Odds and Ends 

Full House, Only Everyone Looks Like Ron Swanson

In this disturbingly funny deepfake, Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) is ‘deepfaked’ onto every main character in Full House, creating a new take on the classic intro/opening credits of the once popular television show. You cannot unsee this. Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/ron-swanson-full-house-intro/

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Dasha AI is calling so you dont have to

While you’d be hard-pressed to find any startup not brimming with confidence over the disruptive idea they’re chasing, it’s not often you come across a young company as calmly convinced it’s engineering the future as Dasha AI. The team is building a platform for designing human-like voice interactions to automate business processes. Put simply, it’s using AI to make machine voices a whole lot less robotic. “What we definitely know is this will definitely happen,” says CEO and co-founder Vladislav Chernyshov. “Sooner or later the conversational AI/voice AI will replace…

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Odds and Ends 

Startups Weekly: SoftBanks second act

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 noted some challenges plaguing mental health tech startups. Before that, I wrote about Zoom and Superhuman’s PR disasters. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here. accelerating its IPO plans and targeting a September listing. We don’t…

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Odds and Ends 

Techstars Detroit announces first class after major refocus

At the beginning of 2019, Techstars Mobility turned into Techstars Detroit. At the time of the announcement, Managing Director Ted Serbinski penned “the word mobility was becoming too limiting. We knew we needed to reach a broader audience of entrepreneurs who may not label themselves as mobility but are great candidates for the program.” I always called it Techstars Detroit anyway. With Techstars Detroit, the program is looking for startups transforming the intersection of the physical and digital worlds that can leverage the strengths of Detroit to succeed. It’s a…

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Odds and Ends 

This Crazy Tech Can Turn Anybody in a Photo Into a Moving Animation

Photo Wake-Up is a research project by Chung-Yi Weng, Brian Curless, and Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman of the University of Washington. Per their paper’s abstract: We present a method and application for animating a human subject from a single photo. E.g., the character can walk out, run, sit, or jump in 3D. The key contributions of this paper are: 1) an application of viewing and animating humans in single photos in 3D, 2) a novel 2D warping method to deform a posable template body model to fit the person’s complex silhouette to…

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Microsoft and Oracle link up their clouds

Microsoft and Oracle announced a new alliance today that will see the two companies directly connect their clouds over a direct network connection so that their users can then move workloads and data seamlessly between the two. This alliance goes a bit beyond just basic direct connectivity and also includes identity interoperability. This kind of alliance is relatively unusual between what are essentially competing clouds, but while Oracle wants to be seen as a major player in this space, it also realizes that it isn’t likely to get to the…

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AI services startup Hypergiant brings on Bill Nye as an advisor

Hypergiant, a startup launched last year to address the execution gap in bringing applied AI and machine learning technologies to bear for large companies, has signed on a high-profile new advisor to help out with the new ‘Galactic Systems’ division of its services lineup. Hypergiant founder CEO Ben Lamm also serves as an Advisory Council Member for The Planetary Society, the nonprofit dedicated to space science and exploration advocacy that’s led by Nye who acts as the Society’s CEO. Nye did some voiceover work for the video at the bottom…

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Announcing TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise this September in San Francisco

Last year alone, the and included IBM’s acquiring Red Hat for $34 billion, SAP paying $8 billion for Qualtrics, Microsoft landing GitHub for $7.5 billion, Salesforce acquiring MuleSoft for $6.5 billion and Adobe grabbing Marketo for $4.75 billion. No startup category has made more VCs and founders wildly wealthy, and none has seen more mighty companies rise faster or fall harder. That technology and business thrill ride makes enterprise a category TechCrunch has long wanted to tackle head on. We’ll enlist proven enterprise-focused VCs to reveal where they are directing…

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Google launches new Assistant developer tools

At its I/O conference, Google today announced a slew of new tools for developers who want to build experiences for the company’s Assistant platform. These range from the ability to build games for smart displays, like the Google Home Hub and the launch of App Actions for taking users from an Assistant answer to their native apps, to a new Local Home SDK that allows developers to run their smart home code locally on Google Home Speakers and Nest Displays. This Local Home SDK may actually be the most important…

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Deep Learning Smart Paintbrush Turns Doodles Into Photorealistic Images

A deep learning AI model developed by NVIDIA Research has been seen turning rough doodles into photorealistic images with astonishing ease. The tool leverages generative adversarial networks, or GANs, to convert segmentation maps into lifelike images. The interactive app using the model, in a lighthearted nod to the post-Impressionist painter, has been christened GauGAN. Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin GauGAN could offer a powerful tool for creating virtual worlds to everyone from architects and urban planners to landscape designers and game developers. With an AI that understands how the real world looks,…

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Skymind raises $11.5M to bring deep learning to more enterprises

Skymind, a Y Combinator-incubated AI platform that aims to make deep learning more accessible to enterprises, today announced that it has raised an $11.5 million Series A round led by TransLink Capital, with participation from ServiceNow, Sumitomo’s Presidio Ventures, UpHonest Capital and GovTech Fund. Early investors Y Combinator, Tencent, Mandra Capital, Hemi Ventures, and GMO Ventures, also joined the round/ With this, the company has now raised a total of $17.9 million in funding. The inclusion of TransLink Capital gives a hint as to how the company is planning to…

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Headlines 

AI Algorithms Are Now Shockingly Good at Doing Science

No human, or team of humans, could possibly keep up with the avalanche of information produced by many of today’s physics and astronomy experiments. Some of them record terabytes of data every day—and the torrent is only increasing. The Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope slated to switch on in the mid-2020s, will generate about as much data traffic each year as the entire internet. The deluge has many scientists turning to artificial intelligence for help. With minimal human input, AI systems such as artificial neural networks—computer-simulated networks of neurons…

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Chinas WeChat is the latest to get Snap-like Stories

WeChat, the Chinese messaging giant with more than 1 billion monthly active users around the world, just added a Snap-like ephemeral video feature as part of its biggest overhaul since 2014. The revamp comes as Tencent, which owns stakes in Snap, sees increasing rivalry from up-and-comers like video app TikTok and news app Jinri Toutiao. WeChat has, over the years, morphed beyond a straight-up messenger to include many utility purposes. With more than 1 million lightweight apps up and running, users can accomplish a long list of tasks, ranging from shopping…

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