Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, IT and Politics, Politics.

Eric Schmidt and Joe Biden

The US and its allies should reject calls for a global ban on AI-powered autonomous weapons systems, according to an official report commissioned for the American President and Congress.

It says that artificial intelligence will “compress decision time frames” and require military responses humans cannot make quickly enough alone.

And it warns Russia and China would be unlikely to keep to any such treaty.

But critics claim the proposals risk driving an “irresponsible” arms race.

“This is a shocking and frightening report that could lead to the proliferation of AI weapons making decisions about who to kill,” said Prof Noel Sharkey, spokesman for the Campaign To Stop Killer Robots.

“The most senior AI scientists on the planet have warned them about the consequences, and yet they continue.

“This will lead to grave violations of international law.”

The report counters that if autonomous weapons systems have been properly tested and are authorised for use by a human commander, then they should be consistent with International Humanitarian Law.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 1st, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56240785

Discussion

  1. Do you think the US having AI-back weapons ” risk[s] driving an “irresponsible” arms race “?
  2. What do you think of this statement: ” if autonomous weapons systems have been properly tested and are authorised for use by a human commander, then they should be consistent with International Humanitarian Law. “?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, COVID-19, Systems Development.

Within minutes of its 8 a.m. opening on Wednesday morning, the Alberta system allowing seniors to book for the COVID-19 vaccine had crashed.

By noon, a trio of Edmonton brothers had figured out the problem on the website and posted a solution on Twitter to help others sidestep the glitch.

The issue, according to Kory Mathewson, a research scientist with Google’s DeepMind Technologies, was attached to one of the first steps of the form asking for a postal code.

“When you put in your postal code, it was trying to figure out the closest vaccine location to where your postal code is, but that’s a difficult computing science problem,” Mathewson told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM on Thursday.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: February 26th, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/how-3-brothers-solved-a-tech-glitch-that-was-crashing-alberta-s-covid-19-vaccine-booking-tool-1.5927733

Discussion

  1. ” There was a small weak link in the chain ” The entire sign-up system practically ground to a halt because of the “weak link in the chain”. What steps could and should have been taken to make sure there were no weak links?
  2. ” He shared the solution — which involved adding some code into the JavaScript developer console — with a friend, who confirmed that it worked. Then they shared it with a few other people, who also were able to book appointments. ” What sort of testing is this? Why do you think the developers of the system didn’t do this sort of testing?

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

IT professionals with deep coding skills have long been the lifeline of many corporations, providing technical solutions to everyday problems. But as companies push for digital transformation, IT departments are at maximum capacity, and projects have piled up.

Now, companies are tasking employees without traditional coding backgrounds to lead innovation in their own departments. These citizen developers can be anyone outside of IT who builds business applications and digital solutions. This new role is helping companies increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve processes.

Take Zimmer Biomet. The Warsaw, Ind.-based medical device maker struggled with how to simultaneously adopt new digital technology while also dealing with daily workflow issues. Then, Zimmer Biomet began working with Quickbase, a no-code operational agility platform that enables citizen developers to improve operations through real-time insights and automation across complex processes and disparate systems.

Source: Quickbase (a provider of no-code solutions)

Date: February 23rd, 2021

Link: https://sponsored.bloomberg.com/news/sponsors/features/quickbase/build-your-next-great-innovation-now/?adv=33910&prx_t=gX4GAKXBKAZKMQA&ntv_idp=1

Discussion

  1. What does it mean to you as you think about which major to take that ” companies are tasking employees without traditional coding backgrounds to lead innovation in their own departments “?
  2. ” These citizen developers can be anyone outside of IT who builds business applications and digital solutions. This new role is helping companies increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve processes. ” Would it be useful to have both a coding and systems analysis & design background, that the Management Information Systems major provides, in order to do this well?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology.

In this stock photo, a woman holds her hand to her face in frustration in front of a laptop computer, illustrating the realisation of a mistake

An entire California school board has resigned after making disparaging remarks about families in an online meeting which they did not realise was being publicly live-streamed.

“They want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” one member said about parents.

Another implied that parents wanted their children out of the house so they could take drugs during the day.

Parents, however, had been joining the public call as it progressed.

“Uh-oh,” said board member Kim Beede when she was told, several minutes into the discussion: “We have the meeting open to the public right now.”

The Webex meeting immediately went into private status.

Source: BBC News

Date: February 23rd, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56156795

Discussion

  1. Imagine it’s your job to set up and run meetings like this for your company. What steps do you take to make sure you don’t make this mistake?
  2. What sort of company could you set up to provide secure-WebEx or secure-Zoom services to clients?

Posted by & filed under Facebook, IT and Politics, Politics.

It used to be that the most influential media companies in Canada had to keep at least one eye on the Canadian public interest whether they wanted to or not.

Broadcasters are regulated through the Broadcasting Act, and while newspapers face less oversight, a restriction on foreign ownership means there is always the potential that a determined Canadian government could do something, such as  change tax rules, that could nudge them into line.

