Little Big Shots are big hits

What Next?

Alibaba trials ‘smile to pay’ technology at a KFC branch

The latest leap in digital payments is facial recognition technology, which allows a customer to pay by flashing a smile. Ant Financial, an Alibaba subsidiary, is testing the ‘smile to pay’ service in a KFC restaurant in Hangzhou, China. Assuming that the customer has already signed up for the Alipay app and has enabled facial recognition, the technology only needs about 1 to 2 seconds of facial scanning with a 3D camera and a live detection algorithm to check their identity. The customer only has to enter their mobile phone number to help guard against fraud. The video below shows the technology’s incredible accuracy, with one woman dressing up in an array of different wigs and makeup styles, but is still completely recognisable to the machine.

Six-second television ads are coming to Fox Sports

The concept of six-second ads is familiar online on platforms like YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook, but not so much on TV. However, Fox Sports is offering the bite-size slots to advertisers to play alongside its standard 15 and 30-second ads for a variety of sporting events, including NFL games. The company tested the short format during its broadcast of the Teen Choice Awards in August and hopes to make it an industry standard across networks while consumers tolerance for longwinded ad breaks is diminishing. “When the six-second ads are placed in unique positions, it has the potential to gain even more attention than a traditional unit,” says the president of Fox Sports, Eric Shanks. NFL fans will first see the concise ads on Fox on the 10th of September, with a vision that eventually the overall commercial time that people sit through will be reduced.

Little Big Shots are big hits

Programs Station Audience
Little Big Shots Ch7 1,787,766
The Block – Sunday Ch9 1,255,874
The Block – Monday Ch9 1,103,694
The Block – Tuesday Ch9 1,092,004
The Block – Wednesday Ch9 964,461
Utopia ABC 752,041
True Story with Hamish & Andy Ch9 746,544
The Bachelor Australia – Thursday Ch10 738,887
This Time Next Year Ch9 728,619
Midsomer Murders ABC 727,587

27/08 – 02/09

Amazon develops AI feature that designs clothes

Amazon wants to become the ‘best place to buy fashion online’ and their latest move to create an ‘AI designer’ is definitely a step in that direction. The retail giant has developed an algorithm that can ‘design clothing by analyzing a bunch of images to copy the style and then apply it to new items generated from scratch’. Innovators from Amazon Lab 126 created a ‘generative adversarial network or GAN’ which uses two neural networks that compete against each other. It’s all very technical, but basically the technology allows computers to understand complex human tasks, continually improve and generate human output. It learns from raw data from images on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, and uses the number of likes and comments on certain looks to determine what’s becoming on-trend. Essentially, Amazon wants to be able to spot a trend, quickly design clothes via AI that can be produced on-demand. The e-commerce giant already has the reach, so this AI designer could become every clothing retailer’s biggest competitor.

littleBits launches ‘Star Wars’ themed Droid Inventor Kit

In anticipation of Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s release, littleBits has launched a Droid Inventor Kit to teach kids tech. The kit comes with everything kids need to build their own Droid along with an app that includes instructions and how-to videos. The app also offers ideas how to customise their Droids and more than 16 activities and missions for kids to complete. Some of the features include Force Drive, which lets children guide their creation with a wave of their hand, self-navigation so the Droid can maneuver around objects and a draw mode that lets the Droid draw maps or messages. The aim of the toy was to create a “gender-inclusive product that celebrates kids’ own self-expression and ingenuity, while showcasing the same characteristics of imagination, grit and invention that are embodied in the Star Wars franchise,” says Ayah Bdeir, the CEO of littleBits.

Ford tests self-driving delivery vehicles with Domino’s

A new deal between Domino’s and Ford means ordering a pizza could help foster our self-driving future. The companies have partnered up to test self-driving pizza delivery cars in Michigan, in a bid to better understand how people interact with autonomous vehicles. Randomly selected Domino’s customers will have the option to accept their pizza deliveries form a Ford Fusion Hybrid autonomous research vehicle. If the customer chooses self-driving delivery, they can watch the cars progress all the way to their home and receive a text on arrival, which indicates it’s time to come outside and collect their meal. The car has a lock that requires a specific key code to unlock the ‘Heatwave Compartment’, so no one can steal your pizza. For the moment, the car will be driven by a Ford safety engineer with other researchers present, who will be looking at the effectiveness of the customer experience.

Venice Film Festival will host a virtual reality competition

The Venice Film Festival is launching a competitive section dedicated to films made for virtual-reality viewing. The new section, ‘Venice Virtual Reality,’ is hyped to be the first-ever competition for VR works launched by a major film fest. As the Venice Film Festival is typically a ‘traditional’ institution in its 74th year, the inclusion of a VR competition in its program shows that virtual reality is a widely accepted form of storytelling. Venice Virtual Reality includes 31 films altogether and will present three awards: Best Film VR, VR Jury Grand Prix and Best Creativity Award VR.

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