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Facebook unveils “empathetic” new logo that’s designed to promote “clarity”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook has taken the need to rehabilitate its image quite literally and unveiled a new corporate logo.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company, which also owns other platforms such as Instagram and encrypted messaging site WhatsApp has released a new logo that it can use to differentiate itself from the social media site that shares the same name.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832331/body-facebook.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7728c133ea8f44fc92f9f8fd49f36b30" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company is planning to introduce clearer Facebook branding on the other two popular social media channels it owns and use the new block lettering logo to show the difference. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Facebook’s chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio announced the reasoning behind the change. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The new branding was designed for clarity, and uses custom typography and capitalisation to create visual distinction between the company and app,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“People should know which companies make the products they use … this brand change is a way to better communicate our ownership structure to the people and businesses who use our services to connect, share, build community and grow their audiences,” Mr Lucio said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a separate statement to </span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-04/facebook-adds-more-corporate-branding-to-instagram-whatsapp"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bloomberg</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, he said that it was due to “emphatic” millennials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“All the research that we’ve had from Generation Z and millennials was all very emphatic as to they need to know where their brands come from,” Mr Lucio said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We needed to be more transparent with our users in showcasing that everything is coming from the same company.”</span></p>

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Recycling plastic bottles is good but reusing them is better

<p>Last week <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/woolworths-to-be-first-in-australia-with-zerowaste-food-delivery-system/news-story/8fb2f4018a2b0d25a63c58ba8b12a19b#.mo33b">Woolworths announced</a> a new food delivery system, in collaboration with US company TerraCycle, that delivers grocery essentials in reusable packaging.</p> <p>The system, called Loop, lets shoppers buy products from common supermarket brands in reusable packaging.</p> <p>As Australia works out how to meet the national packaging target for 100% of Australian packaging to be <a href="http://www.joshfrydenberg.com.au/guest/mediaReleasesDetails.aspx?id=562">recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025</a>, programs like this offer an opportunity to overhaul how plastic packaging is produced, used and recycled.</p> <p><strong>Recycling alone is not the silver bullet</strong></p> <p>Plastic packaging, most of which is for <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/3f275bb3-218f-4a3d-ae1d-424ff4cc52cd/files/australian-plastics-recycling-survey-report-2017-18.pdf">food and beverages</a>, is the fastest growing category of plastic use.</p> <p>In Australia <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/3f275bb3-218f-4a3d-ae1d-424ff4cc52cd/files/australian-plastics-recycling-survey-report-2017-18.pdf">less than 10%</a> of this plastic packaging is recycled, compared with 70% for paper and cardboard packaging.</p> <p>Of the <a href="http://www.sita.com.au/media/publications/02342_Plastics_Identification_Code.pdf">seven categories of plastic</a>, recycling of water bottles (PET) and milk bottles (HDPA) is most effective, yet recycling rates remain relatively low, around 30%.</p> <p>Other hard plastics (PVC, PS) and soft or flexible plastics, such as clingfilm and plastic bags, present significant challenges for recyclers. In the case of soft plastics, although recycling options are available, the use of additives known as plasticisers – used to make the hard plastic soft and malleable – often make products <a href="https://www.packagingcovenant.org.au/documents/item/2179">recycled out of soft plastics</a> weak, non-durable, and unable to be recycled further.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/we-cant-recycle-our-way-to-zero-waste-78598">Some researchers</a> argue recycling actually represents a <a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/features/2936/disposable-drink-bottles-plastic-vs-glass-vs-aluminium">downgrading process</a>, as plastic packaging is not always recycled into new packaging, owing to contamination or diminished quality.</p> <p>Even where single-use plastic packaging can be effectively recycled, it often isn’t. The more single-use plastics that are produced, the higher the chance they will enter the ocean and other environments where their <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-02-27/plastic-and-plastic-waste-explained/8301316">plasticiser chemicals leach out</a>, harming wildlife populations and the humans who depend on them.</p> <p>Zero Waste Europe recently updated its <a href="https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/warr-strategy/the-waste-hierarchy">Waste Hierarchy</a> to emphasise avoiding packaging in the first instance, and to encourage reuse over recycling.