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Salesforce Reshuffles SaaS, PaaS in Internet of Things and AI
October 13, 2017
It can be a full-time job trying to keep up with Salesforce's newest cloud offerings. However, it is always worth the effort, because the company's pronouncements are often early bellwethers of the future direction of the software industry. This has become particularly true with respect to the company's evolving efforts to penetrate and gain a prominent position in the AI and IoT markets.
AWS, Microsoft Offer New Open Source AI Framework
October 13, 2017
AWS and Microsoft have announced the availability of Gluon, an open source deep learning library for building AI neural networks. Gluon will make it easier for researchers to define machine learning models using a collection of prebuilt, optimized neural network components. It will enable software developers and enterprise users to manipulate machine learning models like any other data structures.
Google Assistant Shines in Pint-Sized Home Mini
October 12, 2017
The first wave of reviews touting Google's Home Mini smart speaker surfaced this week, following reports that the company had to quash a top touch function to prevent the device from accidentally activating and recording conversations without users' knowledge. Google has promised to update the device by Oct. 15. The Home Mini can provide reports on weather, traffic, news, sports and more.
OpenWorld 2017
October 10, 2017
I spent last week at Oracle's OpenWorld 2017 in San Francisco. When I wasn't drinking from an information fire hose, it was alternately fascinating and exhausting. There were major announcements in database, blockchain, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and other stuff I'm associated with only tangentially. For instance, my eyes glaze over when they start talking about bare metal servers.
Zuckerberg Pays Virtual Visit to Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
October 10, 2017
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday used virtual reality tech to "teleport" to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and soon was dubbed a "heartless billionaire" by critics who felt he had exploited the dire situation in the U.S. territory. That likely isn't what Zuckerberg intended when he provided the Facebook Spaces video demonstration.
AI-Powered Mobile Chatbots Promise More Efficient Customer Service
October 9, 2017
Helpshift's new Web Chat application uses AI to help companies release scalable chatbots that can automate customer service through real-time interactions. The new AI-based tool, released last week, will boost Helpshift customers' ability to provide enterprise-grade support to their customers, according to Helpshift, which specializes in customer support for the gaming industry.
Gadget Ogling: Same Old Apple
October 6, 2017
Watching Apple's product announcement showcase is a bit like celebrating New Year's. People from all over the world are drawn to this annual event with the promise of something new and exciting, a vision of tomorrow and untold promise. Yet the more it comes around, the more disappointed we are. That promised kiss from a stranger at midnight is a dud. Our best intentions fall by the wayside.
AI Ripples Through Google's New Product Lineup
October 5, 2017
Google on Wednesday launched a bevy of new products into its growing hardware and software ecosystem at its Made by Google event. Many of the new devices are infused with artificial intelligence capabilities. "Since last year and since Google I/O, we've been working hard, continuing our shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the gathering.
Anticipating the Smart World of 2027: A Billion Cameras and AI, Oh My...
October 2, 2017
Nvidia went to China last week and made a series of interesting announcements having to do with smart cities and autonomous cars. IBM made an announcement on advancements in tying the Weather Channel to its Watson artificial intelligence engine, and improvements in targeted marketing. We also found out about Oculus' Fall in Love VR project which is kind of like the The Bachelor.
When Quantum Computers Come, They May Speak Microsoft
September 27, 2017
Microsoft has been working on a language for a computer that doesn't exist. The company unveiled the language -- as yet unnamed -- at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. Part of its Visual Studio product, it will run on a quantum simulator and quantum computer. "Quantum computing is the next phase in computing," said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates.
Innovation Requires Market Enablement
September 26, 2017
In this age of tech industry consolidation, one has to wonder what will happen with the pace of innovation as a few large companies begin to dominate. In personal computers, the WinTel marriage continues to control the technology, while Dell, HP and Lenovo control the devices. Similarly, in smartphones, Apple and Samsung, which both design their own chips and devices, dominate the market, especially in North America.
Einstein Tries Sales Forecasting
September 25, 2017
When Salesforce unveiled sales forecasting with its artificial intelligence tool, Einstein, my immediate reaction was that it should have tried something easier -- like solving global warming. Really, a sales forecast that bears some resemblance to reality has been a grail quest for all of us for many years, and Salesforce is not the first software company to throw its hat in the ring.
Amazon's Alexa May Get Into Your Head
September 21, 2017
Developers at Amazon's secret Lab 126 reportedly have been working on audio-only smart glass technology that would allow users to communicate with its virtual assistant Alexa. The smart glasses would connect wirelessly to users' smartphones and transfer communications through a bone-conduction audio system that would negate the need for headphones. Amazon plans to release the device this year.
Ford Motor Puts Design Strategy Under the HoloLens
September 21, 2017
Ford Motor Company on Thursday unveiled details about its use of Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality technology in the automotive design process. Ford's design teams have swapped out their clay-sculpting tools -- a staple of the automotive world since the 1930s, when Harley Earl introduced them at General Motors -- for mixed reality headsets and visualization software.
reMarkable's Pricey, Paper-Like Tablet Ready to Ship
September 16, 2017
reMarkable on Monday will begin shipping what might best be described as an "untablet" -- a device that is, essentially, an electronic piece of paper. The company is proud of its paper tablet's simplicity, boasting that no other tablet has fewer functionalities. reMarkable users cannot install apps, watch videos or take photos. What they can do is read, write and sketch on a paper-like surface.
The Vision Thing
September 15, 2017
Salesforce earlier this year introduced its Einstein Vision capability, an idea with a lot of promise but not a great deal of precedent. Who had applications that could see, and how would this be used? For decades, we've been content with scanning documents and analyzing them with OCR tools, or we've used bar codes and QR codes -- but it all came down to recognizing simple symbols.
