A Blog by Jonathan Low


May 24, 2018

The Artifically Intelligent Doctor Is In And Will See You Now

And he or she is going to know a lot more about you than you do. JL

Christopher Mims reports in the Wall Street Journal:

The introduction of artificial intelligence to consumer and clinical electronics. As machines learn from at times millions of humans, doctors are gaining the ability to better identify disease and even predict it before it becomes catastrophic.

As GDPR Looms, Google Searches For Privacy Are At 12 Year High

The question for those who are economically dependent on the monetization of personal data is whether the growing interest is about privacy - or about control.JL

The Economist reports:

Queries about the topic have climbed to their highest level since 2006. One cause might be rising interest in GDPR. But searches about privacy stayed flat even though web traffic about the EU’s new regulations grew between June 2017 and March 2018. A more plausible explanation for the recent increase is anxiety about companies themselves exporting their entire inventories of customers’ online activity.

Why China's Biggest Streaming Service Just Opened Its First Physical Movie Theater

The convergence of digital and physical life is going both ways. JL

Shannon Liao reports in The Verge:

iQIYI, which is owned by China’s Baidu, has also gone public with its stock in the US back at the end of March. iQIYI’s active user base is quadruple that of Netflix, at 421.3 million in Q4 2017 compared to 117.58 million. The theaters will have Dolby audio and show films from iQIYI’s online movie collection. Movie theater attendance in the US hit a 25-year low in 2017, but by contrast, China’s moviegoers are heading out to theaters more than ever.

Is Facebook Just a Platform? A Lawyer To the Stars Says NO

And a growing number of governments and courts are agreeing with him. JL

David Kirkpatrick reports in the New York Times:

Having enjoyed two decades of legal immunity on both sides of the Atlantic, social media giants are under growing pressure from regulators and lawmakers. Lawyers, too,
Since the early internet boom, rules and regulations have deemed social media companies to be neutral “platforms” or “hosts,” and thus immune from the liabilities faced by traditional publishers. But a series of scandals over their content has put the companies under a new assault — and the broad question of whether they should be seen as publishers rather than agnostic platforms has sweeping legal ramifications.

How the Math Men Overthrew the Mad Men

Data dominates. JL

Ken Auletta reports in The New Yorker:

The power of Math Men is awesome. Google and Facebook each has a market value exceeding the combined value of the six largest advertising and marketing holding companies. Together, they claim six out of every ten dollars spent on digital advertising, and nine out of ten new digital ad dollars. Facebook generates more ad dollars than all of America’s newspapers, and Google has twice the ad revenues of Facebook. Big Data is the Holy Grail, because it enables marketers to target messages to individuals rather than general groups,

Amazon Cracks Fortune 500 Top Ten For First Time

Interestingly, still much smaller than Walmart in revenue, if not in public perception. JL

Zameena Mejia reports in CNBC:

The online retailer made its debut at No. 492 on the Fortune 500 back in 2002, the same year its biggest competitor Walmart first landed in the No. 1 spot. Amazon has since quickly gained on, and nearly caught up with, Walmart. With revenue of $177.87 billion, Amazon placed eighth on this year's list of America's largest companies. That's up four spots from its rank last year as No. 12.

May 23, 2018

Google Duplex Raises the Question: Should Robots Sound Robotic?

How they sound matters less than that those on the other end of whatever line or sound wave they are on understand whether what they are hearing is machine or human. JL

Thomas Hornigold reports in Singularity Hub:

Given the privacy and ethics funk the tech industry finds itself in, and general unease about AI, the main reaction to Duplex’s impressive demo was concern. Duplex runs contrary to pretty much every major recommendation about ethics for the use of robotics or artificial intelligence, not to mention eavesdropping laws. Transparency is key to holding machines (and the people who design them) accountable, especially when it comes to decision-making.