Posted by & filed under Artificial intelligence.

The Justice Department has quietly launched an artificial intelligence experiment as the Trudeau government prepares to use such sophisticated software to help make decisions in cases involving immigration, pension benefits and taxes.

The 18-month pilot project, which involves the Canada Revenue Agency, was started even though the government has yet to establish clear ethical guidelines on its use of artificial intelligence, or AI.

Definitions of AI vary, but it’s generally understood as a computer system designed to quickly learn, reason and make decisions by imitating human cognition.

Source: CBC News

Date: September 13th, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/artificial-intelligence-tax-justice-pilot-1.4817242

Discussion

1) MIS is the intersection of business and technology.  What is the business case for this technology?

2) “26 tax practitioners at Justice Canada have been using commercial AI software that analyzes thousands of court cases to predict how judges might rule on a given set of facts about a taxpayer’s affairs.” What do you think is going on here?

Posted by & filed under Autonomous Vehicles, Careers, Uber.

Raquel Urtasun is the chief scientist for Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, which is planning an expansion into Toronto.

The San Francisco, Calif.-based company announced on Thursday that it is expanding its Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) in Toronto and opening a new engineering lab — its first in Canada. Uber says it plans to spend $200 million Cdn on the Toronto hub over the next five years, which will eventually bring its head count in the city from 200 to about 500 employees.

Uber’s ATG in Toronto is one of the company’s four autonomous research hubs, alongside Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Phoenix.

Source: CBC News

Date: September 13th, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/uber-self-driving-cars-atg-engineering-toronto-lab-ai-1.4821637

Discussion

1) Why is it important for Uber to have autonomous-driving technology labs in Canada?

2) What sorts of careers might be available for MIS majors as part of this 300 employee increase at Uber Toronto?

Posted by & filed under Cybersecurity, Ethical Issues, IT and Politics.

Millions of Americans are looking forward to the return of Sunday NFL football this weekend. And somewhere in St. Petersburg, a group of Russian trolls likely is too.

The same Kremlin-linked group that posed as Americans on social media during the 2016 US presidential election has repeatedly exploited the controversy surrounding the NFL and players who have protested police brutality and racial injustice during the National Anthem, playing both sides in an effort to exacerbate divides in American society.

 The debate is almost certainly an irresistible one for the Russians, given that it includes issues of race, patriotism, and national identity — topics the Russian trolls sought to exploit during the run-up to the election, and have continued to focus on in the two years since.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: September 13th, 2018

Link: https://money.cnn.com/2018/09/08/technology/nfl-national-anthem-russia-trolls/index.html

Discussion

1) First off, in what way are Russian internet trolls even a discussion topic for a Management Information Systems class?

2) How might the likes of Twitter correctly identify a Russian troll posting and then effectively deal with it?

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics.

Donald Trump

Google has defended the way its bosses greeted the election of Donald Trump, after criticism by right-wing media.

A video published on Wednesday by the Breitbart website shows senior executives commenting the morning after the 2016 election.

During the 60-minute presentation, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he found the election “deeply offensive”.

Breitbart said the video showed evidence of Google’s inherent bias against Republicans.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: September 13th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45509673

Discussion

1) Why is important for Google (and other tech companies) to be free of political bias?

2) In what ways might political bias, eluded to by the BBC with their quote that a Google co-founder said that “I certainly find this election deeply offensive and I know many of you do too” be reflected in what Google does or how Google prioritizes and presents search results, for instance?

Posted by & filed under Artificial intelligence, bots, Ethical Issues, ethics.

“Inflatable duck baby pool with canopy.” “Hot selling colourful temporary full arm tattoo for men.” “Splendid reusable dog pee pad (minimum order: 500).”

Load up the homepage for e-commerce giant, Alibaba – a wholesale shopping site that’s more or less China’s answer to eBay – and you’ll find images and descriptions of anything you could wish to buy, from kitchen sinks to luxury yachts. Every item has a short headline, but most are little more than lists of keywords: hand-picked search terms to ensure this USB phone charger or that pair of flame-resistant overalls float to the top in a sea of thousands upon thousands of similar items.

