► Meta’s next Quest Pro. Maeil Business, a Korean newspaper, suggests Meta is partnering with LG to release a successor to its high-end Quest Pro virtual reality headset in 2025. The rumoured headset could cost around $2,000 and compete with Apple’s Vision Pro. The newspaper also claims Meta will release a low-end Quest headset in 2024 that could cost under $200. Read it here.
► Apple spending millions of dollars a day on conversational AI. Apple has significantly ramped up its spending on artificial intelligence, according to a new report from The Information that highlights Apple's AI and machine learning research. According to The Information, Apple is aiming to develop a feature that would allow a voice assistant like Siri to automate multi-step tasks. The company also appears to have AI teams that are working on software to generate videos and images and multimodal AI that works with images, video, and text. Ajax chatbot, with which Apple is working, is supposedly more capable than the original ChatGPT 3.5 and has been trained on 200 billion parameters, but OpenAI's newer models are more powerful. Read it here.
►Meta’s new ad campaign. New ads from Meta Platforms replace earlier campaigns’ visions of a futuristic metaverse with scenes depicting virtual reality as a real, present-day and even prosaic technology. In one video from the campaign, which is dubbed “The Impact Is Real”, welders practice with virtual metals, doctors rehearse surgeries on virtual eyeballs, and the English soccer player Marcus Rashford uses VR to stay connected to the pitch when recovering from an injury. Read it here.
► New cars are a data privacy nightmare. If your vehicle was made in the last few years, you’re probably driving around in a data-harvesting machine that may collect personal information. Volkswagen’s cars reportedly know if you’re fastening your seatbelt and how hard you hit the brakes, according to new findings from Mozilla’s Privacy Not Included project. The nonprofit found that every major car brand fails to adhere to the most basic privacy and security standards in new internet-connected models, and all 25 of the brands Mozilla examined flunked the organization’s test. Mozilla found brands including BMW, Ford, Toyota, Tesla, and Subaru collect data about drivers including race, facial expressions, weight, health information, and where you drive. Read it here.
►Google celebrates Chrome's 15th birthday with a fresh redesign. Chrome turns 15 this month, and Google plans to celebrate in style. In a blog post, the search giant said Chrome users can expect to see a redesigned desktop client rollout in the coming weeks. A new interface makes it easier than ever to change themes, with more than a dozen colourways for users to choose from, as well as light and dark mode variants included. Read it here.
► OpenAI's guide for teachers. The guide is about using ChatGPT in classroom settings including suggested prompts, an explanation of how ChatGPT works and its limitations. Read it here.
► NutcrackAR. A pioneering “virtual stage” launched by Birmingham Royal Ballet will use immersive technology to help neurodivergent audiences access their shows for the first time. The project uses virtual and augmented reality to create performances and immersive experiences that can be seen by audiences who may otherwise be unable to go to the theatre. The new projects, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, include NutcrackAR, an augmented reality recreation of the elaborate set for the Nutcracker in which viewers can walk around and “pick up” objects. Read it here.
► How artificial intelligence could help us talk to animals. Gašper Beguš is a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley. He got the chance, last summer, to observe sperm whales in their wild Caribbean habitat off the coast of the island nation of Dominica. With him were marine biologists and roboticists. AI’s ability to find hidden patterns is something that excites Beguš. “Humans are biased,” he says. “We hear what is meaningful to us.” But the way we use sound in our languages may not be anything like how animals use sound to communicate. To build words and sentences, human languages use groups of letters called phonemes. Animal languages could use any aspect of sound to carry meaning. Read it here.
DATA & STATISTICS
► According to a new report by UK-based charity NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), more than 75 per cent of people believe that 6 to 12-year-old kids are at major or significant risk of sexual abuse in VR (virtual reality) immersive spaces. Read it here.
► According to new data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), the overall AR/VR headset market declined 54.4% year over year in 1Q23. Read it here.