Posted by & filed under Drones.

A former RAF pilot has started a business in which he scatters the ashes of loved ones from a drone.

Christopher Mace, founder of Aerial Ashes, said he was inspired to start the venture after scattering the remains of ex-service personnel at sea during his time in the forces.

The option is being offered to grieving families in the East Midlands after Aerial Ashes formed a partnership with funeral directors A.W. Lymn.

Drone technology has become increasingly prevalent in the funeral world, with A.W. Lymn already offering mourners the option of filming their final farewells from the sky.

“The actual spectacle of the release of the ashes itself does look spectacular and so that’s something that is a good takeaway for the families,” Mr Mace said.

Source: BBC News

Date: December 6th, 2022

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-england-derbyshire-63414672

Discussion

  1. Although the article does not mention or discuss this, are there any possible ethical issues to be considered here?
  2. What other uses close to this could drones be used for?

Posted by & filed under SaaS Software as a Service, SalesForce.

If you’re a regular reader of the tech and business press, it’s been painting a pretty gloomy economic picture recently, with a tendency to accentuate the negative. There’s inflation and layoffs and supply chain problems.

None of that seems to be affecting Salesforce though, which just had itself a fine quarter along with a bright revenue and profit forecast.

Earlier this week, the company reported revenue was up for the quarter a healthy 24%, to $7.4 billion. Analysts had expected $7.38 billion. Meanwhile, the company expects revenue growth of 21% in its current quarter, and 20% for its current business year, its fiscal 2023.

Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff was almost gloating at the call with analysts earlier this week. “And I can tell you that our business — you can see this in the Q1 numbers, can’t you — is incredibly healthy…We’re carefully watching the economic data. I know all of you are doing that as well,” he said.

Source: Tech Crunch

Date: December 6th, 2022

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2022/06/03/you-may-be-having-a-problem-with-the-economy-but-salesforce-sure-isnt/amp/

Discussion

  1. Salesforce is a SaaS – Software as a Service platform that enables business to connect easily with their customers. Make sure students understand SaaS
  2. Why is Salesforce doing so well when businesses are under pressure (there is a greater need for customer relationships that can bring in revenue than ever before)

Posted by & filed under Chatbot.

Chatbots have hit the headlines over the past few days after a Google engineer claimed that the firm’s most advanced system has developed human-like feelings, or become sentient.
Simply put, a chat bot is a computer program deliberately designed to mimic and respond to human speech. But just how lifelike are the best on the market? One thing for sure is that these intelligent virtual assistants, are now found everywhere.
From Amazon’s Alexa, to Apple’s Siri, or a retailer’s website, an estimated 80% of us now use chatbots – whether they are responding to us verbally, or via written text.
In fact, chatbots are now said to be the fastest-growing way in which brands communicate with their customers.
Sabina Goranova, a student at York University in Toronto, Canada, is typical of many people in that she is used to using chatbots on a daily basis. Firstly, she has Alexa at home, plus she consults with her university’s own Savy system, via her mobile phone, to find required college information. Like many of us, Sabina Goranova now uses chatbots all the time. Savy was made for York and its students by IMB. It can quickly answer questions about everything from specific career advice to daily lunch menus.
“I appreciate the convenience of chatbots,” says Ms Goranova. “I already used Alexa to save time, so Savy is another tool in my toolkit.”

Source: York University in Toronto

Date: December 6th, 2022

Link to BBC article about York University’s SAVY chatbot: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61793984

Discussion

  1. Why aren’t chatbots more widely deployed? For instance, it is very likely that your university doesn’t have one. Why is this?
  2. What are some of the issues with chatbots?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

At a glance, the above three images look just like me. Look closer and you might notice that my skin is too smooth, my clothes distorted in places — details that might be dismissed as an overdone Photoshop edit.

Thing is, I never posed for these pictures. Nor have I ever sported shoulder-length hair or a cowboy hat, for that matter. These images are entirely the product of artificial intelligence, utilizing a cutting-edge technology developed by Google scientists called DreamBooth.

Since its release in late August, DreamBooth has already advanced the field of AI art by leaps and bounds. In a nutshell, it gives AI the ability to study what individuals or objects look like, then synthesizes a “photorealistic” image of the subject in a completely new context.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: December 1st, 2022

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/technology/2022/12/01/these-ai-images-look-just-like-me-what-does-that-mean-for-the-future-of-deepfakes.html

Discussion

  1. In what ways could a business face real issues with the use of this technology?
  2. Are there any ways to use AI to detect an AI-fake?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security.

 We are working on a new book about media literacy, examining the effects of social media influencers on youth consumerism. It will teach kids about responsible web use and how to avoid the traps of the online world.

I’ve learned a lot myself, including lessons that apply both online and IRL, short for “in real life.” As part of our research, one of the seedier, more adult corners of the internet I’ve explored is the scam solicitations that come to just about every user of social media. All platforms have their cyber-pirates hunting for vulnerable prey. Let me recount my encounters on Instagram as representative of the type.

Most scammers begin with an innocuous hello and some questions about my location and job. I usually say I’m in Atlanta—rather than my real Texas home—just to obscure the trail a bit. The profiles almost always seem to show photos of provocative young women. A Google image search shows that the same pictures are used in a variety of accounts.

