This robotic arm slows down to avoid the uncanny valley

Robotic arms can move fast enough to snatch thrown objects right out of the air… but should they? Not unless you want them to unnerve the humans they’re interacting with, according to work out of Disney Research. Roboticists there found that slowing a robot’s reaction time made it feel more normal to people. Disney has, […]

Legislators from ten parliaments put the squeeze on Facebook

The third meeting of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and ‘Fake News’, a multi-nation body comprised of global legislators with concerns about the societal impacts of social media giants, has been taking place in Dublin this week — once again without any senior Facebook management in attendance. The committee was formed last year after […]

Nightfall emerges from stealth with $20M for a cloud-native data loss prevention platform

Sensitive data leakage is one of the biggest negative side-effects of cloud-based apps and services. Today, a startup that has built an AI-based platform that can detect and take action on that data is coming out of stealth with funding to tackle the issue head-on. Nightfall — which integrates with and then automatically scans structured […]

Neural Magic gets $15M seed to run machine learning models on commodity CPUs

Neural Magic, a startup founded by a couple of MIT professors, who figured out a way to run machine learning models on commodity CPUs, announced a $15 million seed investment today. Comcast Ventures led the round, with participation from NEA, Andreessen Horowitz, Pillar VC and Amdocs. The company had previously received a $5 million pre-seed, […]

Microsoft launches Power Virtual Agents, its no-code bot builder

Microsoft today announced the public preview of its Power Virtual Agents tool, a new no-code tool for building chatbots that’s part of the company’s Power Platform, which also includes the Microsoft Flow automation tool, which is being renamed to Power Automate today, and Power BI. Built on top of Azure’s existing AI smarts and tools […]

Twitter’s political ads ban is a distraction from the real problem with platforms

Sometimes it feels as if Internet platforms are turning everything upside down, from politics to publishing, culture to commerce, and of course swapping truth for lies. This week’s bizarro reversal was the vista of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a tech CEO famed for being entirely behind the moral curve of understanding what his product is platforming […]

Startups Weekly: Understanding Uber’s latest fintech play

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about how SoftBank is screwing up. Before that, I noted All Raise’s expansion, Uber the TV show and the […]

Cervest raises £3.7M for Earth Science AI platform to predict climate effects

Climate risk, including extreme events and the related pressures our environment, are fundamentally affecting the way businesses and governments operate — both tactically and strategically. Increasing climate volatility is causing food supply disruptions and increasing pressure on Enterprises (including financial institutions, insurers and producers) to disclose what’s going on. The trouble is, while there is […]

Accusonus raises $3.3M to use AI to help content creators repair the audio in their videos

Accusonus, the Greece and U.S.-based AI company helping content creators improve the audio in their videos, has raised $3.3 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Athens-based Venture Friends, with participation from Big Pi, IQBility and PJ Tech, along with a syndicate of U.S.-based investors led by Michael Tzannes, who is actually […]

Registration is open for TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020

It’s time to get your robotics fix, startup fans. That’s right, TC Sessions: Robotics & AI returns to UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on March 3, 2020. Join us for a day-long deep dive focused on the intersection of robotics and AI — arguably two of the most exciting and world-changing technologies. Registration is now open. […]