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299986/original/file-20191103-88399-1hlgzdg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299986/original/file-20191103-88399-1hlgzdg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The zero waste hierarchy for a circular economy.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://zerowasteeurope.eu/2019/05/a-zero-waste-hierarchy-for-europe/" class="source">Zero Waste Europe</a></span></p> <p><strong>Getting reuse right</strong></p> <p>For a reusable product to be more environmentally sustainable than a single-use product, it must promote the use of less energy and resources in our daily routines.</p> <p>Although the uptake of products such as reusable cups and shopping bags have increased, these types of reusable items have attracted criticism. If used correctly, these products represent a positive change. However, <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-how-many-times-you-actually-need-to-reuse-your-shopping-bags-101097">some research suggests</a> these products can be less sustainable than the single-use items they are replacing if people treat them like disposable items and do not reuse them enough.</p> <p>For example, if you regularly buy new reusable bags at the supermarket, that potentially has a greater environmental impact than using “single-use” plastic bags.</p> <p>To really reduce plastic packaging, we need to find ways to alter the routines that involve plastic packaging, rather than directly substituting individual products (such as reusable bags for single-use ones).</p> <p><strong>Developing new reusable packaging systems</strong></p> <p>Redesigning ubiquitous plastic packaging means understanding why it is so useful. For food packaging, its functions might include:</p> <ol> <li> <p>allowing food to travel from producer to consumer while maintaining its freshness and form</p> </li> <li> <p>enabling the food to be kept on a shelf for an extended period of time without becoming inedible</p> </li> <li> <p>allowing the brand to display various nutritional information, branding and other product claims.</p> </li> </ol> <p>So how might these functions be met without disposable plastic packaging?</p> <p><a href="https://loopstore.com/how-it-works">TerraCycle Loop</a>, the business model that Woolworths has announced it will partner with, is currently also trialling services in the United States and France. They have partnered with postal services and large food and personal care brands including Unilever, Procter &amp; Gamble, Clorox, Nestlé, Mars, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo.</p> <p>Customers order products online, from ice-cream to juice and shampoo, with a small container deposit. These items are delivered to their house, and collected again with the next delivery. The containers are washed and taken back to the manufacturers for refill. The major participating brands have all redesigned their packaging to participate in the program.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299987/original/file-20191103-88403-1n63f5v.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/299987/original/file-20191103-88403-1n63f5v.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">TerraCycle Loop reusable packaging.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://loopstore.com/how-it-works" class="source">TerraCycle Loop</a></span></p> <p>This model works because it is not replacing products one-for-one, but creating a new product <em>system</em> to allow people to easily integrate reuse into their daily routines.</p> <p>We can examine the function of single use plastic packaging in takeaway food in a similar way. The purpose of takeaway food packaging is to let us enjoy a meal at home or on the move without having to cook it ourselves or sit in a restaurant. So how might these functions be achieved without disposable packaging?</p> <p>Australian company <a href="https://returnr.org/">RETURNR</a> has addressed this with a system in which cafes partner with food delivery services. Customers buy food in a RETURNR container, pay a deposit with the cost of their meal, and then return the container to any cafe in the network.</p> <p>The Kickstarter campaign <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zeroco/zero-co-win-the-war-on-waste-at-your-place">Zero Co</a>, is offering a similar model for a resuse service that covers kitchen, laundry and bathroom products.</p> <p>Making reuse <a href="https://www.uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/our-research/institute-sustainable-futures/news/developing-alternatives">easy and convenient</a> is crucial to the success of these systems.</p> <p>If Australia is to meet our national packaging targets, we need to prioritise the elimination of unnecessary packaging. Although recycling is likely to remain crucial to keeping plastic waste out of landfill in the near future, it should only be pursued when options higher up the waste hierarchy – such as reuse – have been ruled out.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126339/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-wakefield-rann-321286">Rachael Wakefield-Rann</a>, Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jenni-downes-12549">Jenni Downes</a>, Research Fellow, BehaviourWorks Australia (Monash Sustainable Development Institute), <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-florin-160370">Nick Florin</a>, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/recycling-plastic-bottles-is-good-but-reusing-them-is-better-126339">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Experts claim passengers should not worry about cracks found in Boeing 737s

