Showing posts from 2017

Twitter crackdown sparks free speech concerns

Twitter crackdown sparks free speech concerns
BY ALI BRELAND - 11/17/17 06:04 AM EST
Twitter's verification program put the company at the center of another political headache this week, with the social media giant stuck between liberals who demand stricter rules about hate speech and misinformation and conservatives who fear the site will target them for their political views.
Twitter's "blue checkmark" verification program is meant to authenticate the identities of high-profile users. But it's also come to be seen as an endorsement or mark of approval from Twitter, sparking outrage when the checkmarks were bestowed on white nationalists like Richard Spencer or Charlottesville, Va., "Unite the Right" rally organizer Jason Kessler.
The social media site responded to the criticism Wednesday by taking checkmarks away from several users affiliated with the far right or white nationalism, as well as kicking one prominent Charlottesville marcher off the pl…

Ex-Google Executive Registers First Church of AI With IRS

Ex-Google Executive Registers First Church of AI With IRS
A former executive at Google has filed paperwork with the IRS to establish an official religion of technology. This religion doesn't just worship scientific progress, but artificial intelligence itself, with the goal of creating a godhead.
The new church of AI will aim "to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead [to] contribute to the betterment of society," according to IRS documents.
The non-profit religious organization would be called "Way of the Future" (WOTF). According to the website (, the movement is "about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + 'machines.'"
"Given that technology will 'relatively soon' be able to surpass human abilities, we want t…

Tesla Semi, an electric big rig truck with 500-mile range, rolls into reality

Tesla Semi, an electric big rig truck with 500-mile range, rolls into reality
By Marco della Cava, USA TODAY Published 11:29 p.m. ET Nov. 16, 2017 | Updated 10:08 a.m. ET Nov. 17, 2017
With an electric hauler that can go up to 500 miles without stopping for a recharge, Tesla is revolutionizing the trucking industry one big rig at a time. USA TODAY
HAWTHORNE, Calif. — Elon Musk wears many masks. Internet entrepreneur. Electric car salesman. Rocket man.
Add trucker to the list.
Musk rolled silently into a long-anticipated and oft-delayed event here Thursday at the controls of Tesla Semi. The first electric big rig truck from a company known for its luxury electric long-range cars is a shot across yet another industry bow for the brash Tesla and SpaceX CEO who has vowed to remake automobiles, solar energy and space exploration.
The new vehicle will start production in 2019, and no price tag was mentioned.
Looking like something Batman might have designed, the Tesla Semi prototype — rev…

Google announces AMP update that will discourage ‘teaser pages’

Google announces AMP update that will discourage ‘teaser pages’ November 16, 2017 by Lucas Matney
Publishers have a lot of mixed feeling about AMP (accelerated mobile pages), but it’s pretty safe to say that consumers enjoy web pages that load faster and are less cluttered. What’s less safe to say is that the experience on AMP-optimized pages is always better content-wise. One of the thing AMP sucks at is grabbing readers and letting them explore the site further after reading an article and this has been really frustrating to a lot of sites. Some publications have tried to get around this by publishing two versions of web pages and linking them together with some kind of “read more here” call-to-action on the AMP-optimized page.
This allows sites to have their cake and eat it too by enabling web pages to pop up in AMP-only sections of Google while also inclining visitors to visit their full site to get the total experience. This ultimately really sucks for users and Google doesn’t l…

First Digital Pill Approved to Worries About Biomedical ‘Big Brother’

First Digital Pill Approved to Worries About Biomedical ‘Big Brother’
By PAM BELLUCK NOV. 13, 2017
For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a digital pill — a medication embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors whether, and when, patients take their medicine.
The approval, announced late on Monday, marks a significant advance in the growing field of digital devices designed to monitor medicine-taking and to address the expensive, longstanding problem that millions of patients do not take drugs as prescribed.
Experts estimate that so-called non-adherence or noncompliance to medication costs about $100 billion a year, much of it because patients get sicker and need additional treatment or hospitalization.
“When patients don’t adhere to lifestyle or medications that are prescribed for them, there are really substantive consequences that are bad for the patient and very costly,” said Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer of the health plan division at the…

Yelp Ordered to Identify User Accused of Defaming Tax Preparer

Yelp Ordered to Identify User Accused of Defaming Tax Preparer
Google, Facebook supported anonymity as a free-speech right Tax preparer got negative review for allegedly sloppy return
By Edvard Pettersson November 13, 2017, 2:25 PM PST
Yelp Inc. can’t shield the identify of an anonymous reviewer who posted allegedly defamatory statements about a tax preparer.
The ruling Monday by a California state appeals court is a setback for websites in an ongoing battle to protect their users, as well as their own businesses, from lawsuits they say are preempted by free-speech rights.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc., and the Electronic Frontier Foundation backed Yelp in its bid to overturn a judge’s order requiring it to reveal the identity of the accountant’s unhappy client. The online review said the tax preparer had prepared a sloppy return for double the money he initially quoted.
The three-judge appeals panel in Santa Ana agreed with Yelp that it could protect the First Amendment righ…

