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InLoop – Online magazine covering Design-Tech-Digital News and events! https://inloop.in Get in loop with Design, Tech and Digital world! Fri, 21 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.11 https://inloop.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/cropped-InLoop-Site-Icon-Yellow-32x32.png InLoop – Online magazine covering Design-Tech-Digital News and events! https://inloop.in 32 32 How a Russian cyberwar in Ukraine could ripple out globally https://inloop.in/2022/01/21/how-a-russian-cyberwar-in-ukraine-could-ripple-out-globally/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/21/how-a-russian-cyberwar-in-ukraine-could-ripple-out-globally/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.technologyreview.com/?p=1043980https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/01/21/1043980/how-a-russian-cyberwar-in-ukraine-could-ripple-out-globally/ Unintentional consequences? The knock-on effects for the rest of the world might not be limited to  intentional reprisals by Russian operatives. Unlike old-fashioned war, cyberwar is not confined by borders…

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Unintentional consequences?

The knock-on effects for the rest of the world might not be limited to  intentional reprisals by Russian operatives. Unlike old-fashioned war, cyberwar is not confined by borders and can more easily spiral out of control.

Ukraine has been on the receiving end of aggressive Russian cyber operations for the last decade and has suffered invasion and military intervention from Moscow since 2014. In 2015 and 2016, Russian hackers attacked Ukraine’s power grid and turned out the lights in the capital city of Kyiv— unparalleled acts that haven’t been carried out anywhere else before or since. 

The 2017 NotPetya cyberattack, once again ordered by Moscow, was directed initially at Ukrainian private companies before it spilled over and destroyed systems around the world. 

NotPetya masqueraded as ransomware, but in fact it was a purely destructive and highly viral piece of code. The destructive malware seen in Ukraine last week, now known as WhisperGate, also pretended to be ransomware while aiming to destroy key data that renders machines inoperable. Experts say WhisperGate is “reminiscent[1]” of NotPetya, down to the technical processes that achieve destruction, but that there are notable differences. For one, WhisperGate is less sophisticated and is not designed to spread rapidly in the same way. Russia has denied involvement, and no definitive link points to Moscow.

NotPetya incapacitated shipping ports and left several giant multinational corporations and government agencies unable to function. Almost anyone who did business with Ukraine was affected because the Russians secretly poisoned software used by everyone who pays taxes or does business in the country. 

The White House said the attack caused more than $10 billion in global damage and deemed it “the most destructive and costly cyberattack in history.”

Since 2017, there has been ongoing debate about whether the international victims were merely unintentional collateral damage or whether the attack targeted companies doing business with Russia’s enemies. What is clear is that it can happen again. 

Accident or not, Hultquist anticipates that we will see cyber operations from Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU, the organization behind many of the most aggressive hacks of all time, both inside and outside Ukraine. The GRU’s most notorious hacking group, dubbed Sandworm by experts, is responsible for a long list of greatest hits including the 2015 Ukrainian power grid hack, the 2017 NotPetya hacks, interference in US and French elections, and the Olympics opening ceremony hack in the wake of a Russian doping controversy that left the country excluded from the games. 

Hultquist is also looking out for another group, known to experts as Berserk Bear, that originates from the Russian intelligence agency FSB. In 2020, US officials warned[2] of the threat the group poses to government networks. The German government said[3] the same group had achieved “longstanding compromises” at companies as they targeted energy, water, and power sectors. 

References

  1. ^ reminiscent (www.crowdstrike.com)
  2. ^ warned (www.cisa.gov)
  3. ^ said (www.cyberscoop.com)

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Parag Agrawal Shakes Up Twitter's Security Team https://inloop.in/2022/01/21/parag-agrawal-shakes-up-twitters-security-team/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/21/parag-agrawal-shakes-up-twitters-security-team/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 11:56:34 +0000 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/technology/twitter-security-team.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/technology/twitter-security-team.html SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter shook up the top ranks of its security team this week with the termination of the head of security and the exit of the chief information…

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SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter shook up the top ranks of its security team this week with the termination of the head of security and the exit of the chief information security officer, the company told employees on Wednesday, as its new chief executive reorganizes the social media service.

Peiter Zatko, the head of security who is better known within the security community as “Mudge,” is no longer at the company, Twitter confirmed. Rinki Sethi, the chief information security officer, will depart in the coming weeks.

The changes follow “an assessment of how the organization was being led and the impact on top priority work,” according to a memo from Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief executive, that was sent to employees on Wednesday and obtained by The New York Times. Mr. Agrawal said the “nature of this situation” limited what he was allowed to share with employees.

