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A Peek into the next live video social networking platform

(TECH NEWS) Peek is the newest live-feed video social networking platform to hit the market, will it make a boom or bust like other predecessors?

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Peek at this

Social networking is here to stay. There seems to be a constant competition between Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the top spot in the socializing game. However, these are not the only social networking sites.

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In fact, many of the smaller platforms are gaining in popularity due to the lack of ads, more minimalistic design, and user preference for something new and different. One of the newest kids on the social networking block, is Peek.

What is Peek?

Peek is a little bit like Periscope. It’s a new iOS app that live-streaming with friends and family. Peek allows you to go live from where you are, and “stalk places.”

It’s like a hyperlocal version of Periscope, but a bit more private. You can only go live from exactly where you are. Unlike Instagram, you cannot tag yourself at a specific location to increase your visibility and reach.

You have no followers, no friend requests, and no “likes.”

All people will see is the content of your live stream, with the location underneath. It’s a stripped-down, bare-bones, minimalistic, version of Periscope and people are raving about the simplicity and the content.

Content without pressure for likes, followers, and fans.

Peek gives you the ability to “peek” at different locations, places, cultures, and venues, from your home.

What’s the catch?

There really isn’t a catch. Peek is completely free but it does come with a few “rules.” Peek reserves the right to block “racists, homophobics, xenophobics, sexists, and ‘extremist’ views,” but they are cool with nudity.

You may get flagged for it by other users, but they don’t strictly prohibit nudity.

After downloading the app, you will be asked to login with your Facebook credentials and turn on location settings (so the app knows you are where you say you are, geographically). Once you’re logged in with Facebook, you’ll be able to see everyone who has “gone live” recently and you’ll have the ability to “go live” as well.

If you click on your profile, at the top right of the screen, you’ll be able to see how many people have “stalked” you (watched your video).

This is helpful for checking out places like airports, concert venues, and other popular locations like restaurants you may not be familiar with, before you check them out for yourself.

This also gives techies and business people the ability to check out venues, get virtual walk-throughs on setups (depending on the content of other Peek users) and live stream content from conference centers and meetings for themselves.

Peek gives you the ability to see a variety of live-streaming locations and people, without the pressure of collecting followers.

Also, Peek allows you to delete a video you’ve posted in case you change your mind about your video (although if anyone was watching the live-feed they will have seen every minute of your content, so please keep that in mind).

A comparison of Peek’s predecessors

As buzzworthy as Peek is right now, will it last, or will it go the way of Peach, Ello, and Blab? Maybe Peek will have staying power given their no rules, no-cost platform.

Peach was founded by Dom Hofmann, one of the co-founders of Vine (which was later acquired by Twitter), so it was no novice to the social media game, and yet it couldn’t manage to make a big splash.

The same can be said of Ello.

Ello was intended to be an ad-free version, reminiscent of Facebook, but it still wasn’t able to garner enough followers to make it a “big name” in social networking. Blab, on the other hand, had a very Periscope-y like feel to it.

But again couldn’t make the leap into the “big time.”

Peek certainly has gained a great deal of excitement and attention from the tech community, and has the possibility to become a fan-favorite platform. What do you think, will Peek be the next big thing, or will it fizzle out like the previous live video social networking platforms?

#Peek

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Tech News

A deepfakes creator for text so realistic it can’t be made public yet

(TECHNOLOGY) You know about video deepfakes, but the technology exists for doing convincing deepfakes for text. It’s so good that they aren’t ready to release it to the public yet…

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Artificial intelligence is being used to complete more and more human tasks. But as of right now, news stories you read online – including all the articles here on American Genius – have been written by real human beings.

Until recently, even the most intelligent computers couldn’t be trained to recreate the complex rules and stylistic subtleties of language. AI-generated text would often wander off topic or mix up the syntax and lack context or analysis.

However, a non-profit called OpenAI says they have developed a text generator that can simulate human writing with remarkable accuracy.

The program is called GPT2. When fed any amount of text, from a few words to a page, it can complete the story, whether it be a news story or a fictional one.

You already know about video deepfakes, but these “deepfakes for text” stay on subject and match the style of the original text. For example, when fed the first line of George Orwell’s 1984, GPT2 created a science-fiction story set in a futuristic China.

This improved text generator is much better at simulating human writing because it has learned from a dataset that is “15 times bigger and broader” than its predecessor, according to OpenAI research director, Dario Amodei.

