Dexa: A New Podcast Search Engine

May 21, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo (a small percentage) dominate US search. Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms host and aggregate podcast shows. The problem is neither the twain shall meet when people are searching for video or audio content. Riley Tomasek was inspired by the problem and developed the Deva app:

“Dexa is an innovative brand that brings the power of AI to your favorite podcasts. With Dexa’s AI-powered podcast assistants, you can now explore, search, and ask questions related to the knowledge shared by trusted creators. Whether you’re curious about sleep supplements, programming languages, growing an audience, or achieving financial freedom, Dexa has you covered. Dexa unlocks the wisdom of experts like Andrew Huberman, Lex Fridman, Rhonda Patrick, Shane Parrish, and many more.

With Dexa, you can explore the world of podcasts and tap into the knowledge of trusted creators in a whole new way.”

Alex Huberman of Huberman Labs picked up the app and helped it go viral.

From there the Deva team built an intuitive, complex AI-powered search engine that indexes, analyzes, and transcribes podcasts. Since Deva launched nine months ago it has 50,000 users, answered almost one million, and partnered with famous podcasters. A recent update included a chat-based interface, more search and discover options, and ability watch referenced clips in a conversation.

Deva has raised $6 million in seed money and an exclusive partnership with Huberman Lab.

Deva is still a work in progress but it responds like ChatGPT but with a focus of conveying information and searching for content. It’s an intuitive platform that cites its sources directly in the search. It’s probably an interface that will be adopted by other search engines in the future.

Whitney Grace, May 21, 2024

Finding Live Music Performances

April 5, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Here is a niche search category some of our readers will appreciate. Lifehacker shares “The Best Ways to Find Live Gigs for Music You Love.” Writer David Nield describes how one can tap into a combination of sources to stay up to date on upcoming music events. He begins:

“More than once I’ve missed out on shows in my neighborhood put on by bands I like, just because I’ve been out of the loop. Whether you don’t want to miss gigs by artists you know, or you’re keen to get out and discover some new music, there are lots of ways to stay in touch with the live shows happening in your area—you need never miss a gig again. Pick the one(s) that work best for you from this list.”

First are websites dedicated to spreading the musical word, like Songkick and Bandsintown. One can sign up for notices or simply browse the site by artist or location. These sites can also use one’s listening data from streaming apps to inform their results. Or one can go straight to the source and follow artists on social media or their own websites (but that can get overwhelming if one enjoys many bands). Several music apps like Spotify and Deezer will notify you of upcoming concerts and events for artists you choose. Finally, YouTube lists tour details and ticket links beneath videos of currently touring bands, highlighting events near you. If, that is, you have chosen to share your location with the Google-owned site.

Cynthia Murrell, April 5, 2024

How Quickly Will Rights Enforcement Operations Apply Copyright Violation Claims to AI/ML Generated Images?

September 20, 2022

My view is that the outfits which use a business model to obtain payment for images without going through an authorized middleman or middlethem (?) are beavering away at this moment. How do “enforcement operations” work? Easy. There is old and new code available to generate a “digital fingerprint” for an image. You can see how these systems work. Just snag an image from Bing, Google, or some other picture finding service. Save it to you local drive. Then navigate — let’s use the Google, shall we? — to Google Images and search by image. Plug in the location on your storage device and the system will return matches. TinEye works too. What you see are matches generated when the “fingerprint” of the image you upload matches a fingerprint in the system’s “memory.” When an entity like a SPAC thinking Getty Images, PicRights, or similar outfit (these folks have conferences to discuss methods!) spots a “match,” the legal eagles take flight. One example of such a legal entity making sure the ultimate owner of the image and the middlethem gets paid, is — I think — something called “Higbee.” I remember the “bee” because the named reminded me of Eleanor Rigby. (The mind is mysterious, right?) The offender such as a church, a wounded veteran group, or a clueless blogger about cookies is notified of an “infringement.” The idea is that the ultimate owner gets money because why not? The middlethem gets money too. I think the legal eagle involved gets money because lawyers…

I read “AI Art Is Here and the World Is Already Different. How We Work — Even Think — Changes When We Can Instantly Command Convincing Images into Existence” takes a stab at explaining what the impact of AI/ML generated art will be. The write up nicks the topic, but it does not buy the pen and nib into the heart of the copyright opportunity.

