PCmag

Facebook introduces new tools to curb social media addiction

Illustration photo – The Facebook logo is displayed on their website in an illustration photo taken in Bordeaux, France, Feb. 1, 2017. (REUTERS/Regis Duvignau) Feel like you spend too much time on social media? Facebook just introduced some new tools that can help you curb your addiction to its platforms. Because the first step to fixing a problem is realizing you have one, there’s now a way to see how much time you spend on the Instagram and Facebook apps each day, on average. Gather up your courage and head over to the settings page on the Facebook or Instagram app; on Instagram, tap “Your Activity” and on Facebook tap “Your Time on Facebook.” Doing so will bring up a dashboard showing your usage stats. On the down side, the stats only show how much ti...

VA reenlists IBM’s Watson in fight against cancer

File photo – Attendees gather at an IBM Watson event in lower Manhattan, New York Jan. 9, 2014.  (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid) Two years ago, oncologists with the US Department of Veterans Affairs started using IBM Watson artificial intelligence to identify targeted treatment options for cancer patients. Now, they will be able to continue that work for at least another year. The VA and IBM Watson Health today announced an extension of their partnership through at least June 2019. Working out of a precision oncology “hub” in Durham, N.C., a small group of VA oncologists and pathologists receive tumor samples from patients around the country. They sequence the tumor DNA, then use Watson AI to help interpret the data, identifying likely cancer-causing mutations and drugs that m...

Why artificial intelligence must disclose that it’s AI

Google recently repitched Duplex to explicitly reveal to restaurant hosts and salon staff that they are speaking with the Google Assistant and are being recorded. Google omitted this small but important detail when it first introduced Duplex at its I/O developer conference in May. A media backlash ensued, and critics renewed old fears about the implications of unleashing AI agents that can impersonate the behavior of humans in indistinguishable ways. By tweaking Duplex, Google puts to rest some of that criticism. But why is it so important that companies be transparent about the identity of their AI agents? Can AI Assistants Serve Evil Purposes? More From PCmag “There’s a growing expectation that when you’re messaging a business, you could be interacting with an AI-powere...

iPhone 9 rumor roundup: Everything we know so far

A attendee uses a new iPhone X during a presentation for the media in Beijing, China October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter – RC1BB5A3BB10 The expected launch of the newest iPhones is just around the corner. If history is anything to go by, Apple will announce at least three new models come September, and we have some ideas about what to expect. For starters, it’s not entirely clear what the new naming convention will be. Last year, the iPhone 8 was the “entry level” model, while the iPhone 8 Plus sported a high-resolution, 5.5-inch screen, beefier specs, and a dual sensor setup. But what stole the show was the iPhone X, named so for the iPhone’s tenth anniversary, a top-tier version with an OLED display, nearly bezeless design, and the infamous notch, which h...

Quiz app on Facebook accidentally exposes data of 120M users

Close up on a key and padlock lying on a red binary code surface. The padlock is unlocked and displays a glowing grid.  (This content is subject to copyright.) A quiz app on Facebook that can tell you which Disney princess you are has also been leaking the personal information of its 120 million users. The quiz app from Nametests.com was apparently storing the personal information of its users in a rather careless way; the data was circulating through a public Javascript file that other websites could theoretically access. “I was shocked to see that this data was publicly available to any third-party that requested it,” said Inti De Ceukelaire, the Belgian security researcher who discovered the data leak. On Wednesday, he published a blog post, describing how the Ja...

Will Amazon’s facial-recognition tech enable mass surveillance?

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos laughs as he talks to the media while touring the new Amazon Spheres during the grand opening at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson – RC1DD03FA240 Amazon has been selling a facial-recognition system to police, sparking fears that the technology will one day power mass surveillance. On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and 35 other advocacy group sent a letter to the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos, demanding that he stop providing the technology to law enforcement. The technology, called Amazon Rekognition, can identify people’s faces in digital images and video. Police in Oregon and Florida have been using the system to help them solve crimes, but the ACLU argues ...

Facebook tests downvote option for page post comments

FILE – In this Jun 7, 2013, file photo, the Facebook “like” symbol is illuminated on a sign outside the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)  (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.) Facebook is starting to look a little more like Reddit for some users. The social network in February first started testing a downvote option with a small number of users. Now, Facebook is making that option more widely available. In a statement to PCMag, the social network confirmed it’s currently “running a test that introduces an upvote and downvote action for comments on large public Page posts.” The company started testing this a few weeks ago with certain Pages in New Zealand and recently expanded it to a ...

Facebook stops fighting California Privacy Act

When your CEO just faced a grilling by the Senate over a lack of privacy and data protection, it looks pretty bad if a company continues to fight against new privacy laws. So it will come as little surprise that Facebook has decided to no longer fight to block the proposed California Consumer Privacy Act. The Privacy Act being proposed would empower anyone in the state to tell businesses not to share or sell their personal data, give them the right to know what personal information is collected about them, and offers protections for consumers “who are victims of negligent business practices resulting in security breaches of data.” All of which don’t help a company like Facebook, which profits from having a lot of freedom to collect and use your data. As Engadget reports, ...

Intel teases chip redesign to stop Meltdown, Spectre flaws

File photo: SANTA CLARA, CA – JANUARY 16: The Intel logo is displayed outside of the Intel headquarters on January 16, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)  (2014 Getty Images) Intel’s long-term fix for the Meltdown and Spectre flaws will involve a chip redesign that introduces “protective walls” around a PC’s sensitive data. “We have redesigned parts of the processor to introduce new levels of protection through partitioning,” Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich said in a Thursday blog post. “Think of this partitioning as additional ‘protective walls’ between applications and user privilege levels to create an obstacle for bad actors.” In January, Krzanich discussed “silicon-based chan...

Can net neutrality survive 5G?

BARCELONA—A one-size-fits-all approach to net neutrality won’t work in a 5G world, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm said at an MWC press conference. “Not all traffic is created equal,” he said. “In the 5G future, mission-critical apps such as remote surgery will have to take priority over other traffic. There will need to be a regulatory regime that allows the service provider to create services that are differentiated based on user experiences.” Here’s Ekholm’s problem: he’s Swedish. So he’s probably thinking about reasonable governments that operate based on some sort of societal consensus, not the completely broken politics we have in the US. Our political net neutrality debate currently see-saws between the extremes of “ISPs should b...