CES: Seoul Robotics, Mobileye Enable Lidar for Smart Cities

During the all-digital CES 2021, lidar (light detection and ranging) technology was presented as a key tool for building autonomous vehicles, smart homes and infrastructure for smart cities. Lidar, which senses what an object is based on its shape, first appeared in the 1970s but, up until now, has been too expensive and complicated for broad industrial use. Seoul Robotics, Intel’s Mobileye and Blickfeld were among the companies at CES showcasing real-world lidar applications. Lidar is predicted to triple to an almost $3 billion market by 2025. Continue reading CES: Seoul Robotics, Mobileye Enable Lidar for Smart Cities

OpenAI Unveils AI-Powered DALL-E Text-to-Image Generator

OpenAI unveiled DALL-E, which generates images from text using two multimodel AI systems that leverage computer vision and NLP. The name is a reference to surrealist artist Salvador Dali and Pixar’s animated robot WALL-E. DALL-E relies on a 12-billion parameter version of GPT-3. OpenAI demonstrated that DALL-E can manipulate and rearrange objects in generated imagery and also create images from scratch based on text prompts. It has stated that it plans to “analyze how models like DALL·E relate to societal issues.” Continue reading OpenAI Unveils AI-Powered DALL-E Text-to-Image Generator

Amazon Unveils Computer Vision Products for Industrial Use

Amazon announced the AWS Panorama Appliance, a plug-in that connects to a network and identifies video streams from cameras in the customers’ industrial facilities. It enables AI services for construction, manufacturing, retail and other industries and is aimed at “industrial companies looking for a more holistic, computer vision-centric analytics solution.” It integrates with AWS IoT services including SiteWise. Also new is the AWS Panorama SDK that allows manufacturers to build new cameras for computer vision at the edge. Continue reading Amazon Unveils Computer Vision Products for Industrial Use

Facebook Builds Out Its Shopping Features Across Platforms

Next Tuesday, Facebook will begin the global rollout of a new tab in its main app called Facebook Shop, which allows users to browse product catalogs and buy items directly on the social media platform. The new feature, previously in beta with a small group of U.S. users, joins a similar feature launched on Instagram last month. Prior to Facebook Shop, businesses could add catalogs to their Facebook pages, but the new feature is a dedicated marketplace for multiple retailers. Instagram’s Checkout feature will also soon be broadly available. Continue reading Facebook Builds Out Its Shopping Features Across Platforms

Google Developing New Cloud Services During the Pandemic

According to Google Cloud chief executive Thomas Kurian, the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the development of new cloud features. “Every week, there’s a new set of dimensions, and we have to adapt, keep people positive, and focus through it,” he said. A new security product that encrypts data while it’s being processed, for example, is aimed at luring businesses in highly regulated industries to adopt cloud services. Another cloud-computing product is Assured Workloads for Government, a new way to secure public sector deals. Continue reading Google Developing New Cloud Services During the Pandemic

Amazon Debuts Smart Shopping Cart for Simplified Checkout

Amazon unveiled the Dash Cart this week, a “smart” grocery shopping cart fitted with a touchscreen that can automatically detect the items placed in it. The shopper can then take the Dash Cart through a special lane to digitally check out via a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensors. The Dash Cart is the result of Amazon’s aim to apply everything it’s learned in building its Alexa-enabled products to create more convenience in the brick-and-mortar world. The Dash Cart will first be deployed in Amazon’s grocery store in Woodland Hills, a Los Angeles suburb. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Smart Shopping Cart for Simplified Checkout

Walmart Subscription Service Aims to Take on Amazon Prime

Later this month Walmart plans to unveil Walmart+, a subscription service intended to compete with Amazon Prime. Walmart+ will cost $98 per year and, according to sources, will offer same-day delivery of groceries and “general merchandise” as well as early access to product deals and discounts at Walmart gas stations. The company originally planned to unveil Walmart+ in late March or April but pushed the date to July due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s still not clear if Walmart will introduce the service regionally or nationally. Continue reading Walmart Subscription Service Aims to Take on Amazon Prime

National Research Cloud Gains Big Tech, Legislator Support

The National Research Cloud, which has bipartisan support in Congress, gained approval of several universities, including Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and Ohio State, and participation of Big Tech companies Amazon, Google and IBM. The project would give academics access to a tech companies’ cloud data centers and public data sets, encouraging growth in AI research. Although the Trump administration has cut funding to other kinds of research, it has proposed doubling its spending on AI by 2022. Continue reading National Research Cloud Gains Big Tech, Legislator Support

