Google Fi’s built-in VPN starts iPhone rollout

Google Fi’s VPN service has started rolling out to subscribers on iPhone, the company has announced. The feature, which routes your phone’s internet traffic through an encrypted connection to protect your privacy, has been available on Android since launching in beta in November 2018. The launch comes a little later than Google’s previously announced “spring” release date, but it’s close.

In a followup tweet Google says not all iPhone users will have access to the feature straight away, but that it will be widely available “over the coming weeks.” To turn the feature on, 9to5Google notes that you should make sure your Fi companion app is updated to the latest version, and then head to “Phone Settings” in the main Account tab. From there go to “Privacy & security,” where there’ll eventually be a “Protect your online activity” option to enable. The VPN is included with all Google Fi plans.

The arrival of Google Fi’s VPN on iOS comes as Apple is gearing up to launch a similar privacy-protecting feature as part of its iCloud Plus subscription service. Apple’s version, which it’s calling Private Relay, routes your web traffic through a pair of relay servers to protect your sensitive information. It’s designed in such a way so that not even Apple itself has a complete picture of your browsing.

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Tech News

Finless Foods promises realistic plant-based tuna with 2022 rollout

A company called Finless Foods plans to launch a plant-based raw tuna product next year that it claims offers a realistic texture and flavor. The food product will join the largely beef- and sausage-flavored plant-based meat products currently on the market, offering consumers who have seafood allergies, vegetarians, and others the option to enjoy tuna meals without contributing to overfishing.

Finless Foods revealed that it will launch its plant-based tuna, which is made from nine ingredients, next year through foodservice channels and restaurants. The plant-based version of the tuna shouldn’t be confused with the company’s cell-cultured tuna product; the latter is made from cells harvested from real tuna fish while the former is made from whole plant-based ingredients.

For this reason, the plant-based version of Finless Foods’ tuna is vegan-friendly as none of the ingredients come from animals. The company says that it made the plant-based tuna to be a 1:1 ‘experience’ of eating raw tuna, at least when it comes to mouthfeel, flavor, and texture.

The plant-based version of the fish can be used in the same way as actual raw tuna, meaning you may consume it in sushi in the future. The big benefit to plant-based tuna is the lack of mercury, which remains a concern when it comes to wild tuna products.

As well, plant-based and cell-cultured tuna remove the fishing aspect of this food product, which has become an increasing concern from an environmental standpoint. Of course, the plant-based version of the tuna product will also be safe for people who have seafood allergies, whereas the cell-cultured version is actual tuna fish (just not from the ocean) and therefore wouldn’t be safe for people with allergies to eat.

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What the vaccine rollout can teach us about big data and AI

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I’ve spent my entire career looking at data and the world through a scientific lens. Perhaps that’s why when observing the vaccine rollout, I discovered some interesting connections between the challenges governments and scientists have overcome and those most enterprise companies face.

When considering this comparison, I discovered four tech takeaways for enterprise companies, in terms of becoming data driven and innovating with big data and AI:

1. Train your employees to trust the science

When we think about the extensive campaigns and mass education that helped build confidence in the science behind the vaccine, the same needs to happen within the enterprise. There is a tendency for employees to dismiss AI on anecdotal evidence. They lean towards their own biases instead of allowing AI and predictive modeling to do its job.

We see this often among sales reps. They see that their AI tech was off once or twice and dismiss the science completely. Sadly, this can interfere or override the enterprise go-to-market strategy entirely. So, what enterprise companies should do is educate their workforce on how to work with the technology and the data, not against it.

Employees should learn how to look at AI in a scientific way, analyzing its risk-reward effectiveness according to benchmarks and overall pipeline metrics, seeing how AI is impacting their business as a whole instead of on a case-by-case basis.

2. AI can still be powerful in a world where you have a limited sample size

As in the process of developing the vaccine, enterprise companies are also limited to a small data set and quick timeline. They don’t have the luxury to run multiple tests or put in years of research and trials. Neither the Covid-19 virus nor enterprise customers have that kind of patience, unfortunately.

I work in the B2B world and that industry has a fraction of the amount of data compared to B2C. In the case where companies only have a few tens of clients, they would like to use AI to find more. Given that they are using the right methods – selecting the right benchmarks, accurately A/B testing and bringing in additional data from outside their organization — AI can be just as powerful when dealing with a small data set and short timeline.

3. Be aggressive with your timeline

No matter the industry, every company I’ve ever worked with has considered their goal as “high stakes”. Although not as high stakes as developing a vaccine, these businesses still have millions on the line and are solving high stake business problems. So my suggestion to them is to be aggressive.

During the pandemic, I worked closely with a company whose demand increased by 10X because of the nature of their business and our world’s current needs. Before the pandemic, they were using manual solutions, but with such “high stakes” and massive opportunity, they couldn’t afford not to bring on sophisticated AI technology.

On top of making the switch so quickly, they were aggressive in their deployment as well. Every minute was crucial to their sales team, so in most cases, they followed the 80/20 rule of thumb — if 80% of the problem is solved after running AI, then it’s time to go live!

Which brings me to my last point.

4. AI isn’t 100% guaranteed

AI will never be 100% right, which means you need to start with the lower risk and higher gains first, and keep monitoring the performance for potential risks. We saw this with vaccinating the front liners first. In business we do this by focusing on those who need AI to help them make decisions most — usually sales and marketing — and they become our front liners. From there, we apply AI to the remaining departments that will benefit from it.

Now, as a data technologist, it’s natural for me to “trust the science.” I take all of this information — be that around the vaccine or enterprise data — and churn it into statistics and predictions while living quite well with the uncertainty. What the vaccine rollout has done is create a moment in time for the scientific perspective to sink in throughout the world. And when the enterprise joins in on this new wave of scientific thinking, it will drastically change the way AI, big data and technology impact business.

Amnon Mishor is founder and CTO of Leadspace.


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Tech News

2021 LG OLED, QNED, NanoCell TVs global rollout has started

Last month, LG made a big splash with an almost inexhaustible number of TVs for consumers to choose from this year. From OLED QNED Mini LED, to NanoCell LCD, LG almost has a TV for every size, technology, and need. These TVs are starting to become available around the world this quarter and LG is taking a short breath to remind consumers what makes this generation of smart TVs special.

For the Z1, G1, C1, B1, and A1 OLED TV series, the highlight is LG’s new “OLED evo” tech. LG isn’t exactly diving deep into what makes this “evolution” special but it all boils down to reaching higher peak brightness to produce punchy images with more visible details.

Most of the new TVs also share the new α (Alpha) 9 Gen 4 processor which brings with it what LG calls “AI Picture Pro”. In a nutshell, this uses AI and machine learning to recognize objects and characters onscreen to process each of them separately and make each one pop as needed. This goes hand in hand with an earlier AI Sound Pro tech that applies the same intelligence to transform two-channel audio into virtual 5.1.2 surround sound at no extra hardware cost.

For the smart TVs in the bunch, there is also the new webOS 6.0 that pretty much overhauls the user interface that was inherited from Palm and HP way back. Some old webOS fans might not be so amused by the changes but LG promises a more personalized and more streamlined experience, especially with the new Magic Remote that has a dedicated key for the most popular streaming services.

LG has a plethora of TV models for each group, with the C1 offering the most options for OLEDs and the NanoCell 8K and 4K for LCDs. The company hasn’t yet announced prices for all of these nor which markets will carry which models but those will be announced closer to local availability.

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