Olivia Solon in San Francisco

  • Big Data
    ‘Data is a fingerprint’: why you aren’t as anonymous as you think online | World news

    In August 2016, the Australian government released an “anonymised” data set comprising the medical billing records, including every prescription and surgery, of 2.9 million people. Names and other identifying features were removed from the records in an effort to protect individuals’ privacy, but a research team from the University of Melbourne soon...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    The rise of ‘pseudo-AI’: how tech firms quietly use humans to do bots’ work | Technology

    It’s hard to build a service powered by artificial intelligence. So hard, in fact, that some startups have worked out it’s cheaper and easier to get humans to behave like robots than it is to get machines to behave like humans. “Using a human to do the job lets you skip over...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    When should a tech company refuse to build tools for the government? | Technology

    During the second world war, IBM supplied the Nazis with technology used to help transport millions of people to their deaths in the concentration camps. The American technology company leased punch-card machines through a German subsidiary for the purpose of tabulating a population census, which allowed the Nazis to identify and track...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Man 1, machine 1: landmark debate between AI and humans ends in draw | Technology

    It was man 1, machine 1 in the first live, public debate between an artificial intelligence system developed by IBM and two human debaters. The AI, called Project Debater, appeared on stage in a packed conference room at IBM’s San Francisco office embodied in a 6ft tall black panel with a blue,...

  • Analytics
    ‘Surveillance society’: has technology at the US-Mexico border gone too far? | Technology

    Palmer Luckey, the virtual reality pioneer, left Facebook in 2017, six months after it was discovered that he had secretly funded a pro-Trump campaign group dedicated to influencing the US election through “shitposting” and “meme magic”. The 25-year-old Oculus founder now has a new venture, Anduril Industries, this time supporting Trump’s immigration...

  • Analytics
    Teens are abandoning Facebook in dramatic numbers, study finds | Technology

    Teenagers have abandoned Facebook in favour of other social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. Just 51% of US individuals aged 13 to 17 say they use Facebook – a dramatic plunge from the 71% who said they used the social network...

  • Analytics
    Congress wants to ‘inflict pain’ on Mark Zuckerberg. Is he ready for it? | Technology

    Mark Zuckerberg would like you to know one thing – Facebook messed up. During a rare press conference last week, Zuckerberg was grilled by journalists over Facebook’s privacy lapses. His message was consistent: mistakes were made, he takes responsibility and the company has made sweeping changes to better protect user data. “We...

  • Analytics
    Facebook says Cambridge Analytica may have gained 37m more users’ data | UK news

    The Facebook data of up to 87 million people – 37 million more than previously reported – may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, the company has revealed. This larger figure was buried in the penultimate paragraph of a blogpost by the company’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, published on Wednesday,...

  • Artificial Intelligence
    Peter Thiel: Europe is cracking down on Silicon Valley out of ‘jealousy’ | Technology

    European regulators are clamping down on Silicon Valley companies because they are “jealous” of the success of the technology industry in the US, according to PayPal co-founder and investor Peter Thiel. Speaking about the looming threat of regulation for these companies, Thiel said that the “threat is probably greater in Europe” and...

  • Analytics
    Twitter launches another bid to tackle bots and abuse after years of promises | Technology

    Twitter has asked for help in tackling the rampant harassment, bots, misinformation and polarisation in a more strategic way so that it can improve the “health” of conversation on the platform, the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, said on Thursday. “We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or...