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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Without Humans, Artificial Intelligence Is Still Pretty Stupid

Posted by hkarner - 19. November 2017

Date: 15-11-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

There are likely hundreds of thousands of people, world-wide, whose work is sold as AI, says one expert

Without a human reviewing images, it would be too easy to exploit Facebook’s antirevenge-porn service.

If you want to understand the limitations of the algorithms that control what we see and hear—and base many of our decisions upon—take a look at Facebook Inc.’s experimental remedy for revenge porn.

To stop an ex from sharing nude pictures of you, you have to share nudes with Facebook itself. Not uncomfortable enough? Facebook also says a real live human will have to check them out. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »


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As tech companies get richer, is it ‚game over‘ for startups?

Posted by hkarner - 23. Oktober 2017

Date: 21-10-2017
Source: The Guardian

Young firms struggle to compete as deep-pocketed companies like Facebook and Amazon clone products and consolidate their power

The leading tech companies are making it harder for startups to attract investment.

Facebook has been breathing down the neck of the group video-chat app Houseparty for over a year. The app, developed by the San Francisco startup Life On Air, has been a hit with teenagers – an audience Facebook is desperate to woo.

After months of sniffing around its tiny competitor and even inviting the team to its headquarters last summer, Facebook launched its own group video chat tool within Messenger in December 2016. In February, it invited teens to its headquarters to quiz them, in return for $275 Amazon cards, on how and why they used video-chat apps. By July, Facebook was demonstrating a Houseparty clone, Bonfire, to employees and by early September the app launched in Denmark. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Amazon Takes Over the World

Posted by hkarner - 24. September 2017

Date: 23-09-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Forget about the other tech giants: Amazon is poised to beat them all. What are the consequences for the rest of us?

Four tech giants—Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google—have added $2 trillion to their combined market capitalization since the 2007-09 recession, a sum that approaches the GDP of India. The concentrated wealth and power of these companies has alarmed many observers, who see their growth as a threat not just to consumers and other businesses but to American society itself.

After spending most of the past decade researching these companies, I’ve come to the conclusion that our fears are misplaced in focusing on what I call the Four. We should instead be worrying about the One: one firm that will come to dominate search, hardware and cloud computing, that will control a vast network of far-flung businesses, that can ravage entire sectors of the economy simply by announcing its interest in them.

That firm is Amazon. Jeff Bezos has been disciplined and single-minded in his vision of investing in the most enduring consumer wants—price, convenience and selection. Coupled with deft execution, it has made Amazon the most impressive and feared firm in business. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The “free” economy comes at a cost

Posted by hkarner - 26. August 2017

Date: 24-08-2017
Source: The Economist: Free exchange

But economists struggle to work out how much

FACEBOOK, whose users visit for an average of 50 minutes a day, promises members: “It’s free and always will be.” It certainly sounds like a steal. But it is only one of the bargains that apparently litter the internet: YouTube watchers devour 1bn hours of videos every day, for instance. These free lunches do come at a cost; the problem is calculating how much it is. Because consumers do not pay for many digital services in cash, beyond the cost of an internet connection, economists cannot treat these exchanges like normal transactions. The economics of free are different.

Unlike conventional merchants, companies like Facebook and Google have their users themselves produce value. Information and pictures uploaded to social networks draw others to the site. Online searches, selections and “likes” teach algorithms what people want. (Now you’ve bought “The Communist Manifesto”, how about a copy of “Das Kapital”?)

The prevalence of free services is partly a result of history. In the early years of the internet, consumers became used to getting stuff for nothing. They have little idea of how much their data are worth; since digital companies have access to billions of people, the value of one person’s data is tiny anyway. More fundamentally, scarcity is not a constraint in the digital world as it is in the physical one. Data are both inexhaustible and super-cheap to transport.
In 1993 MCI Mail was charging people 50 cents for the first 500 characters of a digital message, increasing by ten cents for each extra 500. The internet slashed that price to zero. Charging would have been impractical, so small is the marginal cost.

