Friday, June 15, 2018

Wait and see.
Cops Are Confident iPhone Hackers Have Found a Workaround to Apple’s New Security Feature
Grayshift has gone to great lengths to future proof their technology and stated that they have already defeated this security feature in the beta build.”

Something for my Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery students to ponder. Inadequate redundancy? No deals with the other airlines in Charlotte?
FLIGHTS CANCELED: Chaos at Charlotte airport as thousands stranded
Thousands of passengers remain stranded Friday morning after all PSA flights were canceled at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport Thursday night due to a technical issue, airline officials said.
There were roughly 275 flights canceled, with about 120 of them in Charlotte. The airport tweeted around 8 a.m. Friday that PSA plans to resume operations at noon though Channel 9 learned overnight that those flights would not resume until 6 p.m.
… On Thursday night a spokeswoman for American Airlines said there was no timeline for when the issue will be resolved.

Another tool my students need.
… It was all part of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy which forced companies to give their customers much more control over the personal data they have collected.
As part of the reforms, Spotify introduced a new privacy tool. It allows you to download and view all the data that Spotify holds on you. Let’s look at how it works.

Ethical AI, an oxymoron?
European Commission names 52 experts to its AI advisory board
The European Commission today named 52 experts to its High Level Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLG), an advisory body tasked with drafting AI ethics guidelines, anticipating challenges and opportunities in AI, and steering the course of Europe’s machine learning investments.
The 52 new members — 30 men and 22 women — were selected from an applicant pool of 500 and come from titans of industry like Bosch, BMW, Bayer, and AXA, in addition to AI research leaders that include Google, IBM, Nokia Bell Labs, STMicroelectronics, Telenor, Zalando, Element AI, Orange, SAP, Sigfox, and Santander.
… As part of that engagement effort, the Alliance today launched a public online platform of discussion forums, blogs, documents, and events meant to foster conversations about AI. A list of planned AI HLG and AI Alliance meetings, workshops, and consultations will be made available online via the Commission’s Register of Expert Groups.
… Today’s announcement comes just over a month after the White House set up a task force dedicated to U.S. artificial intelligence efforts.

Was it always this easy to do?
Facebook Claims 99% of Extremist Content Removed Without Users' Help
At this week's International Homeland Security Forum (IHSF) hosted in Jerusalem by Israel’s minister of public security, Gilad Erdan, Facebook claimed growing success in its battle to remove extremist content from the network.
Dr. Erin Marie Saltman, Facebook counterterrorism policy lead for EMEA, said, "On Terrorism content, 99% of terrorist content from ISIS and al-Qaida we take down ourselves, without a single user flagging it to us. In the first quarter of 2018 we took down 1.9 million pieces of this type of terrorist content."
This was achieved by a combination of Facebook staff and machine learning algorithms.
However, the implication that Facebook is winning the war against extremism is countered by a report ('Spiders of the Caliphate: Mapping the Islamic StateĆ­s Global Support Network on Facebook' PDF) published in May 2018 by the Counter Extremism Project (CEP).

Learn how Google (and the world?) looks at your online actions?
Google, seemingly aware that people are unnerved by just how much ad networks know about us, today said it’s refining how it lets you control what ads you see. The company has updated its ad personalization settings page, and in the process, has kindly reminded us that it’s easy to turn off personalized ads altogether.
If you currently have the ad personalization feature turned on, Google’s refreshed Ad Settings page should include a list of topics and categories that Google is potentially using to serve you ads.
… Google is also updating its Why This Ad? links, product manager Philippe de Lurand Pierre-Paul wrote in a blog post on June 14: “We’ve now significantly expanded coverage of this feature; starting today, you’ll see Why this ad? notices on all our services that show Google Ads ...
… Google’s update today is a good reminder to turn off targeted ads if you’d rather not have companies targeting you as precisely as Google allows. You can view your current settings here. If you have multiple Google accounts, you’ll need to adjust each one.

This is news.
After years of growth, the use of social media for news is falling across the world
NiemanLab: “…People are becoming disenchanted with Facebook for news. The “Trump bump” appears to be sustaining itself. And younger people are more likely to donate money to a news organization than older people. These are some of the findings from a big new report out Thursday from Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report for 2018 surveyed more than 74,000 people in 37 countries about their digital news consumption. (Included in the report for the first time this year: Bulgaria.) The research is based on online YouGov surveys earlier this year, followed by face-to-face focus groups in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Brazil on the topics of social media and messaging apps. The report includes a number of findings on fake news, misinformation, and trust in the media; for more on those topics, see this piece by the report’s authors, and I’ll also include some more info in Friday’s fake news column…”

Are you counting?
Facebook is building a big new $750 million data center in Alabama
On Thursday, the social networking giant announced it was building a new 970,000 square foot facility in Huntsville, a city in the northern part of the US state.
The company now builds and open-sources its own data center hardware through the Open Compute Project, an initiative to make data center designs freely available to engineers — and underming the traditional server industry in the process.

