Why Now Is The Best Time To Embrace Blockchain Technology

from Forbes This is going to be a bold statement: It’s time for your business to start embracing blockchain, the biggest game-changer in technology since the internet. Blockchain, to those unfamiliar with the concept, is a hyperledger. This technology makes it possible for users to enjoy a transparent and distributed digital record of transactions while doing away with the need for a central database. By decentralizing data storage and enabling distribution of digital records, this technology provides transparency and allows users to transact with one another without needing a third party. With blockchain, everyone can manage their own data — from […]

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MIT’s New Tool Erases Anything (Or Anyone) From Old Photos

from Fast Company We’re all guilty of the Crop. You know, that group photo where you look so good that–sorry bestie, apologies grandma, see ya, ex–you carefully crop the other person out. But what if there was a tool that could erase people and things automatically–a magic wand that could do hours of imperfect Photoshop work in an instant? Now, thanks to an MIT Media Lab project led by Matt Groh, that tool is real–if still imperfect. Dubbed Deep Angel, it’s an AI that lives inside a simple-to- use website, which will scan photos you upload, or even your Instagram […]

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A Breach That Ripples Far Beyond Facebook

from NYTs If I did not need Facebook to do my job, I would be deleting it right now. While everyone was riveted by the drama over Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s potential confirmation to the Supreme Court, Facebook dropped a bombshell: Hackers had broken into at least 50 million of its accounts. The company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and his deputy, Sheryl Sandberg, were among the victims, according to my colleagues Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel. For the past year, I have been covering technology in India, which has more Facebook users than any other country. Before that, I was […]

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Digital IDs Are More Dangerous Than You Think

from Wired THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT, real-world benefits to having an accepted and recognized identity. That’s why the concept of a digital identity is being pursued around the world, from Australia to India. From airports to health records systems, technologists and policy makers with good intentions are digitizing our identities, making modern life more efficient and streamlined. Governments seek to digitize their citizens in an effort to universalize government services, while the banking, travel, and insurance industries aim to create more seamless processes for their products and services. But this isn’t just about efficiency and market share. In places like Syria […]

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Google’s New Tool to Fight Climate Change

from The Atlantic In the next decade or so, more than 6,000 cities, states, and provinces around the world will try to do something that has eluded humanity for 25 years: reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, which warm the atmosphere and cause climate change. The city-level leaders overseeing this task won’t have the same tools available to their national peers. Most of them won’t have an Environmental Protection Agency (or its equivalent), a meteorological bureau, a team of military engineers, or NASA. So where will they start? Never mind how to reduce their city’s greenhouse-gas emissions; how will they […]

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‘Fake News’ Is Sparking an AI Arms Race

from Popular Mechanics In 2018 the California-based company FireEye tipped Facebook and Google off to a network of fake social media accounts from Iran that was conducting campaigns to influence people in the United States. In response, Google and Facebook, using backend data to determine that a branch of the Iranian government was responsible, removed dozens of YouTube channels, a score of Google+ accounts and a handful of blogs. Lee Foster, manager of information operations at FireEye, was at the forefront of the firms’ investigation. “Right now, you know something’s automated just by the sheer volume of content pushing out,” […]

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Activity Tracker Like Iphone Or Apple Watch Now Mandatory For John Hancock Life Insurance

from 9To5 Mac It will no longer be possible to buy a life insurance policy from John Hancock – one of the largest insurers in the US – without agreeing to use an activity tracker. This can be either a wearable device like an Apple Watch or Fitbit, or a smartphone capable of logging activity, like an iPhone. The firm announced the change today for new policies, with existing policies also adopting the requirement from next year … More here.

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He’s One Of The Only Humans At Work — And He Loves It

from WaPo Inside a warehouse the size of seven football fields, hundreds of robots pack roughly 200,000 boxes each day and ship them to customers across China. Four humans babysit.  One is Zou Rui, 25, a soft-spoken engineer who stands for much of his eight-hour shift in New Balance sneakers, monitoring a milky-white mechanical arm. It plunges up and down like a pecking chicken, grabbing parcels with a suction-cupped hand and dropping them into containers on a conveyor belt. If something looks odd, Zou rushes to fix it. Otherwise, he said, he jots notes in a binder, tracking the arm’s […]

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Why Technology Favors Tyranny

from The Atlantic There is nothing inevitable about democracy. For all the success that democracies have had over the past century or more, they are blips in history. Monarchies, oligarchies, and other forms of authoritarian rule have been far more common modes of human governance. The emergence of liberal democracies is associated with ideals of liberty and equality that may seem self-evident and irreversible. But these ideals are far more fragile than we believe. Their success in the 20th century depended on unique technological conditions that may prove ephemeral. In the second decade of the 21st century, liberalism has begun […]

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When Traveling, Avoid The Algorithmic Trap

from kottke In a piece called The Algorithmic Trap, David Perell writes about the difficulty of finding serendipity, diversity, and “real” experiences while traveling. In short, Google, Yelp, Instagram, and the like have made travel destinations and experiences increasingly predictable and homogeneous. Call me old-fashioned, but the more I travel, the less I depend on algorithms. In a world obsessed with efficiency, I find myself adding friction to my travel experience. I’ve shifted away from digital recommendations, and towards human ones. For all the buzz about landmarks and sightseeing, I find that immersive, local experiences reveal the surprising, culturally-specific ways […]

