Machine Dreams

Dwaiter Weekly


December 17, 2020


Is AI More Hype Than Reality?

Artificial intelligence is booming, with programs such as voice and face recognition embedded in countless consumer products and clever algorithms guiding many human activities. Nonetheless, John Horgan writes in Scientific American, will AI ever truly live up to its hype? He says replication problems plague the field, and the goal of general intelligence remains as elusive as ever.


New Covid Aid for Small Firms Eyed

Lawmakers negotiating a fresh round of financial aid for small businesses are focusing on firms with fewer employees that could show they have been hurt by the pandemic-induced downturn, the Wall Street Journal reports. The plan would limit loans to businesses that have 300 or fewer employees and can demonstrate that they sustained a 30 percent revenue loss in any quarter of 2020.


Tech Is Not the Fix for Hacking

Each new revelation of the major hack carried out by Russian intelligence operatives shows our problem isn’t broken technology, says Ben Buchanan, author of “The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics.” Writing in the Washington Post, he contends the real problem is we haven’t figured out how to manage trust throughout the software supply chain and haven’t reckoned with the consequences of that failure.


The Fall of a Political Data Upstart

The story of Alloy is a cautionary tale about the gradual humbling of its once-grand dreams to find a unique fix for the Democratic Party’s outmoded data ecosystem, Recode reports. Shortly after the Nov. 3 election, Alloy’s board abruptly decided to shut the entire company down.


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A Big Year for Content Creators

Nearly every major app geared toward content creators has seen significant percentage increases in downloads in 2020. Cameo expects to make $100 million from video transactions this year, the company tells Axios. And Patreon is now valued at $1.2 billion; more than 6 million people pay creators through its service globally.


25 Predictions for 2021

The major online platforms have rapidly evolved in order to meet rising demand and user needs during the pandemic. Social Media Today offers platform-by-platform predictions for what's coming next in the world of social media marketing.


The Trail Leading to Russia’s FSB

Online investigative outlet Bellingcat’s explosive report on the role of Russia's FSB security agency in the poisoning of opposition figure Alexey Navalny was possible due to the leaky nature of Russian data markets. “Much of the information we used for our investigations,” Bellingcat explains, “could never be found in most Western countries, but in Russia, is readily available either for free or a fairly modest fee." Plus, Russian email providers and social networks are far less secure and privacy-focused than their Western equivalents.


It's the End for Flash. Really.

For several years there have been plans to kill off Adobe Flash, the company’s beleaguered software for running multimedia content across devices and websites, Now, the end is truly nigh, The Next Web reports. Adobe pushed its final update for Flash Player last week, and announced it will no longer support the software after Dec. 31. It will also block Flash content from running in the player starting Jan. 12.


The Best Tech for When You Travel Again

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, travel this year most likely involved moving from your living room to your bedroom. But that doesn't mean you should ignore the latest in travel tech, CNet writes. Even if you don't use this gear right away, it’s time to plan for that not-too-distant future when it's safe (and possible) to wing our way around the world again.


Meals on Wheels

Driverless robot buggies have started delivering hot restaurant meals to paying customers in one central Moscow district, Reuters reports. Their operator, Russian Internet giant Yandex, says the robots pick up orders from restaurants and bring them to customers who then unlock the robot’s food compartment using their smartphones.

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