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Photoshopping the Future 🤖 🪄




May 30, 2023



In this week’s What’s Appening, we cover the next evolution of Photoshop. No, scratch that. This is more like a revolution, as Generative AI image doctoring goes mainstream with Adobe releasing the latest version of Photoshop powered by its Firefly AI engine. So you thought Photoshopped images posed a problem before? Just wait till you get a load of this. In other news this week, we cover the FDA approval of Elon Musk’s brain implants! We also take a look at Shutterstock, which has pounced on Meta’s woes to snap up Giphy for a bargain. Our Stat of the Week looks at ChatGPT App downloads. And What’s Appening looks at a new frontier in web3 - China.

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Takes 🎬️

🤖 🪄 Adobe – Firefly AI Brings Photoshopping to a Whole New Level

For a while now, we’ve learned to be a little bit skeptical when viewing images shared on the internet. Skilled (and let’s be honest, unskilled) designers have been doctoring up photos for years and many of us have fallen for it. Thankfully, most of the fake images created online are easily distinguished from real ones, including last week’s “explosion at the Pentagon”. While it was obvious to many of us that photo wasn’t real, it nevertheless caused social media to erupt, and, momentarily, even caused the stock market to take a dive! But the latest beta version of Photoshop dropped, and that may lead to far more believable and dangerous fake images in the future: Introducing Firefly, a Generative AI engine that allows one to simply imagine changes to an image, and Firefly magically makes it happen with a simple prompt. The results are astounding. Photographs can be changed, or extended. Some of the most fascinating examples include very easily adding background and further context around an original image. And yes, it’s so easy, and spectacular, and frightening, but you can be your own judge of that. Check out the examples here or just search the hashtag #Firefly on Twitter. As of now, this new version of Photoshop is in public beta with the official version released later this year. It’s an exciting, yet dangerous, tool, able to shape our perceptions, our conceptions, and, perhaps, our elections. Awesome, yet very, very, very scary. #PhotoshoppingFuture Read more here.

🧠 💾 Neuralink – FDA Approval Granted for ‘Brain Implant’ Human Trials

Last Thursday, the FDA granted approval for Neuralink, the Elon Musk-founded neurotechnology company, to proceed with human trials for its brain implants. The approval came at the second time of asking, as the FDA rebuffed the proposal in March, citing safety concerns. However, it has now changed course, paving the way for voluntary (we would hope so!) human trials to begin “soon”. There is, of course, a touch of the dystopian cyberpunk movie about all this, and if we had a dollar for every social media post we have seen about Elon Musk’s penchant for blowing things up…..But there is a serious side to this. It’s not about mind control or any crazy rewiring of your brain. In fact, the way Neuralink works is somewhat prosaic – it’s effectively Bluetooth technology for your brain. The Neuralink chip will interpret signals from your brain, which will then be relayed to devices – computers, smartphones, etc. – via a Bluetooth signal. That, in turn, could help those with severe disabilities use technology, helping them move, communicate, and even see for the first time. Of course, it’s understandable that some folks will poke fun at the idea, and there are some who will focus on the ethics behind this. Yet, we should not forget that there are folks who will see this as a ray of hope, a moonshot opportunity that would not have been thought possible just a decade ago. We give Elon Musk plenty of criticism here on What’s Appening, but we’d like to believe that this is coming from a position of altruism. There are many more regulatory hurdles to jump over before Neuralink becomes a reality, but the FDA has given some people with disabilities reason to believe that day will come a little sooner. #MindBlowing Read more here.

📸💰 Shutterstock – Giphy Acquisition Comes at a Fraction of Meta’s Outlay

Shutterstock, the platform best known for its stock photos and related services, has agreed to a $53 million deal to buy Giphy, the world’s largest GIF library. It’s a deal that certainly makes sense for Shutterstock as it extends the scope of its services across the digital marketing landscape. However, the deal is arguably all the sweeter for Shutterstock when you consider that Meta bought Giphy for $400 million just three years ago. While Meta has been known to overpay for stuff down the years, Shutterstock’s bargaining position was strengthened by the fact Meta had to sell, given the antitrust order handed down by the UK’s CMA regulator a few weeks back. With 1.3 billion search queries per day on Giphy – and a whopping 15 billion daily media impressions – this seems like a bargain for Shutterstock, although monetizing Giphy has never been easy. We should note, as well, that the terms of the deal include an API agreement with Meta, meaning access will continue to Giphy across Meta’s family of apps. #GoodGiphyDeal Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week: 500K Downloads 

🤖🔝 ChatGPT – iPhone App Hits Half a Million Downloads in Just Six Days

We always knew it would be a hit, but the rush to get the ChatGPT app was quite impressive, given the limited release and the fact it is an iPhone-only app (for now). Half a million downloads in such a short period of time make ChatGPT one of the highest-performing app releases of the last couple of years, only topped by Donald Trump’s Truth Social, which saw a flurry of downloads in February 2022. Nonetheless, it’s an auspicious start for ChatGPT in app form, and one that will only gain traction when it expands to new territories and arrives on the Google Play Store. #FastChat Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

📜🏗️ Web3 – Beijing Releases White Paper for Web3 Innovation and Development

China is widely viewed as anti-cryptocurrency. The Communist Party banned Bitcoin and all crypto transactions in September 2021 in one of many clampdowns on the industry. There has, however, been a softening of late, and that includes a White Paper published last week, which will position Beijing as a global innovation hub for web3. The language of the document is extraordinary when you consider the country’s previous stance on crypto, with statements calling web3 an “inevitable trend for future internet industry development”. The timing is also significant, as Hong Kong will open up crypto trading this Thursday. And last week, Nanjing, the capital of one of China’s eastern provinces, announced a government-backed metaverse project. Of course, we can’t see China becoming a hub for the kind of decentralized freedom web3 proponents believe in, but it is certainly seeing the potential in the web3 economy. Once again, it makes us wonder at some of the actions of the regulators in the US. If America doesn’t become the global epicenter of web3 innovation, other nations will gleefully grasp the opportunity. #ChinaWeb3 Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

It’s our 13th birthday! 🎉🎉🎉

What a journey! What started as a one-man half-smoke app developer (thank’s Ben’s Chili Bowl! 🌭) has transformed into a badass product team that's constantly pushing the limits and revolutionizing the digital landscape. But here's the thing: our success isn't solely measured by the projects we tackle or the products we deliver. It's defined by the deep connections we form, the true partnerships we forge, and the long-lasting impact we create.

We take immense pride not in our beautiful designs we’ve brought to life, but most importantly the digital businesses we’ve brought to life. And on this special anniversary, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to our exceptional team and remarkable clients. It's because of your unwavering trust and support that we've achieved incredible milestones and made a lasting difference.

Cheers to 13 years of growth, empowerment, and innovation. And here's to the many more years ahead, where we'll continue to make a lasting impact in the digital world.

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