IAB: U.S. Digital Advertising Hit Record $225 Billion Last Year

Internet advertising revenues hit a record $225 billion in the U.S. in 2023, a 7.3 percent increase, according to a PwC report for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The connected TV and audio categories saw double-digit growth, as did spending on e-commerce platforms, classified “retail media,” which rose 16.3 percent year-over-year, reaching $43.7 billion in 2023 as key players expanded their ad inventory. Video advertising revenue climbed 10.6 percent year-over-year, to $52.1 billion, with 42 percent of that revenue generated from CTV and OTT streaming. Continue reading IAB: U.S. Digital Advertising Hit Record $225 Billion Last Year

Google Offers Public Preview of Gemini Pro for Cloud Clients

Google is moving its most powerful artificial intelligence model, Gemini 1.5 Pro, into public preview for developers and Google Cloud customers. Gemini 1.5 Pro includes what Google claims is a breakthrough in long context understanding, with the ability to run 1 million tokens of information “opening up new possibilities for enterprises to create, discover and build using AI.” Gemini’s multimodal capabilities allow it to process audio, video, text, code and more, which when combined with long context, “enables enterprises to do things that just weren’t possible with AI before,” according to Google. Continue reading Google Offers Public Preview of Gemini Pro for Cloud Clients

AI-Powered Video Generator Available for Google Workspace

Google Vids is a new AI-powered video creation app for Google Workspace. The aim is to integrate a simple AI video editor with the real-time collaboration capabilities of cloud-based text editors Docs, Sheets and Slides, “allowing people everywhere to tap into immersive storytelling at work.” Vids will be released to Workspace Labs in June. Vids will be able to generate an easy-to-edit storyboard and piece together a first draft, with suggestions from stock footage and stills, as well as background music. “It can also help you land your message with the right voiceover,” according to Google. Continue reading AI-Powered Video Generator Available for Google Workspace

Databricks DBRX Model Offers High Performance at Low Cost

Databricks, a San Francisco-based company focused on cloud data and artificial intelligence, has released a generative AI model called DBRX that it says sets new standards for performance and efficiency in the open source category. The mixture-of-experts (MoE) architecture contains 132 billion parameters and was pre-trained on 12T tokens of text and code data. Databricks says it provides the open community and enterprises who want to build their own LLMs with capabilities previously limited to closed model APIs. Compared to other open models, Databricks claims it outperforms alternatives including Llama 2-70B and Mixtral on certain benchmarks. Continue reading Databricks DBRX Model Offers High Performance at Low Cost

Grok-1 Architecture Open-Sourced for General Release by xAI

Elon Musk’s xAI has released its Grok chatbot and open-sourced part of the underlying Grok-1 model architecture for any developer or entrepreneur to use for purposes including commercial applications. Musk unveiled Grok in November and announced that it would be publicly released this month. The chatbot itself is available to X social premium members, who can ask the cheeky AI questions and get answers with a snarky attitude inspired by “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” sci-fi novel. The training for Grok’s foundation LLM is said to include X social posts. Continue reading Grok-1 Architecture Open-Sourced for General Release by xAI

AI Video Startup Haiper Announces Funding and Plans for AGI

London-based AI video startup Haiper has emerged from stealth mode with $13.8 million in seed funding and a platform that generates up to two seconds of HD video from text prompts or images. Founded by alumni from Google DeepMind, TikTok and various academic research labs, Haiper is built around a bespoke foundation model that aims to serve the needs of the creative community while the company pursues a path to artificial general intelligence (AGI). Haiper is offering a free trial of what is currently a web-based user interface similar to offerings from Runway and Pika. Continue reading AI Video Startup Haiper Announces Funding and Plans for AGI

ElevenLabs Promotes Its Latest Advances in AI Audio Effects

“What if you could describe a sound and generate it with AI?,” asks startup ElevenLabs, which set out to do just that, and says it has succeeded. The two-year-old company explains it “used text prompts like ‘waves crashing,’ ‘metal clanging,’ ‘birds chirping,’ and ‘racing car engine’ to generate audio.” Best known for using machine learning to clone voices, the AI firm founded by Google and Palantir alums has yet to make publicly available its new text-to-sound model but began teasing it by releasing online demos this week. Some see the technology as a natural complement to the latest wave of image generators. Continue reading ElevenLabs Promotes Its Latest Advances in AI Audio Effects

Google Targets Global Security with AI Cyber Defense Initiative

Google has unveiled a new policy, the AI Cyber Defense Initiative, designed to harness the power of artificial intelligence to improve global cybersecurity defenses. The proposed policy aims to counteract rapidly evolving threats by using AI to improve threat detection, automate vulnerability management and enhance incident response effectiveness. The Alphabet company introduced its new plan at the Munich Security Conference, where it also announced it has a pool of $2 million to award businesses and academic institutions for research initiatives involving large language models, code verification and other AI uses for cyber offense and defense. Continue reading Google Targets Global Security with AI Cyber Defense Initiative

