Version 21.0

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!

December is here and this week’s tech scene is buzzing! Roblox’s latest report is turning heads with Gen Z’s digital fashion trends, while IBM uses AI to combat climate change. Amazon’s new AI chatbot, Q, is set to revolutionize business communication at AWS re:Invent. It’s a whirlwind of innovation and excitement in the tech world!

Go Inside the Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix

The Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix, held on Nov. 16-18, 2023, was a high-profile event combining brand activations, fan experiences and exclusive viewing opportunities. Despite initial local concerns over traffic disruptions, the event, returning to Las Vegas for the first time since the 1980s, was embraced for its large-scale excitement. Brands like Virgin Hotels, Red Bull and Heineken created immersive zones along the track, offering unique experiences and merchandise. The event’s exclusivity and high-energy atmosphere highlighted the fusion of sports, entertainment and brand engagement.

IBM Advances Geospatial AI to Address Climate Challenges

IBM revealed its new initiatives employing geospatial AI technologies, developed in collaboration with NASA, to tackle climate change challenges. These efforts include analyzing urban heat islands in the UAE, aiding reforestation in Kenya and enhancing climate resiliency in the UK. IBM’s geospatial foundation models, trained on extensive geospatial data like satellite images, offer a versatile approach to understanding and addressing climate-related issues. These models have already contributed to significant environmental improvements, such as reducing heat island effects in the UAE and supporting tree planting in Kenya. Additionally, IBM is expanding its collaboration with NASA to develop an AI foundation model for weather and climate, aiming to enhance weather forecasting and climate applications. These initiatives are part of IBM’s long-standing commitment to environmental research and advocacy, highlighted at the upcoming COP28 conference.

Amazon unveils Q, an AI-powered chatbot for businesses

Amazon has introduced Q, an AI-powered chatbot for AWS customers, announced at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Priced at $20/year and currently in public preview, Q is trained on 17 years of AWS knowledge to provide solutions and advice on AWS-related queries. It integrates with various apps and software like Salesforce, Jira, Zendesk, Gmail and Amazon S3, learning about a business’s structure and operations. Q can analyze data, generate content and perform actions like creating service tickets and updating dashboards. It also offers features for troubleshooting and integrates with CodeWhisperer for code generation and interpretation. Q’s responses and actions are controllable and filterable, ensuring security and privacy. This tool is seen as Amazon’s response to similar AI-driven services in cloud computing, like Microsoft’s Copilot for Azure and Google Cloud’s Duet AI, and is considered a significant advancement in aiding developers with AI.

Roblox’s Metaverse Report 2023 Reveals Generation Z’s Digital Self-Expression Trends and Its Impact on Fashion

Immersive online platform Roblox recently released its comprehensive report on “Digital Expression, Fashion, and Beauty Trends in the Metaverse 2023.” The study sheds light on the evolving self-expression patterns of Gen Z in the digital realm, as well as the burgeoning fashion and beauty trends within the Metaverse. The report was derived from responses of over 1,500 Gen Z individuals actively engaged on immersive platforms like Roblox, supplemented by behavioral data from the platform — and delves into the psychology behind crafting digital avatars. It explores the consequential impact on individuals’ physical style, self-expression, purchasing decisions and psychological well-being. With over 70 million daily users, Roblox asserts it witnessed a remarkable 38% year-over-year growth in avatar updates during the first three quarters of 2023. Users made 165 million avatar updates, reflecting the dynamic nature of the platform. The surge extended to digital fashion in metaverse, with nearly 1.6 million digital fashion items and accessories purchased, marking a 15% increase from the previous year.

Tesla Cybertruck is here: electric truck will start at $60,990 and get up to 340 miles of range

Tesla has delivered its first Cybertruck to customers, four years after its debut. The event in Austin, Texas, revealed updated details: the base model, available from 2025, starts at $60,990 with a 250-mile range, while more advanced models are due in 2024. The truck’s production faced challenges due to its unique stainless steel, bulletproof design. The Cybertruck’s unconventional appearance sets it apart from traditional trucks, potentially making it more of a halo vehicle for Tesla. Elon Musk has managed expectations regarding its financial impact, with significant production ramp-up expected by 2025. The Cybertruck enters a competitive market but its distinct design and limited initial production might limit its broader appeal.

AWS re:Invent: Everything Amazon’s announced, from new AI tools to LLM updates and more

At its re:Invent event in Las Vegas, Amazon Web Services (AWS) showcased a strong focus on AI to maintain its cloud market leadership. Key announcements included Amazon Neptune Analytics for advanced data analysis, AWS Clean Rooms ML for privacy-centric AI collaborations, and SageMaker HyperPod for training large language models. AWS also introduced the Titan Image Generator for creating images from text, and Amazon Q, an AI-powered chatbot for AWS insights. New AI-focused hardware like Trainium chips for model training and Graviton4 for inferencing were unveiled. Additionally, AWS announced the Amazon S3 Express One Zone for high-performance applications, new serverless options for Aurora, ElastiCache, and Redshift, and expanded its Amazon One Enterprise for biometric authentication. The event also featured new thin client devices for accessing virtual desktops, highlighting AWS’s commitment to advancing cloud and AI technologies.

More Cool Stuff We Found

Missed a Creative Tech Byte? Find all previous versions here