Monday, March 27, 2017

This seems to be a good idea.  Why didn’t we think of it? 
Two companies have been fined a total of £83,000 for breaking the rules about how people’s personal information should be treated when sending marketing emails.
An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found Exeter-based airline Flybe deliberately sent more than 3.3 million emails to people who had told them they didn’t want to receive marketing emails from the firm.
   The airline has now been fined £70,000 for breaking the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR).
A separate ICO investigation into Honda Motor Europe Ltd revealed the car company had sent 289,790 emails aiming to clarify certain customers’ choices for receiving marketing.
The firm believed the emails were not classed as marketing but instead were customer service emails to help the company comply with data protection law.  Honda couldn’t provide evidence that the customers’ had ever given consent to receive this type of email, which is a breach of PECR.  The ICO fined it £13,000.

Would you like either device “always listening” in your hotel room?
Amazon’s Alexa takes its fight with Siri to Marriott hotel rooms’s battle with Apple over digital assistants is moving to a new venue: hotel rooms, where Alexa and Siri are vying to be the voice-controlled platform of choice for travelers.
Marriott International, the world’s biggest lodging company, is testing devices from the two tech giants at its Aloft hotel in Boston’s Seaport district to determine which is best to let guests turn on lights, close drapes, control room temperature and change television channels via voice command.  In December, Wynn Resorts Ltd. became the first hotel company to install Alexa-powered Echo devices, starting with suites at its flagship Wynn Las Vegas property.

“How much cheaper?”  The first thing my students asked. 
AI and insurance: Exchanging privacy for a cheaper rate
   you should pay particular attention to the fact that the global insurance industry is seeking to harness artificial intelligence solutions.  While the use of AI technologies in insurance has the potential to streamline company operations and reduce consumer prices, it also raises unprecedented new issues related to personal privacy.
   What’s distinctive about the insurance industry’s adoption of AI is how these companies intend to collect their data.  Insurers are turning to sensors to collect data directly from individuals, including technologies like in-home monitors and wearables.  And whenever data collection intersects with a real person, privacy questions emerge.  Do you want your healthcare provider receiving a real-time notification of your late-night snacking?  Do you want your auto insurer to know every time you roll through a stop sign?  These are no longer hypotheticals.

Using AI to take as much of your money as possible? 
The High-Speed Trading Behind Your Amazon Purchase
   Just beneath the placid surface of a typical product page on Amazon lies an unseen world, a system where third-party vendors can sell products alongside Amazon's own goods.  It's like a stock market, complete with day traders, code-slinging quants, artificial intelligence algorithms and, yes, flash crashes.  
   It's clear, after talking to sellers and the software companies that empower them, that the biggest of these vendors are growing into sophisticated retailers in their own right.  The top few hundred use pricing algorithms to battle with one another for the coveted "Buy Box," which designates the default seller of an item.  It's the Amazon equivalent of a No. 1 ranking on Google search, and a tremendous driver of sales.  

A tweak for my students.  What (if anything) do they think? 
US Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments Over Your Right To Refill Ink And Toner Cartridges
   Lexmark offers a “shrink-wrap license” in which customers can purchase cartridges at a discounted rate if they agree to not resell or reuse them.  The customer essentially accepts the agreement once they have opened the cartridge’s packing.  Lexmark argues that customers cannot resell or reuse the cartridges because the item technically never belonged to the customer.
Impression Products is fighting back with the concept of “patent exhaustion”.  This concept states that a manufacturer loses their rights to control the fate of their products once they have been sold to a customer.  If a customer purchases an item, they may reuse or resell it.

They also have a Beta version for APA.
How Formatically Helps Students Format Essays in MLA Style
A couple of weeks ago I shared a new tool designed by college students to help other students properly format essays in MLA format.  That tool is called Formatically.  I've had a few people send me questions about how it works.  It essentially gives students a template in Word format that they can then use to write their essays in.  In the following short video I demonstrate how to use Formatically.

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