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GitLab’s mega IPO - techcrunch

GitLab’s mega IPO

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter for your weekend enjoyment.
techcrunch - 16 minutes ago
Analogue aspires to build the definitive OS for retro gaming - techcrunch

Analogue aspires to build the definitive OS for retro gaming

Analogue’s much-anticipated Pocket retro gaming machine will come with more than just sleek design and the ability to play tons of classic games. The device will be the first with AnalogueOS on it, an effort to make what founder Chris Taber calls the “Library of Alexandria of video games.” Actually, he called it the “great […]
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
VC Lab introduces free fund formation documents to make startup investing cheaper and easier - techcrunch

VC Lab introduces free fund formation documents to make startup investing cheaper and easier

There may be plenty of funding for some startups these days. But plenty of companies will tell you otherwise. VC Lab, an accelerator for venture capital firms, wants to create investors who will back the rest of the world. A basic hurdle to this goal is the standard paperwork you need to set up a […]
techcrunch - 17 hours ago
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The hyperactive open banking market of Latin America: How the region is being APIfied - techcrunch

The hyperactive open banking market of Latin America: How the region is being APIfied

We are only in the first chapter of Latin America’s long journey to tech growth. But with the region’s thirst for innovation, the market is expected to expand nearly tenfold over the next decade.
techcrunch - 20 hours ago
How High-Tech Industry is Leveraging AI for Exponential Business Growth - readwrite

How High-Tech Industry is Leveraging AI for Exponential Business Growth

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning is paving their way in almost all industries. Its next target is the high-tech industry. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence in the engineering and mechanical world has raised many questions. What is the scope of Artificial Intelligence in the high-tech industry? Is it a good idea to invest in AI? […] The post How High-Tech Industry is Leveraging AI for Exponential Business Growth appeared first on ReadWrite.
readwrite - 22 hours ago
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Finding the right legal leader will have implications for your business down the line. It’s a move you want to get right from the very beginning.
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Pandora is partnering with SoundCloud to launch a new station - techcrunch

Pandora is partnering with SoundCloud to launch a new station

SiriusXM-owned Pandora is partnering with SoundCloud to launch ‘The Lookout by SoundCloud,’ a new station available on Pandora that aims to showcase music from the “hip hop superstars of tomorrow.” Today’s announcement comes as Pandora’s parent company, SiriusXM, recently partnered with SoundCloud to launch a show of the same name on its Hip-Hop Nation channel. […]
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Missouri governor Mike Parson is facing a monumental backlash after threatening to prosecute a journalist for responsibly reporting a serious security lapse in the state’s website. Earlier this week, St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist Josh Renaud reported that the website for the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) was exposing over 100,000 teachers’ Social Security […]
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Apple removes a popular Quran app in China after request from local regulators - techcrunch

Apple removes a popular Quran app in China after request from local regulators

Apple has removed Quran Majeed, a popular app for reading the Islamic religious text and other prayer-related information, in China, in compliance with Chinese government requests, according to a report by BBC. The move comes as part of a bigger shift in the country to crack down on foreign content, or simply making it harder […]
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Smartphone sales down 6% as chip shortages begin to impact market - techcrunch

Smartphone sales down 6% as chip shortages begin to impact market

Canalys reported this morning that global smartphone sales are off 6% this quarter, and it’s not because of lack of demand. It’s due to the worldwide chip shortage. The pandemic has had a negative impact across supply chains, and chips have been particularly hard hit. Canalys principal analyst Ben Stanton says that manufacturers are trying to […]
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Founded by ex-Braintree and PayPal execs, Pagos raises $10M to offer API-driven payment intelligence - techcrunch

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Pagos, a payment intelligence infrastructure startup founded by former Braintree and PayPal execs, has raised $10 million in seed funding. Started earlier this year, the remote-first Pagos is building a data “platform” and API-driven micro-services that it says can integrate with any payment stack. The end goal is to drive better performance and “optimization” of […]
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Clarifai moves beyond computer vision to manage companies’ unstructured data - techcrunch

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3 steps tech innovators can take to create a more equal society - techcrunch

3 steps tech innovators can take to create a more equal society

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techcrunch - 1 day ago
Continuum unveils its on-demand access marketplace for top-tier executive talent - techcrunch

Continuum unveils its on-demand access marketplace for top-tier executive talent

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techcrunch - 1 day ago
Tesla debuts new car insurance that uses Texans’ real-time driving behavior - techcrunch

Tesla debuts new car insurance that uses Texans’ real-time driving behavior

Tesla now offers car insurance in Texas, its new home state, after first launching the product in California. It calculates a customer's insurance premium using their real-time driving behavior.
techcrunch - 1 day ago
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techcrunch
Alexa’s new features will let users personalize the A.I. to their own needs

Alexa’s new features will let users personalize the A.I. to their own needs

techcrunch - 2 weeks ago

Amazon is preparing to roll out a trio of new features that will allow consumers to further personalize their Alexa experience by helping train the Alexa A.I. using simple tools. In a few months’ time, consumers will be able to teach Alexa to do things like identifying specific sounds in their household, such as a ringing doorbell or instant pot’s chime, for example. Or, for Ring users, the A.I. could notice when something has visually changed — like when a door that’s meant to be closed is now standing open. Plus, consumers will be able to more explicitly direct Alexa to adjust to their personal preferences around things like favorite sports teams, preferred weather app, or food preferences.

