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Apple Acquires AI Startup Silk Labs

According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, global smart speaker shipments reached 9.2 million units in the first quarter of 2018

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Apple, Iphone XR, Apple Watch
Try these fitness apps on Apple Watch Series 4 for marathon season. Flickr Commons

Apple has acquired a Startup called Silk Labs that works on Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based personal assistant technology for smartphones and smart home devices.

According to a report in The Registrar, the quietly-done acquisition for an undisclosed sum is aimed at strengthening Apple’s AI capabilities towards smart home devices.

Silk Labs had about a dozen employees and raised approximately $4 million in funding, said the report.

According to TechCrunch, Silk Labs is the brainchild of Andreas Gal, the former CTO of Mozilla, who had also created the mobile platform Firefox OS and Michael Vines from Qualcomm.

Apple
An Apple store in Woodbridge, Virginia. (VOA)

Apple is working hard towards improving its AI-enabled products, including HomePod smart speaker which is behind Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

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Amazon and Google accounted for 70 per cent share of the global smart speaker shipments in the first quarter of 2018, with Apple selling 600,000 HomePods in the period.

According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, global smart speaker shipments reached 9.2 million units in the first quarter of 2018. (IANS)

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Apple Manages to Open Nearly Half of its Retail Stores Worldwide

Apple has reopened nearly 256 retail stores globally

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Apple
Nearly half of Apple retail stores are now open globally. Pixabay

Apple has managed to reopen nearly 256 retail stores out of more than 500 worldwide, as it aims to safely restart operations.

Apple closed all its retail stores outside Greater China in March as COVID-19 pandemic spread. All the Apple stores in Greater China are now open.

“In China, and later around the world, we were one of the first companies to close our stores. In Greater China, we saw the importance of swift action — and the critical importance of social distance — to slow the virus’ spread,” according to Apple’s head of retail Deidre O’Brien.

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Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings at their stores to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Pixabay

“As time has gone on, we’ve continued to refine and expand our in-store health and safety measures, which have proven so effective in places like Greater China, where our stores have been safely open for months,” he added.

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Apple is taking some additional steps in most places. Throughout the day, Apple is conducting enhanced deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

“Face coverings will be required for all of our teams and customers, and we will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door, and posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms — like cough or fever — or who have had recent exposure to someone infected with COVID-19,” O’Brien elaborated. (IANS)

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Artificial Intelligence Capable of Identifying Personality Based on Selfies

Russian researchers reveal that artificial intelligence (AI) is able to infer people's personality from selfies

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artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is able to infer people's personality from 'selfie'. Pixabay

Russian researchers have revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) is able to infer people’s personality from ‘selfie’ photographs better than human raters do. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, revealed that personality predictions based on female faces appeared to be more reliable than those for male faces.

The technology can be used to find the ‘best matches’ in customer service, dating or online tutoring, the researchers from HSE University and Open University in Russia, said. Studies asking human raters to make personality judgments based on photographs have produced inconsistent results, suggesting that our judgments are too unreliable to be of any practical importance. According to the study, there are strong theoretical and evolutionary arguments to suggest that some information about personality characteristics, particularly, those essential for social communication, might be conveyed by the human face.

After all, face and behaviour are both shaped by genes and hormones, and social experiences resulting from one’s appearance may affect one’s personality development.

However, the recent evidence from neuroscience suggests that instead of looking at specific facial features, the human brain processes images of faces in a holistic manner.

Artificial Intelligence
AI is able to infer people’s personalities from ‘selfie’ photographs better than human raters do. Pixabay

For the findings, the researchers teamed up with a Russian-British business start-up BestFitMe to train a cascade of artificial neural networks to make reliable personality judgments based on photographs of human faces.

The performance of the resulting model was above that discovered in previous studies which used machine learning or human raters.

The artificial intelligence was able to make above-chance judgments about conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness based on ‘selfies’ the volunteers uploaded online.

