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Google just spent $40 million for Fossil’s secret smartwatch tech
Putting aside the cryptic product innovation talk, Fossil has specialized in what are known as hybrid smartwatches: devices that do some minor smart features like step-tracking and notifications, but otherwise look and feel like your standard, semi-expensive wristwatch. The company makes smartwatches with touchscreens that resemble other WearOS devices and the Apple Watch, but its strong suit has always been the hybrid watch, given Fossil’s design and manufacturing experience in the traditional accessories market.
google  watches  gadgets  technology 
yesterday by terry
Americans want to regulate AI but don’t trust anyone to do it
These are important lessons for policymakers and technologists to consider in the discussion on how best to advance and regulate AI, says Allan Dafoe, director of the center and coauthor of the report. “There isn’t currently a consensus in favor of developing advanced AI, or that it’s going to be good for humanity,” he says. “That kind of perception could lead to the development of AI being perceived as illegitimate or cause political backlashes against the development of AI.”

[...]

More than 8 in 10 Americans believe that AI and robotics should be managed carefully. That is easier said than done because they also don’t trust any one entity to pick up that mantle. Among the different options presented from among federal and international agencies, companies, nonprofits, and universities, none received more than 50% of the respondents’ trust to develop and manage AI responsibly. The US military and university researchers did, however, receive the most trust for developing the technology, while tech companies and nonprofits received more trust than government actors for regulating it.
ai  technology  computing  regulation  via:joeo10 
7 days ago by terry
The life-draining tedium of errands is even worse in this age of digital convenience
Technology promised to simplify our lives—but errands seem to overwhelm us now. Automation, “smart technologies,” and “virtual assistants” haven’t magically made tedious tasks easier, but rather replaced old steps with new ones. You don’t necessarily have to go places to get things done, but you do have to recall old passwords or reset new ones, deal with infuriating bots that take your calls but can’t answer questions, and manage a slew of accounts. And because we change jobs more often and lead increasingly hectic lives, we experience a kind of “errand paralysis,”
productivity  technology  culture 
10 days ago by terry
Wine, spirits and AR inevitability
What I found notable though was that it wasn’t until the very last day of 2018 that I had any kind of a real world conversation about augmented reality with someone who is not a technologist or designer or somehow directly involved in the tech industry. Given the relentless drumbeat around augmented reality, this is surprising. If it’s inevitable, as futurists and technology pundits have claimed for some years, wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect more “organic” conversation about augmented reality outside of tech circles by now?
technology  vr  ar  future 
11 days ago by terry
Worry less about children's screen use, parents told
It said there was no good evidence that time in front of a screen is "toxic" to health, as is sometimes claimed. The review of evidence found associations between higher screen use and obesity and depression. But the college looked at this and said it was not clear from the evidence if higher screen use was causing these problems or if people with these issues were more likely to spend more time on screens. [...]

Dr Max Davie, officer for health promotion for the RCPCH, said phones, computers and tablets were a "great way to explore the world", but parents were often made to feel that there was something "indefinably wrong" about them. He said: "We want to cut through that and say 'actually if you're doing OK and you've answered these questions of yourselves and you're happy, get on and live your life and stop worrying'.
parenting  children  technology 
14 days ago by terry
Sony Ericsson W800i review
On the back of the phone is a 2.0 Megapixel camera with flash, auto-focus and even a lens cover. We were very impressed by the quality of pictures the W800i takes and while it's not good enough to replace a stand-alone digital camera, it's clearly the best camera present on a mobile phone to date. The camera takes photos at Small (160x120), Medium (640x480) and Large (1632x1224) resolutions and can shoot panorama, frames and burst.
sony  walkman  phone  technology  camera  gadget 
14 days ago by terry
Going dumb: My year with a flip phone
I felt like a wholer person. My mind was reabsorbing previously offloaded information and creating new connections. I was thinking more and better. My focus was improving. I thought I was breaking through.

In the end, I was not.
phones  technology 
17 days ago by terry
Towards the Future Book
I think the utopian moment for the future of the book ended not when Amazon routed its vendors and competitors, although the Obama DOJ deserves some blame in retrospect for handing them that win. I think it ended when the Google Books settlement died, leading to Google Books becoming, basically abandonware, when it was initially supposed to be the true Library of Babel.
books  publishing  technology  future  amazon 
20 days ago by terry
Artist Cryptograffiti Sets Auction Record For Least Expensive Art — Artnome
In a recent auction designed to sell to the lowest bidder, artist “Cryptograffiti” sold his elegant work Black Swan, a collage made from a single dollar bill, for $0.000000037, making it the least expensive artwork ever sold at auction. To understand why, we recently spoke with the artist.
art  bitcoin  cryptography  technology  commerce  galleries  auction 
20 days ago by terry
Let a 'human Uber' live your life so you don't have to
The future is here, and so are strangers in iPad masks pretending to be you.
technology  ipad  future  iot  internetofthings  interactive  interactivity 
26 days ago by terry
Forget dot com, 2019 will finally be the year of weird domain names
“Fifteen or 16 years ago, dot-info and dot-biz were the only ones available and they sold millions,” says Kevin Murphy, the journalist behind Domain Incite, which reports on the ups and downs of domain name registration. “When you have 600 come out in the space of a few years, there isn’t that kind of scarcity.” That’s something domain name consultant Jean Guillon agrees with. “The market is crowded with new extensions and users don't know which one to choose from,” he says.

