By Eric Johnson for Recode 

Starting with its very first episode, the HBO TV series “Silicon Valley” satirized the idea that tech entrepreneurs were “making the world a better place.” But Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said people in his industry really believe that – or, at least, they used to.

“That’s something that I would say most people in Silicon Valley would like to believe,” Stoppelman said on the latest episode of Recode Decode.

“I think we’re waking up to realize a lot of big companies, presumably under pressure to grow and satisfy Wall Street, are focusing more on growth and making money than sticking to some core set of values that are aspirational.”

Stoppelman said the ongoing crisis of techlash is a reflection of some leaders’ inability or unwillingness to commit to corporate values early in their businesses’ existence, although he agreed with Apple CEO Tim Cook that “not all companies are created equal” in that regard.

“In some ways, Silicon Valley as a whole has lost its purpose,” Stoppelman said. “If its purpose really was, ‘Hey, we’re really trying to have a positive impact,’ just focusing on technology and growth might not be enough. You might actually have to make decisions that hurt growth.”

On the new podcast, Stoppelman also talked about Yelp’s years-long feud with Google. Yelp contends that Google has unfairly favored its own local listings in search results, something Stoppelman said the Google of the past would have criticized.

“The 2004 Google — the Larry Page-Sergey [Brin] Google — would make absolute fun of the search results you see today,” he said. “They pointed at Yahoo and said, ‘Look at Yahoo! They’re trying to trap you in their ecosystem. They don’t want you to get to the best of the web.’”

Scrutiny of big tech, he noted, is one of the few political issues that seems to have bipartisan support in the U.S. right now. But ultimately, despite some welcome regulations in the EU, Stoppelman said Yelp is carrying on with the assumption that the status quo is not about to be upended stateside.

“Obviously, we live in reality, and the government is not the speediest at dealing with these situations,” he said. “So we just find our way.”

The Google Pixel smartphone’s dialler will soon have a spam filtering feature that sends suspected spam callers directly to voicemail.

According to MyBroadband, this is an extension of the app’s existing ability to alert users as to whether it suspects a call of being a “suspected spam caller”.

Instead of a missed call, numbers marked as “spam” or “suspected spam” will be automatically sent to voicemail where they can be listened to at a later date.

This may pose a problem for the traditional telemarketing companies. Once a company has been marked as “spam” by a number of users, it will be “blacklisted” and not appear as a call.

Marketing for large companies is often done by telephone.

SA to get e-visas by March 2019

By Nic Andersen for The South African

Sick of all the paperwork every time you travel to South Africa? Well, e-visas could soon make things a whole lot easier.

The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that phase one of a rollout of electronic visas (e-visas) will begin on 31 March 2019.

While some of the final details are still up in the air, a parliamentary reply from Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba has revealed more about what travellers can expect.

What exactly is an e-visa?
While we’re sure some foreign nationals had hope regarding being free of paperwork, Gigaba says some will still be involved.

“E-visa introduces online capture of visa and permit applications and capturing of applicant’s biometrics in South Africa and abroad. An application will be captured and submitted online together with the required supporting documents that will be scanned and attached to the application. The applicant will then present himself/herself before a DHA Official for biometric enrollment and verification of the supporting documents.”

Following the verification of those documents, all the relevant forms are electronically routed to the Home Affairs head office in Pretoria for adjudication. For an approved visa/permit, a secure QR-Code is generated for print on the notification notice/letter sent to the applicant. This QR-Code contains the approved visa/permit detail and is maintained and managed by DHA at a “secure web-storage facility”.

That very same QR-Code will then be scanned upon arrival here in SA.

The e-visa rollout plan
Beginning with what the department is calling “Phase one, release one”, applications for temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas and applications for waivers will be done through the new system.

The rollout of phase one of the e-visa system will be at a foreign mission, embassy or local Home Affairs office yet to be determined.

“This is to ensure system stability. Once table, more offices locally and abroad can then be gradually brought online,” Gigaba said

According to DA Shadow Minister of Tourism James Vos, these modern-day visas will have big positives for the tourism industry.