Ms. Sethi and Mr. Zatko did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Credit…U.S. Federal Government, via Reuters

Mr. Agrawal, who was appointed Twitter’s chief executive[1] in November, has shuffled the company’s executives since taking over from Jack Dorsey, a founder. In December, Mr. Agrawal reorganized the leadership team and dismissed[2] Dantley Davis, the chief design officer, and Michael Montano, the head of engineering.

Mr. Zatko and Ms. Sethi joined Twitter in late 2020. He is a well-known hacker and has had a long career in government and private industry. Before taking on his role at Twitter, he held roles at DARPA, Google and Stripe. He began his cybersecurity career in the 1990s, when he was a member of the hacking group Cult of the Dead Cow. He was recruited to Twitter after teenagers compromised the company’s systems in July 2020[3] and took over the accounts of prominent users.

Ms. Sethi also joined Twitter after the hack and, alongside Mr. Zatko, was charged with improving the company’s security and protecting its user data. She was previously a vice president of information security at I.B.M. and had worked in security at Intuit and Walmart.

Lea Kissner, Twitter’s head of privacy engineering, will become the company’s interim chief information security officer, according to current and former employees. They previously held security and privacy leadership roles at Google and Apple.

References

  1. ^ appointed Twitter’s chief executive (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ dismissed (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ compromised the company’s systems in July 2020 (www.nytimes.com)

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Intel to Invest at Least $20 Billion in New Chip Factories in Ohio https://inloop.in/2022/01/21/intel-to-invest-at-least-20-billion-in-new-chip-factories-in-ohio/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/21/intel-to-invest-at-least-20-billion-in-new-chip-factories-in-ohio/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 10:33:09 +0000 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/technology/intel-chip-factories-ohio.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/technology/intel-chip-factories-ohio.html Intel has selected Ohio for a new chip manufacturing complex that would cost at least $20 billion, ramping up an effort to increase U.S. production of computer chips as users…

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Intel has selected Ohio for a new chip manufacturing complex that would cost at least $20 billion, ramping up an effort to increase U.S. production of computer chips as users grapple with a lingering shortage[1] of the vital components.

Intel said Friday that the new site near Columbus would initially have two chip factories and would directly employ 3,000 people, while creating additional jobs in construction and at nearby businesses.

Patrick Gelsinger, who became Intel’s chief executive[2] last year, has rapidly increased the company’s investments[3] in manufacturing to help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign chip makers while lobbying Congress[4] to pass incentives aimed at increasing domestic chip production. He has said that Intel might invest as much as $100 billion over a decade in its next U.S. manufacturing campus, linking the scope and speed of that expansion to expected federal grants if Congress approves a spending package known as the CHIPS Act[5].

“We will go bigger and broader if it gets funded,” Mr. Gelsinger, 60, said in a recent interview. “But our recovery plans don’t rely on the CHIPS act.”

President Biden will meet with Mr. Gelsinger at the White House on Friday to discuss the project, Intel said. Administration officials have aggressively pushed the CHIPS Act.

Intel’s move has geopolitical implications, as well as significance for supply chains. Chips, which act as the brains of computers and many other devices, are largely manufactured in Taiwan[6], which China has expressed territorial claims toward. During the pandemic, they have also been in short supply because of overwhelming demand and Covid-related disruptions to manufacturing and labor supply, raising questions about how to ensure a consistent chip pipeline.

The move is Intel’s first to a new state for manufacturing in more than 40 years. The company, based in Silicon Valley, has U.S. factories in Oregon, New Mexico and Arizona. Last March, Mr. Gelsinger chose an existing complex near Phoenix for a $20 billion expansion, which is now underway.

But Mr. Gelsinger had also asserted that a new location was needed to provide additional talent, water, electrical power and other resources for the complex process of making chips. Intel has combed the country for sites, prompting states to compete for one of the biggest economic development prizes in recent memory.

The site chosen for the new plant, in New Albany, a suburb east of Columbus, is in an area known for inexpensive land and housing. Nearby Ohio State University is a major source of graduates with engineering degrees whom Intel could recruit. Columbus is also centrally located for receiving supplies and for shipping finished chips.

Construction of the first two factories is expected to begin later this year with production to start by 2025, Intel said. The site is more than 1,000 acres — enough space to hold up to eight total factories and related operations, Intel said.

“Intel’s new facilities will be transformative for our state, creating thousands of good-paying jobs in Ohio manufacturing strategically vital semiconductors,” Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio, said in a statement.

