The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hosted its fifth annual PrivacyCon on July 21, 2020. This was the first time the one-day conference was fully remote, rather than in person at the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in Washington, D.C.
PrivacyCon should not be confused with Comic-Con, the annual pop culture extravaganza that began the following day with over 350 virtual panels extending over nearly a week. Perhaps the thousands who show up there each year in San Diego with colorful costumes will not miss a beat as they turn on their Zoom cameras to participate in a way never imagined when this year’s Comic-Con was organized.
Hyper partisan politics and our divided nation make it easier than ever to vilify anyone, any time, in any way. In the words of Michael Corleone, “If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.”
Used figuratively here, of course, but that is what cancel culture has wrought in today’s society.
While cancellation may seek to stifle speech, it causes social and economic destruction as well. It projects permanence and public shame for its targets whether deserved or not. And it promotes a kind of techno tyranny against which we all should be vigilant.
Continue reading “Cancel Culture Is Techno Tyranny”
Among the cutting-edge technologies being employed by public health experts to map various aspects of COVID-19 both at home and abroad, artificial intelligence (AI) faces a test under life-and-death circumstances. The ability of AI systems to undertake pattern detection and predict the spread of the pandemic and its treatments is promising. The benefit of machine learning includes its powerful ability to analyze historic data to find key variables. This task is dependent upon humans, however, specifically in the ability of data scientists who can work on creating data sets that supercomputers then can model. On a global basis, this will require pooling both technical and human resources.
Given the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, historic data inputted for AI analysis may be of limited value. Real-time data comparing growth curves in countries around the world, along with population and demographic information by neighborhood, may prove to be a better vein for producing actionable data anywhere and everywhere. Automated machine learning also may improve the efficiency of data scientists, enabling them to focus on new data generation while relying on computer-to-computer analysis of massive-scale number crunching.
Continue reading “Deploying U.S. AI Leadership for COVID-19”
Well informed observers of the tech industry have
cautioned against two things: economic downturn and government
regulation. Each had a palpable sense of the inevitable – not a matter of
if, but when. As we enter 2020, the conditions for both are present, if
not altogether ripe.
Dire predictions of a global recession have been hovering over the economy for
several quarters. But low interest
rates, strong consumer spending, and investor confidence have kept the economy
buoyant. The new China trade deal and record-high NASDAQ belie economic
If this election year turns out like others, the economy will hum along through the first two quarters, then decelerate as we head into November. If an economic slowdown were to occur, it would owe as much to politics as to recessionary pressure. And even that might recede if the president gets re-elected.
Continue reading “Can Big Tech Be Reined In by Rules It Consistently Breaks?”
The Federal Communications Commission announced on Sept. 16 that it
would be granting experimental licenses for companies in New York City and Salt
Lake City to test new advanced technologies and networks in specific geographic
This initiative, dubbed Innovation Zones, will be especially useful in
testing various technologies in real-world settings that will support 5G
wireless networks. These networks will
offer a range of advanced wireless services nationwide, with initial rollout in
urban centers where spatial and population density makes technical and economic
Continue reading “The 5G Privacy Opportunity”
In case you haven’t noticed, privacy – meaning the protection of your personal
data and information – is all the rage today. In fact, privacy has become
very big business not only in America, but also in Europe, where the General
Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) mandated sweeping privacy protections for
consumers and strict restrictions on how companies can use personal information
Doing business in this new era of privacy comes at a price, mostly for
compliance. Compounding this is the lack
of clear rules in the U.S. where there remains no comprehensive federal privacy
law. It is no wonder that many companies
have come to the privacy table kicking and screaming, forced to abide by a
growing patchwork of inconsistent state laws with no federal preemption in
Continue reading “The Price of Privacy on the Potomac”