Posted by & filed under Ethical issues.

A ShotSpotter analyst at a workstation

ShotSpotter’s incident-review room is like any other call centre.

Analysts wearing headsets sit by computer screens, listening intently.

Yet the people working here have an extraordinary responsibility.

They make the final decision on whether a computer algorithm has correctly identified a gunshot – and whether to dispatch the police.

Making the wrong call has serious consequences.

ShotSpotter has garnered much negative press over the last year. Allegations range from its tech not being accurate, to claims that ShotSpotter is fuelling discrimination in the police.

In the wake of those negative news stories, the company gave BBC News access to its national incident-review centre.

ShotSpotter is trying to solve a genuine problem.

“What makes the system so compelling, we believe, is a full 80-95% of gunfire goes unreported,” chief executive Ralph Clark says.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 26th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-59072745

Discussion

  1. There is often a claim that technology provides less bias in a situation, or that it fuels bias. How might technology like this do either (or both) of these?
  2. In what ways could this technology be adapted for other uses?

Posted by & filed under Innovation.

Nicole Aschoff was the featured speaker Monday at ‘Critical Tech Talk 1: The digital frontier and its limits,’ hosted by University of Waterloo and Communitech.

In the creation of a new digital frontier, we are the unpaid labour.

Dedicating hours of our days to scrolling, swiping and liking, the data generated by internet users is powering its continued expansion.

Where it goes, no one knows, but the answers should lie with us, argues Nicole Aschoff, author of “The Smartphone Society.”

Aschoff was the keynote speaker at the University of Waterloo’s Critical Tech Talk on Monday, a six-part speaker series taking on the topic of responsible innovation, with each of the school’s six faculties cohosting throughout the series.

“Deep down, we don’t think we can control the direction of digital technology,” Aschoff said. “We believe that it’s an implacable force with quasi meta-physical properties. Even when we’re critical of Silicon Valley, we’re resigned to letting tech companies shape the digital frontier. We shouldn’t be resigned.”

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: November 16th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/tr/business/technology/2021/11/09/frontiers-are-made-not-opened-we-have-the-creativity-knowledge-and-tools-to-build-the-digital-future-we-want.html

Discussion

  1. “There’s always a delicate balance when you’re governing big companies,” said Dey on the question of government regulation.  ” What is the “balance” being talked about here?
  2. ” people have the creativity, knowledge and tools to build the digital future we want, and should not sit back and let a small number of people direct where technology is taking us ” Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Robotics.

F&P Robotics' Barney Bar

Soon, however, those bar staff might not even be human. Enter Cecilia, a robotic bartender that mixes and serves cocktails, and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to talk to customers in much the same way that Alexa, on an Amazon Echo speaker, or Siri, on an iPhone can respond to you.

The unit looks a bit like a tall fruit machine, only with an animated female barmaid – Cecilia – appearing on a large, upright video screen. You either tell her what cocktail you want, or order it on the below touch-screen, and pay for the drink by tapping your bank card or phone.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 15th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-59246183

Discussion

  1. What are some issues behind having a robot bartender?
  2. UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon is certainly not interested in buying a fleet of robots to work behind its bars. “In a word – no,” says a spokesman for the firm. “Wetherspoons would never do this.”
    What’s going on here, and why are some saying “yes” to robots and others saying “no”?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Robotics.

“We’re looking at Flippy as a tool that helps us increase speed of service and frees team members up to focus more on other areas we want to concentrate on, whether that’s order accuracy or how we’re handling delivery partner drivers and getting them what they need when they come through the door.”, said White Castle’s Vice President, Jamie Richardson.

Source: Miso Robotics

Date: November 15th, 2021

Link to 2 minute 34 second video: https://invest.misorobotics.com/?utm_source=rgamisolandingpage&utm_medium=part07ent&utm_campaign=part07ent&tnames=part07ent

Discussion

  1. ” the global quick service restaurant industry generates $273 billion in revenues. But there are also slim margins, with labor expenses accounting for roughly a quarter of total revenues. Thus, there is likely to be rising demand for automation technologies like Flippy. The CEO of CaliGroup has said that the robot “will reduce kitchen labor expenses by over 65% while increasing efficiency and the amount of food cooked by 23%.” It’s pretty obvious who loses a job here, but who might gain a job?
  2. What are some of the issues that might be faced here by Miso Robotics?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Salt Lake City, USA - February 26, 2013: Mcdonalds Drive thru service is amount one of the popular service in fast food chain restuarants, many stores open 24 hours. A yellow jeep pick up order at the drive thru window.

McDonald’s might not be the only restaurant experimenting with AI-based order taking in the near future. Restaurant Dive reports McDonald’s is selling its McD Tech Labs to IBM in order to “further accelerate” work on its automated voice ordering systems. The deal will help apply the technology to a wider variety of countries, languages and menus, McDonald’s said, while bolstering IBM’s Watson-powered customer service offerings.

The deal is expected to close in December. McD Tech Labs will join IBM’s Cloud & Cognitive Software team.

Source: Engaget

Date: November 10th, 2021

Link: https://www.engadget.com/mcdonalds-ibm-ai-food-orders-131806578.html

Discussion

  1. Probably the most interesting part about this article is that it is McDonalds (the billions-sold hamburger company) that is selling AI technology to IBM (the technology company). How is it that McDonalds is a technology company?
  2. In what other ways could this technology be used?

Posted by & filed under Electric vehicles, Tesla.

Hertz announced Monday that it will buy 100,000 electric vehicles from Tesla, one of the largest purchases of battery-powered cars in history.

