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The Next Web

Sony’s new AI agent achieves superhuman Gran Turismo Sport scores

One of the best things about computers is that they can learn just as much from a simulation as they can from so-called ‘real world’ experiences. That means, given the proper simulator, we can teach AI to drive cars without ever putting a single human in danger. Just about every AI company trains their driverless vehicle algorithms using simulations. Until now, the simulators themselves weren’t all that interesting. They’re mostly just physics engines designed to be interpreted by a neural network. But Sony just unveiled the most popular autonomous driving simulator ever: Gran Turismo Sport. In case you’re not a gamer: this isn’t advanced software designed to train AIs, it’s a game. And not just any game but the latest in one of the most beloved racing simulation series in history Researchers from the University of Zurich and Sony AI Zurich recently published a pre-print paper showcasing the development of an autonomous agent designed to beat the best human players at the game. Per the team: Among racing games, Gran Turismo Sport (GTS) is known as a highly realistic driving simulation, modelling phenomena, such as the influence of tires’ temperature and a car’s current fuel level on traction. Therefore, similarly to real-world racing, the optimal trajectory (i.e., the trajectory leading to the fastest lap time) for a car in GTS depends not only on the geometry and properties of the track, but also on various (a priori unknown) physical characteristics and states of the car. Due to its similarity to real…Continue readingSony’s new AI agent achieves superhuman Gran Turismo Sport scores

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TechCrunch

Undermyfork scores $400K seed for its diabetes tracking app and US launch – TechCrunch

Undermyfork, a diabetes tracking app designed to help people with the disease improve “time-in-range” and better manage their condition, has raised $400,000 in seed funding. Investment comes from AltaIR Capital and Runa Capital . Undermyfork co-founder Mike Ushakov’s previous company, Metabar (the maker of the browser add-on Sovetnik), was also backed by Runa, before being acquired by Yandex several years ago. The Undermyfork app combines meal photos with glucose data coming from a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) device. The aim is to let users correlate meals with changes in blood glucose levels. Specifically, it focuses on “time-in-range” — the percentage of time that a person spends with their blood glucose levels in a target range, considered the most important metric in modern diabetes management. “With our app, we want to help people with diabetes correct their lifestyle and eating habits, and improve their time-in-range,” Ushakov tells me. “Undermyfork is a very simple tool now: it combines meal photos and insulin data with glucose data, and allows the users to clearly see which meals are driving them out of the safe blood glucose range. “We help people with diabetes not just to see their blood glucose data, but to interpret the data and make useful conclusions that could improve their life. You can say it’s like ‘Google analytics for blood sugar.’ ” More broadly, Undermyfork is betting that continuous glucose monitoring devices will replace traditional finger-pricking blood glucose meters in the coming years. The strategy is to establish itself as the…Continue readingUndermyfork scores $400K seed for its diabetes tracking app and US launch – TechCrunch

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TechCrunch

Vitesse, a fintech providing real-time cross-border payments for businesses, scores £6.6M Series A – TechCrunch

Vitesse, the London-based fintech that offers real-time cross-border payments for businesses, has raised £6.6 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from existing backers including Hoxton Ventures and various angel investors. The company says the new investment will be used for growth, including building out its sales and marketing functions, and expanding Vitesse’s footprint in the U.S. market. It will also further invest in the “reach and speed” of its banking capabilities in order to meet customer demand as the fintech expands globally. Founded in 2014 by Phillip McGriskin and Paul Townsend, who sold their previous fintech to Worldpay, Vitesse operates a global banking and payment network. This sees it able to provide customers with direct access to the domestic payment networks of more than 100 countries in over 60 currencies. It currently targets businesses in the insurance, payroll and corporate payment space who want to simplify their liquidity management and easily make cross-border payments. Existing customers include Brit Insurance, DXC Technology and Gett. To date, Vitesse has processed over £2.1 billion across almost 2.3 million transactions. “Cross border payments are still largely inefficient, especially for businesses,” explains McGriskin. “They can be slow and expensive, and tracking and reconciling them and keeping compliant in a constantly shifting regulatory environment can prove difficult”. To remedy this, Vitesse’s banking network provides access to multiple domestic banking services so that businesses can make payments to other businesses and their customers in the “fastest, and most economical…Continue readingVitesse, a fintech providing real-time cross-border payments for businesses, scores £6.6M Series A – TechCrunch

