Semiconductor Trade Group Seeks Major Federal Investment

The Semiconductor Industry Association is lobbying for federal funding to the tune of $37 billion to subsidize a new chip factory among other efforts. The trade group’s lobbying effort is aimed at keeping the U.S. ahead of China and other countries that already benefit from government subsidies. Among the SIA’s other proposals are aid for states looking to draw in investments in the semiconductor industry and more funding in research. The coronavirus and growing tensions with China are motivating Congress to act. Continue reading Semiconductor Trade Group Seeks Major Federal Investment

Microsoft Develops Scalable 2D-to-3D Conversion Technique

Transforming 2D objects into 3D ones is a challenge that has defeated numerous artificial intelligence labs, including those at Facebook, Nvidia and startup Threedy.ai. Now, a Microsoft Research team stated it has created the first “scalable” training technique to derive 3D models from 2D data. Their technology can, furthermore, learn to generate better shapes when trained exclusively with 2D images. The Microsoft team took advantage of software that produces images from display data, as featured in industrial renderers. Continue reading Microsoft Develops Scalable 2D-to-3D Conversion Technique

Gartner’s Mobile Data Shows a Mixed Bag for Phone Makers

Gartner just released figures on total global smartphone sales that show decreased sales in Q4 2019 despite small year-on-year increases for Apple and Xiaomi. In that quarter, consumers purchased 406.6 million new phones compared to 408.5 million in the same quarter the previous year. Samsung, the long-time leader in smartphone sales, retained the same 17.3 percent market share although it sold fewer units year-on-year. In comparison to Q4 2018, Apple sold 5 million more mobile devices in that quarter in 2019. Continue reading Gartner’s Mobile Data Shows a Mixed Bag for Phone Makers

Huawei Increases Use of Its Own Chips in 5G Base Stations

When the Commerce Department banned U.S. manufacturers from selling chips to China’s Huawei Technologies, that company increased its own chipmaking capacity in its semiconductor company HiSilicon. According to U.S.-based Huawei executive Tim Danks, in Q4 the company shipped more than 50,000 5G base stations embedded with its chips, about 8 percent of all base stations it sold up to February this year. Danks reported that, although Huawei is ramping up HiSilicon efforts, it intends to return to U.S. technology when possible. Continue reading Huawei Increases Use of Its Own Chips in 5G Base Stations

MxR Lab: Travel Back in Time 25,000 Years For AR User Study

Have you ever been curious about what Los Angeles looked like during the Ice Age, or how animals got stuck in the tar at the #TarPits? Be the first to try Tar AR at Pit 91, a special augmented reality experience running March 2-15. Participation is free for those who RSVP. Participants will receive free #TarPits Museum admission, 10 percent off at the Museum Store during the day of participation, and limited edition Ice Age Animal stickers. Plus, you’ll be helping #TarPits and the University of Southern California in important scientific research about AR. Continue reading MxR Lab: Travel Back in Time 25,000 Years For AR User Study

Researchers Create AI Technique to Generate Video Captions

Researchers at Microsoft Research Asia and the Harbin Institute of Technology have come up with a new technique to use artificial intelligence to generate live video captions. In the past, technologists have used encoder-decoder models, but didn’t model the interaction between videos and comments, resulting in mainly irrelevant comments. The new technique — based on a model that iteratively learns to capture the representations of audio, video and comments — outperforms current methods, according to the research team. Continue reading Researchers Create AI Technique to Generate Video Captions

Updated Chrome Ad Blocker Will Soon Address Video Ads

In August this year, Google’s Chrome ad blocker will expand to include video, per the new set of standards just unveiled by the Coalition for Better Ads. The Coalition based the standards on global research from 45,000 customers. Websites with video, including Google’s, will need to review their ads for compliance with the new rules. Google joined the Coalition for Better Ads two years ago and started blocking ads not compliant with Coalition standards — including those on its own websites — since February 2018. Continue reading Updated Chrome Ad Blocker Will Soon Address Video Ads

Apple Researchers Improving Accuracy of Virtual Assistant

Over 50 million people worldwide use Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. Apple, focused on improving Siri’s capabilities, published research on how to improve voice trigger detection, speaker verification and language identification for multiple speakers. Apple researchers suggest that an AI model be trained for automatic speech recognition and speaker recognition. Rather than approach it as two independent tasks, the researchers proved that those tasks might actually help one another to “estimate both properties.” Continue reading Apple Researchers Improving Accuracy of Virtual Assistant

