Amazon Keeps GOing and Going, China Goes Black Mirror, and IBM Goes Against AI Bias

It has been an interesting time since the end of the summer. September has been filled with surprises, emotionally taxing events, and of course more of the silly in technology news. This week’s scary story is Chinese dalliance with being the world’s first digital dictatorship. It’s closer than we think. I talk about Chinese dystopianism, AI checking AI, and more with Mark Starling on First News 570. You can always tune in LIVE.

CHINA EMPLOYS SOCIAL CREDIT TO FIND THE PERFECT CITIZEN
Sometimes, life imitates art. The Chinese government is rolling out a social credit system that will, and I quote, “allow the trustworthy to roam freely under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” China is using a network of 200 million CCTV cameras, facial recognition, and machine learning technology to identify good and bad citizens. Upstanding citizens (I guess those who pick up the trash) will get discounts to stores and other benefits. Those at the bottom of society will be effectively banned from society. If China pulls this off it will be the world’s first digital dictatorship. Buying too much alcohol might suggest dependence and a citizen will lose points, buying other items like diapers or toilet paper might suggest a citizen is responsible and they’d gain points.
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Oracle of Omaha Invests in Tech, Beef is Beef Unless It Isn’t, EL Goog Targeted

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet


Hi Everyone,

It’s that time of year! Back to school!

IT HAS BEEN A HARD WEEK! My kids are back in school, we’re still operating under summertime scheduling and it has been a struggle getting up in the morning and getting things moving.

But, when it’s Thursday, it’s time for tech time with Mark and the folks over at First News 570. You can always listen LIVE with Mark Starling and the crew each Thursday morning at 643 am.

Here are this week’s top tech stories.

ORACLE OF OMAHA INVESTS IN FIRST TECH FIRM, IN INDIA
Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, has made a first time investment of 25 billion rupees, $360 million in Indian mobile payment platform Paytm. The investment will value the company at $10 billion. Warren Buffet wasn’t personally involved in the transaction, but knowledge of his company, Berkshire Hathaway entering the payments market is bound to have an impact. Berkshire Hathaway enters a playing field in which Google, Facebook, and Walmart are trying to gain a foot hold. Payments and fintech are getting a lot of attention lately and I don’t think it’s over.
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Ford Outfits Employees with EksoVests, Facebook Wants More (Data), and Magic Leap

Photo, courtesy of TheVerge

Photo, courtesy of TheVerge

If it’s Thursday morning, that means another segment with Mark Starling and the crew at First News 570. It seems a week can’t escape my view before I have to talk about Facebook. Personally, the big news this week is Magic Leap. For years, people pegged it as vaporware, but they announced a not-so-vaporific headset that may compete against Hololens and Occulus. We’ll just have to see.

Always tune in LIVE on Thursdays at 6:43 am on First News 570.

SCIENCE FICTION MEETS SCIENCE REALITY AS FORD OUTFITS 75 WORKERS WITH EXOSUITS, PUTTING RIPLEY TO SHAME
Remember the movie Aliens, and the exosuit Ripley was wearing when she kicked the Xenomorph’s ass? Well, science fiction meets science reality. Ford Motor Company is outfitting 75 of its employees in 15 countries with EksoVests. A device that wraps around the upper body and provides an assist when lifting heavy objects or reaching for items overhead. Ekso Bionics is the company who invented the device and were original deployed in 2 US factories for testing. Ekso says a person’s work day at Ford may consist of listing a bag of flour over their heads 4600 times. Ford thinks the EksoVests are an intermediary between a human doing something and a full-on robotic solution.
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Facebook Bans Influential Posts, Apple Tries for a Trillion, and the French Ban Smartphones

I have been busting my ass lately, but if it’s Thursday morning it’s time for more tech news with Mark Starling and the crew at First News 570. Make sure you listen LIVE every Thursday morning at 6:43 am.