But the latest registration figures released by Verisign, an internet network company that oversees some domain name endings, seem to indicate that after a rocky few years, new gTLDs may finally be finding their niche in the marketplace. 2019 could be the year of the obscure domain name.

[...]

Not everyone is so sure, however. While Google and parent company Alphabet have recently made two big indications of support for new gTLDs by hosting their overarching website for Alphabet on the abc.xyz domain name and rolling out the ability for users to create new Google Drive files by typing docs.new into their web browser, these may be of limited use.
internet  technology  web  google 
4 weeks ago by terry
Evelyn Berezin, 93, Dies; Built the First True Word Processor
In an age when computers were in their infancy and few women were involved in their development, Ms. Berezin (pronounced BEAR-a-zen) not only designed the first true word processor; in 1969, she was also a founder and the president of the Redactron Corporation, a tech start-up on Long Island that was the first company exclusively engaged in manufacturing and selling the revolutionary machines.

[...]

“Why is this woman not famous?” the British writer and entrepreneur Gwyn Headley asked in a 2010 blog post.

“Without Ms. Berezin,” he added enthusiastically, “there would be no Bill Gates, no Steve Jobs, no internet, no word processors, no spreadsheets; nothing that remotely connects business with the 21st century.”
technology  tech  historyoftechnology  typewriters  design 
5 weeks ago by terry
The simple joy of “No Phones Allowed”
The no-phones policy illuminated something about smartphone use that’s hard to see when it’s so ubiquitous: our phones drain the life out of a room. They give everyone a push-button way to completely disengage their mind from their surroundings, while their body remains in the room, only minimally aware of itself. Essentially, we all have a risk-free ripcord we can pull at the first pang of boredom or desire for novelty, and of course those pangs occur constantly.

Every time someone in a group of people deploys a screen, the whole group is affected. Each disengaged person in a crowd is like a little black hole, a dead zone for social energy, radiating a noticeable field of apathy towards the rest of the room and what’s happening there.

[...]

I imagine that in another decade or two we’ll look at 2010s-era device use something like we do now with cigarette smoking. I was born in 1980, and I remember smoking sections on planes, which is unthinkable today. I wonder if today’s kids will one day vaguely remember the brief, bizarre time when people didn’t think twice about lighting up a screen in the middle of a darkened concert hall.
culture  mobile  technology  phones 
5 weeks ago by terry
Teaching kids to code: I’m a developer and I think it doesn’t actually teach important skills.
Coding is not the new literacy. While most parents are literate and know to read to their kids, most are not programmers and have no idea what kind of skills a programmer needs. Coding books for kids present coding as a set of problems with “correct” solutions. And if your children can just master the syntax, they’ll be able to make things quickly and easily. But that is not the way programming works. Programming is messy. Programming is a mix of creativity and determination. Being a developer is about more than syntax, and certain skills can only be taught to the very young.
children  education  programming  technology 
5 weeks ago by terry
Conspiracies, Climate, and the New Dark Age: an extract from my book about Technology and the End…
Hello, I’ve written a book. New Dark Age is a book about technology, knowledge, and the end of the future. It’s published by Verso, and you can buy it direct from the publisher as hardback and ebook (which is better for me, them, and publishing in general) — or wherever you usually acquire your reading.
future  technology 
5 weeks ago by terry
The write stuff: paperless and hi-tech ways to make a note of things
Research shows the average person has 48.6 thoughts per minute, so it’s lucky firms are devising ever more clever digital gadgets so we can record them all
Bright ideas include Rocketbook Everlast, Livescribe smartpens and latest Apple iPad Pro, Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 and Moleskin Smart Writing Set
paper  productivity  technology 
6 weeks ago by terry
The digital Maginot Line
The conflict is still being processed as a series of individual skirmishes – a collection of disparate, localized, truth-in-narrative problems – but these battles are connected. The campaigns are often perceived as organic online chaos driven by emergent, bottom-up amateur actions when a substantial amount is, in fact, helped along or instigated by systematic, top-down institutional and state actions. This is a kind of warm war; not the active, declared, open conflict of a hot war, but beyond the shadowboxing of a cold one.
politics  technology  socialmedia  security  information 
6 weeks ago by terry
New wearable tech lets users listen to live music through their skin
Back in September, 200 music fans gathered at the Bunkhouse Saloon in downtown Las Vegas for a private live concert with a unique twist: several of the fans were deaf. The concert served as a beta test for new wearable technology that allows deaf and hearing users alike to experience musical vibrations through their skin for a true "surround body" experience. [...]

