Google DeepMind AI Reveals Potential for Thousands of New Materials

16 August 2022, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: The lettering and logo of Google pictured on a glass pane in the press center of Koelnmesse. (dpa)
16 August 2022, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: The lettering and logo of Google pictured on a glass pane in the press center of Koelnmesse. (dpa)
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Google DeepMind AI Reveals Potential for Thousands of New Materials

16 August 2022, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: The lettering and logo of Google pictured on a glass pane in the press center of Koelnmesse. (dpa)
16 August 2022, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: The lettering and logo of Google pictured on a glass pane in the press center of Koelnmesse. (dpa)

Google DeepMind has used artificial intelligence (AI) to predict the structure of more than 2 million new materials, a breakthrough it said could soon be used to improve real-world technologies.

In a research paper published in science journal Nature on Wednesday, the Alphabet-owned AI firm said almost 400,000 of its hypothetical material designs could soon be produced in lab conditions.

Potential applications for the research include the production of better-performing batteries, solar panels and computer chips.

The discovery and synthesis of new materials can be a costly and time-consuming process. For example, it took around two decades of research before lithium-ion batteries – today used to power everything from phones and laptops to electric vehicles – were made commercially available.

“We're hoping that big improvements in experimentation, autonomous synthesis, and machine learning models will significantly shorten that 10 to 20-year timeline to something that's much more manageable,” said Ekin Dogus Cubuk, a research scientist at DeepMind.

DeepMind’s AI was trained on data from the Materials Project, an international research group founded at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2011, made up of existing research of around 50,000 already-known materials.

The company said it would now share its data with the research community, in the hopes of accelerating further breakthroughs in material discovery.

"Industry tends to be a little risk-averse when it comes to cost increases, and new materials typically take a bit of time before they become cost-effective," said Kristin Persson, director of the Materials Project.

"If we can shrink that even a bit more, it would be considered a real breakthrough."

Having used AI to predict the stability of these new materials, DeepMind said it would now turn its focus to predicting how easily they can be synthesized in the lab.



White House Wades into Debate on 'Open' Versus 'Closed' Artificial Intelligence Systems

FILE - The OpenAI logo is displayed on a cell phone with an image on a computer monitor generated by ChatGPT's Dall-E text-to-image model, Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - The OpenAI logo is displayed on a cell phone with an image on a computer monitor generated by ChatGPT's Dall-E text-to-image model, Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
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White House Wades into Debate on 'Open' Versus 'Closed' Artificial Intelligence Systems

FILE - The OpenAI logo is displayed on a cell phone with an image on a computer monitor generated by ChatGPT's Dall-E text-to-image model, Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - The OpenAI logo is displayed on a cell phone with an image on a computer monitor generated by ChatGPT's Dall-E text-to-image model, Friday, Dec. 8, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

The Biden administration is wading into a contentious debate about whether the most powerful artificial intelligence systems should be “open-source” or closed.
The White House said Wednesday it is seeking public comment on the risks and benefits of having an AI system's key components publicly available for anyone to use and modify. The inquiry is one piece of the broader executive order that President Joe Biden signed in October to manage the fast-evolving technology, The Associated Press said.
Tech companies are divided on how open they make their AI models, with some emphasizing the dangers of widely accessible AI model components and others stressing that open science is important for researchers and startups. Among the most vocal promoters of an open approach have been Facebook parent Meta Platforms and IBM.
Biden’s order described open models with the technical name of “dual-use foundation models with widely available weights” and said they needed further study. Weights are numerical values that influence how an AI model performs.
When those weights are publicly posted on the internet, “there can be substantial benefits to innovation, but also substantial security risks, such as the removal of safeguards within the model,” Biden’s order said. He gave Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo until July to talk to experts and come back with recommendations on how to manage the potential benefits and risks.
Now the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration says it is also opening a 30-day comment period to field ideas that will be included in a report to the president.
“One piece of encouraging news is that it’s clear to the experts that this is not a binary issue. There are gradients of openness,” said Alan Davidson, an assistant Commerce secretary and the NTIA's administrator. Davidson told reporters Tuesday that it's possible to find solutions that promote both innovation and safety.