The resulting personality judgments were consistent across different photographs of the same individuals.

The study was done in a sample of 12,000 volunteers who completed a self-report questionnaire measuring personality traits based on the “Big Five” model and uploaded a total of 31,000 ‘selfies’. The respondents were randomly split into a training and a test group.

A series of neural networks were used to preprocess the images to ensure consistent quality and characteristics and exclude faces with emotional expressions, as well as pictures of celebrities and cats.

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Artificial intelligence predicts personality efficiently based on selfies. Pixabay

Next, an image classification neural network was trained to decompose each image into 128 invariant features, followed by a multi-layer perceptron that used image invariants to predict personality traits.

In comparison with the meta-analytic estimates of correlations between self-reported and observer ratings of personality traits, the findings indicate that an artificial neural network relying on static facial images outperforms an average human rater who meets the target in person without prior acquaintance.

Also Read: Indian-American Businessman Urges Trump to Reopen with “common sense precautions”

Conscientiousness emerged to be more easily recognizable than the other four traits. Personality predictions based on female faces appeared to be more reliable than those for male faces, the study said. (IANS)

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An Apple A Day To Keep Heatwaves Away

Apples have high water content thus a great nutrition value especially in summer

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Apple
Eat apples to guard against the summer heatwaves. Pixabay

Food with high water content is highly prescribed by doctors to stay hydrated during the summers, a season that summons a wave of soaring temperatures, higher than 40-degrees.

A much-loved fruit in India, apples are hydrating heros’ in such a situation. A heatwave can affect human health in a varied manner and to maintain ideal body temperature in this soaring summer, one must remain adequately hydrated, be protected from the sun and maintain hygiene.

Working professionals and people who must step out in summers, are prone to the heatwave impact. Pediatric experts and doctors agree on the benefits of drinking water and eating fruits, especially, apples. ‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor away’ is true as they are rich in a number of vitamins with great anti-inflammatory benefits and many other essential minerals. Washington Apple Commission spells how apples can prove to be a summer-friendly fruit.

People often don’t realise the danger of exposing themselves to extreme heat. Older adults, young children, and people with chronic illnesses are most at greater risk for serious problems. The nutrition benefits of apples may help not only in avoiding such illnesses but may also protect against many such conditions.

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Apples are hydrating heros’ in summer. Pixabay

As popular as apples are as a fruit, they are enriched in antioxidants, dietary fibers, vitamins and a range of other nutrients that are greatly beneficial in maintaining good health. The fruit is rich in soluble fibers which may help prevent several health conditions and may lower the risk of major diseases such as heat strokes, diabetes and cancer.

The soluble fiber also promotes weight loss and improves gut health. The prebiotic effects of apples help feed the good bacteria in the gut, thus, improving digestion.

Apples are made of 85 percent water and contain vitamins, fibres and antioxidants. A high fibre content is a particularly beneficial property of apples, as improper digestion is a major health concern in the tropical climatic region. Apples are also enriched in antioxidants that help protect the lungs from oxidative damage and help oxygen flow through the blood.

 

Apple-based recipes

Make interesting snacks, dessert, beverages and savoury meals with this miraculous fruit during summers.

Apples
Try these exotic apple dishes this summer. Pixabay

Salted apple caramel galette

Caramel apples get a grown-up makeover with this Salted Caramel Apple Galette. Warm, gooey, and delicious, this pastry is loaded with apples and homemade caramel. It’s a sophisticated take on a childhood favorite and since it’s easier to make than pie, it’s perfect for summer get-togethers.

Also Read: This Healthy Diet Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure

Caramel apple pie ice-cream sandwiches

Nothing is better at a cookout on a warm day than a cold, refreshing ice cream sandwich. In Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches, the comforting flavor of apple pie is recreated in a creamy frozen banana-based ice cream studded with apple and date pieces. Then that scoop of ice cream is sandwiched between two pieces of no-bake cinnamon oat cookie dough. (IANS)