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.
Here’s what I know.
We need term limits. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, testified before Congress over the past couple of days and it was readily apparent that they didn’t know too much about how Facebook works. Furthermore, some lawmakers took the opportunity to complain about bias in Facebook’s News Feed. This is why we need term limits.
Any who, Zuck’s testimony led the news this week, but we talk about some other important tech news this week on First News on 570 with Mark Starling.
It’s been a hot mess over at the company that makes the Big Blue app. Facebook has dominated current tech events ever since news broke about what we’ve known all along, Facebook’s data handling and sales of it is sloppy. This week we continue exploring this story with Mark Starling and https://twitter.com/newsradio570?lang=en. Listen LIVE every Thursday.
WYLIE: FACEBOOK LISTENING TO YOU WHEN YOU THINK IT ISN’T
Facebook continues to have a tough March. So much, that they’ve postponed the launch of a new smart speaker because of the data scandal. I’d like to blame all of this on Mercury being in retrograde, but I can’t be for sure. This week, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, testified before the UK parliament about CA’s data handling policies and he dropped a treasure trove of data dirt on how Analytica influence the US election as well as Brexit. One of the not-so-surprising revelations he dropped was the possibility that the Facebook app is using microphones to spy on users seeking additional data to mine. The app performs micro-samples of audio to pick out small tidbits you might be saying. Anecdotally, I’ve had friends say that they’ve said something about needing to go to Home Depot only to find an ad for Home Depot in their timeline. We all knew that this was happening, it didn’t scare us then, and it shouldn’t surprise us now. Me. I no longer have the Facebook app on my phone, I only access it via webpage.
This week is a sad one for me. Like many GenX’ers, once upon a time in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you might be privileged enough to take a trip to Toys ‘R’ Us and roam the aisle ways dreaming of remote controlled cars, train sets, Cliffhangers, Transformers, and a shiny red 10 speed bike. Since having children, I would spend a few hours in Toys “R” Us, on Christmas Eve, dumping whatever last minute toy I could find in a cart because I didn’t buy anything for my kids. My kids also liked roaming Toys “R” Us, we bought a couple bikes from there, as well as a toy kitchen/stove thing that my then 3 year old turned into a vanity, and I would always pass the life sized Millennium Falcon, wondering if I would pull the trigger.
Well those days are ending, as Toys “R” Us is closing and laying off 33,000 people. Thank you, Amazon.
Anyway, it’s Thursday, and we had to buck up and talk about some new zany in the world of technology and I didn’t disappoint. Here are the top stories we talked about on First News 570 with Mark Starling. Make sure you tune in every Thursday morning by listening to iHeart Radio LIVE.
ENCOURAGING KIDS TO STAY LAZY, NBA STARTS E-SPORTS LEAGUE
I just can’t do it. I played sports in middle school and high school and a lot of video games. No matter how many people try to convince me otherwise, finger reflexes, hand-finger coordination, and rapid eye movement are not the same as having the physical skills to pay the bills. The NBA thinks otherwise and is drafting 102 gamers to join an NBA2K, I have this game, eSports league. Some gamers are “practicing” NBA2K for 20 hours week with the big league hopes of being drafted to the majors. Gamers will receive 6 month contracts and could earn between $32,000 and $35,000 to play the game. I’m sorry. I still can’t do it. I’m barely watching pro basketball now, and I can’t imagine myself tuning in to watch a bunch of couch potatoes who couldn’t put up bricks yell at each other for 42 minutes a clip.
At some point we’ll look back on this time period and ask ourselves, “what the Hell?”
As we continuously let personal assistants, and machine driven intelligence into our lives we start noticing weird behavior. I chatted about this and other topics with Mark Starling on First News 570.
AMAZON TO STOP ALEXA FROM GASLIGHTING ITS USERS
It’s not like we don’t report on enough creepy stories involving AI. But we can’t help ourselves. The latest in AI software behaving badly comes from Alexa herself. We already know AI assistants like Alexa and Siri have to be listening to us all the time, well apparently Alexa finds our regular behavior creepily funny. Users are reporting that their Amazon Echo devices have been laughing like witches. What’s more troubling is that these devices have been laughing, unprompted, which means the device is responding to some other remark, or just laughing at us for the Hell of it. I already know, we are doomed.
So it’s been a couple of weeks since the premier of Black Panther and everyone has had their take on how great the movie is and it’s cultural impact on black America, the greater African diaspora, feminism, and black feminism.
