UneeQ’s Digital Humans Bring 5G to Life with Singtel’s UNBOXED Pop-Up Stores

Asia’s leading telecommunications group employs Stella, UneeQ’s conversational AI-powered digital human employee, to revolutionize the future of the contactless retail experience

UneeQ, a United States and New Zealand-based digital human company, announces their latest success with major multinational telecommunications conglomerate, Singtel, to launch digital human employee, Stella. Designed to provide a more personalized, contact-free retail experience, Stella serves as Singtel’s state-of-the-art 5G virtual retail assistant across its new unmanned UNBOXED pop-up stores.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201007005855/en/

Meet Stella, Singtel’s newest digital human employee from UneeQ. Designed to provide a more personalized, contact-free retail experience, Stella serves as Singtel’s state-of-the-art 5G virtual retail assistant across its new unmanned UNBOXED pop-up stores. (Photo: Business Wire)

Through advanced artificial intelligence, natural language processing, a friendly tone of voice, human-like facial expressions, and body language, Stella engages and assists customers through a wide array of retail and account management transactions. Whether customers are navigating which mobile phone plan is right for them or purchasing a new device, Stella is available via the UNBOXED store’s interactive self-serve kiosks, 24 hours a day.

The integration of digital shopping kiosks paired with digital human employees like Stella are driving contactless shopping innovation without giving up the meaningful conversations and personalized experiences that consumers encounter in a traditional retail setting.

“UneeQ is excited to be part of a retail transformation strategy where we’ve combined the potential of 5G and artificial intelligence to create a game changer in customer self-service,” said Danny Tomsett, CEO and Founder of UneeQ. “The world is experiencing rapid change and the need for engaging self-service experiences has become a critical need. Singtel has demonstrated world-leading vision and execution combining brand experience and convenient customer service. We believe this to be the future of retail.”

Stella

Intel, Heidelberg University team up to bring Radeon GPU support to AI

A smiling robot looks at the camera.
Enlarge / Machine learning doesn’t actually have a face. But if it ever does, we’d like that face to look something like this.

We’ve been following Intel’s oneAPI—an artificial intelligence development platform designed to abstract hardware away from the task of developing AI code—with great interest since its launch last November. This week, Intel and the Heidelberg University Computing Center (URZ) announced a new Academic Center of Excellence (CoE), which will support and conduct research on the oneAPI platform.

The new collaboration immediately followed Intel’s own announcement of the oneAPI specification reaching 1.0 status. The 1.0 milestone is significant, since it enables collaborators to focus on adapting hardware to a standard, fixed implementation, worrying about the specification itself shifting rapidly beneath their feet.

URZ’s own announcement of the oneAPI Center of Excellence begins by reiterating the raison d’etre of oneAPI itself:

URZ will focus its research and programming efforts on a fundamental high-performance computing (HPC) challenge where modern computers utilize different types of hardware for different calculations. Accelerators, including graphics processing units (GPUs) and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), are used in combination with general compute processors (CPUs). Using different types of hardware make computers very powerful and provide versatility for a wide range of situations and workloads. Hardware heterogeneity, however, complicates software development for these computers, especially when specialized components from a variety of vendors are used in tandem.

One major reason for this complication is that many accelerated compute architectures require their own programming models. Therefore, software developers need to learn and use a different—and sometimes proprietary—language for each processing unit in a heterogeneous system, which increases complexity and limits flexibility.

oneAP’s cross-architecture language Data Parallel C++ (DPC++), based on Khronos Groups’ SYCL standard for heterogeneous programming in C++, overcomes these challenges with its single, unified open development

US to bring lawsuit against Google for ad, search dominance

Nubia Z20 status bar and Google search bar 9

  • The US Department of Justice is expected to sue Google as soon as next week.
  • It’s believed that the lawsuit accuses Google of putting search rivals at a disadvantage.
  • The department is also said to be investigating search advertising under Google’s search box.

Google has faced several legal challenges in recent years regarding its search and advertising business, and it looks like the US is next in line to take aim at the company.

