The Week in NextTech: Round-Up 31/03/23

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In today’s news:

  • On this day
  • 2 AI Truths and a Lie
  • US regulator sues crypto exchange Binance and boss Changpeng Zhao
  • AI Has Learned to Read Minds
  • NextTech Mergers, Funding, and Acquisitions
  • Latest NextTech reads from LXA Stories

This week's NextTech news is saying..."oh my God!"

Looking more Balenciaga than biblical, this photo of the Pope below was making its rounds of the internet this week:

The Week in NextTech


With a silver chain and the white puffer jacket, the photo seems almost unreal. And that's because it is. The photo was posted last week but has since been making the rounds of the internet before it was debunked. 

The telltale signs of AI are there, with the half-grasped coffee and the crucifix without right angles, and the edge of his glasses being pulled directly into hell. These are all useful signs of an AI-generated photo. 

Close-up details of the AI generated pope, showing places where the picture is blurry.

🤫 One AI Project and Two Lies

Play along at home. Out of these three wacky AI projects, two are fake, and one is real. So, which of these new AI projects is unreal, and which is ugh, for real?! (Check at the bottom of the newsletter for the reveal!)

No-one Nose

A new AI app offers a harsh service. The app will scan a user’s selfie, and then propose the plastic surgery it recommends they get.

Judging Harshly

An AI algorithm is used in an eccentric competition where users upload selfies. The competition's robot jury evaluates the photos and crowns a Queen and King. However, the competition received backlash for its predominantly white winners.

Pick of the Bunch

Using the waning and flowing popularity of celebrities, an AI offers the ‘perfect’ face of the moment, which is based on the internet’s attention and interest. 

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📰US regulator sues crypto exchange Binance and boss Changpeng Zhao

In the US, commodity market regulators are suing Binance and its chief executive Changpeng Zhao, for "wilful evasion of US Law", in the most significant US enforcement action against the world's largest crypto exchange. 

The complaint suggests Binance has grown its US business, whilst publically stating its intentions to block US customers from the platform. 

It alleges that Zhao, the founder of the company in 2017, played a key role in the actions. 

The main thing is this: the US has suggested Binance told its most valuable US customers how to avoid its compliance controls, after announcing its US restrictions. 

Binance saw around $627M in Ethereum-related withdrawals in the 24 hours following the lawsuit filing. 

DALL·E 2023-03-29 10.53.38 - a courtroom with a robot judge, sentencing a bitcoin, geometric art

Dall.e prompt: a courtroom with a robot judge, sentencing a bitcoin, geometric art 

📰 Apple's Mixed Reality Headset Was Announced. Staff Aren't Happy. 

Apple VR headset news, leaks and what we want to see | TechRadar

Announcement: Apple's enigmatic Reality Pro headset was unveiled to approximately 100 of the company's top executives during a grand ceremony held in the Steve Jobs Theater on March 27th. Mark Gurman characterized the event as "polished, glitzy, and exciting" and an opportunity for the headset team to garner support from company leaders.

Staff Reaction: Despite the grand announcement, Apple employees are reportedly not enthusiastic about the device.

According to current and former staff members who spoke to The New York Times, there are concerns about the device's high price of roughly $3,000, doubts about its utility, and worries about its untested market.

Nevertheless, the ski-goggle-esque device could eventually find success in the market, similar to how the smartwatch became ubiquitous as a health companion and wearable notification centre.

📰 Once Again, Google Glass is Dead. Now it’s in a Museum. 

I bet you're surprised Google Glass was even going. Well, now Google had to kill it again like it's a vampire in a B horror movie. 

So, looks like Google's AR glasses just couldn't cut it. First, they were cancelled in 2015, and their business version, the Google Glass Enterprise, has now met the same fate.

The $999 headset may have been more powerful than the commercial version, but as the museum of failure put it: "The technology didn't quite work."

The built-in camera raised concerns about privacy issues, people didn't want to be filmed all the time, and Google Glass was even banned in some places. Oh, and let's not forget the nickname users got: "Glassholes." 

But don't worry, the Google Glass has found one last life, this time in the Museum of Failure, exactly where it needs to be. 

DALL·E 2023-03-29 10.57.46 - Google glasses on a museum pedestal, in the style of flat art

 

Dall.e prompt: Google glasses on a museum pedestal, in the style of flat art

This Week in Numbers 

Around 7% of workers in the US are in jobs that could be completely replaced by AI.

90

Amazon Sidewalk, a network that covers more than 90% of the US population, is now open for developer testing.

7,000

Disney has cut its metaverse division as part of 7,000 layoffs

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💰Graph Of The Week

Computing and IT sectors are already aggressively investing in the metaverse, comprising 17% of all metaverse investments.

The second largest sector, education, accounts for 12% of investments. Applications in that sector include flight simulation, anatomy and surgery, and digital learning collaboratives.

The Week in NextTech

✍️ NextTech Mergers, Funding, and Acquisitions

Who's making dough, who's laying low, and who's in a constant state of "Oh, God, no"? It's time to find out, with LXA's NextTech News Round. 

💰 Spera raises $10M for its identity security posture management platform

💰 Dutch-based SafeSize bags €14M to help people find perfectly fitting shoes using AI

✍️ Amsterdam-based 3D-scanning firm Th3rd acquired by Snap

✍️ FTX’s $45M Sequoia Sale Cleared

💰 Staking Protocol EigenLayer Raises $50M

💰 Paradigm Leads $7M Round for Optimism-Based Startup Conduit

 

🗣️ Final Word

Tech comes, tech goes. Just a few years ago, there was some real hype around wearable tech. But now, Google Glass resides in the Museum of Failure. 

What other tech might end up there in the not-so-distant future? I'm putting my bets on whatever VR headset Meta comes out with next. 

But we're seeing which tech fits into people's lives, and which doesn't. What people are willing to do to adopt new ideas, and what they're not willing to sacrifice. A watch on their wrist. 100%. A silly pair of glasses that disrupt their view and might make their friends laugh at them? Absolutely not. 

- Sarah O.

🤫 One AI Project and Two Lie Reveal:

Don't judge us: the Judging Harshly AI is real!

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