People at the Vegas concert (both deaf and hearing) reported feeling like their bodies became the instrument and the music was being played through them. One woman likened the experience to "living inside the strings of a piano," after experiencing the third (Presto agitato) movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata while wearing the kit.
music  sound  technology 
7 weeks ago by terry
Even in our digital world, the humble sticky note abides
Tech companies keep trying to improve on a staple of office supplies since the 1970s, without preserving everything that made it useful in the first place.
technology  paper  e-readers  gadgets 
7 weeks ago by terry
The next Great (Digital) Extinction
As our modern dinosaurs crash down around us, I sometimes wonder what kind of humans will eventually walk out of this epic transformation. Trump and the populism that’s rampaging around the world today, marked by xenophobia, racism, sexism, and rising inequality, is greatly amplified by the forces the GDE has unleashed. For someone like me who saw the power of connection build a vibrant, technologically meshed ecosystem distinguished by peace, love, and understanding, the polarization and hatred empowered by the internet today is like watching your baby turning into the little girl in The Exorcist.
technology  internet  computing  culture  society 
7 weeks ago by terry
The last VCR to be made this month
Funai Electric, a Japanese consumer electronics company, will end production of VHS videocassette recorders (VCRs) at the end of July, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei. This will also mark the end of the format as a whole 40 years after it began production.
technology  history 
8 weeks ago by terry
Rest in Peace, VCR
To some extent, the VCR did shift personal time—a few hours, over a few days or months. But in so doing, the device also created new, shared time between people: It increased the circle of viewers for broadcast programs, constructed the culture of home-video browsing and viewing, and made the long-term collection of bought and recorded videos possible.
technology  video 
8 weeks ago by terry
VHS tapes – Quartz Obsession
People have been able to consume their choice of music at home for more than a century, but it wasn’t until the mid-1970s that video was truly freed from the constraints of the multiplex and the network broadcast schedule—and not until the 1980s that it really became accessible.

That heyday didn’t last long. Just three decades separated the first VHS-format VCR from the last Hollywood hit distributed on video tape. But in that time, a lot of memories were created, and a new template for consuming media was forged.
historyoftechnology  video  television  technology 
8 weeks ago by terry
A sharp look at the surprisingly complex process of pencil manufacturing by photographer Christopher Payne
The photographer, renowned for his cinematic images that show the architectural grace of manufacturing spaces, shares that he has held a lifelong fascination with design, assembly, and industrial processes. “The pencil is so simple and ubiquitous that we take it for granted,” Payne tells Colossal. “But making one is a surprisingly complex process, and when I saw all the steps involved, many of which are done by hand, I knew it would make for a compelling visual narrative.”
technology  photography  design 
8 weeks ago by terry
Why people still use fax machines
When the New York Daily News covered this incident in April, readers were incredulous: The Department of Corrections could have its operations stymied by a broken fax machine? Who even uses fax machines anymore, let alone depends on them?

A lot of people. Fax, once at the forefront of communications technologies but now in deep decline, has persisted in many industries. Law-enforcement agencies remain heavily reliant on fax for routine operations, such as bail postings and return of public-records requests. Health care, too, runs largely on fax. Despite attempts to replace it, a mix of regulatory confusion, digital-security concerns, and stubbornness has kept fax machines droning around the world.
technology  history  offices  work 
8 weeks ago by terry
What the potentially useless draft Brexit agreement means for tech
One of the big questions for Brexit is data protection, and the agreement seeks to hold onto the status quo. Scroll through to Article 71 for the text, which says that EU data protection law will continue to cover the UK before and after the transition period, which runs until the end of 2020. That means personal data can continue to flow between the UK and the EU.

"This issue is critical to the tech sector and to every other industry in a modern digitising economy," says Tech UK CEO Julian David in a blog post. Data's the oil that greases tech, and all that.

That doesn't mean that GDPR will continue to apply in the UK post Brexit. Christopher Knight, privacy lawyer at 11KBW, notes that the UK will become a "third state". That means the UK won't be required to apply GPDR and other data laws to "wholly internal situations of processing".
brexit  technology  gdpr  dataprotection  politics 
9 weeks ago by terry
The magnetic stripe
Remember life before card swipes? The chunk-chunk of a credit-card imprinter, the rattle of hotel keys, the tinkle of subway tokens: Life was a little louder and a lot slower. Now we’ve left it all behind, all thanks to the ubiquitous, overlooked technology of a tiny strip of powder ironed onto a piece of plastic.
plastic  money  technology  commerce 
9 weeks ago by terry
A brief guide to everything that’s annoying about Apple
What are the most common complaints about Apple? “Let me check on that ...” Actually, save your circuits, Siri. We can tell you exactly why the world is falling out of love with Apple. We’ve been storing up these complaints for years. So, why don’t you just shut your British/American/Australian, male/female speech unit and listen?
technology  apple  gadgets  humour 
9 weeks ago by terry
After murder and violence, here's how WhatsApp will fight fake news
WhatsApp has announced it is giving 20 different research groups $50,000 to help it understand the ways that rumours and fake news spread on its platform. The groups are based around the world and will be responsible for producing reports on how the messaging app has impacted certain regions. The range of areas that are being studied highlight the scale of misinformation that WhatsApp faces. One set of researchers from the UK and US are set to see how misinformation can lead to disease outbreaks in elderly people, one will look at how information was shared on WhatsApp in the 2018 Brazilian elections and another is examining how posts can go viral on the messaging service.
news  socialmedia  technology  whatsapp  research  fakenews 
9 weeks ago by terry
The Android back button and why we cling to redundant features
The lack of physicality means we’re losing the ability to interact with these devices in a predictable way,” says Sarah Wiseman, a lecturer in computing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. “When I set my oven, I know I can whack the dial around to the left. Those dials are always there and they’re not going to change. You lose that with touchscreens.
design  ui  phones  technology 
10 weeks ago by terry
7,000 UK households still watching TV in black and white
Regular colour broadcasts began on BBC Two in July 1967 with the Wimbledon tennis tournament. The number of black and white licences issued each year has since been in steady decline since. In 2000, there were 212,000 black and white TV licences but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000. By 2015, the number had dipped below 10,000.