DETERMINED NOT TO REPEAT PAST MISTAKES, FACEBOOK BANS POSTS AIMED TO INTERFERE
Credited with influencing the 2016 election, Facebook is determined not to make the same mistake twice. Facebook has begun banning accounts and pages that are suspected to be influencing voter behavior. Facebook has said that it has found 17 suspected profiles on Facebook and 7 on Instagram. That may not sound like a lot, but those 17 have already filed 9500 posts. In all, 290,000 user accounts have followed these 17, and the 17 had purchased 150 ads on FB and IG. Be careful out there and always consider the source when reading your news.
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Disney Creates Robotic Acrobats, Phone Bone, and Driving School for Flying Cars

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on my page. With end of school and travel, and good ole summer time feels it’s been a challenge.

But I’m back!

And this morning we get back into the allure of robotics and more with Mark Starling and the crew at First News 570.

I Want to Go to Tomorrowland

I Want to Go to Tomorrowland

El Goog’s Got a Gun, Man Leaves Baby to Catch’em All, Scientists Print a Cornea

Yeah, we won't learn until it's too late.

Yeah, we won’t learn until it’s too late.

I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend!

Mine was alright, pretty busy, lots of late nights. But if it’s Thursday morning, it’s time to point and laugh at the latest technology news, and we have some good stories for First News 570. You can always listen LIVE and hear me and Mark Starling talk trash about tech.

OK GOOGLE, FIRE
Artist Alex Reuben decided to try something different with Google Assistant. Instead of asking Assistant for directions or order a pizza, he instructed Google Assistant to fire a gun. And Google Assistant dutifully did. Now, this isn’t necessarily AI, but really programming and an impressive rig to pull the trigger. But it does raise some questions about what limits, if any, we should put on artificial intelligent software. In real terms, Reuben still pulled the trigger and not the AI, but remember these machines think. Honestly, I don’t think we’ll seriously explore limitations on AI until it’s too late. But until then, we can use Google Assistant to shoot up apples.
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The Word is Pronounced “ˈlôrəl,ˈlärəl/”, ZTE Strikes Back, Apple TV Replaces Cable, & Senate Votes While House Yawns

I liked the Internet more when you had to use sendmail to actually send an email and only nerds and academics used the thing. The latest, shiny, Internet thing has caused grown ass people to question their hearing trying to discern the words “Yanny” and “Laurel” from a fuzzy audio recording. I can implement this stuff, but don’t understand the allure.

Definitely not, Laurel

Definitely not, Laurel

I talk about Yanny (not to be confused with Yoni), ZTE, and cable this week on First News 570 with Mark Starling. Make sure you listen in every Thursday morning.

TEENAGERS CAUSE GROWN ASS PEOPLE TO QUESTION THEIR HEARING
For the record, the word that was spoken is “Laurel”. Unless you have better things to do, or live under a rock, you may have noticed that many usually rational people fell into another Internet trap of listening to a poorly recorded word and determining if the spoken word was “Laurel” or “Yanny”. Not to be confused with Yanni. And yes, I heard the word spoken as Laurel. People I respect and thought were “alright” claimed that they heard “Yanny”, when in actuality, Vocabulary.com said that they hired an opera singer to speak the word Laurel for its records. The Internet has a penchant for new and shiny things, what makes this worse than the dress is that a whole bunch of adults wasted time on a sensation started by some high school kids. I hate the Internet.
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Virtual Assistants Go Virtual, UBER Bes All It Can Be, Robots Replace Stock Boys

It’s summertime up here in DC. Anyone who’s lived here long enough knows that Spring only lasts a day and then the heat comes on. Automation is the theme for this week’s stories, as El Goog’s conference, IO, leads the news this week announcing new gadgets and services that will be available this year. Mark and I shared these stories and more on First News 570. Listen LIVE.

VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS OUT OF WORK, BECAUSE VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS TAKE THEIR JOBS
First, in-house secretaries got the shaft because of virtual assistants. Now virtual assistants are getting the shaft because AI virtual assistants will soon be putting the human-based remote workers out of business. Earlier this week, Google announced a service called Google Duplex which is an AI that can make calls on your behalf. Instead of calling up your human virtual assistant, Google users can now call up a service and ask the service to make an appointment based upon their behalf. So, instead of calling the beauty shop to book an appointment, you would first call Google to tell them you’d like to book an appointment. The AI uses human speech technology to communicate with a real human on the other side. I can’t wait for the day when AIs communicate with each other based upon humans’ behalf and fight it out.
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UBER AND THE US ARMY TEAM UP TO BE ALL THEY CAN BE
Uber recently launched a contest to find an international city to become a test bed of its flying taxi service. In preparation for the contest, Uber needs a quieter copter car to shuttle people around. The US Army, and Uber have decided to collaborate on development of a new kind of air taxi that features double rotating propellers to for a quieter flight.
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ROBOTS CONTINUE TAKING JOBS, THIS TIME IT’S THE STOCK BOYS
Thanks to Peapod, Uber Eats, and other food delivery services, humans aren’t expecting to travel anywhere. In order to take advantage of a population wanting delivery, British supermarket chain, Ocado, has deployed a workforce of 600 robots to fulfill grocery delivery orders. The supermarket has deployed robots that travel in the drop ceiling and robotic arms that can pick up to 50 items to fulfill an order. After the orders are picked they are then guided to trucks for deliver. The 600 robots are supported by 300 human personnel. As more supermarkets get into grocery delivery, Ocado intends to build fully automated distribution centers that can be offered as a service to others.
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Apple Shutting Down iTunes Downloads, Pepper Leads Museum Tours, Alexa Gets Kids to Say Please for a Price

I’ve been hard at work on a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have time to keep track of the zany world of tech and humanity. Mark Starling and the crew at First News 570 reported on these stories.

DOWNLOADING MUSIC IS NOW OBSOLETE AS USERS TURN TO STREAMING
Apple is announcing that they are announcing the shut down its iTunes Download Service some time in 2019. Meaning, that the service will not precisely shutdown in 2019, but Apple will announce a shutdown date. Apparently, today’s music listeners prefer to stream their music instead of downloading it and taking up precious space. Best Buy stops selling CDs, and now Apple will no longer sell downloadable mp3s. What’s next?
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Electronic Persons Are people Too, Journalist Keeps Tech After Smart Home Creep Out, the Uncarrier Says “SIKE” YO!

Imagine recognizing this fool as an electronic person!

Imagine recognizing this fool as an electronic person!

It’s true. I’m not a fan of the month of April. And it has nothing to do with showers, golden or otherwise. For the last decade, I have dueled with the Tax Man and writing these grip worthy checks. I can’t stand it. But, I’m coming to the end. Anyway, I had enough time to come up with some of the week’s top tech stories. Facebook can’t keep its nose clean and is asking the EU and Canada if it can use its facial recognition tech. Strange given the heat they’ve been taking these last several weeks. Well, here are the stories Mark Starling and I shared with the good listeners of First News 570. You can always listen LIVE on Thursday mornings. Oh yeah, Task Rabbit.

EU PUSHES HUMANITY ONE STEP CLOSER TO ROBOT APOCALYPSE BY INTENDING TO TREAT BOTS LIKE PEEPS
150 experts from 14 countries wrote and signed an open letter to the European Union as the body began deliberations to recognize robots as electronic persons. The parliament intended for the law to be used as a means of holding smart bots and other decision making systems accountable for their actions when they do something wrong. THIS JUST SEEMS BAD. I’d like to think there’s already recourse available through the company, but recognizing robots as people, electronic or organic opens up a huge can of worms when we really don’t understand how these systems work. If you want to have a debate on what it means to be alive, my personal question: “do you have to fog a mirror in order to be alive?”, sounds fine and we can do that all day.
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