Communications


Can You Hear Me Now? AI Tackles Voice and Video

#artificialintelligence

Old-fashioned voice, thanks to AI, is poised to become the next human computing interface. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that artificial intelligence is a big business trend right now. Corporate America is agog at the possibility of using AI to better extract and analyze data on everything from insurance claims to X-rays to the contents of your smart refrigerator (so you can buy more milk before you run out). But lost in the headlines is the fact that AI, in some form, has actually been around for decades. And many of the hot AI applications being trumpeted in the press today aren't really that advanced.


Google unveils Stadia service to stream games on any device along with Assistant-equipped controller

Daily Mail

Google has taken the wraps off of its new gaming service. Dubbed'Stadia,' the gaming platform operates entirely on the cloud and lets users'instantly' stream games on any device, without the need for pesky downloading. The service is slated to launch later this year in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, with more details about available game titles expected to come in the next few months. Stadia ditches the traditional console; instead, users can play games with their existing laptops, desktops, TVs, tablets or phones, as well as their own keyboard and mouse. No updates, no downloads,' Google said.


Microsoft Teams taps AI to boost new background, whiteboarding features

PCWorld

Microsoft Teams is moving ahead in its gradual replacement of Skype for Business, which was once Microsoft's go-to solution for collaborating via video or text. On Tuesday Microsoft announced several new collaborative features that lean toward business use, especially for those who work in collaborative environments at an office. One of the flagship features--background blurring for remote or home workers--has been beefed up with the ability to select a custom background. Other improvements include better whiteboarding, in both virtual spaces and the real world. When Microsoft Teams launched two years ago this week, Microsoft pitched it as a collaborative messaging environment that would compete with Slack.


Apple's launch week continues as new AirPods arrive with wireless charging case, 'Hey Siri' support

PCWorld

If Apple's strategy this week is to build excitement for next week's "Show time" event, then it's doing a bang-up job. Following Monday's iPads and Tuesday's iMacs, Apple updated another popular product today with the launch of the second-generation AirPods that bring a new chip, new features, a new case, and more convenience. The new AirPods look exactly like the first-generation model, but include several key enhancements. The biggest is the addition of a new H1 chip, which Apple says was "developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free'Hey Siri.'" That means you no longer need to tap your ear to get Siri's attention.


Google to start offering alternative browsers and search engines to Android users in the EU

Mashable

Android users in the EU will soon be offered a choice of browsers and alternative search engines on their devices, Google announced on Tuesday. The announcement is unsurprising, given the European Commission (EC) slapped Google with a record $5 billion fine in July 2018 for stifling browser and search engine competition in the EU. SEE ALSO: Google's Emma Haruka Iwao breaks Pi world record In a blog post, Google's SVP of Global Affairs Kent Walker said the company will "do more to ensure that Android phone owners know about the wide choice of browsers and search engines available to download to their phones." Specifically, owners of both existing and new Android devices will be asked which browser and search apps they want to use. Walker points out that Android users have "always been able to install any search engine or browser," but there's a difference between having Google's search engine and Chrome browser pre-installed as default and just letting users find alternatives on their own, and actively providing customers with a choice.


Apple announces new AirPods with longer talk time, hands-free Siri, and wireless charging case

Mashable

New AirPods are here at last. On Wednesday, Apple announced its second-generation AirPods. The new wireless earbuds look identical to the old model, but come with a new H1 chip to achieve up to 50 percent longer talk time on a given charge, and enable hands-free "Hey Siri" voice controls. With the H1 chip, the new AirPods get up to 5 hours of listening time and up to 3 hours of talk time (up from 2 hours on the first-gen AirPods). The new chip also enables 2x faster audio connection when switching between Apple devices (i.e.


Germany Risks U.S. Backlash If It Hires Chinese Company Huawei For 5G Tech

NPR

Tomorrow, Germany begins auctioning frequencies to build 5G mobile networks. It is both a highly technical event and the center of a geopolitical storm. Like much of Europe, Germany is squeezed between its economic ties to China and its longtime alliance with the U.S. NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports from Berlin. COMPUTER-GENERATED VOICE: To keep your estimated arrival time... JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: 5G will not just allow you to download movies in seconds on your smartphone. Since it's supposed to be up to 1,000 times faster than current mobile speeds, it can handle communication for self-driving cars, for example.


No, Flickr didn't hand your photos over to corporations for machine learning Digital Photo Help

#artificialintelligence

Earlier this week, Flickr started taking heat across the web after it was specifically mentioned in a report from NBC News that took a deep dive into the'dirty little secret' of using Creative Commons images to help train facial recognition algorithms. The report mentioned multiple datasets used to help companies train machine learning algorithms to better comprehend diversity in facial recognition programs, but one dataset in particular was emphasized and elaborated on: IBM's'Diversity in Faces' set that was derived and iterated upon from more than 100 million Creative Common images gathered by Yahoo and released for research purposes back in 2014. Almost immediately, users around the web started raining down critical comments. Others, such as Flickr's own Don MacAskill, chimed in as well to help clarify the situation. The issue isn't that Flickr is handing over your photos for free to corporations looking to train their artificial intelligence algorithms.


25 DeepTech News Briefs

#artificialintelligence

The Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI officially launched today. Stanford HAI seeks to become an interdisciplinary global AI hub and to fundamentally change the field of AI by integrating a wide range of disciplines and prioritizing true diversity of thought. Researchers in Korea analyzed literature evaluating 516 AI algorithms for medical image analysis and found that only 6% validated their AI and 0% were ready for clinical use. This lack of appropriate clinical validation is referred to as digital exceptionalism. An analysis of 47 biomedical unicorns found that most of the highest valued startups in healthcare have a limited or non‐existent participation in the publicly available scientific literature.


Tinder finally ditches controversial scoring system it used to create matches based on desirability

Daily Mail

Tinder will no longer rely on a controversial method of sorting users based on an internal'desirability' score, according to a recent announcement from the company. Instead, the popular dating app's new algorithm will prioritize its patrons based on one overarching factor: volume of usage. The hidden ranking system that Tinder previously relied on assigned scores to users based on how many people have liked their profile. Tinder will no longer rely on a controversial method of sorting users based on an internal'desirability' score, according to a recent announcement from the company. According to the company, Tinder has matched 30 billion users around the world.