By BeauHD from Slashdot's things-to-look-forward-to department
Recode's Rani Molla shares the findings of a new study from the Brookings Institution, which finds that automation will impact men at a higher rate than women. Here's an excerpt from the report: Young people -- especially those in rural areas or who are underrepresented minorities -- will have a greater likelihood of having their jobs replaced by automation. Meanwhile, older, more educated white people living in big cities are more likely to maintain their coveted positions, either because their jobs are irreplaceable or because they're needed in new jobs alongside our robot overlords. The Brookings study also warns that automation will exacerbate existing social inequalities along certain geographic and demographic lines, because it will likely eliminate many lower- and middle-skill jobs considered stepping stones to more advanced careers. These jobs losses will be in concentrated in rural areas, particularly the swath of America between the coasts.
However, at least in the case of gender, it's the men, for once, who will be getting the short end of the stick. Jobs traditionally held by men have a higher "average automation potential" than those held by women, meaning that a greater share of those tasks could be automated with current technology, according to Brookings. That's because the occupations men are more likely to hold tend to be more manual and more easily replaced by machines and artificial intelligence. Of course, the real point here is that people of all stripes face employment disruption as new technologies are able to do many of our tasks faster, more efficiently, and more precisely than mere mortals. The implications of this unemployment upheaval are far-reaching and raise many questions: How will people transition to the jobs of the future? What will those jobs be? Is it possible to mitigate the polarizing effects automation will have on our already-stratified society of haves and have-nots?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's vague-abusive-behavior-policies department
According to a report from Reason magazine, Twitter users who comment the "learn to code" advice at journalists who just lost their jobs might be treated as "abusive behavior," which is a violation of the social media site's terms of service. The rumor comes from Jon Levine, Media Editor at The Wrap. From the report: The Wrap's Jon Levine said representatives for the social media company had backed away from the position they related to him earlier, which was that the phrase "learn to code" itself constituted abusive behavior. The new position seems to be that "learn to code" is not de facto harassment, but could be considered harassment if tweeted aggressively as part of campaign to intimidate a specific user, in accordance with Twitter's somewhat vague abusive behavior policy. In an email to Reason, a Twitter spokesperson said: "Twitter is responding to a targeted harassment campaign against specific individuals -- a policy that's long been against the Twitter Rules." Last week, journalists from BuzzFeed, HuffPost, Yahoo, AOL, and others, were let go. BuzzFeed founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti, said the company "would reduce headcount by 15%, or about 250 jobs, to around 1,100 employees globally," reports The Guardian. "At the same time, Verizon said it would trim 7% of headcount, about 800 people, from its media unit, which includes HuffPost, Yahoo and AOL. The job losses followed sales or cuts at Mic, Refinery29 and elsewhere."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fundamental-changes department
Snapchat is considering changes to its Snapchat app, know for disappearing photos and videos, that could make users' public posts longer lasting or permanent. The company is also weighing an option to reveal the identities of Snapchat users who make public posts. Reuters reports: Together the changes would mark a big step in Snap's effort to lure and keep users by making content shared publicly via the "Our Story" section, more available outside Snapchat. They could also create a new revenue source for money-losing Snap, which has seen its user base shrink and executives flee the company. But such changes to Snapchat, which launched in 2011 and became an instant hit among teenagers and millennials, could trigger backlash from users who cherish their privacy, especially as rival Facebook has been plagued by scandals over how it handles user data. Snap is carefully weighing the privacy, technical and legal considerations of revealing user identities on public posts, said the person familiar with Snap's plans.
