Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Self-driving vehicles.

A test driver was behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber vehicle when it struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday night.  Autonomous car companies have test drivers on board so they can take over in case of emergencies.  But that safeguard wasn’t enough to prevent the death 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg. Tempe police say Herzberg was walking her bicycle across a street when Uber’s Volvo XC90 SUV hit her.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: March 27th, 2018

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/21/technology/uber-test-driver-duties/index.html

Discussion

1) What other technology developments need a human to possibly step in and intervene for the computer?

2) At what point does it make sense to let self-driving vehicles self-drive without a human to step in?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Robot looking at AI sign

As with the human brain, the neural networks that power artificial intelligence systems are not easy to understand.  DeepMind, the Alphabet-owned AI firm famous for teaching an AI system to play Go, is attempting to work out how such systems make decisions.  By knowing how AI works, it hopes to build smarter systems.

But researchers acknowledged that the more complex the system, the harder it might be for humans to understand.  The fact that the programmers who build AI systems do not entirely know why the algorithms that power it make the decisions they do, is one of the biggest issues with the technology.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 27th, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43514566

Discussion

1) Is it ethically alright that “programmers who build AI systems do not entirely know why the algorithms that power it make the decisions they do”?

2) What are some possible issues with the fact that “programmers who build AI systems do not entirely know why the algorithms that power it make the decisions they do”?

Posted by & filed under Facebook.

Facebook is under scrutiny in the wake of another privacy scandal.

Facebook’s latest privacy scandal, involving Trump campaign consultants who allegedly stole data on tens of millions of users in order to influence elections, has some people reconsidering their relationship status with the social network.

There’s just one problem: There isn’t much of anywhere else to go.

Source: CBC News

Date: March 22nd, 2018

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/breaking-up-facebook-1.4586508

Discussion

1) “For other users looking to leave, it can feel as if there are no real alternatives. Twitter? Too flighty, too public. Instagram? Whoops, owned by Facebook. Snapchat? Please, unless you’re under 25 — in which case you’re probably not on Facebook to begin with.”  What are your thoughts on these comments?

2) How has Facebook become so dominant?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Ethical issues, Facebook.

A cellphone user thumbs through the privacy settings on a Facebook account in Ottawa on Wednesday. Limiting access by third-party apps is one way users can help protect their privacy.

Facebook users who are worried about protecting their personal information in the wake of the alleged privacy breach by Cambridge Analytica have a few options at their disposal.

The U.K. data firm has denied any wrongdoing and Facebook has said that, while none of the information leaked was the result of a data breach, it did appear to involve the passing of personal information from Cambridge Analytica to a third party when that data was supposed to have been destroyed.

The scandal has hit Facebook’s stock price hard, and angry users have launched a social media campaign encouraging people to delete their accounts. Short of taking that step, there are also a few other things that can help to control how your personal information is used.

Source: CBC

Date: March 22nd, 2018

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/facebook-data-privacy-settings-cambridge-analytica-1.4586185

Discussion

1) If you were managing technology at a company, how would you make sure the company’s employees followed all the instructions given in this article?

2) Is it appropriate for a technology manager to ask company employees to change settings on Facebook when Facebook is not part of their assigned work?

Posted by & filed under Automation.

Illustration of robot wrangler

How about this for a future job advert? “Wranglers wanted for growing fleets of robots. Your responsibilities will include evaluating robot performance, providing real-time analysis and support for problems.  “You must be analytical, detail-oriented, friendly – and ready to walk. No advanced degree required.”  Even if this particular advert has not yet appeared, some are already carrying out the role.  Brandon Rees, 32, used to make food deliveries. Now he watches robots do them.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 22nd, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-43259903

Discussion

1) Humans wrangling robots?  What sorts of skills would actually be required (as opposed to “No advanced degree required”)?

2) How should human – robot interactions be managed?

Posted by & filed under Blockchain, Disruptive Innovation, Ethical issues, IT and the law.

Bitcoin tokens

Researchers in Germany have found hundreds of links to child sexual abuse imagery on Bitcoin’s blockchain.

This could make using the blockchain, a digital ledger of crypto-currency transactions, illegal.  The study, from RWTH Aachen University, also said other files on the blockchain may violate copyright and privacy laws.  Researchers said they had found eight files with sexual content. And three of these contained content “objectionable for almost all jurisdictions”.  Two of these between them listed more than 200 links to child sexual abuse imagery, the study said.  And if records of the files were stored on users’ computers, they may be in violation of the law.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 22nd, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43485572

Discussion

This article raises all sorts of issues about blockchain.

