What's Appening: AI Lands on Spotify 🎸🎷

Spotify AI and Web3, Apple Glucose Monitoring, AI Writers, Tumblr Checkmarks, Coinbase L2

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In this week’s What’s Appening, we are tipping our hat to Spotify. The streaming platform has announced new features using both AI and web3 in recent days. Most notably, there is “The DJ”, Spotify’s AI DJ who will provide personalized recommendations, learn about you, and chat about your music likes. Spotify is also strengthening its web3 presence, launching a new NFT wallet integration to give token holders access to special playlists. Elsewhere, we look at an amazing report that claims Apple is on the verge of a breakthrough in glucose level monitoring via Apple Watch. We also have a story on an exasperated literary editor who claims to be under a deluge of AI-written submissions. Our Stat of the Week looks at Tumblr’s cheeky parody of verification, which ended up securing soaring revenue. And What’s dAppening reports on Coinbase’s new L2 blockchain, which it has imaginatively called Base.

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Takes 🎬️

🎸🤖 Spotify – New AI and Web3 Features Leave Listeners Impressed

Let’s talk about “The DJ”. This is your new Spotify AI DJ, who will make personal recommendations based on your listening history. However, using OpenAI technology, the DJ doesn’t just give you personalized suggestions; it talks to you. The idea is that the DJ will provide commentary between tracks, giving you supplementary information similar to what a radio DJ might do, albeit with a personal touch. And what makes it different from an algorithm in its song choice is that it will constantly refresh the suggested tracks based on your feedback. The DJ (let’s hope they come up with a better name) is now available to Premium users in the US and Canada, with an expected global roll-out later in the year. At first glance, it feels like a home run for Spotify, which already had well-deserved praise for its personalization strategy through Spotify Wrapped and Discover Weekly. AI isn’t the only new technology that Spotify has been exploring recently. It also announced a new integration with NFT wallets. The idea is that users will be able to access token-enabled playlists. What’s a token-enabled playlist, you say? Well, it’s a curated playlist designed for a specific web3 community, with access unlocked via an NFT token. In this case, it’s web3 platform Overlord and Creepz NFT tokens. Holders of those tokens can thus connect their wallets and access specially curated content from Overlord. Similar initiatives are planned for Fluf, Moonbirds, and Kingship metaverse communities. We really like the way Spotify is using both of these nascent technologies. It shows the company is not resting on its laurels as the world’s biggest music streaming platform. Moreover, it demonstrates that Spotify knows how to innovate without risking damage to its core appeal. After all, if you don’t want to chat with the DJ or don’t care a fig about NFTs, those features remain non-intrusive. #SpotifyAI Read more here.

🍏⌚ Apple – A Step Closer to No-Prick Glucose Monitoring on Watch

This is definitely one of the more intriguing stories we have come across this week. Bloomberg reports that Apple is getting closer to offering constant glucose monitoring levels via Apple Watch. The idea dates back to the Steve Jobs era, and it is part of Apple’s secretive moonshot division, the Exploratory Design Group (XDG). Bloomberg says that Apple has been working on this in a super-secret fashion, even creating a fake startup called Avolonte to cover up what they were doing. Said to be in the works since 2010, the process is reputed to involve lasers, which emit wavelengths of light underneath the skin, measuring the interstitial fluid that absorbs glucose, and then eventually reflecting back to a sensor (in your Apple Watch, presumably) that will use a good old algorithm to calculate the wearer’s blood glucose level. Look, we won’t even begin to pretend how all these wavelengths, interstitial fluid substances, and tiny lasers work, but we do know that, should Bloomberg’s report prove to be accurate, it could be a game-changer for millions of people living with diabetes. It might take years for this to come to the market – if ever – but we find comfort in the fact that Apple is still trying to bring Steve Jobs-backed moonshot projects to life long after the great man has passed. #AppleMoonshot Read more here.

📚✍️ AI – Publishers Complain As Flurry of AI-Generated Pitches & Stories Arrive

File this one under “all-too-predictable”. Literary publishers have complained that they have been experiencing a deluge of AI-generated submissions since the roll-out of ChatGPT. For instance, Clarkesworld, one of the biggest publishers of sci-fi short stories, has stated it will not accept any new pitches from writers as it tries to deal with the marked increase in submissions (they have increased ten-fold) that it believes to be from AI. This is an ethical conundrum that was always going to rear its head once text-to-text AI found its legs. On the one hand, you can argue, who cares if an AI wrote a story as long as the reader enjoys it? On the other hand, it’s been claimed that these submissions aren’t coming from writers, but hustlers, those who are looking to use the technology to make a fast buck. Clarkesworld’s founding editor, Neil Clarke, even pointed to financial influencers on social media pointing to short-story publishing via AI as a de facto get-rich-quick scheme. He has banned at least 100 ‘writers’ from ever submitting work to Clarkesworld again. #AIStories Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: 125%

⤴️💸 Tumblr – Parody Double Blue Checkmark Helps iOS Revenue Increase

As we reported last week, paying for verification is all the rage on social media. Tumblr, though, is a social media platform that’s always been a bit tongue-in-a-cheek. Back in November, when Twitter was launching its verified subscriber plans, Tumblr launched its own DOUBLE blue checkmark, which was very much a parody of Twitter’s. There was no subscription, with Tumblr allowing users to buy the checkmark for a one-off payment as something of an in-joke. Still, it kind of worked for the platform, which has seen iOS revenue increase 125% since this initiative. #DoubleBlue Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

A dApp is a decentralized app. Here’s the latest in web3, NFTs and blockchain apps.

🪙🚀 Coinbase – Crypto Exchange Announces Its Own Layer 2 Blockchain, Base

Interesting news from Coinbase this week. The centralized cryptocurrency exchange has announced the testnet launch of Base, a Layer 2 Blockchain. An L2 chain allows developers to build decentralized apps that can be scaled across to the Ethereum (L1) blockchain, as well as other L2s and L1 ecosystems like Solana. A good way to think about it in Base’s case is like a bridge, using Coinbase’s tools and vast resources ($80 billion in cryptoassets + 110 million users) to interact with the wider crypto ecosystem. Coinbase says it wants to use Base to develop a more user-friendly crypto experience (still a persistent issue in web3), as well as ensure that it’s more secure. Eventually, it hopes to onboard one billion+ users to web3. Let’s hope it goes a little better than Coinbase’s NFT marketplace, which has been widely viewed as a dud. #BuildOnCoinbase Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

Last week, our Leadership Team had the opportunity to meet up in person for Leadership Days, which was a refreshing change after months of remote collaboration. It was great to see everyone in person, catch up, and discuss our goals and needs. We made significant progress on several important initiatives and strengthened our team bond. After the leadership meeting, we had the chance to meet up with the DC team for some beers at The Pub & The People (if you’re in DC, check it out!). It was awesome to see the team in person, hear about their experiences and share ours. Overall, it was a great day filled with productivity, camaraderie, and fun. We look forward to more opportunities to connect in person and keep our team strong.

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