The television and radio technology historian Jeffrey Borinsky said: “There are hundreds of collectors like myself who have many black and white TVs. Who wants all this new-fangled 4K Ultra HD, satellite dishes or a screen that’s bigger than your room when you can have glorious black and white TV?
television  technology 
10 weeks ago by terry
Black and white TVs are a lo-fi rebuke to a world gone wrong
One champion of black and white, TV historian Jeffrey Borinsky, asked rhetorically yesterday: “Who wants all this new-fangled 4K ultra HD, satellite dishes or a screen that’s bigger than your room when you can have glorious black and white TV?” Viewed thus, black and white TV is like craft beer, lo-fi reproof to a world gone wrong.

It’s a good point. Technological “progress” often just gives us more of what we don’t want. Endless choice is misery-making rather than liberating. No wonder the 7,000 rebel against colour TV’s gimcrack lunacy of red buttons; endless channels screening nothing worth watching; the binge-based death-in-life of modern viewing, and the whole lie that having access all the time to everything will make us happy rather than confused and sad.

The report doesn’t break down the demographics of those 7,000 into lavishly bearded, vinyl-collecting, folk-loving, vegan hipster devotees of the slow movement; but it’s my guess that this group is well represented.
television  nostalgia  technology 
10 weeks ago by terry
Dear HMD, the world is finally ready for the Nokia Communicator
The Communicator series (my favorite is either the 9110i or the E90), is ripe for a 2018 remake. If you never saw one of these beasts, they were extra chunky phones (back when phones were already chunky), that flipped open to reveal a second, full-length display and a QWERTY keyboard, almost like a mini laptop. The Communicator screamed "I do business" and came with all manner of apps for the suit on the go. This was the defining "smart" phone of its day (if you're asking me that is).
phones  nostalgia  technology  gadget 
10 weeks ago by terry
Guardian Voice Lab
The weekly blog from the Guardian's Voice Lab team, a project supported by Google. Our aim is to experiment with interactive audio for the Google Assistant, bringing Guardian storytelling to a new platform. If you are interested in voice and journalism, we’ll be writing about our progress here.
journalism  technology  google  voice 
10 weeks ago by terry
The dream of virtual reality is dying
We were promised better worlds, and all we got was this lousy headset.
technology  vr  gadgets  future 
11 weeks ago by terry
It can be difficult to make data from information
Extracting data from information can be like trying to get eggs out of a cake. And while cake is ideal for people who want cake, given the raw ingredients we could also have pancakes, Welsh cakes and Yorkshire puddings.
technology  data  information 
11 weeks ago by terry
What do we actually know about the risks of screen time and digital media?
The lumping of everything digital into a monolith is a framing that makes Oxford Internet Institute psychologist Andrew Przybylski groan. “We don’t talk about food time,” he points out. “We don’t talk about paper time. But we do talk about screen time.” [...] The new series of papers includes a look at childhood screen use and ADHD, the effects of media multitasking on attention, and the link between violent video games and aggression. The separate papers are a good reminder that these are really separate issues; even if screen time ends up being problematic in one area, it doesn't mean it can't have a positive effect in another.
internet  socialmedia  children  parenting  technology 
11 weeks ago by terry
A dark consensus about screens and kids begins to emerge in Silicon Valley
For longtime tech leaders, watching how the tools they built affect their children has felt like a reckoning on their life and work. Among those is Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired and now the chief executive of a robotics and drone company. He is also the founder of GeekDad.com. “On the scale between candy and crack cocaine, it’s closer to crack cocaine,” Mr. Anderson said of screens. Technologists building these products and writers observing the tech revolution were naïve, he said. “We thought we could control it,” Mr. Anderson said. “And this is beyond our power to control. This is going straight to the pleasure centers of the developing brain. This is beyond our capacity as regular parents to understand.”
internet  socialmedia  children  parenting  technology 
11 weeks ago by terry
Meditation in the time of disruption
Mindfulness and meditation have become big business for tech-savvy entrepreneurs. But can you really unplug and reset while tied to an app on your phone? Companies like Headspace and Insight Timer say yes. But longtime practitioners, philosophers, and scientists aren’t so sure.

[…]

A 2016 blog post by Puddicombe on the Headspace site entitled “How to meditate in ten minutes” begins, “If you’ve decided to give meditation a shot, congratulations! You’ve also decided to improve your sleep, lower your blood pressure, increase your marital harmony and reduce your stress.” Puddicombe’s 10-minutes-a-day claim speaks to the hilariously modern expectation that self-transformation be fast, friendly, and neat. It also fits with the company’s broader focus on metrics and results. As with mindfulness meditation generally, the science surrounding Headspace serves the dual purpose of making meditation seem worth one’s time and dispelling the worry that one is being indoctrinated. In other words, the question is less about faith, which is unseen, and science, which—as those with faith in science believe—sees all.

