Posted by & filed under App Economy, Emerging Technologies, Innovation.

Who is going to decide how we travel around our cities – Californian tech giants or local transport businesses?

On Tech Tent we hear from the UK firm helping local taxi operators take the fight to Uber and from an American scooter firm trying to change the law in Britain.

I took a trip to Manchester this week and leaving the station, I had a number of options to get to my destination in Cheadle, on the outskirts of the city.

I could have grabbed a cab from the station rank or used the ubiquitous Uber – but instead I downloaded an app called Streetcars.

This enabled me to order a minicab from the local firm of that name and it deposited me at the headquarters of Autocab – the company that built the app for Streetcars and about 500 other local taxi firms across the UK.

Source: BBC Tech Tent

Date: November 9th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46151994

Discussion

1) “Tens of others had technology just as good as Uber that never went anywhere. The difference is Uber has been heavily financed by Wall Street and they’ve raised more than $13bn. We didn’t have the same access to capital.”  Is this really only about money?

2) “Uber with its early “move fast and break things” approach, which saw it clash with local regulators”  Why is it that regulations take time to catch up with technology innovation?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Career.

Companies like Mendix (https://www.mendix.com/) and Salesforce are saying that this is the start of a “low-code revolution”, where business people can build applications without knowing much, if any, code at all.

Source: Salesforce

Date: November 9th, 2018

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvG171ltKjw

Discussion

1) Why are we now at a point where low-code programming is an option?

2) How does a low-code environment change what business people need to understand?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, IT Trends, Robotics.

The SWEEPER robot is the first sweet pepper harvesting robot in the world demonstrated in a commercial greenhouse. It is designed to operate in a single stem row cropping system, with a crop having non-clustered fruits and little leaf occlusion.

Source: YouTube

Date: November 9th, 2018

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUgjFaYyecE

Discussion

1) Who looses their job because of this robot, and who gains a job?

2) What other applications are very similar to this but in a different field (no pun intended)?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Ethical issues, Facebook.

Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, pledged to fix how it handles political and issue ads in the wake of Russian meddling in 2016. But just days before the midterm elections, a key part of Facebook’s effort is broken, and it’s unclear if the company is doing anything to fix it.

The company has touted new rules for political ad-buyers as a major component of its work to combat disinformation on its platform. In 2016 Russian trolls with links to the Kremlin bought ads targeting Americans in the run-up to the presidential election. They were able to do so without giving any information to Americans seeing those ads about who was paying for them.

Political ads on the platform are now supposed to say who paid for them, but Facebook allows buyers to fill in that information themselves. And if anyone or any system at the company is supposed to be ensuring that the information these ad-buyers submit is the truth, they appear to be asleep at the wheel.

Earlier this week, Vice News, posing as a political ad-buyer, got approval from Facebook to run ads in the name of every single one of the US’ 100 senators. Vice News did not end up buying the ads. This came after Vice News had previously received approval from Facebook to run ads “Paid for” by Islamic State and Vice President Mike Pence.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: November 2nd. 2018

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/01/tech/facebook-election-ad-problems/index.html

Discussion

1) Why does it matter that Facebook is allowing fake adverts?

2) How might Facebook use automation to check the details people enter about who they are?

Posted by & filed under Automation, Career, Emerging Technologies, Ethical issues, IT and the law.

Shimizu demonstrating its construction robot, Robo-Buddy

Shinichi Sakamoto is 57, and works for Shimizu, one of Japan’s biggest construction companies. He is part of a greying, and dwindling, workforce.

“The thing is, statistics show a third of [Japanese construction] labourers are over 54 years old, and they are considering retiring so soon,” says Mr Sakamoto, who is deputy head of Shimizu’s production technology division.

And they’re not being replaced by younger builders. “The number of labourers under 30 is just above 10%,” he says.

In September, Mr Sakamoto’s firm gained a promising new co-worker – a robot.

Robo-Carrier is currently working on a high-rise development in Osaka, transports heavy gypsum board pallets nightly from the ground floor to where they’re needed.

