Alex Hern

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Google’s solution to accidental algorithmic racism: ban gorillas | Technology

    After Google was criticised in 2015 for an image-recognition algorithm that auto-tagged pictures of black people as “gorillas”, the company promised “immediate action” to prevent any repetition of the error. That action was simply to prevent Google Photos from ever labelling any image as a gorilla, chimpanzee, or monkey – even pictures...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Kodak leads surge of companies exploiting bitcoin buzz | Technology

    Kodak hit headlines this week when the company announced a plan to launch “photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management”. In other words, the venerable camera company is getting in on the bitcoin hype. Shares in Kodak, which had been largely flat for the...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Missed the bitcoin boom? Five more baffling cryptocurrencies to blow your savings on | Technology

    If you are worried you’ve missed out on making millions by betting on bitcoin, don’t worry: there will be plenty more bizarre, borderline-incomprehensible digital bubbles in the future, and their value is only going to go up (until it all comes crashing down, that is). Here are five assets each competing to...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Snapchat boss Evan Spiegel on the app that made him one of the world’s youngest billionaires | Technology

    If you spend enough time in the tech industry, certain cultural touchstones become familiar. The sprawling virtual metaverse of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, for instance, which was required reading for new product managers at Facebook, or the voice-activated computers of Star Trek, now referenced in a hidden “Easter egg” feature in Amazon’s...

  • Analytics
    What I learned after downloading every iPhone App of the Day for a month | Technology

    “There’s an App for that.” Apple’s slogan, trademarked two years after the App Store was launched in 2008, summed up a period when an unfamiliar icon on a friend’s home screen was a conversation starter, and someone with a good idea working from their bedroom really could do something radically different. Now,...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    YouTube to clamp down on disturbing kids’ videos such as dark Peppa Pig | Technology

    YouTube has announced a clampdown on disturbing and inappropriate children’s videos, following accusations that the site enabled “infrastructural violence” through the long-run effects of its content recommendation system. The new policy, announced on Thursday evening, will see age restrictions apply on content featuring “inappropriate use of family entertainment characters” like unofficial videos...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Shotgun shell: Google’s AI thinks this turtle is a rifle | Technology

    If it is the shape of a turtle, the size of a turtle, and has the patterning of a turtle, it’s probably a turtle. So when artificial intelligence confidently declares it’s a gun instead, something’s gone wrong. But that’s what researchers from MIT’s Labsix managed to trick Google’s object recognition AI into...

  • Analytics
    ‘Downright Orwellian’: journalists decry Facebook experiment’s impact on democracy | Technology

    Facebook has been criticised for the worrying impact on democracy of its “downright Orwellian” decision to run an experiment seeing professional media removed from the main news feed in six countries. The experiment, which began 19 October and is still ongoing, involves limiting the core element of Facebook’s social network to only...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Facebook translates ‘good morning’ into ‘attack them’, leading to arrest | Technology

    Facebook has apologised after an error in its machine-translation service saw Israeli police arrest a Palestinian man for posting “good morning” on his social media profile. The man, a construction worker in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit, near Jerusalem, posted a picture of himself leaning against a bulldozer with the...

  • Analytics
    Facebook moving non-promoted posts out of news feed in trial | Technology

    Facebook is testing a major change that would shift non-promoted posts out of its news feed, a move that could be catastrophic for publishers relying on the social network for their audience. A new system being trialled in six countries including Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka sees almost all non-promoted posts shifted...