The Atlantic: America’s Toxic Love Affair With Technology. “America has long carried on a great love affair with technological progress. But the truth is that really big inventions—the printing press, the internal-combustion engine, the internet—have both upsides and downsides. They make new things possible, but they also tend to undo settled expectations and create chaos. The real question is not whether there will be major technological changes, but whether societies can learn to better handle the disruptions that follow.”
NDTV: 56 Indian Startups Get On Zoom Call To Fight Google, Facebook Dominance. “Founders of dozens of Indian startups gathered over a Zoom call earlier this week to discuss setting up a startup collective to fight the power of Big Tech, shape digital policy and lobby on behalf of the country’s digital enterprises. About 56 founders were on the Tuesday evening video conference where discussions ranged from establishing an alternative to Alphabet Inc.-owned Google Play Store, the supremacy of large technology corporations such as Facebook Inc. and joining hands to get their voice heard by the government and the global behemoths.”
CNET: Wearable shipments spike by 60 million for 2020 despite COVID-19 lockdowns, IDC says. “Wearables are primed to hit almost 400 million shipments in 2020, IDC said Friday. According to the analyst firm, the top-selling wearable category globally is now hearables like wireless headphones and earphones. The rise in wearables shipments comes despite most of the world stuck at home amid the spread of COVID-19 — around 60 million more wearables are forecast to be shipped in 2020 than were shipped in 2019.”
South Florida Times: Women Data Scientists Created GPS-Driven App to Help Kenya Keep Covid-19 Numbers Low. “Women in GIS Kenya (WiGISKe), a geospatial technology non-profit, partnered with the country’s Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to create an online database and the tools to keep it updated. It tracks the number of cases, recoveries and confirmed deaths across the sub-Saharan nation, plus a tally of testing. Using cellphone GPS data based on people’s physical locations, the website creates maps that show emerging and current disease hotspots. ”
Thomson Reuters Foundation News: New website by Senegalese AI expert spotlights Africans in STEM. “Growing up in a trading town in Senegal, Adji Bousso Dieng loved school and had a particular talent for maths. But with a dearth of career role models, she had no idea which path to follow. Some two decades later and a research scientist working on artificial intelligence at Google, Dieng wants to give young Africans the inspiring examples she missed out on….This month, Dieng launched a website called ‘The Africa I Know’, which features profiles of successful African professionals working in fields such as science, technology and engineering.”
New York Times: Computers Can’t Cut Red Tape. “Arizona has also been a case study of the limits of technology in the teeth of a jobless crisis, government bureaucracy and people trying to game the system. States like Arizona have been plagued by old and underfunded technology systems, but policy choices and the scale of need are the big reasons people are having trouble getting financial help.”
Mashable: The algorithms defining sexuality suck. Here’s how to make them better.. “Ever since porn was credited as one of the most innovating forces behind early internet technology, we’ve become obsessed with the idea of tech enhancing our sex lives. We’re so horny for it that we’ve helped build a $30 billion industry that’s expected to keep growing. Sextech often sells people on the promise that algorithms can optimize users’ sexual experiences. But a vast majority of algorithms built explicitly for pleasure remain rudimentary at best and harmful at worst — including those used in smart biofeedback sex toys and AI-generated porn deepfakes.”
ScienceBlog: Your Paper Notebook Could Become Your Next Tablet. “Innovators from Purdue University hope their new technology can help transform paper sheets from a notebook into a music player interface and make food packaging interactive. Purdue engineers developed a simple printing process that renders any paper or cardboard packaging into a keyboard, keypad or other easy-to-use human-machine interfaces. This technology is published in the Aug. 23 edition of Nano Energy.”
Ars Technica: The Golden Age of computer user groups. “The Homebrew Computer Club where the Apple I got its start is deservedly famous—but it’s far from tech history’s only community gathering centered on CPUs. Throughout the 70s and into the 90s, groups around the world helped hapless users figure out their computer systems, learn about technology trends, and discover the latest whiz-bang applications. And these groups didn’t stick to Slacks, email threads, or forums; the meetings often happened IRL. But to my dismay, many young technically-inclined whippersnappers are completely unaware of computer user groups’ existence and their importance in the personal computer’s development. That’s a damned shame.”
Slate: When COVID-19 Came to the Kuikuro. “When news broke of a ‘foreign’ virus in early March, Indigenous leaders in the 6.5 million–acre territory that is home to more than 7,000 people from 16 different groups promptly mobilized to try to keep the disease at bay. They adopted a voluntary quarantine and produced videos and other educational materials with prevention tips in Karib languages. Still, despite their best efforts, the coronavirus arrived in Xingu. Since the first death from COVID-19, a 45-day-old Kalapalo baby in early June, at least 10 other deaths and more than 210 confirmed cases have been registered….But the Kuikuro, who make up about 10 percent of the overall population of the territory, have managed to mitigate the spread—in part, thanks to innovative use of technology.”
Daily Maverick: Huawei-Google clash is an opportunity for African search engines . “The stand-off between the US government and tech giant Huawei presents an opportunity for African developers to step up and seize a slice of a massive potential market in the search engine sector. But small players will not be able to do it alone and the opportunity will slip by if governments on the continent fail to make proactive interventions.”
SportTechie: 8 Ways MLB Is Leaning on Technology to Keep Fans Engaged This Summer. “Major League Baseball’s delayed and truncated season will be largely contested without fans, making the execution of its technology roadmap especially crucial for fan engagement following its acrimonious labor negotiations with the players. In a Monday afternoon Zoom call, leaders of the league’s tech operations walked the media through a briefing of its 2020 updates, including the long-standing plans (enhanced replay and Statcast) and what’s being created on the fly (artificial crowd noise and increased digital signage). Here’s a rundown of what to expect when MLB holds Opening Day for all its clubs on Thursday and Friday.”
Enterprise .nxt: New tech promises faster Internet no matter where you live. “It’s always been important to have fast Internet at home. If you can get fiber optic, the gold standard of fast Internet, you’re good to go. But thanks to deployment costs, many areas still don’t have fiber-optic connections—and they may not any time soon. Fortunately, four new technologies—low-band 5G; Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite Internet; DOCSIS 3.1, and G.fast—will soon provide faster speeds than ever before.”
WFLA: Hillsborough Co. crossing guards get new electronic whistles amid coronavirus pandemic. “With new school year set to start in some form or fashion, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for a new normal by introducing technology to help crossing guards. On Thursday, crossing guards in Hillsborough County tested out new electronic whistles. They are able to sound off to alert drivers that kids are crossing without the crossing guards having to actually remove their masks.” Or blow possibly-contaminated spit through the air.
Interesting Engineering: A Brief History of Computing and the Web: From 17th Century Computers to Today’s Digital Empires. “Today, most of us depend heavily on the Internet, for everything from work, to managing our finances, answering correspondences, or our social lives. The applications of the web are both endless and vital to modern life. While many of us have been online since the 1990s, the history of computing stretches back even far further – and after all, without computing, there can be no web. In fact, the first primitive computing devices were conceived as long ago as the 17th Century, with the earliest concepts for programmable computers emerging in the mid-19th Century.” Extensive article, chockablock with links.