But now, as internet mega companies such as Facebook and Google have taken over much of the ad revenue and eyeballs that mainstream media used to enjoy, there have been only nascent efforts to make them answer to the public interest. 

This week, as Australia considered laws to make them pay for news, the new communications giants have demonstrated they can thumb their noses at mere national governments.

But with a growing sense around the world, including in Canada, that Facebook, Google and the like have grown too big and powerful, there are those who say an international effort is necessary to take on the titans of tech.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: February 19th, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/don-pittis-facebook-australia-governments-gang-up-1.5919005

Discussion

  1. Why is Facebook taking on the Australian, and other governments?
  2. Why does “governments ganging up” help governments beat Facebook into doing what they want?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, COVID-19.

Face masks have become an everyday item due to the spread of coronavirus.

But now some brands are exploring ways to add hi-tech features focused on safety and utility.

Source: BBC News

Date: February 19th, 2021

Link to 3 minute 51 second video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-56114512

Discussion

  1. Useful tech gadget, or gimmick? What makes the difference?
  2. How might you build a business around one of these tech masks?

Posted by & filed under Facebook, Net Neutrality.

Mobile-phone screen shows message from Facebook announcing its new rules for news sites on its platform. Newspaper underneath the phone.

The Australian government passed a law requiring Google and Facebook (and others) to pay for news content created by others. In response, Facebook banned all Australian news content from its platform.

One of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers described it as “an act of war”. But others see the actions of Australia’s politicians as being an outrage against the principle of net neutrality.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: February 19th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/56127158

Discussion

  1. The article suggests that as a result of the Facebook ban on posting Australian news articles, the number of fake news articles being shown, or more properly, the prominence of fake news articles as a result of real news articles not being shown, has gone up. Why is this”
  2. What is “net neutrality” and why is this a part of that issue?

Posted by & filed under Electric vehicles.

Less than two weeks ago, GM caught some people by surprise with its pledge to make the vast majority of the vehicles it produces electric by 2035.  Warren Mabee, director of Queen’s University’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, believes for the oilpatch, the significance of GM’s announcement outweighs the recent cancellation of Keystone XL.

“That really starts to eat away at the demand side of the equation as consumers have more and more electric vehicles available to them,” Mabee said. 

“And as the costs sort of come in line with what [consumers are] expecting to pay, I think we’re going to see fewer and fewer people opting for gasoline-powered vehicles. 

“That really has long-term implications for the industry.”

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Company

Date: February 12th, 2021

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/general-motors-electric-oilpatch-1.5905637

Discussion

  1. What does it mean when it says “That really starts to eat away at the demand side of the equation as consumers have more and more electric vehicles available to them,”
  2. What parts of GM’s switch to making fully-electric vehicles are relevant and of significance to an MIS major?

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

Tap water, file

A computer hacker gained access to the water system of a city in Florida and tried to pump in a “dangerous” amount of a chemical, officials say.

The hacker briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide (lye) in Oldsmar’s water treatment system, but a worker spotted it and reversed the action.

Lye is used in small amounts to control acidity but a large amount could have caused major problems in the water.

Oldsmar Mayor Eric Seidel said: “There’s a bad actor out there.”

No arrests have yet been made and it is not known if the hack was done from within the US or outside.

A computer controlling Oldsmar’s water treatment system was remotely accessed on Friday.

A plant operator saw an attempt to access the system in the morning but assumed it was his supervisor, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

But another attempt was made early in the afternoon and this time the hacker accessed the treatment software and increased the sodium hydroxide content from 100 parts per million to 11,100 ppm.

The operator immediately reduced the level to normal.

Source: Tampa Bay Times

Date: February 12th, 2021

Link: https://www.tampabay.com/news/pinellas/2021/02/08/someone-tried-to-poison-oldsmars-water-supply-during-hack-sheriff-says/

Discussion

  1. Why might a hacker do this?
  2. What does it say about the design of controls in the system that it took human intervention to prevent the sodium hydroxide content from being 100 parts per million to being moved to 11,100 ppm ?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, Self-driving vehicles.

Hyundai's concept EV is called Prophecy

The car firm has been investing heavily in new technology with a string of partnerships, acquisitions and investments within the tech space.

Its takeover of robotics firm Boston Dynamics last year was a clear indication of the direction it is taking – into cutting-edge technology.

The whole auto industry has been forced to innovate as the move towards electric cars and autonomous vehicles accelerates.

Hyundai has been criticised in the past for lagging behind rivals in adopting emerging technologies but is fast catching up, sealing a string of alliances and investments with technology groups recently.

“Hyundai has a different set of motivations and more incentive to push the limit. They have been a lot more aggressive in reinventing themselves,” says Dale Hardcastle, a partner at consultancy firm Bain.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: February 12th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55806568

Discussion

  1. Why do you think that a global car company wants to become a technology company?
  2. What sorts of changes are going to be needed for a car maker to become a technology company?