Posted by & filed under Google.

Alphabet Inc.’s digital city on Toronto’s waterfront will be made out of wood, heated by geothermal wells and offer a swathe of affordable housing as it seeks to win over a skeptical public concerned about privacy issues at the development.

Sidewalk Labs LLC, the urban innovation unit of Google parent Alphabet says about 40 percent of the 2,500 residential units on the 4.9-hectare (12-acre) development dubbed “Quayside,” will be below-market housing, including 20 percent affordable. Just over half will be purpose-built rental.

Source: Bloomberg

Date: November 30th, 2018

Link (if you open with an incognito browser you will not trigger the article limitations): https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-29/google-aims-to-win-over-skeptical-toronto-with-affordable-homes?srnd=technology-vp

Discussion

1) Is it “technology news” that a technology company is going to build affordable housing?

2) Why is it important that Google is doing this?

Posted by & filed under bitcoin, blockchain.

Gold bitcoins on circuit board graphic

As we approach Bitcoin’s 10th anniversary at the end of this month, we ask whether blockchain – the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency – is fulfilling its promise, or a tech still looking for a better reason to exist.

There have been some very grandiose claims made about blockchain.

Source: BBC Business Technology

Date: November 30th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45919700

Discussion

1) Do you understand what the difference is between Bitcoin and Blockchain?

2) Blockchain should really be called Distributed Ledger Technology.  Why?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Apple, FaceBook, Google, Netflix.

The FAANGs have been savaged over the past week

Technology stocks have had a very bad week. For the FAANGs (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) which have led the charge in growth over the past decade, it was grim.

At their lowest point, all five were down more than 20 per cent from their peaks. This translates to hundreds of billions of dollars in value being wiped from them.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 30th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-46317205

Discussion

1) Who else might we consider adding to the FAANG group?

2) This article brings up a very interesting point: “Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, has co-authored an important new book called Blitzscaling. This riffs on the idea that it is the remorseless pursuit of scale that gives data-based companies their advantage. The first scaler, rather than the first mover, will emerge victorious in various markets. That, according to Hoffman, is why venture capitalists are happy to tolerate the lack of profits at a company like Uber.”  Which do you think is more important, being the first mover or being the first scaler?

Posted by & filed under Artificial intelligence.

Taryn Southern, a YouTube star and content creator, has just released a song she wrote with the help of artificial intelligence.  Called Break Free, it’s a brooding ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Hunger Games soundtrack. Southern wrote the lyrics and melody, but the backing track was built by her laptop, after she punched in a number of settings for the song’s mood, tempo and instrumentation. “My new collaborator is not human,” she grins. “It’s an AI algorithm”.

Source: BBC Music News

Date: November 23, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-41935971

Discussion

1) Why does it matter (or not) that AI is creating music we might actually pay to buy?

2) What are the ethical issues here?

Posted by & filed under Cyberforensics, Cybersecurity.

Canadian companies should watch out when they use technology supplied by state-owned companies from countries that want to steal corporate secrets, the country’s security agencies have warned.

The RCMP organized two workshops last March — one in Calgary, the other in Toronto — to raise awareness about threats to critical systems, including espionage and foreign interference, cyberattacks, terrorism and sabotage, newly disclosed documents show.

Source: CBC News

Date: November 23. 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/security-agencies-warn-espionage-networks-1.4919962

Discussion

1) What sort of things should companies “watch out” for?

2) How might you factor in all the effort to check if there issues with hardware or software purchased from other countries in the Total Cost of Ownership of an item?

Posted by & filed under bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s ongoing meteoric price rise has received the bulk of recent press attention with a lot of discussion around whether or not it’s a bubble waiting to burst.   However, most the coverage has missed out one of the more interesting and unintended consequences of this price increase. That is the surge in global electricity consumption used to “mine” more Bitcoins.  According to Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption stands at 29.05TWh.  If Bitcoin miners were a country they’d rank 61st in the world in terms of electricity consumption.

