Posted by & filed under Ethical Issues, ethics, health, Privacy.

Nonie Wideman said a plastic mesh she had surgically implanted to support her bladder gave her debilitating health problems. Health Canada rejected her multiple requests to see the clinical evidence the department used to approve the mesh for use in Canada. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Source: CBC News

Date: March 15th, 2019

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/health-canada-drug-device-database-1.5054838

Discussion

1) “Canadians want greater access to credible information that will enable them to make well-informed decisions about their health and that of their families.”  How will the release of this medical data do this?

2) What are the privacy concerns around releasing this sort of information to the public?

Posted by & filed under IT Infrastructure.

A computer glitch dating back to 2009 has been fixed at last, allowing the federal government to resume chasing down thousands of Canadians who owe the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) about $66 million due to erroneous overpayments.

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) reinstated the collection of these old debts last November, going after 15,000 individuals or their estates after almost a decade of inaction.

Source: CBC News

Date: March 15th, 2019

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cpp-oas-debt-collection-cra-esdc-duclos-it-glitch-1.5047349

Discussion

1) “After 2009, the CRA was unable to collect anything — and could no longer accurately calculate the amounts owed — because the department had migrated its CPP system to a new IT platform.”  Why is it completely unacceptable to blame the issue on a “new IT platform”?

2) How would standard development procedures for new systems have avoided this issue?

Posted by & filed under Emerging Technologies, YouTube.

(Credit: Konstantin Ermakov)

Most mornings after Grace Lee wakes up, she spends two hours thinking up ideas for her YouTube channel, What’s So Great About That?, a series focused around popular films and TV programmes. Lee, a 24-year-old from Peterborough, England, researches ideas, then writes scripts that help explain the concepts to her 29,000 viewers.

After that, she moves onto her work for another channel, The Financial Diet, a financial advice organisation with 630,000 subscribers. There, she researches and edits a series of animated explainer and life-hack videos.

“I’ve been on YouTube since the year it started, but I didn’t know about professional help for YouTubers until I was in my second year at university,” Lee explains. “I still forget, with the people I watch, that they have a team – even though I’m part of a team.”

Source: BBC Capital

Date: March 15th, 2019

Link:http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190307-the-hidden-armies-that-power-the-internets-new-stars

Discussion

  1. The internet and sites like YouTube were supposed to bring about the “democratization of technology”. What does this mean?
  2. It seems that there is a natural force that means that leads to large, powerful players dominating. Why is this?

Posted by & filed under Emerging Economies.


Betelhem Dessie, 19, is one of the youngest tech pioneers in Ethiopia. Over the last three years, in addition to patenting several software programs, she has travelled the country teaching students how to code and conducting innovation workshops. So far, she has reached more than 20,000 young people.

Source: BBC Capital

Date: March 15th, 2019

Link to video: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190308-how-ethiopias-youngest-tech-pioneer-inspires-a-generation

Discussion

  1. What do you think it takes for a 19 year old to travel her country and teach 20,000 young people how to code
  2. Is teaching young people how to code all that is needed?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, robotics.

Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi didn’t know it when they met at the University of Waterloo  eleven years ago, but the bond that the two forged in late night study sessions as roommates in the UW Place dorm has helped power their work building an exoskeleton that allows children with disabilities to walk.

The fruit of that labor is Trexo Robotics, which will graduate as part of the latest batch of Y Combinator’s winter 2019 cohort.

Source: Tech Crunch

Date: March 6th, 2019

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/25/helping-children-overcome-their-mobility-challenges-trexo-robotics-gets-a-y-combinator-boost/

 

Discussion

1) What is “Y Combinator” and why is it so useful to startups?

2) What other applications could there be for the Trexo Robot?

Posted by & filed under Artificial intelligence, Cybersecurity, microsoft.

The silhouette of a Microsoft executive speaking during a keynote session at the Microsoft Developers Build Conference in San Francisco on March 31, 2016.