Only Snapchat photo and video content shared to "Our Story," which shares the snaps publicly to a wider audience and not just a user's friends, would be affected and users would still have the option of deleting those stories, said the person. Snap has already extended the shelf life of public stories, but making them last even longer or revealing more about the users who create them would be a further departure from Snapchat's hallmark features.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
"The BBC has an article detailing new efforts to replace plastics used in products and construction with newer, less environmentally harmful alternative materials," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. The new products mentioned in the report include: Stone Wool: To transform one of the world's most abundant resources into something with utility and sustainability takes a special kind of alchemy. Stone wool comes from natural igneous rock -- the kind that forms after lava cools -- and a steelmaking byproduct called slag; these substances are melted together and spun into fibers, a little like candyfloss. Mycotecture: Mushrooms aren't just a flavor-packed addition to ravioli or ragu (or a sparkplug to the occasional psychedelic adventure); soon, tree-hugging fungi and forest-floor toadstools may replace materials like polystyrene, protective packaging, insulation, acoustic insulation, furniture, aquatic materials and even leather goods. Urine Bricks: Cement, concrete's primary ingredient, accounts for about 5% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Researchers and engineers are working to develop less energy-intensive alternatives, including bricks made with leftover brewery grains, concrete modeled after ancient Roman breakwaters (Romans made concrete by mixing lime and volcanic rock to form mortar, a highly stable material), and bricks made of, well, urine. As part of his thesis project, Edinburgh College of Art student Peter Trimble was working on an exhibit that was supposed to feature a module on sustainability. Almost by accident, he created "Biostone": a mixture of sand (incidentally, one of Earth's most abundant resources), nutrients, and urea -- a chemical found in human urine. A greener particleboard: Despite what it sounds like, particleboard -- those rigid panels made of compressed and veneered wood chips and resin used in furniture and kitchen cabinetry throughout the world -- hasn't actually a place in the green-building pantheon. That's because the glue that binds particleboard's wood fibers traditionally contain formaldehyde, a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical and known respiratory irritant and carcinogen. That means your faux-wood Ikea shelf is quietly "off-gassing" toxins into the air. One company, NU Green, created a material made from 100% pre-consumer recycled or recovered wood fibre called "Uniboard." Uniboard saves trees and avoids landfill, while also generating far fewer greenhouse gases than traditional particleboard, and contains no toxins. That's because Uniboard has pioneered the use of renewable fibers like corn stalks and hops, as well as no added formaldehyde (NAF) resin instead of glue.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's games-on-demand department
According to a new report from Cheddar, Apple is planning a Netflix-like subscription service for games. "The service would function like Netflix for games, allowing users who pay a subscription fee to access a bundled list of titles," reports Cheddar. "Apple began privately discussing a subscription service with game developers in the second half of 2018, said the people, all of whom requested anonymity to discuss unannounced plans." From the report: It's unclear how much the subscription will cost or what kind of games Apple will offer. The service is still in the early stages of development, and Apple could ultimately decide to abandon it. The company has also discussed partnering with developers as a publisher, according to two people familiar with the talks, which could signal Apple's ambition to assume distribution, marketing, and other related costs for select games. While it's unclear what kinds of games would be included, a subscription service for App Store games could provide a boost to Apple's recurring revenue at a time when iPhone sales are slowing and gaming and esports are booming. Mobile gaming is expected to become a $100 billion industry by 2021, according to the gaming and esports intelligence firm Newzoo.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's contrary-to-popular-belief department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Piracy isn't always the vile market bogeyman it's portrayed to be by the entertainment industry, a new joint study by Indiana University has found. Indiana University Researchers like Antino Kim say that online piracy can sometimes have a positive impact on markets, and being overly-aggressive in the policing and punishing of pirates may sometimes be counterproductive. As an example, Kim's study ("The 'Invisible Hand' of Piracy: An Economic Analysis of the Information-Goods Supply Chain") points to the hit HBO show Game Of Thrones, which routinely breaks piracy records thanks to heavy file sharing on BitTorrent. The researchers found that piracy often acts as a form of invisible competition, keeping both the manufacturer (HBO) and the cable operator (say, Comcast) from raising prices quite as high as they might otherwise. Raise prices too high, for example, and users will just flee to piracy, creating even higher losses. The researchers are clear to note their findings have their limits, and that they're not openly advocating for companies to fully embrace piracy. They do, however, argue that if you understand the benefits of piracy as a form of invisible competition, you'll find that overly-aggressive anti-piracy efforts can actually harm the market. "Our results do not imply that the legal channel should, all of a sudden, start actively encouraging piracy," researchers said. "The implication is simply that, situated in a real-world context, our manufacturer and retailer should recognize that a certain level of piracy or its threat might actually be beneficial and should, therefore, exercise some moderation in their anti-piracy efforts."Read Replies (0)
Google Glass is Still Around
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '19 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's it's-not-done-yet department
Google may have discontinued the sale of Google Glass years ago, but die hard fans have not given up. From a report: Glassholes still exist, just not as boogeymen haunting the tech section of your newspaper. There's a small group of fans still talking and updating and buying and selling on Reddit. Somebody who picked up a pair for $150 and wants help using the device to display sheet music; somebody with questions about installing an older operating system onto Glass Enterprise; another person looking for foldable frames; somebody else trying to fix a broken device; people looking to buy, as well as a number of people asking if it's even worth it to spend any money on the now-defunct tech. (Spoiler: survey says it's not.) There is also, weirdly, somebody asking if Google nixed Google Glass "because 'someone' was made aware of the book 'The Circle' by Dave Eggers?"
