technology

UK report urges action to combat AI bias

The need for diverse development teams and truly representational data-sets to avoid biases being baked into AI algorithms is one of the core recommendations in a lengthy Lords committee report looking into the economic, ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence, and published today by the upper House of the UK parliament. “The main ways to address these kinds of biases are to ensure that developers are drawn from diverse gender, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and are aware of, and adhere to, ethical codes of conduct,” the committee writes, chiming with plenty of extant commentary around algorithmic accountability. “It is essential that ethics take centre stage in AI’s development and use,” adds committee chairman, Lord Clement-Jones, in a statement. “The UK has a ...

Is America’s national security Facebook and Google’s problem?

Jamie Metzl Contributor Jamie Metzl is a Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security at the Atlantic Council. More posts by this contributor Homo Sapiens 2.0? We need a species-wide conversation about the future of human genetic enhancement Eleonore Pauwels Contributor Eleonore Pauwels is Director of the Anticipatory Intelligence Lab at the Wilson Center, an international science policy expert specializing in the governance and democratization of converging technologies, and a former official of the European Commission’s Directorate on Science, Economy and Society. Outrage that Facebook made the private data of over 87 million of its U.S. users available to the Trump campaign has stoked fears of big US-based technology companies are tracking our every move and misusing our personal ...

What did VCs study in college?

Although some colleges may offer a major program in business or entrepreneurship, there isn’t exactly a major in venture capital or angel investment. Crunchbase News has already examined where professional VCs and angel investors went to college (yes, there’s some truth to the Harvard and Stanford stereotypes) and when having an MBA matters in the world of entrepreneurial finance. But we haven’t yet looked at one facet of startup investors’ educational backgrounds: what they studied in college. So that’s what we’re going to dive into today. To accomplish this, we’re going to use the educational histories from nearly 5,000 VC American and Canadian investment partners (e.g. folks who are employed by and invest on behalf of a venture capital firm) and nearly 8,500 angel investors in Crunchbas...

What Apple’s education announcements mean for accessibility

Steven Aquino Contributor Steven Aquino is a freelance tech writer and iOS accessibility expert. More posts by this contributor At this month’s WWDC, Apple unveiled refined accessibility tools The pleasure and the pain of the accessible smart home From an accessibility news standpoint, this week’s Apple event in Chicago was antithetical to the October 2016 event. At the latter event, Apple began the presentation with a bang — showing the actual video being edited using Switch Control in Final Cut. Tim Cook came out afterwards to talk some about Apple’s commitment to serving the disabled community before unveiling the then-new accessibility page on the company’s website. [embedded content] By contrast, the education-themed event in Chicago this week went by with barely a mention of accessib...

Baidu’s streaming video service iQiyi falls 13.6% in Nasdaq debut

The streaming video service iQiyi, a business owned by China’s online search giant Baidu, dropped 13.6% in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq — closing at $15.55, or down $2.45 from its opening price of $18. The company still managed to pull off one of the largest public offerings by a Chinese tech company in the past two years raising $2.25 billion — the only Chinese technology company to make a larger splash in U.S. markets is Alibaba — the commercial technology juggernaut which raised $21.5 billion in its public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. “It’s a special day and an exciting day for iQiyi, and I will say it’s also an exciting day for the Chinese internet,” said Baidu chief executive Robin Li of the iQiyi public offering.”Eight years ago, when we got started, we ...

A $6 trillion wake up call for the tech industry

Jim Fruchterman Contributor Jim Fruchterman is the founder and chief executive of Benetech, a non-profit developer of technology for social good. Earlier this year, the business community received a wake-up call issued with all of the might that $6 trillion can muster. The call came from Laurence Fink, the founder and chief executive of the global investment firm, BlackRock, and was delivered as a letter to the CEOs of the world’s largest companies. Aptly titled, “A Sense of Purpose,” the letter informed business leaders that driving record profits is no longer enough to garner BlackRock’s support. Companies must also positively contribute to society, or in Mr. Fink’s words, “Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities...

