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Showing posts from August, 2018

Robot teachers invade Chinese kindergartens

Robot teachers invade Chinese kindergartens
29 August 2018
BEIJING (AFP) - The Chinese kindergarten children giggled as they worked to solve puzzles assigned by their new teaching assistant: a roundish, short educator with a screen for a face.
Just under 60 centimetres (two feet) high, the autonomous robot named Keeko has been a hit in several kindergartens, telling stories and challenging children with logic problems.
Round and white with a tubby body, the armless robot zips around on tiny wheels, its inbuilt cameras doubling up both as navigational sensors and a front-facing camera allowing users to record video journals.
In China, robots are being developed to deliver groceries, provide companionship to the elderly, dispense legal advice and now, as Keeko's creators hope, join the ranks of educators.
At the Yiswind Institute of Multicultural Education on the outskirts of Beijing, the children have been tasked to help a prince find his way through a desert -- by putting togethe…

Poll: Conservatives Leaving Facebook

Poll: Conservatives Leaving Facebook
By Jason Devaney Wednesday, 29 August 2018 04:52 PM
Many conservatives are either abandoning their use of Facebook or considering doing so because they think the social media company is censoring conservative voices, a new poll found.
Results from the Media Research Center-sponsored survey:
·More than 45 percent of conservatives said they have left Facebook or are considering leaving it. ·7.5 percent of conservatives said they left Facebook because it was censoring right-leaning views. ·24.8 percent said they are considering leaving Facebook because of the company's censorship of conservatives. ·13 percent said they left Facebook or are considering doing so for a reason other than censorship. ·66.1 percent said they do not trust Facebook to treat all of its users equally, no matter their politics. ·66.9 said they have less trust in Facebook than they did one year ago. ·64.6 percent said social media companies are censoring conservatives and right-lea…

We should all be worried about Google’s power - EU fined Google $2.7 Billion last year for … bias in its search algorithms

We should all be worried about Google’s power
By Post Editorial Board August 28, 2018 | 8:11pm
Tuesday brought endless commentary and reporting on how President Trump was being utterly ridiculous and conspiratorial to accuse Google of bias in its search algorithms. Funny: Just over a year ago, in June 2017, the European Union fined the company $2.7 billion for … bias in its search algorithms.
Yes, Trump’s off-the-cuff charge focused on political bias, whereas the EU verdict (after a seven-year investigation) was about the company “systematically favoring” its own Google Shopping feature. But all the Trump-bashers who were suggesting Google would never, ever put its thumb on the scale seem to have ignored at least one elephant in the room.
As we write, the top headlines on Google News include two CNN stories: “Trump slams Google search as ‘rigged’ — but it’s not” and “Debunking Donald Trump’s latest conspiracy theory on Google.” How is the average web surfer to trust that Google isn’t…

Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media

Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media
Generation Z has grown up online – so why are a surprising number suddenly turning their backs on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat?
By Sirin Kale Wed 29 Aug 2018 01.00 EDT Last modified on Wed 29 Aug 2018 04.45 EDT
For 17-year-old Mary Amanuel, from London, it happened in Tesco. “We were in year 7,” she remembers, “and my friend had made an Instagram account. As we were buying stuff, she was counting the amounts of likes she’d got on a post. ‘Oooh, 40 likes. 42 likes.’ I just thought: ‘This is ridiculous.’”
Isabelle, an 18-year-old student from Bedfordshire who doesn’t want to disclose her surname, turned against social media when her classmates became zombified. “Everyone switched off from conversation. It became: ‘Can I have your number to text you?’ Something got lost in terms of speaking face to face. And I thought: ‘I don’t really want to be swept up in that.’” For 15-year-old Emily Sharp, from Staines in Surrey, watching…

Dozens of Employees at Facebook Unite to Challenge Its ‘Intolerant’ Liberal Culture

Dozens at Facebook Unite to Challenge Its ‘Intolerant’ Liberal Culture
Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, told Congress this year that he wanted the company to “be a platform for all ideas.”
By Kate Conger and Sheera Frenkel Aug. 28, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO — The post went up quietly on Facebook’s internal message board last week. Titled “We Have a Problem With Political Diversity,” it quickly took off inside the social network.
“We are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” Brian Amerige, a senior Facebook engineer, wrote in the post, which was obtained by The New York Times. “We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack — often in mobs — anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”
Since the post went up, more than 100 Facebook employees have joined Mr. Amerige to form an online group called FB’ers for Political Diversity, according to two people who viewed the group’s page and who were not auth…

Social Media Companies the Most Dangerous Monopolies Ever

Social Media Companies the Most Dangerous Monopolies Ever
BY ROGER L SIMONAUGUST 21, 2018

Facebook, Twitter, and Google are far worse than the original monopolies like International Harvester and Standard Oil and far more dangerous because they monopolize not just our industries but our brains. They control, or at least inordinately influence, how Americans and even much of the world think.

The news that Facebook has "trust" scores for users but will not reveal them to those same users is, to put it mildly, distressing. One wonders what the trust score of, say, George Orwell might have been. That Animal Farm was inflammatory stuff. And how about Aldous Huxley, the drug abuser who wrote Brave New World?

