TikTok Embraces AI with Tako Chatbot, Now in Limited Tests

TikTok is floating a trial balloon of its own AI chatbot, named Tako, now testing in select markets. Tako invites users to ask questions about TikTok videos and is also designed to help with discovery and recommendations. Tako’s public testing was first reported by Israeli app intelligence firm Watchful. TikTok subsequently confirmed testing in the Philippines and said Tako tests were live in some other global markets, but said the chatbot is not yet deployed in the United States. Unlike Microsoft’s Bing Chat, Google’s Bard and Snap’s My AI, Tako seems hyperfocused on TikTok content. Continue reading TikTok Embraces AI with Tako Chatbot, Now in Limited Tests

Baidu Rushes Ernie Launch to Meet China’s Chatbot Demand

China’s Baidu is racing to meet the March 16 deadline to debut Ernie Bot, which it hopes will be the Eastern equivalent to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Teams have been working around the clock. In addition to programming duties, staff has been reaching out to borrow compute time on high-powered processors that Chinese companies can no longer purchase at their discretion due to U.S. sanctions. Ernie is still being trained ahead of its highly anticipated launch. Baidu intends to roll out its chatbot in stages, first to a limited pool of public users who can provide test feedback, observers say. Continue reading Baidu Rushes Ernie Launch to Meet China’s Chatbot Demand

Microsoft Unveils AI Model That Comprehends Image Content

Microsoft researchers have unveiled Kosmos-1, a new AI model the company says analyzes images for content, performs visual text recognition, solves visual puzzles and passes visual IQ tests. It also understands natural language instructions. The new model is what’s known as multimodal AI, which means it uses different instruction sets, from text to audio and video. Mixing media is a key step in building artificial general intelligence (AGI) that can perform tasks in a manner approximating human performance. Examples from a Kosmos-1 research paper show it can effectively analyze images, answering questions about them. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils AI Model That Comprehends Image Content

YouTube Introduces Multi-Language Audio Tracks Worldwide

Following several months of tests, YouTube is launching is multi-language audio track feature worldwide, with popular vlogger MrBeast helping to promote the new feature’s benefits. MrBeast, who has over 135 million global subscribers, is hoping to attract new subscribers to his channel now that the most popular videos are dubbed into 11 different languages. The multi-language audio feature allows creators to dub new and existing videos. YouTube says more than 3,500 multi-language videos have been uploaded to the site in 40-plus languages since January of this year. Continue reading YouTube Introduces Multi-Language Audio Tracks Worldwide

YouTube Testing ‘1080p Premium’ with Its Paid Subscribers

YouTube is experimenting with a higher bitrate 1080p format for Premium subscribers. The enhanced 1080p Premium reportedly provides a better viewing experience. For now, 1080p Premium is only available to a very small group. The existing 1080p HD resolution on YouTube remains unchanged, according to the company. “1080p Premium is an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher quality viewing experience,” explains spokesperson Paul Pennington, clarifying “there are no changes to the existing quality offerings for 1080p (HD) resolution on YouTube.” Continue reading YouTube Testing ‘1080p Premium’ with Its Paid Subscribers

Instagram Adds Features to Better Compete in Social Space

Meta Platforms is updating Instagram, adding Notes, a way to share using just 60 characters plus emoji, and testing Candid Stories, which allows users to capture what they’re doing in the moment, similar to competing social app BeReal. Notes will appear for 24 hours at the top of the inboxes of those users to follow or on their list of Close Friends, with their replies showing up as DMs. “During testing, we learned that people liked having a lightweight, easy way to share what’s on their mind and start conversations,” Meta says. Continue reading Instagram Adds Features to Better Compete in Social Space

‘Edit Tweet’ Becoming Available for Twitter Blue Subscribers

Popular social networking service Twitter is adding an edit button for published tweets, the platform’s most-requested feature to date. Users will have to pay for it, at least initially. Edit Tweet, which is being tested internally, will expand to a public test in the coming weeks, rolling out to a select subset of Twitter Blue subscribers who will have 30 minutes from publication to Edit Tweet, doing things like fixing typos and adding missing tags. Tweets that have been edited will carry a label that even those not participating in the test will see. Continue reading ‘Edit Tweet’ Becoming Available for Twitter Blue Subscribers