“Electronic visas will boost the tourism industry by cutting turnaround times for the issuing of travel documentation while ensuring the information of applicants is secure.”

“Most importantly, improved tourist arrivals will facilitate more job growth in the industry while guaranteeing job security for 1,4 million South Africans already working in the tourism industry.”

The new system could see tourists flocking to SA in larger numbers than before.

Source: BBC

The suspect in a gun attack at YouTube’s HQ in California had expressed anger over its treatment of her video postings, media reports say.

Police have named Nasim Aghdam, 39, as the suspect but say they are still investigating a motive.

US media say Aghdam was angry that YouTube was filtering her videos and reducing the money she could make.

Tuesday’s attack left a man and two women injured with gunshot wounds. The attacker shot herself dead.

Police in San Bruno, California, say there is no evidence yet that the attacker knew the victims, a 36-year-old man said to be in a critical condition, and two women aged 32 and 27.

What do we know of the suspect?
Nasim Aghdam lived in San Diego in southern California.

Vegan bodybuilder with a vast online presence
Police have revealed few details about her but US media said she ran a number of channels and a website, posting videos on a variety of subjects including those highlighting animal cruelty. The channels have now been deleted.

Aghdam has been variously described as a vegan bodybuilder, artist and rapper.

In January 2017 she posted a video complaining that YouTube was filtering her content, leading to fewer views.

On her website she also ranted against YouTube, saying: “Videos of targeted users are filtered and merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos.”

She also quotes Adolf Hitler, saying: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

She also wrote: “There is no equal growth opportunity on YouTube or any other video sharing site. Your channel will grow if they want [it] to!”

Aghdam’s father, Ismail, told local US media she was angry because YouTube had stopped paying her for videos.

Video posters can receive money from linked advertisements but the company can “de-monetise” channels for various reasons, taking adverts off. It is unclear if this happened with Aghdam’s material.

Her father said Aghdam had been reported missing on Monday after not answering calls for two days. Police later found her sleeping in her car in Mountain View, 25km (15 miles) south of the YouTube offices in San Bruno and reported this to her family, but they did not detain her.

Her father told police she might go to YouTube as she “hated the company”, local media said.

YouTube terminated her account following the shooting. Her Instagram and Facebook accounts have also been removed.

However, many Twitter users posted her Facebook video rant against YouTube.

The suspect is reported to have approached an outdoor patio and dining area at the offices in San Bruno, near San Francisco, at about lunchtime on Tuesday and opened fire with a handgun.

San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said officers arrived at the offices at 12:48 (19:48 GMT) local time to find a “chaotic scene”, with numerous people fleeing.

Images broadcast on local TV stations showed employees leaving with their hands raised. Other footage showed evacuees forming a queue before being individually frisked by police.

Police said officers had “encountered one victim with an apparent gunshot wound at the site and two additional gunshot victims that had fled to a neighbouring business”.

Inside the complex, officers then found a woman dead from a gunshot wound that was believed to be self-inflicted.

An employee at a nearby fast food restaurant told Fox station KTVU he had treated a young woman who suffered a bullet wound to the leg.

He said he had fashioned a makeshift tourniquet from a bungee cord as they waited for first responders.

Several YouTube employees tweeted about the attack as it was taking place.

Product manager Todd Sherman said people fled the building in panic as the shooting unfolded.

Another employee, Vadim Lavrusik, tweeted he was barricaded in a room with other staff. He later said he had been evacuated.

The three wounded were taken to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Officials said the 32-year-old woman’s condition was serious and the 27-year-old’s condition was fair.

A fourth person was also taken to hospital with an ankle injury sustained while trying to escape, Mr Barberini said.

Some 1 700 people work at the YouTube HQ. The company is owned by Google and is the area’s biggest employer.

There had been earlier media reports that the man shot was Aghdam’s boyfriend, but police later said; “At this time there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims of this shooting or that individuals were specifically targeted.”

Such “active shooter” incidents are overwhelmingly carried out by men – an FBI report found that out of 160 incidents between 2000-2013, only six of the people who opened fire were women.