Usually researchers are eager to share their creations with the world – but in the case, the Elon Musk-backed organization has, at least of the time being, withheld GPT2 from the public out of fear of what criminals and other malicious users might do with it.

Jack Clark, OpenAI’s head of policy, says that the organization needs more time to experiment with GPT2’s capabilities so that they can anticipate malicious uses. “If you can’t anticipate all the abilities of a model, you have to prod it to see what it can do,” he says. “There are many more people than us who are better at thinking what it can do maliciously.”

Some potential malicious uses of GPT2 could include generating fake positive reviews for products (or fake negative reviews of competitors’ products); generating SPAM messages; writing fake news stories that would be indistinguishable from real news stories; and spreading conspiracy theories.

Furthermore, because GPT2 learns from the internet, it wouldn’t be hard to program GPT2 to produce hate speech and other offensive messages.

As a writer, I can’t think of very many good reasons to use an AI story generator that doesn’t put me out of job. So I appreciate that the researchers at OpenAI are taking time to fully think through the implications before making this Pandora’s box of technology available to the general public.

Says Clark, “We are trying to develop more rigorous thinking here. We’re trying to build the road as we travel across it.”

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This AI program wants to be your graphic designer

(TECH NEWS) If you’re a small business looking for branding or to re-brand but don’t have the time nor budget, this tool can help you get it done!

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AI is growing, now it can even be your own personal graphic designer.

The new company Brandmark uses AI to create custom brand identities in minutes. All you need to do is describe your business and leave the designing up to them.

Brandmark describes their system as “more than just a logo,” as they aid people in developing an entire brand identity. This includes a complete style guide, color scheme and even a WordPress compatible website template.

It is the perfect tool for small businesses and entrepreneurs who may not have the budget to hire an in-house designer to join their team.

The creators of Brandmark have attempted to give the platform personal elements as well, so that you can understand the design decisions and even have the chance to make it your own.

The process is as simple as it can get. All that Brandmark requires is for you to type in a few keywords that best describe your business. For example, a coffee shop might type in “coffee, hot, lounge, mocha, books, relaxation.” These keywords are anything that can be associated with your brand so it is important to include adjectives as well. Consider how you want customers to feel when they see your product or walk into your shop for the first time.

All of these details will help Brandmark create a unique and personal identity for you.

The creators of the tool wanted it to feel like a true designer. That is why they have developed a system that understands design principles. After creating a look, Brandmark will explain the design choice and how it relates to your brand. In addition, you have access to features that allow you to customize the design.

Just like any professional service, Brandmark provides a style guide that can be used to apply your brand - including logo, color scheme and font - to various type of products. Click To Tweet

For instance, the same coffee shop would know how to apply their logo to coffee cups, bags, mugs and menus by following the guide. In addition, website layouts are offered to get your online business started. It’s an all-in-one package to get your business up and running with a professional look.

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Tech News

This eye tracking tech could be what saves VR

(TECHNOLOGY) VR has struggled with adoption rates, but this new technology could finally make it more useful in daily life.

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VR could be saved

The new HTC Vive Pro Eye VR headset made its debut at CES 2019. An updated version of the HTC Vive Pro, its features are expected to have a variety of uses over the long-term.

The Vive Pro Eye features new eye tracking technology developed in partnership with Tobii Eye Tracking. Inside the headset are sensors around the eyes to help the A.I. target what your eye is seeing. This is integrated into the UI design, allowing users to select menu options just by looking at their choice. In theory, users can choose how to interact with different A.I. characters or in VR chat spaces.

The eye tracking features Dynamic Foveated Rendering which will allow the computer to render VR objects the user is looking at to a high resolution. Likewise, images on the user’s periphery or outside the field of view will appear at a lower resolution or won’t be rendered at all. This way headset will require less performance power from its graphics card, and can still generate high-quality images in the places that matter.

Another feature is the A.I. assist where the computer can register intended targets in the VR environment based upon where your eyes are looking. This could be helpful for newcomers to VR instead of adjusting to the hand-eye coordination with the remote.

In a new industry like VR, the turnover rate for technology is fairly high, but the fovated rendering is likely to stay. Since its practicality not only enhances user experience, but also provides support from a hardware standpoint, its not outlandish to think developers will piggy-back off this new feature.

Sounds like fun? Well, currently the Vive Pro Eye is meant for business ventures rather than for consumers. But we’ll likely see this technology eventually find its way into more affordable VR products. There is no release date or price range yet available.

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