May 19, 2024

Innovation & Tech Today

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This Week’s Top 5 Tech Stories We’re Following- May Week 2

Lots has happened this past week in the tech world! With a new sidewalk portal creating worldwide connection, Meta discontinuing the Workplace app, Alphabet announcing big AI plans, and more, there’s much to catch up on. So, let’s get started! 

New Sidewalk Portal Creates Worldwide Connection

The interactive video screen installation known as “The Portal,” allowing people in New York and Dublin to peer into each other’s lives in real-time, has brought joy to sidewalk crowds in both cities. 

Making its North American debut on May 8, the circular screens were positioned beneath New York City’s Flatiron Building and on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, showcasing city landmarks like the Spire. Created by Lithuanian artist Benediktas Gylys, the installation aimed to celebrate global interconnectedness.

Despite the initial excitement, the portals were shut down shortly after their launch due to videos circulating on social media showing various instances of misconduct. Michael Ryan, a spokesperson for the Dublin City Council, mentioned that organizers are exploring tech options to mitigate such incidents, with plans for the displays to resume later in the week.

Meta to Discontinue Workplace App

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, has announced plans to discontinue its Workplace app, shifting its focus towards developing artificial intelligence and metaverse tech. The decision comes as part of Meta’s strategic realignment.

Beginning June 2026, Workplace will be phased out for customers, although Meta intends to maintain its internal use for company communications. Users will have access to Workplace until August 2025.

Alphabet Announces Big AI Plans

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, unveiled its advancements in artificial intelligence on May 14, highlighting enhancements to its Gemini chatbot and improvements to its renowned search engine. This move reflects Alphabet’s commitment to leveraging AI across its various businesses, as it aims to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving AI landscape.

The series of announcements underscores Google’s ongoing efforts to innovate its products, particularly in response to the emergence of formidable AI competitors. Following the public excitement sparked by the 2022 launch of Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which posed a significant challenge to Google’s dominance in online search and AI, Alphabet has been actively refreshing its offerings to maintain its position in the market.

Google Introduces Trillium Chip

Google’s parent company Alphabet introduced a new addition to its artificial intelligence data center chip family called Trillium, boasting nearly five times the speed of its predecessor.

During a briefing call with reporters, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai highlighted the increasing demand for machine learning computers, which has grown exponentially over the past six years, roughly doubling annually. Pichai emphasized Google’s longstanding commitment to pioneering AI chips, spanning over a decade, positioning the company well for the current industry landscape.

US TikTok Creators Pushing Back on Ban

A coalition of TikTok creators initiated legal action in U.S. federal court to challenge a law signed by President Joe Biden. This tech legislation would mandate the divestment of the popular short video app, utilized by 170 million Americans, or potentially lead to its prohibition. The creators argue that TikTok has profoundly impacted American society.

Among the plaintiffs are diverse individuals, including a Texas Marine Corps veteran who markets ranch products, a Tennessee resident who sells cookies and shares parenting insights, a college coach from North Dakota who provides sports commentary, and a recent graduate from North Carolina advocating for sexual assault survivors’ rights.

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