Posted by & filed under COVID-19.

In the early days of Canada’s COVID-19 outbreak, Elisa Baniassad was able to trace how new cases were spreading and plan her outings accordingly.

“When I plotted how the virus was being transmitted, I saw that it was from close contact. People weren’t getting it out on the street, they were getting it at home from their family members,” said the computer science instructor at the University of British Columbia.

Baniassad is one of a handful of people making use of the reams of data being collected and published daily around the world to help governments and citizens plan and be informed of the latest situation.

Her diagrams are published on ViriHealth.com, a website started by someone in Toronto to keep track of the information released by the provinces.

Welcome to humanity’s first data-driven pandemic.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 18th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/coronavirus-date-information-sharing-1.5500709

Discussion

  1. The article suggests that “It’s calming for people to have a sense that they’re being fully informed.” Why is this?
  2. How can you make sure that people are “fully informed”?

Posted by & filed under Internet Advertising, The Internet.

Graphic of social media and virus

There’s a huge amount of misleading information circulating online about coronavirus – from dodgy health tips to speculation about government plans. This is the story of how one post went viral.

It’s a list of tips and advice – some true, some benign, and some possibly harmful – which has been circulating on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and elsewhere.

Dubbed the “Uncle with master’s degree” post because of the alleged source of the information, it’s hopped from the Facebook profile of an 84-year-old British man to the Instagram account of a Ghanaian TV presenter, through Facebook groups for Indian Catholics to coronavirus-specific forums, WhatsApp groups, and Twitter accounts.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 19th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-51931394?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/technology&link_location=live-reporting-story

Discussion

  1. How can you use the information in this article to more successfully make a post go viral?
  2. How do you stop things like this that shouldn’t go viral from going viral?

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

A market in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The Israeli government is escalating efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has authorized the country’s internal security agency to tap into a vast and previously undisclosed trove of cellphone data to retrace the movements of people who have contracted the coronavirus and identify others who should be quarantined because their paths crossed.

Source: New York Times

Date: March 19th, 2020

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/world/middleeast/israel-coronavirus-cellphone-tracking.html

Discussion

  1. What are some of the ethical issues of ” tap[ing] into a vast and previously undisclosed trove of cellphone data to retrace the movements of people “?
  2. What sort of algorithm would it take to track someone, and then also who they have been in contact with?

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics, Spoofing.

Canada’s big phone companies warned MPs on a parliamentary committee Tuesday their networks aren’t yet ready to implement new anti-spoofing technology to guard against fake calls — and many existing landline phones and cellphones will need to be upgraded in order for the technology to be effective.

Representatives from Bell, Rogers and Telus appeared Tuesday before the Industry, Science and Technology House of Commons Committee that’s studying how to prevent the millions of fraudulent phone calls Canadians receive each month.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 13th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/crtc-wireless-companies-spoofing-scams-1.5493067

Discussion

  1. What is “spoofing”?
  2. How do you think the telephone companies will detect a spoofed call so they can block it?

Posted by & filed under Career.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 13th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/coronavirus-school-closures-canada-1.5495075

Discussion

  1. “When you design courses for online, it actually takes deliberate thought and attention as to doing it in a good way. “So if we’re asking people just to suddenly teach their in-person courses online, it will be very difficult for those instructors to offer equal quality.”
    What sorts of things need to be considered as you move in-person content online?
  2. What sort of business could you set up to help move in-person service delivery (which in-class instruction is) online?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Google, YouTube.

Data on coronavirus cases on a map and a phone

Facebook is already working with researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and the National Tsing Hua University, in Taiwan, sharing anonymised data about people’s movements and high-resolution population density maps, which help them forecast the spread of the virus.

The social network is also helping partners understand how people are talking about the issue online, via tools such as Crowdtangle, which aggregate social-media posts.

In the past, Google search data has been used to track infectious diseases.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: February 13th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51851292

Discussion

  1. Google said its team was “working round the clock to safeguard our users from phishing, conspiracy theories, malware and misinformation”.
    How might Google be doing this?
  2. ” YouTube, meanwhile, is using its homepage to direct users to the World Health Organization and other groups, for education and information, while working to remove videos suggesting alternative cures as soon as they go live. “
    How might YouTube be detecting “alternative cure” videos?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack, Phishing.

Envelope with virus

Security experts say a spike in email scams linked to coronavirus is the worst they have seen in years.

Cyber-criminals are targeting individuals as well as industries, including aerospace, transport, manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and insurance.

Phishing emails written in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Turkish languages have been found.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 13th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51838468

Discussion

  1. Why are phishing emails so effective as a cyber attack strategy?
  2. How do you help yourself, and a company you are the CIO for (say) combat phishing email attacks?

Posted by & filed under 3D, Agile Development, Systems Development.

Mi’kmaq-designed software that blends 3D modelling, laser scanning and environmental data is being developed to help communities in the Atlantic region prepare for the potential catastrophic results of climate change.  

The online application, developed by 3D Wave Design, a Nova Scotia-based 3D animation and communications company, allows users to simulate conditions like storm surge, inland flooding and wildfires, using real environmental, meteorological and laser scanning data.

The simulations play out over 3D representations of real communities and use accurate geographic measurements, which could help communities plan for the worst.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 3rd, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/mikmaq-software-climate-change-floods-wildfire-3d-models-1.5482571

Discussion

  1. How could you use software like this to start a business, perhaps a consulting company?
  2. ” The simulations play out over 3D representations of real communities and use accurate geographic measurements, which could help communities plan for the worst. ” Why is this so important?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Future of Work.

Kursat Ceylan, co-developer of WeWALK

When Kursat Ceylan, who is blind, was trying to find his way to a hotel, he used an app on his phone for directions, but also had to hold his cane and pull his luggage.

He ended up walking into a pole, cutting his forehead.

This inspired him to develop, along with a partner, Wewalk – a cane equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), that detects objects above chest level and pairs with apps including Google Maps and Amazon’s Alexa, so the user can ask questions.

Jean Marc Feghali, who helped to develop the product, also has an eye condition. In his case his vision is severely impaired when the light is not good.

While the smart cane itself only integrates with basic AI functions right now, the aim is for Wewalk, to use information gathered from the gyroscope, accelerometer and compass installed inside the cane. It will used that data to understand more about how visually impaired people use the product and behave in general to create a far more sophisticated product using machine learning (an advanced form of AI).

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 3rd, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51632840

Discussion

  1. Given what the “Wewalk” can do, how else could you apply this same technology?
  2. ” Currently, AI used in everyday life consists of either automating or optimising things that humans can do – whether that is detecting fraud by analysing millions of transactions, sifting through CVs to select the right candidates for a job, or using facial recognition to enable people to get through some form of security. ” In the context of the Future of Work, how does this change what you might do in the future?