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Tech Radar

Disney’s The Mandalorian scores a raft of Emmy noms, but competition is fierce

Less than a year after its launch, the Disney Plus streaming service has made a fantastic awards season debut, snagging a total of 19 nominations for this year’s Emmy Awards, with The Mandalorian scoring 15 nods in total. Among its many nominations, the live-action Star Wars series managed to score a nomination in the Outstanding Drama Series category, which is the Emmy equivalent of Best Picture at the Oscars. Other notable categories for which The Mandalorian was nominated include Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance for Taika Waititi’s memorable portrayal of the IG-11 droid, Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour) and Outstanding Special Visual Effects. Along with The Mandalorian, Disney Plus’ Star Wars Resistance also received a nomination for Outstanding Children’s Program, alongside nods for The World According to Jeff Goldblum, The Imagineering Story, A Celebration of the Music From Coco, and Disney Pixar’s animated short Forky Asks a Question. Today’s best Disney+ deals Also making its Emmys debut this year is Apple TV Plus, with the service landing 18 nominations across a number of shows and specials, including The Morning Show, Beastie Boys Story, Defending Jacob and Central Park. Some seriously stiff competition While Disney Plus’ first showing at the Emmy Awards is certainly impressive, it is but a small drop in the ocean compared to Netflix’s record-breaking number of nominations.  The streaming giant has made history with an astounding 160 nods in total, easily smashing the 137 nomination record set by HBO in 2019. Of the Netflix shows receiving…Continue readingDisney’s The Mandalorian scores a raft of Emmy noms, but competition is fierce

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Engadget

‘The Mandalorian’ scores a best drama Emmy nomination for Disney+

Despite the tepid reception the platform has received (to put it mildly), Quibi snagged its first Emmy nominations too. It picked up ten overall, mostly for acting performances in short-form shows. Quibi also earned Outstanding Short Form Comedy Or Drama Series nods for Reno 911! and Most Dangerous Game. Netflix, on the other hand, is more of an Emmy juggernaut than ever this year. It received 160 nominations, by far the most of any network or platform. The Crown, Ozark, Stranger Things, Dead To Me, The Kominsky Method, Unbelievable and Unorthodox all received best series nominations in their respective categories. The company also dominated the television movie category with four of the five slots. Amazon picked up 30 nominations for Prime Video series, including 20 nods for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale returned to the Best Drama Series lineup, with the streaming service claiming 26 nominations overall. Meanwhile, Oculus received three nods and YouTube landed two. HBO’s Watchmen scored the most nominations of any show with 26. You can check out the full list of nominees at the Emmys website. Source linkContinue reading‘The Mandalorian’ scores a best drama Emmy nomination for Disney+

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TechCrunch

Why certain VC investors earn great ‘Founder NPS’ scores – TechCrunch

Why are certain VCs loved by founders and others loathed? It’s a question that is key not just to founders seeking capital, but also VCs who are looking to burnish their reputations and build the track record that will get them into the next hot deal. For businesses with actual customers, it’s common to assess their enthusiasm for the product or service by conducting an NPS survey. The idea of a “Net Promoter Score” is to not just see who is satisfied with their transaction, but also to see to what degree a customer is likely to tell their friends and others about the experience. A high NPS toward 100 indicates that the vast majority of customers loved the experience and are enthusiastic about sharing the word. A score toward -100 would indicate that people hated their experience, and will likely spread their tale of woe with others. Source linkContinue readingWhy certain VC investors earn great ‘Founder NPS’ scores – TechCrunch

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TechCrunch

Legaltech startup Orbital Witness scores £3.3M to create a ‘universal risk rating’ for real estate – TechCrunch