<p>The <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-01/qantas-says-three-boeing-737-found-with-cracks/11661320">cracks found in three Qantas-owned Boeing 737s last week</a> led to calls that it should ground its 33 aircraft with a similar service record.</p> <p>Although the three planes have been grounded and will require complex repairs, the cracks – in a component called the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/pickle-fork-graphic/11660462">pickle fork</a>, which helps strengthen the join between the aircraft’s body and wing – do not threaten the plane’s airworthiness.</p> <p>This makes it more of a threat to consumers’ confidence in Boeing and the airlines that fly its planes, rather than a direct risk to passenger safety, especially after the tragedies over a <a href="https://theconversation.com/flights-suspended-and-vital-questions-remain-after-second-boeing-737-max-8-crash-within-five-months-113272">poorly thought out automatic control system</a> installed on the Boeing 737 MAX 8.</p> <p>More broadly, however, the pickle fork defects highlight a problem that aviation engineers have been contending with for decades: component fatigue.</p> <p>The world’s first commercial jet airliner, the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170404-the-british-airliner-that-changed-the-world">de Havilland Comet</a>, launched in 1952 but suffered two near-identical crashes in 1953 in which the planes broke up shortly after takeoff, killing all on board. A <a href="https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20140414-crashes-that-changed-plane-design">third fatal breakup in 1954</a> triggered an investigation and threatened to end the era of mass air travel almost as soon as it had begun.</p> <p>The crashes were all ultimately blamed on “fatigue failure”, caused by a concentration of stress in one of the passenger windows which resulted in a rapidly growing crack.</p> <p>Almost any metal structure can potentially suffer fatigue failure, but the problem is that it is very hard to predict before it happens.</p> <p>It begins at an “initiation area”, often at a random point in the component, from which a crack gradually grows each time the part is loaded. In the case of aircraft, the initiation area may be random, but from there the crack generally grows at a predictable rate each flight cycle.</p> <p>One solution instituted after the Comet investigation was to subject all aircraft to regular inspections that can detect cracks early, and monitor their growth. When the damage becomes critical – that is, if a component shows an increased risk of failure before the next inspection – that part is repaired or replaced.</p> <p>The current damage to the Qantas aircraft is a long way short of critical, as highlighted by the fact that Qantas has pointed out the next routine inspection was not due for <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/incidents/qantas-southwest-airlines-checking-boeing-737-planes-for-structural-cracks/news-story/565826954fd9151b51896ae905642421">at least seven months</a> – or about 1,000 flights. This is normal practice under the official <a href="https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/airworthiness_directives/search/?q=737">airworthiness directives</a> for Boeing 737s.</p> <p>Obviously, given the public relations considerations also involved, Qantas has nevertheless taken the three planes out of service immediately.</p> <p><strong>Why aren’t the pickle forks a threat?</strong></p> <p>It might sound strange to say the cracks in the pickle forks aren’t a threat to the aircraft’s safety. Does that mean aircraft can just fly around with cracks in them?</p> <p>Well, yes. Virtually all aircraft have cracks, and a monitored crack is much safer than a part that fails without warning. Bear in mind that all aircraft safety is reinforced by multiple layers of protection, and in the case of the pickle fork there are at least two such layers.</p> <p>First, the pickle fork is secured with multiple bolts, so if one bolt should fail as a result of cracking, depending on the location there will be another five or six bolts still holding it in place.</p> <p>Second, should the unthinkable occur and a pickle fork totally fail, there is still another “structural load path” that would maintain the strength of connection between the wing and body, so this would not affect the operation of the aircraft.</p> <p>On this basis, it seems strange that the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/cracks-discovered-on-second-qantas-boeing-737/11657146">called for the entire fleet to be grounded</a>, especially given that this union has no official role in the grounding of aircraft. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is the only agency in Australia with a legal obligation to make such a ruling, and has <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/10/31/business/qantas-australia-union-737-scli-intl/index.html">assured passengers it is unnecessary</a>.</p> <p>Aircraft maintenance procedures are drawn up by the manufacturer’s design engineering team. Before the aircraft obtains a permit to fly, the designer has to demonstrate to a regulator – in Boeing’s case, the <a href="https://www.faa.gov/">US Federal Aviation Administration</a> – that is has fully accounted for all airworthiness issues. This has to be proved by both engineering calculations and physical models. The result is an extensive maintenance manual for each aircraft model.</p> <p>Before each flight the aircraft must be demonstrated to conform to the maintenance manual, which is the role of the maintenance engineers who work directly for airlines. While the maintenance engineers’ union is right to bring any safety concerns or maintenance issues to the attention of the airline and possibly the regulator, only the regulator is in a position to rule on whether a fleet, or part of it, should be grounded.</p> <p>Boeing and Qantas, and the many other airlines that fly 737s, are right to be concerned by this latest development because of the potential for it to harm them commercially. But while the cracked pickle forks will be giving executives headaches, passengers should rest easy in their seats.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126268/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/john-page-378413">John Page</a>, Senior Lecturer with the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414">UNSW</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/should-you-worry-about-boeing-737s-only-if-you-run-an-airline-126268">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What you need to know about YouTube's algorithm system

