Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial intelligence (AI) researcher, Joy Buolamwini, has spent the last four years raising awareness of the social implications and possible harm of the technology.

Inspired by her own experiences of facial recognition tech she founded the Algorithmic Justice League and recently became the star of the Netflix documentary Coded Bias.

Source: BBC Future

Date: May 5th, 2021

Link to 4:07 minute video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-56929271

Discussion

  1. Why did, and does, AI have bias in it?
  2. What can and should be done to stop AI bias?

Posted by & filed under NFT - Non-fungible token.

Seth Dyer, left, is selling his album as an NFT on Rarible.com and Krista Kim is a digital artist who sells and auctions her artwork on SuperRare marketplace.

A little over a week after independent Toronto musician Seth Dyer released his “Act One — Outcast” album, he had sold just one copy.

But he was excited.

Why? That one copy sold for $1,000, or around half an Ethereum, to someone who purchased it via Rarible.com, a marketplace for NFT digital art.

“It might sound like a little, but (I) would have to get a couple hundred thousand streams to get $1,000,” Dyer said, drawing a comparison to success in the music world industry.

Dyer sees a creative future in this transformative digital landscape.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: May 5th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/05/02/how-these-independent-toronto-artists-are-leveraging-nfts-digital-gold-and-augmented-reality-to-elevate-their-work.html

Discussion

  1. This chart is very useful and informative. What sorts of things could it apply to?

2. Is there a way to start a business around helping people distribute their work with NFTs?

Posted by & filed under Facebook, IT and Politics, Politics.

Former President Donald Trump gestures with open arms at a conference in February

Donald Trump’s ban from Facebook and Instagram has been upheld by Facebook’s Oversight Board.

But it criticised the permanent nature of the ban as beyond the scope of Facebook’s normal penalties.

It has ordered Facebook to review the decision and “justify a proportionate response” that is applied to everyone, including ordinary users.

The former president was banned from both sites in January following the Capitol Hill riots.

The Oversight Board said the initial decision to permanently suspend Mr Trump was “indeterminate and standardless”, and that the correct response should be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform”.

Facebook must respond within six months, it said.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 5th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56985583

Discussion

  1. There has been a LOT of discussion about whether, and to what extent, social media companies such as Facebook should be able to limit, or in this case ban entirely, people from their platform. What are some of the issues on both sides?
  2. What do you think it means that any ban needs to be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform” ?

Posted by & filed under COVID-19.

A sign is seen outside the Shopify headquarters in Ottawa, Tuesday September 1, 2020.

Shopify Inc. executives believe the shift toward online sales triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay.

Chief executive Tobi Lutke and president Harley Finkelstein said Wednesday that early patterns emerging in lockdown-free countries like New Zealand and Australia show consumers have embraced e-commerce even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted — and they expect North America to eventually see the same.

“Consumer preferences have shifted permanently,” said Finkelstein, in a call with analysts.

“The centre of gravity was off-line. It is now online and there’s no going back to the pre-pandemic version of that.”

The shift has been a boon for the Ottawa e-commerce giant, which helps businesses run online stores but has long had to contend with online purchases compromising less than 10 per cent of retail sales for years.

Source: Toronto Star

Date: April 30th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/2021/04/28/shopifys-q1-net-income-soars-to-126b-revenue-increased-110-per-cent.html

Discussion

  1. Why has there been a boom in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  2. Why, when the pandemic is receding and things are returning in other ways back to normal, is eCommerce likely to continue as it did during the pandemic?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Apple, IT and Politics, Regulation.

Apple has been charged with breaking EU competition rules over the way it runs its App Store.

European Commission anti-trust regulator Margrethe Vestager tweeted that “consumers are losing out”.

It relates to charges brought two years ago by music streaming app Spotify which claimed that Apple was stifling innovation in that industry.

Apple faces a large fine and may be forced to change its policies if its arguments do not convince regulators.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: April 30th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56941173

Discussion

  1. Why is allegedly it “anti-competitive” that Apple charges 30% of revenues to any and all apps that are in the Apple store?
  2. Are there other ways for apps to get on to an Apple iPhone, or is the Apple Store the only way?

Posted by & filed under eWaste.

Suhaib

What would you do if your smartphone was damaged or stopped working? Take it to a repair shop or perhaps upgrade to a new one?

Not Suhaib, a Canadian teen. Unable to afford the repair cost he ordered a replacement screen, watched an online tutorial and fixed it himself.

“It took me around two hours. I was really nervous,” says Suhaib.

It wasn’t long before he became the person to go to at his Canadian school if you had a broken phone. “I was the guy fixing phones in class,” he says.

