Media, Social Media, Social Problems, Technology

House Opens Tech Antitrust Inquiry With Look at Threat to News Media

David Pitofsky, the general counsel for News Corp, left, and Kevin Riley, editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, were among the news media executives who testified at the hearing.

By Cecilia Kang

June 11, 2019

WASHINGTON — A congressional investigation into the power of big tech companies began on Tuesday with bipartisan concern from lawmakers that the government’s lax oversight of the industry may be doing more harm than good.

In its first hearing about the power held by Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, lawmakers focused on the decline of the news industry. They said they were troubled that the online digital advertising market, which is dominated by Google and Facebook, had siphoned off too much revenue from news organizations.

Link
Gender, Stratification, Technology

Exposing the Bias Embedded in Tech

Peggy Johnson of Microsoft said biases needed to be exposed to be addressed. “The way to turn anything around is to shine a light on it.”

By Alina Tugend

June 17, 2019

In 2010, Kinect for Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system, in which users played with gestures and spoken commands rather than a controller, was ready to go to market.

But just before it did, a woman who worked for the company took the game home to play with her family, and a funny thing happened. The motion-sensing devices worked just fine for her husband, but not so much for her or her children.

That’s because the system had been tested on men ages 18 to 35 and didn’t recognize as well the body motions of women and children, said Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft.

Link
Gender, Social Problems, Technology

Siri and Alexa Reinforce Gender Bias, U.N. Finds

By Megan Specia

May 22, 2019

Why do most virtual assistants that are powered by artificial intelligence — like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa system — by default have female names, female voices and often a submissive or even flirtatious style?

The problem, according to a new report released this week by Unesco, stems from a lack of diversity within the industry that is reinforcing problematic gender stereotypes.

Link
Corporations, Economy, Social Problems, Technology

The Hidden Automation Agenda of the Davos Elite. This year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where business leaders’ public positions on automation’s impact on workers did not match the views they shared privately. Image: This year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where business leaders’ public positions on automation’s impact on workers did not match the views they shared privately. By Kevin Roose Jan. 25, 2019

Link
Social Media, Social Problems, Technology

The Week in Tech: How Google and Facebook Spawned Surveillance Capitalism. Shoshana Zuboff, author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” says digital services like Google and Facebook claim private human behavior “as something to be bought and sold in the marketplace.” By Natasha Singer Jan. 18, 2019

Link