<p>People watch <a href="https://youtube.googleblog.com/2017/02/you-know-whats-cool-billion-hours.html">more than a billion hours</a> of video on YouTube every day. Over the past few years, the video sharing platform has <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-youtube-pulled-these-men-down-a-vortex-of-far-right-hate">come under fire</a> for its role in <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/10/opinion/sunday/youtube-politics-radical.html">spreading</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/18/report-youtubes-alternative-influence-network-breeds-rightwing-radicalisation">amplifying</a> extreme views.</p> <p>YouTube’s video recommendation system, in particular, has been criticised for radicalising young people and steering viewers down <a href="https://policyreview.info/articles/news/implications-venturing-down-rabbit-hole/1406">rabbit holes</a> of disturbing content.</p> <p>The company <a href="https://youtube.googleblog.com/2019/01/continuing-our-work-to-improve.html">claims</a> it is trying to avoid amplifying problematic content. But <a href="https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3298689.3346997">research</a> from YouTube’s parent company, Google, indicates this is far from straightforward, given the commercial pressure to keep users engaged via ever more stimulating content.</p> <p>But how do YouTube’s recommendation algorithms actually work? And how much are they really to blame for the problems of radicalisation?</p> <p><strong>The fetishisation of algorithms</strong></p> <p>Almost everything we see online is heavily curated. Algorithms decide what to show us in Google’s search results, Apple News, Twitter trends, Netflix recommendations, Facebook’s newsfeed, and even pre-sorted or spam-filtered emails. And that’s before you get to advertising.</p> <p>More often than not, these systems decide what to show us based on their idea of what we are like. They also use information such as what our friends are doing and what content is newest, as well as built-in randomness. All this makes it hard to reverse-engineer algorithmic outcomes to see how they came about.</p> <p>Algorithms take all the relevant data they have and process it to achieve a goal - often one that involves influencing users’ behaviour, such as selling us products or keeping us engaged with an app or website.</p> <p>At YouTube, the “up next” feature is the one that receives most attention, but other algorithms are just as important, including search result rankings, <a href="https://youtube.googleblog.com/2008/02/new-experimental-personalized-homepage.html">homepage video recommendations</a>, and trending video lists.</p> <p><strong>How YouTube recommends content</strong></p> <p>The main goal of the YouTube recommendation system is to keep us watching. And the system works: it is responsible for more than <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/youtube-ces-2018-neal-mohan/">70% of the time users spend</a> watching videos.</p> <p>When a user watches a video on YouTube, the “up next” sidebar shows videos that are related but usually <a href="https://www.pewinternet.org/2018/11/07/many-turn-to-youtube-for-childrens-content-news-how-to-lessons/">longer and more popular</a>. These videos are ranked according to the user’s history and context, and newer videos are <a href="https://storage.googleapis.com/pub-tools-public-publication-data/pdf/45530.pdf">generally preferenced</a>.</p> <p>This is where we run into trouble. If more watching time is the central objective, the recommendation algorithm will tend to favour videos that are new, engaging and provocative.</p> <p>Yet algorithms are just pieces of the vast and complex sociotechnical system that is YouTube, and there is so far little empirical evidence on their <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.08313">role</a> in processes of radicalisation.</p> <p>In fact, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1354856517736982">recent research</a> suggests that instead of thinking about algorithms alone, we should look at how they interact with community behaviour to determine what users see.</p> <p><strong>The importance of communities on YouTube</strong></p> <p>YouTube is a quasi-public space containing all kinds of videos: from musical clips, TV shows and films, to vernacular genres such as “how to” tutorials, parodies, and compilations. User communities that create their own videos and use the site as a social network have played an <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=0NsWtPHNl88C&amp;source=gbs_book_similarbooks">important role</a> on YouTube since its beginning.</p> <p>Today, these communities exist alongside <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1329878X17709098">commercial creators</a> who use the platform to build personal brands. Some of these are far-right figures who have found in YouTube a home to <a href="https://datasociety.net/output/alternative-influence/">push their agendas</a>.</p> <p>It is unlikely that algorithms alone are to blame for the radicalisation of a previously “<a href="https://www.wired.com/story/not-youtubes-algorithm-radicalizes-people/">moderate audience</a>” on YouTube. Instead, <a href="https://osf.io/73jys/">research</a> suggests these radicalised audiences existed all along.</p> <p>Content creators are not passive participants in the algorithmic systems. They <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1461444819854731">understand how the algorithms work</a> and are constantly improving their <a href="https://datasociety.net/output/data-voids/">tactics</a> to get their videos recommended.</p> <p>Right-wing content creators also know YouTube’s policies well. Their videos are often “borderline” content: they can be interpreted in different ways by different viewers.</p> <p>YouTube’s community guidelines restrict blatantly harmful content such as hate speech and violence. But it’s much harder to police content in the grey areas between jokes and bullying, religious doctrine and hate speech, or sarcasm and a call to arms.</p> <p><strong>Moving forward: a cultural shift</strong></p> <p>There is no magical technical solution to political radicalisation. YouTube is working to minimise the spread of borderline problematic content (for example, conspiracy theories) by <a href="https://youtube.googleblog.com/2019/01/continuing-our-work-to-improve.html">reducing their recommendations</a> of videos that can potentially misinform users.</p> <p>However, YouTube is a company and it’s out to make a profit. It will always prioritise its commercial interests. We should be wary of relying on technological fixes by private companies to solve society’s problems. Plus, quick responses to “fix” these issues might also introduce harms to politically edgy (activists) and minority (such as sexuality-related or LGBTQ) communities.</p> <p>When we try to understand YouTube, we should take into account the different factors involved in algorithmic outcomes. This includes systematic, long-term analysis of what algorithms do, but also how they combine with <a href="https://policyreview.info/articles/news/implications-venturing-down-rabbit-hole/1406">YouTube’s prominent subcultures</a>, their <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.08313">role</a> in political polarisation, and their <a href="https://datasociety.net/pubs/oh/DataAndSociety_MediaManipulationAndDisinformationOnline.pdf">tactics</a> for managing visibility on the platform.</p> <p>Before YouTube can implement adequate measures to minimise the spread of <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0894439314555329">harmful content</a>, it must first understand what cultural norms are thriving on their site – and being amplified by their algorithms.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The authors would like to acknowledge that the ideas presented in this article are the result of ongoing collaborative research on YouTube with researchers Jean Burgess, Nicolas Suzor, Bernhard Rieder, and Oscar Coromina.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125494/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ariadna-matamoros-fernandez-577257">Ariadna Matamoros-Fernández</a>, Lecturer in Digital Media at the School of Communication, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joanne-gray-873764">Joanne Gray</a>, Lecturer in Creative Industries, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dont-just-blame-youtubes-algorithms-for-radicalisation-humans-also-play-a-part-125494">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Photo of Coles store shows the massive problem with older Australians and self-serve checkouts

