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ANDRÉ CRAMER

… my view of where technology innovation will lead us

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This is impressive progress made possible by Machine Learning: Google’s speech recognition technology now has a 4.9% word error rate (Emil Protalinski)

Google CEO Sundar Pichai today announced that the company’s speech recognition technology has now achieved a 4.9 percent word error rate. Put another way, Google transcribes every 20th word incorrectly. That’s a big improvement from the 23 percent the company saw in 2013 and the 8 percent it shared two years ago at I/O 2015.

The tidbit was revealed at Google’s I/O 2017 developer conference, where a big emphasis is on artificial intelligence. Deep learning, a type of AI, is used to achieve accurate image recognition and speech recognition. The method involves ingesting lots of data to train systems called neural networks, and then feeding new data to those systems in an attempt to make predictions…

 

Source: Google’s speech recognition technology now has a 4.9% word error rate | VentureBeat | Dev | by Emil Protalinski

Google’s AI Invents Sounds Humans Have Never Heard Before (Cade Metz)

Jesse Engel is playing an instrument that’s somewhere between a clavichord and a Hammond organ—18th-century classical crossed with 20th-century rhythm and blues. Then he drags a marker across his laptop screen. Suddenly, the instrument is somewhere else between a clavichord and a Hammond. Before, it was, say, 15 percent clavichord. Now it’s closer to 75 percent. Then he drags the marker back and forth as quickly as he can, careening though all the sounds between these two very different instruments. “This is not like playing the two at the same time,” says one of Engel’s colleagues, Cinjon Resnick, from across the room. And that’s worth saying. The machine and its software aren’t layering the sounds of a clavichord atop those of a Hammond. They’re producing entirely new sounds using the mathematical characteristics of the notes that emerge…

via Google’s AI Invents Sounds Humans Have Never Heard Before | WIRED

Synthetic Sensors Is a Sensor That Could Soon Make Homes Scary-Smart (Liz Stinson)

If you want to set up a connected home, you’ve got two options. You can buy a bunch of smart gadgets that may or may not communicate with other smart gadgets. Or you can retrofit all of your appliances with sensor tags, creating a slapdash network. The first is expensive. The second is a hassle. Before long, though, you might have a third choice: One simple device that plugs into an electrical outlet and connects everything in the room. That’s the idea behind Synthetic Sensors, a Carnegie Mellon University project that promises to make creating a smart, context-aware home a snap. The tiny device, unveiled this week at the big ACM CHI computer interaction conference, can capture all of the the environmental data needed to transform a wide variety of ordinary household objects into smart devices…

Source: Synthetic Sensors Is a Sensor That Could Soon Make Homes Scary-Smart | WIRED

The U.S., Canada and Mexico are buying more job-killing robots than ever before (April Glaser, Rani Molla)

Robots are getting cheaper and smaller and, as a result, sales have grown significantly over the past year, particularly in North America, as more companies move manufacturing operations closer to U.S. markets. North American manufacturing companies bought a total of 9,773 industrial robots, valued at approximately $516 million, in the first quarter of 2017. That means 32 percent more robots were bought this year than at the same time in 2016 — it’s the strongest first quarter on record for robots ordered by North American companies, according to the Robotic Industries Association…

via The U.S., Canada and Mexico are buying more job-killing robots than ever before – Recode

This Tech would be a super powerful VR Enabler: How Adobe Wants to Turn Flat 360-Degree Videos Into True Virtual Reality (Janko Roettgers)

Hardly a day has gone by this month without the announcement of a new virtual reality (VR) camera system. Facebook, Google and GoPro all aim to make VR more immersive with new cameras, some of which won’t be commercially released for the foreseeable future. However, researchers at Adobe believe that you may not need new camera hardware at all for a big leap in immersion.

Adobe’s head of research Gavin Miller is going to present new cutting-edge technology at NAB in Las Vegas this Tuesday that could one day be used to turn flat, monoscopic 360-degree videos shot with consumer-grade spherical cameras into fully immersive VR video, complete with the ability to lean into the video — something that’s being called six degrees of freedom (6DoF) among industry insiders…

via Adobe Is Using Algorithms to Add 6DoF to Monoscopic VR Videos | Variety

Scientists Can Now Store Digital Data in DNA With 100 Percent Accuracy (Farnia Fekri)

All the digital data we’re creating – 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020 – has to go somewhere. The “where” of the near future, many researchers believe, will be on DNA strands, which can store thousands more gigabytes than the best iPhone on the market. Millions of years of evolution have perfected this form of biological information storage…

Source: Scientists Can Now Store Digital Data in DNA With 100 Percent Accuracy – Motherboard

Great Long-Read: The Myth and Magic of California Style (Eliza Brooke) 

Everyone’s got a California. Mine starts at birth, in San Diego. It carries into the Bay Area through age 7, after which my family relocated to the suburbs of Boston. That’s where it took on greater force.
California became the site of family vacations just as I was plugging into pop culture. Whereas before it was a place to live, now it became a haze of leisure-distorted observations and fictionalized renderings: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s spunky, freewheeling antics in the Venice Beach–based Billboard Dad, Marissa Cooper’s unfazed rich-girl style on The O.C. California now came with a soundtrack, and it was by Phantom Planet… 

http://www.racked.com/2017/2/28/14752056/california-style-myth

We’re probably underestimating how quickly electric vehicles will disrupt the oil market (David Roberts)

Just about every analyst agrees that the electric vehicle market is poised for rapid growth. But how rapid?

It’s not an idle question. The rate of EV growth will have huge implications for oil markets, auto markets, and electric utilities. Yet it is maddeningly difficult to predict the future; forecasts for the EV market are all over the place… 

http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/2/2/14467748/electric-vehicles-oil-market

Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth (Jessica Shankleman)

Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it’s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.

In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. Now, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico are planning auctions and tenders for this year, aiming to drop prices even further…

Source: Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth – Bloomberg

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