The lawsuit filed against Amazon’s Alexa Voice Services this past Tuesday fascinates me. It alleges that Amazon is recording children who use Alexa without parental consent. Excuse me? Mom or Dad bought the Echo, put it in the house, and taught the kids to talk to it. How much more parental consent do you need? That said, there is more to the story.
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In a rare show of bipartisan unity this past Wednesday, Republicans and Democrats on the House Oversight Committee expressed concerns over the rapid spread of facial recognition software used by technology companies. This should make you stop and think very long and hard about what your elected leaders do not understand about the world we live in.
Cumulus Media confirmed that New York City's iconic FM radio station 95.5 PLJ will sign off for the last time on Friday, May 31. Clearly, there was no longer a profitable business to be made using FM radio broadcasting technology to aggregate and monetize the PLJ audience. Radio stations change ownership all the time and, as you know, media M&A has become a blood sport in the past 24 months. Still, this particular sign-off signals something significant.
Wikiality, “the best narrative wins,” has all but replaced reality. Fiction often replaces facts. Lies are harder and harder to separate from truths. A pure democracy is truly dangerous to powerful people. Narratives are hard to control. Which raises the question, can a constitutional republic (or a bunch of other elected central governments) control a true democracy that is the direct voice of about 55 percent of the global population?
We get to work with super-smart people who are being forced to adapt their organizations to the accelerating pace of exponential change. The process is generally known as “digital transformation.” But that is a misnomer. There’s no such thing as analog transformation, or quantum transformation. By definition, all current technological transformations are digital. It is also important to point out that technology is ephemeral – the only successful path to digital transformation is through sociological transformation – so we need a new name!
Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Can you imagine seeing a technology and completely misunderstanding what it was doing and how it might work?
"WARNING! The music you are about to hear and the audio mix you are about to experience are being composed, produced and performed in real time to fit your mood and match your personal preferences and listening environment by an AI system called AutoScoreAI-2. We have previously sought, and you have granted, permission for us to collect and analyze data generated by your audio and video consumption behavior for the quality of your enjoyment. No humans were harmed during this production." Or were they?
Google dissolved its 10-day-old AI ethics council. Why? Because of AI bias, a super-important, completely misnamed topic. We can chat all we like about human biases creating AI biases with our Western cultural ideology, but if there is going to be anything like an AI bias council, it should probably be held in Beijing, Shanghai, or Shenzhen. Chinese cultural and political norms are going to have a much bigger influence over AI bias than anything we do here in America.
Mark Zuckerberg is founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, the world’s largest population. In reading his op-ed in the Washington Post, Mark Zuckerberg: The Internet needs new rules. Let’s start in these four areas, I was struck by its similarities to Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense, which for all practical purposes incited the Colonies to rebel against the King. Both of these manifestos deserve to be read in their entirety.
While driving an Audi Q7 (back in December 2018), I got a flat tire on a Friday night. What should have been an unremarkable event turned out to be anything but. In fact, my experience was so counter to what I had come to expect from Audi, I wrote The Myth of Luxury at Scale, a cautionary tale about expectation management and customer service. It’s a fun read (if schadenfreude is your thing). What follows is the epilogue to that story.