MoviePass Reaches 1 Million Tickets Sold and Turns First Profit

MoviePass says it has sold more than 1 million tickets since relaunching last spring, and has also announced the first profitable year in the company’s 13-year history. Co-founder and CEO Stacy Spikes, who purchased the company out of bankruptcy in 2021, is giving artificial intelligence much of the credit for the turnaround. The MoviePass Cinematic Marketplace is an aggregator for the theatrical industry that uses AI and machine learning to improve attendance engagement and ticket sales. Spikes says hitting the milestones “highlights the powerful impact” the technology enhancements have had “from the previous business model.” Continue reading MoviePass Reaches 1 Million Tickets Sold and Turns First Profit

Cisco and Nvidia Team to Offer Help Developing In-House AI

Nvidia and Cisco Systems want to simplify the process of creating in-house AI computing infrastructure with a new joint service offering end-to-end artificial intelligence solutions that aim to allow any enterprise firm to host its own AI data center. Along with its own networking gear, Cisco will globally broker Nvidia AI software and GPU cloud products along with jointly configured “purpose-built Ethernet networking-based solutions.” European cloud services provider ClusterPower is an early customer, using the new offering “to help drive data center operations with innovative AI/ML solutions.” Continue reading Cisco and Nvidia Team to Offer Help Developing In-House AI

TikTok Tests a Feature That Tags Videos with Shopping Details

TikTok is testing a feature designed to make all posts shoppable as it goes all-in on creating what the company hopes will be a multi-billion-dollar U.S. e-commerce business. The new technology uses machine learning to identify objects in a video then prompts viewers to “find similar items on TikTok Shop” using links and in-app search. The ByteDance-owned social platform is also reportedly planning to launch multiple live-streaming studios in cities including Los Angeles where creators can go to stream shopping-themed content. The facilities are expected to be able to host multiple studios servicing dozens of creators per day. Continue reading TikTok Tests a Feature That Tags Videos with Shopping Details

Zoom Meetings for Apple Vision Pro App Get Avatars and More

Virtual meeting tool Zoom has become one of the first companies to announce an app designed specifically for the Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset, shipping February 2. Zoom’s new app “seamlessly blends video conferencing with users’ physical space, blurring the lines of in-person and remote meetings” with the Vision Pro for “a more real-world, immersive environment,” according to Zoom. The result is an “authentic spatial representation” of people and their motions in the Vision Pro world on Zoom. The app supports Apple’s Persona feature, which uses machine learning to generate digital avatars. Continue reading Zoom Meetings for Apple Vision Pro App Get Avatars and More

AI Poison Pill App Nightshade Has 250K Downloads in 5 Days

AI copyright infringement tool Nightshade generated 250,000 downloads shortly after its January release, exceeding the expectations of its creators in the computer science department at the University of Chicago. Nightshade allows artists to thwart AI models from scraping and training on their work without consent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows more than 2.67 million artists working in the U.S., but social media feedback indicates the downloads have been worldwide. One of the coders says cloud mirror links had to be added so as not to overwhelm the University of Chicago’s web servers. Continue reading AI Poison Pill App Nightshade Has 250K Downloads in 5 Days

CES: FCC Commissioner Anna Gomez on Spectrum Strategy

Telecommunications attorney and FCC Commissioner Anna Gomez, in conversation with CTA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs David Grossman on the CES stage, talked about her decision to cast a vote to restart net neutrality rules. “I agree with a lot of what [FCC Commissioner Brendan] Carr said about it,” she explained, referring to his remarks deeming net neutrality not as relevant as it was in the early 2000s. “But broadband connectivity is central to everyone’s lives and it’s important to have guardrails to make sure that all consumers benefit from a competitive product.” Continue reading CES: FCC Commissioner Anna Gomez on Spectrum Strategy

Roku to Demo Its Pro Series TVs and Smart Picture AI at CES

Roku is following up the budget-priced, self-branded TV sets it introduced in January last year at CES with the more ambitious Roku Pro Series TV lineup debuting at next week’s CES 2024 and shipping later this spring. The 4K QLED Pro TVs will come in 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch sizes retailing for under $1,500. Included are features like Mini LED local dimming for heightened contrast and deeper blacks. The Pro TVs also tap artificial intelligence for a Smart Picture feature that automatically adjusts picture and audio. The feature is scheduled to roll out to all Roku TVs this year. Continue reading Roku to Demo Its Pro Series TVs and Smart Picture AI at CES