Twitter’s refusal to dox a cow stymies Republican’s $250M lawsuit

US Rep. Devin Nunes can’t seem to catch a break. First, despite his memo blaming Obama and the FBI for all the evils in the world, his fellow former members of the Trump transition team keep getting indicted for being bad at crime. And now he can’t figure out which one of his cows is helping his mom make fun of him on Twitter. Nunes, the Salacious B. Crumb to Donald Trump’s Jabba the Hutt, filed a lawsuit against two parody accounts on Twitter earlier this year. According to a report from The Fresno Bee, Nunes argues that “activists conspired…
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Opinion: Facebook’s brain computer interface will be the instrument of society’s collapse

Anyone else think giving Facebook literal access to our brains is a catastrophically stupid idea? If you missed it: Facebook‘s building a brain computer interface (BCI). In the company’s words, the gadget will be: A non-invasive, wearable device that lets people type by simply imagining themselves talking. That makes it sound like a Bluetooth accessory you’ll wear on your head that let’s you chat hands-free using only your mind – perhaps with webcam models. When you think about it that way: here’s a link to Investopedia’s beginner’s guide to buying Facebook stock. All jokes aside, a well-functioning BCI could be the…
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Trump-appointed NASA head just declared Pluto a planet again

NASA Chief Jim Bridenstine – a politician who’s probably seen one or two episodes of “Cosmos” – has officially declared Pluto a planet again. His reasoning: that’s the way he learned it in high school. My favorite soundbyte of the day that probably won't make it to TV. It came from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. As a Pluto Supporter, I really appreciated this. #9wx #PlutoLoversRejoice @JimBridenstine pic.twitter.com/NdfQWW5PSZ — Cory Reppenhagen (@CReppWx) August 23, 2019 Bridenstine’s not just the head of NASA, mind you, he’s also a good friend of President Donald Trump’s. That friendship represents his only qualification for the…
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Google’s new policy forbids employees from having ‘raging debates’ over politics

Google used to be the epitome of young, smart, techy culture. Its offices have always been lauded as a workplace where free expression, thinking outside of the box, and challenging the status quo were valued more than the ability to keep your head down and meet quotas. Those days are over. The Mountain View company recently updated its Community Guidelines for employees to reflect a change in company culture. Usually, policy updates don’t warrant a news article, but the language in this particular one is the strongest indication that Google‘s finished pretending to be a scrappy startup and it’s now…
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This AI-powered text generator is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen — and you can try it

OpenAI, a nonprofit focused on creating human-level artificial intelligence, just released an update to its GPT-2 text generator. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that, after trying it, I’m legitimately terrified for the future of humanity if we don’t figure out a way to detect AI-generated content – and soon. GPT-2 isn’t a killer robot and my fears aren’t that AI is going to rise up against us. I’m terrified of GPT-2 because it represents the kind of technology that evil humans are going to use to manipulate the population — and in my opinion that makes it more…
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I’m scared shitless of my new robot colleague

There’s a new member in our editorial team: Satoshi Nakaboto. Usually I get along great with my colleagues, we joke, we share our Monday blues, and braid each other’s hair — but Satoshi is… different. He’s a bot. Amazingly futuristic? Absolutely. We’ve gone beyond just talking about when robots enter the workforce, and actually made it happen. We wrote a script which scours the internet for news about Bitcoin; how its price is developing, what people are tweeting/writing about it, and then it puts together all that info in human understandable terms — derived from rule-based phrases and terms we…
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Just putting it out there: I still buy MP3s

In this column, “Just putting this out there…,” we write about the odd ways we engage with tech and the unpopular opinions we form about it. One of my biggest sources of inner turmoil is how I consume music: I still buy MP3s. This is often met with shock, horror, or hushed murmurings of “good for you” like I’ve just donated blood — but I’m not really sure why. Very few industries have been as disrupted by the internet as the music industry. From its containment to its delivery and consumption, it’s faced a near-total revolution every few years over the…
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Project Veritas and ‘whistle-blower’ published bullshit ‘data-leak’ to dox Google employees

Project Veritas, a non-profit conspiracy theory outlet, today dropped the ‘bombshell’ that it’d obtained hundreds of leaked internal documents from a whistle-blower showing Google‘s bias against Conservatives. Unfortunately, as is almost always the case with Project Veritas, the claims are crap. As TNW’s Ravie Lakshmanan pointed out, the documents are probably authentic. I’ve pored over every single one in the document dump on Project Veritas’ website and it’s my opinion that almost all of them appear completely legitimate – the exception being screenshots of a Google employee’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, which I’m guessing were taken by the ‘whistle-blower,’ as…
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Humans have been listening to our ‘AI-transcribed’ conversations for over a decade

It was a scandal. Third-party contractors, many working from places where data protection legislation is lax (or even non-existent), were listening and transcribing recordings of conversations from people who unwittingly believed robots were doing all the work. Conversations about work, finance, and romance were snooped upon, analyzed, and then typed up. I’m not talking about Facebook, or Apple, or Microsoft, or Google, or Amazon. In fact, I’m not talking about any of the big tech companies, all of whom are currently under scrutiny over their use of humans in AI transcription. Instead I’m talking about Spinvox. You might not be…
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The tech media keeps hyping awful, exploitative fintech products

I’ve long espoused the belief that the entire tech press corps deserves to be quarantined on an isolated island in the South Pacific, where they don’t have phones or the internet. No exceptions. It’s a bit extreme, but it’d spare the rest of humanity our collective incredulous, fawning fuckwittery when it comes to crap tech brands. Not sure what I mean? Just look at the reaction to the new Apple credit card, which has been hailed as “disruptive” and a “game changer,” even though it’s just a normal credit card attached to a fancy app. The most embarrassing specimen of…
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