Nvidia’s Stock Rally Sputters Ahead of Quarterly Report

A view of a Nvidia logo at their headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan May 31, 2023. (Reuters)
A view of a Nvidia logo at their headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan May 31, 2023. (Reuters)
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Nvidia’s Stock Rally Sputters Ahead of Quarterly Report

A view of a Nvidia logo at their headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan May 31, 2023. (Reuters)
A view of a Nvidia logo at their headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan May 31, 2023. (Reuters)

A scorching rally in Nvidia's shares this year came to a halt on Tuesday as investors worried if the high-flying chip designer's quarterly results would justify its towering valuation.

The stock fell 5.3% to $687.91. If losses hold, it could be the biggest percentage drop in more than eight months.

Nvidia has been at the heart of the frenzy around artificial intelligence (AI). A more than 40% surge in its stock this year helped it replace Alphabet as the third most valuable US company, behind Microsoft and Apple.

The market capitalization of Nvidia was $1.79 trillion on Friday.

"The market is maybe a little bit hesitant whether they (Nvidia) can deliver a strong enough guidance to reinvigorate the market even higher," said Frank Lee, head of technology research at HSBC.

The company will report quarterly results on Feb. 21. Analysts expect earnings of $4.56 a share and revenue to rise to $20.378 billion from $6.05 billion a year earlier, according to LSEG estimates.

Still, Nvidia's eye-popping run this year that pushed it to new peaks and powered gains in US stock markets could make the stock vulnerable if earnings are less than stunning.

"You can't come out and simply meet or slightly beat for the stock to go higher, Nvidia's going to need to blow it away," said Dennis Dick, a trader at Triple D Trading.

Nvidia options are pricing a swing of about 11% in either direction following results, according to data from options analytics service ORATS.

Other AI-focused stocks such as Super Micro Computer fell 11.6% and Arm Holdings dropped 7.3%.

Advanced Micro Devices was down nearly 6%, having recorded double-digit gains on a year-to-date basis.

Nvidia's shares are trading at 32 times its forward earnings estimates compared with the industry median of 25.4.


Saudi Media Minister, SDAIA President Launch AI Center for Media

The projects aim to foresee the future of AI and its applications in all forms of media. (SPA)
The projects aim to foresee the future of AI and its applications in all forms of media. (SPA)
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Saudi Media Minister, SDAIA President Launch AI Center for Media

The projects aim to foresee the future of AI and its applications in all forms of media. (SPA)
The projects aim to foresee the future of AI and its applications in all forms of media. (SPA)

Saudi Minister of Media Salman bin Yousef Al-Dosary and Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) President Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi launched on Tuesday the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center for Media and the Future Camp of Generative Artificial Intelligence for Media.

The two launches, at the start of the Saudi Media Forum 3 held in Riyadh, aim to foresee the future of AI and its applications in all forms of media in a way that enhances the Kingdom's position as a leading country in the AI data field to achieve the goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030.

The projects aim to boost the national media competencies' benefits of AI to ensure a competitive environment in the media sector's advancement by utilizing advanced technologies.

The launches come within the cooperation framework between the Ministry of Media and SDAIA to achieve integration in the services of the two sectors to meet the aspirations of the wise leadership that aim to achieve the benefit of advanced technologies and reflect them on various government sectors.


Nintendo Shares Slide on Reports of Delayed Switch Successor Release 

A customer browses the gaming section of Nintendo products in a shop in Tokyo, Japan, May 6, 2021. (AFP)
A customer browses the gaming section of Nintendo products in a shop in Tokyo, Japan, May 6, 2021. (AFP)
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Nintendo Shares Slide on Reports of Delayed Switch Successor Release 

A customer browses the gaming section of Nintendo products in a shop in Tokyo, Japan, May 6, 2021. (AFP)
A customer browses the gaming section of Nintendo products in a shop in Tokyo, Japan, May 6, 2021. (AFP)

Nintendo shares fell 6% on Monday after reports by games media and Bloomberg that its next-generation console will be delayed until early 2025 from later this year.

While Nintendo has not commented on plans for a successor device beyond saying that it is always working on new hardware and software, the Kyoto-based gaming firm is widely expected to be planning to launch a new device to succeed its aging Switch console.