Here’s a passage I noted from the cited article:

In contrast with the glib intra-VC debate about avoiding human enslavement by a future superintelligence, discussions about image-generation technology have been driven by users and artists and focus on labor, intellectual property, AI bias, and the ethics of artistic borrowing and reproduction.

Close but not a light saber cutting to the heart of what’s coming.

There is a long and growing list of things people can command into existence with their phones, through contested processes kept hidden from view, at a bargain price: trivia, meals, cars, labor. The new AI companies ask, Why not art?

Wrong question!

My hunch is that the copyright enforcement outfits will gather images, find a way to assign rights, and then sue the users of these images because the users did not know that the images were part of the enforcers furniture of a lawsuit.

Fair? Soft fraud? Something else?

The cited article does not consider these questions. Perhaps someone with a bit more savvy and a reasonably calibrated moral and ethical compass should?

Stephen E Arnold, September 20, 2022

YouTube: Podcasts, Vidcasts, Any Old Casts Will Do for Advertising

September 6, 2022

It appears YouTube is eager to jump onto the podcast bandwagon. The Hustle ponders whether “YouTube = Future Podcast Champ?” Maybe, but Google will have to maintain interest; otherwise, another Google Plus type situation may emerge. Writer Juliet Bennett Rylah reports:

A new podcasts homepage is now available to US users, going live sans fanfare in late July. TechCrunch speculates YouTube is waiting for its creator event next month to make a formal announcement. But YouTube also: 

  • Hired podcast exec Kai Chuk in 2021 Offered podcasters and networks $50k-$300k to create videos
  • Discussed audio ads and new analytics for audio-centric creators in a leaked document 
  • Partnered with NPR to bring on 20+ of its most popular shows.

Why’s it matter? While YouTube is often seen as a video-first platform, YouTube Music had 2B+ monthly users and 50m+ paid subs as of September 2021. Though competitors including Spotify, Apple, and Amazon have made big moves in the space, a Cumulus Media analysis found YouTube is America’s most popular podcast platform, capturing 24.2% of listeners compared to Spotify’s 23.8% and Apple’s 16%.”

Rylah, fittingly, points us to a podcast for another perspective. On an episode of Marketing Against the Grain, HubSpot’s Kipp Bodnar and Kieran Flanagan assert YouTube subscribers are now the most valuable subscribers on the Internet. They also make a few predictions. For example, the pair believes YouTube’s discovery platform will give its podcasters a leg up. They also suspect the site’s background listening feature is about to become free for everyone, as it currently is in a Canadian pilot program. At the same time, the site may push both podcasts and the brands that support them toward a more visual format. But wouldn’t that just turn them into more video content? What makes a podcast a podcast? Perhaps that is a philosophical question beyond the ken of this humble, text-based content creator.

Cynthia Murrell, September 6, 2022

TikTok: Redefines Regular TV

January 11, 2022

What do most people under the age of 30 want to watch? YouTube? Sure, particularly some folks in Eastern Europe for whom YouTube is a source of “real news” and tips for surviving winter in Siberia. (Tip: Go to Sochi.)

TikTok videos Will Be Playing at Restaurants, Gyms, Airports Soon” reports:

TikTok partnered with Atmosphere to bring short-form videos to the background of your next gym session, restaurant meal, or airport visit. Startup Atmosphere streams news and entertainment to commercial locations such as restaurants, airports, hotels, doctors’ waiting rooms, and other venues. That content is sourced from a host of free, ad-supported networks, including YouTube, Red Bull TV, AFV TV, World Poker Tour, The Bob Ross Channel, and, now, TikTok—making its out-of-home video service debut.

The airport venue may not be A Number One with a Bullet today, but it has promise, particularly when paired with those surveillance centric smart TVs from some folks in South Korea and elsewhere.

My thought is that the short form video looks like the future of entertainment. Instead of smash cuts, the new programs will be structured like TikTok videos. The idea will be to create an impression with the individual videos providing the shaped or weaponized content.

Dystopia? Nah, just the normal progression of information when new tools, techniques, capabilities, and methods become available. In the case of TikTok, the addition of a China-linked approach adds spice. Perhaps it is time to think in terms of managing the content streams which are set to displace what Boomers and other old timers find reliable.

That requires understanding, will, and commitment. Those are qualities on display in many seats of government, aren’t they?