And what about you and me? How does that make you feel when your random comments and opinions
 are being cataloged for future use as they would be in a Stalinist police state? It's one thing for the government to do that — and they do — but another for media that are so pervasi…

96 Percent of Google Search Results for 'Trump' News Are from Liberal Media Outlets

96 Percent of Google Search Results for 'Trump' News Are from Liberal Media Outlets
BY PAULA BOLYARD AUGUST 25, 2018
Is Google manipulating its algorithm to prioritize left-leaning news outlets in their coverage of President Trump? It sure looks that way based on recent search results for news on the president.
Conservatives and Trump supporters have for the last several years questioned whether Google was deprioritizing conservative news sites, hiding them from users who utilize their search engine. Google has maintained that all outlets are treated fairly, but nevertheless, conservative sites have reported reduced search traffic and, in the case of Google-owned YouTube, content creators have been banned and demonetized. Google's high-profile firing of conservative James Damore, purportedly over his conservative political views, only reinforces the idea that Google is picking winners and losers.
Facebook Censors Conservatives Articles, Saying They 'Look Like Spam'…

Leading journalists join call for EU force internet giants to pay for linked news content

Leading journalists join call for EU copyright reform
The plans have been firmly opposed by big US tech firms such as Google and Facebook, as well as advocates of internet freedom
August 28, 2018
Leading journalists from more than 20 countries joined a call Tuesday for European MPs to approve a controversial media reform aimed at forcing internet giants to pay for news content.
European Parliament lawmakers return in September to discuss the proposal, a first draft of which was rejected last month after a fierce debate.
The so-called copyright and neighbouring rights law aims to ensure that producers of creative content—whether news, music or movies—are paid fairly in a digital world.
But the plans have been firmly opposed by big US tech firms such as Google and Facebook, as well as advocates of internet freedom.
An open letter signed by more than 100 prominent journalists from major news outlets warned Tuesday that "this fleecing of the media of their rightful revenue" was…

Robot strawberry pickers could end need for human workers...

A glimpse of the fruit-ure: Experts take first steps to create ROBOT strawberry pickers who could end the need for humans toiling in fields·Scientists are developing a robot to replace human strawberry pickers at farms ·A fifth of fruits aren't being picked due to a shortage of workers following Brexit ·Demand for strawberries has skyrocketed over the last 22 years with people in the UK consuming 101,000 tonnes yearly, up from 67,000 in 1996 · By BRIDIE PEARSON-JONES FOR MAILONLINE PUBLISHED: 16:47 EDT, 27 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:12 EDT, 27 August 2018 · Experts are developing a robot to replace human strawberry pickers as farms struggle to find workers due to Brexit. Around 20 per cent of soft fruits are going to waste due to a shortage of workers,  University of Essex researchers say.  This will worsen when Britain leaves the EU, scientist claim, which has led to farms looking for alternate solutions to harvest crops.   Dr Vishuu Mohan a computer science and engineering lecturer who is …

This Robot Will Hunt Lionfish to Save Coral Reefs

This Robot Will Hunt Lionfish to Save Coral Reefs
The invasive species might soon meets its mechanical match.
By David Grossman Aug 27, 2018
Usually animal preservation is a passive effort, creating protected zones or taking other measures to protect plants and animals from humans. But scientists and students at the Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts want to help protect coral reefs from an invasive species in a more aggressive fashion: They're building a robot designed to autonomously hunt for and harvest lionfish threatening coral reefs.
Lionfish have threatened coral reefs off American and Caribbean coasts for years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes them as "flexible predators potentially capable of reducing the abundance of a wide variety of native reef-associated fishes."
Native to the Indo-Pacific and Middle East, lionfish have distinctive features which make them prized aquarium pets. After likely being dumped into the Atlantic by…

STUDY: 2% of High School Sophomores Read Daily Newspaper... 33.3% Have Not Read a Book in the Past Year

A Third Of Teens Haven’t Read A Single Book In Past Year
Stunning research shows just 2% of sophomores read daily newspaper — compared to third of same-aged teens in 1990s
by Daniel Steingold August 27, 2018
SAN DIEGO — Bookworm teens have always been few and far between, but now they seem like a dying breed. A new study puts some weight behind this notion by revealing just how American teenagers choose to spend their time (hint: it’s not with books). A third of adolescents haven’t even opened a dustjacket — or touched a Kindle for that matter — in the past year.
Researchers from San Diego State University recently analyzed four decades’ worth of data from an ongoing, nationally-based lifestyle survey studying teens. The data, which provides insight into the daily habits of over a million adolescents, shows the enormous impact of digital media over time.
The meteoric rise of internet-based activities cannot be understated: between social media, texting, gaming, and surfing the web, t…

‘Jeff Bezos believes people shouldn’t do jobs software can do’

‘Jeff Bezos believes people shouldn’t do jobs software can do’
By James Dean August 27 2018, 12:01am
On the east bank of Lake Washington, across the water from Seattle, is Medina, a town of about 3,000 people that has become a home for tech billionaires. Among them are Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, and Jeff Bezos.
At Medina Beach park, teenagers chat at picnic tables and dive into the lake from a bobbing pontoon dock. Jet skis and pleasure boats skim across the glistening water as seaplanes buzz overhead. A small army of gardeners, tree surgeons and swimming pool cleaners drift between the lakefront mansions on Evergreen Point Road.
Medina is more country retreat than celebrity hideout. The only hint of the great wealth here comes from the racks of cameras at the town’s entry points, which capture the numberplates of cars as they enter and leave, automatically logging each in a police database.
Mr Bezos owns three homes on Evergreen Point Road. In 1998 he paid $10 million for…