The purchase by one of the world’s leading rental car companies reflects its confidence that electric vehicles are gaining acceptance with environmentally minded consumers as an alternative to vehicles powered by petroleum-burning internal combustion engines.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mark Fields, interim CEO of Hertz, said that Teslas are already arriving at the company’s sites and should be available for rental starting in November.

Hertz said in its announcement that it will complete its purchases of the Tesla Model 3 small cars by the end of 2022. It also said it will establish its own electric vehicle charging network as it strives to produce the largest rental fleet of electric vehicles in North America.

Source: CBC

Date: November 10th, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/hertz-tesla-1.6224352

Discussion

  1. The move to battery-powered rather than fossil-fuel powered cars is a technological transformation. Why is this?
  2. What are some issues that Hertz will face moving to having 100,000 battery-powered vehicles?

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the metaverse and his future plans for Meta at the company’s annual Connect conference.

In his 1992 novel Snow Crash, author Neal Stephenson introduced the concept of a “metaverse” — a fantastical virtual world that felt as real and present as reality itself.

Almost three decades later, Mark Zuckerberg is dragging Stephenson’s vision into reality.

Recently, the Facebook CEO and co-founder unveiled his company’s metaverse project during a virtual conference. Reminiscent of Stephenson’s book and other sci-fi staples like Tron or Ready Player One, Zuckerberg’s metaverse was pitched as an “embodied internet” where one could play games, socialize, work and more.

“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet,” said Zuckerberg. “We’ll be able to feel present – like we’re right there with people no matter how far apart we actually are.”

During the same conference, Zuckerberg revealed Facebook’s holding company is changing its name to “Meta” to “reflect our commitment to this future,” according to Meta’s website. Notably, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other properties owned by Meta will keep their names.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: November 8th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/technology/2021/11/03/whats-facebooks-metaverse-mark-zuckerberg-says-hes-crafting-the-future-of-the-internet-heres-why-your-datas-at-risk.html

Discussion

  1. “Within the next decade, the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers.” What sort of digital commerce might take place in the metaverse?
  2. How could you be a part of the metaverse in a business-way?

Posted by & filed under QR-code.

Barcelona Wine Bar exterior patio at night.

The past few years have demonstrated that the ground can shift in unexpected ways. However, I do retain my 2019 era skepticism toward the broad mandates that outline what restaurants should do or where the restaurant industry is going. Will QR codes become (or remain) integral and “normal” for every business that monetizes food and drink? Will your local date-night spot be as QR code-reliant as your fast-food guilty pleasure? 

In any case, the numbers are clear. Customers have used QR technology to order and pay at restaurants in volumes never seen before. However, they also own and wear many more masks. Are we, perhaps, conflating necessity with enjoyment? There are examples aplenty of hard-corner turns we have made as a society and as restaurateurs to survive 2020 and 2021. But, we have to admit that many of those “necessary” moves have already aged out, and others will follow when the masks come off. After all, whether or not you determined it a good investment at the time, you must hope that some creative innovator in 2022 comes up with a reason to buy all this excess plexiglass.

Source: FSR

Date: November 3rd, 2021

Link: https://www.fsrmagazine.com/expert-takes/rise-restaurant-qr-code-overblown

Discussion

  1. This article is about how a technology may be being used because it is available, not because it is a good choice. Are there other instances where this is currently true?
  2. How might you figure out for a particular restaurant whether or not a QR-code menu is a good choice for that restaurant?

Posted by & filed under Social Media, Social Networks, Social Responsibility.

This is not to say that these platforms have no responsibility, Penny Mamais writes. But by focusing coverage on how, say, Instagram is damaging teens’ self-confidence, we take the responsibility away from the users actually posting harmful content.

Social media platforms have become the latest villains in the headlines. I find it alarming that we are looking to vilify the sites rather than the users that abuse them.

As soon as we start blaming the platforms for wrongdoing, we are allowing the people who are spreading toxicity to simply throw their hands up and say, “the media made me do it.” It’s an old defence, and one I feel is making a comeback. People are focusing too much on the sites themselves and not enough on the people using them. After all, are we not responsible for our actions? This must include ouractions online.

There should be consequences for those who are spreading hate or using their social media accounts to violate others. 

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: November 3rd, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/10/22/why-blame-social-media-for-the-behaviour-of-its-toxic-users-were-letting-the-people-spreading-hate-off-the-hook.html

Discussion

  1. This is an opinion piece. Do you agree that the focus of the blame for the toxicity of social media should be put on the people posting toxic content?
  2. It has been shown by research that social media platforms create echo chambers and also amplify posts, and often the most outrageous (and sometimes these are toxic) ones get amplified the most as well. Isn’t this an issue the social media platforms need to address?

Posted by & filed under Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, seen in a 2018 file photo, wants his company to be an indispensable enhancement to everyday living, writes Navneet Alang.

Facebook wants to change its name. According to tech site The Verge, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to announce a new name change that reflects a shift in focus for the company from social networking to what it is calling “the metaverse” — a mix of technologies meant to create a virtual world that Facebook happens to run.

The metaverse. It’s a diffuse idea, and Facebook envisions it as a kind of layer of tech between you and the world. More practically, the metaverse is likely to be a mix of virtual reality in the form of headsets; augmented reality, in which smart glasses and other things layer information atop reality; and a host of other tech — maps, wearables, headphones — to shape how you interact with everything.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: November 3rd, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/opinion/2021/10/23/facebook-wants-to-move-to-the-metaverse-heres-what-that-is-and-why-you-should-be-worried.html

Discussion

  1. Why might a move by Facebook to a ” layer of tech between you and the world” be incredibly useful?
  2. Why might a move by Facebook to a ” layer of tech between you and the world” be incredibly harmful?