Author Archives: Varyvotski Alherd

Telegram monetization begins

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Durov admits that most of the time he paid the company’s bills out of personal savings. But at the current rate of growth of Telegram, this will soon become impossible. According to the head of the company, in this case, there are only two ways – to start making money to cover costs, or to sell the company to a larger player.

“Starting next year, Telegram will begin to monetize,” wrote Pavel Durov.

Дуров прокомментировал отмену блокировки Telegram

Important points:

All current Telegram services will remain free. But there will be new features, including paid functionality for business teams and “advanced users”.

For ordinary users, Telegram will always remain free, of course, because the company needs a resource base on which paid customers will work out their budgets.

All Telegram messaging services will remain ad-free. “We believe that advertising in personal and group chats is unacceptable,” wrote Durov. “Communication between people should not be interrupted by advertising.”

Important changes are coming for the owners of telegram channels, who are already accustomed to making money on advertising, receiving it from customers. Now Telegram will offer its own advertising platform for channels, which “will provide users with comfort and safety, and companies will cover their traffic costs”

Meanwhile, Telegram is approaching the mark of 500,000,000 active users, and more and more often the question arises of who will pay for it. Supporting projects of this size costs hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Sources:

  1. https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/23/daily-crunch-telegram-prepares-to-monetize/
  2. https://www.gsmarena.com/telegram_announces_monetization_plans_as_it_approaches_500_million_active_users-news-46888.php

CD Projekt Red Could Face Class Action Lawsuits

Reading Time: 2 minutesCD Projekt Red said Friday that it would refund disappointed players “out of our own pocket if necessary.” The company’s stock has dropped 41 percent since early December.

Cyberpunk fans at Gamescom 2019 in Cologne, Germany.
Among other already known difficulties with overloading employees, transfers and a lot of problems at launch (especially in versions for basic consoles) the possibility of a collision of CD Projekt Red with a large class action lawsuit is mentioned.
And here is this aforementioned entry, in which the Warsaw attorney and investor of CDPR Mykolaj Orzechovski writes about the preparation of his own claim, offering other victims to join it:

“Due to recent events – and, in particular, the suspension of sales of Cyberpunk 2077, we are currently considering with the legal team the basis for filing a class action, together with a notice of the possibility of committing a crime under Article 286 of the Criminal Code – the purpose of obtaining financial benefits. If you are interested in participating in the aforementioned lawsuit, please contact me at mikolaj.orzechowski@4bizzz.com. It’s completely free: I want to understand whether to take the indicated actions myself or if there are other people in a situation similar to mine. We are also preparing material, together with one of the Internet portals, on the rights of investors in the case of such an egregious, inconsistent with the facts, the attitude of the board. “

The launch of Cyberpunk 2077 was full of controversy and bugs: the first update was presented last week and fixed some issues. Now CD Projekt Red has released update 1.05. Cyberpunk 2077 is currently available on PC, Xbox One and Google Stadia. Retail PS4 versions are still on sale, but Sony has temporarily removed the game from the PS Store. Microsoft Official Store has a warning about performance issues. Due to the abundance of technical problems, buyers of Cyberpunk 2077 for PS4 and Xbox One (this also applies to retail) have recently been entitled to demand a full refund.

An example of such a large and popular project shows best of all the abyss between employees and company leaders.for creative projects.  Former CDPR workers said there was chaos behind the scenes: Office rumors spreading on Discord servers, misleading deadlines set by managers, infighting among the company’s top brass, and incompetence and poor planning leading to unnecessary “crunch,” a term for overworking employees to produce games under a tight deadline. Longtime engineering staff left the company as a result of overwork.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cbr.com/cyberpunk-2077-developer-potential-lawsuits/
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/19/style/cyberpunk-2077-video-game-disaster.html
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Google is testing app that allows users to make money in exchange for various activities

Reading Time: 2 minutesGoogle has launched a crowdsourcing service that allows smartphone users to earn money by completing basic tasks that improve machine learning and the quality of information on Google maps. The Task Mate app, which makes it available, is currently in beta testing and currently operates exclusively in India.

tasklist.pngtakephotos.pngprofile.png

The assignments are divided into two main categories: sedentary and field assignments.

Those working in the field, for example, may be asked to go to the nearest store and take a picture of its entrance or the goods on display. Judging by the published screenshots of the application, a user can receive $ 0.25 for completing such a task. Less generous payments are made for users who prefer to work from home. So, for completing a dozen tasks, you can claim an amount in the range of $ 0.2-0.5. Typical “sedentary” tasks include dictation of text for recording, transcribing audio recordings, and checking the correctness of information about organizations. The money earned can be withdrawn from the system to the accounts of third-party financial services. The minimum withdrawal amount is $ 10.

The concept itself is far from new. Google had a crowdfunding app Google Opinion Rewards with over 50 million downloads and in its mechanism Task Mate is very similar to Yandex.Toloka, presented back in 2014 in Russian-speaking countries.

Yandex.Toloka - Yandex.Toloka updated their profile picture. | Facebook

Yandex.Toloka is an open crowdsourcing platform launched in 2014. On the platform, anyone can perform tasks for collecting and marking data for different customers for a small fee. Tasks are usually fairly simple and do not require special training to complete them. This can be the classification of messages from social networks, checking materials for shocking or explicit images, transcribing short audio recordings. The amount of remuneration for completing such a task usually ranges from one to several cents.

