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AI PC era begins. Microsoft is declaring 2024 as "the year of the AI PC", and they're kick-starting it with the introduction of a new Copilot key on their keyboards. This key is a big deal - it's the first major change to Windows keyboards in nearly 30 years. The Copilot key will replace the old menu key and will be your quick access to Microsoft's AI-powered Windows Copilot experience. If you're in a country where Windows Copilot isn't available yet, no worries - the key will launch Windows Search instead. Expect to see the Copilot key on new Windows 11 PCs and laptops from this month onwards.
23andMe: It's your fault. In a move that will eventually lead to the eventual firing of a PR manager, 23andMe, the genetics company, is blaming users for their own data breach. Facing over 30 lawsuits after a massive data breach, instead of owning up, they're pointing fingers at the victims. In December, hackers stole data from about half of 23andMe's customers. The company now claims that users "negligently recycled and failed to update their passwords," hence it's not their fault. The victims' lawyer, isn't buying it, calling the blame game "nonsensical." Meanwhile, 23andMe has made it harder for victims to file collective legal claims.
Dutch chip blockade. ASML, the Dutch semiconductor equipment maker, has been blocked by the Dutch government from exporting some of its tools to China. The company revealed that the license for shipping its NXT:2050i and NXT:2100i lithography systems in 2023 was recently partially revoked. The move comes after the U.S. government tightened export controls on advanced semiconductors and chipmaking tools to China. More here.
Fidelity writes down X. Fidelity's taken a whopping 71.5% markdown on the value of its stake in X holdings, the parent company of X (once Twitter), owned by Elon Musk. The mutual fund company, which spent $19.2 million for a piece of X in 2022, has been slashing the valuation of its shares, with a 65% cut in October 2023, and another in November. X's been through a whirlwind of changes, including a new CEO and a mass exodus of advertisers after Musk's controversial statements. Now, X seems to be pinning its hopes on small and medium businesses to fill the ad void.
Just in time for Christmas. Apple has confirmed that it will halt sales of its Series 9 smartwatch due to a patent dispute with Masimo, a California-based medical technology firm. This decision follows an October ruling by the International Trade Commission (ITC). The dispute is centered around the blood sensor monitor technology in the Apple Watch. Sales will cease from Apple's online store on December 21 and in retail locations from December 24. Apple plans to appeal the ruling and is pursuing legal and technical options to ensure the availability of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 in the U.S. More here.
AI dream building 101. We wrote this quick guide for those who want to build an AI product but are not sure where to start. The tl;dr is you need AI engineers who can navigate pre-trained models, and don't forget the importance of prompt engineering. It's all about crafting the right prompts for your AI to work effectively and legally. Also, it's crucial to have a tight collaboration between engineers and your subject-matter experts. Full-stack engineering is key for integrating and managing your AI components. And remember, the AI landscape changes quickly, so stay updated! Voila! You're ready to start building.
Intel's AI spinoff. Intel is stepping up its AI game, spinning off a new company, Articul8 AI, with the backing of DigitalBridge. Articul8 AI, born from an Intel collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), uses a generative AI system that can read text and images. Initially, BCG was the only customer, but Intel has been expanding to other industries. This move aligns with Intel's strategy to raise capital and compete with rivals like Nvidia and AMD.
Elvis 2.0: AI's latest gig. Elvis is back, baby! Well, a digital version of him anyway. UK company Layered Reality is using AI and holographic projection to bring the "King of Rock and Roll" back to the stage. The show, dubbed "Elvis Evolution", will feature a life-sized digital Elvis belting out classics like 'Hound Dog' and 'Jailhouse Rock'. You'll get to experience this in London this November, but it ain't just a one-off gig though – Berlin, Las Vegas, and Tokyo are on the tour list too. So get ready to shake, rattle, and roll with the digital King.
AI's 2023 breakthroughs. This article is a handy highlight reel of what we figured out about AI in in 2023. Turns out, they're not that hard to build and you can even run them on your own devices. They can do a bunch of stuff from summarizing documents to writing code. But they're also really gullible, which can be a problem. The best application might be writing code, but the ethics around it are still pretty complex.
New antibiotics discovered by AI. In a significant scientific breakthrough, AI technology has discovered a new class of antibiotics, the first in over 60 years. This discovery, led by MIT and Harvard researchers, involved using AI to analyze thousands of compounds, resulting in potential treatments for drug-resistant infections like MRSA. This advancement is critical in addressing the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance, offering promising new avenues in healthcare and potentially saving millions of lives. More here.
