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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Students Rethink Artificial Intelligence at AI Jam

Students at California State University – Northridge this month are holding an AI Jam, an event that combines a competition to create artificial intelligence applications with speakers and other educational benefits. This is the fourth such “jam” the school has hosted, the others being on virtual and augmented reality, data and mobile apps. Deone Zell, associate vice president of academic technology at the university, said these events have shown that students are incredibly skilled and need a competition to motivate them and bring their talent out. “Every year we have been surprised at the unbelievable talent our students bring forward,” Zell said. The month-long event started March 2 at the Oviatt Library with alumni Michael Diamond, senior director for Strategic Partnership at Nvidia, the maker of processors used in creating artificial intelligence. “A group of 100 students and faculty were riveted listening to where the future is going,” Zell said. The event ends April 2 with the AI Jam Demonstration Showcase and Awards Ceremony. Students will air videos and then give live pitches about their AI applications to a panel of judges. Disney’s StudioLab Walt Disney Co. has partnered with Accenture on a project to create new entertainment technology. Disney StudioLab will open later this spring on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank. A three-year agreement between Disney and Accenture, a global management consulting and professional services firm headquartered in Dublin, outlines the companies’ collaboration on research and development with Accenture personnel working alongside StudioLab staff to develop and prototype new concepts in immersive entertainment, artificial intelligence, the future of movie production and next-generation cinematic platforms. Disney Studios Chief Technology Officer Jamie Voris said the decision to collaborate with Accenture was clear because of its ability to combine design and innovation capabilities with the applied R&D capabilities of Accenture Labs and deep industry expertise in media and entertainment. “Technology is an essential component of how we make characters, stories and worlds come alive at Disney, and we’re looking forward to the possibilities of what we can imagine and build together,” Voris said in a statement. The director of StudioLab is Alice Taylor, who had been founder and chief executive of MakieLab, a maker of 3D printed customizable dolls. MakieLab, in London, was chosen in 2015 to be among the 10 companies that were part of Disney’s second class of its business accelerator program. Taylor left the company in July 2016. Airport Location AireSpring, a managed network and information technology services provider, has moved into a new building near the Van Nuys Airport. The company occupies the building on Woodley Avenue that had been the longtime home of Superior Industries International Inc. until that manufacturer of aluminum wheels moved to Michigan. AireSpring Chief Executive Avi Lonstein said his company invested $1 million to make upgrades to the facility, including new paint, doors, lighting, creating a recreation area with pool and ping pong tables, a relaxation room and making the lobby like a café. “We did everything we could to make it a bright, modern and attractive space for our team members,” Lonstein said. AireSpring employs about 200 workers, many of them at the Van Nuys headquarters with others located at smaller offices throughout the U.S. The company relocated from 6060 N. Sepulveda, a short drive away in Van Nuys. Lonstein said the new location, like the previous one, was centrally located for the employees. “It makes the commute much more reasonable,” he added. “Some of the locations we looked at, even going out to Woodland Hills, would have resulted in an extra hour of roundtrip driving each day for many team members.” TechFair L.A. More than 250 companies, including some from the San Fernando Valley, took part in the second annual TechFair L.A. job fair at the Reef, a creative habitat in downtown Los Angeles. Warner Bros. Entertainment, in Burbank, LegalZoom.com Inc., in Glendale, and REX Real Estate Exchange, in Woodland Hills, participated in the March 8 event. TechFair L.A. promotes an inclusive tech sector, retaining local talent and attracting new entrepreneurs by providing a venue for potential employees to meet recruiters face-to-face. The job fair was sponsored by the city of Los Angeles in partnership with data firm Comparably and the Annenberg Foundation. Mayor Eric Garcetti said TechFair L.A. is a way to make sure talented coders, creators and innovators stay in Los Angeles to re-imagine the future of technology. “We are growing this industry here so that a young woman from South L.A. or North Hollywood has the access, resources and opportunity to go after her dreams in a field that continues to transform how we live our daily lives,” Garcetti said in a statement. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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