Mr. Gelsinger, a 30-year Intel veteran who became chief of the software maker VMware in 2012, returned to the chip maker last year to become chief executive as the semiconductor shortage began hobbling carmakers[7] and other companies.

While the shortage was partly rooted in the pandemic, another long-term factor was the shifting of chip manufacturing to Asian countries that offer subsidies to companies that build factories there. The United States accounts for about 12 percent of global chip production, down from 37 percent in 1990. Europe’s share has declined to 9 percent from 40 percent over that period.

Many of the most advanced chips come from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company[8], whose proximity to China has worried Pentagon officials.

Legislation passed by the Senate with bipartisan support last June would provide $52 billion in subsidies for the chip industry, including grants to companies that build new U.S. factories. The package has since gotten caught up in House bickering over the Biden administration’s priorities, though Mr. Gelsinger and others have said they are hopeful it will pass in the coming months.

In Europe, Mr. Gelsinger has also lobbied officials for a similar package of subsidies that could aid the construction of a big new Intel factory there, with a projected price tag comparable to the U.S. expansion.

Ohio has not previously had a chip manufacturing presence. Moving to a state without existing chip factories presents challenges, such as obtaining permits and persuading suppliers of gases, chemicals and production machines to set up nearby offices, said Dan Hutcheson, an analyst at VLSI Research. On the other hand, having plants in more states provides lobbying leverage in Washington, he said.

Intel is not the only company expanding U.S. production. T.S.M.C. began construction last year on a $12 billion complex about 50 miles from Intel’s site near Phoenix. Samsung Electronics selected Taylor, Texas[9], for a $17 billion factory[10], with construction set to begin in 2022.

Mr. Gelsinger’s strategy is based partly on a bet that Intel can rival T.S.M.C. and Samsung in manufacturing chips to order for other companies. For most of its existence, Intel has built only the microprocessors and other chips it designs and sells itself.

The strategy is risky, as Intel has fallen behind its Asian rivals in packing more circuitry onto each slice of silicon, which increases the capabilities of devices like smartphones and computers. Mr. Gelsinger has said that Intel is on track to catch up over several years, but it won’t be easy, as those companies continue to make new developments of their own.

Intel “is catching up, but they have not caught up,” Mr. Hutcheson said.

References

  1. ^ grapple with a lingering shortage (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ became Intel’s chief executive (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ rapidly increased the company’s investments (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ lobbying Congress (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ CHIPS Act (www.nytimes.com)
  6. ^ largely manufactured in Taiwan (www.nytimes.com)
  7. ^ hobbling carmakers (www.nytimes.com)
  8. ^ Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ selected Taylor, Texas (www.nytimes.com)
  10. ^ $17 billion factory (www.nytimes.com)

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What to Wear in the Metaverse https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/what-to-wear-in-the-metaverse/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/what-to-wear-in-the-metaverse/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 19:24:53 +0000 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/style/metaverse-fashion.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/style/metaverse-fashion.html “People love to play with something they would never be able to wear in the real world,” Ms. Shapovalova said. “Play” being the operative word. Right now, the metaverse is…

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“People love to play with something they would never be able to wear in the real world,” Ms. Shapovalova said. “Play” being the operative word.

Right now, the metaverse is both a place where you can be recognizably you, as you are (sort of) IRL, and a place where you can be transformed into the you of your dreams. It is the ultimate opportunity for dress-up and a potential minefield of unwitting self-revelation. Just because a virtual space is free from certain real life limitations does not mean it is free from the preconceptions everyone brings to parsing character.

In fact, absent other clues, like profession, a virtual space makes clothes even more important. In the metaverse, “what you wear becomes your visual identity,” Ms. Greene said. The shredded jeans and crop top or iridescent sci-fi priest’s robes or branded hoodie may be all the users your avatar interacts with know about you — and hence the first signals of shared tastes.

Which can lead, as Mr. Rogers pointed out, to “tribalism,” just as they do in the real world.

If the two worlds become more contiguous — if, as Mr. Chalmers said, they become worlds we “cohabit” — “I would think the way we use clothing to express identity will be more comparable to the clothes we wear in real life,” he said.

But Paula Sello, a co-founder of Auroboros, hopes the trend is in the other direction and the creativity of dressing for the metaverse trickles down and fosters more creative dressing in the physical world.

All of which means what? Go boldly where Mark Zuckerberg didn’t go before. But don’t fool yourself into believing it doesn’t matter. Clothing, as Amber Jae Slooten, a co-founder of The Fabricant, said, “affects how you feel about yourself.” Even in the virtual world. And that, Mr. Rogers said, may have “implications we haven’t even begun to grasp yet.”