The company raised the full-year sales forecast for the Switch earlier this month as the hybrid home-portable device continues to attract consumers even as it nears its eighth year on the market.

"We want to maintain the momentum of the Switch business," Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa told an earnings briefing at the time.


AI-Operated Robots Assist Visitors to the Grand Mosque

The Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque has deployed AI-operated robots to assist worshippers and visitors at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
The Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque has deployed AI-operated robots to assist worshippers and visitors at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
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AI-Operated Robots Assist Visitors to the Grand Mosque

The Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque has deployed AI-operated robots to assist worshippers and visitors at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
The Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque has deployed AI-operated robots to assist worshippers and visitors at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)

The Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque has deployed AI-operated robots to assist worshippers and visitors at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, SPA said on Sunday.
The robots provide information and guidance on a variety of topics, including how to perform the Hajj and Umrah rituals, Islamic rulings and fatwas, directions to different locations within the mosque, and translations in multiple languages.
Each robot is equipped with a touchscreen display, a high-definition camera, and a powerful speaker system. It can also connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, thus able to access real-time information, in 11 languages: Arabic, English, French, Russian, Persian, Turkish, Malay, Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, and Hausa.


OpenAI Reveals Sora, a Tool to Make Instant Videos from Written Prompts 

The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output from ChatGPT, March 21, 2023, in Boston. (AP)
The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output from ChatGPT, March 21, 2023, in Boston. (AP)
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OpenAI Reveals Sora, a Tool to Make Instant Videos from Written Prompts 

The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output from ChatGPT, March 21, 2023, in Boston. (AP)
The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output from ChatGPT, March 21, 2023, in Boston. (AP)

The maker of ChatGPT on Thursday unveiled its next leap into generative artificial intelligence with a tool that instantly makes short videos in response to written commands.

San Francisco-based OpenAI’s new text-to-video generator, called Sora, isn’t the first of its kind. Google, Meta and the startup Runway ML are among the other companies to have demonstrated similar technology.

But the high quality of videos displayed by OpenAI — some after CEO Sam Altman asked social media users to send in ideas for written prompts — astounded observers while also raising fears about the ethical and societal implications.

“An instructional cooking session for homemade gnocchi hosted by a grandmother social media influencer set in a rustic Tuscan country kitchen with cinematic lighting,” was a prompt suggested on X by a freelance photographer from New Hampshire. Altman responded a short time later with a realistic video that depicted what the prompt described.

The tool isn’t yet publicly available and OpenAI has revealed limited information about how it was built. The company, which has been sued by some authors and The New York Times over its use of copyrighted works of writing to train ChatGPT, also hasn’t disclosed what imagery and video sources were used to train Sora. (OpenAI pays an undisclosed fee to The Associated Press to license its text news archive).

OpenAI said in a blog post that it’s engaging with artists, policymakers and others before releasing the new tool to the public.

“We are working with red teamers  —  domain experts in areas like misinformation, hateful content, and bias  —  who will be adversarially testing the model,” the company said. “We’re also building tools to help detect misleading content such as a detection classifier that can tell when a video was generated by Sora.”


Microsoft Is Making 4 Exclusive Xbox Video Games Available to Rival Consoles 

The Xbox logo is pictured at the Paris Games Week in Paris, Nov. 3, 2017. (AP)
The Xbox logo is pictured at the Paris Games Week in Paris, Nov. 3, 2017. (AP)
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Microsoft Is Making 4 Exclusive Xbox Video Games Available to Rival Consoles 

The Xbox logo is pictured at the Paris Games Week in Paris, Nov. 3, 2017. (AP)
The Xbox logo is pictured at the Paris Games Week in Paris, Nov. 3, 2017. (AP)

Several exclusive Xbox games will be soon making their way to rival consoles, the video gaming brand and its parent company, Microsoft, announced Thursday.

In a special edition of the Official Xbox Podcast, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer confirmed that four Xbox games will no longer be exclusive. That means players should be able to access them on other companies’ platforms.

Spencer did not provide a firm timeframe or identify the four games but said that two will be “community-driven” games and two will be smaller titles.

