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New study finds tech elites view the world with more meritocracy

ZDNet

A new study has revealed that while the top 100 richest people in tech share similar views to other wealthy people, they are also more focused on meritocracy. The research, published in PLOS One, used data sets based on tweets by these individuals who were named by Forbes as the top 100 richest people in the tech world, plus their statements on websites about their philanthropic endeavours. As part of the study, the researchers analysed 49,790 tweets from 30 verified Twitter account holders within the tech elite subject group and 60 mission statements from tech elite-run philanthropic websites, plus 17 statements from tech elites and other wealthy individuals not associated with the tech world for comparison purposes. The Twitter text analyses, according to the research, revealed tech elites used Twitter to tweet about subjects that placed emphasis on disruption, positivity, and temporality compared with the average user. Their most frequently used words were'new' and'great', and referred mostly to their peers and other tech firms. At the same time, the authors found that while tweets showed the tech elites did not see a significant difference between power and money or power and democracy, they did note the tech elites denied a connection between democracy and money, a view that was not shared by ordinary Twitter users.


Facebook improves AI photo descriptions for the visually impaired

Engadget

Facebook has long been using AI to describe photos for the visually impaired, but it's stepping up its efforts in 2021. The social media giant has detailed a new version of automatic alternative text (AAT) that promises much more information. Instead of relying on heavily supervised AI learning, Facebook is now using weak supervision based on "billions" of Instagram photos and hashtags. The method lets Facebook expand beyond just 100 concept descriptions to include over 1,200, such as different kinds of food and national monuments. It's also more culturally inclusive -- it can recognize weddings that don't involve white wedding dresses, for example. A new object detection system can also recognize where people are in the frame as well as the number of people in the scene.


Facebook enhances AI used to describe photos for visually impaired users

ZDNet

Facebook has announced new improvements to its artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is used to generate descriptions of photos posted on the social network for visually impaired users. The technology, called automatic alternative text (AAT), was first introduced by Facebook in 2016 to improve the experience of visually impaired users. Up until then, visually impaired users who checked their Facebook newsfeed and came across an image would only hear the word "photo" and the name of the person who shared it. With AAT, visually impaired users have been able to hear things like "image may contain: three people, smiling, outdoors". Facebook said, with the latest iteration of AAT, the company has been able to expand the number of concepts that the AI technology can detect and identify in a photo, as well as provide more detailed descriptions to include activities, landmarks, food types, and types of animals, like "a selfie of two people, outdoors, the Leaning Tower of Pisa" instead of "an image of two people".


Google Cloud offers image search, recommendations service for retailers

ZDNet

Google's Google Cloud division today announced it has made generally available two search functions that rely on machine learning techniques to help retailers who use its cloud service. Called Vision API product search and Recommendations AI, the two services are part of what Google has unveiled as a suit of functions called Product Discovery Solutions for Retail. The vision search function will let a retailer's customers submit a picture and received ranked results of products that match the picture in either appearance or semantic similarity to the object. Recommendations, said Google, is "able to piece together the history of a customer's shopping journey and serve them with customized product recommendations." Both are generally available now to retailers.


Buying groceries online with food stamps?

ZDNet

Grocery shopping has fundamentally, likely irrevocably, changed during the pandemic as more consumers have opted for online grocery shopping out of convenience or necessity. But what about people who rely on food stamps? According to a recent Pew survey, a full quarter of adults have had trouble paying bills during the economic melee attributable to the pandemic. As of July 2020, over 40 million Americans were on food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Food stamps exist to help low income individuals, including those enduring a temporary hardship, bridge a crucial financial gap to access food.


Netflix's 'Space Sweepers' trailer looks like a fun robot-filled romp through the stars

Mashable

If you're looking for a hectic space romp to fill the Guardians Against the Galaxy void, Sung-hee Jo's upcoming movie Space Sweepers could well be worth a look. Following a crew of space junk collectors in the year 2092, the story revolves around the discovery of a little girl who may in fact be a deadly weapon in disguise. From the looks of the trailer -- which Netflix dropped Tuesday -- expect high budget special effects, action aplenty, and a lighthearted script that doesn't take itself too seriously. Space Sweepers is available to stream on Netflix from Feb. 5.


Social Network Analysis: From Graph Theory to Applications with Python

#artificialintelligence

Social network analysis is the process of investigating social structures through the use of networks and graph theory. This article introduces data scientists to the theory of social networks, with a short introduction to graph theory and information spread. It dives into Python code with NetworkX constructing and implying social networks from real datasets. We'll start with a brief intro in network's basic components: nodes and edges. Nodes (A,B,C,D,E in the example) are usually representing entities in the network, and can hold self-properties (such as weight, size, position and any other attribute) and network-based properties (such as Degree- number of neighbours or Cluster- a connected component the node belongs to etc.).


What is an 'edge cloud?' The wild card that could upend the cloud

#artificialintelligence

The edge of a network, as you may know, is the furthest extent of its reach. A cloud platform is a kind of network overlay that makes multiple network locations part of a single network domain. It should therefore stand to reason that an edge cloud is a single addressable, logical network at the furthest extent of a physical network. And an edge cloud on a global scale should be a way to make multiple, remote data centers accessible as a single pool of resources -- of processors, storage, and bandwidth. The combination of 5G and edge computing will unleash new capabilities from real-time analytics to automation to self-driving cars and trucks.


20 of the best Tinder pickup lines we could find on Reddit

Mashable

It's difficult to say whether e-dating has weakened or boosted the pickup line game. It probably depends on who you ask. To get to the bottom of it, we ventured on over to Reddit to check out the general state of cheesy one-liners to be deployed in an online dating setting. And the results are, well … the results kinda speak for themselves. But as far as we can tell, pickup lines, like cockroaches after an apocalyptic event, have survived the shift to online dating and are doing just fine.


Google: Learn cloud skills for free with our new training tracks

ZDNet

Google is offering a free course for people who are on the hunt for skills to use containers, big data and machine-learning models in Google Cloud. The initial batch of courses consists of four tracks aimed at data analysts, cloud architects, data scientists and machine-learning engineers. The January 2021 course offers a fast track to understand key tools for engineers and architects to use in Google Cloud. It includes a series on getting started in Google Cloud, another focussing on its BigQuery data warehouse, one that delves into the Kubernetes engine for managing containers, another for the Anthos application management platform, and a final chapter on Google's standard interfaces for natural language processing and computer vision AI. Participants need to sign up to Google's "skills challenge" and will be given 30 days' free access to Google Cloud labs.