According to Reuters, citing three sources familiar with the matter, the US Department of Justice is set to file a lawsuit against Google as soon as next week. It’s alleged that the department is also calling on state attorneys general to sign onto the suit.

The lawsuit reportedly accuses Google of trying to put search rivals such as Bing at a disadvantage. More specifically, it’s claimed that Google deprives rivals of “the data about users and user preferences” that these rivals need to improve their services and advertising.

Reuters says the Department of Justice is also focusing on search advertising that appears under Google’s search box, noting that Google controls these search boxes and the associated tools.

Recent actions against Google

This wouldn’t be the first time Google came under fire for its search and advertising practices, as the European Commission levied a €1.49 billion (~$1.7 billion) fine against Google last year for online advertising abuse.

The EU found that Google barred rival search advertisers — such as Bing and Yahoo — from displaying ads on publishers’ search pages. The EU also found that publishers had to get written approval from Google before making visual changes to rival ads.

Google was also fined almost $5 billion by the EU in 2018 for abusing its dominant position in the Android space. The EU took issue with

Polaris and Zero Motorcycles reach deal to bring electric off-roaders to market

Polaris is a name synonymous with powersports — just head to any of the hundreds of snowmobile trails in Wisconsin, Minnesota or other sufficiently wintry place for evidence. Now, it’s teaming up with Zero Motorcycles, Santa Cruz-based maker of electric motorcycles and powertrains, to electrify its lineup.

The two companies announced Tuesday a 10-year agreement to work together to produce electrified off-road vehicles and snowmobiles using Zero’s powertrain technology, hardware and software. Polaris will develop, manufacture and sell the vehicles.

The companies will co-develop the technologies and vehicle platforms for this next generation of electrified powersports, according to Zero Motorcycles CEO Sam Paschel, adding that the aim is to dramatically expand the electric options currently in the market.

“Our EV expertise and millions of miles of real-world, rubber-meets-the-road EV experience, coupled with Polaris’ broad product portfolio, scale, supply chain and market leadership, makes this a game-changer for every powersports enthusiast,” Paschel said in a statement. 

Polaris already has several electric options in its portfolio, thanks to a series of acquisitions its made over the past decade. In 2011, the company acquired Goupil, a French manufacturer of on-road, commercial light duty electric vehicles for the European market as well as GEM, the street-legal passenger and utility electric vehicle company. Polaris more recently acquired Brammo Electric Motorcycles, a purchase that gave the company access to technology that would later be used in its Ranger EV off-road vehicles.

This latest deal aims to create a broader portfolio of products, not just one-offs. Polaris said the partnership will be the cornerstone of “rEV’D up,” the name of its long-term strategy to offer customers an electrified option within each of its core product segments by 2025. The first vehicle from this Zero-Polaris partnership will debut by the end of 2021.

“Thanks to advancements in power,

Amsterdam and Helsinki launch algorithm registries to bring transparency to public deployments of AI

Amsterdam and Helsinki today launched AI registries to detail how each city government uses algorithms to deliver services, some of the first major cities in the world to do so. An AI Register for each city was introduced in beta today as part of the Next Generation Internet Policy Summit, organized in part by the European Commission and the city of Amsterdam. The Amsterdam registry currently features a handful of algorithms, but it will be extended to include all algorithms following the collection of feedback at the virtual conference to lay out a European vision of the future of the internet, according to a city official.

Each algorithm cited in the registry lists datasets used to train a model, a description of how an algorithm is used, how humans utilize the prediction, and how algorithms were assessed for potential bias or risks. The registry also provides citizens a way to give feedback on algorithms their local government uses and the name, city department, and contact information for the person responsible for the responsible deployment of a particular algorithm. A complete algorithmic registry can empower citizens and give them a way to evaluate, examine, or question governments’ applications of AI.

In a previous development in the U.S., New York City created an automated decision systems task force in 2017 to document and assess city use of algorithms. At the time it was the first city in the U.S. to do so. However, following the release of a report least year, commissioners on the task force complained about a lack of transparency and inability to access information about algorithms used by city government agencies.

A 2019 McKinsey Global AI Readiness Index report ranks Holland and Finland among some of the most prepared nations in the EU most prepared to adopt applications