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Abhay Parasnis. Photo: Bay Area Event Photography for Adobe
While known for its software, Adobe is considering whether it needs to join the growing ranks of tech companies designing their own chips.
Why it matters: Once upon a time, software and hardware companies largely relied on Intel and others to provide chips. More and more companies, though, see strategic or financial advantage in doing their own silicon.
Details: At an internal innovation conference on Tuesday (which I attended), Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis posed the matter as a question for his colleagues, noting the significant increases in performance from chips designed specifically for specialized tasks, like machine learning.
Yes, but: Unlike Facebook and Google, Adobe doesn't run its own data centers, so any server work would likely come in conjunction with cloud partners like Amazon and Microsoft.
The big picture: Whether or not Adobe makes its own chips, Parasnis told his colleagues the company needs to prepare itself for a world of vastly more powerful hardware — and it must move fast.
Meanwhile: Parasnis said it will be ARM-based chips that deliver those gains, not Intel, whose processors power all of today's Macs and most Windows PCs.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Computers have made short work of human champions in Go and chess in recent years. Now, AI researchers are taking on Pictionary, a guessing game requiring not strategy but the hard-to-duplicate quality of common sense, Axios' Kaveh Waddell reports.
Why it matters: The effort to play with humans — rather than against them — is a step toward an optimistic future of work in which AI cooperates with people to complete tasks, rather than wiping out workers in large numbers.
Driving the news: Researchers at Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence have developed an AI program that can play both sides of Pictionary, a game in which one player draws a picture to represent a word or phrase for the other player to guess.
Read more of Kaveh's piece here.
Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images
President Trump used part of his State of the Union address last night to call for Congress to pass infrastructure legislation that supports "investments in the cutting edge industries of the future," Axios' David McCabe writes.
The big picture: The brief reference — in a speech dominated by nods to bipartisanship and deeply conservative immigration rhetoric — reflects a White House interest in areas like AI, quantum computing and 5G wireless.
Yes, but: It was a couple lines in an hour-plus speech, not a detailed plan.
Craig Newmark. Photo: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark is investing $15 million into 2 separate efforts to boost efforts to strengthen journalism ethics for the digital age, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: The media industry, once mostly reliant on advertising, has struggled to find a sustainable business model in the internet age. Publishers have had to embrace new business models like events, sponsorships, and social publishing, but some of those efforts are harder to approach with full editorial independence.
By the numbers:
The big picture: Newmark has already donated millions to causes that support journalism. He gave $20 million to the CUNY Journalism School last year and $20 million to fund The Markup, a non-profit investigative news startup.
"Right now, when our institutions are in some peril, regular people need to stand up for the country. The bottom line is that people like me have to go put our money where our mouth is."— Craig Newmark to Axios
Karl the Fog, the Twitter personification of San Francisco's low-hanging cloud mass, is going longform, with a book due out in May. "After 8.5 years of throwing shade on Twitter, I’m taking my drama to paper," Karl announced in a tweet Tuesday.