What’s the reaction been?
YouTube spokesman Chris Dale praised the police response to the incident.

“Today it feels like the entire community of YouTube and all of the employees were victims of this crime. Our hearts go out to those who suffered in this particular attack,” he said.

Another online giant, Twitter, said it was horrified by the shooting and said it was monitoring instances of misinformation.

 

By Nikki Schwab for DailyMail

President Trump is to have dinner with his biggest Silicon Valley backer, Peter Thiel, DailyMail.com has confirmed.

The dinner, a source close to Thiel said, will be a strategy session on how the president might be able to regulate Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google.

Trump has been fixated on Amazon as of late, blasting the online retailer again from the White House on Tuesday.

President Trump is expected to get advice from billionaire Peter Thiel on how to regulate the top tech companies that include Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple.

“Amazon’s gonna have to pay much more money to the Post Office. There’s no doubt about that.”

Trump charged the U.S. Post Office is “losing billions of dollars” all because it delivers packages for Amazon at below cost “and that’s not fair”.

Behind-the-scenes, a source told Axios that Trump is “obsessed with Amazon”.

“He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law,” a source told the publication.

Axios pointed out that the president ‘would love to clip CEO Jeff Bezos’ wings,’ but he doesn’t have a plan to do so. With billionaire Thiel’s advice, that could change.

The “humAIns” are coming

By Sudipto Ghosh for MarTechSeries

According to the latest Accenture report on the future of workplace collaborations, businesses that manage to balance human ingenuity with machine intelligence will be successful. Released just ahead of the World Economic Forum 2018 in Davos, Accenture’s AI report takes a positive stance on the need to grow investments into AI and Human-Machine collaboration over the next five years.

So, what can we expect at such a ‘modern’ workplace?

Let’s call the new professionals that you could be hiring and collaborating with, by 2022 “the humAIns”.

Who are humAIns?

HumAIns are machine-driven, human-centric workplace assistants that demonstrate the highest ability to deliver “Live” customer experiences. No biases, even with millions of insights to deal with from historical data, the HumAIns will boost three aspects of any business:

  • Increase revenues
  • Maximise profits
  • Guarantee human employment with respectable salaries

According to the Accenture report on AI-Human collaboration, the HumAIns could boost revenues by 38% and grow employment opportunities by 10 percent between 2018 and 2022.

The convergence of AI and the human race within economic circles
The HumAIns (no more a hypothesis), would propel the adoption of technology across industries. The economic fields of study for AI would expand further into these five categories:

  • Deep Learning: Synchronous group of machines running on powerful algorithms led by a human expert.
  • Robotization: Machines take over humans, freeing the creative minds to focus on refining business strategies.
  • Dematerialization: Voice search, intelligent assistants, automatic streaming tools, and contactless payment solutions.
  • In-app Workforce; Employees share their availability and managers delegate tasks via apps, also part of Gig economy and crowd-working.
  • Autonomous Operations: Driving tech, sensor technologies, IoT, and drones powered by AR/VR, turning into the norm.

Humanisation of technology

Almost all first-world countries are prepared for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. For example, the Netherlands became the first country to set up a nationwide internet of things network. With this move, The Netherlands has enabled the connection of more intelligent devices than it has inhabitants.

“Go digital. Use VR, AR and Al to accelerate the speed and scale of effective training.” – Accenture, Reworking The Revolution

While the cost of employment is a chief reason why developed countries are seeking smarter technologies to replace humans, growing economies like India, China, and Bangladesh still benefit from the availability of low-cost, medium-skilled workers in all industrial sectors.

As all countries grow in terms of industrial parity, employment standards would also incline majorly towards robotization, automation, and dematerialization. This opens up a new horizon for HumAIns to make their presence felt.

HumAIns would hire people for their skills and not for their personal choices. The intelligent assistants would manage the entire value chain of man, machine, material, money, and to an extent, mind too.

