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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Twitter is taking part in a study designed to reduce online abuse – CNET

Online abuse in all its forms is a problem, but particularly on social media and particularly on Twitter. So what can be done?
Source: CNET

China’s SenseTime, the world’s highest valued AI startup, raises $600M

The future of artificial intelligence (AI), the technology that is seen as potentially impacting almost every industry on the planet, is widely acknowledged to be a war between tech firms in America and China.

In a notable side-note to that battle, China now has the world’s highest-valued AI startup after SenseTime, a company founded in 2014, announced a $600 million Series C investment round. A source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch that the round values the company at over $4.5 billion, while it is also raising an extension to this round. That marks a hefty increase on the company’s most recent $1.5 billion valuation when it raised a $410 million Series B last year.

SenseTime CEO Li Xu said the company plans to use the capital to expand its presence overseas and “widen the scope for more industrial application of AI.”

Beyond the high figures involved — the round is a record fundraising for an AI company worldwide — SenseTime’s investment efforts are notable because of the names that have backed it.

Principally that’s Alibaba, the $429 billion e-commerce giant, which led this Series C round and is reportedly now SenseTime’s largest single investor, according to Bloomberg.

Beyond that, U.S. chipmaker giant Qualcomm signed up last year — seemingly as an early participant in this round — while Singapore’s sovereign fund Temasek and China’s largest electronics retailer Suning, which has taken investment from Alibaba, entered the round as new backers. Indeed, Suning’s push to for its store of the future, which was started by that Alibaba investment, uses SenseTime to power its facial recognition payment at staff-less checkouts and also for customer analysis using big data systems.

“SenseTime is doing pioneering work in artificial intelligence. We are especially impressed by their R&D capabilities in deep learning and visual computing. Our business at Alibaba is already seeing tangible benefits from our investments in AI and we are committed to further investment,” said Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s executive vice chairman.

SenseTime said it has more than 400 customers across a range of verticals including fintech, automotive, fintech, smartphones, smart city development and more that include Honda, Nvidia, China’s UnionPay, Weibo, China Merchants Bank, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi.

Perhaps its most visible partner is the Chinese government, which uses its systems for its national surveillance system. SenseTime process data captured by China’s 170 million CCTV cameras and newer systems which include smart glasses worn by police offers on the street.

China has placed vast emphasis on tech development, with AI one of its key flagposts.

A government program aims to make the country the world leader in AI technology by 2030, the New York Times reported, by which time it is estimated that the industry could be worth some $150 billion per year. SenseTime’s continued development fees directly into that ambition.

“AI is really changing every profession and every industry. There’s almost nothing that won’t be touched by AI,” investor Kai-Fu Lee, formerly the head of Google in China, said at a TechCrunch event back in 2016.

Even two years ago, the potential was evident, with Lee explaining that teaching, medicine and healthcare were obvious areas for disruption.

Perhaps the main difference between the state of AI development in the U.S. and China is that, in America, much of the technology is being developed in big tech firms like Amazon and Google. In China, however, companies like SenseTime and its rival Megvii (which develops the Face++ platform) are independent entities that operate with the financial backing of giants like Alibaba.


Source: TechCrunch

American Chopper argument revs Twitter with resurgent meme – CNET

This motorcycle meme based on a father/son reality TV fight is suddenly everywhere. Could it be a PR stunt for the revival of the Discovery Channel show?
Source: CNET

Snapchat brings back chronological feed (for some people) – CNET

We don’t know if this is permanent, but it’s got its benefits over Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.
Source: CNET

Groups Allege YouTube Is Violating Law That Protects Kids

In complaint to the FTC, child-health, privacy, and consumer groups say YouTube is targeting kids improperly.
Source: Wired

If you’re a Best Buy customer, you may want to check your accounts

Just a day after Sears, Kmart, and Delta admitted that they were affected by the breach of the data firm [24]7.ai, Best Buy has come forth with a statement of its own, noting that it too has been impacted.

