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Adobe will bring its Firefly generative AI (genAI) video model to its Premiere Pro video editing app later this year, and plans to provide access to third-party AI video creation tools such as OpenAI’s Sora, too. 

Adobe offered a glimpse of the Firefly video AI model in action on Monday, with new features planned for Premiere Pro. 

There’s “object addition and removal,” which lets users replace or remove items from a scene. Here, an AI “smart masking” tool lets users select objects that can then be modified — such as changing the color of an actor’s tie — or taken out of a shot altogether, such as removing a mic boom or a branded coffee mug in a medieval fantasy show.

A text-to-video tool enables the creation of new content in Premiere Pro, which can be useful for creating supplementary B-roll footage, said Adobe.

Finally, the generative extend feature will add new frames to a clip, allowing an editor to hold a shot longer. “You can use the extra media to fine tune your edits, hold for that extra beat, or cover a transition,” an Adobe spokesperson said during a briefing ahead of the announcement. 

The genAI features for Premiere Pro will be available in beta by the end of this year, when the Firefly AI video model launches, Adobe said.

“Generative AI models are increasingly becoming multi-modal — incorporating modalities such as images, speech and video — in both input and output,” said Arun Chandrasekaran, Gartner distinguished vice president analyst. Although existing text-to-video capabilities are “quite nascent today,” the potential is “immense.”

With other AI video creation models also drawing attention, most notably Sora, Adobe appears eager to build out its own capabilities. According to a recent Bloomberg report, Adobe is paying photographers and artists around $3 per minute of content for video content that can be used to train its AI models. 

While Adobe will face competition from the likes of OpenAI and others, it will also benefit from its status as incumbent in the market, said Forrester senior Nikhil Lai. 

“I anticipate demand from editors to access Adobe’s AI features because many have indelible muscle memory for the look and feel of Adobe’s tools,” said Lai.

Adobe also unveiled plans to partner with other vendors, with plans to incorporate third-party models in Premiere Pro. This includes Sora, as well as models from Pika Labs and Runway. These are just the start, said Adobe’s spokesperson during the briefing call. 

“Customers told us that they want choice, and we see a future in which thousands of different customized models are going to emerge, each strong in their own niche,” he said.

Adobe said it will apply its existing “content credentials” feature to assets generated by third-party models. This provides information on how a video was modified using AI, and which models were used. 

The use of multiple third-party tools could increase the risk of generating assets trained on copyright material, however. To help Premiere Pro users avoid adding copyright-infringing content to videos, a green checkmark will be visible in a menu of available third-party modes to show those deemed commercially safe. But customers will still need to do their own due diligence when accessing AI models from other vendors, an Adobe spokesperson said. 

Work to integrate third-part tools is at this point “exploratory,” Adobe said, with no launch date yet set. 

Adobe Systems, Generative AI, Video Editors

I don’t know whether to be amazed or horrified at how much out-of-date technology we’re still using. Maybe both. Both is good.

It’s been 10 years since Windows XP support expired. That’s a whole decade, people! But when I recently posted a meme “celebrating” the occasion, I started hearing from people who — God help them — are still using XP.

One person told me he believes XP still lives on at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on old systems still running Windows XP Embedded (XPe). Why? Because their manufacturers wouldn’t (couldn’t?) update their systems. Of course, NASA could replace them… but at a six-figure price for new gear, no one has the budget to do it. 

I can believe that — I used to work at Goddard in the late 1980s, and one of my projects was running an online system to track the real-time status of NASA Space Shuttle communication links. Among the systems I ran herd on was a tertiary Shuttle data connection that was a 110-baud Telex line to Bermuda dating to the 1950s. It worked, but that’s all you could say about it.

Then, as now, we kept it going because NASA didn’t have the money to replace it. (NASA, by the way, has never had anything like the budget it needs since the 1960s and the Apollo moon landings.)

But I digress. 

NASA’s not the only one stuck with running XP. Several people told me their medical facilities are still running XPe systems, too. Yet another tells me his engineering lab is doing the same thing. The reason? Once more, it works and there’s no money to replace the equipment. 

But, you say, those are corner cases, oddball situations. No one is really running XP on a PC anymore are they? ARE THEY?

Yes, in fact, they are. 

According to StatCounter, as of March 2024, 0.39% of desktops are still running Windows XP. Let’s do a little math. Microsoft claims there are 1.4 billion Windows PCs in the world, so that means we still have not quite 5.5 million XP computers up and running dsomewhere. And since StatCounter gets its numbers from systems connected to the Internet, that means we have about 5.5 million compromised PCs around the globe.