“How do you separate your corporeal self from your pseudonymous self?” he asked. “Can you?”

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100 Greatest Free Fonts For 2022 https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/100-greatest-free-fonts-for-2022/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/100-greatest-free-fonts-for-2022/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 18:53:30 +0000 https://graphicdesignjunction.com/?p=31500https://graphicdesignjunction.com/2022/01/100-greatest-free-fonts-for-2022/ 100 free fonts[1] are the greatest gift of 2022, for graphic designers. Fonts are used to add an appeal to your design and to your brand in order to attract…

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100 free fonts[1] are the greatest gift of 2022, for graphic designers. Fonts are used to add an appeal to your design and to your brand in order to attract potential customers. For our ease, there are numerous fonts available to download for free on the internet. The ideal fonts will make reading easy when used for a paragraph, even when it is read from a certain distance. The words, characters, and the overall text must deliver the message that it wants to deliver.

Furthermore, the right texture and color also plays a vital part when using a font. Fortunately, the greatest free fonts for 2022 are available to you online that can fulfill all of your font needs.

In the last four years our articles on 100 Best Fonts[2] viewed more than 900k and shared more than 90k times on all social networks and we continue and make a huge collection of free fonts for our great subscribers, readers and followers. We hope these fonts are very helpful for you to create amazing typography, web and design projects in 2019. Please enjoy and let us know your thoughts on this great collection.

You may be interested in the following related articles as well.

Unlimited Downloads
Over 1,500,000+ Fonts, Mockups, Freebies & Design Assets

GDJ is one of the best graphic design resources website to download highest quality fonts, freebies, web and graphic design resources like vector graphics, mockupsPSD graphics, UI design elements and much more. In this collection, you will find Hundred Greatest Free Fonts. You can never have enough fonts – and if you’re feeling this is a really great article, so please share with your friends. Thanks

References

  1. ^ 100 free fonts (graphicdesignjunction.com)
  2. ^ 100 Best Fonts (graphicdesignjunction.com)

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Why Free Covid Tests Went Viral https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/why-free-covid-tests-went-viral/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/why-free-covid-tests-went-viral/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 18:12:23 +0000 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/technology/free-covid-tests.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/technology/free-covid-tests.html This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.[1] The hottest gossip this week was about swabs to shove up your nose. When…

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This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.[1]

The hottest gossip this week was about swabs to shove up your nose.

When the U.S. government started a new website[2] on Tuesday for people to order free at-home coronavirus tests, you might have heard about it from everyone. Moms texted their kids. Friends told one another in group chats, and then in different group chats. Perhaps your garden club[3] told you.

There seemed to be a simple explanation as to why a government website received the attention that a new Beyoncé album might: We love free stuff, and many Americans have wanted home Covid tests but couldn’t easily find or afford them[4].

But people who study human behavior told me that there might be more to the story. The test kit website may have gone viral for some of the same reasons that a Black Friday sale can spread quickly: It makes us feel good to tell others something that may be helpful — especially if the information feels like secret knowledge — and we tend to trust people we know more than experts.

“We often see things that go viral and think it’s random luck or chance, but there are principles that make things more viral,” said Jonah Berger[5], a marketing professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On.”

Dr. Berger said that when he saw people sharing information about the test kits, he recognized many of the same human tendencies that businesses harness to spread the word about a new product.

The “secret” menu at the fast food chain In-N-Out Burger is not a secret[6]. Instead, Dr. Berger said, it’s clever marketing that capitalizes on the zings of pleasure that we get — whether we’re aware of the strategy or not — from passing on what seems like hidden information.

That’s also how gossip spreads, and why we were inclined to tell friends where we bought toilet paper when it was hard to find.

We’re also more likely to share information about a topic that arouses fear or other strong emotions. And of course, when products are exclusive or we believe that they’re scarce, it makes us more eager to get in on the action. The coronavirus test kits check all those boxes.

Jessica Calarco[7], a sociology professor at Indiana University, also told me that people are inclined to base their health decisions on the actions of people they know, or people they believe are like them. Social pressure — like hearing about the coronavirus test website repeatedly from friends and family — can be more influential[8] than official health recommendations or advice from doctors.

News about the coronavirus test website “was primarily spread person-to-person in a more informal way, creating social pressure to participate and inspiring trust in the system as a whole,” Dr. Calarco told me.

Harmful rumors[9] and conspiracy theories[10] can spread for similar reasons. We’re more inclined to pass on news that scares us, and we like to feel in the know and as though we’re helping. Misinformation researchers warn about rumors that seem to come from “a friend of a friend,”[11] because we’re more likely to trust a claim that appears to come from our social connections.