<p>The growing adaption of self-serve checkouts has sparked a fiery debate online after complaints surfaced accusing supermarkets of neglecting senior Australian’s needs. </p> <p>An image shared to Facebook displayed queues of older Aussies lining up at a checkout in a Coles store.</p> <p>The snap was taken inside the Southlands Boulevarde shopping mall in Willettonm, a suburb in Perth Australia. </p> <p>The comment section heated up after many people aired their disappointment, saying it looked a lot like many supermarkets these days.</p> <p>“Stop relying on the self-serve checkouts, hire some staff,” the irritated shopper who shared the photo wrote.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832153/fb-img.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d4fb5ea8966c4fa8a41f00b6360ac862" /></p> <p>Several other frustrated people agreed with her statement, with one person commenting that supermarkets were limiting staff so they could “force the use of self-checkouts" on customers to “recoup the money spent on them”. </p> <p>Another said they always refused to “use self-checkout regardless of the shop”.</p> <p>Consumer behavioural analyst and managing director at Marketing Focus Barry Urquhart told <a rel="noopener" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/" target="_blank"><em>Yahoo News Australia</em></a> there is a growing trend towards electronic efficiency - meaning the needs of older shoppers are being pushed to the wayside. </p> <p>Mr Urquhart says the traditional shopping experience is one older customer enjoy about grocery shopping. </p> <p>“A lot of people are very lonely, they live in soulless homes, their social interaction is between those who are serving them,” he said.</p> <p>“And when you remove that, the shopping experience is compromised depreciatively because it’s just a process and there’s no human interaction.</p> <p>“It’s interesting because the older people are, the more loyal of the supermarket customers, and they are, in a large part, loyal because of the personal interaction that they have with the ‘checkout chick’.”</p>

