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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Mother's Day deal dilemma: Echo Dot or Google Home Mini for $40? – CNET

Both smart speakers are on sale, but which one should you get for Mom? Plus: sweet deals on sport earbuds and a throwback gadget.
Source: CNET

You can now make Alexa your default assistant on Android – CNET

But the change only works for touch — you can’t access Alexa directly by voice.
Source: CNET

Democrats plan to release 3,000+ Facebook ads linked to Russia – CNET

The world got a preview of ads Russian trolls were paying Facebook for last November. Now, House Democrats want to show all 3,000 of them.
Source: CNET

Microsoft's Nadella thinks AI can improve tech for people with disabilities – CNET

The software giant unveils a $25 million, five-year initiative, called Accessibility for AI, to help fund new apps and products.
Source: CNET

Microsoft's Project Brainwave brings fast-chip smarts to AI at Build conference – CNET

Microsoft promises fast and flexible FPGA chips will unlock new AI abilities for customers using its Azure cloud-computing service.
Source: CNET

With MIT launched, Learning Machine raises seed to replace paper with blockchain credentials

Transcripts, diplomas, resumes — simple documents with enormously important economic consequences for their holders. The right classes or GPA on a transcript can radically change the career prospects of a young graduate, and yet, the infrastructure that manages these critical documents still centers on mailing official paper to processing centers.

Now, a startup called Learning Machine wants to completely migrate these documents into the digital era by placing them on the blockchain. Its design partner is MIT, which launched the Learning Machine technology at the MIT Media Lab and the Sloan School of Management last year. Now, it is announcing a $3 million seed fundraise to build out this vision, led by Dave Fields of PTB Ventures.

Learning Machine is behind an initiative called BlockCerts, an open source and open standard securing credentials on the blockchain. Institutions like MIT can cryptographically sign a credential and place it on the blockchain, then another person (say an employer) can use the BlockCerts app to verify that the credential is valid. The project was jointly conceived by the MIT Media Lab and Learning Machine, and will continue to develop as an open-source project.

Chris Jagers, the founder and CEO of Learning Machine, has deep expertise in the space. He previously founded SlideRoom, a platform that evaluates applicants in college admissions, particularly in science and technology. He built a long-term partnership with MIT, and even had an office on the MIT campus.

While admissions is certainly more digital than it once was, forms like letters of recommendations and transcripts are often still sent via paper. “We saw first-hand the difficulty of getting official records sent to admissions,” Jagers explained. “These kids started to Snapchat their grades and send them in [and they] didn’t understand why it wasn’t that easy.”

Jagers founded SlideRoom in 2007, and built it into a growing business across university admissions departments. This continued for years until the rise of blockchain tech. “Then when bitcoin started getting big, we were hanging around the Media Lab,” Jagers said. “And we were thinking, ‘How cool would it be to use the blockchain as a decentralized verification network?’”

After 10 years of building SlideRoom, Jagers finally accepted an offer to sell last summer and work on Learning Machine full-time.

While BlockCerts is the open standard, Learning Machine is the enterprise-grade service provider that works with universities to set up and manage the technology. Jagers believes that the focus on open standards and interoperability will give Learning Machine an edge in a market filled with blockchain credentials startups. “Our belief is that records should have no ongoing dependence on the issuer,” Jagers said.

It charges a yearly fee to maintain the systems for the universities. The idea is that once a credential has been processed, there shouldn’t be any more fees to verify its authenticity or to transmit it to other parties. As such, it’s pretty much a traditional enterprise software company, rather than some sort of blockchain/token-based model. That has helped with sales, and “Right now, we are in the midst of our first round of pilots, with a government and a few schools,” Jagers told me.

While the focus is in many ways on transcripts, Learning Machine’s technology is not limited to just one type of document. “It could be diplomas, driver licenses, medical records,” Jagers said. The company has developed a set of schemas that institutions can use to standardize credentials, and Learning Machine is developing more schemas as clients require more flexibility.

