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How Virtual Reality tech products will kill the age of Smartphones

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By Isha Srivastva

On Monday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook revealed the details of long awaited Apple Watch. The smart watch performs all the functions which an iPhone does.

“Apple Watch is the most personal device we have created. It isn’t just with you, it’s on you,” Cook told his audience in California.

One might argue that the device is hardly liberating as it still needs the iPhone for connectivity, however, there is no doubt that smartphones in the near future may not be our permanent accessory after all!

Birth of Virtual Reality

Back in the 90s, virtual reality had a very clouded future. In early 2014, when Facebook bought the virtual reality company Oculus, it signalled a promising possibility for VR acolytes. VR is yet to fully permeate the markets and as of now, two giants stand ahead of the pack, Sony and Oculus (owned by Facebook).

At the Mobile World Conference this year, there was a plethora of VR technology products. Samsung (teamed with Facebook owned Oculus) revealed a new version of the Gear VR that can be powered by both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge.

HTC’s VIVE VR headset (Very Immersive Visual Experience) also grabbed a lot of eyeballs during the MWC. It provides a ‘full room experience’ and comes with two wireless wand like controllers. Tracking sensors allow users to use your hands to create 3D art, and all of this without being connected to a smartphone.

The kind of leap into future technology that VR epitomises, is akin to 3D graphics technology. 3D graphics are omnipresent in so many areas like the web and the movies. Virtual Reality too, offers unlimited potential to be used for gaming, storytelling, or simply witnessing a historical event even at places you’re not physically present.

Let’s not forget that these are still prototypes and are not yet ready for public use. While Oculus is slated to arrive early next year, Sony Morpheus (which is releasing around the same time) promises to drive PS4 gaming to another level.

Computerised glasses, also called ‘augmented reality’ are rationally the next step in personal computing. The wearable tech market maybe at its nascent stage but Glass has already captured public’s imagination like no other.

 Will smartphones go modular?

Google is planning to launch its Project Ara (or Google Ara) some time in August 2015. The idea is fairly simple: you buy a basic Ara phone and parts of it can be pulled out and swapped as you please. It’s an extremely versatile computing platform which will allow you to upgrade to more powerful components, for example a better camera, from a dedicated hardware Google store. This even provides a good potential to startups for developing their own components specifically for the phone.

Smartphones may be ubiquitous for atleast a decade, but for tech enthusiasts, it is virtual reality that is already becoming an obsession. The headsets companies are still facing hurdles of position tracking, multi user experiences, social stigma and high prices before they fully penetrate domestic market.

However, It isn’t specifically about one VR headset, or an Apple Watch; these devices present the limitless nature of digital world building, almost akin to an art which will manifest itself in a new myriad of devices and technologies. The question is- what virtual worlds are we capable of creating, and how will we use this technology as a medium of progress?

 

 

 

 

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AI Couldn’t Catch NZ Attack Video Streaming: Facebook

Facebook said it was exploring how AI could help it react faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facing flak for failure to block the live broadcast of the New Zealand terrorist attack last week, Facebook on Thursday said that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools were not “perfect” to detect the horrific video.

Vowing to improve its technology, the social networking giant, however, ruled out adding a time delay to Facebook Live, similar to the broadcast delay sometimes used by TV stations.

“There are millions of Live broadcasts daily, which means a delay would not help address the problem due to the sheer number of videos,” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, said in a statement.

“More importantly, given the importance of user reports, adding a delay would only further slow down videos getting reported, reviewed and first responders being alerted to provide help on the ground,” Rosen added.

Strapped with a GoPro camera to his head, the gunman broadcast graphic footage of the New Zealand shooting via Facebook Live for 17 minutes, which was later shared in millions on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.

Fifty people were killed and dozens injured in the shootings at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid in Christchurch on March 15 after 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant opened indiscriminate firings.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

The circulation of the video on social media platforms attracted widespread criticism from different quarters.

In a letter to CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson asked the technology companies to brief the US Congress on March 27 regarding their response to dissemination of the video on their platforms.

Thompson also warned the technology companies that unless they do better in removing violent content, the Congress could consider policies to bar such content on social media.

Also Read- Finland Probing Nokia Phones Sending Data to China

Facebook on Thursday said it was exploring how AI could help it react faster to this kind of content on a live streamed video.

“AI has made massive progress over the years and in many areas, which has enabled us to proactively detect the vast majority of the content we remove. But it’s not perfect.

“However, this particular video did not trigger our automatic detection systems,” Rosen said, referring to the New Zealand attack video. (IANS)