Technology

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Why Telstra's high-tech phones are meeting resistance from councils

<p>Australia is witnessing the first major redesign of the payphone booth since 1983. But Telstra’s new vision is meeting resistance from some councils, and the matter is in the courts.</p> <p>In an effort to make payphones relevant to the needs of modern Australians, Telstra’s revamped payphones feature mobile charging, Wi-Fi access through <a href="https://www.telstra.com.au/telstra-air">Telstra Air</a> (free or via a Telstra broadband plan, depending on the area), and large digital advertising displays.</p> <p>Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/20/telstra-and-city-councils-head-to-court-over-new-3m-tall-phone-booths">described</a> the new booths as “a craven attempt” to profit from “already crowded CBD footpaths”, and a “Trojan horse for advertising”.<a href="http://theconversation.com/will-australias-digital-divide-fast-for-the-city-slow-in-the-country-ever-be-bridged-60635"></a></p> <p>Under existing Universal Service Obligation (USO) agreements, Telstra has to provide payphones as part of its standard telephone service. The USO is a consumer protection measure that ensures everyone has access to landline telephones and payphones, regardless of where they live or work. Telstra is the sole provider of USO services in Australia.</p> <p>The USO is funded through an industry levy administered by the <a href="https://acma.gov.au/Industry/Telco/Carriers-and-service-providers/Universal-service-obligation/payphones-universal-service-obligation-acma">Australian Communications and Media Authority</a>. This means registered carriers with revenues over A$25 million per year contribute to the levy, including Telstra.</p> <p><strong>The face of the new Aussie payphone</strong></p> <p>In a <a href="https://exchange.telstra.com.au/modernising-payphones/">blog post</a> last March, a Telstra employee said the new “<a href="https://www.telstra.com.au/consumer-advice/payphones/smart-payphone">smart payphones</a>” provided emergency alerts, multilingual services, and content services including public transport information, city maps, weather, tourist advice, and information on cultural attractions.</p> <p>The booths are 2.64m tall, 1.09m wide, and are fitted with 75-inch LCD screens on one side. In 2016, 40 payphones were approved by City of Melbourne planners and installed over the following year, marking the start of Telstra’s plans for a nationwide rollout.</p> <p>Telstra’s submission to the city claimed the booths were “low-impact” infrastructure and therefore planning approval was not required, in accordance with the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/C2004A05145">Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth)</a>.</p> <p>In 2017, Telstra and outdoor advertising company JC Decaux <a href="https://www.jcdecaux.com.au/press-releases/jcdecaux-renews-long-term-partnership-telstra-reinvent-payphone-australia">announced</a> a partnership to “bring the phone box into the 21st century”.</p> <p>It would initially have 1,860 payphones upgraded in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. These five cities represent 64% of the country’s population and 77% of advertising spend.</p> <p><strong>Taking matters to court</strong></p> <p>Earlier this year, Telstra’s application for 81 new booths was blocked by the City of Melbourne, and the city commenced proceedings in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have the booths redefined as not being low-impact.</p> <p>Given the council allowed 40 booths to be installed in 2017, it’s unclear why its position has since changed.</p> <p>In May, Telstra hit back by starting federal court proceedings against the council in an effort to overturn prior proceedings. In June, the Brisbane and Sydney city councils joined the City of Melbourne as co-respondents.</p> <p>Melbourne Councillor and Chair of Planning Nicholas Reece said the new payphones would create congestion on busy footpaths, describing them as “monstrous electric billboards masquerading as payphones”.</p> <p>He said the booths were “part of a revenue strategy for Telstra”.</p> <p>But Telstra <a href="https://exchange.telstra.com.au/modernising-payphones/">claims</a> the new payphones are only 15cm wider than previous ones. A company spokesperson said the extra size was necessary to accommodate fibre connections and other equipment needed to operate the booth’s services.</p> <p><strong>Who pays for, and profits from, payphones?</strong></p> <p>In 2017, a Productivity Commission inquiry into the USO <a href="https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/telecommunications/report">reported</a> an average annual subsidy of A$2,600-50,000 per payphone, funded through the industry levy.</p> <p>But the levy doesn’t cover the cost of installing and providing advertising on booths. Also, Telstra’s advertising-generated revenue doesn’t directly offset the cost of installing and operating the payphones.</p> <p>Telstra has advertised on its payphones for the past 30 years. But display screens for advertising on new booths are <a href="https://participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/advertising-payphones">60% larger</a> than previous ones.</p> <p>The City of Melbourne is concerned because <a href="https://www.sgsep.com.au/publications/insights/the-economics-of-walking-deserves-far-more-attention">commissioned research</a> by SGS Economics and Planning estimates a 10% reduction in pedestrian flow because of the new booths. This would happen as a result of people getting distracted by the payphone advertising, and would cost the city A$2.1 billion in lost productivity.</p> <p>That said, federal legislation doesn’t prevent Telstra from placing advertising on payphones. So the existing court case could hinge on Melbourne city council’s argument that by increasing the size of digital displays, Telstra’s new payphones are no longer low-impact.</p> <p>The outcome should be known early next year.</p> <p><strong>Do we still need payphones?</strong></p> <p>At a time when consumers and businesses use about <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/new-report-tracks-internet-activity-on-mobile-and-fixed-lines">24.3 million mobile handsets</a>, it’s reasonable to <a href="https://theconversation.com/will-australias-digital-divide-fast-for-the-city-slow-in-the-country-ever-be-bridged-60635">question whether</a> payphones are still required.</p> <p>The number of payphones in operation today is sharply down compared with the payphone’s heyday in the early 1990s, when more than 80,000 could be found across Australia.</p> <p>But there’s strong evidence they continue to supply a vital public service.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/298804/original/file-20191027-113991-16vo5j8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/298804/original/file-20191027-113991-16vo5j8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em> <span class="caption">Telstra’s payphones operate in many small regional communities such as Woomera, South Australia. It has a population of less than 200 people.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">georgiesharp/flickr</span></span></em></p> <p>Currently, Telstra provides more than 16,000 public payphones. Last year, these were used to make about 13 million phone calls, of which about 200,000 were emergency calls to 000.</p> <p>So regardless of the verdict on the Telstra case, the public payphone is and will continue to be an iconic and integral part of our telecommunications landscape.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125815/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-a-gregory-619"><em>Mark A Gregory</em></a><em>, Associate professor, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/telstras-new-high-tech-payphones-are-meeting-resistance-from-councils-but-why-125815">original article</a>.</em></p>

