Posted by & filed under Facebook.

Facebook Neighborhoods

Facebook is launching a new section of its app designed to connect neighbors and curate neighborhood-level news. The new feature, predictably called Neighborhoods, is available now in Canada and will be rolling out soon for U.S. users to test.

As we reported previously, Neighborhoods has technically been around since at least October of last year, but that limited test only recruited residents of Calgary, Canada.

On Neighborhoods, Facebook users can create a separate subprofile and can populate it with interests and a custom bio. You can join your own lower-case neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods and complain about porch pirates, kids these days, or whatever you’d otherwise be doing on Nextdoor.

Source: TechCrunch

Date: May 19th, 2021

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/05/facebook-neighborhoods-nextdoor/

Discussion

  1. Why is Facebook pushing to the neighborhood level of interaction?
  2. Why is curated neighborhood-level news important?

Posted by & filed under Automation.

A fully autonomous ship will attempt a ground-breaking journey across the Atlantic ocean without a crew later this month.

The Mayflower 400 will travel 3,500 miles (5,630km) from Plymouth in the UK to Massachusetts in the US, conducting scientific experiments during its journey.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 19th, 2021

Link to 3 minute 46 second video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-57088748

Discussion

  1. This is a scientific experiment, but how might this technology be used for a commercial purpose?
  2. How might “Captain Watson”, the “AI machine-learning based software” work?

Posted by & filed under crypto-currency.

Source: SNL (Saturday Night Live)

Date: May 19th, 2021

Link to 2 minute 16 second video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5RCfQyTDFI

Discussion

  1. ” Originally formed as a joke, Dogecoin was created by IBM software engineer Billy Markus and Adobe software engineer Jackson Palmer. They wanted to create a peer-to-peer digital currency that could reach a broader demographic than Bitcoin. In addition, they wanted to distance it from the controversial history of other coins. Dogecoin was officially launched on December 6, 2013, and within the first 30 days there were over a million visitors to Dogecoin.com.” (Wikipedia).
    Is it because 30 million people say something has value that it actually has value?
  2. How is Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies different from, say, Chuck E Cheese coins for use in Chuck E Cheese restaurants, or from Fortnite Dollars that can be spent inside the game Fortnite, or Club Penguin Dollars that can be spent inside the game Club Penguin?

Posted by & filed under Netflix, Politics.

Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault holds a press conference in Ottawa.

For years, Ottawa was content to stand by while foreign-owned digital giants — Google, Facebook, Twitter and the like — reshaped much of how we live and work.

Even when other countries started to push back against Big Tech and its power over the economy, social life and even democracy, Canada pretty much stayed on the sidelines. It seemed there wasn’t any political will to act.

That finally changed after the Liberals were re-elected in 2019. A new heritage minister, Steven Guilbeault, launched an ambitious agenda to address the negative effects of the tech giants in three key areas — culture, “online harms” like hate speech, and the importance of a healthy news media.

Guilbeault deserves a great deal of credit for tackling these big issues. It’s an awful lot to take on, but there’s an awful lot at stake.

In the past week, one of these issues — updating the Broadcasting Act to take into account 21st-century digital realities — has taken front and centre.

The government’s Bill C-10 essentially aims to make sure foreign-based streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, which make lots of money in Canada, do their part in contributing to Canadian culture.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: May 14th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2021/05/14/heritage-minister-should-carry-through-with-ambitious-agenda-to-tame-big-tech.html

Discussion

  1. ” Bill C-10, which is now before the Commons heritage committee, the government’s stated goal is to force streaming services (Netflix and Spotify, most prominently) to adjust their algorithms to make Canadian content more visible (what’s known as “discoverability”). ” Should governments be able to force privately owned companies to change their algorithms?
  2. Does it matter that Netflix and Spotify are services for which consumers have to pay for a subscription, so if you don’t like what they are doing you just don’t pay?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack.

oil worker and cyber imagery

How can a pipeline be hacked?

For many people, the image of the oil industry is one of pipes, pumps and greasy black liquid.

In truth, the type of modern operation Colonial Pipeline runs is extremely digital.

Pressure sensors, thermostats, valves and pumps are used to monitor and control the flow of diesel, petrol and jet fuel across hundreds of miles of piping.

