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The FTC Cracks Down on Bot-Wielding Ticket Scalpers

WIRED

This week, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. To commemorate the outgoing Donald Trump's four years in office, we took a look at the most absurd, bizarre, or outright dangerous things Trump has said about cybersecurity. He's also not saying them on Parler, because no one has since the far-right platform got booted by Amazon Web Services. But! Remember how hackers downloaded every public post, image, and video from Parler right before it went down? A new site called Faces of the Riot has run that trove through some machine-learning and facial-recognition software to publish thousands of images of people who were at the Capitol Hill protests--and riots--on January 6.


VoiceHub provides voice assistants with no programming needed

ZDNet

It is quite a complex process to create voice user interfaces that are capable of natural language understanding and require no programming experience. Now a vision and voice technologies platform has released what could be the solution to the problem. This week Santa Clara, CA-based Sensory announced the official release of VoiceHub. VoiceHub is a free online portal for creating and designing accurate voice user interfaces. Its technologies are used in consumer electronics applications including mobile phones, automotive, wearables, toys, IoT and home electronics.


Democrats ask Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to rework their suggestion algorithms

Engadget

A group of more than 30 democratic lawmakers led by Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) are calling on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to make substantive changes to their recommendation algorithms. In three separate letters addressed to the CEOs of those companies, the group makes a direct link to the January 6th US Capitol attack and the part those platforms played in radicalizing the individuals who took part in the uprising. "On Wednesday, January 6th the United States Capitol was attacked by a violent, insurrectionist mob radicalized in part in a digital echo chamber that your company designed, built and maintained," the letter addressed to Google and YouTube CEOs Sundar Pichai and Susan Wojcicki says. A letter from some Congress members to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki flexes research on how YouTube's algorithms have promoted conspiracy theories and political extremism. Citing the Capitol attacks, they request changes to its recommendations systems.


IBM's Q4 revenue down 6%, eyes growth in 2021

ZDNet

Here's a look at how the cloud leaders stack up, the hybrid market, and the SaaS players that run your company as well as their latest strategic moves. IBM's fourth quarter revenue fell 6% from a year ago, but the company said it expects to return to growth in 2021. The company's earnings report was a mixed bag. IBM reported non-GAAP earnings of $2.07 a share and $1.41 a share under generally accepted accounting practices. However, IBM's fourth quarter revenue was down 6% to $20.4 billion.


privacy?

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

DuckDuckGo, a search engine focused on privacy, increased its average number of daily searches by 62% in 2020 as users seek alternatives to impede data tracking. The search engine, founded in 2008, operated nearly 23.7 billion search queries on their platform in 2020, according to their traffic page. On Jan. 11, DuckDuckGo reached its highest number of search queries in one day, with a total of 102,251,307. DuckDuckGo does not track user searches or share personal data with third-party companies. "People are coming to us because they want more privacy, and it's generally spreading through word of mouth," Kamyl Bazbaz, DuckDuckGo vice president of communications, told USA TODAY.


What if New York City Mayor Andrew Yang Is … a Good Idea?

Slate

Andrew Yang will not forestall the robot apocalypse from the Oval Office, but he may get to do it from New York City Hall. In the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, the former entrepreneur's quirky campaign found a surprisingly robust audience, attracted by Yang's warnings about automation and his promise to mail every American a "freedom dividend" (or, at least, by his math jokes and laid-back, open collar). In the end, the Yang Gang only got their guy as far as the New Hampshire primary. But thanks in part to the name recognition and national network of donors he accrued during that race, Yang is actually leading the polls this year's contest to be the Democratic candidate for New York City mayor. On Friday, Henry Grabar and Jordan Weissmann, two of Slate's native New Yorkers, convened to debate whether this is a good thing. Their debate has been edited and condensed for clarity.


A 3D camera that sees in pitch black

ZDNet

Of the many technologies that have helped drive the robotics sector in the last few years, there's a good case to be made that machine vision has had one of the greatest impacts. It's also almost certainly true that new imaging technologies, and in particular 3D cameras, are on the cusp of unlocking heretofore unseen capabilities in robots. That fact is made clear in a host of new 3D sensing offerings from a company called Orbbec, a leading global 3D camera provider that recently launched four new products that typify how the technology class will soon extend robotics capabilities to a wide range of environment requirements, such as temperature and lighting conditions from sunlight to total darkness. "Innovations in 3D imaging, combined with broader advances like 5G, artificial intelligence and ultra-fast processors, are transforming the application landscape for designers and engineers," says David Chen, Co-Founder and CEO at Orbbec. One of these sensors utilizes time-of-flight technology, which utilizes an artificial light signal to resolve distance between the sensor and the subject for each point of the image, thus sensing in three dimensions with extreme accuracy.


Artificial Intelligence Discovers Potent Antibiotic

#artificialintelligence

Anewly designed artificial intelligence tool based on the structure of the brain has identified a molecule capable of wiping out a number of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, according to a study published on February 20 in Cell. The molecule, halicin, which had previously been investigated as a potential treatment for diabetes, demonstrated activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, and several other hard-to-treat microbes. The discovery comes at a time when novel antibiotics are becoming increasingly difficult to find, reports STAT, and when drug-resistant bacteria are a growing global threat. The Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance convened by United Nations a few years ago released a report in 2019 estimating that drug-resistant diseases could result in 10 million deaths per year by 2050. Despite the urgency in the search for new antibiotics, a lack of financial incentives has caused pharmaceutical companies to scale back their research, according to STAT. "I do think this platform will very directly reduce the cost involved in the discovery phase of antibiotic development," coauthor James Collins of MIT tells STAT.


DuckDuckGo search engine increased its traffic by 62% in 2020 as users seek privacy

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

DuckDuckGo, a search engine focused on privacy, increased its average number of daily searches by 62% in 2020 as users seek alternatives to impede data tracking. The search engine, founded in 2008, operated nearly 23.7 billion search queries on their platform in 2020, according to their traffic page. On Jan. 11, DuckDuckGo reached its highest number of search queries in one day, with a total of 102,251,307. DuckDuckGo does not track user searches or share personal data with third-party companies. "People are coming to us because they want more privacy, and it's generally spreading through word-of-mouth," Kamyl Bazbaz, DuckDuckGo vice president of communications, told USA TODAY.


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.