Users may pay nothing, but companies like Google and Facebook have fixed costs to cover: engineers, data centres, etc. To make money, they squeeze their users indirectly, by charging companies to put appropriate advertisements in front of captive eyeballs. In the second quarter of 2017, Facebook eked an average of $4.65 out of each of its users by peppering screens with ads and promoted posts. (By comparison, just eight cents came from payments and other fees, mainly from people paying for stuff within virtual games.) Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Can the Tech Giants Be Stopped?

Posted by hkarner - 17. Juli 2017

Date: 15-07-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Google, Facebook, Amazon and other tech behemoths are transforming the U.S. economy and labor market, with scant public debate or scrutiny. Changing course won’t be easy.

Sometimes it is hard to grasp how quickly the giant tech companies have come to dominate the world economy. Ten years ago, only one of them, Microsoft , was among the biggest companies in the world as measured by market capitalization. These days, the top five usually consists of Apple , Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon , Microsoft and Facebook .

It has been an astonishingly rapid rise for the tech giants, and it’s far from over. The big question for the future is: How will their ever-expanding control affect other businesses and the labor market? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Posted by hkarner - 11. Mai 2017

Date: 10-05-2017
Source: NewsWeek

Facebook Doubles Down On Social VR With Spaces—Now in Beta!

At some point soon, possibly even in May, the number of people in the world using Facebook is going to top 2 billion. That will mean more than half of all internet users in the world are on Mark Zuckerberg’s 13-year-old social network.

In its first quarterly earnings report for 2017 on Wednesday, Facebook stated that it had 1.94 billion monthly active users—300 million more than it had at the same time last year. According to the web-monitoring website Internet Live Stats, there are more than 3.6 billion internet users in the world—around 200 million more than there were last year. Facebook is on its way to signing them up.

Speaking after the quarterly results were announced, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke of the company’s size but did not make explicit his plans for keeping up this astonishing rate of growth. “With that foundation our next focus will be building community,” Zuckerberg said. “There’s a lot to do there.”

The word “community” only hints at his ambitions. Several initiatives the social network has launched in recent years point to his plan to connect the entire world to the internet—and by extension, to Facebook.

Some attempts, like the solar-powered internet planes it tested in Arizona last July, have had some success yet remain a long way from being realized on any significant scale. Other attempts, such as its Free Basics program in India have failed entirely—Indian regulators shut the project down in February over concerns about the social network’s potential to threaten net neutrality.

On Thursday, the technology juggernaut announced the commercial launch of “Express Wi-Fi,” which it claims will give millions of Indians access to the web at an “affordable” fee. It is designed to allow people to pay for the internet directly from local service providers and according to its website is live in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Indonesia as well as India. The initiative forms part of facebook’s Internet.org project, which launched in 2013 with the stated ambition of connecting the two-thirds of the planet without internet access.

Some activists have criticized Internet.org for the underlying implications of what is arguably Zuckerberg’s most ambitious project.

“We shouldn’t celebrate Facebook’s efforts to ‘bring the internet to all’ because that is not what they are doing,” transparency advocate David Sasaki said in a blogpost published shortly after the unveiling of Internet.org. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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EU will Facebook sperren

Posted by hkarner - 1. April 2017

Auf Initiative von Heiko Maas plant Brüssel eine Verordnung, soziale Netzwerke innerhalb von 24 Stunden komplett zu sperren, wenn sie ihren Löschpflichten nicht nachkommen. Dafür soll ein „Netzdurchsetzungsgesetz“ (NetzDG) sorgen.

01.04.2017 mmnews


Die Tage von Facebook und Twitter könnten gezählt sein. Nach MMnews-Informationen plant Brüssel ein Gesetz, mit dem EU-Behörden soziale Netzwerke jederzeit abschalten können.