“The teams that are building those games have announced plans that are not too far away,” he said. “I won’t be talking about the titles specifically, but I think when they come out, it’ll make sense.”

He did say that Microsoft-owned Bethesda titles Starfield and Indiana Jones were not among them.

Makers of gaming hardware often license popular video games in hopes of getting consumers to buy the devices that hold their exclusive rights.

Xbox’s Thursday announcement suggests that the brand is rethinking that strategy. While Microsoft maintained that there was no fundamental change to its exclusivity approach, Spencer noted that he believes games that are exclusive to one piece of hardware “are going to be a smaller and smaller part of the game industry” within the next five or 10 years.

Microsoft has already been moving away from this through its “Game Pass” subscription service that works something like a Netflix for video games.

The tech giant’s recent acquisition of video game maker Activision Blizzard allows that service to grow even further. On Thursday, Xbox President Sarah Bond announced that the first Activision Blizzard game on Xbox Game Pass will be Diablo IV, starting March 28.

“It’s all part of our commitment to make Xbox, the Xbox experience, and the games that we build as widely available as possible,” Bond said.

Xbox, which has previously ranked third in sales behind PlayStation and Nintendo, is expected to see a significant boost from the Activision Blizzard roster — which, beyond Diablo, also includes blockbuster games like Call of Duty and Overwatch.

Revenue for Microsoft’s Windows-led personal computing business, which includes Xbox games and services, already grew 19% to $16.89 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023 — largely reflecting Activision Blizzard’s impact. Microsoft’s Xbox-related revenues grew by 61% for the period, although the company attributed 55 points of that figure to the addition of Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft completed its purchase of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion back in October, nearly two years after announcing the deal. The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant had to fend off ample global opposition from antitrust regulators and rivals over competition concerns.

Sony, for example, told regulators that it feared Microsoft will deprive its dominant PlayStation game console of popular Activision games or offer subpar versions. But as it sought to persuade regulators and judges to approve the Activision purchase, Microsoft repeatedly defended its approach as good for gaming, saying its goal was to get Activision games to more people on more platforms rather than trying to deprive those games from rival console-makers.


EU Rules Policing Digital Content Kick in Saturday

The DSA is a mammoth law that will force digital giants to aggressively police content online. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP/File
The DSA is a mammoth law that will force digital giants to aggressively police content online. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP/File
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EU Rules Policing Digital Content Kick in Saturday

The DSA is a mammoth law that will force digital giants to aggressively police content online. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP/File
The DSA is a mammoth law that will force digital giants to aggressively police content online. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP/File

Digital companies will have nowhere to hide after the EU's landmark content law enters into full force from Saturday, with the risk of heavy fines for any violations.
The new rules, known as the Digital Services Act (DSA), kicked in last year for the world's largest platforms, including Facebook and TikTok, but will now apply to all except the smallest companies, AFP said.
When the European Union proposed the law in 2020, the objective was simple: to tame the wild west online, where Brussels felt companies were not doing enough to block illegal content or acting sufficiently to protect consumers.
Brussels has already bared its teeth, showing the tech titans that it means business.
There have been a wave of probes launched by the European Commission to quiz the largest platforms on how they are addressing an array of concerns from consumer protection to children's activity online.
So far, the EU has launched formal infringement proceedings against tech billionaire Elon Musk's X, formerly Twitter, over "illegal content and disinformation".
Punishment for violations of the DSA will be harsh.
Those that breach the rules could be fined up to six percent of their global annual turnover, or even banned in the EU for serious and repeated violations.
The EU will officially be able to hit companies with sanctions, including fines, for any violations from Saturday.
But beyond the prospect of fines, Alexandre de Streel of the think tank Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE), said the law aimed ultimately to change the culture of digital firms.
"The DSA is a gradual system, everything is not going to change in one minute and not on February 17," he said. "The goal isn't to impose fines, it's that platforms change their practices."
Enforcement across the bloc
Keeping an eye on firms will be a duty split between the commission, with its team of more than 120 experts, and EU states.
As an example of their new obligations, platforms that offer shopping services must act swiftly to stop the sale of counterfeit products and block repeat fraudsters.
The EU also prohibits targeted advertising for children and seeks to make it easier for users to report illegal content, complain and seek compensation for rule breaches.
The commission will supervise the largest platforms but states will need to set up "digital services coordinators" to monitor the smaller firms.
Firms with fewer than 50 staff and a turnover of less than 10 million euros ($10.8 million) will be exempted from the most burdensome rules.
Challenges
The law entered into force in August for "very large" platforms owned by Google's Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, TikTok parent ByteDance, Facebook owner Meta and Microsoft.
The EU believes these platforms must do more since their size and reach means they have greater responsibilities to address the higher risks to users.
The 22 platforms facing more stringent rules include booking.com, Google Search, Instagram, Snapchat and X as well as three major porn platforms.
They are obliged to be more transparent, giving access to researchers to scrutinize the platforms as well as publishing yearly risk assessments at their own cost.
The new law has already seen its share of controversy.
The DSA has faced a slew of legal challenges from Amazon and Zalando over their designations as "very large" firms, and from Meta and TikTok over a fee to pay for enforcement.
Meta paid around 11 million euros while TikTok refused to say how much it paid.


