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A Dogfight Renews Concerns About AI’s Lethal Potential

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IN JULY 2015, two founders of DeepMind, a division of Alphabet with a reputation for pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence, were among the first to sign an open letter urging the world’s governments to ban work on lethal AI weapons. Notable signatories included Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Jack Dorsey. Last week, a technique popularized by DeepMind was adapted to control an autonomous F-16 fighter plane in a Pentagon-funded contest to show off the capabilities of AI systems. In the final stage of the event, a similar algorithm went head-to-head with a real F-16 pilot using a VR headset and simulator controls. The AI pilot won, 5-0.

Source:  Wired

Canvas users report that the remote-learning app is down as hundreds of schools across the US start their first day of online classes

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School districts across the US reported that Canvas, Instructure’s remote-learning app, was taken offline by outages Monday morning.

 

People first started reporting problems with the app shortly after 8 a.m., according to Down Detector.

 

An Instructure spokesperson said that its apps are seeing higher usage than normal as schools reopen. It’s the first day of class for thousands of schools across the US, many of which rely on tools like Canvas for remote learning.

 

Zoom, another tool used by schools, was also down Monday morning.

Source:  Business Insider

TikTok to sue Trump Administration over ban as ByteDance weighs sale

TikTok is taking its fight against the Trump administration to the courts, saying it will file a legal challenge Monday against the government’s order to ban the video app effective mid-September. TikTok alleges that President Trump’s executive order is “not rooted in bona fide national security concerns,” according to excerpts of the complaint the company detailed in a blog post. It also alleges the U.S. government did not conduct a fair process in deciding that the app needed to be banned in the country and that its Chinese owner ByteDance must divest its assets in the United States.

Source:  The Washington Post

The Attack That Broke Twitter Is Hitting Dozens of Companies

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WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT arrested three alleged young hackers in the US and the UK last month, the story of the worst-known hack of Twitter’s systems seemed to have drawn to a tidy close. But in fact, the technique that allowed hackers to take control of the accounts of Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and dozens of others is still in use against a broad array of victims, in a series of attacks that began well before Twitter’s blowup, and in recent weeks has escalated into a full-blown crime wave.

Source: Wired

Children Stream on Twitch—Where Potential Predators Find Them

According to Twitch’s Terms of Service, you have to be 13 to stream on the platform. But a WIRED investigation turned up dozens of Twitch accounts seemingly operated by children under that age, including another girl who admitted to being 11. In their videos, which crop up every few minutes under Twitch’s Just Chatting section, apparent children livestream themselves talking while playing games like Fortnite, performing dances popular on TikTok, or sitting at home and communicating with a small number of viewers. WIRED has viewed several messages from viewers to these apparent children containing inappropriate comments, questions, or demands, and identified some accounts that follow multiple apparent children.

Source: Wired

Which Consumer Attitudes Will Shape the Streaming Wars?

Content creators and platforms battling for audiences will be happy to know that consumers are willing to crown multiple champions. According to a special Streaming Wars edition of the Nielsen Total Audience Report, which serves as the industry’s premiere source of media truth across platforms, people and devices, consumers in OTT-capable homes are spending nearly one-fifth (19%) of their TV time streaming content, be it through ad-supported or paid subscription models. That’s a hefty amount of the already large media diet of audiences today, especially considering that the medium has only existed for a relatively short period of time. Not to mention, it’s a prime opportunity to easily reach consumers in the digital age, using interfaces that feel familiar and comfortable to them.

Source: Nielsen

Apple AirPods are the world’s first great wearable

According to Apple, wearables accounted for as much as $10 billion of their most recent quarterly sales, up from $7.3 billion the previous year, with AirPods and AirPods Pro leading the charge. Apple doesn’t break out separate numbers for each of its wearable product lines, but Tim Cooke confirmed that the company is having trouble meeting demand for the Pro, due to the appeal of its smart, noise-canceling features. For comparison, wearables have now passed the entire Mac product line as a contributor to Apple’s topline numbers. Some analysts are predicting it will soon be a $100 billion-business—roughly the size of General Motors.

