Posted by & filed under App Economy, Systems Development.

This weekend in Canada, as many people stuff themselves with Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, it might be worth taking a moment to think about food waste.

When food gets thrown out and ends up in a landfill, it releases greenhouse gases as it decays. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that from 2010 to 2016, global food loss and waste contributed eight to 10 per cent of human-caused GHG emissions

Fifty-eight per cent of food produced in Canada is lost or wasted, amounting to 35.5 million tonnes a year, according to the food rescue organization Second Harvest. A large chunk of that could actually be rescued and eaten — some of it by you. But how? Well, there’s an app for that — more than one, actually.

Flashfood is a startup that partnered with grocery giant Loblaw earlier this year to sell surplus food at a discount — typically 50 per cent or more — at hundreds of Loblaws locations across the country. Through the Flashfood app, each store posts daily offerings, including meat, dairy, bread or packaged foods that are approaching their best-before dates. Fruits and vegetables are sold as a random, five-pound assortment for $5.

Source: CBC News

Date: October 11th, 2019

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/what-on-earth-newsletter-thanksgiving-food-waste-app-1.5316720

Discussion

  1. What other types of waste could be cut using apps like these?
  2. What features need to be built in to apps like these to make them useful?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Source: BBC Future

Date: October 11th, 2019

Link to 4 minute animated video: https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/could-artificial-intelligence-replace-governments/p07px5jb?playlist=algorithms-and-ai-what-kind-of-world-do-we-want

Discussion

This 4 minute video does a good job of putting AI in perspective and making it clear that whilst AI is good for analyzing data, it can’t know the difference between right and wrong, and it has no accountability either if there is a mistake.

The video leads to the conclusion that AI will continue just to help humans make decisions.

Questions on this topic might include:

  1. How do humans currently teach their children what is right or wrong, and why can’t that be put in to an AI?
  2. How do humans create accountability?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, Electronic Surveillance, Emerging Economies, Entrepreneurship.

Geraint Harries, digital lead, St John the Evangelist, Lancashire

Geraint Harries, a technology specialist, for St John the Evangelist in Lancashire, admits that when his parish first started using social media, it didn’t get it quite right.

“At first we didn’t really know what social media meant for the church and fell into the trap of simply chasing the number of likes and followers on our Facebook page,” he says.

But when a parishioner credited the Facebook page for her decision to return to the church, then he felt the strategy had started to work.

Weekly posts on the social media page of the church which simply asked “How can we pray for you today?” resonated with the woman going through a divorce last Christmas.

“Sometimes it can be daunting to turn up in person to a service so connecting online, more anonymously, can make it easier to take that first step into the building which happened here,” he adds.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 11th, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-49772169

Discussion

  1. ” “Sometimes it can be daunting to turn up in person to a service so connecting online, more anonymously, can make it easier to take that first step ” What other types of businesses or services could use this approach?
  2. ” Thanks to an infrared digital tracker, Revesby St Lawrence in Lincolnshire discovered that hundreds of people were arriving at the venue only to find it shut. In response the church revised its opening hours. ” What other types of businesses or services could use this idea of using an infrared digital tracker?

Posted by & filed under Gamification, Gaming.

Today, almost 40% of the 7,000 languages spoken worldwide are endangered, according to the United Nations. More are going extinct every year.It was once widely feared that the internet revolution would speed up this decline. If developers and smartphone manufacturers aren’t willing to invest in supporting minority languages, that would cut off people who speak them from an important way to communicate and trap those languages in the past. Higgs, 23, though, is one of a small cohort of educators and activists reinventing how minority languages are taught and preserved online by using cutting-edge technology. When he was 17, Higgs “had this kind of crazy teenage idea.” He had begun using Duolingo, a mobile language-learning app, to study French, and wondered if the creators had considered adding support for Irish.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: October 4th, 2019

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/04/tech/duolingo-endangered-languages-intl-hnk/index.html

Discussion

  1. How could you use technology to teach something differently, hopefully better, in your current Introduction to Information Systems class?
  2. ” Duolingo is based on the idea that if learning is gamified and bite-sized (and free), people will stick with it when they might not otherwise. ” What is “gamification”?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Civil Liberties, Consumer Technology, Ethical issues, Microsoft.

Microsoft is launching a $25 million initiative to use artificial intelligence to build better technology for people with disabilities.

CEO Satya Nadella announced the new “AI for Accessibility” effort as he kicked off Microsoft’s annual conference for software developers. The Build conference in Seattle is meant to foster enthusiasm for the company’s latest ventures in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, internet-connected devices and virtual reality.