Or, as the company’s chief science officer, Megan Jones Bell, puts it, the research is there “for people who need science as a belief point.” Jones Bell joined the company in March 2017. For her, meditation is in part a subset of mental health, and the people who seek out Headspace are looking for ways to nurse internal wounds. “Their motivation to change something or learn something new is coming from a place of ‘I’m not OK, and I need help,’” she says.

The distinction is important: Whereas some come to meditation as a way of reckoning with the incredible gifts existence has already given them, others come because they want to see what else is in the bag. This sort of rhetoric only gets ramped up in reference to meditation as a performance booster. For example, the promise that meditation will make you more effective at work seems to have a lot more salience and motivational charge than the promise that meditation will just make work feel a little less important overall.
meditation  mindfulness  technology 
12 weeks ago by terry
Apple and Samsung fined for deliberately slowing down phones
Believed to be the first ruling of its kind against smartphone manufacturers, the investigation followed accusations operating system updates for older phones slowed them down, thereby encouraging the purchase of new phones.

In a statement the antitrust watchdog said “Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices” and that operating system updates “caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones’ substitution”.
phones  technology  apple  samsung 
12 weeks ago by terry
What is the internet? 13 key questions answered
How will the whole world get online? A major challenge is to get affordable internet to poor, rural regions. With an eye on expanding markets, US tech firms hope to make inroads. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, scrapped plans for solar powered drones and is now focusing on high-altitude balloons to provide the internet from the edge of space. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and a company called OneWeb have their own plans to bring internet access to everyone in the world via constellations of microsatellites.
internet  technology  computing 
12 weeks ago by terry
Robots! A fantastic catalog of new species
IEEE Spectrum editor Erico Guizzo and colleagues have blown out their original Robots app into a fantastic catalog of 200 of today's fantastic species of robots. They're cleverly organized into fun categories like "Robots You Can Hug," "Robots That Can Dance," "Space Robots," and "Factory Workers." If they keep it updated, it'll be very helpful for the robot uprising.
robots  technology 
october 2018 by terry
Open offices have driven Panasonic to make horse blinders for humans
At what point do we just give up and admit we’re living in exactly the dystopian nightmare speculative fiction warned us about? It probably ought to be these horse blinders for people, which look like something straight out of a Terry Gilliam movie.
technology  offices  gadgets  design 
october 2018 by terry
Social robots will become family members in the homes of the future
With fewer stay-at-home parents, social robots can serve as personalized practice partners to help with homework and reinforce what children have learned that day in school. Far beyond helping you find recipes and ordering groceries, they can be your personal sous-chef or even help you learn to cook. They can also act as personal health coaches to supplement nutrition and wellness programs recommended by doctors and specialists for an increasingly health-conscious population. As the number of aging-in-place boomers soars, social robots can provide a sense of companionship for retirees while also connecting seniors to the world and to their loved ones, as well as sending doctor-appointment and medication reminders.
technology  robots 
october 2018 by terry
Europe’s history explains why it will never produce a Google
The equivalent historical forces in the 21st century could prove to be differing attitudes to migration. America’s technological superiority is built on its ability to attract talented, success-hungry people, one reason businesses resist Republican plans to limit legal immigration. Of the 98 high-tech firms in the Fortune 500, 45 (including Apple and Google) were founded by immigrants or their children. China lacks immigration but sends many of its young abroad to study, and then repatriates their skills. Europe does neither and treats migration as a threat, as its debates about how best to seal off the Mediterranean show.
europe  technology  politics 
october 2018 by terry
The future’s so bright, I gotta wear blinders
Is there an overarching bias to the advance of communication systems? Technology enthusiasts like Kelly would argue that there is — a bias toward greater freedom, democracy, and social harmony. As a society, we’ve largely embraced this sunny view. Harold Innis had a very different take. “Improvements in communication,” he wrote in The Bias of Communication, “make for increased difficulties of understanding.”
technology 
october 2018 by terry
The battle for the home
If the first stage of competition in consumer technology was the race to be the computer users went to (won by Microsoft and the PC), and the second was to be the computer users carried with them (won by Apple in terms of profits, and Google in terms of marketshare), the outlines of the current battle came sharply into focus over the last month: what company will win the race to be the computer within which users live?
technology  gadgets  amazon  apple  facebook  google 
october 2018 by terry
The AI art at Christie’s is not what you think
Hugo Caselles-Dupré, the technical lead at Obvious, shared with me: "I’ve got to be honest with you, we have totally lost control of how the press talks about us. We are in the middle of a storm and lots of false information is released with our name on it. In fact, we are really depressed about it, because we saw that the whole community of AI art now hates us because of that. At the beginning, we just wanted to create this fun project because we love machine learning." [...]

Early on Obvious made the claim that “creativity isn’t only for humans,” implying that the machine is autonomously creating their artwork. While many articles have run with this storyline, one even crediting robots, it is not what most AI artists and AI experts in general believe to be true. Most would say that AI is augmenting artists at the moment and the description in the news is greatly exaggerated. [...]

