Incubated at Twitter by Jack Dorsey, Bluesky Launching Beta

Bluesky, a decentralized platform conceived by Jack Dorsey while he was CEO of Twitter, has generated more than 30,000 waitlist signups as it prepares for a private beta launch of Bluesky Social. Bluesky’s main innovation is the Authenticated Transport (AT) Protocol, described as a networking technology “to power the next generation of social applications.” AT Protocol is an open standard designed to allow different social apps the ability to interoperate, giving users more control by letting them independently adjust algorithm settings or move profiles without losing data. Continue reading Incubated at Twitter by Jack Dorsey, Bluesky Launching Beta

Google Makes Family Link and Google TV More Child-Friendly

Google has redesigned its Family Link experience, launched five years ago to help keep children safe online. The most popular tools — screen time limits, blocking apps and content filters — are now easier to find, and there is a central place for viewing requests and notifications. A Controls tab has been added, enabling parents to set screen time limits for individual devices or specific apps, dial-in content restrictions and manage data permissions. With families in mind, Google is also adding new AI-powered features to Google TV, such as parent-controlled watchlists. Continue reading Google Makes Family Link and Google TV More Child-Friendly

New Microsoft Security Suite Focuses on Cloud, Ransomware

Microsoft put the emphasis on security at Ignite 2022, launching Defender for DevOps and Defender Cloud Security Posture Management in public preview. The two offerings protect software development with runtime security across multicloud and multiple-pipeline environments. The company also touted improved protection tools for Windows and Office, beefing-up anti-ransomware capabilities for Microsoft 365 Defender, which now automatically repels attacks immediately on detection. To combat increasingly pervasive conditions like “tool sprawl” and “alert fatigue,” Microsoft combined six product lines into a single security portfolio. Continue reading New Microsoft Security Suite Focuses on Cloud, Ransomware

White House Creates a ‘Blueprint’ of AI Rights for Consumers

The White House has issued a “blueprint” for consumer protections with regard to artificial intelligence. Aimed at guiding federal agencies while setting the bar for future legislation, the voluntary directive offers five areas of focus — safety, algorithmic discrimination protection, data privacy, notice, human alternatives — and a section on applying the rules. “Among the great challenges posed to democracy today is the use of technology, data, and automated systems in ways that threaten the rights of the American public,” begins the bill, which says such tools are “too often used” to limit opportunities and prevent access to critical resources or services. Continue reading White House Creates a ‘Blueprint’ of AI Rights for Consumers

CEDIA: LG Debuts 97-Inch OLED TV Billed as World’s Largest

LG Electronics is touting two world firsts — the “largest OLED TV,” the 97-inch G2 OLED evo Gallery Edition, and the “first bendable 42-inch OLED TV,” the LG Flex. Described as “epic,” and bringing “theater-like viewing” to the home, the 97G2 carries an epic MSRP of $24,999. The outsized OLED Gallery Edition uses LG’s proprietary Alpha 9 Gen5 AI Processor and advanced picture algorithms to deliver a bright and immersive viewing experience. At CEDIA 2022 in Dallas, Texas, LG also showcased a short-throw projector that can display a 120-inch, 4K picture from just 7.2-inches away. Continue reading CEDIA: LG Debuts 97-Inch OLED TV Billed as World’s Largest

LinkedIn Test Raises Ethics Questions Over Parsing Big Data

LinkedIn’s experiments on users have drawn scrutiny from a new study that says the platform may have crossed a line into “social engineering.” The tests, over five years from 2015 to 2019, involved changing the “People You May Know” algorithm to alternate between weak and strong contacts when recommending new connections. Affecting an estimated 20 million users, the test was designed to collect insight to improve the Microsoft-owned platform’s performance, but may have impacted people’s career opportunities. The study was co-authored by researchers at LinkedIn, Harvard Business School, MIT and Stanford and appeared this month in Science. Continue reading LinkedIn Test Raises Ethics Questions Over Parsing Big Data

Facebook, YouTube Among Top Social Apps for News in U.S.

Among American adults who regularly look to social media for news, Facebook outpaces all other sources, according to a study from Pew Research, which found 31 percent of U.S. adults claim to “regularly get news” from the Meta Platforms site. Google’s YouTube was second, with 25 percent, followed by Twitter (14 percent), Instagram (13 percent) and TikTok (10 percent). Examined as a percentage of each site’s total adult users seeking news there, news-seekers, Twitter popped at 53 percent, followed by Facebook (44 percent), Reddit (37 percent) and TikTok (33 percent). Among that subset, TikTok was the fastest-growing, up from 22 percent in 2020. Continue reading Facebook, YouTube Among Top Social Apps for News in U.S.

Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Spotify is expanding beyond music and podcasts by adding audiobooks. The company is starting out with just over 300,000 titles, available for purchase in the U.S. “This is just the beginning,” says Spotify, promising a geographic expansion. In June, the audio streamer completed its purchase of global audiobooks distributor Findaway, announced last year. The acquisition was designed to make it a major player on entry, competing with Amazon’s Audible, the nation’s biggest audiobook service. Unlike Audible, Spotify is individually pricing audiobook titles and offering them à la carte, not by subscription. Continue reading Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

D-ID Creative Reality Studio Helps Users Make DIY AI Videos

Artificial intelligence company D-ID has launched a new presentation platform that can generate video from a single image and text. Creative Reality Studio offers from among 270 voices and 119 languages that users can pair with one of the company’s original avatar creations or an uploaded photo. The product is aimed at markets including education, the metaverse, advertising and sales. The company is offering a limited free 14-day trial, after which users would be required to switch to a $49 per month Pro subscription or higher-end Enterprise plan (pricing available on request). Continue reading D-ID Creative Reality Studio Helps Users Make DIY AI Videos

FTC Explores New Rules Surrounding Data Collection and AI

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to create rules that would protect the digital privacy of teens. Human Rights Watch is asking the FTC for safeguards to prevent education companies from selling minors’ personal information to data brokers and a ban on data-driven advertising targeting children. Both groups were represented at the FTC’s first public forum to explore adopting new rules around data collection and AI training on personal data. Practices the FTC is examining include the timeframe in which companies can retain consumer data and mandating audits of automated decision-making systems. Continue reading FTC Explores New Rules Surrounding Data Collection and AI

Instagram Users Customize Recommendations in Latest Test

Instagram is testing a new way users can personalize feeds based on their own input rather than relying exclusively on algorithms. Parent company Meta Platforms is inviting select users to mark posts in Explore as “Not Interested,” and plans to soon add ways to stop seeing posts with certain words, phrases or emoji in the caption or hashtags by adjusting filter settings. The Explore tab lets users discover new content and accounts they aren’t currently following. “By tapping Not Interested, it removes the post from your feed immediately, and we’ll suggest fewer posts like it in the future,” Meta said. Continue reading Instagram Users Customize Recommendations in Latest Test

California’s Online Child Safety Bill Could Set New Standards

A first of its kind U.S. proposal to protecting children online cleared the California Legislature Tuesday and was sent to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom. The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act will require social media platforms to implement guardrails for users under 18. The new rules will curb risks — such as allowing strangers to message children — and require changes to recommendation algorithms and ad targeting where minors are concerned. The bill was drafted following Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s 2021 congressional testimony about the negative effects of social media on children’s mental health. Continue reading California’s Online Child Safety Bill Could Set New Standards

Meta Developing a Neural Network to Turbocharge Wikipedia

Meta AI, the artificial intelligence unit of Meta Platforms has developed what it believes is a machine learning model that can simultaneously scan hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia citations to check their accuracy. While the Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, already uses bots, Meta’s proposal would be more extensive than anything currently deployed. Trained using a dataset of 4 million Wikipedia citations, the new Meta AI tool analyzes the linked references, verifying corroboration. With more than 17,000 new Wikipedia articles added each month, this is no small feat. Continue reading Meta Developing a Neural Network to Turbocharge Wikipedia

Technology Firms Offer Users More Control Over Advertising

Tech companies are giving consumers more control over the type of advertising they see online, a feature that customers frequently request. Meta Platforms, Mozilla, Google and the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) have been actively exploring ad-blocking options. Now ByteDance’s TikTok and others are joining in. While the increased control may make some consumers happy, the effect it will have on Big Tech’s already ailing ad sector is as yet undetermined. While the various techniques let consumers limit exposure to ads, proponents argue the ultimate effect will be positive, ensuring ads are served to an interested audience. Continue reading Technology Firms Offer Users More Control Over Advertising

Humanloop Raises $2.6 Million as Interest in NLP Tech Grows

Interest in natural language processing (NLP) as an AI training tool is exploding, with analysts predicting a bumper crop of new startups. One such startup, Humanloop, is already gaining attention, having just pulled in $2.6 million in seed funding led by Index Ventures with participation by Y Combinator, LocalGlobe and AlbionVC. Founded in 2020 by computer scientists from the University of Cambridge with alumni from Google and Amazon, the company says its technology makes it “significantly” easier for companies to leverage NLP that helps humans “teach” AI algorithms. Continue reading Humanloop Raises $2.6 Million as Interest in NLP Tech Grows