This week, though, was another example of the way in which the same behaviors and tendencies that help sell hamburgers and spread gossip can also persuade many millions of Americans to contribute to the public good.

If you don’t already get this newsletter in your inbox, please sign up here.[12]


Tip of the Week

Speaking of stirring strong emotions, Brian X. Chen, the consumer technology columnist for The New York Times, is here with advice on stepping up your digital security.

This week President Biden shared his prediction that Russia would soon invade Ukraine[13], whose computer networks have recently been the target of a far-reaching cyberattack[14]. It’s unclear what this all means for the United States, but security experts have warned that Ukraine had been a testing ground for Russia’s cyberattacks, meaning the same attacks could eventually reach Americans.

That’s all hypothetical right now, but it’s another good reminder to beef up the protection of your online accounts. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to make sure your online accounts are signed up for two-factor authentication; this adds a step to verify that you are who you say you are. Even if a password falls into the hands of the wrong people, they cannot pretend to be you.

In a past column[15], I covered various methods for setting up two-factor authentication. One of the strongest setups involves using an authenticator app.

Here’s an example of how to set up an authenticator app with Facebook:

  • On your phone, go to your app store and download a free authenticator app, like Google Authenticator[16] or Authy[17].

  • Then, on Facebook’s website, go to your security and login settings[18]. Click “use two-factor authentication,” and then click “edit.” Choose the option for an authentication app as your security method. From here, follow the onscreen instructions.

  • From now on, whenever you log in to Facebook, you can open the authenticator app and look at the temporary six-digit code generated for your Facebook account. You must enter this code in order to log in.

Setting up two-factor authentication on all your online accounts is a hassle. But after you set it up the first time, it’s a breeze. Prioritize your most sensitive information, like your online banking accounts.

  • The clock is ticking on Congress: Time is running out for legislators to pass bills to put guardrails on America’s technology giants[19], my colleagues Cecilia Kang and David McCabe report. Democrats support legislation targeting the tech industry in far greater numbers than Republicans, and they could lose control of Congress this fall.

  • What happened to the Instant Pot that you returned?: NPR’s Planet Money podcast followed[20] two nursing school students who line up each week at a discount store to buy and then resell merchandise that people bought online and returned. Be prepared for the sounds of competitive shopping, and a lesson in the complexity and costs of the stuff that we regret buying.

  • The people who buy nothing and want to break their dependence on Facebook: “Buy Nothing” groups that offer free bowling balls or leftover pickle juice to their neighbors are among Facebook’s most avid communities. The Verge reports on efforts by some of the groups to form their own online spaces separate from Facebook[21].

A woman in Canada was reunited with her cat 12 years after it disappeared[22]. Twelve years!


We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else you’d like us to explore. You can reach us at ontech@nytimes.com.[23]

If you don’t already get this newsletter in your inbox, please sign up here. You can also read past On Tech columns.[24][25]

References

  1. ^ past columns (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ the U.S. government started a new website (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ your garden club (twitter.com)
  4. ^ couldn’t easily find or afford them (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ Jonah Berger (marketing.wharton.upenn.edu)
  6. ^ not a secret (www.in-n-out.com)
  7. ^ Jessica Calarco (sociology.indiana.edu)
  8. ^ more influential (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. ^ Harmful rumors (www.nytimes.com)
  10. ^ conspiracy theories (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ seem to come from “a friend of a friend,” (www.eipartnership.net)
  12. ^ please sign up here (www.nytimes.com)
  13. ^ Russia would soon invade Ukraine (www.nytimes.com)
  14. ^ computer networks have recently been the target of a far-reaching cyberattack (www.nytimes.com)
  15. ^ past column (www.nytimes.com)
  16. ^ Google Authenticator (itunes.apple.com)
  17. ^ Authy (itunes.apple.com)
  18. ^ security and login settings (www.facebook.com)
  19. ^ put guardrails on America’s technology giants (www.nytimes.com)
  20. ^ followed (www.npr.org)
  21. ^ form their own online spaces separate from Facebook (www.theverge.com)
  22. ^ reunited with her cat 12 years after it disappeared (www.upi.com)
  23. ^ ontech@nytimes.com. (www.nytimes.com)
  24. ^ please sign up here (www.nytimes.com)
  25. ^ past On Tech columns (www.nytimes.com)

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Meta’s new learning algorithm can teach AI to multi-task https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/metas-new-learning-algorithm-can-teach-ai-to-multi-task/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/metas-new-learning-algorithm-can-teach-ai-to-multi-task/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.technologyreview.com/?p=1043885https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/01/20/1043885/meta-ai-facebook-learning-algorithm-nlp-vision-speech-agi/ Data2vec is part of a big trend in AI toward models that can learn to understand the world in more than one way[1]. “It’s a clever idea,” says Ani Kembhavi…

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Data2vec is part of a big trend in AI toward models that can learn to understand the world in more than one way[1]. “It’s a clever idea,” says Ani Kembhavi at the Allen Institute for AI in Seattle, who works on vision and language. “It’s a promising advance when it comes to generalized systems for learning.”

