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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Dear Apple, please stop dancing around the issue – CNET

Commentary: Another day, another Apple ad featuring someone dancing. Is this getting a touch unoriginal?
Source: CNET

'Black Panther' now reigns as top-grossing superhero film ever – CNET

Who’s Earth’s Mightiest Hero now? “Black Panther” will fall to “Pacific Rim Uprising” in the weekend box-office race, but the overall throne is safe.
Source: CNET

Are corporations that use Wikipedia giving back?

YouTube’s plan to combat conspiracy videos with information sourced from Wikipedia got push back from a number of different quarters — including, surprisingly, Wikimedia itself. Seems Google didn’t mention the plan to the foundation before unveiling it at SXSW earlier this month. Whoops.

Wikimedia executive director Katherine Maher responded with an even-keeled statement reiterating that, while the crowd-sourced encyclopedia’s information is, indeed, free to use, well, it might be nice if corporations that used it gave a little back.

“Wikipedia’s content [is] freely licensed for reuse by anyone,” Maher wrote, “and that’s part of our mission: that every single person can share in free knowledge. We want people all over the world to use, share, add to, and remix Wikipedia. At the same time, we encourage companies who use Wikimedia’s content to give back in the spirit of sustainability.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Google has utilized the work of Wikipedia’s army of devoted contributors and editors — and the company is hardly alone here. In recent years, the site’s vast wealth of peer-edited knowledge has, for better or worse, become the backbone of a number of wildly used services — including, notably, smart assistants. Ask Alexa, Assistant or Siri who the Queen of England is, and they’ll all pull that information from the same place.

In a conversation earlier this week, Wikimedia’s Chief Revenue Office, Lisa Gruwell told TechCrunch that this sort of usage doesn’t constitute any sort of formal relationship. Most companies more or less hook into an API to utilize that breadth of knowledge. It’s handy for sure, and it’s all well within Wikimedia’s fair use rules, but as with Maher’s letter, the CRO expressed some concerns about seemingly one-sided relationships.

“Our content is there to be used,” explained Gruwell. “It’s freely-licensed and it’s freely-licensed for a reason. At the same time, it’s like the environment. It’s there to be used, but it’s not there to be exploited. We do need the people who use the content to give back in some way. That’s what we encourage. There’s no paywall. We don’t charge for data. If you can afford to give, we ask that you give, and if you can’t, you still get use it. That’s kind of the social contract we have with our readers.”

“Exploitation” is, of course, a tricky word when it comes something like Wikipedia. Much like NPR or PBS, it’s a service that’s offered up freely to anyone, but one that relies upon charitable donations to stay afloat. Smart assistants are certainly playing by the applicable rules when it comes to leveraging that information base, but the way it’s presented can ultimately have a siloed effect on Wikipedia.

In the case of a primarily voice-based assistant like Alexa, even when Wikipedia is cited, there isn’t a direct connection to the source material. That means users don’t have immediate view of primary sources (a key part of Wikipedia’s DNA). It also means that Wikimedia’s donation information isn’t front and center.

“I don’t mean to sound like the Lorax here,” said Gruwell. “If you overuse something and you don’t give back to it, you can harm it. In the case of Alexa and Siri, our content gets intermediated. Wikipedia works because people can contribute to it, people can edit it. Also, once a year, when we ask people can donate. When they get their information not from us — but Wikipedia content through something like Siri or something like Alexa — that opportunity to either contribute back as an editor is broken, and that opportunity to contribute, to donate is also broken.”

A majority of the Foundation’s support comes from individual donors, courtesy of six million users who give, on average $10. Support from corporations (excluding foundations) makes up about four-percent of the company’s donations, according to Gruwell. Of course, it’s possible that some of the big anonymous funders have direct ties to these companies, but the list of top corporate donors is actually a bit surprising.

Here are the numbers for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year:

  1. Google (more than $1 million)
  2. Humble Bundle ($456,000)
  3. Craigslist Foundation ($250,000)
  4. Cards Against Humanity ($35,000)

Gruwell told me that, in spite of the recent dust up with YouTube, “of the top five big Internet companies, the big technology companies, our relationship with Google is by far the best, both in terms of what they contribute to the organization and generally working with us. I will say in many instances, they do reach out to us and they do work with us. We do have partnerships with them. I think it’s a good relationship certainly, compared to the others.”