Technology

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Netflix promises to crack down on users who share passwords

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Netflix have promised to crack down on users that share their passwords with friends or family members.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This means that if you borrow someone’s login, you might have to start paying for your own account in full.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Netflix offers account-sharing features, but they’re designed to let people in a single-household use one login.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The streaming giant is worried that users are sharing their logins among different households.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Netflix product chief Greg Peters spoke at Netflix’s Q3 2019 earnings and said that the company wants to address the issue of password sharing without “alienating a certain portion of the user base”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We continue to monitor it so we’re looking at the situation,” he said, according to </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/tv/netflix-vows-crackdown-on-users-who-share-logins-with-pals-or-family-and-could-make-you-pay-extra/news-story/09630a28861854c2aa32201a4dae3e25"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’ll see those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Experts have said that users are already seeing signs of a crackdown.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They are policing this (already) by blocking the third concurrent screen if two screens are in use at the same time,” said Michael Pachter, a top analyst at Wedbush Securities, speaking to </span><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/10180393/netflix-account-sharing-price-family-pay-extra/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That doesn’t help if the users are in different time zones, as many households with kids in college are.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“However, it definitely cracks down on widespread password sharing.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He added: “They also have a way to track device usage and can require two-factor authentication, although they’ve haven’t rolled that out yet.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The news follows an announcement by tech firm Synamedia about a new AI system that cracks down on account sharing by using machine learning technology to track shared passwords on streaming services.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Casual credentials sharing is becoming too expensive to ignore,” said product chief Jean Marc Racine, speaking at the CES event in Las Vegas this year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our new solution gives operators the ability to take action.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Many casual users will be happy to pay an additional fee for a premium, shared service.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s a great way to keep honest people honest while benefiting from an incremental revenue stream.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The technology, once it has located shared passwords across streaming services, could be used to force users to upgrade to a premium service or even shut down their account.</span></p>

Technology

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Aussies have more than $8 billion worth of phones in their homes unused

