New Google-Landmarks-v2 Dataset Means More AI Training

For a long while, Google’s AI research division has been on a mission to grow capable of accurate instance-level landmark recognition and retrieving images — both widely recognized as extremely difficult. To that effort, last year, it released its Google-Landmarks dataset and hosted two competitions for more than 500 machine learning researchers. Last week, it went a step further with the release of its open-sourced Google-Landmarks-v2, which contains double the photos featuring seven times the landmarks.

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USC Will Host Full-Day Blockchain Symposium This Friday

USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and the Internet of Things (CCI) is hosting the second International Symposium on Foundations and Applications of Blockchain (FAB 2019). The event will take place on Friday, April 5, 7:00 am – 8:00 pm at USC. This one-day symposium builds on the previous success of FAB 2018, attended by close to a hundred participants and featuring presentations by distinguished speakers from academia and industry. To register, visit the symposium’s Eventbrite page. Continue reading USC Will Host Full-Day Blockchain Symposium This Friday

Instagram Co-Founders Transitioning From Leaders to Users

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who co-founded Instagram in 2010 and sold the app to Facebook two years later for $1 billion, announced in a blog post that they would be leaving the company. The two men were responsible for shaping the culture and products of Instagram — Systrom serving as CEO and product visionary, and CTO Krieger actively running the engineering team. They built the company to over a thousand employees and the user community to more than one billion. “We’re planning on taking some time off to explore our curiosity and creativity again,” wrote Systrom. “Building new things requires that we step back, understand what inspires us and match that with what the world needs; that’s what we plan to do.” Continue reading Instagram Co-Founders Transitioning From Leaders to Users

Survey Analyzes Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Workplace

The business uses of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) have so far been impressive. Now, a survey conducted by Microsoft with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, found that 68 percent of 394 executives said MR is important to achieving their companies’ goals in the next 18 months. Those surveyed worked in companies employing over 250 people, in a wide range of industries including engineering, construction, manufacturing, retail, defense and education. Continue reading Survey Analyzes Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Workplace

Facebook Establishes Team to Integrate Privacy into Products

In the wake of criticism over data privacy issues and in anticipation of the European Union’s stricter data regulations, Facebook has formed a new team devoted to privacy. The 300-person team, headed by product director David Baser, is tasked with integrating stronger privacy features into all Facebook products. The first such tool is Clear History, which the company introduced at last week’s F8 conference. This feature allows users to opt out of Facebook collecting and matching their browsing history to their profile. Continue reading Facebook Establishes Team to Integrate Privacy into Products

As Job Market Improves, Demand for Programmers Hits High

One of the greatest challenges to today’s economic growth is a lack of technology talent. Companies are adopting new strategies to find qualified software engineers, programmers and developers, including new apprenticeship and internship programs. The national unemployment rate hit 4.1 percent in January, its lowest since 2000. As the job market improves, demand for tech talent also increases. For software engineers, the unemployment rate was a mere 1.9 percent last year, which was down from 4 percent in 2011.

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Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to Develop a Smart City in Toronto

Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt has always wondered what it would be like to apply all his company’s technology to a city. The company’s founders got excited about the idea, and now it’s about to become a reality. Plucked out of half a dozen proposals, Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet subsidiary, will work with Canadian government officials and other technologists to develop 800 acres of waterfront property in Toronto, creating a potential model of the smart city and licensing its technologies to other cities. Continue reading Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to Develop a Smart City in Toronto

Google to Acquire Part of HTC Mobile Division for $1.1 Billion

Google will spend $1.1 billion to purchase part of HTC’s smartphone operations. The Internet giant plans to use HTC’s engineering and design teams to help ramp up its nascent hardware efforts to complement its expanding portfolio of software products and grow its revenue beyond Android and search ads. The deal, which is expected to bring about 2,000 HTC employees to Google, also includes a non-exclusive licensing agreement for HTC intellectual property. While HTC has shown growth potential in VR with its Vive headset, its mobile business has been struggling. Continue reading Google to Acquire Part of HTC Mobile Division for $1.1 Billion