Eek!

The classic justification is that, “It’s working just fine! Why should I spend any money on it!?” My 1991 Toyota MR-2 worked just fine for decades, too, but I still wouldn’t drive in a demolition derby without brakes or a seat belt.

It’s not just XP though. There’s a lot of archaic systems still out there in production. 

For example, if you think XP is way too old to run for work, consider the German railroad company that was recently looking for a Windows for Workgroups 3.11 administrator! It turns out this software runs the “driver’s cab display system on high-speed and regional trains [which] shows the driver the most important technical data in real-time.” 

I love trains, but I think I might avoid German ones.

There’s another ancient system still “driving” public transportation. In San Francisco, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), still uses 5.25-in. floppy disks to run the city’s Muni Metro light rail. Every morning, the system boots up three floppy disks to load the Automatic Train Control System (ATCS) software. ATCS enables the human train operators to supervise while the train drives itself.

This takes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” to scary new levels.

At least San Francisco is upgrading its system — if officials can get the budget.  

Now, I use old technology all the time. Under my main work desk, I keep my 1982 vintage KayPro II computer. It still boots from its floppy drives. But I haven’t used it for work this century. I keep it purely out of nostalgia since it was my first PC.

But I’m sensible about it. I keep all the other computers at hand up to date with the latest patches and updates. You should, too. Doing otherwise is just asking for trouble.

But, before I leave you, color me curious. What’s the oldest system you’re still using for real work?

Microsoft, Windows, Windows PCs

The US has committed $6.4 billion in grants to help Samsung expand its semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Texas in a bid to strengthen America’s position in chip production.

The funding, under the CHIPS and Science Act, will construct a comprehensive semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem in Taylor and expand an existing facility in Austin, the Department of Commerce said in a statement.

Samsung is expected to invest more than $40 billion in the region in the coming years, which could create over 20,000 jobs.

“Because of investments like Samsung’s, the United States is projected to be on track to produce roughly 20 percent of the world’s leading-edge logic chips by 2030,” the statement said.

The announcement follows an $8.5 billion grant given to Intel and $6.6 billion to Taiwan’s TSMC earlier this year to boost local production. Adding Samsung to the cohort could help support the supply chains of local tech firms.

“Samsung’s expanded chip production in the US is set to bolster the supply chains of US tech firms, particularly in aerospace, defense, automotive, and other industries,” said Charlie Dai, VP and principal analyst at Forrester. “This move will enhance supply chain resilience against global disruptions, improve security through closer collaboration with defense contractors, and reduce costs and shipping times.”

Danish Faruqui, CEO of Fab Economics, pointed out that although the direct funding grant awarded to Samsung is lower than those awarded to Intel and TSMC, it is the largest relative to the size of the company’s promised investment. TSMC’s investment is expected to exceed $65 billion. Intel anticipates its investments will surpass $100 billion over the next five years.

Investing in two separate locations

The proposed investment to Samsung is planned for two separate locations in Central Texas.

In Taylor, the funds will help establish a comprehensive, advanced manufacturing ecosystem. This will include two advanced logic foundry fabs dedicated to the mass production of 4nm and 2nm process technologies, an R&D fab for the development of future technology generations, and an advanced packaging facility focused on 3D High Bandwidth Memory and 2.5D packaging, both critical for AI applications.

In Austin, the investment will expand existing facilities to enhance the production of fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) process technologies. This expansion aims to support crucial US industries, including aerospace, defense, and automotive, by upgrading their technological capabilities and innovation potential.

Challenges to overcome

While analysts agree that this move could potentially stimulate the domestic tech industry, becoming a leader in chip manufacturing may not be easy for the US.

Faruqui said that a significant challenge is the non-competitive Fab/ATP site-level Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), which aggregates all Capex and Opex cost structures for each year of construction and high-volume operation.

This becomes a crucial point as US faces stiff competition from Asian countries who have, for long, held a monopoly in advanced chip manufacturing.

“Challenges may arise in competing with Asian manufacturers, who have established cost advantages and a mature ecosystem for semiconductor manufacturing,” Dai said. “The US will need to address these challenges by focusing on developing a skilled workforce and offering competitive incentives to ensure the sustainability and growth of its domestic tech sector.”

CPUs and Processors, Technology Industry
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