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Like It Or Not, The Future Of Cryptocurrency Will Be Determined By Bureaucrats

from MIT Technology Review Denizens of the cryptocurrency world ought to get used to rubbing shoulders with regulators. The dark underbelly of the bonanza in initial coin offerings, rising concerns about the security of cryptocurrency exchanges, and a rush of “Main Street” investors to the scene have helped convince bureaucrats across the globe that cryptocurrency markets deserve a lot more attention. As a US Senate hearing illustrated this week, however, the question of how best to apply that attention is head-achingly complicated. Why you should care: The stakes are high, and not just because billions of real dollars are on the […]

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A Printable, Flexible, Organic Solar Cell

from TED Unlike the solar cells you’re used to seeing, organic photovoltaics are made of compounds that are dissolved in ink and can be printed and molded using simple techniques. The result is a low-weight, flexible, semi-transparent film that turns the energy of the sun into electricity. Hannah Bürckstümmer shows us how they’re made — and how they could change the way we power the world. ? More here.

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Experts Say Tesla Has Repeated Car Industry Mistakes From The 1980S

from ars technica Production had been halted for much of last week in Tesla’s car factory in Fremont, California, and its battery factory near Clark, Nevada. In a Tuesday note to employees, CEO Elon Musk said that the pause was necessary to lay the groundwork for higher production levels in the coming weeks. Musk said he wants all parts of the company ready to prepare 6,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of June, triple the rate Tesla has achieved in the recent weeks. The announcement caps a nine-month period of turmoil that Musk has described as “production […]

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Minds Is The Anti-Facebook That Pays You For Your Time

from Wired During Mark Zuckerberg’s over 10 hours of Congressional testimony last week, lawmakers repeatedly asked how Facebook makes money. The simple answer, which Zuckerberg dodged, is the contributions and online activities of its over two billion users, which allow marketers to target ads with razor precision. In which case, asked representative Paul Tonko (D – New York), “why doesn’t Facebook pay its users for their incredibly valuable data?” It’s a good question, one that alternative social networks like Minds have attempted to answer. The idea isn’t entirely new—Minds launched in 2015—but the site and others like it feel especially […]

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Amazon Spent Nearly $23 Billion On R&D Last Year — More Than Any Other U.S. Company

from recode Tech companies claimed the top five spots in the U.S. for research and development spending again last year, investing a combined total of $76 billion. Amazon was at the top of the list, spending $22.6 billion in 2017, 41 percent more than in 2016 (when it also topped the list). Amazon has poured resources into AWS, Alexa and technologies like computer vision to support ambitious projects such as the Amazon Go cashierless store of the future. Amazon has also recently been the target of President Trump’s Twitter attacks accusing the company of not paying its share of taxes […]

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Spotify Relies On The Big Labels For Most Of Its Music. It Thinks That Will Change.

from recode Spotify is 12 years old and has never been profitable. Last year, it posted an operating loss of $461 million. Today, as it goes public, it wants investors to value it at something above $20 billion. In order to believe that’s a good idea, you have to believe that Spotify has figured out a way to improve its margins, which it says it will do. And in order to believe that, you have to believe that Spotify has figured out how to change the way it works with its most crucial partners: The big music labels. Spotify hasn’t […]

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When You Merge The Message With The Medium, You Make A Messium

from Wired THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION saw it coming. In a stunning January 1974 report, the Nixon White House Cable Committee foretold that the new telecom platform known as cable would, eventually, be a monopoly service wherever it was offered. The committee, whose membership included Mitt Romney’s dad, George, and which was staffed by a young Antonin Scalia, called for a “separation policy.” Its chief recommendation: Control of the cable medium should be separated from control of the messages on it. A federal mandate along these lines was urgently needed, the committee said: “If the achievement of a new relationship between […]

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Jaywalkers Under Surveillance In Shenzhen Soon To Be Punished Via Text Messages

from South China Morning Post Traffic police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen have always had a reputation for strict enforcement of those flouting road rules in the metropolis of 12 million people. Now with the help of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology, jaywalkers will not only be publicly named and shamed, they will be notified of their wrongdoing via instant messaging – along with the fine. Intellifusion, a Shenzhen-based AI firm that provides technology to the city’s police to display the faces of jaywalkers on large LED screens at intersections, is now talking with local mobile phone […]

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Eight WA High Schools Use Cyber Spy Program Which Homes In On ‘Early Warning Markers’ For Students

from Perth Now SUICIDAL thoughts and depression, viewing pornography and searches to buy or sell drugs are the most common incidents detected by a global online program used by eight WA high schools to monitor the computer use of about 9000 students. The WA schools have signed up to UK-based company eSafe Global’s software, which homes in on “early warning markers” — tens of thousands of “red flag” words, phrases, abbreviations, euphemisms and colloquialisms — typed or searched for by students from Year 7-12. In the past two years, more than 8000 incidents were identified by “behaviour specialists” in the […]

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