1) One of them is about how stuff gets validated on to the blockchain.  Clearly validation of content put on to the blockchain was not done in this case before the content was “mined” to be an integral part of the chain.   How might validation work?

2) Another issue that one of blockchain’s whole premises is that it is a distributed ledger, which means it is almost impossible to corrupt (unless you control 51% of the chain).   This article not only suggests that it could be illegal to have a copy of this particular blockchain, but also that “Pruning, or altering parts of the blockchain ledger, would allow users to rid their local copies of illegal content”.  Why does this take away exactly what blockchain is all about?

Posted by & filed under Competitive Advantage, Emerging Economies, Emerging Technologies.

the question is whether enough of the world’s unconnected people want all this internet, from all of these companies, and whether these companies are fully considering the financial and social constraints of the developing world. “It’s still very early to say, from a demand perspective, whether there’s enough market to fulfill all of these mega constellations,” says satellite industry analyst Mansoor Shar.

Source: Wired Magazine

Date: March 15th, 2018

Link: https://www.wired.com/story/maybe-nobody-wants-your-space-internet/

Discussion

1) SpaceX recently launched the first two of its planned 12,000 low-earth orbit internet-from-space satellites.  Who is right here and whether internet-from-space is a good idea?

2) Many rural communities have appalling internet service.  How can this transform business?

Posted by & filed under Reddit.

Steve Huffman

South by Southwest Interactive is a festival that used to have a reputation as the place to create a buzz for a new social network or product.

Yet these days, SXSW’s focus is less about developing apps, and more about developing society. A society that, thanks to technology which some of these attendees created, feels in need of repair.  One of the most interesting products being discussed this year isn’t new at all.  Reddit somehow seems to fly under the radar for the average person, despite being the sixth most popular website in the world.  But while its ugly aesthetic – and often, ugly content – is alienating to many, there is much to admire.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say Reddit provides a model for how to create a more interesting, fairer web. A model that doesn’t drag down other publishers in the process.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 15th, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43383766

Discussion

1) If you don’t use Reddit, why is this?  Dig a little deeper to understand what is driving your choices around the apps you use as you can use this to inform whether or not you are making reasoned choices or are simply being reactive.

2) What is it that Reddit does that is seen as being really important here?

Posted by & filed under 3D, Consumer Technology, Emerging Technologies, Ethical issues.

In Texas, tucked behind a house for the wealthy, perhaps lies some hope for the significantly less so.

More than a billion people in the world go to sleep each night without reliable shelter.

But a pair of companies working on solving that believes their model of quickly 3D-printing a one-story house could not only provide merely a roof over the head, but a genuinely great place to live.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 15th, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43411581

Discussion

1) “If it does work it could literally change how shelter is created.”  How could you become involved in something like this?

2) What other materials can be 3D-printed?

Posted by & filed under The Internet.

The Web's first site was created by CERN in 1989. On April 30, 1993, it was made available to the world royalty-free. The design of the site is very different from Web pages today but also showed the roots of what was to come. It can be fun to look through Internet history, so CNN consulted the <a href='http://archive.org/web/web.php' target='_blank'>Internet Archive Wayback Machine</a> to find out what early versions of other websites looked like. Click through the gallery for a trip back in time.

Discussion:
The Web turned 33 years old this week. Can you even remember what it was like back then? Their was no pictures, no music and no color, and it could take a COUPLE OF MINUTES to load a page. If a webpage takes longer than 3 seconds I start getting annoyed.

“It’s like coffee culture versus tea culture,” he said. “With coffee, you’re gulping it down, trying to get your caffeine. Tea culture is more sipping and experiencing the taste.

“We had a sipping culture back then, and now we have a gulping culture. That’s the big change. It was a small number of geeks who were tasting this concept for the first time. We were getting little bits. We were tasting them, and we were saying, ‘How could this change the world?’ ”

Source: CNN Tech

Date: March 15th, 2018

Link: http://us.cnn.com/2014/03/11/tech/web/early-world-wide-web/index.html?hpt=hp_bn5

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you remember the first time you got on the internet? If so, tell us your experience?
  • Can we even imagine what life will be like in 25 years with the advancement of technology? Why or why not?