as Gemini, and is launching a Gemini mobile app along with a subscription offering for Gemini Advanced that will be included as part of the new $19.95 monthly Google One AI Premium plan. As with Bard, Google will continue to make a free version of the Gemini chatbot available. Gemini Advanced is powered by Gemini Ultra, the most sophisticated of the three Gemini AI models Google unveiled in December. “Gemini Advanced not only allows you to have longer, more detailed conversations, it also better understands the context from your previous prompts,” Google explains. Continue reading Google Intros Gemini Advanced Chatbot, One AI Subscription

Otter Adds New Generative AI Features to Its Meeting Assistant

Web-based transcription service Otter.ai is expanding its toolkit with Meeting GenAI, aimed at corporate customers who want to increase meeting productivity while decreasing effort. Multi-meeting capabilities have been added using Otter AI Chat, which can respond to queries like “What did I miss in the meetings from the past two weeks?” Conversation Summary View summarizes meetings in real-time along with automatically identified action items that are assigned owners, deadlines and tracking. Otter is positioning itself as a David versus the Goliaths of AI meeting assists: Microsoft Copilot, Zoom AI Companion and Google’s Gemini for Workspace. Continue reading Otter Adds New Generative AI Features to Its Meeting Assistant

Nvidia to Launch Unit Devoted to Building Custom HPC Chips

Nvidia is investing $30 billion in a new business unit focused on custom chips for high-performance computing. The company already controls about 80 percent of the advanced chip market but wants to avoid losing ground as alternatives spring up. Alphabet, AWS, Intel and AMD market high-end processors to third-parties, and Meta is expected to begin deploying its own Artemis AI chips this year. Nvidia has had discussions with Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI about helping them create bespoke chips and is also talking to automakers, cloud service providers (CSPs) and telecom companies, according to reports. Continue reading Nvidia to Launch Unit Devoted to Building Custom HPC Chips

USPTO Says Only Humans Can Patent, Although AI May Assist

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued revised guidance on patents for inventions created using artificial intelligence, a fast-developing category of intellectual property law. The advisory says patents may cover AI-assisted inventions in cases where “a natural person provided a significant contribution.” Insofar as what constitutes appropriately significant input, the agency is looking for the “right balance” between “awarding patent protection to promote human ingenuity and investment for AI-assisted inventions while not unnecessarily locking up innovation for future developments,” according to a USPTO blog post. Continue reading USPTO Says Only Humans Can Patent, Although AI May Assist

IAB and MRC Join Forces to Develop AR Advertising Guidelines

The global augmented reality market is expected to reach $289 billion by 2030, according to a recent study by Research and Markets, and advertisers have taken notice. While the majority of revenue is generated by software, then hardware, the augmented reality advertising market is projected to generate $1.2 billion in revenue in the U.S. in 2024, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. To help foster growth in that nascent sector, the IAB has teamed with the Media Ratings Council to create consistent definitions and measurement guidelines for ads within AR campaigns. Continue reading IAB and MRC Join Forces to Develop AR Advertising Guidelines