Video conference app Zoom illegally shared personal data with Facebook, even if users did not have a Facebook account, a lawsuit claims. The app has experienced a surge in popularity as millions of people around the world are forced to work from home as part of coronavirus containment measures. The lawsuit, which was filed in a California federal court on Monday, states that the company failed to inform users that their data was being sent to Facebook "and possibly other third parties". It states: "Had Zoom informed its users that it would use inadequate security measures and permit unauthorised third-party tracking of their personal information, users... would not have been willing to use the Zoom App." The allegations come amid a flurry of questions surrounding Zoom's privacy policies, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation recently warning that the app allows administrators to track the activities of attendees.
Artificial intelligence is being used to spot the difference between human users and fake accounts on Twitter. Emilio Ferrara at the University of Southern California in the US, and his colleagues have trained an AI to detect bots on Twitter based on differences in patterns of activity between real and fake accounts. The team analysed two separate datasets of Twitter users, which had been classified either manually or by a pre-existing algorithm as either bot or human. The manually verified dataset consisted of 8.4 million tweets from 3500 human accounts, and 3.4 million tweets from 5000 bots. The researchers found that human users replied four to five times more often to other tweets than bots did.
Welcome back to my recommended reading list, with pieces this week on the latest on coronavirus, how Facebook is using AI to tackle fake accounts and the carbon footprint of your online habits. This week's photo, by Reuters photographer Rodi Said, shows a boy waiting with his mother as they queue with others for humanitarian and medical help after leaving Baghouz, the last stronghold of the Islamic State caliphate, in Deir Al Zor, Syria, on March 5, 2019. The image was selected as the photo the year in a vote by Thomson Reuters staff around the world. Read on for this week's picks... Twenty-one people aboard a cruise ship that was barred from docking in San Francisco have tested positive for coronavirus, U.S. officials said on Friday, adding to the more than 100,000 cases of the fast-spreading illness across the world. The outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people and spread across more than 90 nations, with seven countries reporting their first cases on Friday.
The world never changes quite the way you expect. But at The Verge, we've had a front-row seat while technology has permeated every aspect of our lives over the past decade. Some of the resulting moments -- and gadgets -- arguably defined the decade and the world we live in now. But others we ate up with popcorn in hand, marveling at just how incredibly hard they flopped. This is the decade we learned that crowdfunded gadgets can be utter disasters, even if they don't outright steal your hard-earned cash. It's the decade of wearables, tablets, drones and burning batteries, and of ridiculous valuations for companies that were really good at hiding how little they actually had to offer. Here are 84 things that died hard, often hilariously, to bring us where we are today. Everyone was confused by Google's Nexus Q when it debuted in 2012, including The Verge -- which is probably why the bowling ball of a media streamer crashed and burned before it even came to market.
In what might only be perceived as a win for Facebook, OpenAI today announced that it will migrate to the social network's PyTorch machine learning framework in future projects, eschewing Google's long-in-the-tooth TensorFlow platform. OpenAI is the San Francisco-based AI research firm cofounded by CTO Greg Brockman, chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Elon Musk, and others, with backing from luminaries like LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman and former Y Combinator president Sam Altman. In a blog post, the company cited PyTorch's efficiency, scalability, and adoption as the reasons for its decision. "Going forward we'll primarily use PyTorch as our deep learning framework but sometimes use other ones when there's a specific technical reason to do so," said the company in a statement. "We're … excited to be joining a rapidly-growing developer community, including organizations like Facebook and Microsoft, in pushing scale and performance on [graphics cards]."
SAN FRANCISCO – A House subcommittee is investigating popular dating services such as Tinder and Bumble for allegedly allowing minors and sex offenders to use their services. Bumble, Grindr, The Meet Group and the Match Group, which owns such popular services as Tinder, Match.com and OkCupid, are the current targets of the investigation by the U.S. House Oversight and Reform subcommittee on economic and consumer policy. In separate letters Thursday to the companies, the subcommittee is seeking information on users' ages, procedures for verifying ages, and any complaints about assaults, rape or the use of the services by minors. It is also asking for the services' privacy policies and details on what users see when they review and agree to the policies. Although the minimum age for using internet services is typically 13 in the U.S., dating services generally require users to be at least 18 because of concerns about sexual predators.
Happy New Year! 2019 has come and gone like Kylo Ren's reign in The Rise of Skywalker, and so it's time for my (13th!) annual prediction piece for VentureBeat. Facial recognition trials will launch in large public venues outside of China. Of course bans of the technology has already occurred, too, in cities like San Francisco and Somerville, MA. Enterprise analytics will become red hot. I predicted this space would reach a third of the value of the workflow platform space by the end of 2019.
At the Last Futurist, we enjoy looking at AI Trends and digital transformation trends. In between those two are more broad technology trends. In fact these topics make up the mission statement of this new news site. However the last decade had a lot of technology and gadgets that didn't fare so well in the real world. The decade was mobile all the way, with mass adoption taking place the way we might expect the brain-computer interface (BCI) to achieve mass adoption in a future decade years from now. In the decade ahead the move to automated stores and electric vehicles are real trends, but it's important to differentiate the hype from the reality. Autonomous vehicles, quantum computing going mainstream, better self-learning AI, hang on a second! Even mass adoption of digital currencies is coming faster. From computers to the internet and smart phones, a few generations shows a lot of progress. But technology never stands still. Advertising has scaled a world of surveillance capitalism normalization and an AI-arms race is now taking place. Most technology trends and AI listicles only touch the surface of how humans are embedding technology increasingly into their lives. However looking at it from the perspectives of many industries and across technology and innovation stacks gives a more complete picture. The real world and customer experience are the real tests for new technological innovations and pivots. It will take decades for 3D printing, quantum computing and an AGI to even become mature, but an age of biotechnology and AI in healthcare, education and finance is inevitable. From Huawei, to ByteDance (TikTok), to Didi, China will wage major battles for global market share in 5G, consumer apps, E-commerce, mobile payments and ride sharing, among others. Chinese led tech companies -- with the support of the Chinese Government and venture funds such as Softbank Vision Fund -- can mean that in the 2020s China's ecosystem fully replaces Silicon Valley as the leader of innovation. In 2019, some believe this has already occurred.
Its impact is drastic and real: Youtube's AIdriven recommendation system would present sports videos for days if one happens to watch a live baseball game on the platform ; email writing becomes much faster with machine learning (ML) based auto-completion ; many businesses have adopted natural language processing based chatbots as part of their customer services . AI has also greatly advanced human capabilities in complex decision-making processes ranging from determining how to allocate security resources to protect airports  to games such as poker  and Go . All such tangible and stunning progress suggests that an "AI summer" is happening. As some put it, "AI is the new electricity" . Meanwhile, in the past decade, an emerging theme in the AI research community is the so-called "AI for social good" (AI4SG): researchers aim at developing AI methods and tools to address problems at the societal level and improve the wellbeing of the society.