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What's so unique about Meta? Mixing reality with an Alphabet soup

#artificialintelligence

Six years back, when Larry Page announced the launch of Alphabet, he said upfront, "...in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant...Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet..." Alphabet today is "mostly a collection of companies", the largest being Google. Declaring results for the quarter-ended September 30, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, said: "Five years ago, I laid out our vision to become an AI-first company. This quarter's results show how our investments there are enabling us to build more helpful products for people and our partners..." When Zuckerberg made his Meta announcement on October 28, he said among other things, "Our mission remains the same -- it's still about bringing people together. We're still the company that designs technology around people..." While Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB)'s corporate structure will not change, the company plans to report on two operating segments -- Family of Apps and Reality Labs -- starting with the fourth quarter results of 2021. However, Zuckerberg, unlike Page, made no reference in his speech to "a cleaner and more accountable" company, despite the numerous legal and privacy tangles that Facebook has been embroiled in, and continues to grapple with, in the US, European Union and other parts of the world.


Teaching AI to perceive the world through your eyes

#artificialintelligence

AI that understands the world from a first-person point of view could unlock a new era of immersive experiences, as devices like augmented reality (AR) glasses and virtual reality (VR) headsets become as useful in everyday life as smartphones. Imagine your AR device displaying exactly how to hold the sticks during a drum lesson, guiding you through a recipe, helping you find your lost keys, or recalling memories as holograms that come to life in front of you. To build these new technologies, we need to teach AI to understand and interact with the world like we do, from a first-person perspective -- commonly referred to in the research community as egocentric perception. Today's computer vision (CV) systems, however, typically learn from millions of photos and videos that are captured in third-person perspective, where the camera is just a spectator to the action. "Next-generation AI systems will need to learn from an entirely different kind of data -- videos that show the world from the center of the action, rather than the sidelines," says Kristen Grauman, lead research scientist at Facebook.


6G will bring 'digital twins', Samsung says – and it's two years ahead of schedule

The Independent - Tech

Samsung has revealed its plans for 6G technology, outlining its vision for "digital twins" of our physical selves. In a research paper published on Wednesday, the South Korean smartphone giant stated that there will be three key 6G services: Immersive extended reality (XR); high-fidelity mobile hologram; and digital replicas. "With the help of advanced sensors, AI, and communication technologies, it will be possible to replicate physical entities, including people, devices, objects, systems, and even places, in a virtual world," the white paper states. "In a 6G environment, through digital twins, users will be able to explore and monitor the reality in a virtual world, without temporal or spatial constraints. Users will be able to observe changes or detect problems remotely through the representation offered by digital twins."


Within 10 Years, We'll Travel by Hyperloop, Rockets, and Avatars

#artificialintelligence

Try Hyperloop, rocket travel, and robotic avatars. Hyperloop is currently working towards 670 mph (1080 kph) passenger pods, capable of zipping us from Los Angeles to downtown Las Vegas in under 30 minutes. Rocket Travel (think SpaceX's Starship) promises to deliver you almost anywhere on the planet in under an hour. Think New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes. As 5G connectivity, hyper-realistic virtual reality, and next-gen robotics continue their exponential progress, the emergence of "robotic avatars" will all but nullify the concept of distance, replacing human travel with immediate remote telepresence.