Amazon Developing AI System for Trying on Clothes Virtually

At Amazon Lab126, researchers proposed three related AI algorithms to create Outfit-VITON, an image-based virtual try-on system for apparel. The algorithms could form the basis of an assistant to help a customer shop for clothes by describing a product’s variations, recommending items that go with the one selected, and synthesizing the image of a model wearing clothes to show how all the items work as an outfit. The algorithms will be presented at the annual IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR will be held virtually this year, June 14-19). Continue reading Amazon Developing AI System for Trying on Clothes Virtually

Niantic Acquires 6D.ai with Plans for Large-Scale AR Projects

Niantic has acquired 6D.ai, an augmented reality company that is building a 3D map of the world via smartphone cameras. According to Niantic chief executive John Hanke, the resulting dynamic 3D world map will enable developers to create planet-scale AR experiences. On the company blog, he stated that, “this means we’re even closer to an AR platform that will unlock the ability for any developer to make content for current and future AR hardware.” Founded in 2017, 6D.ai was spun out of Oxford University’s Active Vision Lab. Continue reading Niantic Acquires 6D.ai with Plans for Large-Scale AR Projects

Epic Games Becomes Game Publisher, Acquires Cubic Motion

Last week, Epic Games revealed its plans to fund, introduce and market new multi-platform video games, under the new Epic Games Publishing division. Epic Games stated that it will fund “up to 100 percent of all game development costs … studios will retain 100 percent control of their intellectual property … [and] once costs are recouped developers will earn at least 50 percent of profits.” Epic games also acquired Cubic Motion, which offers automated performance-driven facial animation technology. Continue reading Epic Games Becomes Game Publisher, Acquires Cubic Motion

Microsoft Research Leads Team to Author AI Ethics Checklist

Microsoft Research, with almost 50 engineers from a dozen technology companies, created a checklist for AI ethics intended to spur conversation on the topic and raise some “good tension” within organizations. To that end, the list, rather than asking “yes” or “no” questions, instead suggests that teams “define fairness criteria.” Participants were not identified by name, but many are in AI-related fields like computer vision, natural language processing and predictive analytics. The group hopes to inspire future efforts. Continue reading Microsoft Research Leads Team to Author AI Ethics Checklist

CES Panel Addresses the Myths and Realities of Today’s AI

Artificial intelligence is not particularly well understood, especially by consumers, suggested USA Today technology columnist Ed Baig, who moderated a CES panel on “Myth and Reality in Today’s AI.” One of the biggest myths addressed was that AI results in people losing their jobs. Foundation Capital partner Joanne Chen stated that, “nobody has lost their job due to AI.” Unity Technologies vice president of AI/machine learning Dr. Danny Lange agreed. “People will not lose their jobs but do other things,” he said. Continue reading CES Panel Addresses the Myths and Realities of Today’s AI

Dynamic Branding: Ryff’s Quest for Virtual Product Placement

In the presence of decreasing ad rates and a growing SVOD media landscape, product placement has become an increasingly important revenue source. Ryff is looking to enhance this $11.44 billion market, according to data collected by Statista, by enabling virtual product placement. Their technology allows users to detect favorable locations in existing video and dynamically introduce photorealistic virtual products. On-demand product placement of branded goods has long been a dream of the advertising and marketing industry. As Ryff CEO and founder Roy Taylor said, “[It is] the only advertising format that can’t be skipped by the viewer.”

Continue reading Dynamic Branding: Ryff’s Quest for Virtual Product Placement

Intel Doubles Down on AI with $2 Billion Habana Acquisition

Intel acquired Israel-based AI chip manufacturer Habana Labs for about $2 billion, to strengthen its offerings for data centers requiring such chips. The tech giant already stated that it expects to complete more than $3.5 billion in sales related to artificial intelligence, an increase of 20 percent from last year. The Habana purchase is just one of several that Intel has made in recent years in its efforts to grow new markets. Intel expects the AI chip market to grow to $25 billion by 2024, half from selling chips for data centers. Continue reading Intel Doubles Down on AI with $2 Billion Habana Acquisition

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