WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the most secure chat platforms, according to Amnesty International. But that decision has already met with scepticism from people in the technology community, some of whom have warned that it might not be safe to use the apps at all. Amnesty gave Facebook and WhatsApp a score of 73 out of 100 – its highest – to the two apps, which it didn't distinguish between. But it particularly picked out WhatsApp, which it said was "the only app where users are explicitly warned when end-to-end encryption is not applied to a particular chat". It did have some criticism for Facebook, which doesn't apply strong encryption by default and doesn't warn users that they're not using the most secure technology.
The "opportunities and challenges" of artificial intelligence spurred some of the biggest technology companies in the world to come together Wednesday to announce that they were creating a new organization to ensure that AI ultimately benefits people and society. The Partnership on AI is a non-profit organization bringing together Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, DeepMind/Google and IBM to advance public understanding of AI technologies and formulate best practices. A website for the organization spells out the goals, mission and tenets, and member bios are included for representatives from each of the companies. "Together, the organization's members will conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness, and inclusivity; transparency, privacy, and interoperability; collaboration between people and AI systems; and the trustworthiness, reliability, and robustness of the technology," the Partnership said in its news release. "It does not intend to lobby government or other policymaking bodies."
The U.S. government's plan to end its oversight of the internet's domain name system should move forward as promised, despite last-minute efforts by some Republican lawmakers to derail the process, a coalition of tech companies and trade groups said. The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) should end its supervision of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on Oct. 1 as planned, said a letter signed by Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Amazon and more than 20 other companies and trade groups. Some Republican lawmakers, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, are trying to halt the transition. Cruz, who has scheduled a Wednesday hearing on the transition, has said the proposal will "give away the Internet" to a multinational organization, even though ICANN's authority is limited to managing the domain name system. If the plan goes through, "countries like Russia, China, and Iran could be able to censor speech on the internet," Cruz said recently.
Google's strategic move into selling own branded Mobile phones is another step in the merging of "Software plus Hardware" that Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and recently Facebook have realized at the making of the "Internet of Things" Era. This is the critical issue of not just providing the software and operating system but increasing the value in the devices that become the Interface to the Customer: the smart phone, the smart tablet/laptop of Microsoft Surface, the Smart Speaker of Amazon Echo and Alexa, and the Facebook Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens that are the new foundations of Natural Language speech recognition services and the VR Virtual Reality and AR Augmented Reality breaking now and into 2017 and onward. Google's long-term market is changing, the advertising revenue from search engines while still strong is now seeing new ways to search via speech or Virtual image recognition and virtual interaction Google has been late to realizing perhaps the shift to software hardware is where the Internet of Things may be shaping the market with the Connected Home, Connected Car and Connected Work through these devices. It's all about "market marking" beyond just the big cloud data centers and big data analytics to how to build out the edge of the cloud network with all these potentially billions of connected sensors and devices. If the Mobile phone is becoming the "remote control to this world" and platforms the "fabric of social networks and connected experiences" then Google like others is rushing to get into this space with stronger software and hardware offerings
As video content matures and proliferates and VR content creates new interactive environments and as the way we access software and apps changes and evolves, PVAs or personal virtual assistants will radically influence the interface with the internet and these new layers of content and virtual experience. Viv is just four years old, but by the time IoT and VR matures, she will be ready to make the smart home, smart city and billions of connected devices truly come to life. While we assume it will be one of the tech giants: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple or Microsoft; disruption doesn't usually come from an established player whose interests and investments are scattered. Just as VR represents a new platform of information, content, advertisement, marketing and social media, and digital experiences, VPAs like Viv could represent another springboard to the future.