News aggregator SmartNews raises $230 million, valuing its business at $2 billion

Smartnews

SmartNews, a Tokyo-headquartered news aggregation website and app that’s grown in popularity despite hefty competition from built-in aggregators like Apple News, today announced it has closed on $230 million in Series F funding. The round brings SmartNews’ total raise to date to over $400 million and values the business at $2 billion — or as the company touts in its press release, a “double unicorn.” (Ha!)

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Rezilion raises $30M help security operations teams with tools to automate their busywork

Rezilion

Guggenheim Investments is leading the round with JVP and Kindred Capital also contributing. Rezilion said that unnamed executives from Google, Microsoft, CrowdStrike, IBM, Cisco, PayPal, JP Morgan Chase, Nasdaq, eBay, Symantec, RedHat, RSA and Tenable are also in the round. Previously, the company had raised $8 million.

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AI-driven voice assistant PolyAI raises $14M round led by Khosla Ventures

PolyAI

“Conversational AI” startup PolyAI, based out of London, has raised $14 million in a funding round led by Silicon Valley’s Khosla Ventures, with participation from existing investors (Point72 Ventures, Amadeus Capital, Sands Capital Ventures, Passion Capital and Entrepreneur First). This follows their $12m Series A, and will provide resources for further US expansion beyond its existing US team. The startup has now raised $28m to date.

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[Paper Summary] A new Google AI Research Study discovers Anomalous Data using Self Supervised Learning

New Google AI research introduces a 2-stage framework that uses recent progress on self-supervised representation learning and classic one-class algorithms. This framework is simple to train and shows SOTA performance on various benchmarks, including CIFAR, f-MNIST, Cat vs. Dog, and CelebA. Following that, they offer a novel representation learning approach for a practical industrial defect detection problem using the same architecture. On the MVTec benchmark, the framework achieves a new state-of-the-art.

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Mobius Labs nabs $6M to help more sectors tap into computer vision

Mobius Labs

Berlin-based Mobius Labs has closed a €5.2 million (~$6.1M) funding round off the back of increased demand for its computer vision training platform. The Series A investment is led by Ventech VC, along with Atlantic Labs, APEX Ventures, Space Capital, Lunar Ventures plus some additional angel investors.

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[Paper Summary] Google and Mayo Clinic Researchers propose a new AI Algorithm to improve Brain Stimulation devices to treat disease

lectrical simulation has the potential to widen treatment possibilities for millions of people with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy. In the future, this technology may help further treat psychiatric illness or even assist in recovery from brain injuries like stroke.

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[Podcast] Trends for Voice Assistants use in the car 2021

Voice assistants are used across many devices and in many different contexts. The car is what we characterize as among the big 3 along with smart speakers and smartphones. These are the surfaces that have the largest voice assistant user bases both overall and in terms of active users.

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Why regulators love Nuro’s self-driving delivery vehicles

Nuro R2

Nuro’s delivery autonomous vehicles (AVs) don’t have a human driver on board. The company’s founders Dave Ferguson (president) and Jiajun Zhu’s (CEO) vision of a driverless delivery vehicle sought to do away with a lot of the stuff that is essential for a normal car to have, like doors and airbags and even a steering wheel. They built an AV that spared no room in the narrow chassis for a driver’s seat, and had no need for an accelerator, windshield or brake pedals.

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Stay updated with Neuroscience: July 2021 must-reads

Here today 3 new papers from arxiv.org. DeepMind and UCL presented a fantastic review about Deep Reinforcement Learning and its implications for neuroscience. Definitely this is a hot topic and there will be more papers to come, as well as new discoveries on human brain! The second paper is by Facebook AI. Researches have carried out a fantastic mathematical work on the origins of diffusive SGD dynamics and its relationship with statistical physics. These implications shed light on how neural network should be created on the paper initially, with the correct settings and expectations, rather than waiting for a “random” convergence. Finally, KAIS researchers published a great work on sparse-encoding based model, to mimic fruit flies olfactory system, which outperforms classical Vanilla models.

