Machine Learning Glossary, Music Discovery, Facebook, More: Saturday ResearchBuzz, October 9, 2021


Google Blog: The ML Glossary: Five years of new language. “Over guacamole and corn chips at a party, a friend mentions that her favorite phone game uses augmented reality. Another friend points her phone at the host and shouts, ‘Watch out—a t-rex is sneaking up behind you.’ Eager to join the conversation, you blurt, ‘My blender has an augmented reality setting.’ If only you had looked up augmented reality in Google’s Machine Learning Glossary, which defines over 460 terms related to artificial intelligence, you’d know what the heck your friends are talking about. If you’ve ever wondered what a neural network is, or if you chronically confuse the negative class with the positive class at the doctor’s office (‘Wait, the negative class means I’m healthy?’), the Glossary has you covered.” I tried to keep context while not including the “Oh look, you humiliated yourself by not consulting Google” lede, but it didn’t work. Apologies.

Virgin: Virgin Media teams up with Spotify to unlock musical history. “Virgin Media has teamed up with Spotify to create a unique tool allowing listeners to delve deeper into the musical history of more than 70 million songs. Listeners can search by artist or song title to discover the history of more than 70 million tracks. Integrated with Spotify, the tool maps a timeline of tracks based on musical attributes, genealogy and artist similarities. The results are filtered by decade and the experience will also generate a bespoke playlist for each user, full of the tracks and artists that share lineage with their chosen song.” Fun, but failed to find music a disappointing amount of the time. I mean, no Professor Longhair? WTF?


NiemanLab: When Facebook went down this week, traffic to news sites went up. “On August 3, 2018, Facebook went down for 45 minutes. That’s a little baby outage compared to the one this week, when, on October 4, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down for more than five hours. Three years ago, the 45-minute Facebook break was enough to get people to go read news elsewhere, Chartbeat‘s Josh Schwartz wrote for us at the time. So what happened this time around? For a whopping five-hours-plus, people read news, according to data Chartbeat gave us this week. (And they went to Twitter; Chartbeat saw Twitter traffic up 72%.”

CNN: Facebook whistleblower to talk to January 6 committee. “The Facebook whistleblower who released thousands of documents that she says shows the company knows its platforms are used to spread hate, violence and misinformation is expected to meet with the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol as soon as Thursday, three sources with knowledge tell CNN.” That’s this past Thursday; this article is from Wednesday.


HuffPost: Facebook’s ‘Digital Colonialism’ Made Monday’s Outage A Crisis For The World. “The Facebook outage that struck Monday morning and lasted throughout the day was ultimately a minor inconvenience for most Americans. But in countries like Brazil, it caused a destabilizing and disorienting seven hours ― not because was gone, but because WhatsApp, the messaging service the company also owns, suddenly went offline along with it. Still largely an afterthought in the United States, WhatsApp has grown into one of the world’s most vital communications services. More than 2 billion people ― 1 in 4 people on the planet ― use it. Brazil and India alone are home to nearly one-quarter of them.”

Deutsche Welle: ‘The Billion Dollar Code’: The battle over Google Earth. “The Netflix miniseries tells in two timelines and four parts how two computer freaks developed their idea, convinced a large corporation and finally the whole world of its interest — only to be robbed of their fame and fortune by a tech giant’s legal ruse. With this German production, Netflix demonstrates once again that the setting of a story is not what matters most, but rather what it is about. The two developers could just as well have been from Japan or South Africa instead of Germany; the core of their tale is universal.”

263 Chat: Zimbabwe International Film Festival Returns. “‘Narratives from Zimbabwe’ is a project initiated by ZIFFT in 2019, that has so far travelled around many parts of the country, documenting Zimbabwe’s rich history and heritage. The interviews, footage and photographs captured during this first phase of the project will be used to create a multi-media digital archive and interactive website that filmmakers and other creative content producers will be able to draw from as a reservoir of indigenous knowledge and inspiration.”


Bloomberg: Zuckerberg’s early notes on privacy sought in Facebook suit, which company asserts is to ‘embarrass’ CEO. “It’s been a bad week for Facebook, which faced an unprecedented global outage of the company’s sites and a damaging interview by a former insider turned whistle-blower that sent the stock down nearly 5 per cent on Monday. The lawyers suing the company said in a court filing that their interest in Zuckerberg’s writings from 2006 – when he was 22 and Facebook was two years old – was piqued by a 17-page chunk of his notebooks that featured in journalist Steven Levy’s 2020 book, Facebook: The Inside Story.”

Washington Post: Facebook whistleblower’s revelations could usher in tech’s ‘Big Tobacco moment,’ lawmakers say. “Lawmakers say that testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is galvanizing members of both parties to unify behind sweeping proposals targeting social media companies, after years of stalled attempts, with some calling it the tech industry’s ‘Big Tobacco moment.’ ‘This time feels distinctly different,’ Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), chair of the Senate Commerce consumer protection subcommittee, said in an interview. ‘The public has been engaged and outraged in a very different way.'”

Business Insider: The Justice Department accidentally unsealed a rare ‘keyword warrant’ ordering Google to hand over data on anyone who searched a victim’s name, report says. “The warrant ordered Google to identify the usernames and IP addresses of anyone searching three names, a phone number, or address related to the victim of a Wisconsin kidnapping case over a span of 16 days, the report said. Federal investigators filed the warrant in hopes of narrowing down human-trafficking and sexual-assault suspects, documents reviewed by Forbes showed.”


WWLP: Artificial intelligence changing accuracy of hurricane forecasts. “Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have recently developed a new model that aids in predicting hurricane intensity. It’s one of several models that are used to track hurricane movement and intensity. Although this model will be using the same data that other models use, it differs in its use of ‘neural networks’.”

News@Northeastern: The Race To Save Indigenous Languages, Using Automatic Speech Recognition. “Growing up in the windy plains near the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, [Michael] Running Wolf says that although his family—which is part Cheyenne, part Lakota—didn’t have daily access to running water or electricity, sometimes, when the winds died down, the power would flicker on, and he’d plug in his Atari console and play games with his sisters. These early experiences would spur forward a lifelong interest in computers, artificial intelligence, and software engineering that Running Wolf is now harnessing to help reawaken endangered indigenous languages in North and South America, some of which are so critically at risk of extinction that their tallies of living native speakers have dwindled into the single digits.”

The MIT Press Reader: A History of the Data-Tracked User. “The following article, adapted from Tanya Kant’s case study ‘Identity, Advertising, and Algorithmic Targeting: Or How (Not) to Target Your “Ideal User”,’ maps a brief history of the commercially targeted user, beginning with ‘identity scoring’ in the 1940s and ending with the targeted advertising of today.” Good morning, Internet…

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