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Tech Team

Watch this Space [The Verge] 

We often look at pollution on Earth, but have you ever thought about looking at space? Created by Professor Moriba Jah, a new tool called “Conjunction Streaming Service Demo” uses graphs based on orbital data collected by the US Air Force to show the immense scale of Earth’s space congestion. The graphs displayed predictions based on that data on how close space debris will get to one another. Collisions with satellites are rare, but experts are increasingly worried and fear that this type of incident will become more frequent in the future. Could space become the next big trash dump? 

Insta trusts youths to protect themselves  [Reuters] 

Instagram is going to start asking new users to provide their birthdates as part of new policies to protect younger users from age-restricted product advertising. How will they verify this? They won’t. Let’s be real, teenagers never lie. While the company is training machine learning software to verify users’ age and gender, it is reluctant to use their current prediction ability to assess whether a user is lying because of concerns over transparency and reliability. As for reasons for the new policy – Instagram denies that this is to increase advertising revenue. Rather, it’s to prevent costly new national policies on child safety and data privacy regulations being drawn up because of scandals like vape company Juul hiring influencers on Instagram to flaunt their kid-friendly vape flavours. Call this Insta move lucrative governance.   

Persado for persuading [WSJ] 

How to convince people to go and get their flu shots? AI of course. An American insurance company has turned to Persado Inc, which uses cloud-based AI to make marketing more effective. Persado used natural language generation to make subtle changes to emails that are sent to customers to remind them to get their flu shot. The open rate of these emails went from 20% to 31% after Persado tweaked them. AI that can help raise the number of email opens and clicks seems like every marketers dream.  

In case you haven’t had enough… 

Estonia optimistic about digital future after e-government drive [FT]

You can now send your Facebook pics to Google in a couple of clicks [Wired]

Human insight remains essential to beat the bias of algorithms [FT]

TikTok prevented disabled users’ videos from showing up in feeds [The Verge]