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How Robotics and AI are Revolutionizing Recycling Through Amazon’s Most Recent Climate Pledge Fund Investment

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How Robotics and AI are Revolutionizing Recycling Through Amazon's Most Recent Climate Pledge Fund Investment

Glacier is an AI and robotics startup that is assisting the recycling sector in its efforts to create a waste-free society. Glacier was recently invested in by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund as part of our continuous commitment to promote female-led businesses and entrepreneurs in the climate tech space. Areeb Malik and Rebecca Hu co-founded Glacier, a company that employs AI-powered robots to automate recyclables sorting and gather real-time data on recycling streams for consumer brands and recycling companies. In an effort to close the funding gap for women in climate tech, Amazon’s corporate venture capital fund, The Climate Pledge Fund, first announced its $53 million Female Founder Initiative in 2022. The fund invests in climate tech companies to help accelerate Amazon’s path to meet the commitments of The Climate Pledge. Glacier is the second business to receive funding from The Climate Pledge Fund under the leadership of a female CEO.

Glacier was created by Hu and Malik in an effort to address the climate catastrophe. “After researching a variety of climate solutions, we discovered that applying novel advances in AI and robotic automation to help the recycling industry run more efficiently is a powerful way to reduce waste, which has a direct link to reducing carbon emissions,” said Hu.

Even though recycling has a lot of potential to reduce global warming, only 21% of household recyclables are recycled in the United States today, frequently as a result of inadequate infrastructure for recycling. “In the United States alone, almost 70 million tons of recycling are processed each year. Even though this is already a huge project, Malik stated, “We can recover so much more material if we develop accessible automation processes and then scale them across our nation’s recycling infrastructure.” “Glacier is acting in this manner.” In order to help keep precious commodities like metals and plastics out of landfills and the ocean, Glacier’s robots increase sorting and recycling rates.

Two key technologies are combined in Glacier’s approach to recycling innovation. Glacier’s in-house artificial intelligence model can instantly recognize over thirty different recyclable material types, ranging from as wide as PET plastic to as specific as a toothpaste tube. The AI and Glacier’s unique robotic design work together to provide reliable recyclable sorting power at an affordable deployment cost.

Glacier’s sorting robots are not the only thing that could have an impact on the circular economy. “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve recycling, and developing robots is just the first step,” said Malik. Glacier’s AI is generating a recycling data set to help recycling facilities and brands make better-informed decisions. “Our recycling AI is a powerful tool for everyone in the circular economy, and it couldn’t come at a more important time,” said Hu. “As we see mounting legislative, economic, and social pressure to recycle better, brands are using our data to measure and improve how their packaging is being recycled, while recycling facilities are using our data to improve their operations and rescue more recyclables from landfill. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with a circular economy leader like Amazon so that we can accelerate our mission to end waste.”

The investor in Glacier was led by Phoebe Wang, an investment partner of The Climate Pledge Fund. Luna Yu, the first female CEO to receive funding from the Female Founder Initiative, launched Genecis, a bioplastics company that Wang handled The Climate Pledge Fund’s investment in last year. “We’ve made significant progress, but women still face hidden barriers and an invisible glass ceiling, especially in the startup and venture capital space,” said Wang. “We must invest in women like Rebecca who are pioneering innovative technology to address the climate crisis. Our goal is to promote greater support for these female tech founders and help them succeed.” By funding companies like Glacier and Genecis, Amazon hopes to send a clear signal to the venture industry and encourage broader financial support for more female climate-tech founders.

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Biden, Kishida Secure Support from Amazon and Nvidia for $50 Million Joint AI Research Program

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As the two countries seek to enhance cooperation around the rapidly advancing technology, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Amazon.com Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program.

A senior US official briefed reporters prior to Wednesday’s official visit at the White House, stating that the $50 million project will be a collaborative effort between Tsukuba University outside of Tokyo and the University of Washington in Seattle. A separate collaborative AI research program between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Tokyo’s Keio University is also being planned by the two nations.