Orbital Witness, a U.K.-based legaltech startup developing “AI-powered” software to transform the £4 billion U.K. property due diligence market, has raised £3.3 million in seed funding. The round is led by LocalGlobe and Outward VC, with participation from previous investors, including Seedcamp and JLL Spark. It brings Orbital Witness’s total funding to £4.5 million. Launched with its first customer in September 2018 and now used by numerous large law firms, including four of the five so-called “Magic Circle” firms, Orbital Witness’ long-term vision is to build a “universal risk rating” for real estate. “Think of a credit risk check for land and property,” Orbital Witness co-founder and COO Will Pearce tells me. To do this, the startup is employing machine learning technology that it hopes can mirror the process a lawyer goes through when gathering and checking property information. The idea is to use AI to “predetermine” issues that constitute a potential risk. “Our technology is adept at trawling through and extracting key issues from the wide range of sources that a property lawyer considers, including HM Land Registry and local authorities,” explains Pearce. “For example, a user is alerted to third party rights, charges and restrictions that might block a sale. In our current state of product development, this allows Orbital Witness to act as an ‘early warning system’ for property lawyers”. Zooming out further, Pearce says real estate is the world’s largest asset class, but that the process of recording and reporting on property rights has not materially…Continue readingLegaltech startup Orbital Witness scores £3.3M to create a ‘universal risk rating’ for real estate – TechCrunch

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TechCrunch

Yamo scores €10.1M Series A to offer healthier food choices for young children – TechCrunch

Yamo, a self-described “foodtech” startup that produces and sells healthier food for babies and young children, has raised €10.1 million in Series A funding. Backing comes from European food and agriculture tech investor Five Seasons Ventures, Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund, Ringier Digital Ventures, Müller Ventures, btov Partners, Polytech Ventures, BackBone Ventures, and Fundament. It brings total funding to €12 million. Founded in 2016 by CEO Tobias Gunzenhauser, COO José Amado-Blanco, and CMO Luca Michas, yamo is on a mission to give parents healthier and easy food choices for their young children. Its products are available online via direct-to-consumer subscription model, and through grocery stores. The latter includes Coop in Switzerland, and trials in select Edeka and Rewe stores in Germany. With the new funding, yano is expanding to France and will launch new food products for children. “In October 2015 Luca and I were co-workers in the same company, and we decided to eat vegan for a month,” says Gunzenhauser, when asked about the startup’s inception. “After starting our vegan challenge we had to scan food labels for hidden animal products. That was when we realised how many products in the supermarket contain unnecessary sugar and unhealthy ingredients. Out of curiosity, we checked the baby food aisle, naively assuming they would be the cleanest and healthiest food products available. We were quite wrong”. Gunzenhauser and Michas observed that baby food products typically contained added sugar and salt, artificial vitamins, and a “scarily long shelf life, [which] seemed rather odd”. “Everyone was…Continue readingYamo scores €10.1M Series A to offer healthier food choices for young children – TechCrunch

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ZDNet

Streamlit wants to revolutionize building machine learning and data science applications, scores $21 million Series A funding

We were confused at first when we got the news. We interpreted “application framework for machine learning and data science” to mean some new framework for working with data, such as PyTorch, DeepLearning4j, and Neuton, to name just a few among many others out there. So, our first reaction was: Another one, how is it different? Truth is, Streamlit is not a framework for working with data per se. Rather, it is a framework for building data-driven applications. That makes it different to boot with, and there’s more. Streamlit is aimed at people who don’t necessarily know or care much about application development: Data scientists. It was created by a rock star team of data scientists who met in 2013 while working at Google X, it’s open source, and has been spreading like wildfire, counting some 200.000 applications built since late 2019. Today Streamlit announced that it has secured $21 million in Series A funding. ZDNet connected with CEO Adrien Treuille to discuss what makes Streamlit special, and where it, and data-driven applications at large, are going next.  To listen to the conversation with Treuille in its entirety, you can head to the Orchestrate All the Things podcast. From zero to hero: from datasets and models to applications The investment was co-led by Gradient Ventures and GGV Capital, with additional participation from Bloomberg Beta, Elad Gil, Daniel Gross, and others. Glenn Solomon, a managing partner at GGV Capital, said that: “Adapting quickly to new information and insights is one of the…Continue readingStreamlit wants to revolutionize building machine learning and data science applications, scores $21 million Series A funding