How Many Ways Might iPhone X's Face ID Go Wrong?
September 14, 2017
When Apple unveiled its iPhone X on Tuesday, officials highlighted the device's advanced functionality, including what truly could be a game changing feature, its facial recognition technology. The new handset allows users to unlock it simply by looking at it. The 10th anniversary edition of Apple's flagship mobile device is the first Apple handset to utilize Face ID.
IT Convergence Trend Alters Approach to Federal Market
September 14, 2017
Federal agencies have begun using an emerging information technology tool to manage the huge amount of data the United States government generates and stores. Federal IT managers recently have embraced the concept of convergence, which has been gaining traction in the private sector. Agencies also have indicated that the approach may be useful for other federal IT applications.
Linux Gains Ascendance in Cloud Infrastructures: Report
September 13, 2017
Linux is now the dominant operating system on Amazon's AWS cloud service and is growing rapidly on Microsoft's Azure platform this year, according to a report on public cloud adoption trends Sumo Logic released on Tuesday. The company's second annual State of Modern Apps report reveals usage trends on AWS, Azure and Google clouds, and how they impact the use of modern apps in the enterprise.
Putin: Whoever Rules AI Rules the World
September 12, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin last week poked the nest of anxieties over the use of artificial intelligence to gain power in a video address to students at 16,000 selected schools. "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind," he said. "Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world."
Gadget Ogling: Samsung's Return, Ultrasonic Tea, and Roaming Fridges
September 9, 2017
In 2016, Samsung's smartphone division wasn't so much on the rocks as dangling by a single fingernail, millimeters from plunging into a deep, dark chasm. The Galaxy Note7 had a terrible habit of exploding or catching fire. Not exactly the best look considering people prefer not to be injured while checking Instagram. The Galaxy Note8 is free of those combustible foibles, we've been assured.
5 Ways to Give E-Commerce Shopping That Personal Touch
September 5, 2017
Shopping online can feel a bit impersonal. It's all about looking at screens and filling virtual carts, and not so much about having a rich experience. Many consumers long for just that kind of experience -- one that's similar to walking into a store, looking at products, talking with an associate, and perhaps ultimately making a purchase. This is where e-commerce personalization tech comes in.
Alexa, Cortana Become New BFFs
September 2, 2017
Microsoft and Amazon this week announced a deal that will let their voice-controlled digital assistants, Cortana and Alexa, engage in cross-platform communications. Microsoft customers will be able to access Alexa voice commands by saying "Cortana, open Alexa" on any device that supports Cortana, which is available on millions of desktops, laptops, tablets and other devices.
SIGGRAPH 2017: Virtual Reality Is Alive and Flourishing
September 1, 2017
The SIGGRAPH conference is a year event that focuses on the latest in computer graphics and other interactive arts. It is a multidiscipline show, mixing computer imaging with other physical creations. It is also a crossroads for the film, video game, commercial, research and education industries. It has a forward-looking vision while celebrating the recent and not-so-recent past.
Alexa Can Make Music Echo All Through the House
August 31, 2017
Alexa has a new musical talent, Amazon announced Tuesday. "Today, we're making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home," said Amazon Alexa Vice President Toni Reid. Setting up the syncing is easy. Using the Alexa app, you give a group of devices a name, such as "first floor."
As New Turnaround King, Is HP Better Than Apple?
August 28, 2017
HP is the new turnaround king -- but is it better than Apple? IBM was the king of tech in the 1980s, but in the 1990s it was the king of turnarounds, after almost going under but coming back from a negative brand equity, which occurs when folks will pay more for a no-name product than one with a negative brand. Apple, at the end of the 90s, was in much the same shape IBM was at the beginning.
Robots May Become Go-To Customer Service Reps
August 26, 2017
The customer service robot market will be worth $88 million by 2022, according to Tractica. Annual shipments are expected to increase from 2,730 units in 2016 to nearly 4,800 in 2022. The robots will be both humanoid and non-humanoid. However, telepresence robots, chatbots, and stationary customer interactive systems that don't have moving parts are not included in the count.
Microsoft Unveils Real-Time AI for Azure
August 25, 2017
Microsoft has unveiled a new deep learning acceleration platform designed for real-time AI, codenamed "Project Brainwave." The platform has three main layers: a high-performance, distributed system architecture; a hardware deep neural network engine synthesized onto field programmable gate arrays; and a compiler and runtime for low-friction deployment of trained models.
Tech Leaders Urge UN to Ban AI-Based Lethal Weapons
August 23, 2017
A group of the world's top technology leaders have published an open letter urging the United Nations to ban the use of AI in weapons systems, amid growing concerns that autonomous killer robots could wind up taking control. The group of 116 companies, most of which specialize in robotics or AI, argued that its growing use could revolutionize modern warfare in irreversible ways.
The Smart Home Appliance and You
August 22, 2017
The recent rumor that iRobot had engaged in talks with Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet to sell the data its Roomba vacuum cleaner gathers caused widespread privacy concerns. Roomba maps homes -- the spatial dimensions of rooms and distances between furniture and other objects -- and the data it collects would be valuable to any of the major players battling to control the smart home.
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What effect is social media having on the current discussion of sexual misconduct?
It's enabling many more people to engage in serious discussions.
It's functioning mostly as an echo chamber.
It's giving everyone a voice.
It's creating much more divisiveness.
It's enabling a cultural re-education.
It's making my news feed so unpleasant I'm staying away.