Hanson Robotics Is Seeking Experienced Product Managers

Hanson Robotics — which develops robot products and artificial intelligence technology to serve consumer, medical and entertainment markets — is currently looking to fill two positions: robotics product manager and software product manager. The company is seeking a robotics product manager to lead product development and manage hardware, arts and software teams. The company’s software product manager will lead software development in collaboration with the hardware, arts and executive teams. Details and contact information for each position are available on ETCentric. Continue reading Hanson Robotics Is Seeking Experienced Product Managers

Verizon to Integrate AOL, Yahoo Into New Unit Dubbed Oath

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong tweeted that Verizon is combining AOL and Yahoo into a new unit called Oath. Sources say that Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer will not be part of the new company, which will be helmed by Armstrong. Given Yahoo’s hacking disasters and slumping business, Mayer’s departure was anticipated, but it is not clear whether she’ll receive her full payout, reportedly worth tens of millions. Sources also say Armstrong is now choosing which top Yahoo executives to retain. Continue reading Verizon to Integrate AOL, Yahoo Into New Unit Dubbed Oath

ETC Seeks Project Director for Production in the Cloud Initiative

The Entertainment Technology Center @ The University of Southern California (ETC) is seeking a project director to oversee its existing Production in the Cloud initiative, as well as develop and lead new initiatives in the media & entertainment space. The project director will work with studio executives and key technology and services providers to advance production methodology for creative content and delivery. The position is a 50 percent project consultancy. The full job description is available on ETCentric. Interested candidates should contact Edie Meadows at ETC. Continue reading ETC Seeks Project Director for Production in the Cloud Initiative

ETC Seeks Project Director for Production in the Cloud Initiative

The Entertainment Technology Center @ The University of Southern California (ETC) is seeking a project director to oversee its existing Production in the Cloud initiative, as well as develop and lead new initiatives in the media & entertainment space. The project director will work with studio executives and key technology and services providers to advance production methodology for creative content and delivery. The position is a 50 percent project consultancy. The full job description is available on ETCentric. Interested candidates should contact Edie Meadows at ETC. Continue reading ETC Seeks Project Director for Production in the Cloud Initiative

Sony Doubles Down on VR with ‘Billy Lynn’ and PlayStation VR

At his MIPCOM TV keynote, Sony president/chief executive Kazuo Hirai talked about the importance of virtual reality to the company, singling out its PlayStation VR headset; director Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” which was shot in 3D 4K at 120 frames per second; and VR experiences tied to its movies, including “Ghostbusters,” “The Walk” and “Goosebumps.” Kando, the Japanese concept of stimulating emotional response in people, says Hirai, is at the center of what Sony wants to create in all its work. Continue reading Sony Doubles Down on VR with ‘Billy Lynn’ and PlayStation VR

HPA to Present Charles S. Swartz Award to Michelle Munson

The Hollywood Professional Association announced that Michelle Munson, co-founder and CEO of IBM company Aspera (IBM and Aspera are both silver sponsors of ETC@USC), will receive the organization’s prestigious Charles S. Swartz Award. “The HPA Awards recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the professional media content industry and the Charles S. Swartz Award honors the recipient’s significant impact across diverse aspects of the industry,” explains the release. This year’s HPA Awards ceremony is slated for November 17 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Continue reading HPA to Present Charles S. Swartz Award to Michelle Munson

Wall Street Firms Gather to Discuss Blockchain, Digital Dollars

In a private meeting with no media in attendance, more than 100 executives from some of the world’s largest financial institutions met at NASDAQ’s New York City office. They gathered to delve deeper into the promise of blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, which became active in 2009. These financial institutions have been wary of Bitcoin, because users are anonymous and can engage in money-laundering and other banking violations. What they looked at was digital U.S. dollars, a “fiat currency” that avoids those risks. Continue reading Wall Street Firms Gather to Discuss Blockchain, Digital Dollars

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