Colonial even has a high-tech “smart pig” (pipeline inspection gauge) robot that scurries through its pipes checking for anomalies

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 14th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-57063636

Discussion

  1. What other types of businesses are ” extremely digital”?
  2. Colonial Pipeline ended up paying $5m to not release sensitive data. What sort of message does this send hackers?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, crypto-currency.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.

Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin due to climate change concerns, its CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet.

Bitcoin fell by more than 10% after the tweet, while Tesla shares also dipped.

Tesla’s announcement in March that it would accept the cryptocurrency was met with an outcry from some environmentalists and investors.

The electric carmaker had in February revealed it had bought $1.5bn (£1bn) of the world’s biggest digital currency.

But on Thursday, it backtracked on its previous comments.

“We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” Mr Musk wrote.

Source: BBC Business

Date: May 14th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57096305

Discussion

  1. What is it about bitcoining mining that uses so much electricity?
  2. What actually determines the price of a bitcoin?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial intelligence (AI) researcher, Joy Buolamwini, has spent the last four years raising awareness of the social implications and possible harm of the technology.

Inspired by her own experiences of facial recognition tech she founded the Algorithmic Justice League and recently became the star of the Netflix documentary Coded Bias.

Source: BBC Future

Date: May 5th, 2021

Link to 4:07 minute video: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-56929271

Discussion

  1. Why did, and does, AI have bias in it?
  2. What can and should be done to stop AI bias?

Posted by & filed under NFT - Non-fungible token.

Seth Dyer, left, is selling his album as an NFT on Rarible.com and Krista Kim is a digital artist who sells and auctions her artwork on SuperRare marketplace.

A little over a week after independent Toronto musician Seth Dyer released his “Act One — Outcast” album, he had sold just one copy.

But he was excited.

Why? That one copy sold for $1,000, or around half an Ethereum, to someone who purchased it via Rarible.com, a marketplace for NFT digital art.

“It might sound like a little, but (I) would have to get a couple hundred thousand streams to get $1,000,” Dyer said, drawing a comparison to success in the music world industry.

Dyer sees a creative future in this transformative digital landscape.

Source: Toronto Daily Star

Date: May 5th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/05/02/how-these-independent-toronto-artists-are-leveraging-nfts-digital-gold-and-augmented-reality-to-elevate-their-work.html

Discussion

  1. This chart is very useful and informative. What sorts of things could it apply to?

2. Is there a way to start a business around helping people distribute their work with NFTs?

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

Former President Donald Trump gestures with open arms at a conference in February

Donald Trump’s ban from Facebook and Instagram has been upheld by Facebook’s Oversight Board.

But it criticised the permanent nature of the ban as beyond the scope of Facebook’s normal penalties.

It has ordered Facebook to review the decision and “justify a proportionate response” that is applied to everyone, including ordinary users.

The former president was banned from both sites in January following the Capitol Hill riots.

The Oversight Board said the initial decision to permanently suspend Mr Trump was “indeterminate and standardless”, and that the correct response should be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform”.

Facebook must respond within six months, it said.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: May 5th, 2021

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56985583

Discussion

  1. There has been a LOT of discussion about whether, and to what extent, social media companies such as Facebook should be able to limit, or in this case ban entirely, people from their platform. What are some of the issues on both sides?
  2. What do you think it means that any ban needs to be “consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform” ?

Posted by & filed under COVID-19.

A sign is seen outside the Shopify headquarters in Ottawa, Tuesday September 1, 2020.

Shopify Inc. executives believe the shift toward online sales triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay.

Chief executive Tobi Lutke and president Harley Finkelstein said Wednesday that early patterns emerging in lockdown-free countries like New Zealand and Australia show consumers have embraced e-commerce even after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted — and they expect North America to eventually see the same.

“Consumer preferences have shifted permanently,” said Finkelstein, in a call with analysts.

“The centre of gravity was off-line. It is now online and there’s no going back to the pre-pandemic version of that.”

The shift has been a boon for the Ottawa e-commerce giant, which helps businesses run online stores but has long had to contend with online purchases compromising less than 10 per cent of retail sales for years.

Source: Toronto Star

Date: April 30th, 2021

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/2021/04/28/shopifys-q1-net-income-soars-to-126b-revenue-increased-110-per-cent.html

Discussion

  1. Why has there been a boom in online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  2. Why, when the pandemic is receding and things are returning in other ways back to normal, is eCommerce likely to continue as it did during the pandemic?