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The Music You Hear Might Be a Marketing Tool, and the AI War Rages On

The latest Computer AF began with a bang! Hosts John Boitnott and Anne Ahola Ward remembered the episode number, there was singing, and for a brief moment, everyone forgot that they are being watched by the massive industrial machine under the sweet, sweet voice of Phil Collins. That is, until they both realized that Phil’s non-threatening tunes being played at Whole Foods is actually an example of masterful targeting.

What some people might not realize is that the music they hear in a grocery store or office might not be a representation of management’s sometimes-questionable music preferences. Everything, from the songs played to the visuals presented, has the potential to be well-crafted marketing. Is the demographic older? Then Phil is the way to go. But as Anne pointed out, he’s unlikely to be belting it out over the speakers at every store.

Brands do their research, whether it be to properly advertise on social media platforms or pull people in as they walk through the aisles of a store. Ever get the feeling that your phone or Alexa is listening to your every word? They might be. But stores and big brands certainly are.

Of course, nothing, not even Computer AF, would be complete without mentioning the AI of it all. Not only did the pair discuss how the first AI company to master targeting would take off, but they also touched upon the latest release of ChatGPT, GPT-4o. Yes, o, not zero. It stands for Onyx.

What is really interesting is how ChatGPT announced the new version right before Google I/O, adding some sparks to the ongoing AI war. And while ChatGPT and Google are unlikely to unite forces, there is the possibility of another partner on the horizon in the form of Apple, which has been oddly reluctant to enter into “AI anything.”

Speaking of Apple, it’s not all good news. While it might be exciting to think about the AI future with ChatGPT, a recent bug causing deleted photos to reappear on iPhones is not as fun. The issue resurrects potentially embarrassing photos and places them in the “recent” section of users’ photo libraries. It is enough to call Apple’s software reliability into question, impacting user trust.

When it comes to photos, Google is doing a bit better than Apple. Its latest feature, “Ask the Photo Assistant,” is doing things right. Not only is it leaving deleted photos alone, but it is also giving users the ability to ask specific questions about the photos in their libraries. Moreover, the information they receive back is accurate, mostly. While it might not be useful for someone with a few photos, John swears by the usefulness of similar technology, especially when you want to search images by keywords.

While John made it clear how happy he was with the ability to search images by haircut, he changed his tune to discuss Elon Musk later in the episode. Why? Why not! He commented on Musk’s controversial management of Twitter, which includes tight control over content on a supposed “free speech” platform, among other things.

The weekly “Musk Report” wasn’t all bad, though. Neuralink is doing some interesting things, such as giving Noland Arbaugh the ability to live a life previously unimaginable. The technology still requires extensive development, but the potential uses for the brain-machine interface technology are limitless.

Waymo’s autonomous vehicle software is under federal investigation after 22 reports of crashes and traffic violations, primarily in San Francisco. Incidents include vehicles driving into construction zones and the wrong lanes, with one vehicle even being set on fire. Despite proponents arguing that self-driving cars have a lower accident rate than human drivers, achieving widespread acceptance and ensuring safety are major challenges for Waymo.

In the broader context of tech companies and public trust, Apple, Google, and Waymo face significant scrutiny. Apple’s cautious approach to AI contrasts with Google’s aggressive AI advancements, while Waymo grapples with safety issues. These companies must balance innovation with transparency and user-centric policies to maintain consumer trust and loyalty.

Want to hear the full scoop on these topics and more? Watch the full episode on YouTube.

Computer AF is a tech-focused show featuring the genius combination of the Anne Ahola Ward and John Boitnott. Enough said.

Originally Appeared Here

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