Only Good News From Google

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Google has launched a brand new feature for its artificially intelligent Google Assistant that’s designed to cheer people up by filtering negative news. Simply ask your phone (or the Google Home speaker) to ‘tell me something good’ and you’ll be given a nice summary of positive stories about people solving real problems.

‘These days we’re consuming more news than ever, and sometimes, it can feel like there are only problems out there,’ explained Ryan Burke, a creative producer at Google’s Creative Lab. ‘But the fact is, there is a plethora of ‘good news’ happening, and we’re not talking about unlikely animal friendships or random acts of kindness.

Real people are making progress solving real issues—and hearing about those stories is a crucial part of a balanced media diet.’ The stories come from a wide range of media outlets, curated and summarised by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Solutions Journalism Network organisation. ‘Solutions journalism empowers and energises audiences, helping to combat negative news fatigue,’ said Burke.

‘It’s an important part of a balanced news diet, so we’re exploring how to incorporate more solutions journalism wherever you access Google News.’ The company acknowledges that it’s not a magic bullet solution and that sometimes bad news is needed. But it argues the balance has tipped too far one way and suggests this is ‘an experiment worth trying’.

Read more on Metro:

https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/22/because-everythings-so-bad-google-will-now-filter-out-negative-news-7870518/?ito=cbshare

 

 

Chris Paine’s New Film “Do You Trust Your Computer” Explores Dangers of Technology

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Chris Paine’s documentary looks at the potential dangers of our intimate relationship with smartphones and laptops. 

In fact, it’s really more of a film essay, in the methodical way it introduces, dissects and draws conclusions from ideas applied to real-world developments. Having tried narrowing his focus to a single topic in the 2006 breakout Who Killed the Electric Car?, Paine decided to go wide for this project, weaving together far-reaching trends and headlines to form a more holistic meditation on the theme of technology.

“With this film, we wanted to pick apart the stuff we take for granted,” Paine tells the Guardian. “We wanted to say: ‘What is the reality behind these things? Which anxieties are well-founded, and what’s just fear?’”

It’s hard not to enter full-on panic mode as Paine blows through digital threats to life as we know it as if from apocalyptic flashcards. While advances like artificial intelligence, increased automation and algorithmic learning have propelled humanity into a faster and more convenient future, they have paved the way for some chilling developments as well.

“There are tentpole concerns,” Paine explains. “The danger of autonomous weapons, the danger of election tampering and other hacking, the hazards of overpersonalization – these are part of the ‘existential risk’ we’ve covered in the three years of working on this film … People are very fast to trust things that take care of them. We trust airplane autopilots, and we trust the FAA to make sure the pilot’s not flying under the influence or something. Like machines or governments, digital programs have a real relationship with the humans that use them. When we go to a computer program to buy from an online marketplace, purchase flight tickets or book a hotel, we trust that the algorithms in place are giving us good information, the best prices.”

See more + trailer on The Guardian: 

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/aug/16/do-you-trust-your-computer-documentary-technology-perils 

You Think You Don’t Know Enough About GDPR? You Are Right and Here’s How

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The EU has taken the first step in protecting the data and privacy of its residents. Through the enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), people are now able to have the protection they are looking for online. This means changes for businesses everywhere that are planning to reach consumers in the EU.

Companies need to look at the way that they are handling the personal data of their customers and have an action plan in place to ensure their privacy is protected. Without a strong understanding of what the GDPR means and how it affects your business, you could find yourself in a situation with the EU that you didn’t count on.

Fifteen members of Forbes Technology Council discuss some of the more unexpected consequences of the new GDPR regulation. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Restriction Of Privacy And Innovation

GDPR is the latest version of Y2K compliance — long on speculation and fear, short on reality. In my opinion, regional enforcement of global technology is an impossibility and will restrict — not enhance — privacy, freedom and innovation. The result will be regions of non-compliance (GDPR havens), enormous expense and uncertainty. – Wayne LonsteinVFT Solutions

2. Roadblocks For Blockchain Data Storage

GDPR could impact the decisions and data sets being stored and collected in emerging private and public blockchains. This may create roadblocks for companies looking to embrace blockchain to store any data that may fall under GDPR. – Aaron VickCicayda

3. Opt-In Fatigue

One of the most unexpected consequences of GDPR is the wave of new regulations in jurisdictions outside of Europe, including California, New York and perhaps soon in Asia. Another unintended impact is “check the box” fatigue where opt-in consent language is presented so frequently on websites and apps that consumers don’t read the consents and just check the box, waiving their privacy rights. – Silvio Tavares, CardLinx Association

4. Poor Customer Service

One GDPR byproduct distortion or unintended consequence is excessive regulation leading to poor customer service. The pendulum has swung too far and will be moderated by citizen feedback. – Jeff BellLegalShield

