Therapists of Color, Bullstop, Emoji, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, July 18, 2020


WBAL: Therapy in Color helps connect Black Americans with therapists of color. “A new website is making it easier than ever for people of color to get specialized mental health help. From nationwide protests to the coronavirus pandemic, mental health issues are at an all-time high. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Black Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.”

EurekAlert: Cyberbullying ‘shield’ app uses AI to combat social media trolls. “Computer scientists from Aston University, Birmingham, have launched an app that uses novel artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to combat trolling and bullying online. The downloadable app, Bullstop, is the only anti-cyberbullying app that integrates directly to social media platforms to protect users from bullies and trolls messaging them directly.”


Google Blog: What would Emoji Day be without…new emoji!?. “Last year, we sent a proposal focused on introducing more empathetic expressions and finding opportunities to bring equity to the keyboard to the Unicode Consortium, the nonprofit organization that maintains emoji standards and guidelines. We’ll see some of those efforts released this fall with a slightly smiling face, an emoji of two people hugging, a man in a veil, a woman in a tuxedo, and a person feeding a baby.”


For a given value of useful, but it’s Saturday, so.. Make Tech Easier: Here’s a Bunch of Funny Things to Ask Siri. “Siri is an extremely useful AI assistant, helping you in day-to-day tasks like making a calendar appointment or finding your iPhone. But there are plenty of other more whimsical uses for Siri too. This is especially true when it comes to kids, though adults will also enjoy the pile of nonsense questions you can throw at Siri. So we’ve gathered together a whole bunch of funny things to ask Siri when you’re bored and looking for a quick fix of fun. Some are kid-friendly, others aren’t. We’ll let you be the judge!”


San Antonio Express-News: Ayala: Making Mexican American civil rights history ‘part of a national conversation’. “The extraordinary events of 2020 also accelerated the [Mexican American Civil Rights Institute’s] digital game plan — long term, it wants to be a national hub of Mexican American civil rights archives. Leaders said the pandemic, which made digital connections that much more essential, fostered a re-imagining of the institute’s online presence. Next month, it will unveil its first website, a 1.0 version. A second is already in the works. The goal is a ‘robust’ digital archive.”

KARE11: Social media users ‘Share The Mic’ to change the conversation in America. “It is a social media take over. And if your Twitter or Instagram feed looks a bit different, there is a reason. On Wednesday, women across the state were participating in a campaign called ‘Share The Mic MN’. And, it works how it sounds. Participants take over social media accounts. Jasmine Stringer, who is leading Minnesota’s campaign, said the mission is clear: Amplify the work of Black and brown women who live in Minnesota by expanding their reach and voice.”


The Guardian: Did you protest recently? Your face might be in a database. “In recent weeks, millions have taken to the streets to oppose police violence and proudly say: ‘Black Lives Matter.’ These protests will no doubt be featured in history books for many generations to come. But, as privacy researchers, we fear a darker legacy, too. We know that hundreds of thousands of photos and videos of protesters have been recorded and uploaded online. They could remain there indefinitely, only to be dredged up decades later. It is for this reason that we must ask whether those photos could end up in a facial recognition database.”


Fast Company: Twitter automatically flags more than half of all tweets that violate its rules. “More than 51% of tweets that violate Twitter’s Terms of Service are now automatically flagged by machine learning systems, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Thursday. The tweets are then handed to human workers for review, in a process that Dorsey said should ease the burden on people who receive harassing messages on the platform, since they won’t have to manually report as many offensive messages.”

CNN: I attended a virtual conference with an AI version of Deepak Chopra. It was bizarre and transfixing. “I was reacting to the fact that Chopra, Stone, Banister and two other people I’d been viewing via Zoom — Laura Ulloa, a peace activist, and Lars Buttler, cofounder and CEO of the AI Foundation and moderator of this panel discussion — were all digital personas created with artificial intelligence. That is, each one of them looked and sounded a lot like the person they were meant to represent. But these ersatz versions of their flesh-and-blood counterparts were built by Buttler’s AI Foundation, a San Francisco company and nonprofit that promotes the idea that each of us should have our own AI identity.”

PC Magazine: Google’s AI starts answering Verizon support calls. “This week, Verizon announced that it has started piloting Google’s Cloud Contact Center Artificial Intelligence in a bid to deliver, ‘a more natural and streamlined digital experience.’ Verizon believes using Google’s tech will lead to shorter call times and more satisfied customers, with the added bonus of the company being able to deal with more customers calling each day.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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