Source: Fast Company

Why big tech is betting big on gaming in 2020

At more than $150 billion in annual revenue, the global game industry is now more than twice the combined size of the worldwide film box office ($42.5 billion in 2019) and the planet’s recorded music business ($19.1 billion in 2018, including streaming). Roughly 2.5 billion people play games, even if many don’t think of themselves as “gamers” (yes, Candy Crush counts). Big tech has taken notice. Over the last few years, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have each joined Microsoft in making gaming a strategic priority. In 2020, games will become even more important to their bottom lines.

Source: Protocol

Doctors on TikTok Try to Go Viral

Although medical professionals have long taken to social media to share healthy messages or promote their work, TikTok poses a new set of challenges, even for the internet adept. Popular posts on the app tend to be short, musical and humorous, complicating the task of physicians hoping to share nuanced lessons on health issues like vaping, coronavirus, nutrition and things you shouldn’t dip in soy sauce. And some physicians who are using the platform to spread credible information have found themselves the targets of harassment.

Source: New York Times

The Fractured Future of Browser Privacy

In the 1990s, web browsers like Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer competed bitterly to offer the snazziest new features and attract users. Today, the browser landscape looks totally different. For one thing, Chrome now dominates, controlling around two-thirds of the market on both desktop and mobile. Even more radical, though, is the recent competitive focus on privacy, a welcome change for anyone who’s gotten sick of creepy ad tracking and data mismanagement. But as browsers increasingly diverge in their approaches, it’s clear that not all privacy protections are created equal.

Source: Wired

AI can now design cities. Should we let it?

Seven years ago, MIT debuted a landmark project, which allowed everyday people to photograph and rate their streets like a Hot or Not for cities. It was a powerful showcase of how crowdsourcing opinions from citizens could help quantify a city’s appeal and, in theory, help urban designers plan better cities.

 

Less than a decade later, artificial intelligence is taking this idea so much further. FaceLift is a new AI system developed by Nokia Bell Labs Cambridge that allows scientists and urban planners to use a crowd’s aggregated sensibility to actually redesign the look of city streets. FaceLift AI can take any Google Street View scene and beautify it instantly—but at what cost?

Source: Fast Company

Upskilling and college education rates in 2040

Coding-based apprenticeships may be a recent development, but Terenzio predicts that in 20 years, more and more companies will adopt similar models. “I can see it in every industry: healthcare, medical billing, other kinds of jobs,” Terenzio says. Many workplace and higher education experts agree. We talked to six professionals whose work involves predicting the nature of education and upskilling in 2040 and what the workforce is likely to demand from employees. They all shared the consensus that change is the only certainty. Workers, employers, and education providers alike need to be agile, flexible, and prepared to adapt as technology continues to disrupt industries and change what jobs will and will not be available.

Source: Fast Company

BoJack Horseman’s finale signals the end of a Netflix era

When it premiered in 2014, it was one of Netflix’s earliest, best shows — and it would have failed in 2020. BoJack Horseman, one of Netflix’s longest-running shows, comes to an end this Friday. But it’s unclear if BoJack Horseman would have succeeded if it was ordered today. It’s a show that needed time to breathe, and that’s a luxury most shows don’t get on Netflix anymore. BoJack Horseman feels like the end of an era for Netflix, one that produced long-running series like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. All three shows were ordered by Netflix between 2013 and 2014, an ambitious time for the company. This was a period when Netflix didn’t have a new series or movie every week. Netflix slowly started rolling out original series to its subscribers, designed to exist alongside and stand out from the plethora of licensed series already on the service.

Source: The Verge

Scroll makes hundreds of websites ad-free for $5 per month

A new subscription service called Scroll is offering ad-free access to hundreds of websites — not by blocking the ads, but by working with an expanding group of publishers to take the ads down in exchange for a slice of the subscription fee. Scroll launches today with support for a number of major websites and networks, including The Atlantic, BuzzFeed News, G/O Media (which includes websites like Gizmodo and Kotaku), and Vox Media, which — important disclosure here — includes The Verge

Source:  The Verge