Posted by & filed under App Economy, COVID-19, IT and Politics.

The federal government is urging the provinces to use its COVID Alert app properly and more widely after a new report said that only five per cent of those who have tested positive for the virus have been given the information required to register their results.

An interim report from a federal advisory council said that while the app has been downloaded more than 6.3 million times, only 20,000 people have entered the one-time key that lets the app know they have the virus.

The federal government launched the voluntary COVID Alert app in July. It’s designed to notify users when they have been exposed to another user that has tested positive for COVID-19.

Once someone has tested positive, the provincial public health authority is supposed to issue that person a one-time key. Once the key is entered into the app, it sends notifications to other app users who have been within two metres of the infected person for 15 minutes or more.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 18th, 2021



  1. ” The report identifies the lacklustre distribution of one-time keys as one of two problems preventing the app from achieving its potential. ” How could you change this positively?
  2. ” The second problem is that not enough Canadians have downloaded the app. ” How could you change this positively?

Posted by & filed under Fraud.

Behavior-As-A-Service Uses Digital Body Language To Fight Fraud, Increase Conversion

When a customer walks into a physical location to transact, a whole host of behavioral data becomes available to whatever entity is serving them.

Are they acting interested, engaged and prepared? Or do they appear to be casing the joint and attempting to memorize the location of the security cameras? That behavioral data can then be used to inform how the customer is treated and what kind of interaction they are going to be offered.

But in the digital space, that kind of behavioral data has been largely unavailable, Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Karen Webster. And perhaps even worse, merchants, financial services providers, insurance firms and others don’t really know there is behavioral data to be looked at for insight. It’s simply been taken for granted that when it comes to consumer behavior online, large segments of it are going to be invisible.

But Neuro-ID, he said, was created to counter that notion and find ways to surface that suspicious behavior for clients when interactions happen online.


Date: March 17th, 2021



  1. ” “Behavior-as-a-Service” offering is to the security and risk department because the most straightforward application of this technology is fighting off fraud ” What sorts of behaviors do people have when using the mouse when they are committing a fraud versus being truthful?
  2. What sorts of behaviors do people have when filling out information when they are committing a fraud versus being truthful?

Posted by & filed under Bots.

Participants in the 2021 hagglebot games

Earlier this month, the Olympics for hagglebots was held: the 11th annual competition for artificial intelligence (AI) that has been trained to negotiate.

Called the Automated Negotiating Agent Competition, it pits more than 100 participants from Japan, France, Israel, Turkey and the United States against one another, in five leagues.

This would have been held in person (or in silicon) in Japan, as part of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, but due to coronavirus the competition was part of a virtual conference.

Universities from Turkey and Japan were the big winners this year, haggling with humans and each other: simulating a factory manager doing supply chain management, and the game Werewolf.

In some leagues they haggle with real-life human subjects, recruited from the web. In others, the bots negotiate with other bots.

“In the first years, [the AI] were really easily outperformed by human beings,” says the hagglebot games’ co-founder, Tim Baarslag from the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 17th, 2021



  1. “The idea suppliers could negotiate with an AI and get to a contract with less time and effort was revolutionary, says Mr O’Brien. Suppliers said to him: “If you’re telling me if I select this option, which isn’t great for me but isn’t necessarily bad, we can have a contract tomorrow – well I’m going to click that, and let’s be done with it,” he says. It resulted in an 80% reduction in work, with contracts taking between one and eight days to negotiate.”
    How might you build a business around this idea?
  2. In what ways might hagglebots cause a problem?

Posted by & filed under Gig economy, Uber.

An Uber Eats courier is pictured as they pick up an order for delivery from a restaurant in Toronto on February 27, 2020.

Uber Technologies Inc. wants provinces to force the tech giant and other app-based companies to offer gig workers some benefits through a new proposal, but an advocacy group says the plan will still leave them paid less than minimum wage and with no job security.

Uber’s pitch was unveiled Wednesday and is called Flexible Work+. It asks provinces to require app-based gig employers to accrue self-directed benefit funds that can be dispersed to drivers for prescriptions, dental and vision care and provide safety training and tools like reflective vests.

Source: The Canadian Press

Date: March 11th, 2021



  1. What is a gig worker, and why don’t companies pay them like regular employees?
  2. Why is Uber trying to force itself, “and other app-based companies” to help it’s gig workers?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, crypto-currency.

Estimates for bitcoin's electricity consumption

For Bitcoin, it isn’t just the digital asset’s price that has hit an all-time high. So has its energy footprint. And that’s caused blowback for Mr Elon Musk, who recently bought $1.5 billion of Bitcoin, as the scale of the currency’s environmental impact becomes clearer. It also helped prompt a series of high profile critics to slate the digital currency this week, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. President Biden’s top economic adviser described Bitcoin as “an extremely inefficient way to conduct transactions,” saying “the amount of energy consumed in processing those transactions is staggering”.

Source: BBC Science

Date: March 8th, 2021



  1. “…the electricity the Bitcoin miners use overwhelmingly comes from polluting sources. The CCAF team surveys the people who manage the Bitcoin network around the world on their energy use and found that about two-thirds of it is from fossil fuels.”
    Why is this? (much of the mining is done in countries like China and Nigeria, where the electricity is generated from burning coal)
  2. “The two essential features of a successful currency are that it is an effective form of exchange and a stable store of value, says Ken Rogoff, a professor of economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He says Bitcoin is neither.”
    What does it mean when he says “Bitcoin is neither”?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, crypto-currency, FinTech.