Google Debuts Chatbot With Natural Conversational Ability

Meet Meena, Google’s new chatbot powered by a neural network. According to the tech giant, Meena was trained on 341 gigabytes of public social-media chatter (8.5 times as much data as OpenAI’s GPT-2) and can talk about anything and even make jokes. With Meena, Google hopes to have made a chatbot that feels more human, always a challenge for AI-enabled media, whether it’s a chatbot or a character in a video game. To do so, Google created the Sensibleness and Specificity Average (SSA) as a metric for natural conversations. Continue reading Google Debuts Chatbot With Natural Conversational Ability

CES 2020: Wooptix Creates 3D Images From a Single Lens

Wooptix approaches the problem of light-field image capture in an interesting way. Using a single camera lens, they capture the same image at multiple depth-of-field settings. They then assemble a 3D version of the captured image by identifying and grabbing the areas of each depth-of-field image that are in focus. The result is a clear, if slightly flat and layered, 3D image with some degree of parallax. The company’s tech could have multiple applications. Continue reading CES 2020: Wooptix Creates 3D Images From a Single Lens

CES: Fragrance Diffusion System Has Multiple Possibilities

One of the more interesting exhibitors at CES Unveiled was Artiris Parfum, which showcased its Compoz natural fragrance diffusion system. There are a number of vendors offering necklaces and masks that emit synthetic odors for individual scent-enhanced VR and AR experiences. Paris-based Artiris Parfum offers a system that lightly diffuses customized, programmable blends of up to five all-natural fragrances into a room to create a group programmable olfactory experience. Continue reading CES: Fragrance Diffusion System Has Multiple Possibilities

The Human Interface: What We Expect From AI at CES 2020

We’re not going to lie: the annual “heads up CES” piece on artificial intelligence is a major exercise in hit or miss. This is because technology rarely evolves on an annual time scale, and certainly not advanced technology like AI. Yet, here we are once again. Sure, 2019 was as fruitful as it gets in the AI research community. The raw debate between Neural Networks Extremists (those pushing for an “all neural nets all the time” approach to intelligence) and the Fanatical Symbolists (those advocating a more hybrid approach between knowledge bases, expert systems and neural nets) took an ugly “Mean Girl” turn, with two of the titans of the field (Gary Marcus and Yann LeCun) trading real insults on Twitter just a few days ago.  Continue reading The Human Interface: What We Expect From AI at CES 2020

Google Founders Step Down: New Era for Tech Giant Begins

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have stepped down from their executive roles, with Google chief executive Sundar Pichai now heading up both Google and Alphabet. For the past 20 years, Page and Brin personified the company and many of their ideas on how to run an Internet company became standard for other Silicon Valley firms. The two first dialed back their involvement in 2015 when they created Alphabet as a holding company and turned their attention to “other bets,” including life-extending technologies. Continue reading Google Founders Step Down: New Era for Tech Giant Begins

Apple Chief Tim Cook Calls For National Data Regulations

Apple chief executive Tim Cook stated that, because tech companies haven’t self-policed their use of data, “it’s time to have rigorous regulation.” Although he also warned that regulators are too focused on breaking up the Big Tech companies, he admitted that “if one of the companies is found to be a monopoly, and regulators can prove they’ve abused that monopoly power, a breakup might be necessary.” Pew Research reported that about 60 percent of Americans believe their data is being collected on a daily basis. Continue reading Apple Chief Tim Cook Calls For National Data Regulations

Hulu, Sling TV and YouTube Lead the Digital Pay TV Market

Research firm MoffettNathanson estimated that, at the end of Q3 2019, Hulu with Live TV added about 400,000 paying subscribers for a total of 2.7 million, taking first place as the biggest virtual pay TV service. It edged out Dish Network’s Sling TV, the long-time leader in digital pay TV, with 2.69 million subscribers signed up for its “relatively low cost” packages. It gained 214,000 subscribers in the same period. Meanwhile, YouTube added 200,000 customers in Q3 for a total of 1.6 million subscribers. Continue reading Hulu, Sling TV and YouTube Lead the Digital Pay TV Market

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