Society, Science & Technology

Written by  //  November 13, 2022  //  Science & Technology  //  No comments

Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It
Understanding how algorithm manipulators exploit our cognitive vulnerabilities empowers us to fight back
By Filippo Menczer, Thomas Hills
(Scientific American) Modern technologies are amplifying…biases in harmful ways, however. Search engines direct…to sites that inflame…suspicions, and social media connects…with like-minded people, feeding…fears. Making matters worse, bots—automated social media accounts that impersonate humans—enable misguided or malevolent actors to take advantage of…vulnerabilities.
Compounding the problem is the proliferation of online information. Viewing and producing blogs, videos, tweets and other units of information called memes have become so cheap and easy that the information marketplace is inundated. Unable to process all this material, we let our cognitive biases decide what we should pay attention to. These mental shortcuts influence which information we search for, comprehend, remember and repeat to a harmful extent. (1 December 2020)

The tech CEO spending millions to stop Elon Musk
Dan O’Dowd says Tesla’s ‘Full Self Driving’ software shouldn’t be on the road. He’ll keep running over test dummies until someone listens.
O’Dowd has run nationwide TV ads with the videos and even launched an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate as part of his one-man crusade to challenge what he sees as the cavalier development of dangerous technology. For O’Dowd and other skeptics, the program is a deadly experiment foisted on an unsuspecting public — a view underscored by a recently filed class-action lawsuit and a reported Department of Justice investigation into the tech.
Despite O’Dowd’s high-profile campaign, and the concern from some regulators and politicians, Tesla is charging ahead with what it claims is world-changing technology.

27 October
Elon Musk reportedly fires top Twitter executives as he takes over company
The $44bn deal will give world’s richest man control of influential social media platform with more than 230m users
(The Guardian) After months of legal back-and-forth, Elon Musk has reportedly completed his $44bn takeover of Twitter, taking control of the company and firing several of the company’s top executives including CEO Parag Agrawal.
Multiple outlets reported on Thursday evening that Musk has finalized the deal, capping a chaotic saga that began when the billionaire first announced his plans to purchase the company in April.
Shortly after taking the helm of Twitter, Musk reportedly ousted several senior figures, including chief executive Agrawal, Ned Segal, the chief financial officer, and Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal policy, trust and safety.

25 October
This small seaside community could be home to Canada’s first spaceport. But not everyone is on board
Canso, N.S., project was greenlit this summer, but vocal opposition, hefty price tag could stand in the way

14 October
Elon Musk is under federal investigations, Twitter says in court filing
(Reuters) – Elon Musk is being investigated by federal authorities over his conduct in his $44 billion takeover deal for Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), the social media company said in a court filing released on Thursday.
While the filing said he was under investigations, it did not say what the exact focus of the probes was and which federal authorities are conducting them.

Musk says SpaceX cannot fund Ukraine’s vital Starlink internet indefinitely
(Reuters) – Elon Musk said on Friday his rocket company SpaceX cannot indefinitely fund its Starlink internet service in Ukraine, which has helped the country’s civilians and military stay online during the war with Russia.
Musk’s comment on Twitter came after a media report that SpaceX had asked the Pentagon to pay for the donations of Starlink. The billionaire has been in online fights with Ukrainian officials over a peace plan he put forward which Ukraine says is too generous to Russia.
Musk activated Starlink, satellite broadband service, in Ukraine in late February after internet services were disrupted because of Russia’s invasion. SpaceX has since given it thousands of terminals.
6 April
SpaceX, USAID deliver 5,000 satellite internet terminals to Ukraine

4 October
Elon Musk vs. Twitter: all the news about one of the biggest, messiest tech deals ever
(The Verge) On Thursday, April 14th, Elon Musk announced an offer to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share. On April 25th, Twitter accepted the deal. By July 8th, Musk wanted out. Then, Twitter sued Musk. For a while, it appeared we were headed for Chancery Court in Delaware for a five-day trial in October that will determine who owns Twitter. Then, at the last moment, it appeared Musk might just buy Twitter and put an end to all this.

24 August
‘Pre-bunking’ shows promise in fight against misinformation
(AP) New findings from university researchers and Google reveal that one of the most promising responses to misinformation may also be one of the simplest.
In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, the researchers detail how short online videos that teach basic critical thinking skills can make people better able to resist misinformation. …
Subjects who viewed the videos were found to be significantly better at distinguishing false claims from accurate information when tested by the researchers. The same positive results occurred when the experiment was replicated on YouTube, where nearly 1 million people viewed the videos.

15 August 2022
Lawyers could have electronic chips implanted in their BRAINS to enable them to scan through documents in a fraction of the time, report suggests
Brain implants could reduce the number of lawyers required to work on a case
Clients could pay for their services by unit of attention rather than by hour
A report claims neurotechnology in society could pose new ethical issues
Lawyers may have to consider that their defendants’ chips could be hacked
Electronic brain implants could allow lawyers to quickly scan years of background material and cut costs in the future, a new report claims.
The report from The Law Society sets out the way the profession could change for employees and clients as a result of advances in neurotechnology.

9 August
How will brain-monitoring technology influence the practice of law?

13 August
These Canadian startups are taking quantum computing mainstream
While quantum computers are still in their nascent stage, experts already point to them as having the potential to solve complex problems like climate change and cybersecurity. The technology is beginning to creep into business plans too, with Goldman Sachs using quantum computers to improve calculations in options financing and Volkswagen looking to use them to optimize its manufacturing.
For years, quantum computers have mostly been the focus of academics and government. Now, experts say we could be near a turning point where the technology is closer to commercialization. … The concepts used in quantum computing may seem mind-bending, and they’re very powerful. Ordinary computers encode information using zeros and ones, called binary digits — or bits for short. Using quantum physics, these supercomputers can use zeros, ones, or any value in between, in something known as quantum digits — or quibits. This allows them to perform calculations much faster on problems that are more complex.

20 March
Nine Canadian Space Companies Create The Space Canada Association
Canada’s leading space innovators today announced the formation of Space Canada, a new national industry association that will offer a united voice for Canada’s space sector and take it to new heights. Brian Gallant, the former premier of New Brunswick, is the founding organization’s CEO.
“It is such an honor to lead Space Canada…” said Brian Gallant. “Investments in space create high-quality STEM jobs of the future and play a significant role in addressing economic, societal and planetary challenges like climate change. Space technology monitors our land ecosystems and coastlines, supports disaster relief and protects our oceans and forests. Moreover, space can close the digital divide, particularly in our Northern, remote and rural communities, and enhance our national security.”

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