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Amazon Is Just the Tip of the AI Bias Iceberg
November 16, 2018
Amazon recently disclosed its 2015 decision to scrap a recruitment tool used to hire talent, after finding that it had a bias against women. While this story has been covered sufficiently, there is a much greater story still to tell: A substantial amount of the AI technology that currently is used for recruitment and human resources purposes has been acting independently for some time.
When the News Went Live... Online
November 15, 2018
The shift of live content from traditional broadcast television to online sources has significantly changed the video industry -- and especially, the news media industry. News typically derives its value and attracts viewers with live updates and real-time engagement. The rise of live online alternatives extends those capabilities to nontraditional voices in the digital realm.
Let's Create a TV Show to Fix Silicon Valley
November 12, 2018
Startups have been creating employee hell in Silicon Valley. That was on my mind as I read the book Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us. I think this book should be required reading for anybody who thinks working for a startup in Silicon Valley would be fun. Unless you are into humiliation and abuse you probably should avoid these startups like the plague.
HBO Fires Back at Dish in Blackout Tussle
November 9, 2018
HBO chief Richard Plepler has issued a response to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen's claim that the ongoing impasse between the companies was the result of a purely anticompetitive play on AT&T's part. It was Dish that dropped HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on Oct. 31, blacking out programming for subscribers, Plepler said. That was the first time in HBO's nearly 50-year history that any pay-TV service dropped the premium channel from its lineup.
It Is Well Past Time for Elections to Be Online
November 5, 2018
Tomorrow a minority of those who are eligible will take time off, drive through traffic, and wait in lines to take part in one of the most artificially annoying obligations of United States citizenship: voting. Many who make that inconvenient trek will treat the process like a multiple choice test they haven't studied for, either voting the party line or guessing at the right answers.
Crisis in Tech: Who Can Save Companies When Execs Go Off the Rails?
October 29, 2018
"Too many digital leaders have lost their minds," Kara Swisher recently wrote, citing some frightening examples of poor leadership. She pointed to the solution adopted by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who hired a chief ethical officer -- but I think that would just repeat the mistake we made with chief risk officers around a decade ago. The risk managers had responsibility but no real authority.
Former White House CIO Theresa Payton: 'There Are Grave Concerns About Election Interference'
October 26, 2018
Theresa Payton, CEO of Fortalice Solutions, is one of the most influential experts on cybersecurity and IT strategy in the United States. She is an authority on Internet security, data breaches and fraud mitigation. She served as the first female chief information officer at the White House, overseeing IT operations for President George W. Bush and his staff.
How AI Could Fix What Seems Unfixable
October 1, 2018
I watched last week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and I was struck by the fact that they seemed to be more about the Democrats fighting with Republicans to see which party could corrupt the Supreme Court more effectively than they were about senators doing their jobs. What bothers me most about that is if you corrupt the highest court in the land you effectively destroy the country.
Women as CEOs: The Problems and the Promise
September 24, 2018
I've followed several female CEOs over the years. Most failed, largely because they were both unqualified for the job and their boards didn't back them up. In several cases, the board and the CEO seemed to be in conflict, or the board failed to act. That has created the impression that female CEOs are a bad bet. However, I believe the real problem is that boards haven't been doing their jobs.
Poor Website Designs Could Trigger Legal Actions
September 21, 2018
Internet marketing has become so popular that e-commerce retail sales in the United States are on pace to double between 2009 and 2018. The transaction value of e-commerce service industry contracts reached $600 billion in 2016. Despite the rush to digital commerce, the rules for business transactions are still the same, whether they are concluded on paper or electronically.
ACLU Sues Facebook for Facilitating Gender-Biased Job Recruitment
September 19, 2018
The ACLU has filed charges of unlawful gender-based discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Facebook and 10 employers accused of targeting job ads at males only. The ACLU, Outten & Golden, a Washington, D.C. law firm, and the Communications Workers of America brought the class action. The complaint alleges that Facebook delivers job ads selectively.
Despite Emmys, Road Ahead Is Bumpy for Streaming Services
September 18, 2018
Netflix had a very good showing on Monday, winning 23 Emmy Awards and tying longtime Emmy-winning powerhouse HBO. Netflix, an over-the-top streaming service, claimed 112 nominations this year, four more than its premium pay-TV channel rival HBO, which had dominated the Emmys for nearly two decades. Although the Emmy wins were good news for Netflix, other recent news has been far less rosy.
Blockchain (Re)Emerges
September 17, 2018
More often than you might think, disruptive innovations travel in pairs -- at least until they are separated by the markets, which decide one is useful and the other no so much. Sometimes they're symbiotic. Both may be useful or even necessary -- like hardware and software -- but that's not always the case. Consider the strange pairing of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
Death Watch Begins for Google
September 17, 2018
The EU has been stretching its wings. In the shadow of Brexit, it apparently has decided it has the real enemy of the people in its sights: social media companies and Google. France is even more aggressive, suggesting that the EU's "right to be forgotten" law should apply worldwide. Given that it actually does fall within the legitimate purview of government, it is hard not to agree.
Facebook Goes Into High Gear to Fight Election Meddling, Fake News
September 14, 2018
Defending against foreign interference in American elections is one of the priorities Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he has been focusing on this year. The issue is highly sensitive, and it is one that has garnered a great deal of discussion in media reports and on the Web. Special counsel Robert Mueller warned in a court filing this spring that foreign interference efforts were still going on.
