Dreamscape to Debut Its ‘Men In Black’ VR Experience in LA

Nearly 25 years after the first “Men in Black” film became a smash hit, grossing $588 million worldwide, location-based immersive virtual reality company Dreamscape — in conjunction with Sony Pictures Virtual Reality (SPVR) — is rebooting the alien-fighting adventure at its flagship location in Westfield Century City. On Friday, October 1, “Men In Black: First Assignment” will invite thrill-seekers to outfit as agents, swap Will Smith’s Ray-Bans for a VR headset and battle intergalactic invaders. It’s seen as something of a bellwether as to the public’s appetite for location attractions amidst COVID-19’s lingering Delta variant. Continue reading Dreamscape to Debut Its ‘Men In Black’ VR Experience in LA

Microsoft Acquires Clipchamp as New Tool for Video Creators

Microsoft announced it is acquiring Clipchamp, an in-browser video creation and editing app that can be used on everything from social clips destined for YouTube to promos and business presentations. Combining “the simplicity of a web app with the full computing power of a PC with graphics processing unit acceleration,” Microsoft says Clipchamp is a “natural fit” with the existing cloud-based productivity suite of Microsoft 365 for families, students and business. With a template-driven approach and wide variety of filters, Clipchamp is a prosumer tool that has garnered more than 17 million registered users since launching in 2013. Continue reading Microsoft Acquires Clipchamp as New Tool for Video Creators

Twitter Plans to Test Social Privacy Features for User Control

Popular microblogging service Twitter plans to test new “social privacy” features in order to allow people to better control their identities and thus feel more comfortable using its social network. Among the features under consideration are the ability to edit followers’ lists and archive old tweets after an amount of time designated by the user, making it easier to hide tweets than a manual deletion. Staff researcher Svetlana Pimkina said Twitter determined through internal research that many Twitter users don’t understand the site’s privacy basics. Continue reading Twitter Plans to Test Social Privacy Features for User Control

ATSC Meets in Washington to Report on NextGen TV Rollout

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), after a year-long hiatus, resumed in-person meetings on August 26 in Washington D.C. The all-day event (also streamed for remote viewing) updated the progress made to deploy the ATSC 3.0 DTV standard (NextGen TV), which will also enable distance learning and automotive applications. ATSC president Madeleine Noland noted that sales of ATSC 3.0 televisions are “now exceeding previous expectations.” For the first time, ATSC 3.0 sets at lower price points are becoming available. Continue reading ATSC Meets in Washington to Report on NextGen TV Rollout

California Opts to Build Statewide Middle-Mile Fiber Network

California passed AB126 to build a statewide, open-access fiber network, with a vote of 78-0 in the California Assembly and 39-0 in the Senate. The fiber network will operate as a “middle mile” network carrying data from Internet backbone networks to urban and rural connection points where local ISPs take it the “last mile” to residences. The network will offer “non-discriminatory access to eligible entities on a technology and competitively neutral basis, regardless of whether the entity is privately or publicly owned.” Continue reading California Opts to Build Statewide Middle-Mile Fiber Network

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

European Union Plans Framework for Secure Digital Identities

The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, announced a proposal yesterday to create a European Digital Identity system that would “be available to all EU citizens, residents and businesses in the EU.” The goal is to enable citizens who are interested “to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European Digital Identity wallets with the click of a button on their phone.” In addition, these citizens would “be able to access online services with their national digital identification,” that would be recognized throughout European Union’s Member States. Continue reading European Union Plans Framework for Secure Digital Identities

EU Releases Its Draft Policy to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

The European Union issued a 108-page policy that establishes rules to govern the use of artificial intelligence, setting limits on its use in everything from bank lending and school enrollment to self-driving cars and hiring decisions. Use of artificial intelligence by law enforcement and court systems, considered “high risk” because of the potential to threaten safety and fundamental rights, is also regulated. Live facial recognition in public spaces would be banned except in cases of national security “and other purposes.” Continue reading EU Releases Its Draft Policy to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

New York Makes Internet Affordable for Low-Income Families

New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill requiring Internet service providers to offer broadband to low-income families for $15 per month, noting that it is “an essential service.” At the signing, Cuomo was accompanied by former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, who chairs a state commission on technology. The new mandate was passed by the New York State Legislature. Cuomo also revealed that Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation will provide free Internet to 50,000 students in the 2021-2022 school year. Continue reading New York Makes Internet Affordable for Low-Income Families

Roblox Counting on Older Consumers to Join App, Buy Stock

Roblox, valued last month at $29.5 billion, told prospective investors it is trying to lure older users onto its gaming, concerts and educational platform. Chief executive David Baszucki said the company is counting on older adults not just to join the platform but to buy its stock when it goes public next month. The Apple and Google application has been a top earner during the pandemic, with 2020 revenue jumping 82 percent to $923.9 million and number of hours spent on the platform more than doubling to 30.6 billion. Continue reading Roblox Counting on Older Consumers to Join App, Buy Stock

Reuters Next: The Future of Further Education Post-Pandemic

The Reuters Next virtual conference, which runs the same days as CES 2021 this week (January 11-14), features more than 100 sessions and interviews across five key global areas: Policy & Progress, Radical Redesign, Recovering Growth, A Sustainable Future, and Media and Free Speech. Some of today’s sessions addressed how the blended digital and physical group work environment that will become the new normal post-COVID has direct parallels with how education in college and beyond will be handled, including points that will be of interest to ETC’s members and businesses in general. Continue reading Reuters Next: The Future of Further Education Post-Pandemic

ETC Executive Coffee: A Talk with Vubiquity’s Darcy Antonellis

During the seventh installment of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series, Vubiquity CEO Darcy Antonellis posed an intriguing question for USC students: “If you were asked to create the educational system of the future, what would learning look like for college-age students or post-grads such as yourself?” Graduate and undergraduate students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Iovine and Young Academy participated in this lively November 4 discussion. Students expressed interest in online schedules, networking meet-ups, collaboration and support, the technology gap, group-based learning and more. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: A Talk with Vubiquity’s Darcy Antonellis

Facebook Campus Debuts as Platform for College Students

Facebook has launched Facebook Campus, a return to its genesis in chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard University dorm room. Students can be part of Facebook Campus by using their school email addresses to create profiles that will only be visible to other students at their college or university. The site will allow students to join groups, participate in classroom discussions and find school events. A Facebook spokeswoman said the new site will not have advertising and that the company has no plans to offer ads in the future. Continue reading Facebook Campus Debuts as Platform for College Students

Samsung and Verizon Close Major Deal for 5G Network Gear

Samsung Electronics inked a $6.65 billion contract for 5G gear with Verizon Communications. With the agreement, which lasts until the end of 2025, Samsung will provide Verizon with network equipment, installation and maintenance, a boost to the South Korean company’s efforts to become a major 5G supplier. According to Dell’Oro Group, Samsung supplies 13 percent of the total 5G network market sales. Meanwhile, T-Mobile, which has launched a 600MHz 5G network, debuted 2.5GHz mid-band 5G towers in almost 90 locations. Continue reading Samsung and Verizon Close Major Deal for 5G Network Gear

OpenAI Tests Commercial Version of Its AI Language System

Artificial intelligence research institute OpenAI, after collecting trillions of words, debuted its first commercial product, the API. Its goal is to create the “most flexible general-purpose AI language system” in existence. Currently, the API’s skills include translating between languages, writing news stories, and answering everyday questions. The API is engaged in limited testing and, said chief executive Sam Altman, will be released broadly for use in a range of tasks, such as customer support, education and games. Continue reading OpenAI Tests Commercial Version of Its AI Language System