In fact, when pressed, Hugo admitted to me in our interview that this was just “clumsy communication” they made in the beginning when they didn’t think anyone was actually paying attention. [...]

As we saw with Salvator Mundi last year and with the Banksy last week, the most prestigious auction houses, like museums, have the ability to elevate art and increase its value by putting it into the spotlight, shaping not only the narrative of the work, but also the narrative of art history.
art  ai  technology  auction 
october 2018 by terry
Screen blocking glasses
IRL Glasses are the answer to screen overload and digital fatigue, putting people back in the driver’s seat to control when and how they interact with screens. Wearing IRL Glasses makes screens that are “on” look like they are “off.”
gadgets  technology 
october 2018 by terry
Why is Xiaomi’s fitness tracker detecting a heartbeat from a roll of toilet paper?
So what about other objects? We tried wrapping the Mi Band 3 around a mug, because we had a mug, and a banana, because the internet likes bananas. Both gave us a heart rate quickly and far more consistently than the toilet paper did.

But the Xiaomi band isn’t alone. We also tried the banana and mug with an Apple Watch Series 4 and a Ticwatch, an Android Wear smartwatch. Both also displayed a heartbeat for the two heartless objects, ranging from 33bpm on the banana (Apple Watch) to 130bpm for the mug (Ticwatch).
wearable  technology  gadget  health 
october 2018 by terry
The automation charade
Since the dawn of market society, owners and bosses have revelled in telling workers they were replaceable. Robots lend this centuries-old dynamic a troubling new twist: employers threaten employees with the specter of machine competition, shirking responsibility for their avaricious disposition through opportunistic appeals to tech determinism. A “jobless future” is inevitable, we are told, an irresistible outgrowth of innovation, the livelihood-devouring price of progress.
automation  future  technology  work 
october 2018 by terry
Boris Johnson's profile immediately vandalised with hardcore pornography in Tory conference app security blunder
The highly serious blunder allowed anyone to access details of hundreds of MPs including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson - who have police protection and warn regularly of the hacking threat from Russia. But it also gave pranksters an opportunity to have fun with the profiles of prominent Conservatives.
politics  conservatives  phones  technology  dataprotection 
september 2018 by terry
Major security flaw in Tory conference app reveals users' data
Commentators said the flaw raised questions over the ability of the government to harness technology to solve issues around the Irish border and customs checks. The app may also have breached data laws. Its privacy policy states that it “complies with … the European Union’s general data protection regulation (GDPR)”.
politics  conservatives  phones  technology  dataprotection 
september 2018 by terry
Exclusive: WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton gives the inside story on #DeleteFacebook and why he left $850 million behind
Acton had left a management position on Yahoo’s ad division over a decade earlier with frustrations at the Web portal’s so-called “Nascar approach” of putting ad banners all over a Web page. The drive for revenue at the expense of a good product experience “gave me a bad taste in my mouth,” Acton remembers. He was now seeing history repeat. “This is what I hated about Facebook and what I also hated about Yahoo,” Acton says. “If it made us a buck, we’d do it.” In other words, it was time to go.
facebook  whatsapp  socialmedia  technology  messaging  business  advertising 
september 2018 by terry
Why bother teaching drone pilots about ethics? It’s robots that will kill us
For the most part, armies are keen to maintain that there will always be humans in charge when lethal decisions are taken. This is only partly window dressing. One automated system is dangerous only to its enemies; two are dangerous to each other, and out of anyone’s control. We have seen what happens on stock markets when automatic trading programs fall into a destructive pattern and cause “flash crashes”. In October 2016 the pound lost 6% of its value, with blame in part put down to algorithmic trading. If two hi-tech armies were in a standoff where hair-trigger algorithms faced each other on both sides, the potential for disaster might seem unlimited.

Nuclear war has been averted on at least one occasion by a heroic Russian officer overriding the judgment of computers that there was an incoming missile attack from the US. But he had 25 minutes to decide. Battlefield time is measured in seconds.
technology  robots  automation 
september 2018 by terry
The printed world in peril
At the end of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the exiled hoboes return to the cities, which have been destroyed by the nuclear conflicts of the illiterate, bringing with them their head-borne texts, ready to restart civilization. And it’s this that seems to me the most prescient part of Bradbury’s menacing vision. For I see no future for the words printed on paper, or the art forms they enacted, if our civilization continues on this digital trajectory: there’s no way back to the future—especially not through the portal of a printed text.
books  reading  willself  technology 
september 2018 by terry
Turn off push notifications
Notifications are no longer used to notify you of anything—they’re used by apps to beg for attention.

[...]

Facebook appears to be increasingly sending meaningless notifications to people who use the site less and less in hopes of enticing them back to it.

[...]

