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News November 3, 2021

Ray-Ban and Facebook pitch smart glasses

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In the midst of the metaverse boom, Ray-Ban and Facebook pitch smart glasses.

Facebook and Ray-Ban parent Luxottica are rolling out $299 smart glasses that allow people to capture hands-free images, listen to music and make calls.

Facebook’s smart glasses are now available. Whether or not the fashion crowd embraces them could determine the tech’s trajectory after previous stumbling blocks.

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As part of a collaboration with EssilorLuxottica, Ray-Ban developed the smart glasses called Ray-Ban Stories.. Which also produces eyewear for Burberry, Chanel, Prada, and Versace. They are made from three existing Ray-Ban styles and are available as prescription glasses and sunglasses.

Starting at $299, they’re available today. On Ray-website Ban’s and in stores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Ireland, and Australia. Their primary functions are to capture and share images and 30-second videos (with sound), as well as to play music and make phone calls. Facebook View saves the recorded content.

It has long been rumored that smart glasses are the next big wearable. However it has proven difficult to get people to wear them in the past, most notably with Google Glass.

Facebook is hoping that with Ray-Ban, it can finally break into an elusive market. As the metaverse becomes more mainstream and people blur the lines between physical and virtual worlds. Facebook and Luxottica’s glasses took a year to develop, and other major tech companies are also betting on smart glasses. Snap, Amazon, and Microsoft have all entered the market, with Apple and TikTok owner Bytedance possibly following suit in the future.

The vision and the challenge

Like Snapchat’s Spectacles, Ray-Ban Stories version one are technically smart glasses, but not AR glasses. Because they have computer functionality but do not overlay digital content on one’s field of view. “We’re working on AR glasses, but while we wait for the technology to catch up, we’re focusing on what we can enable now,” says Facebook product director Monisha Perkash.

The glasses were created by Facebook Reality Labs. Whose mission is to “create tools that will help people feel connected anytime and anywhere,” according to Perkash.
“Rather than technology distracting us and taking us away from the people around us, we want to create a sense of social presence. Having a feeling of being right there with another person and sharing the same space regardless of physical distance.” She declined to discuss future plans.

Metaverse technology raises ethical and legal concerns. Such as whether users can control the digital clothes that others perceive on them without their consent. Perkash did not respond to this or any other challenges. According to LaMeyer, it is still prudent for brands to keep an eye on how technology and usage evolve.

“You should learn and be aware of what’s going on early on, so that when it becomes ubiquitous, you can leverage it right away,” says LaMeyer.

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Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney.

AI

Microsoft Warns Employees Not to Share Sensitive Data with ChatGPT

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Microsoft Warns Employees Not to Share Sensitive Data with ChatGPT

Microsoft has warned its employees not to share sensitive data with an artificially intelligent (AI) chatbot, ChatGPT from OpenAI. Employees of American multinational tech giants had asked in an internal forum whether ChatGPT or any other AI tools from OpenAI were appropriate to use at their work, Business Insider reported.

Also read: 30% of College Students Use ChatGPT

In response to that inquiry, a senior engineer from Microsoft’s CTO office allowed to use ChatGPT but couldn’t share confidential information with the AI chatbot.

“Please don’t send sensitive data to an OpenAI endpoint, as they may use it for training future models,” the senior engineer wrote in an internal post, per Insider.

ChatGPT, here only for two months, is already raising concerns in the academic sector. Microsoft has become a partner of OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, and has confirmed an investment of ten billion dollars.

Microsoft is planning to integrate OpenAI’s technology into its products, including the Bing search engine and other software, to enhance their capabilities, as reported previously.

The major concern of Microsoft regarding “sensitive information” may include sharing internal software code and seeking checks and advice from the chatbot.

Amazon’s Same Concern

ChatGPT has continuously made headlines since its launch last November but has also faced bans, especially in the academic sector as it became the cheating partner for students’ schoolwork. Recently, the tech giants have also raised their concerns over its use.

Amazon warned its employees to beware of ChatGPT last week, as reported by Insider. Insider claims that an Amazon lawyer has urged employees not to share code with ChatGPT via an internal communication form.

“This is important because your inputs may be used as training data for a further iteration of ChatGPT, and we wouldn’t want its output to include or resemble our confidential information (and I’ve already seen instances where its output closely matches existing material),” the lawyer wrote.

The lawyer placed more emphasis on requesting that employees not share “any Amazon confidential information” (including Amazon code they are working on) with ChatGPT via Slack.

Personal Data Concern

As concerns about data privacy grow among large corporations, an OpenAI representative has directed questions about the company’s data and privacy policy to ChatGPT’s FAQ page. The terms of service of OpenAI grant the company the right to use all input and output generated by ChatGPT users, with the stipulation that personally identifiable information (PII) is removed from the used data.

However, it’s quite impossible for OpenAI to identify and remove all the personal information from the data provided to ChatGPT, says Emily Bender, who teaches computational linguistics at the University of Washington.

“OpenAI is far from transparent about how they use the data, but if it’s being folded into training data, I would expect corporations to wonder: After a few months of widespread use of ChatGPT, will it become possible to extract private corporate information with cleverly crafted prompts?” said Bender.

Vincent Conitzer, a computer science professor and director of an AI lab at Carnegie Mellon University, said, “All of us together are going to have to figure out what should be expected of everyone in these situations. Is the responsibility on employees to not share sensitive information, or is the responsibility on OpenAI to use information carefully, or some combination?”