Bird is the fastest startup ever to reach a $1 billion valuation
… People familiar with the deal told Quartz that at least three investors involved in that round—Sequoia, Accel, and Tusk Ventures—have already signed documents and wired money to Bird.
Bird is now raising additional funds in the series C round, seeking a total of $300 million, which would value it around $2 billion, sources familiar with the deal said. “People have definitely given them cash at the $2 billion valuation,” one of the people told Quartz.
… Bird is still remarkable for how quickly it achieved unicorn status. Founded in September 2017, Bird hit the $1 billion marker in well under a year, the fastest ever.

(Related) Is this a not-so-subtle bubble warning?
Unicorns Are Worth Twice As Much As Last Month
If SoftBank keeps throwing cash at startups like WeWork, the numbers will start to lose their meaning.
… “When the ducks are quacking, feed them,” capital markets bankers will tell you, and Bird took that lesson to its avian heart.
In other totally normal unicorn rapid valuation-doubling news:
SoftBank Group Corp. is in discussions to invest another giant slug of capital in WeWork Cos., with a deal that would value the shared-office company at $35 billion to $40 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
Such an investment would roughly double WeWork’s $20 billion valuation, set last August when SoftBank invested $4.4 billion in the company.
I have to say, if SoftBank is going to become the entire market for hot private technology startups, then every valuation is going to be marked-to-SoftBank, and the numbers will start to lose their meaning.

Free money? It’s a bit more complicated than that.
If You’re A Facebook User, You’re Also a Research Subject
The professor was incredulous. David Craig had been studying the rise of entertainment on social media for several years when a Facebook Inc. employee he didn’t know emailed him last December, asking about his research. “I thought I was being pumped,” Craig said. The company flew him to Menlo Park and offered him $25,000 to fund his ongoing projects, with no obligation to do anything in return.
… The free gifts are just one of the little-known and complicated ways Facebook works with academic researchers. For scholars, the scale of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users provides an irresistible way to investigate how human nature may play out on, and be shaped by, the social network. For Facebook, the motivations to work with outside academics are far thornier, and it’s Facebook that decides who gets access to its data to examine its impact on society.
… More than a hundred Ph.D.-level researchers work on Facebook’s in-house core data science team, and employees say the information that points to growth has had more of an impact on the company's direction than Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s ideas.
Facebook is far more hesitant to work with outsiders; it risks unflattering findings, leaks of proprietary information, and privacy breaches. But Facebook likes it when external research proves that Facebook is great. And in the fierce talent wars of Silicon Valley, working with professors can make it easier to recruit their students.
… The company has stopped short of pursuing deeper research on potentially negative fallout of its power. According to its public database of published research, Facebook’s written more than 180 public papers about artificial intelligence but just one study about elections, based on an experiment Facebook ran on 61 million users to mobilize voters in the Congressional midterms back in 2010.

BB-8 in Colorado.
Sphero raises $12M as it focuses on education
This year has been a rough one for Sphero. The Colorado-based toy robotics startup kicked off the year with dozens of layoffs, a result of tepid interest in its line of Disney-branded consumer products.
Here’s a little good news, however. The company has raised another $12 million, bringing its total up to around $119 million, according to Crunchbase. The latest round will go into helping shape the BB-8 maker into an education-first company.

Most are words I’ve never heard of…
New words list June 2018
Oxford English Dictionary

Now there’s an App for making an App for that!
App Maker, Google’s low-code tool for building business apps, comes out of beta
It’s been a year and a half since Google announced App Maker, its online tool for quickly building and deploying business apps on the web. The company has mostly remained quiet about App Maker ever since and kept it in a private preview mode, but today, it announced that the service is now generally available and open to all developers who want to give it a try.
Access to App Maker comes with any G Suite Business and Enterprise subscription, as well as the G Suite for Education edition. The overall idea here is to help virtually anybody in an organization — including those with little to no coding experience — to build their own line-of-business apps based on data that’s already stored in G Suite, Google’s Cloud SQL database or any other database that supports JDBC or that offers a REST API (that that’s obviously a bit more of an advanced operation).

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