Dazu soll in Kürze ein „Gesetz zur Verbesserung der Rechtsdurchsetzung in sozialen Netzwerken“ (kurz: NetzDG – „Netzdurchsetzungsgesetz“) verabschiedet werden. Was sich zunächst relativ harmlos anhört, könnte die Internetkultur in der EU erheblich verändern, denn der Sprengstoff des Gesetzes verbirgt sich – wie üblich – im Kleingedruckten.

Die Gesetzesinitiative stammt aus dem deutschen Justizministerium und soll so EU-weit übernommen werden. Dem Vernehmen nach begrüsste Justizminister Heiko Maas ausdrücklich die Geschlossenheit, mit der Brüssel nun gegen Hasskommentare und Fakenews vorgehen will.

Gegenwärtig sei eine massive Veränderung des gesellschaftlichen Diskurses im Netz und insbesondere in den sozialen Netzwerken festzustellen, beklagt Maas in einer internen Stellungnahme. Die Debattenkultur im Netz sei oft aggressiv, verletzend und nicht selten hasserfüllt. Hasskriminalität und andere strafbare Inhalte, die nicht effektiv bekämpft und verfolgt werden kann, bergen eine große Gefahr für das friedliche Zusammenleben einer freien, offenen und demokratischen Gesellschaft. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why Deep Learning Is Suddenly Changing Your Life

Posted by hkarner - 30. September 2016

Illustration by Justin Metz

September 28, 2016, 5:00 PM EDT

Decades-old discoveries are now electrifying the computing industry and will soon transform corporate America.

Over the past four years, readers have doubtlessly noticed quantum leaps in the quality of a wide range of everyday technologies.

Most obviously, the speech-recognition functions on our smartphones work much better than they used to. When we use a voice command to call our spouses, we reach them now. We aren’t connected to Amtrak or an angry ex.

In fact, we are increasingly interacting with our computers by just talking to them, whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or the many voice-responsive features of Google. Chinese search giant Baidu says customers have tripled their use of its speech interfaces in the past 18 months.

Machine translation and other forms of language processing have also become far more convincing, with Google googl , Microsoft msft , Facebook fb , and Baidu bidu unveiling new tricks every month. Google Translate now renders spoken sentences in one language into spoken sentences in another for 32 pairs of languages, while offering text translations for 103 tongues, including Cebuano, Igbo, and Zulu. Google’s Inbox app offers three ready-made replies for many incoming emails. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Technology in China: China’s tech trailblazers

Posted by hkarner - 5. August 2016

Date: 04-08-2016
Source: The Economist

GOOGLE left. Facebook is blocked. Amazon is struggling to make headway. And if further proof were needed that China’s tech market is a world apart, this week seemed to provide conclusive evidence. Uber, a ride-hailing service that is the world’s most valuable startup, decided to sell its local unit to Didi Chuxing, a Chinese rival. Its China dream, like those of so many before, is dead.

For many, the lessons of this latest capitulation are clear. China is a sort of technological Galapagos island, a distinct and isolated environment in which local firms flourish. Chinese firms are protected from external competition by government regulation and the Great Firewall. And that protection means that they need not innovate but can thrive by copying business models developed in the West. In short, China is closed, its firms are cosseted and their talent is for mimicry. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Tech Sector’s Profits Are Fueled by Mobile, Cloud

Posted by hkarner - 2. August 2016

Date: 01-08-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Facebook, Google surge on mobile revenue; Cloud businesses boost Amazon, Microsoft

Facebook CC1Facebook’s profit was boosted by a rise in mobile advertising.

The latest batch of tech-industry earnings show how two technology trends—mobile and the cloud—are taking root and delivering big profits for the companies that bet on them.

Facebook Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. last week both reported surges in their quarterly profits, fueled by users spending more time on their smartphones and advertisers spending more money to reach them there.

Meantime, Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. beat Wall Street estimates with results that were lifted by the strength of their businesses hosting other companies’ data on their computer servers, also known as the cloud.

The big are getting bigger,” said Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd.People are using the internet more and more. They always have it with them because of smartphones, speeds are getting better…and all that information has to come from somewhere, and it comes from the cloud.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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