The post If you’re a Best Buy customer, you may want to check your accounts appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Solo: A Star Wars Story new trailer is as hot as Lando is cool – CNET

The latest look into director Ron Howard’s Star Wars movie focusing on young Han Solo goes online.
Source: CNET

10 unusual ways to use zip-top bags – CNET

If you think that zipper storage bags are just for storing food, these tips will open up a whole new world of hacks.
Source: CNET

Here’s the new trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story

Yesterday afternoon, word started spreading that a new — and perhaps final — trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story would land this evening. Sometime during American Idol, they said… of course without saying exactly when.

Turns out: now.

You can see it here:

I had my doubts after the last trailer, but I’m loving this one. Donald Glover as young Lando is just perfect.

The trailer roll-out for Solo started a bit later than most expected, presumably because of the relatively late director swap out. Ron Howard took over the film’s metaphorical cockpit in June of last year — about four months into production — after the original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (also the directors of The Lego Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and 21 Jump Street) were taken off the project. Howard’s changes, while still mostly a mystery, reportedly involved weeks of reshoots.

Howard tweeted at the end of March that his edits were “locked” – as of this morning, meanwhile, they were mixing the musical score.

Whatever Howard ended up changing, the film will almost certainly end up as yet another point of debate amongst the fanbase. When you’re tinkering with the backstory of a character like Han Solo (and Lando!), with fans that have watched the originals a billion times, contention is a given.


Source: TechCrunch

Tencent and education startup Age of Learning bring popular English-learning app ABCmouse to China

Tencent is teaming up with Los Angeles-based education company Age of Learning to launch an English education program for kids in China. ABCmouse, Age of Learning’s flagship product, has been localized and will be available as a website and an iOS and Android app in China, with Tencent handling product development, marketing, sales and customer support.

The new partnership extends Tencent’s involvement in ed-tech, which already includes a strategic investment in VIPKID, an online video tutoring platform that connects Chinese kids with English teachers and competes with QKids and Dada ABC. ABCmouse, on the other hand, uses videos, books and online activities like games, songs and stories to help kids study English.

The Chinese version of ABCmouse includes integration with Tencent’s ubiqutioius messenger and online services platform WeChat, which now has more than one billion users, and its instant messaging service QQ, with 783 million monthly active users. This makes it easier for parents to sign up and pay for ABCmouse, because they can use their WeChat or QQ account and payment information. It also allows families to share kids’ English-learning progress on their news feeds or in chats. For example, Chen says parents can send video or audio recordings of their children practicing English to grandparents, who can then buy gift subscriptions with one click.

Though you probably haven’t heard of it unless you have young kids or work with elementary school-age children, Age of Learning has built a significant presence in online education since it was founded in 2007, thanks mainly to the popularity of ABCmouse in schools, public libraries and Head Start programs. Two years ago, Age of Learning hit unicorn status after raising $150 million at a $1 billion valuation from Iconiq Capital.

Jerry Chen, Age of Learning’s president of Greater China, says there are more than 110 million kids between the ages of three to eight in China and the online English language learning market there is “a several billion dollar market that’s growing rapidly.” He points to a recent study by Chinese research agency Yiou Intelligence that says total spending on online English learning programs for children will be 29.41 billion RMB, or about $4.67 billion, this year, and is projected to reach 79.17 billion, or $12.6 billion, by 2022.

The localization of ABCmouse will extend to the design of its eponymous cartoon rodent, who has a more stylized appearance in China. Lessons include animations featuring an English teacher and students in an international school classroom and begin with listening comprehension and speaking before moving onto phonics, reading and writing. Tencent-Age of Learning products will also include speech recognition tools to help kids hone their English pronunciation.

In an email, Jason Chen, Tencent’s general manager of online education, said that the company “reviewed several companies through an extensive research process, and it became clear that ABCmouse had the most engaging and effective online English self-learning curriculum and content for children. Age of Learning puts learning first, and that commitment to educational excellence made them a perfect fit for our online English language learning business.”

 


Source: TechCrunch

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