IGTV is Instagram’s answer to YouTube

Instagram is making a play for YouTube’s video throne with the launch of IGTV, a new app where users can upload videos longer than one minute. The app, revealed at an event today by Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, hosts videos up to one hour in length. Anyone can upload videos, either from the dedicated app or from Instagram itself. Everything is mobile-oriented, meaning videos are in portrait mode. Rumors about it have been passed along for weeks, culminating in a report from the Wall Street Journal which revealed the proposed length. From what Instagram has shown so far, the service looks like…

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Source:: The Next Web – Technology

Autopilot Buddy is, hands down, the most evil gadget of 2018

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) recently cracked down on the makers of a device called the Autopilot Buddy, a gadget that allows people to trick Tesla cars into thinking the driver has their hands on the steering wheel. Autopilot Buddy is a fantastic example of a heartless piece of technology that tries to capitalize on consumers’ ignorance. Not everyone is tech-savvy, and being able to afford a Tesla doesn’t imply a general understanding of what artificial intelligence can and can’t do. And that’s why Dolder, Falco and Reese Partners LLC, the monsters behind the device, were able to…

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Source:: The Next Web – Technology

Truepic raises $8M to expose Deepfakes, verify photos for Reddit

How can you be sure an image wasn’t Photoshopped? Make sure it was shot with Truepic. This startup makes a camera feature that shoots photos and adds a watermark URL leading to a copy of the image it saves, so viewers can compare them to ensure the version they’re seeing hasn’t been altered.

Now Truepic’s technology is getting its most important deployment yet as the way Reddit will verify that Ask Me Anything Q&As are being conducted live by the actual person advertised — oftentimes a celebrity.

But beyond its utility for verifying AMAs, dating profiles and peer-to-peer e-commerce listings, Truepic is tackling its biggest challenge yet: identifying artificial intelligence-generated Deepfakes. These are where AI convincingly replaces the face of a person in a video with someone else’s. Right now the technology is being used to create fake pornography combining an adult film star’s body with an innocent celebrity’s face without their consent. But the big concern is that it could be used to impersonate politicians and make them appear to say or do things they haven’t.

The need for ways to weed out Deepfakes has attracted a new $8 million round for Truepic. The cash comes from untraditional startup investors, including Dowling Capital Partners, former Thomson Financial (which become Reuters) CEO Jeffrey Parker, Harvard Business school professor William Sahlman and more. The Series A brings Truepic to $10.5 million in funding.

Truepic fights photo fraud on apps like Tinder and Airbnb

“We started Truepic long before manipulated images impacted democratic elections across the globe, digital evidence of atrocities and human rights abuses were regularly undermined, or online identities were fabricated to advance political agendas — but now we fully recognize its impact on society,” says Truepic founder and COO Craig Stack. “The world needs the …read more

Source:: TechCrunch – Startups

StreetCred is building a blockchain-based marketplace for location data

Randy Meech headshot

While applications like Google Maps and Yelp seem to provide an inexhaustible source of information about local restaurants, stores and other points of interest, they can also come up short — moments when you arrive somewhere only to discover that the hours you had were wrong, or the store is closed for a holiday, or it’s just shut down altogether.

The team at StreetCred is trying to build a better system for gathering and selling that data. And it’s raised $1 million in seed funding from Bowery Capital and Notation Capital.

CEO Randy Meech explained that if someone wanted to build the next Uber or the next Pokémon Go, they’d need location data to make it work. And while they could buy that data now, it’s “very difficult, very expensive.”

Plus, he sees room for lots more data — while Foursquare has data about 105 million points of interest and Google has 100 million, Meech estimates that there are more than 1 billion POIs across the world, many of them in developing nations where the data is more spotty.

So StreetCred is building a marketplace where users should be rewarded for collecting this data, while interested companies should be able to buy the data more easily.

Meech has been working on mapping for years, serving as the CTO at MapQuest (which, like TechCrunch, is owned by Verizon/Oath) and then as CEO at Mapzen, an open source mapping subsidiary af Samsung. That’s where Meech met his StreetCred co-founder Diana Shkolnikov — he said StreetCred was created partly in response to the disappointment of shutting down Mapzen earlier this year.

“If we can get this protocol and data economy right, it can’t be shut down,” Meech said. That means leveraging blockchain technology: “It’s a very natural way to open up and decentralize the data and also …read more

Source:: TechCrunch – Startups