An important caveat is that although the same learning algorithm can be used for different skills, it can only learn one skill at a time. Once it has learned to recognize images, it must start from scratch to learn to recognize speech. Giving an AI multiple skills at once is hard, but that’s something the Meta AI team wants to look at next.  

The researchers were surprised to find that their approach actually performed better than existing techniques at recognizing images and speech, and performed as well as leading language models on text understanding.

Mark Zuckerberg is already dreaming up potential metaverse applications[2]. “This will all eventually get built into AR glasses with an AI assistant,” he posted to Facebook today. “It could help you cook dinner, noticing if you miss an ingredient, prompting you to turn down the heat, or more complex tasks.”

For Auli, the main takeaway is that researchers should step out of their silos. “Hey, you don’t need to focus on one thing,” he says. “If you have a good idea, it might actually help across the board.”

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Will Congress Pass New Regulation on Big Tech? Time May Be Running Out. https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/will-congress-pass-new-regulation-on-big-tech-time-may-be-running-out/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/will-congress-pass-new-regulation-on-big-tech-time-may-be-running-out/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:15:23 +0000 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/technology/big-tech-senate-bill.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/20/technology/big-tech-senate-bill.html Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are readying a major push on bills aimed at restraining the power of the country’s biggest tech companies, as they see the window of opportunity closing…

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Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are readying a major push on bills aimed at restraining the power of the country’s biggest tech companies, as they see the window of opportunity closing quickly ahead of the midterm elections.

A Senate committee is expected to vote Thursday on a bill that would prohibit companies like Amazon, Apple and Google from promoting their own products over those of competitors. Many House lawmakers are pressing a suite of antitrust bills[1] that would make it easier to break up tech giants. And some are making last-ditch efforts to pass bills meant to strengthen privacy, protect children online, curb misinformation, restrain targeted advertising and regulate artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies.

Most of the proposals before Congress are long shots. President Biden and top Democrats[2] in Congress have said addressing the industry’s power is a high priority, but numerous other issues rank even higher on their list. These include passing voting rights legislation, correcting labor and supply chain constraints, enacting a social services package and steering the nation out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Still, the next few months are probably the last best chance for a while. After that, attention will turn to the midterm elections, and Democrats, who support the efforts aimed at tech in far greater numbers than Republicans, could lose control of Congress.

“This is a problem that has been brewing for a long time, and it’s become pretty obvious to everyone,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, who has led the push for tougher laws on the tech companies. “But when you get to the fall it will be very difficult to get things done because everything is about the election.”

Congress has unified around a growing concern about the technology giants over the last several years. Still, dozens of bills have failed to pass[3], even as many other countries have beefed up their regulations for the industry.

When Mr. Biden took office last year, he promised to inject more competition into the economy, particularly in the tech sector. He appointed vocal tech critics to lead antitrust agencies, and this month, his press secretary said the president was “encouraged to see bipartisan interest in Congress in passing legislation to address the power of tech platforms through antitrust legislation.”

Bruce Reed, the White House deputy chief of staff, and Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, met on Wednesday with executives from companies including Yelp and Sonos, which have lobbied for antitrust action against the tech giants. They discussed the difficulties that “entrepreneurs, brick-and-mortar retailers, and other businesses face competing in sectors dominated by a few large platforms,” the White House said. The administration said it anticipated working with Congress, but has not endorsed any of the specific legislation aimed at the companies.

Complicating matters is that even though the two parties widely agree that Congress should do something, they often disagree on what that should be.

In the past few years, dozens of privacy, speech, security and antitrust bills have withered amid disagreements over how to balance protecting consumers while encouraging the growth of Silicon Valley. Some bills, like those that address online content moderation, are especially polarizing: Democrats have called for measures that would push the companies to remove from their sites more misinformation and content that contributed to real world harm. Republicans have backed laws to force the companies to leave more content up.

“Everyone has a bone to pick with Big Tech, but when it comes to doing something that’s when bipartisanship falls apart,” said Rebecca Allensworth, a Vanderbilt Law School professor who specializes in antitrust law.