Tola Fadugbagbe recalls moving to Lagos from his small south-western town 10 years ago with dreams of brighter prospects. Instead, the 34-year-old ended up in a series of odd jobs earning the minimum wage to survive – a typical story for many young Nigerians who are just trying to get by. It was not until 2016 that online adverts for Bitcoin piqued his interest and he began his cryptocurrency journey. “I started intensive research,” Mr Fadugbagbe told the BBC. “I was spending hours every day watching videos on YouTube and reading articles about Bitcoin. I didn’t have much money so I started with $100 to $200.” It was a decision that transformed his life. At the time that we spoke, Mr Fadugbagbe, who now trades full time and teaches budding investors, said he had cryptocurrency worth more than $200,000 (£140,000) in his possession.

Source: BBC Business

Date: March 8th, 2021



  1. “Onyeka started to invest when faced with high commission charges to transfer cash between her Nigerian and British accounts. “For me it’s a banking system,” she says. “It wasn’t about making money. It was about how [to] have a better banking experience. Look at it as saving your money in a currency that can keep the value of the money.”
    Why is she wrong about “keeping the value of the money”?
  2. Why is she right about ” For me it’s a banking system”?

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

A dog training academy is teaching new tricks to a pair of very special dogs and their human handlers at Shell’s Scotford Complex.

But with their abilities to open doors and take photos, the four-legged robots named Bolt and Gadget are clearly a cut above the average canine. 

“The intent is to use them for some basic maintenance inspections,” Conal MacMillan, the company’s external relations manager, told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM on Wednesday. 

“We’ll be able to program them to their own custom routes to test our plant conditions, to help us out with some security tasks and if needed — hopefully not — perform autonomous emergency response missions on our site, too.”

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 4th, 2021



  1. What sorts of issues might arise with using robodogs to do “basic maintenance inspections”?
  2. What other operations and businesses could use this sort of technology?

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

Japan’s manufacturing sector is renowned for cutting-edge techniques based on the philosophy of continuous improvement. In contrast, the nation’s agricultural sector is characterised by an ageing workforce that relies heavily on time-honoured practices. Now, however, industrial technology is helping modernise Japan’s agriculture sector and increase exports.

In 2019, Japan’s combined annual exports of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products and food were JP¥912.1 billion (US$8.79 billion), marking a record high for the seventh consecutive year. Yet Japan’s agricultural industry has even greater ambitions, with plans to reach export targets of JP¥2 trillion by 2025 (US$19.28 billion), and JP¥5 trillion (US$48.21 billion) by 2030. While these figures are impressive, conventional Japanese farming techniques are presently labour-intensive and the average age of farmworkers is almost 67.

Consequently, various stakeholders are exploring ways to modernise farming practices and increase productivity. Producers are becoming aware of the need to transition from the prevailing “product-first” model, to a “customer-first” or “market-oriented agriculture” model. Technology plays a major role in helping producers pivot to this new style of agriculture.

Source: BBC Future

Date: March 4th, 2021



  1. ”  smart agriculture is also a boon for producers in terms of the workforce. “It can reduce the need for physical labour, saving time and manpower, while also providing a way for those without a background in agriculture to enter the sector, such as the tech-savvy younger generation ” How might you sell this sort of technology as a service?
  2. Will a ” tech-savvy younger generation ” be enticed into agriculture because of technology?

Posted by & filed under Low-code, No-code.


Low-code is a modern agile way to build and continually improve business applications that better matches the pace of change in today’s digital business environment.

Source: QuickBase (a low-code platform vendor)

Date: March 2nd, 2021

Link (note, QuicBase is a vendor of low-code solutions):


  1. Why is low-code coming along in 2021?
  2. Does low-code mean that being a programmer is no longer a career option?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing, Platform.

IU performing in Wuhan, China

Hundreds of popular K-pop songs have been removed from Spotify, amid a dispute with South Korean music distributor Kakao M.

Releases by popular acts including Sistar, IU, Monsta X and Epik High have vanished, leaving fans frustrated.

Spotify said its “existing licensing deal” with Kakao M had “come to an end” but it hoped the disruption would be temporary.

But the Korean company accused Spotify of refusing to extend its licence.

Kakao M is South Korea’s top music distributor, responsible for 37.5% of the songs featured in the country’s Top 400 Yearly Song Chart in 2020.

It also owns and operates the country’s top music streaming service, MelOn, with 8.81 million monthly active users.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 1st, 2021



  1. “The dispute illustrates the transient nature of subscribers’ streaming libraries. Although 60,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify every day, popular tracks can disappear overnight when the company’s agreements with record labels and rights-holders expire. Users will then see songs “greyed out” in their playlists. And it’s not just Spotify – any streaming service can remove or replace music without notifying you as deals expire and are re-negotiated.”
    Why is it an issue that cloud services like this can just delete the content that you thought you had paid to access?
  2. ” Meanwhile, a fan account dedicated to boyband Seventeen suggested their total number of streams had fallen by more than 1 billion since last week. ” Why is this possibly important to more than just the fans of “Seventeen”?