DataDownload: The browser wars are back… and privacy is the crucial play
DataDownload: The browser wars are back… and privacy is the crucial play A weekly summary of all things Media, Data, Emerging Tech View this email in your browser
Hi Everyone. I’m so glad you’re here this MLK holiday. The NYC Media Lab had an amazing week of programs and we launched the fifth year of our Combine accelerator with 7 great teams. As you can will read in the articles below — AI arrives fraught with complexity. Our sold-out NewsLab ’20 event produced with the Knight foundations is right around the corner.
For a look into the real world “Black Mirror” version of China’s social credit system — don’t miss this weeks must watch piece below.
So, on Monday — take a moment to remember the powerful words of Martin Luther King — “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Technology isn’t just about today — it’s about where tomorrow will take us.
Have an idea how we can work together in 2020? Reach out — Steve@NYCMediaLab.org, always looking to explore.
The NYC Media Lab Must-Read The Browser Wars Are Back, but It’s Different This Time
“After many years of stasis, things are really about to change…. the next browser war is here and it’s a goat rodeo.”
Three big events in the browser space this week: Microsoft switched to the same tech running Chrome for its Edge browser (how many times have you heard about web code breaking in IE?); Mozilla laid off 70 employees while it waits for revenue from new products; and Google dropped third-party cookies.
And privacy and tracking concerns lie in the middle of it all: “the new Browser Wars aren’t about who makes the fastest or best browser, they’re about whose services you want and whose data policies you trust.”
8 min read
Read More Want Your Personal Data? Hand Over More Please Alistair Barr morbidly summed up the process of requesting your data as a new privacy circle of hell. It’s not just that you have to hand over sensitive data to verify your identity for requests: it’s how easy it is to spoof your identity and request somebody else’s data.
In one study — GDPArrrrr: Using Privacy Laws to Steal Identities — a researcher filed data requests on the behalf of his wife using info found online, obtaining her social security number, grades, and leaked passwords.
6 min read Read More For the Media The Sigma Awards Will Replace the Data Journalism Awards This Year
To fill the void left behind by the closure of the Global Editors Network, which initiated the first international Data Journalism Awards, a new award was introduced by Aron Pilhofer (Temple University) and Reginald Chua (Reuters).
“The first round of the Sigma Awards will have six categories and award nine winners with an all-expenses-paid trip to the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.” Check out the application in the events section below!
1 min read
Read More Yes, an AI-Generated Blog Can Rank — and That’s Scary After talktotransformer.com, our favorite use of OpenAI’s (now fully released) GPT-2 model has been AI Dungeon. A few minutes of playtime is all it takes to realize there’s no limit to what you can do with semi-lucid generated text. That includes both surprisingly realistic and unintentionally hilarious storytelling… and the creation of fake content that’s able to rank on Google.
Fractl co-founder Kristin Tynski was able to get a blog entirely generated by GPT-2 to rank (thanks in no small part to the press coverage of the blog itself). Will generated content be blackhat marketers’ newest tool for delivering disinformation-as-a-service?
3 min read Read More The Rise of AI-Assisted Writing — And What That Means for PR
To continue on the subject of using AI to generate marketable content, PR news site The Holmes Report looks at the tech’s potential in writing pitches. Journalist John Seabrook, who previously trained GPT-2 to write in the style of the New Yorker, suggests an AI pitch generator that “could parse a writer’s previous work or style more cost-effectively than a human.”
Meanwhile, Forbes associated editor Alex Konrad believes it would “further commoditize whatever the news was, meaning it probably wouldn’t be worth the trouble to write.”
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Read More What We’re Watching What Life Under China’s Social Credit System Could Be Like
We’ve covered China’s Social Credit System — how it’s been hyped and misunderstood over the past few years. RealLifeLore does a decent job rounding it all up and explaining how the credit system will borrow elements from pilot surveillance programs in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, possible ridiculous score factors like video game habits and protest activity, and how apps like dating giant Baihe have already implement an opt-in feature that allows users to flaunt their scores.
10 min watch Watch Now Events & Announcements Job: Associate Director, 5G EdTech Challenge
The Associate Director will provide leadership and strategic direction for NYC Media Lab in its execution of the Verizon 5G EdTech Challenge program by co-designing and developing a new 5G curriculum, which will require synthesizing and consolidating curricula developed by EdTech Challenge teams. Apply Here.
Event: The 2020 Sigma Awards
Deadline: February 3
The Sigma Awards is a new data journalism award which aims to not just celebrate the best data journalism around the world, but also to empower, elevate and enlighten the global community of data journalists. Apply Here.
Event: Predicting The Next NBA Champion Using Data Science
Date: January 22, 6:30PM-8:30PM
In this beginner’s workshop, instructors will introduce simple models to understand how data is used to make decisions, followed by more complex material to demonstrate how data science is used to predict the outcomes of NBA games. Register Here. A Deeper Look François Chollet on Twitter: Our Field Isn’t Quite “Artificial Intelligence” — It’s “Cognitive Automation”
Soon after South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol lost to DeepMind’s AlphaGo in 2016’s historic match, he quit the Korea Baduk Association (the country’s Go association). Now, Lee is retiring, in part (but not wholly) due to the fact that there is an entity he can never defeat. This caused a media uproar over the superiority of AI; some researchers, however, believe games aren’t a good measure of intelligence at all.
In a vital paper on measuring machine intelligence, Google engineer Francois Chollet stresses that a system’s “generalization power” is a better benchmark than narrow tasks that take millions of training examples and tens of thousands of years’ worth of training time. Chollet summarizes his point in the Twitter thread below — also check out this excellent summary on The Next Web.
See Tweet Special Sunglasses, License-Plate Dresses: How to Be Anonymous in the Age of Surveillance Unintended bias in facial recognition systems has been well documented. Microsoft, Intel, and Amazon’s CV systems have come under strict scrutiny for misidentifying women and people of color.
As a response to “surveillance capitalism,” anti-surveillance accessories have spring up, including adversarial sunglasses Reflectacles, adversarial fashion, and hyper-realistic masks.
8 min read Read More Transactions & Announcements Apple’s Latest AI Acquisition Leaves Some Wyze Cameras Without People Detection