Posted by & filed under Metaverse.

As the metaverse rapidly expands, major businesses and brands are picking up the tools needed to fill the virtual void and deliver immersive online experiences.

dobe, known for its photo- and video-editing software, released a “metaverse playbook” on Tuesday and announced partnerships with Coca Cola, NASCAR, Epic Games and NVIDIA on a range of metaverse-related projects. Adobe told CBS MoneyWatch that hundreds of brands are already using its existing 3D tools to create interactive content, adding that demand for tools used to create photorealistic replicas of their products grew 100% from a year ago. 

“We have a very diverse pool of customers, and they are all trying to establish their standard workflow to get to high fidelity digital goods,” said Stefano Corazza, head of augmented reality at Adobe. “The one thing they all have in common is the need for the creation of digital twins for all the goods that the brand is representing.” 

Source: CBS News

Date: April 7th, 2022

Link to article and 5 minute 12 second video: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/metaverse-amazon-bmw-lockheed-martin-adobe-digital-twin/

Discussion

  1. What do you think the timeline for your own adoption of the Metaverse is, and why is this?
  2. Which companies should be in the Metaverse right now, and which should wait, and why?

Posted by & filed under Digital Twin, Metaverse.

Singapore’s digital model relies on massive amounts of data, including the footprint of every single building on the island-nation. 

The entire 40-square-mile metro region of Orlando, Florida, may soon live virtually inside the offices of the Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP). The group has partnered with the gaming company Unity to develop a 3-D model of the area — from its downtown core all the way out to Space Coast on the eastern edge of central Florida — that the city can show off to potential investors in its bid to grow as a tech hub.

“It’ll be a circular room with LED screens kind of 180 degrees,” says OEP President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Giuliani. “Then in the middle, we’re planning the holographic image, where the digital twin of the region will come to life.” 

Source: Bloomberg

Date: April 7th, 2022

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2022-04-05/digital-twins-mark-cities-first-foray-into-the-metaverse

Discussion

  1. Why is it useful to have a “digital twin” of a city in the metaverse?
  2. What other “digital twins” might be useful?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues, Facebook.

Facebook, the self-appointed governor of the public sphere, simply can’t be trusted to be the steward of our social discourse that it purports to be, writes Navneet Alang.
It sounds like something out of a bad Hollywood movie. But as recently revealed by the Washington Post, Facebook has been paying a Republican consulting firm to seed negative stories about its competitor TikTok.
Congratulations, Facebook. If you were trying to further the image of yourself as a cartoon villain, well done.
The hired firm, Targeted Victory, was enlisted by Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant to paint TikTok as not only a threatening foreign company but a danger to American children and families.


The scheme worked by pushing dubious stories of dangerous trends spreading on TikTok to local news outlets, that would in turn happily pass on the scaremongering. What’s more, letters to the editor expressing concern over TikTok would appear in publications such as the Denver Post, forming a sort of astroturfing campaign on behalf of one of the world’s richest companies.
No public claims about Targeted Victory’s links to Facebook or parent company Meta were made. Those letters to the editor appeared to simply come “from a concerned parent.”

Source: Toronto Star

Date: March 31st, 2022

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/opinion/2022/04/02/social-media-is-too-important-to-public-discourse-to-let-facebook-call-the-shots.html

Discussion

  1. Is it actually illegal for Facebook to pay a consulting firm to essentially make up stories about a rival, TikTok in this case, that put them in a bad light?
  2. The author suggests that Facebook should not be left to it’s own supervision. Which government agency should be responsible for overseeing Facebook (and others)?

Posted by & filed under Metaverse.

The virtual launch

A brewer has created a virtual beer to highlight the extremes businesses will go to to grab a slice of the next big thing – the metaverse.

Heineken set up a virtual launch to promote the “product” – an experience described by one attendee as surreal.

The metaverse does not yet exist but many believe people will one day spend their time in inter-connected virtual worlds, accessed via a VR headset.

The firm said it was “an ironic joke… that pokes fun at us and other brands”.

The mock launch – to which real journalists were invited – took place in a virtual brewery in Decentraland – a virtual world owned by its users.

And the beer was described as being brewed with “binary-coded hops grown by NPC (non-player character) farmers”.

The firm’s global head of brand, Bram Westenbrink, said: “We know that the metaverse brings people together in a light-hearted and immersive way but it’s just not the best place to taste a new beer.

“Our new virtual beer is an ironic joke. It is a self-aware idea that pokes fun at us and many other brands that are jumping into the metaverse with products that are best enjoyed in the real world.”

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 31st, 2022

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-60793847

Discussion

  1. Selling “virtual beer” makes no sense in a VR-based online world, but people are able to sell virtual real estate in VR-based online worlds. Why is this?
  2. Why should, or should not, your university have a presence in the Metaverse?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues.

Stock image of an influencer holding US dollars
Influencers in Australia face up to five years in jail if they break laws on financial advice, a new information sheet warns. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) says they may need a license to give such advice. A 2021 ASIC survey suggested 33% of 18 to 21-year-olds follow financial influencers. And it also found that 64% of young people in Australia changed a financial behaviour because of an influencer. ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour said it was crucial that “influencers who discuss financial products and services online comply with the financial services laws. If they don’t, they risk substantial penalties and put investors at risk”.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 31st, 2022

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-60787296

Discussion

  1. Most people post without giving a second thought to if what they are posting is legal or illegal. What sorts of things might be illegal to post about in your location?
  2. Most countries regulate the provision of financial information, as Australia has done here. What sorts of things could you say, and not say, in a blog post?

Posted by & filed under Career.

