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How science fiction is training us to ignore the real threats posed by AI

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

CEOs of artificial intelligence companies usually seek to minimize the threats posed by AI, rather than play them up. But on this week’s episode of Converge, Clara Labs co-founder and CEO Maran Nelson tells us there is real reason to be worried about AI — and not for the reasons that science fiction has trained us to expect.

Movies like Her and Ex Machina depict a near future in which anthropomorphic artificial intelligences manipulate our emotions and even commit violence against us. But threats like Ex Machina’s Ava will require several technological breakthroughs before they’re even remotely plausible, Nelson says. And in the meantime, actual state-of-the-art AI — which uses machine learning to make algorithmic predictions — is…

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Google teams with the CIJ in the UK for free workshops for journalists on investigative journalism

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

Google has been the target of many an investigative journalism scoop, but today in the UK it’s sitting on the other side of the table. The search giant’s Digital News Initiative — the division that was created to give millions in funding to startups and new projects that are pushing the boundaries of digital news — has announced a new partnership with the Centre for Investigative Journalism to help journalists learn how use digital tools to dig up news.

The two will be jointly running 20 free workshops in the UK under the name “Access to Tools,” available both to freelancers and staff editors and writers, that will train them on some of the tricks of the trade when it comes to using digital media to find and report a story, including data analysis on spreadsheets, finding and ‘reading’ minutes from public meetings, and tracking down sources for images. Google says the workshops will use “technology from a range of providers” — not just Google. As for the content: the focus here seems ..

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Instagram reportedly launching ‘IGTV’ video hub for online creators later today

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

According to multiple reports, Instagram is launching a big new video venture later today: a new hub for longer-form content that’s designed to compete with videos from YouTube creators. TechCrunch reports that the hub will be named “IGTV” and will be part of the Instagram app’s Explore tab. The videos will be vertically-orientated, full-screen, up to 4K resolution, and as long as 60 minutes (instead of the current limit of 60 seconds).

There’s been talk of Instagram allowing longer videos on its platform since the beginning of June, but new reports have fleshed out those rumors. TechCrunch says that Instagram wants to attract “web celebrities” to IGTV, instead of media companies, and has been actively courting individuals to start…

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Toyota captures data goldmine in $1 billion Grab bet

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

TOKYO/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – By pumping $1 billion into ride-hailing firm Grab, Toyota Motor Corp stands to gain a passenger-side view of tens of thousands of cars across Southeast Asia, tracking how fast they drive, how far they travel and the time they spend stuck in traffic.

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Feed raises $17.4 million for its Soylent-like food products

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

French startup Feed is raising a $17.4 million funding round (€15 million) from Alven and Otium Brands. Feed has been selling meal replacement products in Europe and now plans to expand to other countries.

There are multiple variations of Feed. The company started with a powder-based product that represents the equivalent of one meal. You add some water, shake it a bit and drink it. You can now also buy the equivalent of a cereal bar with everything you need to stay alive.

It sounds a bit like Soylent, which itself sounds a bit like SlimFast and all those products from the 1980s and 1990s. It’s worth noting that Soylent only sells in the U.S. and Canada. Feed products are vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, GMO-free and made in France.

A few months ago, I bought a bottle of Feed powder to give it a try — I wasn’t particularly convinced. But it sounds like many people like it — the company has sold 1 million kilograms of powder, which represents over 6.5 million bottles in total. In 20..

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Italian grocery delivery service Supermercato24 picks up €13M Series B

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

Supermercato24, an Italian same-day grocery delivery service, has raised €13 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is FII Tech Growth, with participation from new investor Endeavor Catalyst, and current investors 360 Capital Partners, and Innogest.

Similar to Instacart in the U.S. and claiming to the leader in Italy, Supermercato24 lets customers order from local supermarkets for delivery. The startup uses gig economy-styled personal shoppers who go into the store and ‘pick’ the products ordered and then deliver them same-day, or for an added cost within an hour.

The company charges a delivery fee to consumers, but also generates revenue from fees charged to partnering merchants, and, notably, through advertising. Supermercato24 says it has more than 15 partnerships with merchants, and has more than 50 consumer packaged goods customers (CPGs) advertising on its platform.

“Our customers represent that increasing share of the population that would love to spend their time dif..

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Blockchain browser Brave starts opt-in testing of on-device ad targeting

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

Brave, an ad-blocking web browser with a blockchain-based twist, has started trials of ads that reward viewers for watching them — the next step in its ambitious push towards a consent-based, pro-privacy overhaul of online advertising.

Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT) is the underlying micropayments mechanism it’s using to fuel the model. The startup was founded in 2015 by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, and had a hugely successful initial coin offering last year.

In a blog post announcing the opt-in trial yesterday, Brave says it’s started “voluntary testing” of the ad model before it scales up to additional user trials.

These first tests involve around 250 “pre-packaged ads” being shown to trial volunteers via a dedicated version of the Brave browser that’s both loaded with the ads and capable of tracking users’ browsing behavior.

The startup signed up Dow Jones Media Group as a partner for the trial-based ad content back in April.

People interested in joining these trials a..

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Microsoft CEO plays down ICE contract in internal memo to employees

June 20, 2018 Alex 0

Microsoft has faced widespread criticism after its boasts of working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to help the agency “process data on edge devices or utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification.” Social media users discovered the phrasing in a blog post from January, and the statement was briefly removed in error before Microsoft condemned the Trump administration’s new policy of separating children from families crossing the border.

More than 100 Microsoft employees are now calling on Microsoft to cancel its ICE contracts, create a policy to not work with clients that violate international human rights law, and commit to transparency around Microsoft government contracts. “We…

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