Pixar’s Catmull, Hanrahan Honored With ACM’s Turing Award

Computer graphics pioneering researchers Ed Catmull and Pat Hanrahan were awarded the A.M. Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery and are splitting the $1 million prize money. Catmull recruited Hanrahan, a fellow computer graphics researcher, to found Pixar in 1986. Catmull started his work as a grad student at the University of Utah’s graphics lab in 1970 and vowed to create a feature film from computer generated imagery. Catmull and Hanrahan, between them, have received eight Academy Awards. Continue reading Pixar’s Catmull, Hanrahan Honored With ACM’s Turing Award

Twitter Settles With Activist Investor, Dorsey Keeps Position

Twitter and activist investor Elliott Management have come to an agreement to keep chief executive Jack Dorsey in his position, at least for now. Elliott Management, a $40 billion hedge fund that has a 4 percent stake in Twitter, sought to oust Dorsey from his position, claiming that, by splitting his attention between Twitter and Square, the chief executive let the former company lose its competitive edge and slip behind rivals. On February 21, Elliott nominated four candidates for Twitter’s board to add to the pressure. Continue reading Twitter Settles With Activist Investor, Dorsey Keeps Position

CES 2020: How Keynotes Will Impact the 2020 Conversation

Are CES keynote presentations and conference programs a crystal ball to the future? Do they shape the conversation and influence the trends that will ultimately emerge from the annual tech and innovation gathering that begins this Sunday, January 5 in Las Vegas? Or are they a calculated mix of corporate hype and politics supporting the agenda of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), owner of CES? In our experience at CES, especially the most recent years, the answer tends to be all of the above. The keynote lineup is remarkable this year for what is not on the stage as much as who is. The new decade dawns with an emphasis on ways to apply technology and innovate on the advances predicted for the past 20 years. Continue reading CES 2020: How Keynotes Will Impact the 2020 Conversation

Black Friday Experiences New E-Commerce Sales Records

Online sales boomed this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with record-breaking $4.2 billion in purchases on Turkey Day, followed by $7.4 billion spent on Black Friday. Although this was a new high — up $1.2 billion from last year’s Black Friday — it didn’t meet Adobe Analytics’ prediction of $7.5 billion. Salesforce reported $7.2 billion in sales, even lower than Adobe’s numbers. Of those numbers, $2.9 billion in sales were conducted on smartphones that day. Top-selling electronics included Apple laptops, AirPods and Samsung TVs. Continue reading Black Friday Experiences New E-Commerce Sales Records

Amazon Forms Coalition for Voice Assistant Interoperability

Amazon created the Voice Interoperability Initiative to achieve software compatibility among digital voice assistants, encouraging its widespread adoption. Although 36 companies have joined the initiative, Apple and Google have not. Their absence is a significant impediment to the initiative’s goals, since Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant software are installed by default in most of today’s smartphones. Amazon’s Alexa, meanwhile, has no presence on smartphones, although its Echo speakers are a hit with consumers. Continue reading Amazon Forms Coalition for Voice Assistant Interoperability

Technology Chief Executives Lobby for Federal Privacy Law

Congress just received an open letter on behalf of the Business Roundtable, an association comprised of the chief executives of the U.S.’s biggest companies. Signed by 51 tech company executives, the letter asks legislators to create a federal law on data privacy, thus avoiding the patchwork-quilt of state laws now being passed. Amazon, AT&T, Dell, IBM, Qualcomm, SAP, Salesforce, Visa, Mastercard, JPMorgan Chase, State Farm and Walmart are just some of the companies whose chief executives signed the letter. Continue reading Technology Chief Executives Lobby for Federal Privacy Law

Firms Pursue Frontline Workers, Walmart Expands VR Use

Microsoft, Google and Salesforce are now targeting the use of their technologies to an estimated two billion workers who don’t sit behind a desk. Microsoft, with its HoloLens, has been the most aggressive in pursuing so-called frontline or firstline workers who do production, sales and service work. Its chief executive Satya Nadella noted the potential growth in this sector. Walmart now uses virtual reality to assess the skills of an employee and determine if she is ready to move up to middle management. Continue reading Firms Pursue Frontline Workers, Walmart Expands VR Use

