WeeklyTech #10

Ethics and Marketing

You may notice a new tool on your Facebook profile in the coming months. A few weeks ago, the social media giant launched a new privacy tool called “Off-Facebook Activity.” This new tool gives you more control over the data that is captured and stored—from sources outside of Facebook—regarding your online activity. Currently, Facebook is able to track your internet activity, gathering valuable data, even when you are not using the platform, through the use of tracking pixels. This new privacy tool allows you to delete this personal data after a period of 48 hours.

In our digital age, companies share data about us with platforms in order to gain valuable insight into things like shopping, reading, and viewing habits. This data is used to strengthen predictive advertising products and improve user services. This common practice isn’t limited to Facebook, as other technology giants like Google, Twitter, and a host of others employ these methods to micro-target and craft ads to better suit us and, in the end, increase profits for both the advertiser and platform.

Interesting technology stories

Working Together for Safer Neighborhoods: Introducing the Neighbors Active Law Enforcement Map – Ring

Today, 405 agencies use the Neighbors Portal, which is an extension of the Neighbors app that allow law enforcement to engage with their local community—from posting important information about crime and safety events in their neighborhoods to viewing and commenting on public posts as a verified law enforcement officer to asking for help on active investigations by submitting requests for video recordings.

‘Hey, Google! Let me talk to my departed father.’ – Washington Post

If all goes according to plan, future generations will be able to interact with departed relatives using mobile devices or virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, asking the deceased questions, eliciting stories and drawing upon a lifetime’s worth of advice long after their physical body is gone.

OpenAI Said Its Code Was Risky – Wired

In February, an artificial intelligence lab cofounded by Elon Musk informed the world that its latest breakthrough was too risky to release to the public. OpenAI claimed it had made language software so fluent at generating text that it might be adapted to crank out fake news or spam. On Thursday, two recent master’s graduates in computer science released what they say is a re-creation of OpenAI’s withheld software onto the internet for anyone to download and use.

Major book publishers sue Amazon’s Audible over new speech-to-text feature – The Verge

Some of the world’s largest book publishers have jointly filed a lawsuit against Amazon-owned audiobook company Audible today over a new, controversial speech-to-text feature the literary industry claims is a violation of copyright law.