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New York City Council Passed Legislation To Address Algorithm Discrimination

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The New York City Council yesterday passed legislation seeking to address problems with Algorithms which can determine which school a child can attend, whether a person will be offered credit from a bank, what products are advertised to consumer, and whether someone will receive an interview for a job. Government officials also use them to predict where crimes will take place, who is likely to commit a crime and whether someone should be allowed out of jail on bail. The algorithms used in facial recognition technology, for example, have been shown to be less accurate on Black people, women, and juveniles.

The new bill seeking the signature of Mayor Bill de Blasio. States:

This bill would require the creation of a task force that provides recommendations on how information on agency automated decision systems may be shared with the public and how agencies may address instances where people are harmed by agency automated decision systems.

The task force would need to be formed within three months of the bill’s signing, and importantly it must include “persons with expertise in the areas of fairness, accountability and transparency relating to automated decision systems and persons affiliated with charitable corporations that represent persons in the city affected by agency automated decision systems.”

The New York division of the ACLU has argued in favor of it.

See The bill Here,

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Curbing Fake Academic Credentials

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It  appears that it is very easy to get a fake academic certificate from any major urban centers. The buyer of the fake certificate dont have to worry about the authenticity of the signatures or paper quality – all that is sorted out by the fraudsters.

The discussion is often about whether you want a PhD, master’s or bachelor’s degree. Additionally, the more prestigious the university you want to claim to have graduated from , the more  money you will be required to pay for the fake certificate.

Once you have the fake paper in your hands, you can apply for prominent jobs, particularly in the public sector, where job security is so high that getting fired at a later stage is more complicated and costly.

Employers find it time-consuming to authenticate or verify that glimmering certificate from the purported universities for various reasons.

In developed economies, the data protection laws do not allow universities to disclose the private credentials of students to third parties – unless the students expressly and explicitly ask them to make the disclosure.

MIT and the University of Melbourne are pioneering this approach and solution to this problem. Blockchain technology-providing a decentralised ledger that is globally accessible, immutable, secure and with the support of anonymity. Universities can record student academic certificates into the global blockchain, allowing graduates to access their credentials from anywhere across the globe and share them with potential employers.

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eSports Report 2017

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Currently at $1.5B, global esports revenue will grow 26% by 2020 as it attracts an even more mainstream audience. This increase will be fueled by a viewership projected to grow 12% each year and a swelling number of third-party investments. In addition to receiving indirect revenue from investments, Overwatch and League of Legends are projected to grow their direct revenue by selling brand sponsorships, advertisements, ticket sales, and team merchandise. 

Video game companies like Activision Blizzard, Riot Games and Valve continue to support their flagship esports titles with player franchising agreements and larger prize pools. Advertisers and brands like the The Kraft Group (owner of New England Patriots) and Mercedes-Benz are among the most notable, with several other sports teams and brands making financial commitments. Twitch and YouTube continue their battle for gaming video and esports dominance.

375 Million May Be Hunting For Employment When Automation Kicks In

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By 2030 up to 30% of the hours worked globally could be automated. According to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute  researchers estimate that between 400 million and 800 million people could find themselves displaced by automation and in need of new jobs, depending on how quickly new technologies are adopted. Of this group, as many as 375 million people—about 14% of the global workforce—may need to completely switch occupational categories and learn a new set of skills to find work.

Number of workers needing to find new jobs due to automation

 

Net Neutrality & The Complicated Fuss

 

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What is net neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) treat everyone’s data equally – whether that’s an email from your family member, a bank transfer or a streamed movie. Meaning that ISPs, which control the delivery , don’t get to choose which data is sent more quickly, and which sites get blocked or throttled (for example, slowing the delivery of a TV show because it is streamed by a video company that competes with a subsidiary of the ISP) and who has to pay extra. For this reason, some have described net neutrality as the “first amendment of the internet”.

Why is net neutrality under threat?

In February 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to more strictly regulate ISPs and to enshrine in law the principles of net neutrality. The vote reclassified wireless and fixed-line broadband service providers as title II “common carriers”, a public utility-type designation that gives the FCC the ability to set rates, open up access to competitors and more closely regulate the industry. Two years later, Trump’s new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has pushed to overturn the 2015 order arguing they overstep the FCC’s jurisdiction and hinder corporate innovation. On 18 May, the FCC voted to support a new proposal that would repeal the order and started a 90-day period in which members of the public could comment. A final vote is expected in December.

 

The Internet of Things & The Marriot Hotel

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Marriott International  has partnered with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Legrand to build a pair of connected “internet of things” hotel rooms in the basement of Marriott’s Bethesda headquarters. The IoT Guestroom Lab, part of Marriott’s 10,000-square-foot Innovation Lab, was designed to explore everything from intuitive lighting to voice-activated room controls to virtual assistants.

The team will analyze feedback to the internet of things rooms over the next three months before taking both down. You can expect to see elements of the technology in hotel rooms in the next five years.

A hotel guest extending a laptop screen to the room’s TV, a desk light with adaptive brightness or a shower that can be turned on by voice. Marriott envisions a customer being able to order a wake-up call via a virtual assistant or to launch a yoga routine on a full-length, digital mirror. 

The room, would be largely controlled by apps and systems that remember a visitor’s preferences and past behaviors. It is powered by three linked networks and could power down automatically when the customer leaves.

Department of Justice sues To Block At&T /Time Warner Merger

All that Power

The Justice Department sued to block the company’s AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid to buy Time Warner Inc.

 A judge will determine whether the combination of AT&T and Time Warner would give the new entity too much power in the fast-changing media landscape.

 It is assume that AT&T will surely press for a decision before April 22, the date before which the two companies can walk away without penalty.

The first major antitrust enforcement action to be brought by the Trump administration — dealt a blow to a tie-up that appeared to be sailing toward approval as recently as a month ago. That was before Makan Delrahim, was appointed to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Delrahim contents that the merger would  harm American consumers enormously. Resulting in higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy. 

The White House has traditionally stayed at arm’s length from merger reviews. Trump told reporters during his recent trip to Asia that the deal might be challenged in court.

 Time Warner and AT&T combined, could use its control over programming like CNN and HBO to harm rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for the right to distribute the content, according to the 23-page complaint. The deal also would enable AT&T to impede competition from online video distributors, which would reduce choices for consumers, according to the complaint.

The government is open to dropping the lawsuit if the companies offer a proposal to fix the competitive harm from the deal, a Justice Department official said.

Currently there have been accusations that the Justice Department, driven by political meddling from the Trump White House, is pursuing a risky case that it’s bound to lose.

The Complaint

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