Reading through the forum, it seems wrong to regard the dwindling frequenters of /r/googleglass as Glassholes. On the contrary, they seem to bust out their devices at incredibly appropriate moments. "I pretty much only use Glass for taking pictures/video while running/hiking or anywhere I don't have access to a phone or don't want to carry one," writes one Redditor. "It's a great way to capture highlights of a marathon, for instance, without having to stop and pull out a phone." "Text notifications. Phone calls whilst driving, pix and video while on the go," writes another.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
It's been nearly two years since news blog MusicBusinessWorld kicked off a global conversation over 'fake artists' on Spotify. That debate is about to roar back into life. From a report: Multiple Spotify users have been complaining that their official listening history on Spotify appears to have been infiltrated by acts that they don't simply recognize. The trend was spotted by the BBC, which reported on Friday that plays of 'mystery' tracks from artists such as Bergenulo Five, Bratte Night, DJ Bruej and Doublin Night were being credited within individual Spotify user accounts -- despite these same users knowing nothing about this music.
"Apart from being musically unremarkable, they generally have a few things in common: short songs with few or no lyrics, illustrated with generic cover art, and short, non-descriptive song titles," said the Beeb of these acts -- some of whom had managed to rack up tens of thousands of plays. Albums from these artists contained more than 40 songs apiece, with each track just a minute or two in duration. After the BBC alerted Spotify to the trend, all of these artists disappeared from its platform entirely.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road? department
The FBI, together with authorities from several European countries, have seized the domains and servers of xDedic, a notorious online marketplace where cyber-criminals would sell and buy access to hacked servers. From a report: The site has been around since 2014, but it became widely known after a Kaspersky report published in June 2016. According to the report, the site was operating as a registration-based online marketplace where several criminal groups would either put up for sale or buy hacked servers, usually in the form of compromised RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) accounts. At the time, Kaspersky said the site listed nearly 70,000 hacked servers, for prices as little as $8 per server. [...] In Europol and FBI press releases published today, authorities announced that they've seized both the domains and the servers hosting the marketplace, effectively shutting down the site and gaining access to its list of customers.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department
In Venezuela, where media is controlled by the government, figuring out what is truth, rumor or propaganda has always been difficult. NPR reports: In recent days it's gotten even more confusing. President Nicolas Maduro has refused to cede power to the opposition party. There have been widespread protests and looting -- and the rumor mill has been churning on social media. But many Venezuelans have found a way to use social media in their favor.
Javier Rojo owns a pharmacy in the capital city of Caracas. As the chaos started, he gave his workers the day off, went home and turned on the TV -- only to find nothing was being reported. "Independent media has been gradually attacked or shut down over time," says professor Gregory Weeks, who teaches Latin American politics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "So that in general social media becomes the means by which you learn what's going on, on an ongoing basis."
Back at his house, Rojo says he started getting messages on WhatsApp like this one from from one of his employees: "Tanks are rolling into the park. They are launching tear gas." But then, Rojo started receiving WhatsApp messages with rumors from people he doesn't even know. One man, who says his aunt's husband is a military officer, swore that Maduro has resigned. Professor Raisa Urribarri researches technology and politics at Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela. She says it's hard to trace the origins of some messages in Venezuelan social media. They can be from panicked citizens, the opposition or the government.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department
With Windows 7 reaching its end of life in less than a year, developers are likely to begin retiring features for the operating system. Kicking off the process of retiring features is Microsoft, which is retiring a feature in Windows Media Player, according to updated support documentation on its website. From a report: New metadata for music, TV shows and movies, will not be added to Windows Media Player. This means that additional information such as cover art, directors, actors, and more, will not display on Windows Media Player. This change also affects Windows Media Center on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Despite a trade war between the United States and China and past admonishments from President Trump "to start building their damn computers and things in this country," Apple is unlikely to bring its manufacturing closer to home. A tiny screw illustrates why. [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source.]
In 2012, Apple's chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, went on prime-time television to announce that Apple would make a Mac computer in the United States. It would be the first Apple product in years to be manufactured by American workers, and the top-of-the-line Mac Pro would come with an unusual inscription: "Assembled in USA." But when Apple began making the $3,000 computer in Austin, Tex., it struggled to find enough screws, according to three people who worked on the project and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements.
In China, Apple relied on factories that can produce vast quantities of custom screws on short notice. In Texas, where they say everything is bigger, it turned out the screw suppliers were not. Tests of new versions of the computer were hamstrung because a 20-employee machine shop that Apple's manufacturing contractor was relying on could produce at most 1,000 screws a day. The screw shortage was one of several problems that postponed sales of the computer for months, the people who worked on the project said. By the time the computer was ready for mass production, Apple had ordered screws from China.Read Replies (0)