Industry News

Amazon Fires Up Fire TV Featuring Voice Search And Content Viewing Prediction Capabilities

retAmazon today unveiled its Fire TV streaming video device. During the announcement event in Manhattan, company vice president Peter Larsen called the $99 set top box “tiny, incredibly powerful and unbelievably simple.” For users, that power and simplicity are designed to be evident in features such as the device’s ability to project and preload the content users will want to see and to navigate via voice search.

A statement by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos reads that, “Our exclusive new ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly.” Movies or tv shows are buffered for playback before users hit the play button, the company says; those choices are made by analyzing users’ watch lists and recommendations. As users’ viewing habits change, the caching prediction algorithm will adjust accordingly, and personalization capabilities should get better over time as buyers use the Fire TV device.

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Google, Facebook, and the Cold War

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Ron Callari of Inventor Spot recently wrote, “It’s hard to say, looking twenty to thirty years into the future, just how different the digital landscape will look. Semantic Technology, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Web 3.0 are presently only toddling along in their infant stage. What they will look like in the next few decades is only guesswork on our part.  However if we were pressed to gamble on the outcome, a smart man’s wager might be that the last two digital super powers left standing will be Google and Facebook [with the possible exception of China]. A CNN Money report describes this evolution as analogous to the ‘Cold War,’ to conjure up imagery of what transpired between America and the Soviet Union, post World War II.” Read more

Why Artificial Intelligence is the Next Tech Trend

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Dominic Basulto of The Washington Post recently wrote, “For more than 50 years, we’ve been hearing about the promise of artificial intelligence and intelligent machines, but most of the big success stories to date – the IBM Watsons of the world – have been the result of massive efforts by universities and corporate R&D labs rather than by emerging start-ups. That could change soon, as artificial intelligence shows signs of becoming the next big trend for tech start-ups in Silicon Valley. First of all, there’s the anecdotal evidence about deals getting done for promising new AI startups. One of the most talked about VC deals in March, for example, was a $40 million round for Vicarious FPC, an artificial intelligence company that had so much hype around it that the biggest names of the tech world – including Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk (and Ashton Kutcher) – lined up to participate.” Read more

Saffron Technology Raises $7 million in Series B funding

Saffron Technology LogoCary, NC, March 20, 2014 – Saffron Technology, a cognitive systems company helping Fortune 1000 businesses understand the value of transforming disconnected data into actionable knowledge, today announced that it has closed a $7 million Series B investment round. Funds are earmarked to accelerate business growth, including opening new global headquarters in Silicon Valley.

“Data becomes infinitely more powerful when you tie together its meaning from a multiplicity of disparate sources. Our patented Natural Intelligence Platform unifies all kinds of data – structured and unstructured – in real time, from a large variety of sources and continuously learns about the things in the data without the need for pre-determined rules or models,” said Gayle Sheppard, Saffron Technology CEO. “Now you can automatically see converging and other patterns to anticipate outcomes and prepare to act. These capabilities, combined with our customers’ success with Saffron, position us well for growth. With this additional funding, we will expand customer-centric next generation service teams, build a strong brand presence, create scalability across our business, and establish a Silicon Valley headquarters in spring 2014.”

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Introducing The DBpedia Association

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Sebastian Hellman recently announced the formation of The DBpedia Association. According to the group’s charter, the Association was founded “with the goal to support DBpedia and the DBpedia Contributors Community.” The DBpedia Association is located in Leipzig, Germany, and the group’s full charter can be read here.

 

The goals of the new Association are outlined as follows: “Coordinate the development efforts in the DBpedia community and language chapters. Support the maintenance of DBpedia resources with own staff and resources. Serve as a contact point and establish co-operations with other like-minded projects and organizations. Acquire and manage funds for the DBpedia Community. Support and manage the organisation of DBpedia Community meetings. Provide education and training on DBpedia. Uphold a free, public data infrastructure to exploit this wealth of data for the general public. Mediate commercial services of associated partners.” Read more

Will a Robot Be Doing Your Job in 20 Years?

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The Times of India recently wrote, “Who needs an army of lawyers when you have a computer? When Minneapolis attorney William Greene faced the task of combing through 1.3 million electronic documents in a recent case, he turned to a so-called smart computer programme. Three associates selected relevant documents from a smaller sample, ‘teaching’ their reasoning to the computer. The software’s algorithms then sorted the remaining material by importance. ‘We were able to get the information we needed after reviewing only 2.3% of the documents,’ said Greene, a Minneapolis-based partner at law firm Stinson Leonard Street LLP. Artificial intelligence has arrived in the American workplace, spawning tools that replicate human judgments that were too complicated and subtle to distill into instructions for a computer. Algorithms that ‘learn’ from past examples relieve engineers of the need to write out every command.” Read more

Facebook’s DeepFace Matches Faces Almost as Well as Humans

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Tom Simonite of the MIT Technology Review reports, “Asked whether two unfamiliar photos of faces show the same person, a human being will get it right 97.53 percent of the time. New software developed by researchers at Facebook can score 97.25 percent on the same challenge, regardless of variations in lighting or whether the person in the picture is directly facing the camera. That’s a significant advance over previous face-matching software, and it demonstrates the power of a new approach to artificial intelligence known as deep learning, which Facebook and its competitors have bet heavily on in the past year.” Read more

Wise.io Raises $2.5 Million to Bring Machine Learning to Customer Experience

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BERKELEY, CA–(Marketwired – Mar 17, 2014) –  Wise.io today announced that it has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding led by Voyager Capital and named predictive analytics technology industry veteran Jeff Erhardt as CEO. Company co-founder Joshua Bloom will assume a new role as CTO leading the technology direction for Wise.io.

 

Machine Learning is unquestionably the future of advanced analytics for the enterprise. When I first met Wise.io, I was struck by the caliber of the team and the unequaled performance of their core technology,” said Daniel Ahn, managing director at Voyager Capital who joined the Wise.io board as part of the transaction. ”Ultimately, what distinguished Wise.io from the other vendors and compelled us to invest was their focus on providing a complete turnkey product that was easily accessible to business users.” Read more

Nigel Shadbolt on the Web’s First 25 Years & Digital Enlightenment

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Peter Judge of Tech Week Europe reports, “In the last quarter of a century, the world wide web has changed society so much that we should be talking of a ‘Digital Enlightenment’, says Sir Nigel Shadbolt, who predicts the next next 25 years will bring even bigger changes. In the 25th anniversary of the creation of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has been calling for a Bill of Rights for the Internet. Shadbolt’s talk of Enlightenment dovetails well with that of the web’s inventor, as you might expect, since they jointly created the discipline of Web Science, founded Britain’s Open Data Institute, and have collaborated on numerous other projects, attempting to shape the way society relates to this utterly transforming phenomenon.” Read more

Senzari Officially Opens MusicGraph’s “Graph API” to the Public

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AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As an official API sponsor of the first annual SXSW Music Hackathon Championship, Senzari® will publicly open MusicGraph to all developers wishing to tap into the world’s most extensive repository of musical knowledge. Developers that incorporate MusicGraph into their applications will be able to easily add Graph Search and Playlisting features to their apps via the respective APIs, as well as incorporate powerful lyrical data and social metrics into their services by leveraging the newly released Music Data API. Read more

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