Version 17.0

Written & Compiled by Macklin Andrick, GPJ Sr. Creative Technologist

GPJ’s Experience Technology practice is your trusted guide through the latest technological shifts and how they might benefit your next experience. Another week, another opportunity to explore some of the weird and wild things going on in the tech world!

IBM’s latest AI processor is crunching numbers at the speed of light, a whimsical band is turning brands into spectacles within a Sphere. Meanwhile, TwitchCon 2023 ups its game, but Las Vegas falls out of favor with the gaming crowd.

A band, a brand, a spectacle, a Sphere

U2 commenced their Las Vegas residency with a show titled “UV Achtung Baby” at the newly opened Sphere venue on September 29, 2023. The debut concert was met with enthusiasm, as fans praised the venue and the performance, describing the Sphere as “jaw dropping” and “probably one of the best venues in the world to see a concert.” The residency showcased U2’s continual ability to deliver visually striking performances, enhancing the audience’s experience in the innovative venue. U2 has announced an additional 11 shows at the Sphere, taking them into February 2024. Whether this is the end of the run, given the “unprecedented demand” or due to the fact that there is a glaring absence of other artists announcing Sphere residencies is still yet to be determined.

IBM has made a new, highly efficient AI processor

IBM has introduced a new chip named NorthPole, which demonstrates substantial improvements in efficiency and performance for AI applications. The NorthPole chip is a part of IBM’s venture into creating neuromorphic processors, which are inspired by the structure of the brain. This chip particularly integrates memory and processing, facilitating significant advancements in image recognition and other computational tasks.

TwitchCon 2023 was better than last year, but everyone hated Las Vegas

TwitchCon 2023 held in Las Vegas saw improvements over the previous year, addressing crowding issues and enhancing Twitch’s relationship with its streamers by allowing simulcasting. The attendees appreciated the positive atmosphere, marking a recovery from a tense year characterized by layoffs and unpopular policy changes at Twitch. However, the choice of Las Vegas as the venue was widely disliked due to its high costs, lack of walkable spaces and distractions which hindered community engagement and reduced opportunities for bonding and networking. The feedback received made it clear that attendees prefer a venue conducive to social interaction, prompting Twitch to consider a different location for the next year’s convention, acknowledging the importance of ‘third place’ venues where attendees can socialize informally.

Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses: a turning point

The Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses, priced at $299, are appreciated for their upgraded 12MP camera, improved photo, video and audio quality, alongside a stylish design with numerous frame and lens options. They support live streaming to Facebook or Instagram, and allow for discreet, hands-free photo and video capturing. Despite these upgrades, they have some drawbacks including a slow voice assistant, limited AI features, and concerns regarding privacy with discreet recording. The battery life could also be better. Overall, while not revolutionary, these smart glasses set a new standard in the industry, appealing mainly to gadget enthusiasts and content creators.

FCC moves ahead with Title II net neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is moving forward with plans to reinstate net neutrality rules, following a directive from President Biden who signed an executive order in July 2021 encouraging the FCC to restore the regulations initially adopted under the Obama administration. The effort is led by FCC chair, Jessica Rosenworcel, who aims to reclassify broadband access as an essential service, akin to utilities like water or electricity, thereby enabling the reimplementation of the landmark net neutrality rules rescinded during former President Trump’s term. The move began with an initial vote on the net neutrality proposal in October. This reinstatement aims to ensure a level playing field on the internet by preventing service providers from favoring or throttling traffic from particular sources.

Amazon to deliver prescriptions via drone

Amazon has launched a drone delivery service for prescription drugs in College Station, Texas, enabling patients to receive medications within an hour of ordering, at no extra cost. Customers simply choose the “free drone delivery in less than 60 minutes” option on Amazon Pharmacy’s website during checkout. The service covers over 500 medications and is part of Amazon’s effort to narrow the time gap from diagnosis to treatment. This initiative follows Amazon’s drone delivery tests in the area since December 2022 and is in response to customer demand for quicker medication delivery.

More Cool Stuff We Found

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