Source: BBC Future

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46034469

Discussion

1) What are some issues around having robots on a building site?

2) Are there any ethical or legal issues we need to consider here?

Posted by & filed under Career, Fortnite, Gaming.

Group picture of Fortnite characters

Fortnite attracts millions of fans worldwide, including the likes of Drake, Travis Scott and Joe Jonas.

However, some other artists – including rapper 2 Milly – artists have accused Fortnite of stealing their dance moves.

Audiences have noticed some of the dances within the game appear to reference dance moves performed by famous hip-hop artists.

The developers of Fortnite, Epic Games, told the BBC they had no comment to make on the issue.

Dance steps such as Swipe It, originally known as the Milly Rock, and Hype, formerly known as Shoot, have been rebranded by Fortnite.

Drakes Look Alive video – which features the Shoot dance – has accumulated 228 million views.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-45821530

Discussion

1) Is it important, or not, to credit original artists in a game?

2) Are there ways to monetize famous dance moves in an app or online game?

Posted by & filed under Amazon.

“They really didn’t listen to those of us who’ve been in the business for decades,” says Bobbie Moe. Customers would punch in their cleaning needs and the square footage of their house online, but the actual time and manpower required would vary wildly with the cleaning needs of the home.”

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link (includes video): https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/24/tech/amazon-home-services/index.html

Discussion

1) The article says it took 2 years before Amazon made what seem like simple, obvious changes such as specifying the number of rooms to be cleaned in a house rather than square footage.  Why might this have taken so long to fix?

2) Why is Amazon getting in to this sort of business?

Posted by & filed under Civil Liberties, Data Analytics.

WhatsApp messages on a phone

Political campaigners in Brazil have used software that scrapes Facebook for citizens’ phone numbers, and then automatically sends them WhatsApp messages and adds them to WhatsApp groups.

Almost three weeks ago, 147 million voters in the country went to the polls for legislative elections and the first round of the presidential elections.

This Sunday, they will decide between far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro and the left-wing Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad, in the second round of the presidential election.

A BBC investigation has discovered that efforts to support various parties and candidates – covering state, federal and senate votes – have used the bulk message technique.

Source: BBC News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45956557

Discussion

1) “The scraping software allows its clients to choose a target audience by searching for keywords, pages or public groups on Facebook”.  How could you build a legitimate company around this?

2) Is this illegal in the U.S. or Canada?

Posted by & filed under Apple, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), Privacy.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has demanded a tough new US data protection law, in an unusual speech in Europe.

Referring to the misuse of “deeply personal” data, he said it was being “weaponised against us with military efficiency”.

“We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences,” he added. “This is surveillance.”

The strongly-worded speech presented a striking defence of user privacy rights from a tech firm’s chief executive.

Mr Cook also praised the EU’s new data protection regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 25th, 2018

Link (includes video): https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45963935

Discussion

1) “The Apple boss described in some detail what he called the “data industrial complex”, noting that billions of dollars were traded on the basis of people’s “likes and dislikes”, “wishes and fears” or “hopes and dreams” – the kind of data points tracked by tech firms and advertisers.” Why is it that most, if not almost all people using the internet don’t seem to care that such pervasive data collection of personal data is going on?

2) What steps could you take to avoid personal data collection?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Entrepreneurship, Innovator's Dilemma, Netflix.

 

To keep his family of four entertained, Ben Emery pays about $180 a month for Spectrum TV and internet service, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. He gets Amazon mostly for free shipping and Hulu in part because his 5-year-old daughter likes “Teen Titans Go.”

“Netflix and Hulu got in early, so that’s where I’m willing to invest my money.

Source: Bloomberg

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-18/netflix-amazon-leave-little-room-for-streaming-video-latecomers?srnd=technology-vp

Discussion

1) How might a new upstart be able to succeed in a world where Netflix and Amazon dominate?

2) Do you understand Clayton Christensen’s Innovators Dilemma paradigm?  It is useful to use this disruptive innovation approach to consider how you might compete here.