Posted by & filed under Electric vehicles.

This week’s meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden was a signal of momentum for electric vehicles that those in Canada’s industry have been waiting for.

In the roadmap released following the meeting, both leaders promised to work together to build supply chains for electric vehicle (EV) battery development so Canada and the U.S. could compete globally.

Capitalizing on Canada’s access to the minerals and metals needed to make electric vehicle batteries is something experts in the renewable energy industry have long said needs to happen.

Now is the time for Canadian companies, researchers and governments to seize on the U.S. and Canada agreement and become leaders in specific areas including battery development, said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.

“The highest added-value component in electric vehicles is the battery, the chemistry of the battery,” he said. 

“Canada has its own in-the-ground opportunity to be a superpower in the battery space, which will drive where some of those investments are. The risk of Canada falling behind is a Canadian risk.”

Source: CBC News

Date: May 26th, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/trudeau-biden-electric-vehicles-1.5926899

Discussion

  1. Why is the battery the major component for an EV?
  2. What technology might go into making a battery for an EV useful?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning.

A black woman looks directly into the camera lens in a photo with overlaid graphics indicating "scanning"

In September last year, a university employee noticed that when he posted two photos – one of himself and one of a colleague – Twitter’s preview consistently showed the white man over the black man, no matter which photo was added to the tweet first.

Other users discovered the pattern held true for images of former US President Barack Obama and Senator Mitch McConnnell, or for stock images of businessmen of difference racial backgrounds. When both were in the same image, the preview crop appeared to favour white faces, hiding the black faces until users clicked through to the full photo.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 26th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57192898

Discussion

  1. Most AI racial bias seems to come from the fact that the algorithms are trained using a technique called machine learning. Machine learning means that you feed into the machine (the AI) a set of know things (in this case images of people’s faces) and then let the AI make a decision (in this case the decision would be “this is a face to show”). You score the AI based on what you know from the images of people’s faces that you are training the AI on. So, if the AI gets it correct you say “correct” and if not you say “incorrect”. The AI “learns” when it is getting things correct and when it is getting things incorrect, and adjusts (or should adjust) accordingly. What could be going wrong here with Twitter’s AI?
  2. How do you design AI better?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Ethical issues.

Courtne Smith

How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life? A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him.

Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought.

“I couldn’t decide between Chinese or Korean, so it was very helpful,” says Mr Wong, who lives in Edmonton, Canada. “I have also used NewNew polls to decide what clothes I should wear that day, and lots of other personal stuff.

“I joined back in March, and I post [polls] three or four times a week. I’ve now had more than 1,700 total votes.”

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 26th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57085557

Discussion

  1. “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. What might be some of the ethical issues arising from this app?
  2. “Business psychologist Stuart Duff, a partner at UK firm Pearn Kandola, says that NewNew sounds fun, and should “create special bonds between creators and their followers” . What are some of the issues with “special bonds”?

Posted by & filed under Facebook.

Facebook Neighborhoods

Facebook is launching a new section of its app designed to connect neighbors and curate neighborhood-level news. The new feature, predictably called Neighborhoods, is available now in Canada and will be rolling out soon for U.S. users to test.

As we reported previously, Neighborhoods has technically been around since at least October of last year, but that limited test only recruited residents of Calgary, Canada.

On Neighborhoods, Facebook users can create a separate subprofile and can populate it with interests and a custom bio. You can join your own lower-case neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods and complain about porch pirates, kids these days, or whatever you’d otherwise be doing on Nextdoor.

Source: TechCrunch

Date: May 19th, 2021

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/05/facebook-neighborhoods-nextdoor/

Discussion

  1. Why is Facebook pushing to the neighborhood level of interaction?
  2. Why is curated neighborhood-level news important?

Posted by & filed under Automation.

A fully autonomous ship will attempt a ground-breaking journey across the Atlantic ocean without a crew later this month.