Like I said, none of these changes have significantly changed how much I use my phone, but they have definitely changed the ways in which I use it. My phone use is now intentional—I use my phone rather than wait for it to tell me what to do or what to pay attention to. In that sense, it's more like a computer: I intentionally check email, I intentionally check social media, and I can now actually read an article or book or play a game without being constantly bombarded with popups.
phones  socialmedia  technology  gadgets 
september 2018 by terry
AI may not be bad news for workers
Some jobs could be made a lot easier by AI. One example is lorry-driving. Some fear that truck drivers will be replaced by autonomous vehicles. But manoeuvring a lorry around busy streets is far harder than driving down the motorway. So the driver could switch into automatic mode (and get some rest) when outside the big cities, and take over the wheel once again when nearing the destination. The obvious analogy is with jetliners, where the pilots handle take-off and landing but turn on the computer to cruise at 35,000 feet. Using AI may prevent tired drivers from causing accidents. [...]

And the report argues that AI can produce better decision-making by offering a contrarian opinion so that teams can avoid the danger of groupthink. A program could analyse e-mails and meeting transcripts and issue alerts when potentially false assumptions are being made (rather like the boy in the Hans Christian Andersen tale who notices that the Emperor has no clothes). Or it can warn a team when it is getting distracted from the task in hand.
ai  technology  jobs  work 
september 2018 by terry
The case for locking up your smartphone
Lockers and sleeves for phones can feel like an infringement on personal rights, but they also might save people from their worst habits.
technology  phones 
september 2018 by terry
Orwell knew: we willingly buy the screens that are used against us
One can easily imagine choosing to buy a telescreen – indeed, many of us already have. And one can also imagine needing one, or finding them so convenient that they feel compulsory. The big step is when convenience becomes compulsory: when we can’t file our taxes, complete the census or contest a claim without a telescreen.
technology  philosophy  books  politics 
september 2018 by terry
Forget easy-to-use design. Choose something hard instead
For me, Vim was a game-changer. Once I got the muscle memory down, I felt like I had spent the rest of my life typing on training wheels. Or like I had been playing piano one note at a time, not realizing that I could make chords by playing multiple keys at once. [...]

The new cult of simple software is making us less productive. Simple tools get in the way of our thinking by making assumptions about what we want to do, and by putting the ease of getting going ahead of optimizing productivity. By contrast, using a tool like Vim makes me more expressive. It reduces the friction between what’s in my head and what I can make happen on the computer. [...]

It is time to embrace the difficult tool. No more accepting Excel when learning R or Python would let us do better work; no more out-of-the-box flashcards instead of customized software like Anki. Let’s stop expecting software to do everything for us, and put our minds to work.
technology  software  productivity 
september 2018 by terry
Javid: tech firms not taking online child sexual abuse seriously
The home secretary chose not to spell out what any future legislation would involve and, when pressed, declined to say if it would include forcing technology firms to share their encryption codes with police and intelligence services. The NCA said this week that end-to-end encryption and increased anonymity on the internet were progressively becoming standard.
politics  technology 
september 2018 by terry
Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound
The possibility that critical analysis, empathy and other deep reading processes could become the unintended “collateral damage” of our digital culture is not a simple binary issue about print vs digital reading. It is about how we all have begun to read on any medium and how that changes not only what we read, but also the purposes for why we read. Nor is it only about the young. The subtle atrophy of critical analysis and empathy affects us all. It affects our ability to navigate a constant bombardment of information. It incentivizes a retreat to the most familiar silos of unchecked information, which require and receive no analysis, leaving us susceptible to false information and demagoguery.
books  reading  ebooks  kindle  technology 
august 2018 by terry
Alan Rusbridger: who broke the news?
If journalists cannot agree on a common idea of the public interest – of the public service we claim to be providing – then it complicates the defence of what we do. And in an age of horizontal free mass media, it is even more important for us to be able to define and declare our values, our purpose – and our independence. Which includes independence from the state.

But five years after the Snowden revelations, it is now apparent that states themselves are struggling with the digital disruption that first tore through the established media and has now reshaped politics. The digital giants have not only unleashed information chaos – they have, in the blink of an eye, become arguably the most powerful organisations the world has ever seen.
news  journalism  technology  politics 
august 2018 by terry
Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media
But when you are from a digitally native generation, quitting social media can feel like joining a monastery. Amanuel was recently asked by co-workers if she had Snapchat. “I said no,” Amanuel remembers, “and I instantly heard, like, gasps. It was like I’d revealed something disgusting.” She explained that she did have a Snapchat handle, but never used it. “Relief came out of their eyes! It was really weird.”
socialmedia  technology  society 
august 2018 by terry
How the shared family computer protected us from our worst selves
Long before phone addiction panic gripped the masses and before screen time became a facet of our wellness and digital detoxes, there was one good and wise piece of technology that served our families. Maybe it was in the family room or in the kitchen. It could have been a Mac or PC. Chances are it had a totally mesmerizing screensaver. It was the shared family desktop.
computing  culture  technology 
august 2018 by terry
How teens and parents navigate screen time and device distractions
Parents, too, are anxious about the effects of screen time on their children, a separate survey shows. Roughly two-thirds of parents say they are concerned about their teen spending too much time in front of screens, and 57% report setting screen time restrictions for their teen in one way or another.

At the same time, some parents of teens admit they also struggle with the allure of screens: 36% say they themselves spend too much time on their cellphone. And 51% of teens say they often or sometimes find their parent or caregiver to be distracted by their own cellphone when they are trying to have a conversation with them.