The long-term vision, though, is to make these blockchain credentials “smart,” so that credentials could lead to other credentials. For instance, completing the final class of a degree program wouldn’t just give you the class transcript grade, but also the degree itself. Jagers called these “stackable certificates,” and the hope is that the right infrastructure could reduce a lot of the paperwork involved in managing academic and other programs.

Jagers sees the world slowly awakening to the benefits of blockchain for records management and credentials. “By the end of three years, we want to see blockchain-based records … start to enter the public consciousness,” he said. Right now though, “It’s about showing success with this first round of pilots.” If blockchain is going to work in the enterprise, deep expertise, traditional business models, and open standards appears to be a potentially winning formula.


Source: TechCrunch

Kaptivo looks to digitally transform the lowly whiteboard

At Kaptivo, a company that’s bringing high-tech image recognition, motion capture and natural language processing technologies to the lowly whiteboard, executives are hoping that the second time is the charm.

The Cambridge, UK and San Mateo, Calif.-based company began life as a company called Light Blue Optics, and had raised $50 million in financing since its launch in 2004. Light Blue Optics was working on products like Kaptivo’s white board technology and an interactive touch and pen technology which was sold earlier in the year to Promethean, a global education technology solutions company.

With a leaner product line and a more focused approach to the market, Kaptivo emerged in 2016 from Light Blue Optics’ shadow and began selling its products in earnest.

Founding chief executive Nic Lawrence (the previous head of Light Blue Optics, even managed to bring in investors from his old startup to Kaptivo, raising $6 million in fresh capital from Draper Esprit (a previous backer), Benhamou Global Ventures, and Generation Ventures.

“The common theme has been user interfaces,” Lawrence said. “We saw the need for a new product category. We sold off parts of our business and pushed all our money into Kaptivo.”

 

What initially began as a business licensing technology, Lawrence saw a massive market opening up in technologies that could transform the humble whiteboard into a powerful tool for digital business intelligence with the application of some off the shelf technology and Kaptivo’s proprietary software .

Kaptivo’s technology does more than just create a video of a conference room, Lawrence says.

“In real time we’re removing the people from the scene and enhancing the content written on the board,”  he said. ”

Optical character recognition allows users to scribble on a white board and Kaptivo’s software will differentiate between text and images. The company’s subscription service even will convert text to other languages.

The company has a basic product and a three year cloud subscription that it sells for $999. That’s much lower than the thousands of dollars a high-end smart conferencing system would cost, according to Lawrence. The hardware alone is $699 and a one-year subscription to its cloud services sells for $120, Lawrence said.

Kaptivo sold over 2000 devices globally already and has secured major OEM partners like HP, according to a statement. Kaptivo customers include BlueJeans, Atlassian, and Deloitte, as well as educational institutions including George Washington University, Stanford University, and Florida Institute of Technology.

The product is integrated with Slack and Trello and Blue Jeans video conferencing, Lawrence said. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, the company has sold about 5,000 units.

The vision is “to augment every existing whiteboard,” Lawrence said. “You can bring [the whiteboard] into the 21st century with one of these. Workers can us their full visual creativity as part of a remote meeting.”


Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft Charts Its Own Path on Artificial Intelligence

Google and Facebook are building custom chips for AI. Microsoft is using Intel chips that can be reprogrammed for different uses.
Source: Wired

Here’s how to watch the Microsoft Build 2018 day one keynote

Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build 2018, is finally upon us. The keynote speech, delivered by CEO Satya Nadella, will begin at 8:30 a.m. PT today, Monday May 7. Here’s how you can catch the livestream.

The post Here’s how to watch the Microsoft Build 2018 day one keynote appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Star Wars News: This Is Your New Favorite Room on the Millennium Falcon

Unsurprisingly, it’s for Lando Calrissian—and it’s perfect.
Source: Wired

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