5. Small Businesses Getting Hurt

The companies that are best prepared for GDPR are the big ones: Facebook, Google, Amazon — those that have the money to pour into their tech and legal teams for ultimate compliance. The small and medium-sized businesses, however, may be less prepared, making them more vulnerable to potential fines and penalties. – Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

6. The Slow Death Of Free Services

If a service is free, then your data is the product. We all love using Facebook, YouTube and the many other social media platforms. However, we fail to realize how these businesses operate. If regulations strangle business, then the alternative is a paid model. Just look at YouTube and how it’s strugglingwith its paid subscriptions. – Daniel Hindi, BuildFire

7. Talk About Similar Regulation In The U.S.

The most unintended consequence has been the multitudes of discussions about a similar impending regulation in the U.S. In fact, reading between the lines of Facebook’s testimony to Congress, it is clear to me that tech leaders realize more care ought to be given to sensitive data, and users should have more rights. They are preparing for coming regulation stateside. – Michael RoytmanKenna Security

Read more on Forbes:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/08/15/15-unexpected-consequences-of-gdpr/#2ce5537f94ad 

Facebook Seeks Financial Information From Banks in Exchange for Users

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The social-media giant has asked large U.S. banks to share detailed financial information about their customers, including card transactions and checking-account balances, as part of an effort to offer new services to users.

Facebook increasingly wants to be a platform where people buy and sell goods and services, besides connecting with friends. The company over the past year asked JPMorgan Chase JPM +0.24% & Co., Wells Fargo WFC +0.60% & Co., Citigroup Inc. C +0.96% and U.S. Bancorp USB +0.62% to discuss potential offerings it could host for bank customers on Facebook Messenger, said people familiar with the matter.

Facebook has talked about a feature that would show its users their checking-account balances, the people said. It has also pitched fraud alerts, some of the people said. 

Data privacy is a sticking point in the banks’ conversations with Facebook, according to people familiar with the matter. The talks are taking place as Facebook faces several investigations over its ties to political analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which accessed data on as many as 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

One large U.S. bank pulled away from talks due to privacy concerns, some of the people said.

Read more at Wall Street Journal: 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-to-banks-give-us-your-data-well-give-you-our-users-1533564049?mod=hp_major_pos16  

 

 

 

 

 

BanQu - Information Governance Perspectives

Using Blockchain for the Common Good – An Interview with Ashish Gadnis of BanQu

Sixth in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.


Information Governance Perspectives - Ashis Gadnis of BanQu discusses Blockchain

Ashish Gadnis is CEO of BanQu, Inc. and a recognized thought leader in the blockchain community. He chairs the Financial Inclusion Working Committee for the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and travels the world explaining how this revolutionary new technology is transforming the way we think about supply chain economics. He holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and graduated from the Global Leadership and Public Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. I spoke with him this July about blockchain, business administration and professional development.

Ashish, you recently spoke at the MER conference where the theme was “Records for Humanity,” how data governance impacts the human condition. And your company, BanQu, offers a unique solution to the challenge of extreme poverty by leveraging blockchain. With BanQu, people ensure their economic identity with an immutable record of their transactions in a system benefiting the entire supply chain. But how exactly do you, your clients and big brands set about prioritizing and realizing these goals?

Over the last two and a half years we’ve realized that 2.7 billion people, that includes refugees displaced and those in extreme poverty zones, participate in some sort of a supply chain. That can mean you’re the poorest farmer in Congo growing coffee, cacao or shea butter, you know, the ingredients that go into cosmetics, and your contributions show up in brands like eight dollar lattes and expensive body lotions. And in examining this, we realized that that current models for getting people out of poverty have failed. Those models have failed because they look at the ability to help people out of poverty separate from enabling people in poverty to participate in the supply chain. And so we actually took the other route. And nobody had ever done it. We said, “What if the people who are absolutely in that last mile, if they get to equally participate?” Then the value for the brand is suddenly more relevant.

Let’s use a simple example. If you’re buying cacao in Ghana and you’re a large chocolate company, there’s a good chance today that your last mile farmers are extremely poor and also invisible. No matter much traceability, transparency or fair trade you implement, until and unless that farmer can participate in his data, to know for example “I’m selling 40 kilos every other week to this big brand,” then that farmer will continue to live in poverty. And this is kind of a long answer, but the detail is important because that poor farmer today has everything stacked against him or her, especially if conditions are so rough. I was just in Zambia a week and a half ago and I saw firsthand some of this problem, which was that women farmers have to borrow at a higher price point.

Women farmers are always at the short end of the stick because they’re not allowed in many cases to prove their history. So what happens if you happen to be selling 40 kilos upstream and there are seven middlemen… after I sell my coffee… somebody picks it up, then brings it to somebody else, the next one goes to the warehouse and eventually you’ve lost the ability to track. And while the internet has come to people in poverty it hasn’t pulled people out of extreme poverty permanently. There’s mobile money, there’s big data, AI, etc., but none of those models actually have ever allowed that mother, that farmer, to participate equally.