The features were introduced today at Amazon’s fall event, where the company is announcing its latest Echo devices and other new hardware.

The new sound identifying feature builds on something Alexa already offers, called Alexa Guard. This feature can identify certain sounds — like glass breaking or a fire or carbon monoxide alarm — which can be helpful for people who are away from home or for those who are hard of hearing or Deaf, as it helps them to know there is a potential emergency taking place. With an upgraded subscription, consumers can even play the sound of a barking dog when a smart camera detects motion outside.

Now, Amazon is thinking of how Alexa’s sound detection capability could be used for things that aren’t necessarily emergencies.

Image Credits: Amazon

With a new feature, consumers will be able to train Alexa to hear a certain type of sound that matters to them. This could be a crock pot’s beeping, the oven timer, a refrigerator that beeps when left open, a garage door opening, a doorbell’s ring, the sound of water running, or anything else that makes a noise that’s easy to identify because it generally sounds the same from time to time.

By providing Alexa with 6 to 10 samples, Alexa will “learn” what this noise is — a big reduction from the thousands of samples Amazon has used in the past to train Alexa about other sounds. Customers will be able teach Alexa a new custom sound directly from their Echo device or through the Alexa mobile app, Amazon says.

However, the enrollment and training process will take place in the cloud. But detection of the sound going forward will happen on the device itself, and Amazon will not send the audio to cloud after enrollment.

Once trained, users can then choose to kick off their own notifications or routines whenever Alexa hears that noise. Again, this could help from an accessibility standpoint or with elder care, as Alexa could display a doorbell notification on their Fire TV, for instance. But it could also just serve as another way to start everyday routines — like when the garage door sounds, Alexa could trigger a personalized “I’m Home” routine that turns on the lights and starts your favorite music.

Amazon says Custom Sound Event Detection will be available next year.

Along similar lines, consumers will also be able to train the A.I. in their Ring cameras to identify a region of interest in the camera feed, then determine if that area has changed. This change has to be fairly binary for now — like a shed door that’s either open or closed. It may not be able to handle something more specific where there is a lot of variation.

This functionality, called “Custom Event Alerts,” will start rolling out to Ring Spotlight Cam Battery customers in the coming months.

Finally, another Alexa feature will allow the smart assistant to learn a user’s preferences related to food, sports, or skill providers. (Skills are the third-party voice apps that run on Alexa devices.) Consumers will be able to say something like, “Alexa, learn my preferences,” to start teaching Alexa. But the learning can be done in subtler ways, too. For instance, if you ask Alexa for nearby restaurants, you could then say something like, “Alexa, some of us are vegetarian” to have steakhouses removed from the suggestions.

Meanwhile, after Alexa learns about your favorite sports teams, the A.I. will include more highlights from the teams you’ve indicated you care about when you ask for sports highlights.

And after you tell Alexa which third-party skill you’d like to use, the A.I. assistant will default to using that skill in the future instead of its own native responses.

For now, though, only third-party weather skills are supported. But Amazon wants to expand this to more skills over time. This could help to address skills’ lower usage, as people can’t remember which skills they want to launch. It would allow for a more “set it and forget it” type of customization, where you find a good skill, set it as your default, then just speak using natural language (e.g. “What’s the weather?”) without having to remember the skill by name going forward.

Amazon says that this preference data is only associated with the customer’s anonymized customer ID, and it can be adjusted. For example, if a vegetarian goes back to meat, they could say “Alexa, I’m not a vegetarian” the next time Alexa returns their restaurant suggestions. The data is not being used to customize Amazon.com shopping suggestions, the company said.

This preference teaching will be available before the end of the year.

Amazon says these features represent further steps towards its goal of bringing what it calls “ambient intelligence” to more people.

Ambient A.I., noted Rohit Prasad, SVP and head scientist for Alexa, “can learn about you and adapt to your needs, instead of you having to conform to it.”

“Alexa, to me, is not just a spoken language service. Instead, it is an ambient intelligence service that is available on many devices around you to understand the state of the environment, and even acts proactively on your behalf,” he said.

Amazon Fall 2021 Hardware Event

sauce: techcrunch
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