Stephen E Arnold, January 11, 2022

DarkCyber for May 4, 2021, Now Available

May 4, 2021

The 9th 2021 DarkCyber video is now available on the Beyond Search Web site. Will the link work? If it doesn’t, the Facebook link can assist you. The original version of this 9th program contained video content from an interesting Dark Web site selling malware and footage from the PR department of the university which developed the kid-friendly Snakebot. Got kids? You will definitely want a Snakebot, but the DarkCyber team thinks that US Navy Seals will be in line to get duffle of Snakebots too. These are good for surveillance and termination tasks.

Plus, this 9th program of 2021 addresses five other stories, not counting the Snakebot quick bite. These are: [1] Two notable take downs, [2] iPhone access via the Lightning Port, [3] Instant messaging apps may not be secure, [4] VPNs are now themselves targets of malware, and [5] Microsoft security with a gust of SolarWinds.

The complete program is available — believe it or not — on Tess Arnold’s Facebook page. You can view the video with video inserts of surfing a Dark Web site and the kindergarten swimmer friendly Snakebot at this link: https://bit.ly/2PLjOLz. If you want the YouTube approved version without the video inserts, navigate to this link.

DarkCyber is produced by Stephen E Arnold, publisher of Beyond Search. You can access the current video plus supplemental stories on the Beyond Search blog at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress.

We think smart filtering is the cat’s pajamas, particularly for videos intended for law enforcement, intelligence, and cyber security professionals. Smart software crafted in the Googleplex is on the job.

Kenny Toth, May 4, 2021

Clearview AI Faces Lawsuit on Web Photo Scraping Practices

April 15, 2021

We knew that facial-recognition firm Clearview AI, which sells its software to law enforcement agencies throughout the US, scrapes the Web for our photos and any data connected to them. Several civil liberties groups are trying to put a stop to the practice. The Los Angeles Times reports, “Clearview AI Uses Your Online Photos to Instantly ID You. That’s a Problem, Lawsuit Says.” Writer Johana Bhuiyan tells us the firm has collected more than 3 billion photos from Facebook, Twitter, Google, Venmo, and other sites. We learn:

“It also has caught the attention of civil liberties advocates and activists, who allege in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that the company’s automatic scraping of their images and its extraction of their unique biometric information violate privacy and chill protected political speech and activity. The plaintiffs — four individual civil liberties activists and the groups Mijente and NorCal Resist — allege Clearview AI ‘engages in the widespread collection of California residents’ images and biometric information without notice or consent.’ This is especially consequential, the plaintiffs argue, for proponents of immigration or police reform, whose political speech may be critical of law enforcement and who may be members of communities that have been historically over-policed and targeted by surveillance tactics. Clearview AI enhances law enforcement agencies’ efforts to monitor these activists, as well as immigrants, people of color and those perceived as ‘dissidents,’ such as Black Lives Matter activists, and can potentially discourage their engagement in protected political speech as a result, the plaintiffs say.”

The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, seeks an injunction forcing Clearview to not only cease collecting photos and other biometric information in California, but to also delete all biometric data and personal information from their databases. Meanwhile in Illinois, the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the company, charging it has violated that state’s biometric privacy law. Officials in the European Union and Canada have also expressed concerns. We are unsure how much traction these suits and objections will get, however. Clearview insists it is in full compliance with the law, and cites the First Amendment in defending its databases. Besides, as Bhuiyan notes, citizens are getting used to a low expectation of privacy.

Amazon’s policeware efforts have avoided this type of publicity. Why?

Cynthia Murrell, April 15, 2021

Old Book Illustrations: No Photoshop or Illustrator, Thank You

February 1, 2021

Here is a useful resource—Old Book Illustrations. The site began as a way for the creators to share pictures from their own collection of Victorian and French Romantic books and grew as they explored other collections online. All images are in the public domain. The site’s About page elaborates:

“Although it would have been possible to considerably broaden the time-frame of our pursuit, we chose to keep our focus on the original period in which we started for reasons pertaining to taste, consistency, and practicality: due to obvious legal restrictions, we had to stay within the limits of the public domain. This explains why there won’t be on this site illustrations first published prior to the 18th century or later than the first quarter of the 20th century. We are not the only image collection on the web, neither will we ever be the largest one. We hope however to be a destination of choice for visitors more particularly interested in Victorian and French Romantic illustrations—we understand French Romanticism in its broadest sense and draw its final line, at least in the realm of book illustration, at the death of Gustave Doré. We also focused our efforts on offering as many different paths and avenues as possible to help you find your way to an illustration, whether you are looking for something specific or browsing randomly. The many links organizing content by artist, language, publisher, date of birth, and more are designed to make searching easier and indecision rewarding.”

