The CEO of the New York Times slammed Silicon Valley giants yesterday, at an event hosted by the left-leaning Open Markets Institute to discuss the effects of big tech on news and publishing. Warning that Facebook is setting itself up as the “world’s editor in chief,” he also revealed that Mark Zuckerberg had told the Times that they could expect to do “very well” in their rankings of “trusted” news sources.
Despite Facebook’s recent attempts to curry favor with the establishment media, which include biasing their newsfeed algorithm towards establishment sources like CNN and away from independent and alternative media, as well as directly paying establishment outlets for exclusive news content, the corporate media warned that the tech giant was giving itself too much power and responsibility.
“We face an immediate threat” warned New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, “which is that Facebook’s catalogue of missteps with data and extreme and hateful content will lead to a naive attempt to set itself up as the world’s digital editor-in-chief, prioritizing and presumably downranking and rejecting content on a survey and data-driven assessment of whether the provider of the content is ‘broadly trusted’ or not.”
Thompson revealed that Mark Zuckerberg told him that the New York Times could expect to “do very well in such a ranking.”
Nevertheless, Thompson said that the concept of “broadly trusted” sources was a “sinister one.”
“Democracy depends in part on unbounded competition between different journalistic perspectives, and the clash of different judgments and opinions. History suggests that mainstream media organizations frequently get it right, but that not infrequently, the outliers should be listened to.”
“The process of citizens making up their own mind which news sources to believe is messy, and can indeed lead to fake news being believed, but to rob citizens of that ability [and replace it] with a centralized ‘trust’ algorithm will not make democracy healthier but damage it further.”
Instead of “censoring fake news”, Thompson said social media companies should be “giving people enough information to figure out for themselves what to believe and what not to believe.”
Thomspon’s comments highlighted a trend that has also been identified by Breitbart Tech: that Facebook is installing itself as the arbiter of what news sources are “broadly trusted,” usurping power from users in the process. Increasingly, Facebook’s algorithms aren’t designed to promote what its users “like” or follow, but what company executives have decided their users should like.
Thomspon also attacked social media companies for the opacity of their algorithms. “We do not know … how the algorithms of the major platforms sort and prioritize our content, nor can we reliably predict or influence changes in those algorithms, nor in any sense hold the companies to account for those changes.”
“The underlying danger of the agency of editors and the public alike being usurped by centralized algorithms and algorithmic control is present with every digital platform where we do not fully understand how the processes of editorial selection and prioritization take place, which right now means all of them, thus the urgent need for transparency.”
Not everyone at the Open Market Institute’s event, dominated by left-leaning and establishment figures, was in favor of giving power back to users — Mark Zuckerberg’s mentor, for example, told Breitbart News reporter Amanda House that “leaving it to the audience” to decide what counts as fake news is a mistake, and that users believe “sensation over substance.”
from breitbart website
AirPods 2 Leak Hints Launch Will Be Later But 2 Cool New Features Still Imminent
Apple’s AirPods have been amazingly successful. They have regularly been praised and consistently big sellers. Some surveys have claimed that AirPods owners have been ecstatic in their appreciation of the in-ear buds, with 98% or respondents either satisfied or very satisfied with them, as reported by Fortune.
There have been plenty of rumors recently suggesting that the second version of AirPods were almost with us. New features such as hands-free “Hey, Siri” were hinted at.
Improved electronics with biometrics and health monitoring were suggested to be on the cards.
And just a couple of days ago, it was rumored that the next AirPods would fix the current models’ problem: that they might slip out of your ears.
The new leak
But now, reliable leaker @OnLeaks has tweeted that we shouldn’t be getting excited about the new, upgraded earbuds just yet.
Now, @OnLeaks correctly predicted the design of the iPad Pro last year, when I was decidedly skeptical, so he has a record of accurate leaks. What he says today sounds promising, apart from one bit, which we’ll come to.
Here’s what he says.
Some #AirPods2 details I got from a new and yet unconfirmed but seemingly reliable source. Thus, I can’t vouch these at 100%… – New wireless charging #AirPods Case to be launched soon BUT shipped with current AirPods – Brand new AirPods + new color(s) likely unveiled this fall
He’s careful to stress this is not certain, but it’s certainly intriguing. I’m sure he’s right that the wireless charging case for AirPods is coming. Well, we know it is on its way because Apple told us about this case over a year ago when it announced the wireless charging pad, AirPower.
It makes perfect sense that the new case would be released when AirPower was – I believe both will be formally unveiled at an Apple special event in March.
As @OnLeaks points out, it would be weird if Apple announced a case for AirPods and then followed up with AirPods 2 shortly afterward.
It’s disappointing that we might have to wait until the Fall for the new version, but at least a new color or colors is something to look forward to.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. AirPods have been incredibly successful, with stock shortages common because of high demand. So, really, why would Apple update them when they’re doing so well?
The bit I don’t quite get – and the 2 cool features
The first cool feature is the wireless-chargeable case to go with AirPower.