BanQu helps farmers in eight countries ensure their identity through blockchain

When I say participate equally, it’s very basic. To me participate equally means that one, she has a physical (stored digitally) copy of that transaction that nobody can ever steal or manipulate. Two, she has the ability to prove her transaction history which legitimizes her existence in that supply chain. And three, it allows her to now leverage that data in a way that reduces her cost of borrowing. It allows her to be portable. That’s how we decided to look at blockchain and nobody in the world has ever done this. People keep talking about how they’re going to use blockchain for good and we’re the only ones doing it everyday, taking a commercial approach while being simultaneously deeply purpose driven. We started a for profit, for purpose software company and now the largest brands are coming to us because it solves two sides of the problem for them. One side is that the supply chain now becomes more cost effective and efficient. They get better visibility into the supply chain in terms of quality, market access and forecasting which enables an ecosystem for crop insurance, climate protection, education. And the other side of the coin is now they can start addressing issues like gender equality, labor rights and other important issues.

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GDPR - General Data Protection Requirement - Information Governance Perspectives

Emerging From The Dense, Digital Fog – An Interview with Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer

Third in a series of interviews with leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.


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Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer is the Managing Director of Project Consult in Hamburg, Germany and a renowned expert on digital transformations, business intelligence and enterprise content management. I had the opportunity to sit down with him in May and discuss the GDPR, artificial intelligence and social issues emerging from the dense, digital fog we all find ourselves in.

Ulrich, you write and teach extensively about the cultural and social changes in work environments that are a direct result of the emergence of digital transformations. Now that data is at the fingertips of everyone…

What changes should society expect that the business world may have already?

The pace of digital transformation accelerates day by day. Cloud technologies, artificial intelligence, IoT and other developments are happening so fast that there is a danger they’ll get out of control. The mightier AI becomes the larger the danger that it gets uncontrollable.

Consider Soshana Zuboff (one of the first tenured women at Harvard Business School) and her three laws:

  1. Everything that can be automated will be automated.
  2. Everything that can be informated will be informated.
  3. Every digital application that can be used for surveillance and control will be used for surveillance and control.

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Digital Bondage and the Fallacy Of Work-Life Integration

Forget your elder’s sage advice on maintaining a good work-life balance. There’s a new patently absurd approach (promoted here by the time-strapped PhD’s at Berkeley Haas), and it’s spreading like wildfire throughout the business world. They call it… “Work-Life Integration!”

The term “Work-Life Integration” is so misleading because at this point we’re all enduring an increasing degree of overlap between our personal and professional lives. It may be sold to us as “convenience” but much of it is not exactly “optional.” This obsessive and all-in-one approach to time-management ends up usurping the little personal, spontaneous and family time we still have left.

It reminds me a little of Chris Rock’s famous bit on “Job v. Career.”

But not everybody is as fortunate as Chris and there’s a bigger impact to his lifestyle than he’s letting on in the above clip. And so “Work-Life Integration” also makes me think about Cecil DeMille’s classic The Ten Commandments and the famous scene where a worker is about to be trampled by a giant stone moved by “her colleagues.” Moses’ character, played by Charlton Heston, comes down from his managerial pedestal to save the poor soul, who later turns out is his own Mother! It’s a metaphor for how easily, often and unfairly, we as society, put work before family, friends and for believers, even God. And when it negatively impacts others it is arguably immoral.

I was most recently educated on this 24/7 mindset by an executive who boasted, “Say I’m on flight to Hawaii with my family for the weekend, and I’ve got to approve a purchase order for half-a-million. I can do it right here from my iPhone!” Well, that’s nice, but it highlights the disconnect between those who literally have the world at their fingertips and those who get interrupted with email from their boss on the weekends. The same technology fix that feeds the workaholic is now invading the space of almost everyone, not just the guy or gal with a “career.” It’s affecting their partner, their children, their social circle, people on the road. And in many cases it is invasive, counter-productive and unhealthy for the family and the self. Do we really want to live in digital bondage?

In many ways, this digital bondage is reminiscent of the days when men and women of all ages built the Pyramids until they dropped dead. Sure, the Pyramids still stand as a testament to architecture and ingenuity, but to many they will also always represent a chapter in history when there was seldom a break from work. Luckily today we have a choice.

We must stand firmly behind the importance of rest and personal space. Sure, working remotely through technology has given us flexibility. There’s no denying that. But half-baked ideas like “Work-Life Integration” have adversely impacted the very relationships and working-conditions they were meant to improve.

Some in the Jewish faith believe that one of the Ten Commandments, to observe a day of rest on the Sabbath, is a cornerstone of not just spiritual growth, but what ultimately may lead to success in other areas of one’s life. Most cultures share this important value but as it erodes across the globe and the lines between work and rest are blurred, we all suffer.

Stay off the devices this weekend as much as you can. Find true balance by freeing yourself from digital bondage.