Microsoft to Invest 3.2 Bln Euros in Germany in AI Push

Microsoft's vice chair and president Brad Smith speaks on the day German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Microsoft Berlin office, in Berlin, Germany, February 15, 2024. REUTERS/Liesa Johannssen
Microsoft's vice chair and president Brad Smith speaks on the day German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Microsoft Berlin office, in Berlin, Germany, February 15, 2024. REUTERS/Liesa Johannssen
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Microsoft to Invest 3.2 Bln Euros in Germany in AI Push

Microsoft's vice chair and president Brad Smith speaks on the day German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Microsoft Berlin office, in Berlin, Germany, February 15, 2024. REUTERS/Liesa Johannssen
Microsoft's vice chair and president Brad Smith speaks on the day German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Microsoft Berlin office, in Berlin, Germany, February 15, 2024. REUTERS/Liesa Johannssen

US software giant Microsoft will invest 3.2 billion euros ($3.44 billion) in Germany in the next two years with a focus on artificial intelligence, Microsoft chairperson Brad Smith said at an event in the German capital on Thursday.
In the biggest investment made by the company in Germany in the last 40 years, Microsoft will spend mostly on setting up data centres and on training people in artificial intelligence in 2024 and 2025.
"We are doing this today because of the enormous confidence we have in Germany," said Smith.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomed the move, saying it represented a vote of confidence for Europe's biggest economy.

Marianne Janik, CEO of Microsoft Germany, declined to say exactly where the investments would be made, but said they were mostly looking in the western Rhineland region and around the banking hub of Frankfurt.


Nvidia Outstrips Alphabet as Third Largest US Company by Market Value

A NVIDIA logo is shown at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 31, 2017. (Reuters)
A NVIDIA logo is shown at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 31, 2017. (Reuters)
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Nvidia Outstrips Alphabet as Third Largest US Company by Market Value

A NVIDIA logo is shown at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 31, 2017. (Reuters)
A NVIDIA logo is shown at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 31, 2017. (Reuters)

Nvidia overtook Google-parent Alphabet's stock market capitalization to become the third biggest US company on Wednesday, days before the poster child of AI boom is due to report fourth-quarter results.

Strong demand for the Silicon Valley company's chips used in artificial intelligence computing has powered the stock 231% in the past 12 months to record highs, taking its market value to $1.83 trillion.

In comparison, Alphabet's market capitalization is $1.82 trillion.

A 50% surge this year has lifted Nvidia to the top spot among the S&P 500 components stock performance, surpassing even the components of Magnificent Seven.

Earlier this week, it exceeded Amazon.com's market value, leaving the retail giant in the fifth spot. Microsoft overtook Apple last month to become the largest US company.

Wall Street expects Nvidia to post $11.38 billion in fourth-quarter profit, up more than a staggering 400% from a year ago. Its revenue is expected to surge over three-fold to $20.37 billion.

Nvidia now trades 33.19 times its forward earnings estimates, above the industry median multiple of 27.35, per LSEG data.

A higher multiple indicates the stock is more likely to have priced in its earnings potential, leaving little room for further growth.