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

A robot hand writing on a keyboard

An artificial intelligence system that generates realistic stories, poems and articles has been updated, with some claiming it is now almost as good as a human writer.

The text generator, built by research firm OpenAI, was originally considered “too dangerous” to make public because of the potential for abuse.

But now a new, more powerful version of the system – that could be used to create fake news or abusive spam on social media – has been released.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: August 27th, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49446729

Discussion

  1. How could you usefully this technology to create a business?
  2. Should this sort of technology be banned?
  3. Is it actually possible to ban any sort of technology that can be distributed over the internet?

Posted by & filed under App Economy.

Agripredict, led by young founder and CEO Mwila Kangwa, helps identify and stop the crop diseases that have ravaged Zambia’s farms in past seasons. Using Agripredict’s phone application, the 22,000 Zambian farmers in the company’s pilot program can get detailed information on plant diseases and weather patterns that would before have come only from skilled agronomists. This has helped farmers cut costs and run their farms more efficiently, and also enabled older, non-tech-focused farmers access to reliable data – even if they cannot afford smartphone plans.

Source: BBC Workfile

Date: August 27th, 2019

Link (includes video): https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190822-the-zambian-agri-tech-app-making-farming-cool

Discussion

  1. What is being written about here could be done in your country or state. How would you roll this out to users?
  2. How does this idea work “even if they cannot afford smartphone plans”?

Posted by & filed under Google, IT and Politics, Politics, Twitter.

Google announced Thursday that it had disabled 210 YouTube channels that were uploading videos “in a coordinated manner” about the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.The announcement came three days after Twitter and Facebook announced they had shut down a network of hundreds of accounts that were posting content aimed at undermining pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Some of the accounts posed as news organizations and independent entities but in fact had links to the Chinese government, both companies said.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: August 21st, 2019

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/22/tech/youtube-china-hong-kong/index.html

Discussion

  1. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (Google) shut down accounts “aimed at undermining pro-democracy protesters…” Should companies be allowed to make decisions about the content that is shared across their platforms?
  2. How might Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (Google) have determined, in a reliable, repeatable process, that an account is “undermining pro-democracy”?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Space-based internet.

Four billion people lack internet access. Satellite internet could change that. But will the jobs created be good ones?

More than half the world is still unconnected to the internet. While coverage is rising in the regions mentioned above, installing cables and mobile phone masts to hook up the remaining 4 billion people would be a very slow process. The distances involved are huge. But now a handful of companies are planning something different – the internet, from space.

Source: BBC Worklife

Date: August 21st, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190816-how-satellites-could-revolutionise-the-internet

Discussion

  1. The article talks about spaced-based internet allowing for “Uber for anything” What do they mean by this phrase?
  2. What sorts of apps might be useful in a rural environment that could be served by spaced-based internet?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Hearts on keyboard

Scammers who use dating sites to trick people into handing over cash can be spotted using artificial intelligence, research suggests.

A neural network has analysed profiles, messages and images from real dating data to get better at spotting fakes.

It sampled age, gender and ethnicity as well as the language people use to describe themselves.

The system proved accurate at spotting scammers and fakes in 93% of cases, the researchers said.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 29th, 2019

Link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48472811

Discussion

  1. The article says that AI was used, but the article also seems to suggest that this was just a textual analysis (finding which words get used most). What is AI?
  2. Why do news reports, and companies selling technology, use terms like AI in their press releases?

Posted by & filed under Blockchain, Career, Uncategorized.

Big Four Firm KPMG Identifies Top Four Skills Required for Blockchain Career

Big Four auditing firm KPMG has identified the top four skills needed for a blockchain-related career, in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on May 16.

KPMG suggests that an increasing number of companies will investigate blockchain technology this year. “Blockchain projects will not succeed or scale without a multifaceted team that goes beyond technologists,” the firm states, thus identifying the four major skills needed for a career in the industry.

KPMG argues that the successful deployment of blockchain tech depends on professionals with both technology literacy and business acumen.

Source: KPMG

Date: May 29th, 2019

Link:
https://cointelegraph.com/news/big-four-firm-kpmg-identifies-top-four-skills-required-for-blockchain-career

Discussion

  1. What are you doing to develop your “technology literacy”?
  2. Are the four skillsets (business acumen, technology literacy, data analytics, and a hacker mentality) confined to being needed for blockchain?

