CES: Snapshot of All-Digital Show’s Announcements, Trends

CES 2021 concluded last week in the wake of a challenging year marked by political unrest, social upheaval and a global pandemic that continues to impact our personal and professional lives. And much like all that we’re juggling in our current COVID world, the all-digital format of this year’s CES presented a number of unique challenges, most notably how to determine which products and services are most relevant to an M&E audience without the benefit of interacting up close in person. We’re still working our way through information from nearly 2,000 companies and will continue to report our findings on ETCentric. In the coming weeks, ETC will also publish a comprehensive overview of the show with a focus on four dynamic themes, rather than trends: Adaptation, Change, Snapback and Opportunity. In the meanwhile, we provide this snapshot of some of the key products, technologies, trends and announcements. Continue reading CES: Snapshot of All-Digital Show’s Announcements, Trends

CES: Sessions Examine the Potential of Quantum Computing

Two CES 2021 panels addressed the current state and anticipated advances in quantum computing, which is already being applied to problems in business, academia and government. However, the hardware is not as stable and robust as people would like, and the algorithms are not yet up to the task to solve the problems that many researchers envision for them. This has not stopped entrepreneurs, major corporations and governments from dedicated significant resources in R&D and implementations, nor from VCs and sovereign funds making major bets on who the winners will be. Continue reading CES: Sessions Examine the Potential of Quantum Computing

CES: Samsung, Ice Mobility on Trends in 5G Implementation

At CES 2021 this week, Elemental Content co-founder John Penney moderated a conversation with Samsung Electronics America vice president of product management Drew Blackard and Ice Mobility co-founder and chair Denise Gibson on trends in mobile communications. “The 5G new wireless ecosystem offers a lot of applications in business environments,” Penney noted, asking Blackard and Gibson to describe some of what they think will be the most compelling use cases as 5G continues its rollout of networks and devices. Continue reading CES: Samsung, Ice Mobility on Trends in 5G Implementation

CES: Panel Examines Issues of Gender and Racial Bias in AI

During a CES 2021 panel moderated by The Female Quotient chief executive Shelley Zalis, AI industry executives probed issues related to gender and racial bias in artificial intelligence. Google head of product inclusion Annie Jean-Baptiste, SureStart founder and chief executive Dr. Taniya Mishra and ResMed senior director of health economics and outcomes research Kimberly Sterling described the parameters of such bias. At Google, Jean-Baptiste noted that, “the most important thing we need to remember is that inclusion inputs lead to inclusion outputs.” Continue reading CES: Panel Examines Issues of Gender and Racial Bias in AI

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

Tech Employees Organize to Launch Alphabet Workers Union

The Alphabet Workers Union was just formed by 400+ Google engineers and other workers. The formation of this union, which is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), is the result of years of activism at the Big Tech company focused on new policies on pay, harassment and ethics. The union was organized in secret for about a year and elected its leadership last month. Unlike most unions, this “minority union” represents only a small number of the company’s 260,000 full-time employees and contractors. Continue reading Tech Employees Organize to Launch Alphabet Workers Union

Google Files First Formal Counter to Justice Department Suit

Google issued its first formal rejoinder to the Justice Department’s charges that the company has used its position, including deals with other Big Tech companies, to maintain its dominance in online search. Google denies, in a sentence-by-sentence rebuttal, charges of violating antitrust laws or engaging in anticompetitive behavior. Evidence was uncovered that Google and Facebook agreed to “cooperate and assist” one another should they be investigated for working together on online advertising. Continue reading Google Files First Formal Counter to Justice Department Suit

Chipmakers Intel, Nvidia Now Compete with Their Customers

Companies such as Intel and Nvidia have long dominated the design and manufacture of semiconductor chips, but they are now facing competition from their own customers. Amazon, Google and Microsoft, all of which have seen strong growth in cloud computing, are looking to create their own chips to ensure better performance and lower costs. Amazon, for example, debuted a chip intended to speed up AI algorithms. Traditional chip manufacturers are creating specialized processors to retain their long-time customers. Continue reading Chipmakers Intel, Nvidia Now Compete with Their Customers

VFX House Weta Digital Aims to Become a Content Producer

New Zealand-based Weta Digital, a visual effects company that has worked on such high-profile films as “Avatar” and “Avengers: Endgame,” is making a play to create its own original content. Co-founded by “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, Weta Digital recently added firepower to its board of directors, including former Disney chief operating officer Tom Staggs, and is also searching to make strategic purchases in the special effects and animation business since animation can be produced remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Continue reading VFX House Weta Digital Aims to Become a Content Producer

State Attorneys General File Another Lawsuit Against Google

Google is now facing a third antitrust suit. Two months after the Justice Department, joined by 46 state attorneys general, filed suits charging anticompetitive behavior, and only one day after 10 other state attorneys general accused the company of using its dominance to control advertising and overcharge publishers, another suit has landed. This suit, made up of a bipartisan group of 30 AGs, accuses the Big Tech giant of illegally manipulating search results to push competitors out of the way. Continue reading State Attorneys General File Another Lawsuit Against Google

Walmart and TikTok Team Up for Shopping via Live Streaming

Walmart and TikTok partnered to create a shoppable one-hour live-stream event let week — the Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular — that allowed TikTok creators to feature Walmart fashion items that users can buy without leaving the app. This is the first time that TikTok has hosted such a shoppable live stream in the U.S. Following the event, the items will continue to be featured and available for sale on Walmart’s TikTok page. Walmart is not sharing revenues with TikTok. Meanwhile, Instagram is also bringing shopping to Reels. Continue reading Walmart and TikTok Team Up for Shopping via Live Streaming

Tension Erupts Between Apple, Facebook Over Targeted Ads

Facebook took the offense against Apple for its new policies limiting personalized ads on its products, stating that this would disproportionately hurt small businesses that rely on such ads. It pointed to internal research that found small businesses earned 60 percent less without access to targeted advertising. Facebook vice president for ads and business products Dan Levy called Apple’s move anticompetitive, benefitting the company’s own profits at the expense of not just small businesses but also app developers. Continue reading Tension Erupts Between Apple, Facebook Over Targeted Ads

States Focus on Ad Tech in Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

In the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, 10 state attorneys general charged Google with abusing its dominance by overcharging publishers for ads and elbowing out rivals. The lawsuit also contends that Google struck a deal with Facebook to limit the latter’s efforts to compete for ads. Google claimed the suit is “baseless” and said that it intends to fight it. Another group of states is expected to file a case against Google. This lawsuit is the first to focus on tools that connect buyers and publishers of ad space. Continue reading States Focus on Ad Tech in Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

Internet Platforms Say They’re Ready to Discuss Section 230

Facing a bipartisan push from Congress to change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a liability shield against lawsuits for Internet platforms, tech companies have said they are now ready to discuss it. For 20+ years, Internet platforms have adamantly defended Section 230 but, in recent weeks, both Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey have voiced support for “updating” and/or “expanding” the law. Democrats and Republicans have threatened to repeal Section 230. Continue reading Internet Platforms Say They’re Ready to Discuss Section 230

EU Proposes Two New Laws in Its Effort to Regulate Big Tech

The European Union’s executive branch issued drafts of two bills that would hike fines for illegal content and anticompetitive behavior up to 6 percent or 10 percent of annual worldwide revenue and even break up Big Tech firms to stop “competitive abuses.” Although the bills don’t mention any firms by name, they could be applied to Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. The UK, which is no longer part of the EU, has similar legislation in the works that would fine abusers up to 10 percent of annual global revenue. Continue reading EU Proposes Two New Laws in Its Effort to Regulate Big Tech

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