Posted by & filed under FaceBook.

A video wall

Facebook was aware of inaccuracies in the way it measured how many people viewed video on its site for a year longer than it has previously admitted, court documents have claimed.

Newly released papers that are part of a US legal action against the social network, claim that it knew about the problems in 2015.

Facebook described the case against it as “without merit”.

It said suggestions it had tried to hide the issue were “false”.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45901287

Discussion

1) You have watched videos on Facebook, sometimes to the end, sometimes not.  What do you think is a fair metric to measure how much video is being watched?

2) Should this be a linear metric, that is you just count the number of minutes and seconds watched and divide by the total length of the video?  Does it make more sense to have a metric that is exponential – the more someone watches of a video the more valuable their time watching is counted?

Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing, Data center, Data storage, Ethical Issues.

A woman watching a tablet device

Watching your favourite show or listening to your playlist has never been easier.

A virtually endless supply of film, music and TV can be streamed and downloaded almost instantly.

But at what cost to the environment?

Vast amounts of energy are needed to keep data flowing on the internet and demand will only increase as our reliance on digital services grows.

Some of that energy is generated from clean energy sources, but much of it comes from burning carbon-based fossil fuels, which scientists believe is a contributing factor to rising global temperatures.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 18th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-45798523

Discussion

1) “More demand for the technology also means more energy is required to store and share vast amounts of information.  This is where data centres come in – often in vast buildings that house computer servers that store, process and distribute internet traffic. The servers themselves require a great deal of cooling.”  So, this is not just a Netflix issue.  What other issues are there?

2) How could you make a change?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Artificial intelligence.

hopper travel app

Hopper — a mobile-only travel booking app cofounded by a former Expedia executive in Montreal, Canada that uses artificial intelligence to help you search for and book hotels and flights — has gained a little elevation of its own today. The startup has raised another $100 million in funding, money that it plans to use to build out its AI algorithms and expand deeper into international markets.

Source: TechCrunch

Date: October 12th, 2018

Link: https://techcrunch.com/2018/10/03/hopper-raises-100m-more-for-its-ai-based-travel-app-now-valued-at-780m/

Discussion

1) “Hopper has carved out a distinct place for itself by building an AI framework that not only helps people find good deals, but also discover trips they may have not known that they specifically wanted to take.”  Is this creepy, or useful?

2) $100 million for a travel app.  How is this possible?

Posted by & filed under Automation.

On the eve of legalized recreational marijuana and concerns about supply shortage, one of Canada’s largest producers believes automated machines will be the key to producing more cannabis.

Leamington-based Aphria currently has supply agreements with every province and Yukon, boasting about plans to produce roughly 20,000 kilograms of marijuana a month by spring.

As they expand their footprint to 3 million square feet, they’re constantly looking at automation to reduce costs and maintain quality, said co-founder John Cervini.

“It’s what’s made us the low-cost producer, helped us to maintain that low-cost producer status,” he said during a recent tour of the facility.

Source: CBC News

Date: October 12th, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/automation-aphria-leamington-cannabis-before-legal-marijuana-1.4857992

Discussion

1) What sorts of jobs will not be automated away?

2) Review this site:  https://willrobotstakemyjob.com/ What sorts of jobs do get automated away, and what sorts do not?

Posted by & filed under Apple, Emerging Economies.

The battle for India’s online shoppers has triggered a smartphone gold rush.

Flipkart and Amazon are leading an online sales bonanza that will see Indians buy smartphones worth over $1 billion in just five days, according to tech consultancy Counterpoint Research.
Bangalore-based Flipkart said it sold 1 million devices during the first hour of an online phone sale on Thursday that was part of its “Big Billion Days” shopping festival. By the end of the day, it had sold more than 3 million phones.
Source: CNN Technology
Date: October 12th, 2018
Discussion
1) Why is it important, or maybe it is not, that 300 million Indians now have a smartphone?
2) Why is it important, or maybe it is not, that almost none of the smartphones Indians are buying are iPhones?