Appy New Year. As we welcome 2024, it's time to tackle those New Year’s resolutions. Whether it's saving money, getting fit or just being happier, there’s an app for that! Gola lets you track your goals, while PocketGuard helps manage your finances. For fitness freaks, SmartGym offers AI-powered workouts and AppBlock keeps your screen time in check. If you're cutting back on alcohol, Sunnyside offers a judgment-free zone. And for bookworms, Bookly helps you hit your reading goals. So, dust off that WalkingPad and let's get cracking on those resolutions, folks! More here.
Breaking free from social platforms. David Pierce, a Vergecast co-host, predicts a new era for social media, where interconnected social ecosystems like Mastodon, Bluesky, and Pixelfed, will replace the likes of Twitter and Facebook. This decentralized world will be powered by ActivityPub, allowing posts to be separated from their platforms. Pierce believes the future lies in POSSE: Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Everywhere. Here, users own their content and syndicate it across various platforms. Though hurdles exist, like managing engagements and cross-posting, Pierce believes the poster's paradise isn't far off.
Pop music's emotional evolution. Researchers Schellenberg and von Scheve have been tuning into Billboard's Hot 100 charts, and they've noticed a shift in our musical mood ring. Since the 1960s, pop songs have been ditching the major key (think Beatles' "We Can Work It Out") for the more melancholic minor (cue Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"). From 85% major key in the 60s to just 40% now, our tunes have gone from sunny to complex. They're also slower and longer, with a trend towards emotional ambiguity. So, are we more musically sophisticated or just in need of a good cry?
Couch potato strikes gold. A Norwegian man, Erlend Bore, bought a metal detector to get off the couch and ended up unearthing the "gold find of the century." Initially mistaking his find for chocolate coins, Bore discovered nine pendants, three rings and 10 gold pearls on the southern island of Rennesoey. The treasure, dating back to A.D. 500, is considered state property under Norwegian law, but Bore and the landowner will receive a reward. The find will be displayed at the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger. Couch potato no more, Bore!
100-year long domains. WordPress, a company that has been around for 20 years, is now selling domains with a 100-year registration length. Who needs that much time? The company announced in a blog post that this is ideal for families to preserve their history on the internet and for founders to document their company’s journey. While the promise of keeping digital assets for a century sounds promising, it comes at the cost of a $38,000 one-time payment. More here.
2024's Sci-Fi/Fantasy buffet. Get ready to geek out on a mash-up of long-awaited content and outlandish surprises, thanks to COVID-related delays and Hollywood strikes. Forget big franchise disappointments, we're in for quirky, creative, original works like an apocalypse musical and a clone living forever. Apple TV is upping its game with sci-fi shows like "Constellation", "Murderbot", and "Dark Matter." "Dune: Prophecy" on Max and "Alien" on FX are sure to intrigue. Bong Joon-ho's "Mickey 17" and Alex Garland's "Civil War" promise to be mind-boggling. Let's not forget "The End", a musical about a rich family living in a post-apocalyptic bunker. More here.
Beam me up, AI. Star Trek fans have been using AI to upscale the beloved series Deep Space 9 for modern TVs, and it's not half bad. The show, which has not been officially remastered, was originally broadcast in the '90s and is now available in a quality that leaves much to be desired. But fans have been turning to AI tools to upscale and denoise the series, creating versions that look pretty decent on a 4K screen. While this is a painstaking and costly process, it demonstrates the capabilities and limitations of AI upscaling. It might be time for Paramount to take note and give DS9 the remastering it deserves. Check out the vid here.
Grand Theft Auto VI early trailer. Rockstar Games, in a bid to counter a leak, dropped the trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI a tad earlier than planned. Set to hit PS5 and Xbox Series X | S in 2025, the game is a "new vision" for the franchise, says founder Sam Houser. The trailer gives us a sneak peek into the state of Leonida, home to Vice City, and possibly introduces us to new protagonist Lucia. Speculation is rife about a TikTok-meets-Instagram style platform being integrated into the game. More here.
Silencing the Crunch. Doritos, the PepsiCo-owned snack brand, has developed an AI tech solution to mute the sound of its chip crunch for gamers. Yes, for real. After research indicated that 35% of UK adult gamers found the crunching sound distracting, Doritos created a free software, "Doritos Silent", that features AI trained to detect and mute the crunch noise. The AI, developed with US company Smooth Technology, can purportedly detect over 3 million kinds of crunches.
Jupiter's grand show. Get ready stargazers, on November 2-3, 2023, the solar system's big boy planet hits opposition, appearing super-sized and bright in our night sky. This happens when Earth slides between Jupiter and the sun, fully illuminating Jupiter's gassy surface. Jupiter will be at its closest to Earth, a mere 370 million miles away. So, mark your calendars and look up on November 2nd after sunset. You'll find Jupiter showing off near the Aries constellation. Don't miss the cosmic spectacle!