It was a big week in EU tech as votes were finally cast in the European Parliament on the contentious Copyright Directive. We’re sure you’ve had enough of copyright for now – so we’re going to stick to big trends this week to keep you thinking ahead of the curve.
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Tech on the Old Continent: a new New World or the next Galapagos? [The Economist]
Since its independence from European powers in 1776, the US has undoubtedly been a crib of innovation. The role of Silicon Valley in the global rise of tech confirms that trend. But, as these young companies have grown into inarguably the most influential sector worldwide, the Atlantic winds may be changing. From GDPR granting privacy and individual sovereignty over personal data to recent strikes protecting innovation with big, free-market competition-shaped sticks, the EU is taking the lead on tech laws. But will this European Revolution see the birth of New Old Continent, or just set Europe apart as an extraordinary but isolated regulatory ecosystem?
Pumping the brakes on e-scooters [CNET]
To better integrate microtransit into its urban transport strategy, the LA Department of Transportation is now requiring all e-scooter companies to provide GPS location data to help city officials with planning. The route information would be provided to the city after a trip is completed, and the city isn’t asking for the personal information of the user. The goal is to dive into routes and use-patterns, as well as to review use patterns to tackle the sticky issue of e-scooter parking. While that information could drive innovative policies to tackle microtransit solutions, privacy advocates are worried that users could still be identified through anonymized data. Hopefully a balance can be struck between protecting privacy and adapting transport plans based on data analysis.
Can chatbots help solve the mental health crisis? [Fast Company]
Researchers analysed the claims of 1,435 mental health apps and found only 14% described using real-world experience to develop the app, and none referenced certification or accreditation processes. But are these processes even available? This is effectively an unregulated market. Critics argue that more psychological research into how effective the apps are is needed, while proponents say they can help those who don’t have access or can’t afford to see a human therapist. Both are fair arguments, but if you’re in need of support (and don’t have the suicide hotline numbers) and have one of these apps downloaded, you probably aren’t thinking about its accreditation process. Hopefully a robust conversation including mental health professionals can ensure apps are a useful tool moving forward.
Blurring the lines – or in China’s case – blurring the earrings [New York Times]
One of the latest trends of Chinese authorities is to blur the earrings men are wearing on the internet, TV and other media. Resulting in some hilarious blurry pictures and funny jokes, it does show China is steering the public’s exposure to limited violence, sex and any non-conforming looks (tattoos, piercings or dyed hair). The blurring has been happening gradually, but the evolution is very clear: TV stars from 5 years ago look very different than they do now in China. How will this impact the generation growing up confronted with very little ‘harsh’ content?
In case you haven’t had enough…
Google announced an AI Advisory Council, but the mysterious AI Ethics Board remains a secret [Forbes]
WeWork wants to build the ‘Future of Cities.’ What does that mean? [CityLab]
The world’s first genderless AI voice is here. Listen now [FastCompany]
FTC announces inquiry into the privacy practices of broadband providers [The Verge]
Cities, not Congress, are clipping Big Tech’s wings [Axios]
Apple’s new credit card means the tech giant is now battling the same banks that built Apple Pay [Recode]
McDonald’s bites on Big Data with $300 million acquisition [Wired]
Love Is Fleeting, But Netflix Passwords Are Forever [Wall Street Journal]
How Facebook could target ads in age of encryption [Financial Times]