Posted by & filed under cyber war, Cybersecurity, Ethical Issues, hackers.

A picture showing the inside of the car

Four Russians, a car full of electronic equipment, and a foiled plot to hack the world’s foremost chemical weapons watchdog.

The Dutch security services say Russia planned a cyber-attack on the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague earlier this year.

At a press conference on Thursday, Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said the plan was thwarted with the help of officials from the UK.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: October 8th, 2018

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45747472

Discussion

1) There are some in the intelligence community who are describing this cyberattack on the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons by Russian agents as “amateur hour”.  I find it headshaking too, as what you see in the picture above, and the attack as described, is something that was being conducted 20 years ago and is called “drive-by hacking”.  The equipment in the photo, allegedly from Russian’s premier spy agency GRU, is about 20 years out of date too.  All of what is being described here can be done off a high-end gaming laptop fitted with an off-the-shelf hi-speed wifi card.  Given all that, what is going on here?

2) Cybersecurity attacks are clearly on the rise.  What are doing for yourself to better understand the risks, and how to control those risks, even if you don’t become a cybersecurity specialist?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Emerging Economies, Emerging Technologies, Green Tech.

A small city in eastern Ontario is running an experiment that could one day have a big impact on public transit operators across North America.

Belleville Transit has launched a new service allowing customers to summon a bus to their nearest bus stop — and the ride won’t take the scenic route to their destination.

“This is a brand new system that has not been used by any other transit service in North America,” says Paul Buck, Belleville’s manager of transit operations.

The city of 50,000 is moving its late-night bus route to this ride hailing model. It plans to test the concept for a year, and if the “Uber for buses” idea works, it will also be integrated into Belleville’s daytime service.

Source: CBC News

Date: October 2nd, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/uber-lyft-ride-hailing-on-demand-public-transit-1.4842699

Discussion

1) The information systems issue here is obviously not the buses, but the app that allows buses to be ride-hailed and the system behind this that provides for efficient routing of the buses at times when several users are hailing a bus.  What are some issues that would need to be solved in this “several riders want a ride at different bus stops” problem?

2) Does this technology scale from this 50,000 person town to a 500,000 person city?

Posted by & filed under Cybersecurity, Electronic Surveillance, Ethical Issues.

It started with a tub of protein powder. Omar Abdulaziz ordered one on Amazon in late June and was waiting for it to arrive at his Sherbrooke, Que., apartment. Abdulaziz didn’t think much of it when he received a text message later that day from DHL with a link to a tracking number, stating his package was on its way.

In what has become a scarily effective hacking technique, the text message — and the link it contained — was not what it claimed to be. Abdulaziz believes he clicked the link, which would have let spyware burrow its way into his iPhone. There, it could copy his contacts and messages and even eavesdrop on calls. Its operators would have total control.

Source: CBC News

Date: October 1st, 2018

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/omar-abdulaziz-spyware-saudi-arabia-nso-citizen-lab-quebec-1.4845179

Discussion

1) Imagine you run the technology and information systems of a large (1,000 person) company.  How do you train employees not to click on dangerous texts like the one mentioned in this article?

2) How would you know and check whether or not you have this software already installed on your phone?

Posted by & filed under Artificial intelligence, Google.

Google is replacing its top advertising executive, Sridhar Ramaswamy, the first major management shakeup at the company’s most important business in half a decade.

Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Google’s business-applications unit, will step into the role on Friday, the company said. A veteran of search technology and artificial intelligence research, Raghavan will now oversee product and engineering for the world’s largest digital-ads business, which is on course to generate more than $100 billion in sales this year.

Source: Bloomberg Technology News

Date: October 1st, 2018

Link (10 free articles per month): https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-01/google-ad-chief-ramaswamy-exits-search-ai-veteran-replaces-him?srnd=technology-vp

Discussion

1) This is a big deal, and is happening quickly.  Why is the move to have an Artificial Intelligence expert in charge of Google advertising?

2) What is your understanding of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to impact advertising and marketing?  What are you doing to improve this?