Nest’s video doorbell is now shipping

Back in September of last year, Nest announced its first smart doorbell. When it would actually ship, however, was left sort of up in the air; all the company said at the time was to expect it sometime in Q1 of 2018. Turns out, that means today. The Nest doorbell — or the Nest Hello, as it’s known — is now shipping for $229. Nest also mentioned a few other bits of news: The front door lock/touchpad they built in partnership with Yale, also announced back in September of last year, is now shipping They’re now making external, wireless, battery-powered temperature sensors for the Nest Thermostat (previously, the thermostat only really cared about the temperature of whichever room it was in). You can add up to six sensors. One sensor will cost $39, or a three pack goes for $99. The sensor (pi...

The un-lonely planet

It used to be easy to get lost. Pick up your passport, board an airplane, and zoom, you were gone, disconnected, all on your own, until and unless you stopped by an Internet cafe or an international phone booth. Nowadays my T-Mobile plan gives me free data roaming in more than a hundred countries, and even those without, like Vietnam, where I write this, tend to have near-ubiquitous wi-fi. I’m not here to wax nostalgic about the bad old days. Sure, there was a certain romance in getting your most recent news of the world from a four-day-old International Herald Tribune in a dusty hotel on the edge of the Sahara, just as there was romance in finally unearthing a long-coveted out-of-print book in a secondhand bookstore; but T-Mobile and Amazon are unquestionably, objectively better. What’s m...

Waymo and Google launch a self-driving truck pilot in Atlanta

Waymo’s autonomous trucking program is coming along – though we haven’t heard much about it since discovering it was a real thing last year, Waymo today announced that it’s launching a pilot program in Atlanta to focus specifically on self-driving trucks and automated logistics. The pilot is being done in partnership with Google, another Alphabet company and Waymo’s former direct owner back when it was the Google self-driving car project. Waymo’s trucks will be hauling cargo destined for Google’s Atlanta-based data centres as part of the program. These autonomous big rigs have been testing in both California and Arizona one the course of the past year, Waymo says, and now they’re ready to roll in Georgia, too. They use the same sensor suite that Google uses on its autonomous Pacifica miniv...

IT professionals pick hole on registration, licensing of all IT contractors by NITDA

…Say it will lead to registration of quacks and non professionals By EMEKA AGINAM The recent move to register and license  all IT contractors in Nigeria by the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has been frowned by the Nigerian Information Technology professionals. computers This follows a recent policy statement by the Director of NITDA  Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami  to register and license all IT contractors in Nigeria. The umbrella IT body in Nigeria, the Nigerian Computer Society, NCS, while frowning at the current posture of NITDA has insisted that  the Nigerian Computer Registration Council of Nigeria, CPN, has the mandate to register and license IT contractors in the country. The CPN  Act 49 of 1993, according to the IT professionals  is s...

LG boosts consumer confidence with Gencool AC with Dual Inverter technology

By EMEKA AGINAM To ensure that it meets the desires of its esteemed consumers LG came up with the advanced all new  Gencool  Air conditioner with Dual Inverter technology, this is in its determination to offer Nigerians a cutting edge technology especially consumers seeking Energy efficient products. LG ThinQ kitchen solution The air conditioner is renowned for its ability to save as much as 70% on electricity consumption with 40% faster cooling, thereby reducing bills. The new product features a dual inverter compressor with 10 Year warranty that helps users enjoy benefits of LG air conditioner for a longer period of time LG Electronics understands the desires of its esteemed consumers hence its determination to offer Nigerians cutting edge technologies especially con...

Twitter seeks help measuring ‘health’ of its world

Twitter on Thursday asked for outside help assessing the health of its world of rapid-fire commentary in the hope of finding cures for trolls, bots, echo chambers and other ills. Twitter Pressure has been building on Twitter — as well as Facebook and Google — to prevent malicious uses of the online platform ranging from harassment to spreading hoaxes and manipulating elections. “We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers,” Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey said in a thread of tweets Thursday. “We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.” A Twitter statement said th...