The push for greater research into artificial intelligence comes as the Biden administration is weighing a series of new regulations designed to minimize the risks of AI technology, which has developed as a key focus for tech companies. The White House announced late last month that federal agencies have until the end of the year to determine how they will assess, test, and monitor the impact of government use of AI technology.

In addition to the university-led projects, Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that it would invest $2.9 billion to expand its cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Japan. Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, met with Kishida on Tuesday. The company released a statement announcing its intention to establish a new AI and robotics lab in Japan.

Kishida, the second-largest economy in Asia, urged American business executives to invest more in Japan’s developing technologies on Tuesday.

“Your investments will enable Japan’s economic growth — which will also be capital for more investments from Japan to the US,” Kishida said at a roundtable with business leaders in Washington.

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OnePlus and OPPO Collaborate with Google to Introduce Gemini Models for Enhanced Smartphone AI

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As anticipated, original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, are heavily integrating AI into their products. Google is working with OnePlus, OPPO, and other companies to integrate Gemini models into their smartphones. They intend to introduce the Gemini models on smartphones later this year, becoming the first OEMs to do so. Gemini models will go on sale later in 2024, as announced at the Google Cloud Next 24 event. Gemini models are designed to provide users with an enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) experience on their gadgets.

Customers in China can now create AI content on-the-go with devices like the OnePlus 12 and OPPO Find X7 thanks to OnePlus and OPPO’s Generative AI models.

The AI Eraser tool was recently made available to all OnePlus customers worldwide. This AI-powered tool lets users remove unwanted objects from their photos. For OnePlus and OPPO, AI Eraser is only the beginning.

In the future, the businesses hope to add more AI-powered features like creating original social media content and summarizing news stories and audio.

AndesGPT LLM from OnePlus and OPPO powers AI Eraser. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 series already have this feature, it is still encouraging to see OnePlus and OPPO taking the initiative to include AI capabilities in their products.

OnePlus and OPPO devices will be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive and sophisticated AI experience with the release of the Gemini models. It is important to remember that OnePlus and OPPO already power the Trinity Engine, which makes using phones incredibly smooth, and use AI and computational mathematics to enhance mobile photography.

By 2024, more original equipment manufacturers should have AI capabilities on their products. This is probably going to help Google because OEMs will use Gemini as the foundation upon which to build their features.

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Meta Explores AI-Enabled Search Bar on Instagram

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In an attempt to expand the user base for its generative AI-powered products, Meta is moving forward. The business is experimenting with inserting Meta AI into the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery, in addition to testing the chatbot Meta AI with users in nations like India on WhatsApp.

When you type a query into the search bar, Meta AI initiates a direct message (DM) exchange in which you can ask questions or respond to pre-programmed prompts. Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity AI, pointed out that the prompt screen’s design is similar to the startup’s search screen.

Plus, it might make it easier for you to find fresh Instagram content. As demonstrated in a user-posted video on Threads, you can search for Reels related to a particular topic by tapping on a prompt such as “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels.”

Additionally, TechCrunch spoke with a few users who had the ability to instruct Meta AI to look for recommendations for Reels.

By using generative AI to surface new content from networks like Instagram, Meta hopes to go beyond text generation.

With TechCrunch, Meta verified the results of its Instagram AI experiment. But the company didn’t say whether or not it uses generative AI technology for search.

A Meta representative told TechCrunch, “We’re testing a range of our generative AI-powered experiences publicly in a limited capacity. They are under development in varying phases.”

There are a ton of posts available discussing Instagram search quality. It is therefore not surprising that Meta would want to enhance search through the use of generative AI.

Furthermore, Instagram should be easier to find than TikTok, according to Meta. In order to display results from Reddit and TikTok, Google unveiled a new perspectives feature last year. Instagram is developing a feature called “Visibility off Instagram” that could allow posts to appear in search engine results, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who made this discovery earlier this week on X.

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