“At the end of day, regulation is regulation,” she said, “so you will have a hard time bringing a lot of Republicans on board for a bill viewed as a heavy-handed aggressive takedown through regulation of Big Tech.”

The bill that the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to take up on Thursday, for instance, could prevent Amazon from steering shoppers to its Amazon-branded toilet paper and socks while making it harder to find comparisons for those products from other brands. It could force Apple to allow alternatives to Apple Pay within iPhone apps. And it could prevent Google from putting its own services like travel prices, restaurant reviews and shopping results at the top of search results.

Introduced by Ms. Klobuchar and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, the legislation aims to address concerns that a handful of tech giants act as gatekeepers to digital goods and services. Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook have a combined market capitalization of $7 trillion.

“In recent years, Big Tech has taken on a larger and larger role in determining what Americans buy, hear, see and say online,” Mr. Grassley said in a statement. He added that the legislation intended to “bring greater fairness for small businesses and more transparency for consumers to these dominant online platforms.”

Consumer groups and a coalition of dozens of tech start-ups back the bill. Some consumer advocates have compared the legislation to a law that forced monopoly TV providers to offer all networks access to cable customers. That action, they say, did not lead to the demise of the cable television business, but kept monopoly providers from shutting out competition.

“Consumers will benefit from this bill by making it easier to install, choose and use alternative apps and online services,” said Sumit Sharma, a senior researcher for tech competition at Consumer Reports, “enabling both consumers and small businesses to more easily switch between ecosystems by mixing and matching services from different providers.”

Silicon Valley lobbyists have fought the bill in published opinion pieces, ad campaigns and one-on-one appeals. Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, have called lawmakers to oppose the bill.

The companies’ lobbyists have argued that the legislation could make it harder to ward off malware and bugs in devices and could make their services less useful. In a blog post[4] on Tuesday, Google’s chief legal officer, Kent Walker, painted a dire vision of the effects that it and other bills could have: The company may have to stop including a map of vaccination sites in search results if the law passes, he said. It may have to stop blocking spam in Gmail. It may not be able to show someone searching for medical help “clear information” and “instead be required to direct you to a mix of low quality results.”

The companies have also said the proposals — focused on their bigness — would hurt small businesses. In recent months, Amazon has urged the merchants who sell products through its marketplace to contact lawmakers with concerns about the bills.

Brian Huseman, the company’s vice president of public policy, said in a statement that the legislation could imperil Amazon’s ability to offer Prime shipping benefits to those sellers or allow them onto its platform at all.

Ms. Klobuchar’s bill in particular targets a growing business for Amazon: competing directly with those outside merchants by offering its own products, like its Amazon Basics line.

Amazon argues that many major retailers, like Costco and Walmart, do the same thing. “The bill’s authors are targeting common retail practices and, troublingly, appear to single out Amazon while giving preferential treatment to other large retailers that engage in the same practices,” Mr. Huseman said.

Should the Judiciary Committee back Ms. Klobuchar’s bill on Thursday, its sponsors face the steeper challenge of getting 60 senators to support it. In the House, advocates of the antitrust bills also need to get enough Republicans on board to account for Democrats who oppose the proposals.

“They’ve talked about the cascade of legislative possibilities,” said William E. Kovacic, a former chair of the Federal Trade Commission. “None of it has happened. And the clock is running.”

References

  1. ^ suite of antitrust bills (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ President Biden and top Democrats (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ dozens of bills have failed to pass (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ blog post (blog.google)

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All charges against China Initiative defendant Gang Chen have been dismissed https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/all-charges-against-china-initiative-defendant-gang-chen-have-been-dismissed/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/all-charges-against-china-initiative-defendant-gang-chen-have-been-dismissed/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.technologyreview.com/?p=1043848https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/01/20/1043848/china-initative-gang-chen-mit-dismissed/ To support MIT Technology Review’s journalism, please consider becoming a subscriber[1]. The China Initiative Chen was one of the most high-profile scientists charged under the China Initiative, a Justice Department…

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To support MIT Technology Review’s journalism, please consider becoming a subscriber[1].

The China Initiative

Chen was one of the most high-profile scientists charged under the China Initiative, a Justice Department program launched under the Trump administration to counter economic espionage and national security threats from the People’s Republic of China.

Despite its stated purpose, an investigation[2] by MIT Technology Review found that the initiative has increasingly focused on prosecuting academics for research integrity issues—hiding ties or funding from Chinese entities on grant or visa forms—rather than industrial spies stealing trade secrets. Only 19 of 77 cases (25%) identified by MIT Technology Review alleged violations of the Economic Espionage Act, while 23 cases (30%) alleged grant or visa fraud by academics.