Posted by & filed under Huawei, IT and Politics.

The Huawei P30 Pro motherboard, which uses tech sourced internationally (Picture provided by iFixIt.com)

Google’s announcement that it was no longer able to work with Huawei is just one repercussion of the US decision to add the Chinese tech giant to its “entity list” of companies American firms cannot work with.

The true impact to Huawei may be enormous. While we often refer to the firm’s devices as simply “Chinese”, the reality is much more complicated – it sources parts and expertise from all over the world. The same can be said for the likes of Apple, of course, which relies at least in part on chips created by its rival, Samsung.

To get an idea of how disruptive the US move is, let’s take a look at just one component of one device: the motherboard in Huawei’s flagship smartphone, the P30 Pro.

Source: BBC Business

Date: May 21st, 2019

Link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48345509

Discussion

  1. This is an incredibly useful article in that it lays out all the components of a smartphone, with photos, and explains in simple terms what they do and where they come from. Why is so important that a good deal of the components for a Chinese smartphone come from the U.S?
  2. ” Analysts predict the decision [by the U.S. to ban U.S. components in Chinese Huawei products] could encourage China’s desire to build more technology within its own borders. That would be a difficult, costly, and in some areas sub-par, move to take. But long-term it would give China a chance to set its own standards on future technologies.” What issues arise when countries have different technology standards?

Posted by & filed under Self-driving vehicles.

Journey in Waymo car

It was on the motorway near Phoenix, Arizona, that I realised fully driverless cars might be quite a distant dream. And that was because our Google Waymo robo-taxi seemed incapable of leaving that motorway.

We were in Arizona to record a radio documentary for the BBC World Serviceabout the progress towards creating autonomous vehicles that would make our roads safer and replace human drivers with robots.

Google leads this race at the moment and for the past six months has been offering a robo-taxi service, Waymo One, to a select few early adopters in and around the Phoenix suburb of Chandler.

Our first ride with Waymo took us through the quiet suburban streets, where traffic is sparse and drivers well mannered.

Here, the minivan, fitted out with a battery of sensors and high-definition cameras, performed very impressively, handling slightly tricky left turns, spotting other road users and slowing down as it passed a school.

While a Google engineer sat behind the wheel, she never intervened and soon we relaxed and forgot that we were effectively being driven by a robot.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 20th, 2019

Link:
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-48334449

Discussion

  1. The report here notes that the autonomous-driving vehicle was not “assertive enough” to push over in to heavy traffic. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
  2. How might you design “assertiveness” in to autonomous-driving software?

Posted by & filed under Space-based internet, The Internet.

Image result for spacex 60 satellites

SpaceX wants to beam cheap broadband internet all over the planet. It’s gearing up for the first crucial step toward making that a reality.Elon Musk’s rocket company will try to deliver a batch of 60 satellites into low-Earth orbit, the first for a megaconstellation of satellites that SpaceX is calling Starlink. The launch could happen sometime next week.It was scheduled to take off Wednesday night, but rough winds in the upper atmosphere caused a one-day delay. And SpaceX said in a Thursday tweet that it would wait another week so the company can “update satellite software and triple-check everything again.”The upcoming mission is a small part of what SpaceX ultimately wants to be a much grander project: a group of potentially thousands of satellites swirling over Earth that the company says could eventually make available low-cost internet for a significant portion of the world’s population that isn’t yet online.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: May 17th, 2019

Link:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/15/tech/spacex-starlink-internet-satellites-first-launch/index.html

Discussion

  1. When space-based internet is discussed, the discussion usually focuses on ” a significant portion of the world’s population that isn’t yet online “. However, space-based internet could fundamentally change how countries like China and Iran are online. In what ways?
  2. What sort of companies could you build if internet were available everywhere?

Posted by & filed under Robotics.

Why are walls always straight? Why does it cost so much to build them? And why do big construction projects so often run late? Construction has always been a conservative industry, used to doing things how they have always been done.

But a new wave of innovation is coming, which will change what buildings look like, how they are made, and who wins in the new era of the construction industry.

Architects have always been limited by what their builders can actually make. But if robots were doing the building, all sorts of new possibilities open up.

Source: BBC Future

Date: May 17th, 2019

Link:
http://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/the-disruptors/the-house-the-robots-built/

Discussion

  1. Why is it taking so long to deploy robotic construction techniques?
  2. What are some issues with using robots to build houses?