“Generative bots are the new chatbot,” says Jun Wang at University College London. “Generating copy is just one of the applications that can be done.”

Source: BBC Future

Date: September 13th, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180829-the-worlds-most-prolific-writer-is-a-chinese-algorithm

Discussion

1) ” the AI copywriter applies deep learning and natural-language processing tech to millions of item descriptions on Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao sites to generate new copy of its own”.  What actually is “deep learning” and “natural-language processing”?

2) Is it ethical to use a “Generative bot”?

Posted by & filed under business models.

Collage

People like to say that brick-and-mortar retail is dead, but direct-to-consumer businesses continue to dabble with physical stores all the same.

Why? Because brick-and-mortar retail provides businesses with benefits an online shopping platform can’t, namely consumer experiences that create and sustain shoppers’ relationships with brands.

To help the next generation of digitally native stores expand into the physical world, Uppercase (with offices in Toronto and Vancouver) formerly known as thisopenspace, is launching out of stealth with $3.5 million in venture capital funding. Lerer Hippeau has led the round, with participation from CRV and SV Angels.

Source: Tech Crunch

Date: September 7th, 2018

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2018/09/05/uppercase-raises-3-5m-to-help-e-tailers-open-brick-and-mortar-stores/

Discussion

1) “Anyone can launch an online brand,” Nejati told TechCrunch. “Brands truly stand out from the crowd once they grow beyond digital.”  Do you agree or disagree, and why?

2) Amazon has started opening brick-and-mortar stores.  Walmart is pushing so hard into digital that you only see adverts about Walmart online.  What is going on here?

Posted by & filed under app, App Economy, Privacy.

A study looked at hundreds of apps’ privacy policies — then compared them to the data actually collected.  Of the 757 apps analyzed, the researchers found nearly 60 per cent of apps collected more information than stated in their privacy policies.

Source: CBC News

Date: September 7th, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/app-privacy-policy-apptrans-uoft-third-parties-ads-code-1.4791834

Discussion

1) Why does it matter that apps collect more data than stated in their privacy policies?

2) Since you never check your apps’ privacy policies, shouldn’t the app be able to collect whatever it wants, or should it have to tell you what it is collecting?

Posted by & filed under Automation, Chatbots.

Call centre worker with head in his hand

The biggest threat to jobs might not be physical robots, but intelligent software agents that can understand our questions and speak to us, integrating seamlessly with all the other programs we use at home and at work. And call centres are particularly at risk.

Last week we learned that British retail giant Marks & Spencer is moving 100 switchboard staff to other roles because chatbots are taking over their duties.

“All calls to 640 M&S stores and contact centres now handled via Twilio-powered technology,” boasted the California-based tech company operating the new system.

M&S is now using Twilio’s speech recognition software and Google’s Dialogflow artificial intelligence (AI) tool to transcribe customers’ verbal requests and understand their intent. Then the call is routed to the appropriate department or shop.

The system could handle about 12 million queries a year, Twilio says.

Source: BBC Technology of Business

Date: September 7th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45272835

Discussion

1) How might you use a Twilio chatbot to build a brand new company?

2) What are some of the business issues and risks with building a company around just a chatbot?

Posted by & filed under Cybersecurity, Quantum Computing.

Circuit board head graphic

Quantum computers have long been touted as incredibly powerful machines that will be able to solve hugely complex computational problems much faster than any computer we have available today. But no-one can agree on the best way to make them. Who will win the race?

Superfast quantum computers could speed up the discovery of new medicines, crack the most complex cryptographic security systems, design new materials, model climate change, and supercharge artificial intelligence, computer scientists say.

But there’s currently no consensus on the best way to make them or how to make them available to the mass market.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: September 7th, 2018

Link (page includes several short videos on quantum computing): https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45273584

Discussion

1) The article notes that “Moore’s Law … is finally breaking down.”  What is Moore’s Law, and how is it important in information systems and technology?

2) What are some of the issues arising if quantum computers can “crack the most complex cryptographic security systems”?