Suhaib and other like-minded repairers are trying to help reduce the vast amount of electronic goods discarded every year.

A record 53.6 million tonnes of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, with less than a fifth of it being recycled, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020.

Source: BBC Business News

Date: April 30th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-56799069

Discussion

  1. Why don’t you take a look at how to fix your smartphone screen. I used the videos from iCracked. Here’s the one for an iPhone 7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eQiFPzC7Vk The video has been viewed over 1/2 million times, is 40 minutes long, and has the detail enough to cover the entire process. I have personally replaced 5 cracked iPhone screens. The repair kits come with all the tools.
  2. What sort of business could you set up to help keep technology waste out of the landfill / dump?

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics, Politics, Regulation.

Technology might be trumping old-school fishing tackle, but an Ottawa biology professor is calling for limits on the increasingly fancy lures and high-tech gear.

Some sport fishermen with deep pockets are using drones to drop baited lines, electric lures that flash lights or emit scent, and fish finders so advanced that they create 3D images of the prey, turning angling into a kind of video game. 

That might be making fishing fun for some, but it’s far less sporting for the fish, according to Steven Cooke, who’s calling for the technology to be reeled in.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: April 23rd, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/recreational-fishery-innovation-lures-drones-fish-finders-warning-1.5996717

Discussion

  1. Why might regulating this type of technology be difficult?
  2. Should we seek to regulate technology like this?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Consumer Technology.

Young Man Using Smartphone At Home With Plants

Most of us have something about us that we’re not 100% in love with—an impulsive streak, perhaps, or a short temper. What if those personality traits could be modified with daily use of a smartphone app? That was the focus of a new study from an international research team led by the University of Zurich, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Changes that were noticed by friends and family members were mostly in participants who wanted to increase expression of a certain personality trait. On the other hand, the people close to those who wanted to reduce expression of a personality trait noticed little change.

But it’s important to note that the group who wanted to reduce expression of a personality trait mostly wanted to become less emotionally vulnerable—a primarily inner process that’s not always easy to observe from the outside.

Source: VeryWellMind

Date: April 21st, 2021

Link: https://www.verywellmind.com/can-a-smartphone-app-change-your-personality-5113350

Discussion

  1. What sort of business could you set up around this technology?
  2. Can you think of other uses of this technology?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Consumer Technology.

Amazon is bringing its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods store in Seattle, the first of many planned future locations to roll out the technology.

Amazon is expanding its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods store in Seattle, the company announced Wednesday, the first of many planned rollouts at other locations.

Amazon One, which debuted in September and is currently in use at about a dozen Amazon physical stores, allows shoppers to pay for items by placing their palm over a scanning device. The first time shoppers use the kiosk, they have to insert a credit card to link it with their palm print. But after that, shoppers can pay simply by holding their hand over the kiosk.

Amazon One is distinct from the company’s Just Walk Out technology, which allows shoppers to pick up items and walk out of the store without going through a checkout line. However the two technologies can work together, and Amazon employs them both at its cashierless Amazon Go stores.

Source: CNBC

Date: April 21st, 2021

Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/21/amazon-whole-foods-getting-palm-scanning-payment-system.html

Discussion

  1. What are some pluses and minuses of this technology?
  2. In what other ways could you use this technology, and perhaps start a business around it?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, crypto-currency.

Stephan Nakamura made his leap into cryptocurrency in 2017 at age 23. Having recently graduated from college, Nakamura hoped a small investment could solve his financial woes and put a dent in his student debt.

In 2018, I did something that would make cautious investors cringe: With almost no savings to my name, I bought cryptocurrency.

I don’t need to tell you that when you’re low on cash, whether you’ve got debt or are in your first job after university as I was, a get-rich-quick scheme is always more attractive than a solid, boring investment.

Reader, I did not get rich quick, or at all. Sure, the small amount of XRP, or Ripple, I bought in 2018 recently more than tripled its value, after several years of ups and downs. But triple a very small amount of money is still quite a small amount of money.

Today, I no longer see cryptocurrency as my lottery ticket to financial freedom. Instead, cryptocurrency is my “fun” fund, a way to play around with what many are saying will be the future of finance and develop a stomach of steel for investment volatility, while I build up my solid, boring investments in significantly less risky picks.

Source: Toronto Star

Date: April 12th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/2021/04/12/want-to-get-rich-investing-in-bitcoin-read-this-first.html

Discussion

  1. What is a good time to “invest” in bitcoin?
  2. Why do people put any money at all into bitcoin when they have absolutely no understanding of how bitcoin’s value is derived?