Other big players also contribute, by way of matching donations. Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google (again) all contributed around $50,000 by matching employee gifts. Amazon, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found on that list.

In an era when all sides of the political spectrum are shouting “fake news” at one another, source citing and fact-checking are growing increasingly important. Both have long been a fundamental tenant of Wikipedia, as the site attempt to maintain neutrality on even the most hot button of topics.

“Like every platform on the Internet, I think we are concerned and sometimes face bad actors,” said Gruwell. “Those concerns are real. We’ve done a lot of things just in terms of trying to build tools like machine learning tools to detect bad faith contributions. In our community, they’re watching particular pages. They’re certainly doing their part.”

As smart assistants, YouTube and the like grow increasingly a part of our day to day lives, it becomes more and more important that Wikimedia can do its job. And donations don’t grow on trees.


Source: TechCrunch

Tim Cook addresses Facebook privacy, U.S./China relations at Beijing event

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked of this year’s China Development Forum in Beijing today with an address that hit on a number of hot button topics, user privacy concerns and a looming U.S./China trade war.

The executive touched on privacy regulations, in the wake of a breech of trust that found Cambridge Analytica harvesting information from 50 million Facebook users.

“I think that this certain situation is so dire and has become so large that probably some well-crafted regulation is necessary,” Cook is quoted as saying, in a report from Bloomberg. “The ability of anyone to know what you’ve been browsing about for years, who your contacts are, who their contacts are, things you like and dislike and every intimate detail of your life — from my own point of view it shouldn’t exist.”

The specter of privacy concerns has, of course, been a hot button topic for Apple over the decades, particularly as devices and apps demand more and more of our personal information. Late last year, for instance, then Senator Al Franken pressed the company over Face ID — a subject to which Apple quickly responded.

Cook’s statement reflects similar comments Steve Jobs made about privacy back in 2010 and an event where Mark Zuckerberg was also speaking.

“Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English, and repeatedly,” Jobs said. “I’m an optimist; I believe people are smart, and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data.”

In his own address, Cook noted that many of the concerns around what companies might do with all of the personal data “has come true more than once.”

Cook also addressed growing tensions between the U.S. and China, a market that has been increasingly important to Apple’s bottom line — and, of course, a place where much of the company’s manufacturing occurs. 

“My belief is that businesses should be engaged with governments in countries where they are doing business, whether they agree or disagree,” Cook said, according to Reuters.

Tensions between the two countries have only grown more heated in recent days. Just this week, the Trump administration announced plans to place $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, with the burden landing heavily on electronics.


Source: TechCrunch

Space Photos of the Week: You Can't Clean Up Space, It's Too Messier

These strange collection of stars aren’t galaxies, but random groups of hundreds of millions of stars.
Source: Wired

You can be a gardener, even if you hate the outdoors – CNET

Indoor gardening systems that fit on your countertop are great for folks without the outdoor space or desire to build a full-fledged garden.
Source: CNET

Original Content podcast: Confronting the tragedy of Hulu’s ‘Looming Tower’

The Looming Tower, a new series on Hulu, approaches the September 11 terrorist attacks from an unusual angle — instead of focusing on the day itself, it tells the story of the FBI and CIA investigations into Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s.

In some ways, the show feels like a police procedural, with Jeff Daniels as the FBI’s John O’Neill and Peter Sarsgaard as Martin Schmidt, his counterpart in the CIA. Except we all know where this investigation is leading.

On this week’s episode of the Original Content podcast, we discuss our initial impressions of the show (new episodes are still airing each week), how it combines fact and fiction, and how it compares to the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Lawrence Wright.

We also cover Amy Poehler’s deal to direct and star in a film for Netflix, the controversy over the salary disparity between Claire Foy and Matt Smith on The Crown and the new trailer for a “killer rain” show called, um, The Rain.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You also can send us feedback directly.


Source: TechCrunch

Best Smart Earbuds for Travel: AirPods, Pixel Buds, Erato Verse

Super portability and easy access to AI assistants make these wireless headphones must-haves on your next trip.
Source: Wired

Pirelli to make pricey new tires exclusively for 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO – Roadshow

The Stelvio Corsa makes no sense, but we love that Pirelli is producing it for all 36 250 GTOs and nothing else.
Source: CNET

Reddit Bans, Atlanta Ransomware, and More Security News This Week

Reddit bans, Atlanta ransomware, and more of the week’s top security news.
Source: Wired

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