Validating huge amounts of information through the direct involvement of large numbers of people can lead to rapid and large improvements in the quality of map applications and in how people relate to them.

Sources:

  1. https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2020/11/google-test-task-mate-new-crowdsourced.html
  2. https://yandex.com/support/toloka-requester/concepts/overview.html
  3. https://www.cnews.ru/news/top/2020-11-23_google_predlozhila_vladeltsam

Yandex’s fuel payment service booms as Russians go contactless in pandemic

Reading Time: 2 minutesContactless payment at gas stations is both a new and promising direction. So Yandex.Fueling is a service with which you can pay for fuel on your phone at a gas station. With this app you don’t have to go to the cashier and wait in line. And if there is a free gas station worker at the station, then you won’t have to get out of the car. You can pay for fuel at more than 5300 filling stations throughout Russia. And this week the number of payments through Yandex.Fueling exceeded 100 thousand per day

The Yandex example shows how different filling companies can not create their own services, but improve their functionality through an intermediary. Unlike ExxonMobil, which creates a contactless payment service for its gas stations.

“Since March 2020, the strait in Moscow has grown by 300%, and in other regions by 200%,” said Artyom Prudnikov, head of Yandex.Fueling. “In addition, we have increased the number of filling stations. A thousand were added during the quarter, and now there are 6671 stations in the service. Already 25% of filling stations in Russia work with Yandex.Fuel stations. And by the end of the year we plan to connect about 400 filling stations. And thanks to the connection of Rosneft networks, this year we entered new regions: Rostov, Samara and their regions, Krasnodar Territory, Bashkiria and others. ”

In times of coronavirus, this service is a perfect example of how most human contact can be minimized. Cooperation with Yandex allows not only to significantly expand the possibilities for using the contactless fuel payment service, but also contributes to improving the safety of motorists, which is extremely important in the context of maintaining social distance. The Yandex.Fuel service is integrated into Yandex.Navigator, Yandex.Maps and a separate application. The service informs the user about the types of fuel at each filling station and the optimal route, and at the filling station itself it allows you to select the dispenser number, the brand of fuel and its volume, as well as pay for the gas station without leaving their car.

“Taking into account the current situation, we note the high demand for contactless payment for fuel and the potential for the development of other remote services,” said Avril Conroy, Vice President for Retail Business Development, Rosneft

The company’s research shows a time saving of two minutes per customer, potentially allowing petrol stations to increase sales by 20%.“Cooperation with Yandex is very profitable,” the representative told Reuters.

Gas Providers: It's Time to Fast-Track Contactless Fuel Pay | by Mobiquity Inc. | Medium

But for some private petrol stations, the shift by drivers to paying from their vehicles poses a threat. “It’s not good for us,” said a source from a network of private stations, which recently agreed to sign a deal with Yandex because “everyone is using it”. 

“We need a customer to go to the shop and buy chocolate. Gasoline brings us less than the shop and the cafe.”

 

 

Sources:

https://www.akm.ru/press/rosneft_podklyuchila_1400_azs_k_servisu_beskontaktnoy_oplaty_topliva_yandeks_zapravki/

https://www.cnews.ru/news/line/2020-11-06_voditeli_zapravlyayutsya_cherez

AI learns to generate images from text and begins to better understand our world

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OpenAI, co-founded by Elon Musk, has created the world’s most stunning AI model to date. GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) without any special prompts, can compose poems, short stories and songs, making one think that these are the work of a real person. But eloquence is just a gimmick, not to be confused with a human understanding of the environment. But what if the same technologies were trained simultaneously on text and images?

Researchers from the Paul Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence have created a special, visual-linguistic model. It works with text and images and can generate pictures from text. The pictures look disturbing and strange, not at all like the hyperrealistic “deepfakes” created by generative adversarial networks (GANs). However, this capability has long been an important missing piece.

The aim of the study was to reveal whether neural networks can understand the visual world as humans.  For example a child who has learned a word for an object can not only name it, but also draw the object according to the hint, even if the object itself is absent from his point of view. So the AI2 project team suggested the models do the same: generate images from captions.

The final images created by the model are not entirely realistic upon close inspection. But it is not important. They contain the correct high-level visual concepts. AI simply draws the way a person who cannot draw would draw on paper.

This makes sense: converting text to an image is more difficult than doing the opposite.

“A caption doesn’t specify everything contained in an image,” says Ani Kembhavi, AI2’s computer vision team leader.

Creating an image from text is simply a transformation from smaller to larger. And it’s hard enough for the human mind, apart from programs.  If a model is asked to draw a “giraffe walking along a road,” then it needs to conclude that the road will be gray rather than bright pink, and will pass next to a field rather than the sea. Although all this is not obvious to AI.

Sample images generated by the AI2 model from captions. Source: AI2

This stage of the research shows that neural networks are capable of creating abstractions – a fundamental skill for understanding our world.

In the future, this technology will allow robots to see our world as well as humans, which will open up a huge scope of possibilities. The better the robot understands the environment and uses language to communicate, the more complex tasks it will be able to perform. In the current perspective, programmers can better understand the aspects of machine learning

“Image generation has really been a missing puzzle piece, By enabling this, we can make the model learn better representations to represent the world.”

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/07/20/1005454/openai-machine-learning-language-generator-gpt-3-nlp/

https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/09/25/1008921/ai-allen-institute-generates-images-from-captions/

https://habr.com/en/company/madrobots/blog/522750/

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