Missouri Attorney General Launches Probe Into Google’s Business Practices

Missouri Attorney General Launches Probe Into Google’s Business PracticesInvestigation includes whether Google unfairly favors its content in search results
ByJack NicasUpdated Nov. 13, 2017 5:19 p.m. ET
Google is facing a new front in its regulatory battles after Missouri’s attorney general launched a broad investigation into whether the internet giant’s business practices violate the state’s consumer-protection and antitrust laws. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley on Monday said he issued an investigative subpoena to probe Google’s collection of user data, its use of other sites’ content, and its alleged manipulation of search results to favor its own services. Google, a unit of AlphabetInc.,has so far skirted the scrutiny in the U.S. that it has faced in Europe, where regulators levied a record $2.7 billion fine against Google in June for allegedly favoring its shopping ads in its search results. Mr. Hawley said his investigation was in part prompted by the European fine. “We’re co…

Algorithms With Minds of Their Own. How do we ensure that artificial intelligence is accountable?

Algorithms With Minds of Their Own
How do we ensure that artificial intelligence is accountable?
By Curt Levey and  Ryan Hagemann Nov. 12, 2017 4:11 p.m. ET
Everyone wants to know: Will artificial intelligence doom mankind—or save the world? But this is the wrong question. In the near future, the biggest challenge to human control and acceptance of artificial intelligence is the technology’s complexity and opacity, not its potential to turn against us like HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” This “black box” problem arises from the trait that makes artificial intelligence so powerful: its ability to learn and improve from experience without explicit instructions.
Machines learn through artificial neural networks that work like the human brain. As these networks are presented with numerous examples of their desired behavior, they learn through the modification of connection strengths, or “weights,” between the artificial neurons in the network. Imagine trying to figure out why a person ma…

Privacy fears over artificial intelligence as crimestopper

Privacy fears over artificial intelligence as crimestopper
Rob Lever AFP • November 11, 2017
A display shows a vehicle and person recognition system for law enforcement during the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, which showcases artificial intelligence, deep learning, virtual reality and autonomous machines (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)
Washington (AFP) - Police in the US state of Delaware are poised to deploy "smart" cameras in cruisers to help authorities detect a vehicle carrying a fugitive, missing child or straying senior.
The video feeds will be analyzed using artificial intelligence to identify vehicles by license plate or other features and "give an extra set of eyes" to officers on patrol, says David Hinojosa of Coban Technologies, the company providing the equipment.
"We are helping officers keep their focus on their jobs," said Hinojosa, who touts the new technology as a "dashcam on steroids."
The program is part of a growing trend to use v…

Bill Gates buys big chunk of land in Arizona to build 'smart city'

Bill Gates buys big chunk of land in Arizona to build 'smart city'
Bianca Buono, KPNX 8:04 PM. MST November 10, 2017
PHOENIX - One of Bill Gates' investment firms has spent $80 million to kickstart the development of a brand-new community in the far West Valley.
The large plot of land is about 45 minutes west of downtown Phoenix off I-10 near Tonopah.
The proposed community, made up of close to 25,000 acres of land, is called Belmont. According to Belmont Partners, a real estate investment group based in Arizona, the goal is to turn the land into its own "smart city."
"Belmont will create a forward-thinking community with a communication and infrastructure spine that embraces cutting-edge technology, designed around high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and distribution models, autonomous vehicles and autonomous logistics hubs," Belmont Partners said in a news release.
Ronald Schott, executive emeritus at the Arizon…

Monopoly critics decry ‘Amazon amendment’ for Federal Purchasing

Monopoly critics decry ‘Amazon amendment’BY ALI BRELAND - 11/09/17 06:00 AM EST
Lawmakers put the finishing touches this week on military funding legislation that contains a provision that stands to significantly benefit Amazon. The amendment, Section 801 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would help Amazon establish a tight grip on the lucrative, $53 billion government acquisitions market, experts say.   The provision, dubbed the “Amazon amendment” by experts, according to an article in The Intercept, would allow for the creation of an online portal that government employees could use to purchase everyday items such as office supplies or furniture. This government-only version of Amazon, which could potentially include a few other websites, would give participating companies direct access to the $53 billion market for government acquisitions of commercial products.
“It hands an enormous amount of power over to Amazon,” said Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Rel…