Internet Use/New Technologies

24 October 2017

How the Appetite for Emojis Complicates the Effort to Standardize the World's Alphabets New York Times

Anshuman Pandey was intrigued. A graduate student in history at the University of Michigan, he was searching online for forgotten alphabets of South Asia when an image of a mysterious writing system popped up. In eight years of digging through British colonial archives both real and digital, he has found almost 200 alphabets across Asia that were previously undescribed in the West, but this one, which he came across in early 2011, stumped him. Its sinuous letters, connected to one another in cursive fashion and sometimes bearing dots and slashes above or below, resembled those of Arabic.

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23 October 2017

Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent New York Times

Silicon Valley’s start-ups have always had a recruiting advantage over the industry’s giants: Take a chance on us and we’ll give you an ownership stake that could make you rich if the company is successful.

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How Social Media Endangers Knowledge The Guardian

Wikipedia, one of the last remaining pillars of the open and decentralized web, is in existential crisis.

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How Fiction Becomes Fact on Social Media New York Times

Hours after the Las Vegas massacre, Travis McKinney’s Facebook feed was hit with a scattershot of conspiracy theories. The police were lying. There were multiple shooters in the hotel, not just one. The sheriff was covering for casino owners to preserve their business.

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19 October 2017

Automation will affect one in five jobs across the UK, says study The Guardian

Workers in the constituency of shadow chancellor John McDonnell are at the highest risk of seeing their jobs automated in the looming workplace revolution that will affect at least one in five employees in all parliamentary seats, according to new research.

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15 October 2017

Why Tech is Starting to Make Me Uneasy New York Times

It’s gadget season in the tech world. Think of it like New York Fashion Week, untucked white-man edition.

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12 October 2017

Facebook: We want a billion people in VR BBC News

In its continued effort to take virtual reality mainstream, Facebook has announced Oculus Go - a standalone headset that will be released in 2018.

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The Frightful Five Want to Rule Entertainment. They Are Hitting Limits. New York Times

The tech giants are too big. Other than Donald J. Trump, that’s the defining story of 2017, the meta-narrative lurking beneath every other headline.

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10 October 2017

Twitter Investor Ballmer Says Social Media Companies Can't Police Fake News Bloomberg

With big technology companies facing criticism over potential manipulation by Russians trying to influence the U.S. presidential election, Twitter Inc. shareholder and former Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said the companies can’t do more at present to police the spread of fake news.

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Facebook Security Chief Warns of Dangers in Fake-News Solutions Bloomberg

Facebook Inc.’s chief security officer warned that the fake news problem is more complicated and dangerous to solve than the public thinks.

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08 October 2017

AOL Instant Messenger to Shut Down in December New York Times

AOL Instant Messenger, the chat program that connected a generation to their classmates and crushes while guiding them through the early days of digital socializing, will shut down on Dec. 15, its parent company announced on Friday.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai: 'I don't know whether humans want change that fast' The Guardian

When Sundar Pichai was growing up in Chennai, south-east India, he had to make regular trips to the hospital to pick up his mother’s blood-test results. It took an hour and 20 minutes by bus, and when he got there he would have to stand and queue for an hour, often to be told the results weren’t ready.

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Asphalt helps batteries charge more quickly BBC News

Lithium batteries can be made to charge 10 to 20 times faster by using asphalt, suggests US research.

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04 October 2017

UK says WhatsApp lets paedophiles and gangsters operate beyond the law Reuters

Britain said WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption communication services allowed paedophiles and organised crime groups to operate beyond the reach of the law and called on the messaging service to move faster to help governments catch offenders.

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01 October 2017

Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god The Guardian

Intranet service? Check. Autonomous motorcycle? Check. Driverless car technology? Check. Obviously the next logical project for a successful Silicon Valley engineer is to set up an AI-worshipping religious organization.

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28 September 2017

Ads don't work so websites are using your electricity to pay the bills The Guardian

With the continuing collapse in online advertising revenues, websites are turning to other methods to pay their hosting bills – including using visitors’ computers and phones to mine cryptocurrency.

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27 September 2017

Facebook Can Absolutely Control Its Algorithm Wired

There is a narrative emerging around Facebook that implies the social-networking giant cannot prevent the spread of fake news, Russian political messages, and ads targeting hate groups on its platform. Like Dr. Frankenstein, Facebook created a monster! The algorithms have already won! Facebook’s sheer scale means it could never successfully police the gazillion pieces of content its 2 billion users create and share every second. We are doomed to live in a dystopian post-truth world of propaganda, dark ads, and artificial intelligence.

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As Google Fights Fake News, Voices on the Margins Raise Alarm New York Times

When David North, the editorial chairman of the World Socialist Web Site, noticed a drop in the site’s traffic in April, he initially chalked it up to news fatigue over President Trump or a shift in political consciousness.

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24 September 2017

Facebook can't hide behind algorithms BBC News

If Facebook’s algorithms were executives, the public would be demanding their heads on a stick, such was the ugly incompetence on display this week.

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22 September 2017

Fake news worries 'are growing' suggests BBC poll BBC News

There is growing concern among global net users about fake news online, according to a BBC World Service poll.

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21 September 2017

The long read - Facebook's war on free will: How technology is making our minds redundant The Guardian

All the values that Silicon Valley professes are the values of the 60s. The big tech companies present themselves as platforms for personal liberation. Everyone has the right to speak their mind on social media, to fulfil their intellectual and democratic potential, to express their individuality. Where television had been a passive medium that rendered citizens inert, Facebook is participatory and empowering. It allows users to read widely, think for themselves and form their own opinions.

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Facebook adds human reviewers after 'Jew haters' ad scandal BBC News

Facebook will add more human reviewers to its advertising system after admitting it failed to prevent, or even notice, anti-Semitic targeting on the network.

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How Facebook's, Instagram's and Snapchat's audience size estimates compare Marketing Land

Perception plays a big role when digital platforms jockey for brand ad dollars. Notions like “everyone’s on Facebook … except for high schoolers, who are all on Snapchat … but everyone’s leaving Snapchat for Instagram” can make marketers pause when deciding how to map out their budget allocations.

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20 September 2017

How the Internet Kept Humming During 2 Hurricanes New York Times

At one node of the industrial backbone that keeps the internet running, employees sheltered from the worst of Hurricane Irma in a stairwell of a seven-story building in downtown Miami. When the power had gone out, diesel generators instantly kicked in to keep the lights on and prevent the internet from going down.

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19 September 2017

Britain has large audience for online jihadist propaganda, report says The Guardian

Online jihadist propaganda attracts more clicks in Britain than in any other European country and the main internet companies are failing to curb it, a centre-right thinktank has said.

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