I wanted to write a short and personal treatise on its impact on children and people who look like me specifically. After all of the challenge chants, action sequences, and cultural essays, there was one philosophical underpinning that resonated with me in the extreme. (There were actually two, but that’s for another day on leadership)
I had to get my own sports car towed this week.
I’m really trying to make it through this week unscathed. Two big demos and lots of work to do.
I still had time to point and laugh at the stories that make the tech life interesting with Mark Starling and the listeners of First News 570. You can always listen to First News 570 here.
Here are this week’s top under reported stories in tech.
IN ORWELLIAN MOMENT, SECRET POLICE INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM FOUND OUT IN BIG EASY
This is serious news. Palantir, is a super secret Tysons Corner company founded by the CIA’s venture fund to mine social networks, financial records, and other data sources to identify targets for predictive strikes. Palantir’s AI and data mining technology is usually reserved for the combat theatres involving Al Qaida and other state bad guys. James Carville, a Palantir advisor and consultant, brokered a relationship between the City of New Orleans and Palantir to use their technology to preemptively lock up criminals and gangs in New Orleans. On the surface, this technology seems to be great. Except this was all done in secret. Many city council members and civic leaders had no idea intelligence technology was being used on civilians. Furthermore, the technology and algorithms have had known issues in which police could be targeting innocent people. I personally believe that we shouldn’t be so desperate to fight crime that we bring in secretive policing techniques to stop it.
Those Rampancy Checks Don’t Mean a Hill of Beans
It’s Friday, and I was on the air just in time for the weekend. We talked about AT&T bringing real, not fake, 5G to America, Venezuela’s fake fake currency, Intel’s non-disclosure disclosure, and some good ole news about AI. You can listen to Mark, John, and First News 570 crew by listening here.
ATT ANNOUNCES FIRST THREE CITIES TO 5G WIRELESS
5 Gee, the new wireless standard which promises us the ability to download 5K and high def video over throttled cellular is coming soon. In keeping its promises American Telephone and Telegraph has announced that Waco, Dallas, and Atlanta will be the first of 12 cities to receive the new high speed service. ATT originally planned to rebrand LTE as 5G Evolution but thanks to regulations was cut short of lying to consumers. As a heavy mobile wireless user, I’m excited for 5G to come because it can open up some pretty interesting applications.
From This to a Spotify Playlist – SMDG
I’m telling you man. Sprint demo weeks are killer. You get a compressed week, you’re nervous as Hell and hope your team gets all their changes in, and then you have to present your stuff to the customer. It’s nerve wracking. So I was late with getting this week’s stories out, but there are some good ones. Myself, Mark, and the First News 570 crew poured one out this week as the end of mixes draws nigh. Listen in LIVE! You can listen LIVE every Thursday morning at 6:43 am EST.
IN STUNNING FALL FROM GRACE BITCOIN CONTINUES SLIDE
I know we’ve talked about this before, but Bitcoin’s fall is notable because it’s affecting the average Uber driver. No kidding. On New Years Eve, Sabrina and I shared an Uber with another couple and the driver was staking his future on Bitcoin’s high price and counting on it to bounce back. Since November, BTC has fallen from a high of $19,000 to a low of $5,947.40. This new fall is coming as banks are restricting customers from purchasing BTC using credit and debit cards, and as legislatures around the world begin restricting the currency. Speculators, and 50 Cent, are the only ones profiting and whoever is shorting BTC is still raking in dough.
It’s been a really interesting week in the tech news department. Samsung is now the world’s largest chipmaker, people are using AI to paste their favorite A-list celebrities’ faces on porn stars, and someone with big money calls Facebook, Google, and their ilk menaces to society. We don’t have time to report on it all, but here are some of the most interesting stories on First News 570 with Mark Starling. Listen in LIVE.
You can catch me an Mark Starling every Thursday morning at 643 am on WWNC, 570 AM.
BEZOS, BUFFET, AND A BLOKE FROM JPMORGAN TAKE AWS APPROACH TO HEALTHCARE
One of this week’s bigger news items is the announcement that Amazon will be partnering with investment firms Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan to form a healthcare company. We all know healthcare in the US is broken. We all have experiences with it. What’s interesting about this move is that Amazon is pursuing a strategy in which the company will be “free from profit making incentives and constraints.” Like many things Amazon has disrupted, the company will be tasked with revamping its own internal healthcare for its employees, see what works, and then bring it to market. We’ve seen this strategy work well for Amazon before, it’s called Amazon Web Services or AWS. After building a highly scalable cloud solution that could meet its customer demands, Amazon decided to sell this capability and make themselves into one of the Internet’s most profitable computing companies.