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Emerging Technology Industry News Headlines Update on 2022-09-28

Hello, advertising. Meet generative AI.

This startup founder has built a platform that uses generative AI to create product ads. Take a look at the web demo: all you do is upload your product shot, enter a text description of the ad, pick a style, then add your branding elements like logos and custom fonts. Boom — ad.

Meta is looking to reduce costs by at least 10%, which will come from staff reductions and other cuts.

The changes involve cutting positions, reorganizing departments, and otherwise shaking things up to revitalize people working there. Google is doing something similar by having people apply for new jobs internally. Read more: Meta Quietly Reduces Staff in Cost-Cutting Push

OpenAI released and open-sourced an multi-lingual speech recognition tool called Whisper.

It enables “robust” transcription in multiple languages, as well as translation from those languages into English. Read more: OpenAI open-sources Whisper, a multilingual speech recognition system

There’s a project called Shasta that does podcast production using Adobe’s AI-based speech editing tools.

This is really impressive, but I can’t wait until you can take your own voice as a reader and provide your own text. I’m sure that’s already possible using their tools, but it’s probably not available for obvious reasons.

Apple is starting to make the iPhone 14 in India.

They’re looking at 5% of production in India by late 2022, and 25% by 2025. Happy to hear it. The faster everyone can get out of China the better. Read more: Apple starts manufacturing iPhone 14 in India in a shift away from China

Nvidia is releasing its new RTX 4090 graphics card in October.

The 4090 will be 2-4 times faster than the 3090 and will cost $1,599. The 4080 will be $899 and will come out in November. And as a bonus, crypto has crashed so you should actually be able to buy these things.

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Spotify is now selling audiobooks.

Not sure how they could pull me away from Amazon/Audible, but I’m happy they’re going to try. Books will show up next to music and podcasts in its primary app. Read more: Spotify now sells audiobooks

You can now edit human faces with DALL-E.

OpenAI originally disallowed this due to concerns of misuse, but they put protections in place to mitigate that risk. Read more: OpenAI’s image generator DALL-E can now edit human faces

Google has canceled half of its R&D projects at Area 120.

Its internal R&D group. This is part of Google’s general push toward waste-cutting. Read more: Google cancels half the projects at its internal R&D group Area 120

Twillio laid off 11% of its staff in a move to become profitable in 2023

That’s around 850 people. As we see so many startups doing this due to over-aggressive hiring in 2018-2020, one question is how much of that lesson we’ll retain in the next boom. Will companies remember this and hire more slowly next time? Read more: Twilio lays off 11% of its staff as it aims for profitability in 2023

Cloudflare is moving its main reverse proxy tech from NGINX to an in-house, Rust-based system called Pingora

They’re serving over a trillion requests per day now, with better performance, and supposedly using only a third of the CPU and memory resources. Read more: Cloudflare Ditches Nginx For In-House, Rust-Written Pingora

AR shopping is a reality

Snapchat launched a bunch of new augmented reality (AR) shopping features giving users the chance to “try” on new clothes before they buy and shop with their next generation Spectacles.

This is an exciting one. Beyond ecommerce, I watched this awesome video of how AR and virtual reality (VR) could be used practically in the future. It’s pretty neat.

@maiazhen_china

With my glasses on, the world belongs to me.#ar #vlog #元宇宙 #creativity #创意

♬ Dancing in My Room – 347aidan

Walmart goes streaming thinking face emoji

Starting this month, Walmart+ (think Amazon Prime) customers will have access to Paramount+ at no extra cost. Subscribers will also get free access to Spotify for 6 months.

Walmart+ is arming itself to compete with Amazon Prime, turbocharging the battle of the superapps. Prime has added Grubhub, and Walmart+ offers gasoline perks. Ecommerce merchants can buckle up as more opportunities to partner with both platforms are on the horizon.

Gifting NFTs

46% of shoppers said in a recent survey they would give a virtual version of a physical item or a digital collectible as a gift. About 500,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs), records on a blockchain associated with a digital or physical asset, are expected to be purchased between November and December, with a market value of $54 million.

I’m in. Investment skeptics aside, NFTs are a cool way to explore emerging artists and easily support a flourishing community of independent artists around the world.

US vs. Chinese Tech

The US is planning more limitations on Chinese technology advancement via executive order. The Biden Administration will limit how Chinese services collect US data and what kinds of technologies can be sold to China. This comes after last month’s CHIPS act, which incentivizes US companies to build chip plants back home. Read more: Semafor Exclusive: Biden will crack down on Chinese tech with a new executive order

Joint Supply Chain Guidance

NSA, CISA, and ODNI have released new software supply chain guidance for developers, including how to develop secure code, how to verify third-party components, harden build environments, and do secure code delivery. Read more: NSA, CISA, ODNI Release Software Supply Chain Guidance for Developers
| Guidance PDF

Tweet Editing

Twitter now has an Edit button, but it’s quite limited. First: you only have 30 minutes to make edits. Second: people will be able to see that it was modified. And third: the history will be visible. People are both arguing it’s not powerful enough, and that it’s too powerful, so it sounds like a decent first attempt. Read more: Farewell, Typos! Twitter Unveils an Edit Button.

Snap Cuts

Snap stock is down 80% for the year and it’s reducing its workforce by 20% and going through another restructuring. It was hard enough fighting Instagram and Facebook, and now TikTok is on the field as well. Read more: Snap Cuts 20% of Employees and Restructures

More AI Art Craziness

It’s getting hard to follow all the AI Art stuff, and people are understandably getting burned out on it. We had DALL-E, then Midjourney, and now we have Stable Diffusion. It’s a lot. To me the biggest developments in the last week have been 1) DALL-E’s Outpaining Tool that lets you fill in the stuff around an image. And when I say fill-in, I mean completely make up. Then 2) this Stable Diffusion demo showing integration with Photoshop. Truly scary in the exciting way.

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Midjourney Wins Art Competition

Someone entered a piece of AI-generated art into a state fair competition and won first prize. People aren’t happy, but I think the problem is one of definitions and rules. Competitions will soon have to be explicit about help from others, and help from AI. Read more: An AI-Generated Artwork Won First Place at a State Fair Fine Arts Competition, and Artists Are Pissed

USB 4 Version 2

The new version of the USB protocol now allows up to 80GB/sec in transfer speed, which is twice that of Thunderbolt 4. And you can get to 40GB/sec using the USB cables you already have. Read more: USB 4 Version 2.0 Announced With 80 Gbps of Bandwidth

The JWST has confirmed carbon dioxide on an exoplanet called WASP-39b.

The planet is around 700 light-years away, and is something of a “hot Jupiter”, being larger than Jupiter but closer to its star than Mercury. Read more: Webb Telescope Finds Carbon Dioxide on a Distant Exoplanet

The new telescope also captured the first direct image of a planet outside the solar system.

The planet is called HIP 65426 b, and it has between 6 and 12 times the mass of Jupiter, and it sits around 100 times further from its sun than we are from ours, which is how we’re able to see it. Read more: James Webb Telescope Captures its First Photo of a Distant Planet

New research shows that around half of cancer deaths, across 200 countries, are preventable, with the primary causes being smoking, alcohol, and obesity.

This is a stunning statistic, and reminds me of the fact that over half of American gun deaths are suicides. Read more: Almost half of cancer deaths are preventable

US life expectancy dropped again, with Covid being the primary cause.

Somewhat related, I was alarmed to see that the average life expectancy for Asian Americans was 83 years while it’s 70 years for Black Americans—a stunning 13-year difference. Read more: Life expectancy in the U.S. continues to drop, driven by COVID-19

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