Tech Talk

• Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said on Tuesday.

The organisation released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google. Representatives for the three companies did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” into its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed but not before they can be widely shared.

• There’s a dirty little secret about artificial intelligence: It’s powered by hundreds of thousands of real people.

From makeup artists in Venezuela to women in conservative parts of India, people around the world are doing the digital equivalent of needlework —drawing boxes around cars in street photos, tagging images, and transcribing snatches of speech that computers can’t quite make out.

Such data feeds directly into “machine learning” algorithms that help self-driving cars wind through traffic and let Alexa figure out that you want the lights on. Many such technologies wouldn’t work without massive quantities of this human-labeled data.

These repetitive tasks pay pennies apiece. But in bulk, this work can offer a decent wage in many parts of the world — even in the US. And it underpins a technology that could change humanity forever: AI that will drive us around, execute verbal commands without flaw, and — possibly — one day think on its own.

• The top 10 movies on the iTunes Store. iTunes Movies US charts for week ending March 4, 2018:

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

  2. Coco (2017)

  3. Lady Bird

  4. Darkest Hour

  5. Murder On the Orient Express

  6. The Shape of Water

  7. Pitch Perfect 3

  8. Thor: Ragnarok

  9. I, Tonya

  10. Ferdinand


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