The Darker Side: HumAIns Crack the Whip on ‘Dark’ Data Science

Most businesses have a sense of what Big Data is. But analyzing ‘unstructured’ data is still a mystery (something with no label of what data-type it is, or what family it belongs to — not even the source)! HumAIns, taking a cue from the Apple-Lattice Data amalgamation, or from the newest in the market, Vyasa Analytics, could enable the machine’s “cortex” to ask pertinent questions on the ‘Who-What-Where-When-How’ in analyzing Dark Data.

For HumAIns, the power of collaborative analytics in Dark Data would open new fields of opportunities across the verticals and horizontals in business. A large part of that would benefit how CMOs zero in on their tech stack.

HumAIns in B2B Technology: A Cool Angle to Working with Machines

HumAIns would erase the need for having human supervision for the common marketing activities, that mostly deal with interactions and problem-solving at all stages of operations. The activities are:

  • Customer Targeting and Retargeting
  • Media Buying
  • Cross-channel Marketing Executions
  • Testing, Optimization, and Personalization
  • Analytics and Insights

For a CMO working with a HumAIn, the foreseeable benefits could include:

  • Savings in time, money, and human resources
  • Unbiased collaboration 24/7/365
  • More accurate, quicker, and justifiable investment decisions
  • Competitive intelligence with clear focus on revenue acceleration
  • Uncompromising and unending repository of intelligence and measurable emotion into marketing and advertising
  • Delightful customer experiences with the highest return on personalization
  • Higher-value in problem-solving with real-time historical references to common challenges in marketing

Will AI take away jobs? Certainly not, if you know how to collaborate with the HumAIns. Trusting what Accenture report suggests, “Foster a new leadership DNA. Cultivate leaders at all levels to help pivot the workforce to new growth models.” What part of that DNA would match up to HumAIns? Interesting thought, isn’t it?

What does Facebook know about you?

Source: By Andrew Griffin for The Independent 

As attention turns to Facebook’s use of data, many of its users are wondering how they can avoid being manipulated by the site.

Some are urging users to boycott the site entirely. Those voices include the co-creator of WhatsApp, who sold the app to Facebook for billions but has since called for people to delete it.

Others, however, say that they can’t leave Facebook, since they need it for talking to people or keeping up with their communities. It might not even be possible to really leave, anyway – the internet expects you to keep using Facebook, and the site is able to learn about people’s data even if they’ve never actually used it.

The site does, however, give people relatively easy ways to find out what data is being collected and how. And if they object to that, they can either delete their account or deactivate it, both of which do go some way towards stopping the site learning more about you.

Everything you do on Facebook generates data of some kind. That might be the obvious, explicit ways, like the information people add to their profile about themselves – but it could be much more subtle things, like how long you spend watching a certain video.

Sometimes, the site and developers using it will use quizzes or mini games to make the experience of giving up data more fun. When they’re opened, they don’t only get access to the answers you give, but also request access to people’s data.

In the case of Cambridge Analytica, Facebook says data collected via a quiz app called ThisIsYourDigitalLife, billed as a personality predictor, was passed to the data firm in violation of its terms.

Where can I find details about what apps I’ve given access to?

Visit Facebook’s settings page or, on the desktop site, settings is located on the drop-down menu on the right-hand side of the blue header bar.

Click on the apps tab on the left-hand side of the screen to see all the apps you’ve okayed.

Users can see what info is shared with any app, and there are options to delete, limit the information each app can access and remove info collected by the app.

Deleting an app may still allow the developer to retain some of a user’s personal information.

How do my friends impact on apps?

In “Apps Others Use”, Facebook sets out how apps which other people use can read your data. This feature revolves around the social part of Facebook – it’s the tech which means you might be flagged as a fellow reader of a certain book, a brand devotee, or someone who also plays a game.

Click edit and 13 categories are listed, including bio, timeline posts and online status. Any combination can be toggled on and off.

What is Facebook Platform?

If you want to go a step further you can turn off Platform – this is the system which among other things allows you to comment on or log into other websites using your Facebook details.

By turning it off, you lose some functionality but it means your information is not automatically shared as you surf the web.

How to see your Facebook data
In the general section of the settings is an option “download a copy of your Facebook data”. Click on it and Facebook will email you when it’s ready to download.

