It was a big week for EU tech as the long-awaited ethics guidelines for trustworthy artificial intelligence were released by the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI. The guidelines, and the Commission’s efforts to cultivate trust in human-centric AI, have many wondering if the EU can build off the apparent success of GDPR and take the helm as the leader in responsible tech.
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One person trying to push that vision is Finland’s former Prime Minister, Alexander Stubb. He was in Brussels on Wednesday to speak at an event on “the coming regulatory storm” for tech. While clearly stumping to become the Commissioner for AI, he pushed for the EU to work with the US on setting global rules for an ethics-based approach to AI. His three-pronged plan is to make AI trustworthy, competitive and global. He called for AI to be the next big European project, as the single market and the Euro were in the past. Stubb had members of our team swooning over the possibility of an articulate and tech-savvy Commissioner that could be a global leader in AI. Here’s hoping…
Thou shalt not kill – or how the EU hopes to make AI “good” [The Verge]
The EU is ready to regulate AI. Starting with the ethical guidelines, Brussels hopes to take the lead in AI by shaping its rules, despite lagging behind China and the US in its technical development. AI, 52 EU experts say, should: respect human autonomy and oversight; be reliable, secure from external influence; collect data securely and privately; make decisions transparently; be non-discriminatory and unbiased; enhance positive social change; and be accountable. Sceptics are already lining up.
Can immersive virtual experiences change attitudes towards climate change? [Wired]
People around the world don’t know enough about climate change and even fewer are working to tackle the issue. Climate change still seems too abstract for many, something that will either affect those in other parts of the world or those born generations from now. Do we need to find new digital tools to help people understand what’s at stake? The Weather Channel has released the second in its series of immersive climate change experiences, putting a meteorologist and the viewer at the center of examples of climate change around the world. The videos (see the first here) present the present, future, and past visions of climate in an effort to shake viewers out of their inaction. Will it be enough?
The girl who hunts black holes [CNET]
On Wednesday, scientists all over the world got a first direct-look at a black hole. This feat wouldn’t have been possible without the work of Katie Bouman, who led the creation of a new algorithm that would produce the images of the black hole. She came into the limelight thanks to social media after publishing a photo of her reaction to seeing the image of the black hole for the first time. At only 29, she became a symbol of a female scientist who finally got instant global recognition for her work.
Oh Snap(Chat), it’s spreading! [TechCrunch]
The worldwide submarine web [Wired]
How are international telecommunications conducted? In most cases through submarine cables. According to NEC executive Atsushi Kuwahara, “nowadays, 99 percent of international telecommunications is submarine.” As Internet traffic grows, the number of international cables increases, as does their capacity through technological improvements. To save money and to offer alternative routes for data when cables break or malfunction, big tech companies are increasingly deploying their own cables. Overall, more than 60 new cables are planned to enter service by 2021. That’s a lot of data flows…
Competition in the digital age – will the EU lead the way? [Cambre Associates]
Much of the Commission’s “Competition policy for the digital era” report was anticipated and thus unsurprising. Overall, it finds that EU competition policy is solid and does not needs to be overhauled – just tweaked to impose more responsibility and shift the burden of proof on the big tech players. Those expecting a guide to the unknowns of the digital age and its giants may be disappointed: it focuses on protecting competition and markets, not even by breaking up big tech or making data a “public utility “. The question is: will the EU shape the global digital market, and will it do so with competition policy? Only time will tell.
In case you haven’t had enough…
Coding is for everyone—as long as you speak English [Wired]
The new terminology for privacy [New York Times]
These tree-planting drones are firing seed missiles to restore the world’s forests [FastCompany]
China says Bitcoin is wasteful. Now it wants to ban mining [Wired]
Wouldn’t it be better if self-checkout just died? [Vox]
Wikileaks’ Bitcoin donations spike following Julian Assange’s arrest [TNW]
Lego’s newest set lets kids build robots—and confidence [Wired]
Instagram influencer reports deleted account to Police [Jezebel]