Source: The Associated Press

Date: October 1st, 2019

Link: https://apnews.com/73e45d8e5bc544248ff39fac89cd8fce

Discussion

1) The CEO of Microsoft says here  “privacy is a human right.”  What does this mean for people involved with information systems and technology?

2) The CEO of Microsoft also “warned of the dangers of building new technology without ethical principles in mind”.  What does this mean?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues, Wiki.

Ask Google or Siri: “What is Taiwan?”

“A state”, they will answer, “in East Asia”.

But earlier in September, it would have been a “province in the People’s Republic of China”.

For questions of fact, many search engines, digital assistants and phones all point to one place: Wikipedia. And Wikipedia had suddenly changed.

The edit was reversed, but soon made again. And again. It became an editorial tug of war that – as far as the encyclopedia was concerned – caused the state of Taiwan to constantly blink in and out of existence over the course of a single day.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 1st, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49921173

Discussion

  1. “For questions of fact, many search engines, digital assistants and phones all point to one place: Wikipedia .” Wikipedia can be updated and edited by anyone. What impact does this have on how truthful something is?
  2. What other digital services might be able to be influenced to reflect the interests, politics, or other matters of a particular individual, state, or country?

Posted by & filed under Android, Apple, Cyber Security, Cyberattack.

iphones on display at an apple store in shanghai summer 2019

Some zero-day exploits can fetch high prices. This week Zerodium announced that it will pay $2.5m to security researchers who provide exploits that allow the complete takeover of Android phones without requiring the target to click on anything. But the big news in the announcement was that Zerodium was valuing the same kinds of exploits on Apple’s iOS operating system at only $2m.

Source: The Guardian

Date: September 26th, 2019

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/commentisfree/2019/sep/08/iphone-safe-from-hackers-think-again-ios-android-zero-day-exploit-zerodium-google-threat-analysis

Discussion

  1. What is a “zero-day” exploit?
  2. Why do you think that the price of an Apple iOS zero-day exploit is LESS than an Android operating system zero-day exploit?
  3. Is it ethical for a company, in this case https://zerodium.com/ to offer serious money for ways to hack in to smartphone operating systems?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, IT and Politics, Politics.

The cybersecurity company CrowdStrike, which has been at the center of false conspiracy theories since 2016, is once again in focus after a White House transcript published on Wednesday revealed President Donald Trump brought it up in his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.In a complaint released on Thursday by the intelligence community, a whistleblower expressed confusion about Trump’s references to the company.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: September 26th, 2019

Link (the video is not related to the article): https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/26/tech/what-is-crowdstrike/index.html

Discussion

“the FBI, when investigating the hack, looked at CrowdStrike’s “imaged” servers — a direct copy — rather than physically taking the servers themselves. But that’s the FBI’s official guidance or investigating cybercrime — it’s faster and it doesn’t require the victim to completely halt their operations while the FBI takes months, or possibly years, to return those servers. “
1) Why do you think the FBI is okay looking at “direct copies” of CrowdStrike’s servers instead of the actual servers?
2) Does it actually matter to a company like CrowdStrike, which likely has thousands if not tens of thousands of servers, that the FBI take the original, source servers?
3) The article suggests that using “imaged servers” is “faster”. What do they mean, and is this possibly not true?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security.

Cameron Ortis, shown in a court sketch from his court hearing in Canada on 13 September

The arrest of a senior Canadian intelligence official on allegations of stealing classified materials has shaken the international intelligence community.

Cameron Ortis, a civilian member of Canada’s RCMP national police force, had access to intelligence from Canada’s global allies and has been charged with a number of offences under the country’s national security laws.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: September 26th, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49720731

Discussion

  1. ” Mr Ortis has expertise in cyber security.” What do you know about cyber security
  2. Cyber Security is important at the individual, company and national level, as this article illustrates. Growth in cyber security is enourmous. Is it important for all business majors to know some level of detail about cyber security?

Posted by & filed under Programming, Uncategorized.

Makeblock is one of the rare Chinese tech companies finding commercial success outside of China.

Source: CNN Gadgets

Date: September 17th, 2019

Link to video: https://www.cnn.com/videos/business/2018/11/26/shenzhen-china-makeblock.cnn-business

Discussion

  1. Is it important to know how to code?
  2. We are in the middle of a “low-code revolution”. Low-code means that you don’t code from scratch, but “code” by using menus, much like you use menus in Excel to get things done such as build a chart. Why is it important to know business and how to low-code?