Tech giants like Google and Alibaba are working to save endangered species

CRIME-SMUGGLING/TRADITIONAL MEDICINE

Black markets have been using popular social apps and platforms to ply their illicit trade.

Google, eBay and other technology leaders are aiming to protect the world’s animals. Why? In a widely unregulated social-media world, many tech platforms have become a haven for the wildlife black market, a $20 billion industry.

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Tim Berners-Lee: we must regulate tech firms to prevent ‘weaponised’ web

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Tim Berners-Lee: ‘What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms.’

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has called for large technology firms to be regulated to prevent the web from being “weaponised at scale”.

The web can be weaponised – and we can’t count on big tech to stop it

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Platform power is crushing the web, warns Berners-Lee

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On the 29th birthday of the world wide web, its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has sounded a fresh warning about threats to the web as a force for good, adding his voice to growing concerns about big tech’s impact on competition and society.

The web’s creator argues that the “powerful weight of a few dominant” tech platforms is having a deleterious impact by concentrating power in the hands of gatekeepers that gain “control over which ideas and opinions are seen and shared”.

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An AI accurately guessed voters race and voting record by counting cars on Google street view

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A robust, timely census is vital to democracy. Censuses sketch the changing face of our nation by charting both political and demographic shifts, including changes in wealth and neighborhood transitions. Most crucially, they influence how resources and political power are doled out: Cities use census data to set budgets and the Constitution mandates a national census to apportion congressional seats. But taking a census is both expensive and slow—the annual American Community Survey (ACS) represents data collected over a five-year period, creating one hell of a lag. A team of Stanford AI researchers believe we can use computer vision to speed up the process, a radical approach to a centuries-old practice.

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Google’s artificial intelligence built an AI that outperforms any made by humans

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Google’s AutoML project, designed to make AI build other AIs, has now developed a computer vision system that vastly outperforms state-of-the-art-models. The project could improve how autonomous vehicles and next-generation AI robots “see.”

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Silicon Valley isn’t just disrupting democracy—it’s replacing it

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If you want to understand the threat that Silicon Valley poses to culture at large, consider Apple’s $5 billion headquarters. The Cupertino, California, building may seem like paradise to some, with striking architecture—a donut-shaped building featuring the world’s largest piece of curved glass—and lavish details like iPhone-inspired elevator buttons and patented pizza boxes that prevent soggy crusts. Writing for Wired, Stephen Levy quotes one of the architects of the project: “The idea that a beautiful object descended on this verdant, luxurious landscape and that it will be inhabited by 12,000 people: That is a true utopian vision.” (Never mind the lack of onsite childcare in this revolutionary building.)

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