Emerging Tech Roundup — June 4
The Quantious team’s top picks for timely trending news in the tech world.
This week in tech: VR is used in the Air Force’s vital training, France uses AI to identify businesses in need of help, Microsoft rolls out Bing Chatbot, Cloud Kitchen Kitopi receives additional investments, VR is used to better the moods of seniors, Facebook plans to add multiplayer function to VR experience, and Australia launches facial recognition for koalas.
The Air Force to Use VR for Suicide and Sexual Assault Prevention Training
(The New York Times, May 29)
The Air Force is rolling out a new, virtual reality training experience, in which participants will be presented with scenarios of sexual assault and suicide suspicions. Rather than viewing the scenarios in a classroom, recruits will be immersed in the scenarios and will have to interact with them vocally, after being presented with suggested cues. The VR training will give trainees an empathy score after completion and feedback on how to improve in such an exchange.
France Deploys AI in 3 Billion-Euro Plan to Save Small Businesses
(Bloomberg, June 1)
The French government announced its plans to identify and save small firms who have been harshly affected by the pandemic. Utilizing AI and various data from the economy ministry, the tax office, social security accounts, and the Bank of France, the government will compile a list of businesses who are in need of monetary help. Later, they will form a plan to help each one with confidentiality.
Microsoft is Developing a Bing Chatbot Similar to Cortana
(Voicebot, June 1)
Bing is rolling out a new “Chatbot” feature which will help better communicate the results returned by a search. Users can navigate search results quicker, as the Chatbot can summarize what websites offer without the user having to go to the webpage and read it themself. It will also offer additional recommendations relating to a said search. While Microsoft’s Cortana has vocal capabilities, Chatbot does not as of now.
SoftBank Tech Fund in Talks to Invest in Dubai Cloud Kitchen Kitopi
(Reuters, June 2)
SoftBank Group Corp is said to be considering an investment in Dubai “cloud kitchen” Kitopi. Unlike standard restaurants, the said “cloud kitchens” are delivery-only and are reachable via the app. Kitopi is made up of 60 locations and over 1500 employees. While the pandemic has increased demand for food delivery and sit-down restaurants are being replaced, the industry is expected to reach $71 billion in net worth by 2027.
Can Virtual Reality Help Seniors?
(AP News, June 2)
Standford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab is conducting an experiment to see if VR can help elders in various ways including mood improvement, strengthened relationships, and technology receptiveness. Elders will use VR headsets to immerse themselves in assorted scenes, including outer space, Paris, skydiving, hiking, and more. Participating in such simulations is expected to help elders in care facilities lessen feelings of isolation from the real world.
Facebook’s Adding Multiplayer AR to Video Calls in Messenger and Instagram
(CNET, June 2)
Users will soon be able to enjoy Facebook’s currently-offered VR features in Messenger, Portal, and Instagram, but now in multiplayer mode. Players can expect to share augmented filters, scenery, and interactive games with one another in real time. It is also expected that Facebook rolls out a pair of AR smart glasses or an AR headset in the near future. Such a product would allow the newly-offered multiplayer function to be experienced, as the Oculus VR headsets are currently catered to avatar usage, rather than video calls.
Australian Researches Launch AI Koala “Facial Recognition”
(DW, June 3)
In an attempt to further protect koalas from extinction, Australian AI researchers are hoping to replace manual camera checks, ID tags, and GPS tracking with facial recognition technology at wildlife crossings. The study is designed to identify how many koalas are using which crossings, and then conduct research on where the safest, optimum locations for new and existing crossings would be. Such findings will allow for additional protection from automobile accidents for koalas, among other safeguarding.