UPS Performs Mock Package Delivery to Test Drive New Drone

UPS has begun testing emergency drone deliveries with Massachusetts-based CyPhy Works, a drone company that the shipping giant invested in last year. The companies tested the 3-mile delivery of an asthma inhaler last week. “The CyPhy-UPS drone, called the Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications drone, or PARC for short, was autonomous during the flight and navigated by GPS,” reports Digital Trends. The drone features “a high-resolution camera with thermal imaging and target tracking abilities, and two GPS units and multiple rotors, antenna and communications systems.” Continue reading UPS Performs Mock Package Delivery to Test Drive New Drone

BBC Plans the First Live Ultra HD Broadcast Entirely Over IP

As several broadcasters get ready to test live Ultra HD broadcasts of the World Cup this week, the BBC has plans to go one step further. Journalist and ETCentric contributor Adrian Pennington tells us that the BBC has chosen next month’s Commonwealth Games for the world’s first live Ultra HD production that will use an entirely Internet-based infrastructure. While broadcasters have used IP to distribute content between the studio and remote locations, all-IP live production is not yet common. Continue reading BBC Plans the First Live Ultra HD Broadcast Entirely Over IP

Detect Emotions via Google Glass with Facial Recognition App

When an Ohio State University study tested how well facial recognition software could detect emotions, it received a 96.9 percent accuracy rate with the six basic emotions and a 76.9 percent accuracy rate with compound emotions such as “happy surprise” and “angry fear.” Emotient, a company that uses machine-learning algorithms, is developing an app for Google Glass that detects emotions in real time. Lead scientist Marian Bartlett says the app will be on the market soon. Continue reading Detect Emotions via Google Glass with Facial Recognition App

NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo is currently planning new wireless trials that could increase the capacity of future mobile networks to 10 Gbps (1,000 times today’s LTE networks). The new radio technologies could become an important part of a future 5G standard. NTT Docomo is working with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung to perform lab trials at Docomo’s research & development facility in Yokosuka, which is expected to be followed by outdoor trials in 2015. Continue reading NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

Professor Develops Free DIY Online Image Verification Service

With the recent growth in citizen journalism via the Internet, questions have arisen regarding the authenticity of photographs, and whether there are ways to verify if an image is accurate or not. The rise of Photoshop and other digital tools has made it easy for people to edit images prior to sharing them on Facebook or Twitter. However, a computer science professor at Dartmouth College has developed a free online image verification service that quickly confirms whether an image is authentic or not. Continue reading Professor Develops Free DIY Online Image Verification Service

ITU Group is Testing High Dynamic Range Format Proposals

According to David Wood, chairman of the International Telecommunication Union group working to recommend a global blueprint for UHD, high dynamic range (HDR) technology “may well be an important feature of Ultra HDTV in future years, though the jury is still out, and will take some months to reach a verdict.” The group is currently considering HDR as an addition to UHD, and is looking at format proposals from companies including Dolby, Philips, Technicolor and the BBC. Continue reading ITU Group is Testing High Dynamic Range Format Proposals

New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

More than a dozen companies have joined the Core Infrastructure Initiative to provide funding to open source projects, starting with OpenSSL. The Linux Foundation, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, Qualcomm, and VMWare have each pledged $100,000 over the next three years to pay for full-time developers, security audits, computing and testing infrastructure, and more to help financially strapped open source projects. Continue reading New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Facebook is expected to launch its mobile advertising network during the F8 developer conference in San Francisco at the end of this month. Facebook plans to leverage its massive user information database for better ad targeting, and will pitch the ads to publishers and developers. The social giant will also benefit from expanding its ad reach, and will allow the company to profit from its over 1 billion users even when they are not on the site itself. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network