5 min read

If you have time to read only one thing from this post, read the essay by Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler on the Anatomy of an AI System: The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources. It guarantees that you’ll never see AI the same way again, irrespective of who you are.  

Here are five other developments that happened in tech this weekend that is worth pondering over.

Quantum computing is leaping forward

Rigetti computing launched a project in the mold of Amazon Web Services (AWS) called Quantum Cloud Services. “What this platform achieves for the very first time is an integrated computing system that is the first quantum cloud services architecture,” says Chad Rigetti, founder and CEO of his namesake company. (Fast Company)

Quantum computing has moved out of the realm of theoretical physics and into the real world. For both Dario Gil,  the chief operating officer of IBM Research and the company’s vice president of artificial intelligence and quantum computing, and Chad Rigetti, a former IBM  researcher who founded Rigetti Computing and serves as its chief executive, the moment that a quantum computer will be able to perform operations better than a classical computer is only three years away. (Tech Crunch)

Google’s ‘world domination plans’, a hot topic of disdain discussion

Google has a monopoly on search rankings. We can’t let them obtain a monopoly on websites says Charlie Owen. Google wants websites to adopt AMP as the default approach to building web pages. Tell them no, says a redditor. (Reddit)

Google’s move to strip out the www in domains typed into the address bar, beginning with version 69 of its Chrome browser, has drawn an enormous amount of criticism from developers who see the move as a bid to cement the company’s dominance of the Web. (iTWire)

Google requiring phone number to log into Chromebook. “Am I crazy or does this seem like an extremely cynical attempt to get more phone numbers? I don’t even understand how giving them my phone number proves anything as I definitely did not ever give them one previously,” asks a hacker news user. (Hacker News)

Alibaba’s gradual change of guard begins. Tesla may follow, unwittingly.

Jack Ma to Retire from Alibaba (New York Times)

Alibaba appoints Daniel Zhang to succeed Jack Ma in a 12-month succession plan. Ma, the co-founder of Asia’s most valuable company and one of China’s most recognizable names, will remain Alibaba’s executive chairman for 12 months until September 10, 2019. (South China Morning Post)

Tesla wrapped up an interesting week — CEO Elon Musk took a puff or two from a joint live on Joe Rogan’s podcast, its recently-hired chief accounting officer quit after less than a month on the job and its HR chief announced she would not return from a leave of absence. Tesla now has a new President, Automotive. In a move that may take some direct responsibilities and pressure off of Musk, Jerome Guillen “will oversee all automotive operations and program management, as well as coordinate our extensive automotive supply chain. (End Gadget)  

What’s Apple been upto

Apple Has Permanently Banned Alex Jones’ Infowars App From The App Store. Apple’s App Store guidelines for developers forbid apps with “content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste.” (BuzzFeed)

Apple is building an online portal for police to make data requests. The tech giant is also upgrading its program that trains law enforcement in digital forensics. (CNET)

“Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China – but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive. Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now. Exciting! #MAGA”, @realDonalTrump on Twitter.

Thoughts on Diversity, Inclusion and Ethics

“Balancing motherhood with my work as a data scientist was exciting and strenuous. It meant working during my commute, coming home to feed the kids and put them to sleep, then falling into bed. I worked until the day my daughter was born. Then I had to make the hardest decision of my life. I had to choose between my dream job and my baby girl”, Eliza Khuner writes on Wired.

In the wake of public allegations that Riot Games has fostered a sexist workplace culture, two longtime employees exited the company yesterday under hazy circumstances. Systems designer Daniel Klein and communications associate Mattias Lehman—both outspoken advocates for gender diversity at Riot—are no longer working at the company following a contentious weekend involving a controversial PAX West panel. (Kotaku)

A year later, Equifax has faced little fallout from losing data. It was “one of the most egregious examples of corporate malfeasance since Enron,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer at the time. Yet, a year on from following the devastating hack that left the company reeling from a breach of almost every American adult, the company has faced little to no action or repercussions. (Tech Crunch)

Other salient stories

DARPA Announces $2 Billion Campaign to Develop Next Wave of AI Technologies

Python enters the TIOBE index top 3 for the first time

Like newspapers, Google algorithms are protected by the First amendment making them hard to legally regulate

Joseph Stiglitz on artificial intelligence: ‘We’re going towards a more divided society’

Facebook’s AI Just Set a New Record in Translation and Why It Matters

PWA moving mainstream as Twitter makes its mobile site the main one

New law in Belgium: right to open science regardless of contract with a publisher

YouTube shuts down official Syrian government channels

YouTube pulls ads by Russian Putin critic

New tool releases and announcements

Snort 3 beta available now!

Haiku, the open source BeOS clone, to release in beta after 17 years of development

OpenZeppelin 2.0 RC 1, a framework for writing secure smart contracts on Ethereum, is out!

Ripgrep 0.10.0 released with PCRE2 and multi-line search support

GNU nano 3.0 released with faster file reads, new shortcuts and usability improvements

Tagmatic – automated content tagging using machine learning

AsmBB v2.4 released: File attachments, PMs on steroids and performance boost

CNCF Adopts Database Project, TiKV, from PingCAP

KDE Frameworks 5.50.0 released

Mesa 3D 18.2.0 released

Managing Editor, Packt Hub. Former mainframes/DB2 programmer turned marketer/market researcher turned editor. I love learning, writing and tinkering when I am not busy running after my toddler. Wonder how algorithms would classify this!