This Week In Digital – Week 22, 2019

World Economic Forum Forms Tech Policy Councils for Blockchain, AI, IoT, How Amazon’s facial recognition ambition could stunt Alexa’s development, Intel’s present and future AI chip business, Google’s AI can create videos from start and end frames alone, Highway monitoring system tracks vehicles using camera data, Introducing the Qualcomm Snapdragon Smart Viewer Reference Design, AWS launches Textract, machine learning for text and data extraction, AWS launches Textract, machine learning for text and data extraction and many more. Here’s your weekly update of This Week In Digital covering all the latest tech developments around the world.

How Amazon’s facial recognition ambition could stunt Alexa’s development – Khari Johnson, May 26, 2019.

In debates now raging in the U.S. Congress and in legislatures around the country, China has been repeatedly invoked as the boogeyman, including by a senator introducing national AI legislation this week and a San Francisco lawmaker ahead of a vote to ban facial recognition software last week. But fears of a dystopian AI future are also swirling around Amazon’s facial recognition software system Rekognition, which the company reportedly attempted to sell to U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and which has been tested by law enforcement in Washington and Oregon.

Intel’s present and future AI chip business – Kyle Wiggers, May 27, 2019.

The future of Intel is AI. Its books imply as much. The Santa Clara company’s AI chip segments notched $1 billion in revenue last year, and Intel expects the market opportunity to grow 30% annually from $2.5 billion in 2017 to $10 billion by 2022. Putting this into perspective, its data-centric revenues now constitute around half of all business across all divisions, up from around a third five years ago.

Google’s AI can create videos from start and end frames alone – Kyle Wiggers, May 28, 2019.

Imagine this: You’re given the start and end of a video and tasked with sketching out the interleaving frames, inferring what you can from the limited information on hand in order to fill the gap. Could you? It might sound like an impossible task, but researchers at Google’s AI research division have developed a novel system that can generate “plausible” video sequences from no more than a single first and final frame, a process known as “inbetweening.”

Highway monitoring system tracks vehicles using camera data – Kyle Wiggers, May 28, 2019.

Keeping tabs on freeway traffic flow is desirable for a whole host of reasons, chiefly because it can shed light on the underlying causes of congestion, road rule violations, and accidents. Unfortunately, traditional techniques rely on a pricey combination of radar, laser, and lidar sensors. That’s why researchers at the University of Swabi in Pakistan, Comstats University in Islamabad, and Jessore University of Science and Technology in Bangladesh pursued an alternative: machine learning algorithms that can extract useful data from camera footage.

Introducing the Qualcomm Snapdragon Smart Viewer Reference Design – Pete Lancia, May 29, 2019.

“The Snapdragon Smart Viewer Reference Design takes advantage of the XR1 processing power and allows both consumers and the enterprise to access an enhanced content offering,” said Hugo Swart, head of XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “By distributing the workload and tapping into the compute power of host devices via tethering to users’ smartphone or PC, the reference designs’ additional features like eye tracking and 6DoF controllers unlock a deeper level of XR immersion.”

AWS launches Textract, machine learning for text and data extraction – Kyle Wiggers, May 29, 2019.

Need to extract content from a document quickly and automatically? You’re in luck if you’re an Amazon Web Services (AWS) customer. Amazon today announced the general availability of Textract, a cloud-hosted and fully managed service that uses machine learning to parse data tables, forms, and whole pages for text and data. It’s available today in AWS’ US East (Ohio), US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland) regions and will expand to additional regions in the coming year.

Gmail’s confidential mode will be on by default for G Suite users starting June 25th – Cameron Faulkner, May 29, 2019.

Google is rolling out its confidential mode to G Suite users by default starting on June 25th. If you use Gmail at work, you’ll be able to use the tool to write a confidential email, as personal account holders have been able to do since Gmail’s mid-2018 redesign.Confidential mode is a powerful tool that will come in handy at work if you send messages containing sensitive details. It lets you set an expiration date for your message, which cuts off access when that day arrives.

Amazon adds ‘Alexa, delete what I said today’ command – Brian Heater, May 29, 2019.

Buried in this morning’s Echo Show 5 announcement are a couple of new security features worth highlighting. In addition to the inclusion of a built-in camera shutter on the new smart display are a pair of Echo commands that let users delete voice recordings with an Alexa command. “Alexa, delete what I said today” rolls out to Alexa users starting today. “Alexa, delete what I just said” will be arriving in the U.S. in the coming weeks and other countries where the smart assistant is available in the next month.

Google Maps to Highlight a Restaurant’s Popular Dishes – Matt Southern, May 31, 2019.

A new feature in Google Maps utilizes machine learning to recommend a restaurant’s most popular dishes. “Whether you’re craving a tea cocktail in Brooklyn or sampling Pacific Rim cuisine in London, Google Maps now highlights a restaurant’s most popular items on the menu, so you can place your order with confidence.” The feature’s machine learning capabilities are powered by an algorithm that matches dish names with relevant photos and reviews.

World Economic Forum Forms Tech Policy Councils for Blockchain, AI, IoT – Adrian Zmudzinski, May 30, 2019.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) announced the formation of six separate “fourth industrial revolution councils” to work on new technology policy guidance, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on May 29. Per the release, the councils intend to help regulators regulate artificial intelligence, autonomous mobility, blockchain, drones, internet of things and precision medicine. The boards — allegedly composed by over 200 leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia — will also gather regularly to address the absence of clearly defined rules.

Cloud Giant Salesforce Unveils First Blockchain Product for Business – Anna Baydakova, May 29, 2019.

Salesforce, the leading provider of cloud solutions for business management, revealed its own blockchain solution today built on the Hyperledger Sawtooth platform. Executives made the announcement at the company’s tech conference, TrailheaDX. The product, named Salesforce Blockchain, is “a low-code blockchain platform that extends the power of CRM (client relations management).” The company says that the solution helps users build and maintain blockchain networks, apps and smart contracts, allowing them to “create and share blockchain objects in the same process as any CRM data object — with clicks, not code,” according to Salesforce’s press release.


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