Facebook says most of this data is already available in your account and activity log, but it also includes information on ads you have clicked on and the IP addresses you’ve used.

It will also reveal email addresses previously associated with your account, topics of ads which may be targeted to you and the metadata contained in photos uploaded to Facebook.

How do I deactivate or delete my account?

Facebook talks people through both deactivating and deleting their account in Settings General Manage Your Account.

Deactivating allows you to log back in in the future and have your Facebook profile completely restored. While deactive, people won’t be able to search for you or see your page, but the info is retained.

To permanently delete your Facebook account, visit the account deletion page to start the process. It may take up to 90 days to delete all the things you’ve posted, says Facebook.

Source: By Andrew Griffin for The Independent 

Fin24 recently publishing article with the headline: “Massive Afrihost security flaw exposed”.
The article stated that “a massive security flaw” left the ADSL credentials of users vulnerable. The situation was brought to light by a Durban software expert, Taylor Gibb, who recently posted on Facebook that “Afrihost staff had been able to provide ADSL account credentials to users over the phone, leaving information at risk”.

Afrihost has released the following statement:

1. There was no breach of data at any time

No databases, personal information, payment information or account details have been breached or hacked in any way. The article is based on hypothetical scenarios conceived by the author of the article, who was never (at any time) in possession of the data mentioned.

2. Our clients are not at risk

Since no data was actually obtained, our clients are not at risk at all. We have also now ensured that consultants cannot view encrypted data, so there is no risk to clients whatsoever (based on the scenario in this article).

3. Passwords were never stored in plain text

The writer makes several assumptions regarding the state of personal data, such as passwords being stored in plain text, which are inaccurate. Passwords are encrypted.

4. The information relates ONLY to ADSL usernames and passwords

No payment information, personal information or ClientZone user login information were ever at risk. At absolute worst, the information in question could only be used to login to an ADSL account (and one that allows concurrent logins). Any client could still view their ADSL sessions via their ClientZone and request any unknown numbers be blocked from accessing their account. There would be zero possibility that these details could ever lead to obtaining payment or personal information.

5. Our team of staff are trustworthy

The article only refers to scenarios where a staff member of Afrihost could access vulnerable information. Our staff have no motivation to steal data from our clients, as they receive free internet for both fixed line (DSL or Fibre) and Mobile Data. In many cases, our staff give out their personal accounts to help our clients test their connectivity. While we did trust our staff with access to passwords – this ability has since been removed – this was always subject to identity verification. However, we have removed this feature for our client’s peace of mind and will find new ways to ensure that our clients enjoy the same level of convenience when interacting with our consultants.

We’ve always had to balance our need for increased security and safeguards with our client’s convenience. Changes to our security is in ongoing development at all times, and we had planned to devise a convenient way to roll these out with minimal impact to our clients.

As mentioned, no data was breached, no personal information was compromised and not a single client was adversely affected in any way.

How tech will shape the world in 2018

A lot can happen in a year. And when that year is 2018, a year in which we stand on the threshold of an exponential future driven by technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, IoT and blockchain, the world may look very different by the end of it than it does now.

It is often productive to take some time in the early part of a year to consider (and imagine) what the next 10-12 months will hold. At the very least it affords us an opportunity to dream big and consider the implications of new trends, products, and services, as well as their underlying technologies.

At best, we gain invaluable insight into how these technology trends will affect, improve or disrupt our businesses, our work and our personal lives, and help us reach previously unattainable goals, progress, (and even distant planets!)

Here are my (and my colleagues’) top technology predictions for 2018:

1. In aerospace, the commercial airplane industry will see cool, new products and innovations. We’ll see the first legitimate applications of large-scale autonomous air taxis and hypersonic aircraft. In space, the journey to Mars is closer than we think. Our own Head of Innovation, Adriana Marais, is even shortlisted to be one of the first humans to undertake a manned mission to the Red Planet. 2018 is set to re-ignite our imaginations around space travel.