Vanhack founder Ilya Brotzky is shown in a handout photo.
When Russia started waging war against Ukraine last month, Vancouver recruiter VanHack was so anxious to help that it immediately created a directory of Ukrainian tech workers willing and eager to relocate for a job or to work remotely.
The company waived or offered to donate the placement fees for Ukrainian hires to charities and had 226 companies in less than two weeks that were interested in learning how they could bring in Ukrainian tech workers and at least a dozen doing interviews.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: March 24th, 2022

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/2022/03/09/canadian-companies-eye-ukrainian-tech-workers-amid-russian-invasion.html

Discussion

  1. What might be some issues for tech companies using Ukrainian tech workers?
  2. Why are Canadian (and US) companies so eager to hire Ukrainian tech workers?

Posted by & filed under Apple.

New iPhone SE 2022: Specs, price, release date, how to buy | ZDNet
The debut of Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone brings a change to the way its U.S. customers can purchase the device, a move toward cutting wireless carriers out of the process and giving the tech giant more control.
Traditionally, when a user buys an iPhone at an Apple retail store or the company’s online store, the customer provides their wireless phone number and the last four digits of their Social Security number. That lets the carrier run a credit check and approve the transaction, but it adds time to the process and could be a barrier to closing the sale. 
Starting with the iPhone SE — a low-end model that goes on sale Friday for $429 — that process is changing, Apple has told retail employees. New iPhone SE buyers who choose AT&T Inc. or T-Mobile US Inc. as their wireless carrier won’t need to provide their information at the time of purchase. Instead, shoppers will be able to enter that data and connect to their carrier when they power on the device for the first time.

Source: Bloomberg Technology News

Date: March 24th, 2022

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-17/apple-s-latest-iphone-sidelines-carriers-from-buying-process?srnd=technology-vp

Discussion

  1. The new feature is called “on-device authentication.”  Why does it make it better for consumers?
  2. Why does this new feature make it better for Apple (which is why they are doing it)?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, The Internet.

digital Iron Curtain may be descending on Russia, as President Vladimir Putin struggles to control the narrative about his war in Ukraine. The Kremlin has already moved to block Facebook and Twitter, and its latest step in that direction came Friday as the government announced plans to block Instagram in the country, as well.
But despite Putin’s efforts to clamp down on social media and information within his borders, a growing number of Russian internet users appear determined to access outside sources and circumvent the Kremlin’s restrictions.
To defeat Russia’s internet censorship, many are turning to specialized circumvention technology that’s been widely used in other countries with restricted online freedoms, including China and Iran. Digital rights experts say Putin may have inadvertently sparked a massive, permanent shift in digital literacy in Russia that will work against the regime for years.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Russians have been flocking to virtual private networks (VPNs) and encrypted messaging apps, tools that can be used to access blocked websites such as Facebook or safely share news about the war in Ukraine without running afoul of new, draconian laws banning what Russian authorities consider to be “fake” claims about the conflict.

Source: CNN

Date: March 24th, 2022

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/12/tech/russia-internet-censorship-circumvention/index.html

Discussion

  1. Make sure students understand that all a VPN does is to wrap internet traffic in encryption. As a result, no one can see what is being sent and received, as well as also hiding where and from where the traffic is going.
  2. ” Russian internet users also appear to have increased their reliance on Tor, a service that anonymizes internet browsing by scrambling a user’s traffic and bouncing it through multiple servers around the world. Beginning the day of the Ukraine invasion, Tor’s metrics page estimated that thousands more Russian users were accessing the web through secret servers connected to Tor’s decentralized network.” TOR stands for “The Onion Router” which alludes to the notion that there are layers upon layers of routers which make it difficult to track traffic. Why doesn’t everyone use TOR all the time?

Posted by & filed under Web 3.0.

“We’ve launched a new map of Canada,” Ian Mauro, executive director of the Prairie Climate Centre, said in an interview. 

Until now, the interactive atlas did not show climate change projections for Indigenous communities. Only Canadian urban centres were included.

The newly-launched feature provides information about the impacts of climate change on 634 First Nations communities and 53 Inuit communities, while also profiling projects surrounding climate change adaptation and mitigation across the Métis homeland. 

The map also shares videos from Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers, centring their knowledge as a resource. It highlights projects aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Cowessess First Nation wind-solar battery storage project in Saskatchewan, and community efforts to adapt to climate change, like the Métis wildland firefighters.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 18th, 2022

Link to 5 minute 34 second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj8eXBYMf14&t=4s and article: https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/climate-change-climate-atlas-indigenous-knowledge-1.6384612

Discussion

  1. “The unique approach illustrates how Western or Eurocentric climate change science and Indigenous expertise can complement one another. It’s the embodiment of a concept sometimes called two-eyed seeing, which Hetxw’ms Gyetxw describes: “Through one eye you’re looking at the world through the Western sciences and the other eye you’re looking through traditional knowledges … you’re taking all perspectives and you’re seeing the world as it truly is, not just in one segmented way.” This would be worth having a discussion about
  2. The map includes videos and documentaries. Why is it useful to provide a variety of media in this way?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, crypto-currency.

Despite their volatility, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have exploded in popularity in the past year with interest and investments skyrocketing.
But no place on Earth has seen results quite like Kazakhstan, which in the space of just six months has become a world leader in Bitcoin mining.
The central Asian country is so important to the digital currency that the global Bitcoin network was badly impacted when violent protests hit the country earlier this month.
Although the government initially welcomed crypto-miners, it is now trying to reign in the industry. BBC cyber reporter Joe Tidy visited one of the largest mines in the world.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 18th, 2022

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-60172436

Discussion

  1. Crypto mining uses a lot of electricity. Why?
  2. Some US and Canadian states/provinces and towns/cities are either banning crypto mining, or providing tax incentives for crypto miners to come. Why are some trying to stop it and others trying to encourage it?