The Mayflower 400 will travel 3,500 miles (5,630km) from Plymouth in the UK to Massachusetts in the US, conducting scientific experiments during its journey.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 19th, 2021

Link to 3 minute 46 second video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-57088748

Discussion

  1. This is a scientific experiment, but how might this technology be used for a commercial purpose?
  2. How might “Captain Watson”, the “AI machine-learning based software” work?

Posted by & filed under crypto-currency.

Source: SNL (Saturday Night Live)

Date: May 19th, 2021

Link to 2 minute 16 second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5RCfQyTDFI

Discussion

  1. ” Originally formed as a joke, Dogecoin was created by IBM software engineer Billy Markus and Adobe software engineer Jackson Palmer. They wanted to create a peer-to-peer digital currency that could reach a broader demographic than Bitcoin. In addition, they wanted to distance it from the controversial history of other coins. Dogecoin was officially launched on December 6, 2013, and within the first 30 days there were over a million visitors to Dogecoin.com.” (Wikipedia).
    Is it because 30 million people say something has value that it actually has value?
  2. How is Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies different from, say, Chuck E Cheese coins for use in Chuck E Cheese restaurants, or from Fortnite Dollars that can be spent inside the game Fortnite, or Club Penguin Dollars that can be spent inside the game Club Penguin?

Posted by & filed under Netflix, Politics.

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault holds a press conference in Ottawa.

For years, Ottawa was content to stand by while foreign-owned digital giants — Google, Facebook, Twitter and the like — reshaped much of how we live and work.

Even when other countries started to push back against Big Tech and its power over the economy, social life and even democracy, Canada pretty much stayed on the sidelines. It seemed there wasn’t any political will to act.

That finally changed after the Liberals were re-elected in 2019. A new heritage minister, Steven Guilbeault, launched an ambitious agenda to address the negative effects of the tech giants in three key areas — culture, “online harms” like hate speech, and the importance of a healthy news media.

Guilbeault deserves a great deal of credit for tackling these big issues. It’s an awful lot to take on, but there’s an awful lot at stake.

In the past week, one of these issues — updating the Broadcasting Act to take into account 21st-century digital realities — has taken front and centre.

The government’s Bill C-10 essentially aims to make sure foreign-based streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, which make lots of money in Canada, do their part in contributing to Canadian culture.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: May 14th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2021/05/14/heritage-minister-should-carry-through-with-ambitious-agenda-to-tame-big-tech.html

Discussion

  1. ” Bill C-10, which is now before the Commons heritage committee, the government’s stated goal is to force streaming services (Netflix and Spotify, most prominently) to adjust their algorithms to make Canadian content more visible (what’s known as “discoverability”). ” Should governments be able to force privately owned companies to change their algorithms?
  2. Does it matter that Netflix and Spotify are services for which consumers have to pay for a subscription, so if you don’t like what they are doing you just don’t pay?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack.

oil worker and cyber imagery

How can a pipeline be hacked?

For many people, the image of the oil industry is one of pipes, pumps and greasy black liquid.

In truth, the type of modern operation Colonial Pipeline runs is extremely digital.

Pressure sensors, thermostats, valves and pumps are used to monitor and control the flow of diesel, petrol and jet fuel across hundreds of miles of piping.

Colonial even has a high-tech “smart pig” (pipeline inspection gauge) robot that scurries through its pipes checking for anomalies

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 14th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57063636

Discussion

  1. What other types of businesses are ” extremely digital”?
  2. Colonial Pipeline ended up paying $5m to not release sensitive data. What sort of message does this send hackers?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, crypto-currency.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.

Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin due to climate change concerns, its CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet.

Bitcoin fell by more than 10% after the tweet, while Tesla shares also dipped.

Tesla’s announcement in March that it would accept the cryptocurrency was met with an outcry from some environmentalists and investors.

The electric carmaker had in February revealed it had bought $1.5bn (£1bn) of the world’s biggest digital currency.

But on Thursday, it backtracked on its previous comments.

“We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Mr Musk wrote.

Source: BBC Business

Date: May 14th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57096305

Discussion

  1. What is it about bitcoining mining that uses so much electricity?
  2. What actually determines the price of a bitcoin?

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?