Google Debuts AI Test Kitchen, LaMDA Language Generator

Google has launched an AI Test Kitchen and is inviting users to sign up to test experimental AI-powered systems and provide feedback before the applications are deployed for commercial use. First up is the Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), which has shown promising early results. The AI Test Kitchen has begun a gradual rollout to small groups of U.S. on Android with plans to include iOS in the coming weeks. According to Google, “as we move ahead with development, we feel a great responsibility to get this right.”  Continue reading Google Debuts AI Test Kitchen, LaMDA Language Generator

Charges Made by Twitter Whistleblower Could Benefit Musk

A former Twitter security chief may be Elon Musk’s white knight in the billionaire’s effort to get out of his contract to purchase Twitter for $54.20 per share ($44 billion). Peiter Zatko filed a whistleblower disclosure to Congress and federal agencies claiming Twitter not only deceived shareholders and the public by misrepresenting its bot count and security measures, but also alleging “that one or more current employees may be working for a foreign intelligence service,” according to CNN. If true, the allegations would violate a 2011 agreement between Twitter and the Federal Trade Commission. Continue reading Charges Made by Twitter Whistleblower Could Benefit Musk

Industry Leaders Discuss Virtual Beings at ETC Town Square

Five industry experts were invited to give 25-minute presentations over Zoom to the ETC@USC membership last week on the theme of virtual beings. Discussions addressed creating a more emotive and relatable personality and improving the image, sound and body language of virtual characters. The presenters were chosen because of their efforts to bring a new dimension to related discussions taking place within ETC’s member companies. The talks were recorded and posted on ETCentric in support of ETC’s mission of sharing information and educating the industry. Continue reading Industry Leaders Discuss Virtual Beings at ETC Town Square

Meta Developing a Neural Network to Turbocharge Wikipedia

Meta AI, the artificial intelligence unit of Meta Platforms has developed what it believes is a machine learning model that can simultaneously scan hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia citations to check their accuracy. While the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, already uses bots, Meta’s proposal would be more extensive than anything currently deployed. Trained using a dataset of 4 million Wikipedia citations, the new Meta AI tool analyzes the linked references, verifying corroboration. With more than 17,000 new Wikipedia articles added each month, this is no small feat. Continue reading Meta Developing a Neural Network to Turbocharge Wikipedia

MarqVision Raises $20 Million to Help Monitor and Protect IP

Intellectual property protection is leveraging the power of AI using search. MarqVision is a firm built around monitoring e-commerce and general content platforms policing IP rights, with particular attention to blockchain and NFTs. The Los Angeles-based startup has raised $20 million in Series A funding to further its goal of detecting counterfeits and having them removed from points of online distribution and sale. Originally incubated at Y Combinator, MarqVision has put together a client base that spans from luxury brands LVMH, Ralph Lauren and Baccarat to the more populist Pokémon. Continue reading MarqVision Raises $20 Million to Help Monitor and Protect IP

Ad Market and Musk Credited for Twitter’s Missed Earnings

Twitter’s second quarter revenue of $1.18 billion underperformed 2021 by only one percent but fell short of estimates by more than 10 percent, disappointing Wall Street, which projected revenue of $1.32 billion for the period. Advertising crept up two percent, to $1.08 billion, but overall Twitter had a quarterly net loss of $270 million, largely attributed to recessionary headwinds and uncertainty about Elon Musk’s proposed takeover. In its earnings report, Twitter said its lawsuit against Musk has been granted an expedited trial for October 2022. Continue reading Ad Market and Musk Credited for Twitter’s Missed Earnings

Elon Musk Notifies Twitter of Plan to Cancel Acquisition Deal

Elon Musk is attempting to terminate his $44 billion deal to acquire social giant Twitter. Musk’s attorneys claimed in a regulatory filing that Twitter was in “material breach of multiple provisions” of the purchase agreement and “appears to have made false and misleading representations.” According to Twitter board chairman Bret Taylor, “The Twitter board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement.” The deal includes a $1 billion “breakup fee” and the company can hold the billionaire to his original agreement by taking him to court. Continue reading Elon Musk Notifies Twitter of Plan to Cancel Acquisition Deal

European Union Creates Code of Practice on Disinformation

The European Union unveiled a new code of practice for disinformation, a glimpse at the regulation Big Tech companies will be dealing with under upcoming digital content laws. Meta Platforms, Twitter, TikTok and Google have agreed to the new rules, which update voluntary guidelines. The revised standards direct social media companies to avoid advertising adjacent to intentionally false or misleading content. EU policymakers have said they will make parts of the new code mandatory under the Digital Services Act. Platforms agreeing to comply with the new rules must submit implementation reports by early 2023. Continue reading European Union Creates Code of Practice on Disinformation

Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

Amazon is combatting inventory shortages with a new invite-based ordering protocol for high-demand products, starting with U.S. fulfillment of the Sony PlayStation 5 game console, followed by Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. The idea is to prevent hoarding by “scalpers” who program bots to buy in quantity then resell the items at significant markup. Participation does not require Prime membership, merely a request for the invitation. Amazon plans to roll the program out to more countries as it strives to ensure a positive shopping experience for individual customers and households. Continue reading Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

Stock Volatility at Twitter and Tesla Roil Musk’s Buyout Plans

Twitter’s tumbling stock price has spectators second-guessing Elon Musk’s motives in demanding more information for the acquisition deal to proceed. The billionaire’s “best and final” offer of $54.20 per share is now looking like a rich deal for Twitter, which has been hovering at about $38 per share. The Twitter board is understandably intent on keeping the $44 billion offer and $1 billion breakup fee in place, even as Musk tweeted ““this deal cannot move forward” until he sees proof of the company’s claim that spam and bots account for less than 5 percent of users. Continue reading Stock Volatility at Twitter and Tesla Roil Musk’s Buyout Plans

Cybercriminals Target NFTs on OpenSea, Other Marketplaces

Nearly $30 billion was spent on NFTs last year, according to analytics firm Chainalysis, and one of the companies that’s benefitted from the boom is OpenSea. The firm has a $13 billion valuation thanks to its well-timed entry into the hot new sector, becoming one of the biggest NFT marketplaces in the world. With success has come headaches, as scam artists began to target NFTs and the people who buy and sell them. Now the four-year-old New York firm and other marketplaces are struggling to find a balance between boomtown and lockdown. Continue reading Cybercriminals Target NFTs on OpenSea, Other Marketplaces

Google’s Bot-in-a-Box Brings Conversational AI to Enterprises

Google Cloud recently unveiled a new AI-powered service product named Bot-in-a-Box. The feature, available via Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Business Messages, will help enterprises easily manage conversations with their customers. Bot-in-a-Box creates chatbots that can naturally respond to customers’ questions by using Google’s Dialogflow software. The conversational bot does not require any additional coding but will learn directly from businesses’ customer service data. The new product is expected to cut the customer service budget for businesses and improve the service level of chat function on GCP Business Messages. Continue reading Google’s Bot-in-a-Box Brings Conversational AI to Enterprises

Twitter Asks Developers to ID ‘Good Bots’ Using New Badge

Twitter is testing a new feature that allows bots to self-identify with a label on their account profiles. Although the feature will allow users to differentiate automated accounts that perform legitimate services — such as retweeting news, providing customer service, PSAs or community alerts — it will not flag the problematic “bad bots” that spread misinformation and spam. Last year, Twitter requested developers specify if an account was a bot, who was powering it and its intended use. The new automated accounts to designate “good bots” will be issued to more than 500 accounts for testing and feedback before they are made available to all developers. Continue reading Twitter Asks Developers to ID ‘Good Bots’ Using New Badge

Pixalate Raises $18.1M to Combat Click Tricks and Ad Fraud

Analytics firm Pixalate has announced $18.1 million in growth capital for connected TV and mobile advertising initiatives. The new round brings total capital raised to $22.7 million for the 9-year-old firm, which specializes in fraud prevention, privacy protection and legal compliance via offices in Santa Monica, Palo Alto and London. The move comes as Pixalate rises to meet the challenges of enterprise clients fending off bot attacks, ad fraud and other malicious threats. Malware incursions by intruders like Puppeteer siphon tens of millions of dollars in annual ad revenue, according to Pixalate. Continue reading Pixalate Raises $18.1M to Combat Click Tricks and Ad Fraud

Google Expands Workspace Features and Opens to All Users

Google is providing full access to Workspace (formerly G Suite) for its 3+ billion existing users in consumer, enterprise and education markets. Users turn on Google Chat in Gmail to enable the full experience. Although Google Drive and Docs have already been free, Workspace brings features such as smart suggestions in emails and documents. Google is also debuting Google Workspace Individual, a paid version aimed at small business owners, offering “booking services, professional video meetings, personalized email marketing” and more. Continue reading Google Expands Workspace Features and Opens to All Users