Additionally, 15% of parents say they often lose focus at work because they are distracted by their phone. That is nearly double the share of teens (8%) who say they often lose focus in school due to their own cellphones.
technology  gadgets  phones  mobilephones  socialmedia 
august 2018 by terry
DeepMind’s data deal with the NHS broke privacy law
"The Royal Free did not have a valid basis for satisfying the common law duty of confidence and therefore the processing of that data breached that duty," the ICO said in its letter to the Royal Free NHS Trust. "In this light, the processing was not lawful under the Act." [...]

"The Commission is not persuaded that it was necessary and proportionate to process 1.6 million partial patient records in order to test the clinical safety of the application. The processing of these records was, in the Commissioner's view, excessive," the ICO said.
ai  dataprotection  health  science  technology 
august 2018 by terry
Artificial intelligence 'did not miss a single urgent case'
He told the BBC: "I think this will make most eye specialists gasp because we have shown this algorithm is as good as the world's leading experts in interpreting these scans." [...]

He said: "Every eye doctor has seen patients go blind due to delays in referral; AI should help us to flag those urgent cases and get them treated early."
health  ai  science  technology 
august 2018 by terry
Revealed: Google AI has access to huge haul of NHS patient data
Google says that since there is no separate dataset for people with kidney conditions, it needs access to all of the data in order to run Streams effectively. In a statement, the Royal Free NHS Trust says that it “provides DeepMind with NHS patient data in accordance with strict information governance rules and for the purpose of direct clinical care only.”

Still, some are likely to be concerned by the amount of information being made available to Google. It includes logs of day-to-day hospital activity, such as records of the location and status of patients – as well as who visits them and when. The hospitals will also share the results of certain pathology and radiology tests.
health  technology  google  ai 
august 2018 by terry
Artificial intelligence equal to experts in detecting eye diseases
The breakthrough research, published online by Nature Medicine, describes how machine-learning technology has been successfully trained on thousands of historic de-personalised eye scans to identify features of eye disease and recommend how patients should be referred for care.

Researchers hope the technology could one day transform the way professionals carry out eye tests, allowing them to spot conditions earlier and prioritise patients with the most serious eye diseases before irreversible damage sets in.
health  technology  ai 
august 2018 by terry
Artificial intelligence to look for early signs of eye conditions humans might miss
With the number of people affected by sight loss in the UK predicted to double by 2050, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and DeepMind Health have joined forces to explore how new technologies can help medical research into eye diseases.
health  technology  google  ai 
august 2018 by terry
This is why Amazon continues to develop tablets
Amazon bills their tablets has multimedia friendly and totally envelops users into their ecosystem. Download apps from the Amazon App Store, buy Kindle ebooks or Audible audiobooks. Shop online and use Prime for access to free content such as Prime Music and Prime Video. [...] I think Amazon is making tablets because they realized that they are just gateways, they don’t make much profit through the hardware, but each device turns them into an Amazon minion.
amazon  kindle  tablet  gadget  technology 
august 2018 by terry
Town dusts off typewriters after cyber-attack
Government workers in a borough of Alaska have turned to typewriters to do their jobs, after ransomware infected their computer systems. A spokeswoman for Matanuska-Susitna said the malware had encrypted its email server, internal systems and disaster recovery servers. She said staff had "resourcefully" dusted off typewriters and were writing receipts by hand.
typewriters  virus  technology  computers 
august 2018 by terry
IKEA and the Man Booker Prize create reading rooms for relaxation
The initiative is designed to help alleviate stress and help make the home a haven again. Over half of workers (59%) feel they are under pressure to respond to emails even when they are home and have finished official work hours — which suggests that preventing the trials of workplace from entering our homes has never been more important. Sitting down and disappearing into a good book is a way to do just that.
books  ikea  technology  reading 
august 2018 by terry
A decade of digital dependency
2008 was the year the smartphone took off in the UK. With the iPhone and Android fresh into the UK market, 17% of people owned a smartphone a decade ago. That has now reached 78%, and 95% among 16-24 year-olds. The smartphone is now the device people say they would miss the most, dominating many people’s lives in both positive and negative ways.

People in the UK now check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day. Two in five adults (40%) first look at their phone within five minutes of waking up, climbing to 65% of those aged under 35. Similarly, 37% of adults check their phones five minutes before lights out, again rising to 60% of under-35s.
research  internet  mobilephones  technology 
august 2018 by terry
IKEA 'Reading Rooms' to celebrate Man Booker longlist
Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, added: “If you associate reading with holidays then you probably associate it with indulgence. And – it’s true – reading fiction can be, at its best, a form of escapism. But that doesn’t make it a guilty pleasure. It’s more like a fast route to better health. Our homes are filled with devices that allow the digital world to encroach on our private lives.” She urged people to “reclaim your privacy, and your imagination” through reading a book.
ikea  technology  books  reading 
august 2018 by terry
Britons spend average of 24 hours a week online, Ofcom says
The total amount of time spent online by Britons has also doubled over the last 10 years, with a quarter of adults saying they spent more than 40 hours a week on the internet – a move driven by the uptake of smartphones.
technology  internet  mobilephones 
august 2018 by terry
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