Microsoft Corp. unveiled two new cloud security services to help customers find and stop threats and manage their cyberdefenses by tapping experts from the software giant.

Azure Sentinel, available for customer preview Thursday, is what’s called a Security Information and Event management tool. Microsoft said it’s the first of its type based in the cloud. The product uses artificial intelligence to comb through data to find threats and lets customers rent computing power from the company rather than buy more of their own servers to crunch information.

Source: Bloomberg Technology News

Date: March 6th, 2019

Link (open using incognito mode to prevent article download tracker) : https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-28/microsoft-unveils-azure-sentinel-cloud-security-program?srnd=technology-vp

Discussion

1) Why might companies not want Microsoft AI to “comb through [their] data”?

2) Why is it a good idea to hand off cybersecurity to “experts from the [Microsoft] software giant”?

Posted by & filed under Solar Energy.

Solar panel debris is seen scattered in a solar panel field in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Humacao, Puerto Rico on October 2, 2017.

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, many residents lost power for months — and some neighborhoods are still struggling to get electricity back up and running.

Puerto Rico had solar panel fields generating power before the hurricane, but much of it was inaccessible when the grid (or the network that delivers electricity to people) went down.

That’s one of the biggest challenges with solar energy, which provides an alternative way to power homes and businesses. The technology is still limited, not only because sunlight collection can be inconsistent on cloudy days and unavailable at night, but also because rural or remote areas often lack proper infrastructure.

Some companies are working on solutions to make solar energy technology more resilient and efficient.

Source: CNN Technology

Date: March 7th, 2019

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/06/tech/yotta-solar/index.html

Discussion

1) Data centers and cloud service provision centers consume enormous amounts of electricity.  How could this technology help?

2) Most residential solar panels, the ones you see on house roofs, are “grid-tied”.  Grid-tied means they only produce electricity when tied to the electricity grid.  Why are they “grid-tied”?

Posted by & filed under Huawei.

“it’s hard to see how – given Huawei’s role in providing equipment and key ICT services to the AU building and specifically to the AU’s data centre – the company could have remained completely unaware of the apparent theft of large amounts of data, every day, for five years.”

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 6th, 2019

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/Huawei

Discussion

1) “Huawei was given the status of a Chinese “national champion”. In practice, this meant the government closed the market to foreign competition.”  The Chinese government says that Huawei is independent of it.  How likely is this?

2) Why does it matter to western companies and governments that Huawei is likely part of the Chinese government?

Posted by & filed under Cybersecurity, Internet of Things.

In a May study of 553 IT decision makers, 78% said they thought it was at least somewhat likely that their businesses would suffer data loss or theft enabled by IoT devices. Some 72% said the speed at which IoT is advancing makes it harder to keep up with evolving security requirements.

Source: Wired Magazine

Date: February 28th, 2019

Link: https://www.wired.com/brandlab/2017/06/iot-is-coming-even-if-the-security-isnt-ready-heres-what-to-do/?intcid=polar

Discussion

1) What sorts of things are included in IoT (Internet of Things)?

2) Why are IoT devices so useful to hackers and problematic for the rest of us?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Ethical Issues.

The concerns tied to devices like Amazon's wristbands range from the potential for discrimination to data security risks for the company's employees.Amazon recently won patents for wristbands that could be used as part of an inventory system, communicating with equipment in warehouses and nudging employees via vibrations if, for example, they were about to place items in the wrong bins. But in a world where the legal limits on gathering and using people’s data remain largely undefined, use of such devices could quickly turn nefarious, some experts say.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Date: February 28th, 2019

Link: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-amazon-wristbands-privacy-20180215-story.html

Discussion

1) What sorts of other uses could this technology be put to other than tracking the people who work in the warehouses at Amazon?

2) Is this really an invasion of privacy or more an attempt by Amazon to improve workplace safety and efficiency?