The site is well organized and easy to either search or browse is several ways—by artists, publishers, subjects, art techniques, book titles, and formats (portrait, landscape, tondo, or square). There is even a “navigation how-to” if one wants a little help getting started. The site also posts articles like biographies and descriptions of cultural contexts. We recommend checking it out and perhaps bookmarking it for future use.

Cynthia Murrell, February 1, 2021

Online Immortality: Suddenly Death Makes Digital Headlines

January 26, 2021

I was surprised. Yes, I was. I read three news stories within a few minutes of their appearing in my newsfeed.

The first — “AI Resurrects Legendary Spanish Singer to Hawk Beer” — explains that Lola Flores appeared in a commercial. No big deal except that Lola Flores died a quarter century ago. The article reports:

The company recreated her voice, face, and features using hours of audiovisual material, more than 5,000 photos, and a painstaking composition and post-production process, according to El País.

Some people found the recreation or deep fake quite sporty. Of course, smart software was used, but the implications for those dead are interesting to ponder. Thumb typers, activate your mobiles!

The second  was “Microsoft Patent Details Tech That Could Turn Dead People into AI Chatbots.” The write up explains:

The patent, titled “Creating a conversational chatbot of a specific chatbot of a specific person,” details a system that would access images, voice data, social media posts, electronic messages and the like to “create or modify a special index in the theme of the specific person’s personality.” In some cases, images and video could be used to create a 3D model of the person for extra realism.

Use cases range from a smart chatbot which reminds a 20 year old remote worker for a high tech company to pick up his / her clothes to a digital companion to provide support and solace when life delivers a surprise; for example, “You know you should have taken that other job. No what, smarty pants?” If you want to read the system and method behind this innovative idea hinted at by sci-fi writers, the number is US010853717. Is that my mother saying, “Stephen, tidy your desk. You know what they say about loose papers on desk or did you forget? Like you forget the garbage.”

The third write up was “Backed by Vint Cerf, Emortal Wants to Protect Your Digital Legacy from Bit-Rot.” None of that grieving family member learning via email that Facebook will not permit access to the beloved one’s account. The write up explains:

The company will use Google architecture to preserve digital memories — photographs, documents, correspondence, videos, interviews and more – indefinitely into the future. The idea is that this will ensure that as operating systems, devices and tech evolves, your entire digital legacy will remain safe, secure and accessible — to only those you choose.

The possibility are endless; for instance, targeted advertising for digital mementos, eBay listings for vehicles just like the one the loved one used to drive, and facial recognition matches from social media sites so the loved ones can locate a suitable doppelgänger.

Mashing up these services with virtual reality might provide additional opportunities for monetization. Just as one can insert Bernie Sanders into any Google Street View location, these digital constructs can enhance real time constructs. For information about the Bernie app, navigate to Engadget.

The added bonus: Search engine optimization specialists can use their methods to make sure one’s loved one pops up. Hmmm. That’s not a good phrase but it is close enough for a 2021 cornhole game.

Stephen E Arnold, January 26, 2021

 

More Pix Online: 700K Images from the Rijksmuseum

January 22, 2021

We spotted this news item: “Over 700,000 Pairings from the Rijksmuseum Online Copyright Free.” These, according to the write up, are copyright free. The source of the money for this project was BankGiro Lottery, which is a culture lottery. I love that phrase “culture lottery.” I wonder if Russian individuals of character will implement similar terminology? You can access the service at this link.

The value of any image collection is one’s ability to locate a picture by artist, date, subject, and hopefully the name of the individual who made the painting possible for the museum to acquire. Art, like yachts, often has a fascinating back-story.

I ran this query: Canal boats.

The system displayed:

image

I clicked on Canals Boats and Ships. Notice that my “canal” was expanded to include “canals.” The term “boats” was matched exactly.

That’s a step forward considering the issues I have encountered with Internet Archive, Google Life collection, Library of Congress, and other image services.

My family was forced out of Amsterdam in 1605. Perhaps by getting image search to mostly work, the citizens are extending an olive branch to the remaining Arnolds.

Stephen E Arnold, January 22, 2021

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