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Digital tax – no not the one you’re thinking of! [Wall Street Journal] 

In the EU bubble, when talking about digital tax, we immediately think about the OECD discussions and the national attempts at taxing digital companies. But this is a different digital tax we are talking about: AI is helping tax collectors in tracking down late or undeclared tax payments quicker. The IRS in the US is using their vast pool of data to develop algorithms that can predict tax avoidance behaviour, saving up to 30% of time and resources spent in tax collection. Oh the irony! Tech is helping with taxes instead of taxing of tech. 

How much do you value your data? [The Guardian] 

Apparently, Germans’ (self)data-worth is higher than Americans. A study found that a German Facebook user would want to be paid $8 a month to share their contact information with the platform, while an American would only ask for $3.50. People surveyed – from the US, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia and Argentina – placed the highest value on financial information, such as bank balance, and biometric information, such as fingerprint data. Location data was considered the least valuable.  Interestingly, a platform would have to pay a user, on-average, only $6.05 to read their texts. How much would you charge for your data? 

Who needs tape when you have AI? [Gizmodo] 

Do you find taping over your webcam too tacky? Even if the Zuck does it? Well now there’s an AI solution for all you sophisticated techies. A Google web engineer, Jason Mayes, has created a ‘disappearing-people’ tool that uses Javascript and Google’s open source library, Tensorflow. The neural network is trained to recognise people and determine the static background imagery of a video to develop a version without humans moving around in the frame. While it’s not perfect yet, you can download the test version on Mayes’ GithubThis software also captures the essence of GDPR’s right to be forgotten – ensuring that people are not unintentionally caught on camera. Could this be the beginning of a whole range of privacy-orientated software? 

Meet your chicken [Reuters] 

You are what you eat – so it’s good to know what goes on your plate. And, of course, there’s an app for that (or several). Supermarkets are racing to offer more sustainable options to their increasingly climate-conscious consumers, using blockchain to increase traceability, working with start-ups to eliminate plastics and save energy or inventing apps that prevent expiring food from going to waste. You may soon be able to trace back the origin, rearing and even slaughtering methods of the chicken you buy in your local Carrefour. Product passports, EU? We’re one step ahead. 

Do kids really need to learn coding? [Wall Street Journal] 

This could become the next battleground between generations. Should all students know coding when graduating from high school? Supporters are saying it would increase their creativity, their logical thinking and make them ready for the 21st century society. It could even abolish gender-based and economic inequality. Others think that the schools’ mission is to provide young people with humanistic values and a broader cultural knowledge rather than creating a job-training facility for Silicon Valley CEOs and serving solely the interests of powerful tech companies. The two sides might not eventually agree but coding should at least become an option for those who’d like to be coding-literate professionals. 

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In case you haven’t had enough… 

The internet of tea (The Verge) 

As the start-up boom deflates, tech is humbled (The New York Times) 

AI baby monitors attract anxious parents (The Washington Post) 

Automated system can rewrite outdated sentences in Wikipedia articles (MIT News)