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Big Tech salaries revealed: How much engineers, developers, and product managers make at companies including Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Uber, IBM, and Salesforce

Workforce

In early July, the tech-industry association CompTIA reported that the sector experienced job growth in 10 out of the previous 12 months — a standout performance given the lockdowns last year. Tech firms added more than 80,000 workers in the US through the first half of 2021, it added.

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Google just unveiled its first smartphone chip, signaling its biggest challenge yet to Apple and Samsung. Here’s what it means for the Pixel 6.

Google Pixel 6 chipset

Google’s first gambit to challenge Apple and Samsung’s dominance of the smartphone industry came in 2016, when it launched the first Pixel phone. Now, roughly five years later, the search giant is making its biggest step toward this goal since then. 

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Big tech tries to derail EU AI policy with ‘warnings’ from US think tank

Vampire tech

EU policymakers recently proposed a sweeping set of regulations called the Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA). If made law, the AIA would offer European citizens the strictest, most comprehensive protections against predatory AI systems on the planet. And big tech is terrified.

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Blameless raises $30M to guide companies through their software lifecycle

Blameless

Site reliability engineering platform Blameless announced Tuesday it raised $30 million in a Series B funding round, led by Third Point Ventures with participation from Accel, Decibel and Lightspeed Venture Partners, to bring total funding to over $50 million.

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Google testing Duplex feature that adds names to restaurant waitlists

Restaurant booking

Google appears to be testing a new feature that allows users to add themselves and parties to the waitlists of restaurants that would normally require a phone call. Powered by Duplex, Google’s AI-driven natural language processing technology that can converse with business owners over the phone, the waitlist capability could benefit hospitality organizations facing surges in traffic as pandemic fears abate.

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[Paper] Google AI introduces a pull-push Denoising Algorithm and Polyblur: A Deblurring Method that eliminates noise and blur in images

Despite the advances in imaging technology, image noise and restricted sharpness remain most critical factors for increasing the visual quality of an image. Noise can be linked to the particle nature of light, or electronic components may be introduced during the read-out process. A photographic editing process will then process the captured noisy signal via the camera image processor (ISP) and be enhanced, amplified, and distorted. Image blur may be caused by a wide range of phenomena, from inadvertent camera shake during capture, incorrect camera focusing, or sensor resolution due to the final lens aperture.

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Untitled Ventures joins the scramble for Russian & Eastern European startups with a $118M warchest

Untitled Ventures

Sorry Mr. Putin, but there’s a race on for Russian and Eastern European founders. And right now, those awful capitalists in the corrupt West are starting to out-gun the opposition! But seriously… only the other day a $100 million fund aimed at Russian speaking entrepreneurs appeared, and others are proliferating.

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AI ethics champion Margaret Mitchell on self-regulation and ‘foresight’

Good and the bad

Ethics and artificial intelligence have become increasingly intertwined due to the pervasiveness of AI. But researchers, creators, corporations, and governments still face major challenges if they hope to address some of the more pressing concerns around AI’s impact on society. Much of this comes down to foresight — being able to adequately predict what problems a new AI product, feature, or technology could create down the line, rather than focusing purely on short-term benefits.

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Pentagon scraps $10B JEDI project with Microsoft, calls deal outdated

Pentagon

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has canceled its nearly two-year-old $10 billion JEDI cloud computing project with Microsoft, saying on Tuesday that “the landscape has evolved” and vowing to pursue a different cloud deal with Microsoft, Amazon, and possibly more cloud service providers.

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Google AI chief Jeff Dean sparks cries of hypocrisy as he urges marginalized groups to work with its researchers

Google AI Chief - Jeff Dean

Google’s lead exec for artificial intelligence sparked an online backlash after encouraging students from historically marginalized groups to apply to a mentorship program at the company, despite an ongoing feud with his team’s former ethics leads. 

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Top 10 Google products empowered by Artificial Intelligence

10 Google AI products

For the past few years, Google has been dominating the field of artificial intelligence. Google’s search engine has revolutionized the internet. From large-scale organizations to kids, Google’s search engine has provided every one of us with easier access to information. This article provides a list of the top 10 products manufactured by Google which are powered by artificial intelligence.

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