Last year, major brands found their ads appearing in videos promoting extremist views and hate speech. JPMorgan Chase learned that it was advertising on a fake news site called Hillary 4 Prison. The ad ran under a headline claiming that actor Elijah Wood revealed “the horrifying truth about the Satanic liberal perverts who run Hollywood” (talk about bad publicity).
Music consumers love streaming services. The data surrounding subscriptions and revenue tells us so. Largely self-reporting systems, however, have made it more complicated to quantify that success. Can we trust companies to embrace transparency when their own interests rely so much on the numbers they are reporting?
In this roundup, some of your favorite initialisms (AI, IP, TOS) come out to play while stories about government agencies and social media access call into question whether such access is a two-way street.
- There’s a wiki for terms of service agreements. (Arielle Pardes, Wired)
- Qualcomm introduces its first chip built for augmented and virtual reality. (Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge)
- Microsoft’s HoloLens guides the blind through complicated buildings. (Rachel Metz, MIT Technology Review)
- 23andMe sues Ancestry over some very old intellectual property. (Megan Molteni, Wired)
- Law enforcement officials continue to push for more access to social media data. (Halley Freger, ABC News)
- YouTube stars criticize the platform for testing an algorithm at their expense. (Chris Foxx, BBC.com)
- Softback prepares to scale up its robotics business. (Parmy Olson, Forbes)
- PUBG files an infringement suit against Fortnite in South Korea. (Yuji Nakamura and Sam Kim, Bloomberg News)
- Apple introduces new controls to help users maintain screen-time/life balance. (Sarah Perez, TechCrunch)
- The city of Colorado Springs ventures briefly into a gray area as it blocks multiple users on social media accounts. (Anthony Prosceno/Tony Keith, KKTV 11News)
Let’s talk shop. With LeBron James. Sounds cool right? That’s what James and his partner Maverick Carter thought when their entertainment company Uninterrupted developed The Shop. On The Shop, James and his friends, business associates, and various celebrity figures banter while getting their hair cut. Uninterrupted aired two episodes of the series with the first episode, (which premiered during the 2017 NBA Finals), garnering roughly four million views across Uninterrupted.com and ESPN’s YouTube channel.
If you haven’t seen Sundar Pichai’s presentation on Google Duplex, watch it. The technology is fascinating.
Google is developing software that can assist users in completing specific tasks such as making reservations by telephone. The software uses anonymized phone conversations as the basis for its neural network and in conjunction with automated speech recognition and text-to-speech software can have independent phone conversations with other people. Incredibly, the software requires no human interaction—at least by the user requesting the service—to complete its task. The result is that you can task the software to setup a haircut appointment for you, or book a table at a restaurant where it is difficult to get reservations, with no further input needed. It can also work with different scheduling options if your preferred time is not available. And importantly, the conversations seem natural—it is very difficult to tell that one of the participants in the conversation is a computer.
When Eddie Rabbitt sang “Drivin’ My Life Away” in 1980, he was chronicling the life of a roadie, of a life spent behind the wheel. At the time, autonomous driving vehicles were still a distant speck on the horizon of the information highway. Today, we are on the cusp of a revolution that offers a near future where no one will have to spend his or her life behind a wheel. As always, the future carries new concerns, dangers and legal developments. We have already seen our first accidents and fatalities related to autonomous driving, and the regulatory and liability landscape is quickly setting context for this new technology—twenty-two states and Washington, D.C., have enacted legislation related to autonomous vehicles (with more pending).
Recent technology news provides its usual mix of hope, distractions and hand-wringing-worthy developments. (Granted, one of these items is not so much “news” as an ever-present truth about TOS.)
- How design’s tricks of the trade separate users from their privacy on the internet. (Ariel Bogle, ABC Science)
- “Restore discs” created by e-waste innovator are ruled to have infringed on Microsoft IP. (Tom Jackman, Washington Post)
- Investigators mined a genealogy website to aid in finding the Golden State killer … is that a privacy issue or just good sleuthing? (Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review)
- The same algorithm that helps spot “face swaps” in video can be used to make more sophisticated fake videos. (MIT Technology Review)
- The arduous task of cleaning up Fukushima falls to robots (and the humans who guide them). (Vince Beiser, Wired)
- Studies confirm what we all know about who reads terms of service. (David Berreby, The Guardian)
- Oculus experiments with virtual reality as immersive theater. (Joan E. Solsman and Scott Stein, c|net)
- Fitbit continues push into health care devices by taking to the cloud. (Brian Heater, TechCrunch)
- Malaysian court sentences man over the posting of fake news. (Reuters/The Guardian)
- Could augmented reality transform the way you … play board games? (Christina Bonnington, Slate)
- Artificial intelligence unlocks the “angst-ridden teen” achievement in poetry it writes. (Dan Robitzski, Futurism)
As the blockchain avalanche continues, and ever-increasing numbers of blockchain-based patent applications seek issuance, savvy inventors and practitioners continue probing for patent-eligible space. Blockchain apps ultimately will face the same barriers as other software applications—key among them being new rules on subject matter eligibility. For those hoping to make it past such obstacles, performance-related refinements to blockchain technology may provide a safe harbor.
As developments in artificial intelligence transform the business plans (and in some cases, the very identity) of industries, they also inevitably trigger the need for those industries that serve a supporting role to adapt in response. This is certainly true of the legal profession, and it’s also a given for the insurance industry. As is so often the case in life, with enough new wrinkles, there’s usually a good bit of gray. In Artificial Intelligence: A Grayish Area for Insurance Coverage, our colleague Ashley E. Cowgill explores some of the gray areas in insurance coverage created by the continued evolution and widening application of AI.
It’s Monday, and you’re at the local coffee stand with your work buddies sipping pour-overs made from freshly roasted fair trade beans. Brad from accounting is telling everyone about the new show he just binged on Netflix. It’s a coming of age story set in the ’90s and the throwback details are on point: the cool kids sport Starter jackets and Stüssy shirts; the geeks debate whether the Nintendo 64 is better than the Sony PlayStation; and the protagonist questions whether she should drink the bottle of Zima that her friend just handed to her. You interject: “Zima?! Someone should bring that back!” “Maybe we should,” says Tim from sales. “Nostalgia. It’s delicate, but potent,” adds Dan from marketing, because Dan always quotes Don Draper whenever he can, as he shows everyone a “Bring Back Zima” Facebook group. Soon you find yourself brainstorming ideas on how to get rich by bringing back dead, but not forgotten, brands. But then Matt from compliance asks, “Are we going to get sued?”
Of course, the answer is, “It depends.”