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Business

Meta Reportedly Defeats FTC to Receive Court Approval to Acquire Within

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Meta Reportedly Defeats FTC to Receive Court Approval to Acquire Within

Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, has reportedly won court approval for the acquisition of VR fitness app Supernatural’s maker, Within, after the Federal Trade Commission attempted to block the deal.

Also read: Lawsuit Filed Against Meta, Snap, TikTok for Mental Health Crisis

A US district judge, Edward Davila in San Jose California, “denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the proposed transaction” in a sealed decision on Wednesday, reported Bloomberg, citing a source familiar with the ruling.

Meta’s plan was to acquire Within and Supernatural back in October 2021, but it was blocked by the FTC’s complaint file to stop the deal. The FTC’s complaint was justified by saying Meta already owns a “virtual reality empire.”

Following the news, shares of Meta were slightly positive on Wednesday afternoon.

Facebook and The FTC also declined to comment with Bloomberg’s query citing the sealed nature of Davila’s decisions.

Push for Metaverse

The reported victory in this case may boost Mark Zuckerberg’s push towards the Metaverse. Zuckerberg’s Meta Quest 2 is arguably the best VR headset, even after a massive hike in its price last year.

Meta Quest Pro for $1500 and Meta Quest 3 are also in the company’s VR line-up, which has already developed VR spaces for work and play.

The Supernatural, developed by Within, was one of the first subscription-based services on the original Meta Quest.

Supernatural, a fitness app that features video instructors and motion-tracked workout routines, carries similarities to Meta’s successful fitness VR music game Beat Saber. Beat Saber was also acquired by Meta in 2019.

 Meta’s Dominance

A trial before the FTC’s administrative judge will start on Feb. 13. The FTC will also decide if it will continue with the case. Lina Khan, the chair of the FTC, was appointed by US President Joe Biden to bolster antitrust enforcement as a key principle of his administration’s economic policy. Hence, if this order stands, this loss to Meta will be a significant setback for Khan.

The FTC sued Meta back in July, arguing this acquisition would expand its dominance in the consumer VR market, highlighting its purchase of Beat Saber three years ago. The agency even emphasized that the addition of Within would even eliminate a “beneficial rivalry” between the two companies.

At the time, “the case was) based on ideology and speculation, not evidence, the idea that this acquisition would lead to anticompetitive outcomes in a dynamic space with as much entry and growth as online and connected fitness is simply not credible,” said a Meta spokesperson in a statement.

It’s still to be decided whether this will be the end of this story or not, as the FTC has declined to comment.

“Out of respect for the court’s orders, the FTC is not in a position to comment at this time,” FTC director of public affairs Douglas Farrar told The Verge.

Within would be the third start-up acquired by social media giants over the last decade if this case ends here and Meta purchases one more VR start-up. Previously, Meta acquired Oculus in 2014 before purchasing Beat Saber in 2019.

 

 

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AI

OpenAI Launches ChatGPT Plus for $20 a Month

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OpenAI to Release a "Professional" Version of ChatGPT

OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, has unveiled the premium version of its fastest-growing chatbot for $20 per month.

“We are piloting ChatGPT Plus, a subscription plan that offers faster response times and reliability during peak hours. And of course, the free tier of ChatGPT is still available,” OpenAI tweeted.

Also read: 30% of College Students Use ChatGPT

The new subscription plan, ChatGPTPlus, will cost $20 a month, and customers will be able to experience “faster response times” and “general access to ChatGPT, even during peak times,” as well as “priority access to new features and improvements,” OpenAI stated in its announcement.

OpenAI will send invitations to the service to those who have registered on its waitlist in the United States “over the coming week,” with plans to expand the rollout to other countries and regions in the near future.

Free access will continue

Meanwhile, free access to its chatbot will not be halted, as OpenAI “loves free users.”

“We love our free users and will continue to offer free access to ChatGPT. By offering this subscription pricing, we will be able to help support free access availability to as many people as possible,” mentioned in the statement.

ChatGPT has set the record for the fastest-growing user base with 100 million monthly users in the first month of 2023, according to Reuters. ChatGPT has reportedly gained an average of about 13 million unique visitors per day in January, more than double the levels of December.

Hence, with overwhelming support from the users, OpenAI did not take the risk of limiting its service to only paid users, which may force a downtrend in its growing number of users.

ChatGPT has become everyone’s best friend in preparing schoolwork and checking difficult and complex codes, from college students to computer programmers.

The continuity of free access is always good friend for job seekers too.

Half price from rumour

Just a week ago, it seemed like the pro version of this record-breaking AI chatbot would cost almost $42 per month.

Finally, the price has been revealed, and it looks like OpenAI tried to make it accessible for more people, including students and businesses.

OpenAI has even planned for the data pack to have more availability, as mentioned in the statement.

“We are actively exploring options for lower-cost plans, business plans, and data packs for more availability,” said OpenAI.

OpenAI has declared they’re learning from the research preview so that they “could learn more about the system’s strengths and weaknesses and gather user feedback.”

According to OpenAI, the system has received feedback from millions of people. As a result of this feedback, multiple significant updates have been implemented. The system has also been found to be useful for a variety of professional purposes, including content creation and editing, idea generation, programming support, in addition to acquiring new information.

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