Posted by & filed under crypto-currency.

The image above is of a cryptomining rig

For almost a year, cryptocurrency miners have snapped up all the graphics cards they could get their hands on. That was a financial windfall for Nvidia and AMD, the leading makers of consumer graphics cards. Both reported soaring profits their last two quarters.

But on Thursday, Nvidia reported its financial results for its second fiscal quarter, which ended on July 29. The results were pretty good overall, with strong demands for Nvidia products for AI and data center applications. However, cryptocurrency-related demand has cratered.

Source: Ars Technica

Date: August 20th, 2018

Link: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/08/the-blockchain-bonanza-is-over-for-graphics-card-makers/

Discussion

1) Why does cryptomining need video cards?

2) The article does not discuss much why the price of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum have been falling.  Why have they been falling?

Posted by & filed under IT and the law.

Friday marked a major milestone for the more than $15 billion adult toy industry, with the expiration of a longstanding patent. The basic idea behind the expiring patent is almost as old as the internet – that two users might sexually stimulate each other using devices controlled over the internet.

This week marked a major milestone for the more than $15 billion adult toy industry, with the expiration of a longstanding patent on sex toys controlled over the internet. The patent has been held in recent years by a company widely regarded as a ‘patent troll,’ focused not on developing usable technology, but instead on seeking monetary damages from anyone who infringed on their claim to the idea.

Source: Ars Technica

Date: August 20th, 2018

Link: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/cybersex-toy-industry-heats-up-as-infamous-teledildonics-patent-climaxes/

Discussion

1) What is a patent troll?

2) It has been said that music and the sex industry are the first to feel the impact of technology developments.  Why is this, and why is it important for every other industry?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence – a rapidly advancing technology promising to transform whole industries in the next five years with profound implications for how we live and work.

Or, as we hear on this week’s Tech Tent, a massively overhyped buzzword for quite a mundane field of computer science which has not made any great leap forward in the last decade.

That is the view we hear from Zia Chishti, who is deeply sceptical about the claims that AI is disrupting every industry on earth at breakneck speed.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: August 20th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45219902

Discussion

1) It is common in many instances that companies that want to sell things will say that their thing is part of whatever is new and exciting.  This is what is being claimed here – much of what is being called AI is not actually AI.  Q: what are the differences between “Machine learning, predictive analytics, AI”?

2) Is it “fake news” that companies are selling what they have as AI when it is not?

Posted by & filed under History of IT and IS.

A recent study has revealed which kinds of tech have stood the test of time – in terms of recognition, if not use.

Source: BBC Future

Date: August 20th, 2018

Link (to a gallery of 10 items): http://www.bbc.com/future/gallery/20180816-do-you-recognise-these-obsolete-technologies

Discussion

1) “More than five billion floppy disks were sold per year worldwide at their peak in the mid-1990s” – why is it important, or is it not important, to know the history of things?

2) Some of these items have been simply replaced by digital versions.  Why is this an important development?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Entertainment, Ethical issues, Fake News.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been moving recently to deal with the threats posed by misinformation and meddling that they didn’t see coming, but now they face an emerging form of disinformation they know is on the horizon: Deepfakes — doctored videos that will eventually fool even the sharpest eyes. As the technology to create deepfakes advances, experts say, it won’t be long before it’s used to foment discord or even affect an election.

“The opportunity for malicious liars is going to grow by leaps and bounds,” said Bobby Chesney, professor and associate dean of the University of Texas School of Law who has been closely researching deepfakes.

Source: CNN Technology

Date: August 14th, 2018

Link: https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/08/technology/deepfakes-countermeasures-facebook-twitter-youtube/index.html

Discussion

1) There are almost no details how you Facebook, Google or CNN, say, might detect a deepfake video.  How might you go about doing this?

2) Why do Facebook, Google or CNN, say, have a responsibility to root out fakeness?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

 

Artificial intelligence promises to make hiring an unbiased utopia.

There’s certainly plenty of room for improvement. Employee referrals, a process that tends to leave underrepresented groups out, still make up a bulk of companies’ hires. Recruiters and hiring managers also bring their own biases to the process, studies have found, often choosing people with the “right-sounding” names and educational background.

Source: Bloomberg Technology

Date: August 14th, 2018

Link (allows 9 free downloads per month): https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-08/artificial-intelligence-is-coming-for-hiring-and-it-might-not-be-that-bad

Discussion

1) How might artificial intelligence still bring bias to the hiring process?

2) How might you train artificial intelligence to make sensible hiring decisions?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues.

Fortnite characters on laptops

A French marketing agency is inviting applicants for an internship to discuss the opportunity over a game of Fortnite.

Candidates are asked to add Dare.Win on the Playstation Network, which is one of its clients, and then be interviewed while playing the video game.

Dare.Win says the game-play fits with its entertainment-focused brand.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: August 14th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45184151

Discussion

1) “Successful candidates would work on content for brands including Spotify, PlayStation, Bacardi and YouTube”.  Why does it makes sense to interview for a marketing position in this way?

2) Why does it make no sense to interview for a marketing position in this way?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues, Google.

Crowd of people

Google records users’ locations even when they have asked it not to, a report from the Associated Press has suggested.

The issue could affect up to two billion Android and Apple devices which use Google for maps or search.

The study, verified by researchers at Princeton University, has angered US law-makers.

Google said in response that it provides clear descriptions of its tools and how to turn them off.

The study found that users’ whereabouts are recorded even when location history has been disabled.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: August 14th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45183041

Discussion

1) “To stop Google saving these location markers, users have to turn off another setting called Web and App Activity, which is enabled by default and which does not mention location data”  Would you consider this “clear descriptions of the tools” as Google is saying?

2) Why should you expect privacy from a company that is not obligated to provide you any service – what you are using you use for free?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues, Facebook, Uncategorized.

Facebook Inc. said it had data-sharing partnerships with four Chinese consumer-device makers, including Huawei Technologies Co., escalating concerns that the social network has consistently failed to tell users how their personal information flows beyond Facebook.

The disclosure came after Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said earlier Tuesday that he saw “a serious danger” that Facebook shared user information with Chinese device makers. Facebook said it was careful about the partnerships, which were designed to help smartphone makers build custom versions of Facebook’s app. Still, the confirmation is likely to heighten scrutiny of the company’s privacy practices if the deals weren’t explicitly disclosed to users.

Source: Bloomberg Technology News

Date: June 6th, 2018

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-05/facebook-discloses-data-sharing-deals-with-chinese-device-makers

Discussion

1) What does Facebook mean, do you think, when they say “Facebook’s integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built”?

2) Does the fact that Facebook approved sharing your information with Chinese technology companies mean that they did not or should not disclose this to you, the Facebook user?

Posted by & filed under Data center, IT Investment, Microsoft.

Microsoft has sunk a data centre in the sea off Orkney to investigate whether it can boost energy efficiency.

The data centre, a white cylinder containing computers, could sit on the sea floor for up to five years.

An undersea cable brings the data centre power and takes its data to the shore and the wider internet – but if the computers onboard break, they cannot be repaired.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: June 6th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44368813

Discussion

1) Why does it make sense for Microsoft to essentially bury a datacenter in the ocean?

2) Should Google, Facebook, Amazon and others be considering this too?