The other feature is related to the bit of the rumors I haven’t quite squared.
There’s just one thing, which keeps me hoping the new rumor may be wrong. The latest iOS beta includes a set-up screen so you can use Siri on AirPods hands-free, that is, without touching the earbud to awaken the virtual personal assistant as you do now.
Now, why would that be there if Apple doesn’t believe it’s not going to be used soon?
Maybe the chip in the current AirPods is capable of hands-free, though in that case why hasn’t it surfaced before, if all it needed was a software upgrade?
Or maybe, just maybe, the wireless charging case will come with a gently updated chip inside – what shall we call these, AirPods 1.5?
Which would leave the way clear for a full update in the Fall as this rumor suggests.
To look at it another way, since wireless charging will be a step forward, anything else on top of that will be a proper treat.
I’m keeping my ear glued to every single new credible hint about AirPods 2, so please check back to find out the latest.
Entertainment-Focused Blockchain Company SingularDTV Is Rebranding to Become More Consumer-Centric
A blockchain company for the entertainment industry is getting ready to rebrand itself to be about more than blockchain.
SingularDTV, based in Switzerland and New York, has spent the past two years building a platform that lets the creators of movie and music titles a way to get paid directly by fans without using other distribution platforms. Now, ahead of its beta release, it’s renaming itself Breaker as it gets ready to debut a new app for mobile devices and smart TVs, which aims to be an on-demand hub for both funding and watching content. Kerry Fitzmaurice, svp of brand marketing at Breaker, said the company spent the past six months trying to decide how it could move away from the initial brand focused on the promises of blockchain to something that might resonate more with fans who are more about content than technology.
“If we lead with blockchain [or] data sovereignty,”she said. “People will be like ‘I’m going back to Netflix.’”
Early content includes movies produced by Steven Soderbergh and David Lynch, along with songs from DJ Spooky and the singer-songwriter Casey Pearl. It also worked with filmmaker Alex Winter to produce a documentary called “Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain,” which debuted last fall in New York.
“I’m always looking for new ways to increase the transparency of the business while also trying to simplify it,” Soderbergh said in a statement. “If this what the future’s going to look like, I want to be in on it early.”
Fitzmaurice said the original logo had the resemblance of an eye to represent the singularity—a concept of when artificial and human intelligence between indistinguishable—along with the Ethereum logo to represent the blockchain platform used by the company. (Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum and the company Consensys, is one of SingularDTV’s founders.)
The new logo—a circular comprised of small lines swirling inward—is meant to represent the “the hive mind” that’s often associated with decentralized marketplaces that blockchain companies and cryptocurrencies so often promise to create.
“If you look at decentralization, it’s about many nodes rather than an entertainment studio or a bank,” she said. “It’s about empowering many.”
New tech-based entertainment concept targets malls, other locations
A concept that combines cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality technologies with the physical world is looking to enter the U.S. market.
Retail leasing specialist R.J. Brunelli & Co. announced that it has been selected by D. Legends Holdings Pte Ltd., the Singapore-based creator of indoor virtual reality theme parks, as exclusive nationwide real estate broker for Legend Heroes Park’s entry into the U.S. market. The concept features a wide range of rides, games, sports, entertainment, and other attractions employing virtual and augmented reality, holograms, motion tracking, projection mapping and 4D+ technologies.
Heroes Park can be adapted to a wide range of building sizes, with the space divided into a series of zones targeting different interests. These range from a junior zone that allows young children to learn and explore through virtual and physical spaces to a sports zone where people of all ages can learn, practice and hone their skills in football, baseball, archery, clay pigeon shooting and other sports. There is also an arcade zone with immersive and interactive arcade games.
For its U.S. entry, the company is seeking big-box locations in major metropolitan markets across the country, including New York, Atlanta, Orlando, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Chicago, Boston, Denver, San Diego, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Vacant anchor and sub-anchor spaces at regional malls, as well as freestanding or strip center big-boxes are primary targets.
Building requirements call for 30,000- to 40,000-sq.-ft. spaces with a minimum ceiling height of 16-ft. overall, with 40% of the space at least 32-ft. high for rides, noted Julie T. Fox, manager of new tenant representation, R.J. Brunelli. Preferred locations should have five million people within 30 miles, with a one-hour maximum driving distance.
Regional malls are the preferred venue, where the company can absorb vacant sub-anchors or single floors of subdivided department store buildings. Legends Holdings will also consider vacant big-box retail spaces on the periphery of regional malls or in high-profile power centers, strip centers or freestanding highway locations. Other potential venues include warehouse/flex buildings in close proximity to major malls or entertainment complexes.
“At a time when many mall operators are struggling to fill vacant department store spaces, Legend Heroes Park offers a unique entertainment destination use aimed at people of all ages,” said Fox. “In particular, the flexible concept presents a compelling alternative for properties desiring to present new options that can potentially bring back Millennials who have shied away from malls in recent years.”
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