Google Digs In Heels Over Global Expansion of EU's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
September 14, 2018
Google took on French lawyers at the European Union Court of Justice this week, in an effort to fend off expansion of the EU's "right to be forgotten" judgment. The EU's attempts to broaden the scope of that judgment would be "completely unenvisagable," and it could result in impositions on the values of different countries around the world, Google argued.
EU Copyright Directive Advances Despite Worry Over Breaking the Internet
September 13, 2018
The European Parliament on Wednesday approved a directive aimed at protecting the intellectual property of copyright holders on the Internet. It would require online platforms to scrutinize content their users post online and enter licensing agreements with rights holders. The Parliament approved the copyright directive with a vote of 438-226, with 39 abstentions.
Sign of the Times
September 11, 2018
Well, here's one Dreamforce idea I never heard of. A group of groups opposed to the Trump administration's immigrant detention and separation policies has announced that it will picket Dreamforce. It already has called on speakers attending the event to pull out. A long time ago, a very underfunded Salesforce marketing team tried a similar stunt, disrupting Siebel user group meetings.
To Resist Manipulation, Ask One Question
September 10, 2018
The level of effort devoted to manipulating our opinions is unprecedented. Granted, a lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the "free" online services we use aren't free at all. They are trading our ability to make measured opinions for advertisers' money, and some of these "advertisers" are foreign governments. There is one question we should be asking of any inflammatory story: Why?
Senators Bash Google at Russian Election Meddling Hearing
September 6, 2018
An empty chair reserved for Google became the focal point for harsh criticism Wednesday at the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified at the forum. Several senators lambasted the absent company for being unwilling to answer important questions.
'Five Eyes' Nations Push for Encryption Backdoors
September 5, 2018
Strong encryption can be a threat to law enforcement and national security, the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand said in a statement issued Sunday. "The increasing use and sophistication of certain encryption designs present challenges for nations in combating serious crimes and threats to national and global security," maintained the countries.
Of Course Google Is Biased
September 3, 2018
I once took a market research class that focused on the identification and elimination of bias. My final paper was on an intentionally biased piece of research. It was far easier to introduce bias and then talk about the bias than it would have been to attempt to do unbiased work and defend it as unbiased. For that reason alone, it's almost certainly true that Google's search engine is biased.
Human Rights Groups Amplify Call for 'Killer Robot' Ban
August 30, 2018
Leaders from Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic last week issued a dire warning that nations around the world haven't been doing enough to ban the development of autonomous weapons -- so-called "killer robots." The groups issued a joint report that calls for a complete ban on these systems before it becomes too late to act.
Facebook Cracks Down on Iranian, Russian Influence Campaigns
August 23, 2018
Facebook has removed more than 650 Facebook and Instagram pages, groups and accounts originating in Iran and Russia for "coordinated inauthentic behavior." The goal is to improve the trustworthiness of Facebook connections. Although it has been making progress in its efforts, the people responsible for the inauthentic activity are determined and well funded, Facebook said.
Microsoft Foils Russian Attack on GOP Think Tanks
August 22, 2018
Microsoft has torpedoed websites designed to steal credentials from visitors to two Republican Party think tanks. The malicious websites were among six the company took down last week. A group of hackers affiliated with the Russian military created the sites, according to Microsoft. It apparently was the same group that stole a cache of email from the DNC during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Oracle's Bad Boy Image
August 21, 2018
No one at Oracle will ever be nominated for sainthood, and that's probably OK with them. Over the years the company has developed a bad boy image that in some cases is richly deserved, while in others it has been embellished by events. Much derives from the brash doings of founder and longtime CEO (now CTO) Larry Ellison, who may be a charter member of the "never explain, never complain" club.
Oracle Confronts Lawsuit on Its Path to the Cloud
August 18, 2018
The City of Sunrise Firefighters' Pension Fund has sued Oracle, alleging that its executives lied about the company's successes in the cloud and engaged in coercion and threats to sell its cloud products, "creating an unsustainable model that fell apart." The plaintiff apparently is seeking class-action status for the suit. Oracle has called the suit meritless and said it would defend against it.
Def Con Voting Machine Hacks Ruffle Feathers
August 14, 2018
Hackers cracked into a wide array of voting equipment Def Con's Voting Village, an event held Friday at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year, conference goers hacked five machines and an e-poll book of registered voters. This year, in addition to voting machines, tabulators and smart card readers were available for hacking. Websites weren't off limits, either.
What Can Chrome 68 Teach Us About Election Security?
August 13, 2018
If you're a technologist, you've probably noticed a few new things associated with Chrome 68's release last month. One of the more notable changes is that it now uses a "not secure" indicator for any site not using HTTPS. So instead of providing a notification when a site is HTTPS, it now provides the user with a warning when it isn't. One of those groups is users of government websites.
The Weird Mistakes Killing Tesla
August 13, 2018
Tesla is trending to fail spectacularly. It has been burning cash at an unsustainable rate, and it keeps making avoidable mistakes that weaken it. Here's what is weird: You'd think the firm's biggest problem would be that every large car maker was working behind the scenes to kill it. However, the car companies for the most part appear to have worked harder to emulate Tesla than to destroy it.
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