Posted by & filed under Amazon, Ethical Issues.

Amazon’s search for a second headquarters was never just about finding a new home.

Throughout the process, Amazon skillfully obtained data from 238 cities and metro areas in North America for free, including proprietary information about real estate sites under development, details about their talent pool, local labor cost and what incentives cities and states were willing to cough up to bring the company to town.

“Amazon was not going through this exercise to pick a single HQ2,” said Richard Florida, a leading urbanist and professor at the University of Toronto. “It was part of a broader effort — a corporate relocation strategy — to crowdsource a wide variety of data.”

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: November 15th, 2018

Discussion
1) Is this notion that Amazon “crowdsourced” its collection of data from 238 cities genius, or just plain unethical?
2) Amazon chose to open 2 new HQs, in New York and Washington.  On what dimensions does this make sense, and on what does it not?

Posted by & filed under Crypto currency.

A woman touches an ATM machine for digital currency Bitcoin in Hong Kong on December 18, 2017.

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde said central banks around the world should consider issuing digital currency.

Speaking in Singapore, Ms Lagarde said this could make digital currency transactions safer.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 15th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46203869

Discussion

1) How much do you know about how cryptocurrencies, of which Bitcoin is just one example?  Why is it important to know about this?

2) “The advantage is clear. Your payment would be immediate, safe, cheap and potentially semi-anonymous… And central banks would retain a sure footing in payments.”  Why is all this important?

Posted by & filed under Privacy.

The country’s chief statistician says his agency’s controversial plan to harvest individuals’ banking information is on hold until the privacy commissioner completes an investigation into widespread concerns about the project.

Statistics Canada recently caught nine financial institutions off-guard by asking them to share the private banking information of Canadians in 500,000 dwellings across the country.

Canadian law could require the institutions to hand over the private information to Statistics Canada as the agency works to modernize and improve its data-collection efforts.

Source: CBC News

Date: November 9th, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/statscan-banking-data-privacy-commissioner-1.4897736

Discussion

1) What are some of the issues around Statistics Canada harvesting private banking information?

2) Would this be okay if PPI (personal private information) was stripped from the information?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, FaceBook.

For those who’ve been paying attention, Facebook’s growth appears to be slowing. It’s not clear why, but one theory is that we’re reaching a saturation point, particularly in North America. Basically, everyone has already signed up for an account. Facebook is literally running out of new people to bring aboard.

This is a problem (for Facebook, to be clear) for a number of reasons. Most notably, North American users are Facebook’s most valuable. Facebook makes more dollars from each user in Canada and the U.S. than it does anywhere else in the world. If you accept the theory that Facebook is running out of new users — a once-reliable source of new revenue — then it has to find a way to squeeze more out of those it already has.

Source: CBC News

Date: November 9th, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/facebook-dating-1.4898427

Discussion

1) Why does this strategic choice by Facebook make sense?

2) Does it make more sense to have an app dedicated to a single (important) task, or for this to be folded in to a social network?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, innovation.

Who is going to decide how we travel around our cities – Californian tech giants or local transport businesses?

On Tech Tent we hear from the UK firm helping local taxi operators take the fight to Uber and from an American scooter firm trying to change the law in Britain.

I took a trip to Manchester this week and leaving the station, I had a number of options to get to my destination in Cheadle, on the outskirts of the city.

I could have grabbed a cab from the station rank or used the ubiquitous Uber – but instead I downloaded an app called Streetcars.

This enabled me to order a minicab from the local firm of that name and it deposited me at the headquarters of Autocab – the company that built the app for Streetcars and about 500 other local taxi firms across the UK.

Source: BBC Tech Tent

Date: November 9th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46151994

Discussion

1) “Tens of others had technology just as good as Uber that never went anywhere. The difference is Uber has been heavily financed by Wall Street and they’ve raised more than $13bn. We didn’t have the same access to capital.”  Is this really only about money?

2) “Uber with its early “move fast and break things” approach, which saw it clash with local regulators”  Why is it that regulations take time to catch up with technology innovation?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Careers.

Companies like Mendix (https://www.mendix.com/) and Salesforce are saying that this is the start of a “low-code revolution”, where business people can build applications without knowing much, if any, code at all.

Source: Salesforce

Date: November 9th, 2018

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvG171ltKjw

Discussion

1) Why are we now at a point where low-code programming is an option?

2) How does a low-code environment change what business people need to understand?

Posted by & filed under Artificial intelligence, IT Trends, robotics.

The SWEEPER robot is the first sweet pepper harvesting robot in the world demonstrated in a commercial greenhouse. It is designed to operate in a single stem row cropping system, with a crop having non-clustered fruits and little leaf occlusion.

Source: YouTube

Date: November 9th, 2018

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUgjFaYyecE

Discussion

1) Who looses their job because of this robot, and who gains a job?

2) What other applications are very similar to this but in a different field (no pun intended)?

Posted by & filed under bitcoin, Consumer Technology, Crypto currency, Data center.

The Hut 8 bitcoin mine in Medicine Hat, Alta., uses as much electricity on a typical day as the entire city of 60,000, and most of the electricity is produced by fossil fuels.

Source: CBC News

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/bitcoin-mining-climate-change-1.4883647

Discussion

1) Do you understand what “bitcoin mining” is?  If not, I have an article here:  https://missoulacurrent.com/opinion/2018/03/firth-bitcoin-investment/

2) What other companies do you use that contribute greatly to climate change (think about companies that have lots of servers to deliver the service to you, like Facebook)

Posted by & filed under Cybersecurity.

New privacy rules designed to better safeguard the personal data of Canadians and let them know when it has been breached kick in Thursday, but even security experts say they are far from perfect.

The legislation, known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (or PIPEDA) does a lot of things, but most importantly from a consumer’s perspective, it requires Canadian companies to alert their customers any time their personal information may have fallen into the wrong hands.

Source: CBC News

Date: November 2nd, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/pipeda-privacy-data-1.4886061

Discussion

1) Why does it matter that the PIPEDA “requires Canadian companies to alert their customers any time their personal information may have fallen into the wrong hands”?

2) Who gets to decide what “the wrong hands” are, and why is that important?

Posted by & filed under Automation, election, Ethical Issues, FaceBook.

Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, pledged to fix how it handles political and issue ads in the wake of Russian meddling in 2016. But just days before the midterm elections, a key part of Facebook’s effort is broken, and it’s unclear if the company is doing anything to fix it.

The company has touted new rules for political ad-buyers as a major component of its work to combat disinformation on its platform. In 2016 Russian trolls with links to the Kremlin bought ads targeting Americans in the run-up to the presidential election. They were able to do so without giving any information to Americans seeing those ads about who was paying for them.

Political ads on the platform are now supposed to say who paid for them, but Facebook allows buyers to fill in that information themselves. And if anyone or any system at the company is supposed to be ensuring that the information these ad-buyers submit is the truth, they appear to be asleep at the wheel.

Earlier this week, Vice News, posing as a political ad-buyer, got approval from Facebook to run ads in the name of every single one of the US’ 100 senators. Vice News did not end up buying the ads. This came after Vice News had previously received approval from Facebook to run ads “Paid for” by Islamic State and Vice President Mike Pence.

Source: CNN Technology News

Date: November 2nd. 2018

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/01/tech/facebook-election-ad-problems/index.html

Discussion

1) Why does it matter that Facebook is allowing fake adverts?

2) How might Facebook use automation to check the details people enter about who they are?