Password-Free Logins Getting Closer to Becoming a Reality

WebAuthn, with the approval of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the FIDO Alliance, just became an official web standard for password-free logins. After W3C and the FIDO Alliance first introduced it in November 2015, WebAuthn gained the support of many W3C contributors including Airbnb, Alibaba, Apple, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, PayPal, SoftBank, Tencent and Yubico. With WebAuthn, which is supported by Android and Windows 10, users can log-in via biometrics, mobile devices or FIDO security keys. Continue reading Password-Free Logins Getting Closer to Becoming a Reality

At Davos, a Call for Worldwide Oversight of Tech, Including AI

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, several countries’ leaders called for a global regulation of technology. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is chair of the Group of 20 nations (G20) this year, said he would push for an international system to oversee use of data when the group meets for its annual June summit in Osaka. Abe he would like the Osaka G20 to be “the summit that started worldwide data governance,” with a focus on expanding World Trade Organization rules to include data. Continue reading At Davos, a Call for Worldwide Oversight of Tech, Including AI

CES Panel: Confronting the Fear that AI Will Replace Humans

JT Kostman, managing director of applied artificial intelligence at Grant Thornton, is preparing a TED Talk on AI that he may title “Dear Humans: We Mean You No Harm. Love, AI.” In a CES 2019 panel, moderated by Alice.com’s Elizabeth Gore, experts talked about the pain points in integrating AI into today’s world, including the general fear that AI will replace humans in the workforce. Accenture’s North America lead for M&E Lynn McMahon agreed that the buzz of machines taking over the world has risen. Continue reading CES Panel: Confronting the Fear that AI Will Replace Humans

Salesforce Chair Marc Benioff Buys Time Magazine for $190M

Meredith purchased Time Inc. only eight months ago, but now has agreed to sell Time magazine to Salesforce co-founder/chair and co-chief executive Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff, for $190 million. The couple is buying the magazine as individuals, unrelated to Salesforce, and the deal is expected to close within 30 days. The Benioffs have said they will not play a role in the magazine’s day-to-day operations or its journalistic decisions. They also have no plans to purchase any other magazine titles from Meredith. Continue reading Salesforce Chair Marc Benioff Buys Time Magazine for $190M

Google Opens Titan Security Key Availability to All Consumers

At its Cloud Next 2018 conference, Google debuted the Titan Security Key, its version of a FIDO (Fast Identity Online) physical device to authenticate logins over Bluetooth. Now, only a few weeks after the announcement, Google has made it available for purchase at $50 in its Google Play Store. Google Cloud enterprise customers have been able to access the Titan Security Key for the past two months. The product comes with a USB key, a Bluetooth Low Energy key, and an adapter for devices with USB Type-C ports. Continue reading Google Opens Titan Security Key Availability to All Consumers

Tech Firms Working With Feds to Create Privacy Legislation

After years of fending off federal attempts to regulate handling of private data, some tech companies are now working with policy makers to create federal privacy laws. The Information Technology Industry Council, which represents Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Salesforce, hopes that federal legislation would preempt state regulations, such as the strict online privacy laws recently adopted by California, and create a single regulation rather than a confusing array of multiple state laws. Continue reading Tech Firms Working With Feds to Create Privacy Legislation

ETC Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Studio Tech Leaders

On June 26th at USC’s Town & Gown, ETC@USC convened its annual dinner with studio technology leaders that celebrated the think tank’s 25th anniversary, and honored Dean Elizabeth Daley with the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award. The event was presented by Western Digital, with supporting sponsors Equinix and Salesforce, and featured a panel discussion with the technology leaders of 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Continue reading ETC Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Studio Tech Leaders

Google Brain Leverages AI to Generate Wikipedia-Like Articles

The latest project out of Google Brain, the company’s machine learning research lab, has been using AI software to write Wikipedia-style articles by summarizing information on the Internet. But it’s not easy to condense social media, blogs, articles, memes and other digital information into salient articles, and the project’s results have been mixed. The team, in a paper just accepted at the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), describes how difficult it has been. Continue reading Google Brain Leverages AI to Generate Wikipedia-Like Articles

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