Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

During the Moogfest music and technology fest in North Carolina, Google Brain researcher Douglas Eck outlined a new artificial intelligence research project at Google called Magenta. The group, expected to publicly launch next month, plans to use the company’s machine learning engine TensorFlow to explore new ways that computers and AI systems could be trained to create original art and media such as music or video. The initiative should prove challenging; so far, the most advanced AI systems have struggled to replicate styles of existing artists. Continue reading Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

Windows Users are Encouraged to Uninstall Apple QuickTime

Apple has decided it will no longer support or update its QuickTime software for Windows PCs. The company recently posted instructions online for uninstalling the popular multimedia player. Windows PC users should note that keeping QuickTime on their computers could pose a risk since there will be no more security updates (two new security holes were discovered by researchers at Trend Micro just last week). Apple offers an alternative to QuickTime via iTunes for playing back video and audio files. Additionally, Microsoft has its own media player. Continue reading Windows Users are Encouraged to Uninstall Apple QuickTime

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Microsoft is on track to reach the goal it set when it first introduced Windows 10 last July: to reach one billion devices within two or three years. Less than a year later, Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system, is running on 270 million active devices, adopted faster than even Windows 7, its previous high point. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is pinning future hopes on artificial intelligence and “bots” to create new ways to interact with computers, and replace apps as the dominant paradigm. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Google Sees Future in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

Google just indicated one of its future initiatives when Amit Singhal, who oversees the Google search engine, stepped down, and was replaced by John Giannandrea, who oversees Google’s work in artificial intelligence and, by association, what’s called “deep learning.” Google has already used deep learning to reinvent Search, via RankBrain, a deep learning system to generate responses to search inquiries. As of October of last year, RankBrain has grown to handle a “large fraction” of the queries to the search engine. Continue reading Google Sees Future in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Market research firm Gartner is forecasting a decline for CE device spending in 2016. While end-user sales are expected to inch up less than 2 percent this year, overall spending on devices like PCs, tablets and mobile devices will decline, according to the researcher. This decrease, the first since Gartner started tracking the market in 2010, is largely due to the falling price of phones. In markets like China, consumers are opting for basic models of smartphones rather than upgrading to higher-end devices. Continue reading Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Intel Technology Debuts Multifactor Security for Business PCs

Intel unveiled Authenticate, a technology that introduces a new, heightened level of security and computing performance. Authenticate makes it easier for multifactor authentication by which users put in place up to four safeguards before they are able to log in to their computer. That could be any combination of a password, fingerprint, set of numbers on a touchscreen or presence of an authorized employee smartphone. Authenticate is already built into new versions of Intel’s Core chips, which are used in business PCs. Continue reading Intel Technology Debuts Multifactor Security for Business PCs

PC Sales at Lowest Level Since 2007, Could Rebound in 2016

Recent industry reports suggest that 2015 was a challenging year for PCs. Industry analysis companies Gartner and IDC both issued reports showing a drop in the PC market of 8 and 10.4 percent, respectively. That 2.4 percent difference is based on how the two companies defined PCs. Gartner included detachable devices such as Microsoft’s Surface — which are becoming more popular — in its numbers, but IDC did not, now saying that including hybrid devices would have meant a 7.5 percent decline. Continue reading PC Sales at Lowest Level Since 2007, Could Rebound in 2016

FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

Prompted by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the Federal Trade Commission has scheduled a workshop to discuss cross-device tracking technologies. Using ultrasonic, inaudible pitches, the technology allows a user’s online behavior to be tracked across phones, TVs, tablets and computers. The pitches can be — and are already — embedded in TV commercials, ads in a computer browser and apps. The consumer is not made aware that the tracking technology has been activated and there is no way to opt out. Continue reading FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

Dell to Acquire EMC, Keep VMware as Publicly-Traded Company

It’s official. In the largest technology takeover in history, PC tech giant Dell will purchase cloud computing company EMC for $67 billion. Michael Dell is funding the deal with MSD Partners, Silver Lake and Temasek Holdings. He will become chairman and CEO of the combined company, which will be privately held. Joe Tucci is expected to step down as chief exec of EMC once the transaction closes between May and October of 2016. EMC presently owns 81 percent of virtualization software and services company VMware. Dell plans to pay $24.05 per share in cash, plus tracking stock in VMware. Continue reading Dell to Acquire EMC, Keep VMware as Publicly-Traded Company

Intel Makes a Major Investment in Quantum Computer Research

Chip giant Intel recently threw its hat into the quantum computer ring when it announced plans to invest $50 million in Netherlands-based QuTech, an institute launched in 2013 by Delft University of Technology and the Dutch Organization for Applied Research. The investment is part of a planned 10-year collaboration with QuTech. Researchers from leading tech companies such as Google, IBM and Microsoft have been looking to apply quantum physics to computing for a long time. Continue reading Intel Makes a Major Investment in Quantum Computer Research

New Intel, Micron Chips Said to Offer Big Performance Gains

Intel and Micron Technology announced that they have developed a new memory chip technology that will increase performance up to 1,000 times faster than today’s technology. If proven true, the new chip technology, named 3D XPoint, could offer tremendous new capabilities for computers, smartphones and other electronics. 3D XPoint is not as fast as DRAM (dynamic random access memory), but stores 10 times more data and also, similar to current NAND flash memory, retains data even after devices are powered off. Continue reading New Intel, Micron Chips Said to Offer Big Performance Gains

Apple Takes a Dramatic Lead in Smartphone Industry’s Profits

Despite selling less than 20 percent of smartphones in terms of unit sales, Apple recorded 92 percent of the total operating income of smartphone sales for Q1, up from 65 percent last year. Apple and Samsung lead the industry while other phone makers broke even or lost money, according to Canaccord Genuity research. Apple has recorded such a significant lead because of higher prices per unit. This has forced rival brands, that mostly run on the Android operating system, to compete by cutting prices. Continue reading Apple Takes a Dramatic Lead in Smartphone Industry’s Profits

SiliconDust Launches Kickstarter to Fund its HDHomeRun DVR

SiliconDust, a startup known for its live TV streaming devices, is now making a DVR that will not tie viewers down to their living room televisions. The HDHomeRun DVR is designed for cord cutters. It plugs into SiliconDust’s streaming devices so that users can watch recorded shows on smart TVs, game consoles, tablets, smartphones and computers. The HDHomeRun DVR can also record from premium channels such as HBO. As of press time, the Kickstarter campaign had raised more than $169,000. Continue reading SiliconDust Launches Kickstarter to Fund its HDHomeRun DVR

Breakthrough in AI Technology Mimics Synapses in the Brain

Researchers from Nanyang Technical University in Singapore have developed a microfiber technology that enables them to build brain-like computers. “Photonic synapses” are collections of microfibers that pass electronic signals. The optical fibers can send signals at the speed of light, much faster than the neurons in real brains. This breakthrough could provide a boost to both robotics and AI technology. Improved vehicle control, speech, and search are just some of the possible applications. Continue reading Breakthrough in AI Technology Mimics Synapses in the Brain

AI: GPU-Based Computing is Proving Ideal for Deep Learning

The latest trend in artificial intelligence involves implementing a much more efficient microprocessor rather than a whole cloud computing system to power deep learning research. These microprocessors, or graphical processing units (GPUs), are great at math-crunching skills, which makes them ideal for deep learning networks. Now, companies such as Google, Facebook, and various labs that run supercomputers, are using GPU-based computers to power their AI and deep learning operations. Continue reading AI: GPU-Based Computing is Proving Ideal for Deep Learning

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