Source: PowerCompare

Date: November 23rd, 2018

Link: https://powercompare.co.uk/bitcoin/

Discussion

1) Why does it matter that Bitcoin mining consumes so much energy?

2) The article shows that places like the Gaza Strip are some of the top places in the world for Bitcoin mining.  Is this a concern, or not?

Posted by & filed under Big Data, bots, Ethical Issues.

HiQ is a “people analytics” firm that creates software tools for corporate human resources departments. Its Skill Mapper graphically represents the credentials and abilities of a workforce; its Keeper service identifies when employees are at risk of leaving for another job. Both draw the overwhelming majority of their data from a single trove: the material that is posted—with varying degrees of timeliness, detail, accuracy, and self-awareness—by the 500 million people on the social networking site LinkedIn.

Source: Bloomberg

Date: November 23, 2018

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-11-15/the-brutal-fight-to-mine-your-data-and-sell-it-to-your-boss

Discussion

1) “Depending on whom you talk to, the sides are arguing about free speech or privacy, the scourge of data scraping or the danger of digital monopolies.”  Where do you come out in this debate?

2) What other sources of data might be scraped by bots and what could you learn from this?

Posted by & filed under Apple.

Well, you don’t see that every day – Apple has rushed out a patch to fix a major security bug.  It had been revealed that users of its new MacOS High Sierra operating system can access it without using a password.

Just use “root” as a username, leave the password field blank and hit “Enter” a few times.  It’s an embarrassing slip-up and not one users are used to from Apple, whose products are often cited as more reliable and secure than its rivals’.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 23, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42166438

Discussion

1) “We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.”  What steps might this audit include?

2) Apple’s development process has obviously already been audited many times, so to suggest that Apple is now “auditing our development processes” is just saying something that is obviously true but not very useful.  What could have gone wrong here?

Posted by & filed under Amazon.

The Long Island City neighborhood in the Queens borough of New York, Nov. 6. Amazon has chosen the neighborhood for one of its two new headquarters locations.

“This was a list of places Amazon really thinks they’re going to put something. We should compete to get whatever that is but, in reality, the key to our long-term success is to create the next Amazons in Toronto, not lure the current Amazon.”

Source: Toronto Star

Date: November 15th, 2018

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/technology/2018/11/13/toronto-loses-bid-to-host-amazons-second-headquarters.html

Discussion

1) “I’ve told (Toronto officials) since day one that Amazon was cloud-sourcing information to make a whole series of corporate location decisions, not just headquarters, and that Toronto is dating Amazon, getting to know Amazon,”   What do you think of this statement?  Is it a losers justification?

2) “450,000 people already work in tech in the Toronto area, Cohon added, and the regional boom will continue, thanks in part to the international exposure gained from the Amazon bid book that has been downloaded 17,300 times.”   What Toronto did seems very smart indeed.  What are your thoughts on this approach of making all the information provided to Amazon available to everyone?

Posted by & filed under Emerging Technologies.

This handout image supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA), shows a view of The Palms, Dubai as the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft psses below, in an image taken by ESA astronaut Tim Peake from the International Space Station on April 10, 2016. FCC has cleared SpaceX and three other companies to launch new internet-beaming satellites, which can help connect rural Americans. (Photo by Tim Peake / ESA/NASA via Getty Images)

In a move that is expected to expand satellite Internet connectivity, the US Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted Thursday to allow SpaceX and three other companies to deploy new satellites systems.

The approval allows Elon Musk’s company to operate more than 7,000 “very-low-Earth orbit” satellites and the additional flexibility to provide “both diverse geographic coverage and the capacity to support a wide range of broadband communications services for residential, commercial, institutional, governmental and professional users in the United States and globally.”

Source: Forbes Technology News

Date: November 15th, 2018

Link: http://fortune.com/2018/11/15/fcc-approves-spacex-to-launch-new-very-low-earth-orbit-internet-beaming-satellites/

Discussion

1) This could radically change the way we receive internet, as it allows completely new companies to compete without having to dig up roads and put cables in to homes to deliver internet services.  Why is this such a big deal?

2) Are there any services you could package around this sort of internet?