Our reporting has also found that the initiative has disproportionately affected scientists of Chinese heritage, who make up 130 (88%) of the 148 individuals charged under the initiative.

Chen’s is the eighth research integrity case to be dismissed before trial. Last month, Harvard professor Charles Lieber was found guilty[3] on six charges of false statements and tax fraud, while the trial of University of Tennessee–Knoxville professor Anming Hu, the first research integrity case to go before a jury, ended first in a mistrial and then a full acquittal.

Research Integrity cases from MIT Technology Review’s China Initiative Database

A catalyzing case

Chen’s indictment raised awareness of, and opposition to, the initiative because of both his prominence in his field and the seemingly routine activities for which he was being prosecuted, including collaborating with a Chinese university at the behest of his home institution. “We are all Gang Chen,” a group of MIT faculty wrote[4] at the time, expressing both their support for their colleague and their concerns about how their own activities could draw government scrutiny.

“The end of the criminal case is tremendous news for Professor Chen, and his defense team deserves accolades for their work,” said Margaret Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University who has written about the China Initiative. “But let’s not forget that he was first questioned at the airport two years ago and indicted one year ago. The human cost is intense even when charges are dropped.”

In a note to the MIT community shortly after the dismissal was filed, MIT president L. Rafael Reif provided some more detail on that human cost. “Gang was first detained at Logan Airport about six weeks before the pandemic struck our community; the burdens on him and his family members since then have been beyond imagining,” he wrote, while acknowledging that “this case has also caused ongoing distress throughout our community, particularly for Gang’s friends, students, and colleagues, and for those across MIT and elsewhere who are of Chinese descent.”

“Having had faith in Gang from the beginning, we can all be grateful that a just outcome of a damaging process is on the horizon. We are eager for his full return to our community,” Reif said.

References

  1. ^ becoming a subscriber (forms.technologyreview.com)
  2. ^ investigation (www.technologyreview.com)
  3. ^ found guilty (www.technologyreview.com)
  4. ^ wrote (www.google.com)

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Russian c.bank proposes banning cryptocurrencies, crypto mining https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/russian-c-bank-proposes-banning-cryptocurrencies-crypto-mining/ https://inloop.in/2022/01/20/russian-c-bank-proposes-banning-cryptocurrencies-crypto-mining/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:56:00 +0000 http://inloop.in/2022/01/20/russian-c-bank-proposes-banning-cryptocurrencies-crypto-mining/ Representations of virtual cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration taken November 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo Russia’s central bank on Thursday proposed banning the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian…

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crypto currency Representations of virtual cryptocurrencies are seen in this illustration taken November 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Russia’s central bank on Thursday proposed banning the use and mining of cryptocurrencies on Russian territory, citing threats to financial stability, citizens’ wellbeing and its monetary policy sovereignty.

The move is the latest in a global cryptocurrency crackdown as governments from Asia to the United States worry that privately operated highly volatile digital currencies could undermine their control of financial and monetary systems.

Russia has argued for years against cryptocurrencies, saying they could be used in money laundering or to finance terrorism. It eventually gave them legal status in 2020 but banned their use as a means of payment.

In December, the price of bitcoin fell after Reuters reported, citing sources, that Russia’s regulator was in favour of a complete ban on cryptocurrencies.

In a report published on Thursday, the central bank said speculative demand primarily determined cryptocurrencies’ rapid growth and that they carried characteristics of a financial pyramid, warning that bubbles in the market could form, threatening financial stability and citizens.

The bank proposed preventing financial institutions from carrying out any operations with cryptocurrencies and said mechanisms should be developed to block transactions aimed at buying or selling cryptocurrencies for fiat, or traditional currencies. The proposed ban includes crypto exchanges.

Russians are active cryptocurrency users, the central bank said, with an annual transaction volume of about $5 billion.

CRYPTO MINING

Russia is the world’s third-largest player in bitcoin mining, behind the United States and Kazakhstan, though the latter may see a miner exodus over fears of tightening regulation following unrest earlier this month. read more

The central bank said crypto mining created problems for energy consumption. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “mined” by powerful computers that compete against others hooked up to a global network to solve complex mathematical puzzles. The process guzzles electricity and is often powered by fossil fuels.

“The best solution is to introduce a ban on cryptocurrency mining in Russia,” the bank said.

In August, Russia accounted for 11.2% of the global “hashrate” – crypto jargon for the amount of computing power being used by computers connected to the bitcoin network.

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