After the intros comes the flattery. When asked for a pic, I send one of a famous actor about my age. This often elicits, “You’re so hot, I want to party with you.” Then comes the pitch, such as asking for gas money so she can come to my house. Some tell me they’re multi-millionaires who want to share their good fortune by giving me money.

Source: HumbleDollar

Date: December 1st, 2022

Link: https://humbledollar.com/2022/11/there-be-monsters/?utm_source=mailpoet&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=another-ses-test_7

Discussion

  1. This is a useful article for the cybersecurity section of class, as well as any discussions you have about risk and controls.
    We let emotion get ahead of rational thought.” Why is this so effective, and how could it be used in app design for the good?
  2. We forget that information is the key that opens the vaults.
    How can you build what I call “an architecture of participation” into an app or website in order to legitimately get the information that you need?

Posted by & filed under Ethical issues.

San Francisco’s ruling Board of Supervisors has voted to let the city’s police use robots that can kill.
The measure permits police to deploy robots equipped with explosives in extreme circumstances.
Dr Catherine Connolly, from the group Stop Killer Robots, said the move was a “slippery slope” that could distance humans from killing.
The city’s police – the SFPD – told the BBC they do not currently operate any robots equipped with lethal force.

Source: BBC

Date: December 1st, 2022

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-63816454

Discussion

  1. “Killer robots”? What are some of the tech ethic issues around killer robots?
  2. What is a “technology ethicist”?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Health-tech, Healthcare, Privacy.

Getting more for less is the consumer Holy Grail, but it’s rarely fulfilled.

Yet by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) solutions into our health system, this is exactly what Canadians could get: better care at lower costs, freeing up resources to deliver faster and more integrated care.

However, to fully realize health AI’s potential, researchers need better access to data collected by our publicly funded health system — something that current policies make challenging.

The pandemic highlighted the dangers of a strained health system and the domino effect on services and staff. Across Canada, health spending is the single largest budget item. Every dollar not used as efficiently or effectively as possible is money taken from other programs. To address current system pressures, we need sustainable solutions that don’t pit the needs of one service against another.

Investing in health AI innovation is not a silver bullet. But it could go a long way toward alleviating volume pressures and wait times facing the Canadian health system.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: November 23rd, 2022

Link: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2022/11/26/ai-can-improve-ontarios-health-care-system-at-lower-costs.html

Discussion

  1. “to fully realize health AI’s potential, researchers need better access to data collected by our publicly funded health system.” Why is it difficult for research to get data from the Canadian publicly funded health system?
  2. What are some ways that you can sensibly anonymize data?
  3. Just removing someone’s name doesn’t make data anonymous. How can you figure out who someone is without knowing their name?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Apple, Career.

Tech companies saw exceptional growth in both revenue and employee headcounts through the pandemic. But now, they’re cutting thousands of jobs. WSJ explains the macro — and micro — reasons for the industry’s massive layoffs.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Date: November 23rd, 2022

Link to 4 minute 45 second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYVMuWGCtK4

Discussion

  1. This is an important discussion for the Intro to MIS class, as layoffs in the tech industry have a direct impact on MIS majors.
  2. The video talks about Apple’s decision to ask users if they want to be tracked had a major impact on social media companies. Why is this?

Posted by & filed under The Internet.

The internet is the most technically complex system humanity has ever built. Jim Kurose, Professor at UMass Amherst, has been challenged to explain the internet to 5 different people; a child, a teen, a college student, a grad student, and an expert.

Source: YouTube

Date: November 23rd, 2022

Link to 24 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EqKnvzo3no

Discussion

  1. This is an excellent video for the infrastructure part of the Intro to MIS class. It is okay to stop the video at or after the “grad student” description
  2. Why is it correct to say that the “internet is the most technically complex system humanity has ever built”?

Posted by & filed under Career.

TORONTO – When Mary Hailu learned she was being laid off from her executive assistant job at Toronto auto sales startup Clutch in June, all she could think about was her eight-year-old daughter.
“I’m a single mom. I’m the only income in my family, in my household,” said Hailu, who quit a stable engineering job to join the tech sector in 2021.
“I was feeling very anxious, very worried about the future. I think I probably cried for two weeks and I still cry now, when I think about it.”


Hailu’s experience places her in a growing group of tech workers that have experienced a layoff this year as investor exuberance around the sector fades and companies re-examine payroll costs in preparation for a potential recession.
Despite the apparent downturn, tech workers like Hailu aren’t fleeing the industry. A month after her layoff, Hailu was settling into a new role at a software startup.
“People in the tech industry are committed to the craft and they really are quite eager and quite motivated by what the industry has to offer,” said Abdullah Snobar, executive director of the DMZ tech hub in Toronto.
“Although many are getting laid off, they’re able to find new jobs quite quickly.”

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: November 18th, 2022

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/2022/11/17/mass-layoffs-dont-deter-tech-workers-as-they-stick-with-sector-look-to-startups.html

Discussion

  1. What is it about technology careers that means that there can be massive layoffs at Amazon, Twitter and such, but “Although many are getting laid off, they’re able to find new jobs quite quickly.”?
  2. What sorts of careers in technology are available to MIS majors?