The Top Tech News: AI-Generated Robocalls and Braille-Reading Robots

Quantious Team
4 min readFeb 2, 2024

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Emerging Tech Roundup — February 2

The Quantious team’s top picks for timely trending news in the tech world.

This week in tech: Google Announces the Development of Lumiere, Apple Confirms Next-Generation CarPlay Will be Launched in 2024, Arc Browser Comes to The iPhone, Zoom Debuts its App for Vision Pro, Robot Reads Braille at Twice the Speed of Humans, FCC Moves to Criminalize Most AI-Generated Robocalls, and Amazon debuts AI Shopping Assistant.

Google Announces the Development of Lumiere, an AI-Based Next-Generation Text-to-Video Generator

(Tech Xplore, January 26)

Google Research has unveiled Lumiere, a cutting-edge AI-powered text-to-video generator that can transform simple sentences like “two raccoons reading books together” into high-resolution videos depicting the described scenario. This advancement builds upon previous text-to-image and text-to-video generators, showcasing superior visual results. Lumiere employs a groundbreaking “Space-Time U-Net architecture,” streamlining the video creation process into a single model pass, marking a significant leap in text-to-video technology.

Apple Confirms Next-Generation CarPlay Will be Launched in 2024

(Interesting Engineering, January 28)

Apple has confirmed that the first U.S. vehicle models featuring next-generation CarPlay support will be unveiled in 2024, updating its previous statement of “vehicle announcements coming in late 2023.” This development follows the earlier preview of the updated CarPlay in June 2022, with Apple remaining tight-lipped about specific launch dates and manufacturer partnerships. The next-generation CarPlay is expected to offer enhanced integration with vehicle functions, providing control over features like reversing cameras, climate control, media, radio stations, and vehicle diagnostics, including information relevant to electric vehicles such as battery level and charging status.

Arc Browser Comes to The iPhone as a Stripped-Down, AI-Powered Search Tool

(Engadget, January 29)

The Browser Company, known for its Mac-focused browser Arc, has expanded its offerings by introducing Arc Search for the iPhone. This new app is dedicated to enhancing the search experience, with a keyboard and search field as its primary interface. Instead of delivering simple search results, Arc Search scans the internet for various sources and compiles a comprehensive “page for me” that provides users with a wealth of information on their query, including details on specific events and related content. For instance, it can offer in-depth insights into sports games, controversial moments, team reactions, referee details, fan sentiments, and more.

Zoom Debuts its App for Vision Pro, Featuring Digital Personas, 3D Files and More

(Tech Crunch, January 29)

Zoom is set to release its visionOS app on February 2, ahead of Apple’s Vision Pro launch, introducing features like “persona” support for digital avatars, 3D object sharing, and Team Chat. The app will support Apple’s Persona feature, allowing users to have a spatial representation of themselves in Vision Pro with facial and hand movement tracking. Additionally, Zoom on Vision Pro will use the headset’s AR technology, providing an immersive experience for users during video calls, while 3D object sharing will be introduced later this spring, enabling collaborative interactions in fields like game design.

Robot Trained to Read Braille at Twice the Speed of Humans

(Tech Xplore, January 29)

Researchers have created a robotic sensor with artificial intelligence capabilities that can read braille at double the speed of most human readers. Using machine learning algorithms, the robot achieved a reading speed of 315 words per minute with close to 90% accuracy. While not designed as an assistive technology, the high sensitivity required for braille reading makes it a valuable testbed for developing robot hands or prosthetics with human-like fingertip sensitivity, addressing a significant engineering challenge in replicating human tactile abilities efficiently.

FCC Moves to Criminalize Most AI-Generated Robocalls

(NBC News, January 31)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced plans to criminalize unsolicited robocalls featuring AI-generated voices, following a recent incident involving a fake AI message impersonating President Joe Biden. This proposal aims to prohibit such robocalls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a 1991 law regulating automated calls without consent. The FCC intends to vote on this change in the coming weeks, giving state attorneys general more authority to combat AI-powered spam calls, like the investigation into the fake Biden call conducted by New Hampshire’s attorney general’s office.

Amazon debuts ‘Rufus,’ an AI Shopping Assistant in its Mobile App

(Tech Crunch, February 1)

Amazon just unveiled Rufus, an AI-powered shopping assistant focused on enhancing the shopping experience alongside Amazon’s other AI-driven features. Initially launching in beta for select U.S. customers, Rufus will assist users within Amazon’s mobile app by guiding product searches, comparisons, and recommendations. Rufus leverages generative AI and draws from product catalogs, customer reviews, community Q&As, and web data to address shopping-related inquiries.

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