Google AI, GMail, Boston Marathon Attack, More: Sunday Buzz, April 15, 2018


Slashgear: Semantic Experiences open new conversations with Google’s AI. “Google has launched a new website called Semantic Experiences that enables the public to interact with its natural language artificial intelligence. Semantic Experiences currently has two different interactive options, one called Talk to Books, the other called Semantris. While the latter is an amusing game, Talk to Books is notable as a useful tool that can help people find books.”


CNET: Gmail update said to add self-destructing email you can’t print or forward. “word has slipped out about a couple of key new features that are reportedly coming soon to Google’s widely used email platform. One is called ‘confidential mode.’ According to The Verge, it allows you to limit what recipients can do with the emails you send, preventing them from being forwarded, downloaded or printed.” I never trust features like this. Ever. Everybody carries a camera. Google can’t stop anybody from taking a picture of their screen.

Northeastern: Five Years After Attack, Boston Marathon Digital Archivists Find Healing In Storytelling. “Five years on, revisiting the digital archive created after the Boston Marathon bombing is still part of the healing process for those who curated it. ‘It feels like you’re touching a wound,’ said Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, one of the archive’s primary investigators. ‘It’s painful. While there are a lot of wonderful stories that came out of that event—stories of people helping each other, of first responders saving lives—you can still feel that visceral experience of shock, pain, grieving, and loss that people encountered.'”


TechCrunch: HelpSelf uses simple AI to help those in legal trouble. “HelpSelf is a AI-assisted legal app that helps you deal with simple issues. Need protection against debt collectors? Need an expungement? Want to deal with domestic violence? This robot can help. The project is an “automated legal technology company” that automates simple legal procedures. They currently work in the above areas but are moving into housing, family law, certain immigration tasks, and employment law, said Dorna Moini, co-founder of the project.”

MakeUseOf: Cooking for Beginners: 5 Essential Sites for Newbies in the Kitchen. “Most recipe sites assume you have a basic level of understanding how to cook. But for the absolute beginner, things need to be even simpler, like what these five sites offer. This is a mix of learning the techniques needed to cook, as well as some quick-meal recipes for anyone without cooking knowledge. Start with the guides, and move on to the recipe outlets. And the free cookbook is the best.” Nice, well-annotated roundup. And now I’m hungry.


New York Times: I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.. “When I downloaded a copy of my Facebook data last week, I didn’t expect to see much. My profile is sparse, I rarely post anything on the site, and I seldom click on ads. (I’m what some call a Facebook ‘lurker.’) But when I opened my file, it was like opening Pandora’s box.”

Business Insider: Google poised to emerge unscathed from European antitrust crackdown. “The European Union’s top antitrust regulator, Margrethe Vestager, has made it her mission to stem alleged anti-competitive abuses by big American tech companies, threatening as recently as last month to break up Alphabet Inc’s Google. But a decision in the most important of three antitrust cases against Google – this one aimed at loosening its stranglehold over Android-powered smartphones – is likely to show just how difficult it is, even for a committed trust-buster like Vestager, to dent the power of the U.S. giants.”


BetaNews: Google loses big ‘right to be forgotten’ case — and it could set an important precedent. “A businessman with an historic criminal conviction has won his case against Google in a ‘right to be forgotten’ lawsuit seeking to remove information about his conviction from search results. The case, heard today in London, could set a precedent and lead to a series of similar cases from other people with spent convictions. The anonymous businessman — known only as NT2 — has a conviction for conspiracy to intercept communications from more than a decade ago and spent six months in prison for the crime.”

Bloomberg Quint: A Female Engineer’s Fight for Equal Pay at Google. “In 2010, Kelly Ellis got the dream Silicon Valley job: a software engineering position at Google. So when she first noticed things at work that suggested she was earning less than her male colleagues, she wasn’t sure how to reconcile it with her idea of the company. ‘I think I just didn’t want to believe that Google could be evil,’ she says in the latest episode of the Decrypted podcast.”


EurekAlert: Deep learning transforms smartphone microscopes into laboratory-grade devices . “Researchers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have demonstrated that deep learning, a powerful form of artificial intelligence, can discern and enhance microscopic details in photos taken by smartphones. The technique improves the resolution and color details of smartphone images so much that they approach the quality of images from laboratory-grade microscopes.” WOW.

BuzzFeed: How YouTube’s Channel Recommendations Push Users To The Fringe. “YouTube’s channel recommendations have helped ‘unite the far-right’ on the platform and actively promote channels that peddle conspiracy theories, according to new research. Jonas Kaiser and Adrian Rauchfleisch’s research paper, ‘Unite the Right? How YouTube’s Recommendation Algorithm Connects the U.S. Far-Right,’ is the first large-scale analysis of the channels that YouTube automatically recommends users subscribe to and visit. They conclude that the channel recommendation algorithm pushes users to more fringe and extreme channels, such as Alex Jones of Infowars, while also elevating far-right voices above others.”

UCLA: UCLA researchers use search engines, social media to predict syphilis trends. “Two studies from the UCLA-based University of California Institute for Prediction Technology, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, found an association between certain risk-related terms that Google and Twitter users researched or tweeted about and subsequent syphilis trends that were reported to the CDC. The researchers were able to pinpoint these cases at state or county levels, depending on the platform used.” Good morning, Internet…

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