2. In the manufacturing arena we will see the use of 3D Printing (or additive manufacturing) and robotics accelerating as companies position themselves to be more responsive, less wasteful and more competitive in a global context.

3. Across Africa we will see agricultural value chains embracing technology as both government and private sector organisations work towards food security for Africa’s exploding population in the face of climate change, water shortages and land degradation. Technologies will be used to help both small and large-scale farmers achieve better outcomes with less impact on the environment and less wastage in the supply chain

4. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will become mainstream in business in 2018. You can break it down into three categories:
a) Advanced analytics and big data plays, where the aggregation of data will enable fresh and deep insights and allow the creation of new business models,
b) Business process automation, where we’ll see a high degree of back-end business processing being done by algorithms, freeing up human resources to be more productive and creative, and
c) Customer experience, where we’ll see more intelligent and personalised layers between humans and systems, like voice navigation and human-like virtual assistants.

5. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things, and blockchain will also enable new business models and create new markets driven by start-ups and agile corporates that can embrace these trends and understand the potential value propositions that can come out of it.

6. On the workplace culture side, we’re going to see a significant refocus on cultural aspects of organisations, specifically how company culture and its practices support the needs and well-being of the organisation. Companies are realising that if they don’t have the culture and the practices to support a healthy, productive environment for their workers, they’re not going reach their goals.

7. Design will assume a heightened eminence as companies, with equal and easy access to the latest technology platforms seek ways to establish a competitive edge in the way they apply technology to unforeseen problems and opportunities.

8. One of the biggest stories in 2018 will be cybersecurity. The explosion in software, technology, and connected devices open many new threat vectors, at the same time that the regulatory environment is becoming significantly tougher. Security systems must keep pace in the same fashion. We desperately need to get those protocols and security measures in place.

9. Today there is a “land grab” happening in the IoT space as vendors, large and small, jostle for leadership. SAP’s global IoT evangelist Tom Raftery predicts that the IoT cloud platform market is going to consolidate quickly. “The IoT hype is going to finish and we’re going to move into possibly a ‘trough of disillusionment’ – as Gartner calls it – that precedes mainstream adoption. IoT architecture will evolve from data ingestion and analytics (the “thing to dashboard” paradigm) to an intelligent event-driven solution for end users. Digital twins will evolve from concepts to implementation providing new simulation and decision-making capabilities within and across companies.”

10. We’re going to see companies reassess their strategic technical plan – possibly even stopping some of the roadmaps and re-evaluating options for the cloud, as well as moving forward with ERP transformations and improving total cost of operations by streamlining business processes and technical architecture. “There will be quite a bit around end-to-end transformation and being more innovative and proactive in business processes.”

By Simon Carpenter, Chief Technology Advisor at SAP Africa

Pedestrian killed by self-driving car

Source: Associated Press via News24

Police in a Phoenix suburb say one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles has struck and killed a pedestrian.

Police in the city of Tempe said on Monday that the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when the woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit.

Police say that the accident happened overnight on Sunday when the woman was walking outside of a crosswalk.

Elaine Herzberg, 49, died of her injuries at a hospital.

Uber has been testing the self-driving vehicles in Tempe and Phoenix for months.

Police said Uber is cooperating in the investigation.

The company will stop the testing of its self-driving cars in Tempe, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

The testing has been going on for months in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as automakers and technology companies compete to be the first with the technology.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi expressed condolences on his Twitter account and said the company is working with local law enforcement on the investigation.

The federal government has voluntary guidelines for companies that want to test autonomous vehicles, leaving much of the regulation up to states.

The US Department of Transportation is considering other voluntary guidelines that it says will help foster innovation. But Transportation Secretary Elaine Chaos also has said technology and automobile companies need to allay public fears of self-driving vehicles, citing a poll showing that 78 percent of people fear riding in autonomous vehicles

The number of states considering legislation related to autonomous vehicles gradually has increased each year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2017 alone, 33 states introduced legislation.

California is among those that require manufacturers to report any incidents to the motor vehicle department during the autonomous vehicle testing phase. As of early March, the agency received 59 such reports.

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