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to new research, mobile phone industry product steward MobileMuster has estimated that there are 25 million mobile phones going unused and taking up space.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/australians-have-more-than-8-billion-worth-of-mobile-phones-gathering-dust/news-story/013dedc0b0bdb3046fb699efcaeda9e0"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, that's enough phones for each person in the country.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The research found that one in three Aussies also have trouble parting with their old phone, even though almost three-quarters will never use it again.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can be handy to have a spare, but figures from online marketplace eBay has suggested that those who aren’t selling their old mobile phones are missing out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">More than 70,000 phones have been sold on the site this year, which equates to one every 68 seconds.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With almost 90 per cent of all Australians owning a phone, many of us are holding onto the devices for longer due to price hikes and decreases in innovation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In order to combat the amount of waste that can be left by mobile phones, MobileMuster is offering a range of collection points around the nation.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can also hand in your old phone for recycling at the Salvation Army stores in your local area.</span></p>

Technology

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The Aussie suburbs where your car is more likely to be stolen from

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With a car being stolen every 12 minutes in Australia, it’s important to know where vehicle hot spots for theft are so you can remain vigilant.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and CarSafe has been analysed by Finder.com.au to show the states and suburbs where your car is more likely to be stolen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The research shows that more than 55,000 vehicles were stolen in Australia over the last financial year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This means that one in every 400 cars is stolen, according to Finder’s insurance specialist Taylor Blackburn.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For those living in high risk areas, there are a few things you can do to stay safe. Blackburn said to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/motoring-news/the-australian-suburbs-where-your-car-is-more-likely-to-be-stolen/news-story/788fe26a3b438128c8871481fd220f51"><em>news.com.au</em></a>:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Parking your car in a driveway if possible, making sure it is locked, installing an alarm, and hiding your valuables out of sight can help deter thieves.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite Victoria taking the lead in volume with almost 13,000 cars going missing, it appears that Brisbane has recorded more thefts than any area in the country.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The research also showed what car model is likely to be targeted by criminals. The Holden Commodore was at the top of the list, due to sheer volume of numbers. The Toyota Hilux was next on the list, following the Nissan Pulsar.</span></p> <p>Top 10 car theft hot spots</p> <ol> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Brisbane, QLD - 2,195</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Gold Coast, QLD - 1,562</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Logan, QLD - 1,176</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Hume, VIC - 942</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Moreton Bay, QLD - 933</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Casey, VIC - 784</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Townsville, QLD - 702</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Greater Dandenong, VIC - 633</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Blacktown, NSW - 614</span></li> <li><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Whittlesea, VIC - 578</span></li> </ol> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Source: CarSafe</span></em></p>

Technology

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Russian man sues Apple for “turning him gay”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Russian man has filed a lawsuit against tech giant Apple for moral harm claiming that an iPhone app has made him gay, according to a copy of the complaint seen by </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/russian-man-sues-apple-for-turning-him-gay/news-story/4761700ec65dde1f603acdb8781c2cda"><span style="font-weight: 400;">AFP</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The man has filed a suit in a Moscow court, asking for one million rubles (AUD$ 22,800) after an incident this summer delivered him a cryptocurrency called “GayCoin” instead of the Bitcoin he had ordered.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His lawyer Sapizhat Gusnieva insisted the case was “serious,” telling AFP that her client was “scared, he suffered”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The GayCoin cryptocurrency arrived with a note saying, “Don’t judge until you try,” according to the complaint.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I thought, in truth, how can I judge something without trying? I decided to try same-sex relationships,” the complainant wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Now I have a boyfriend and I do not know how to explain this to my parents … my life has been changed for the worse and will never become normal again,” he added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Apple pushed me towards homosexuality through manipulation. The changes have caused me moral and mental harm.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His lawyer says that Apple “has a responsibility for their programs”, despite the exchange taking place on a third-party app.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Homophobia is rampant in Russia, where reports of rights violations and attacks on LGBT people are common.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moscow has also introduced a law in 2013 against “gay propaganda”, which bans the “promotions of non-traditional lifestyles to minors”, but effectively outlaws LGBT activism.</span></p>

Technology

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Protect your online digital privacy by learning about “fingerprinting”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ad tech industry is always trying to find ways to monitor your digital activities as the more they know, the more money ends up in their pockets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This has led to the rise of “fingerprinting”, which has security researchers worried.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Although it sounds harmless, “fingerprinting” involves looking at the many characteristics of your mobile device or computer, such as the screen resolution or operating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to </span><em><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/03/technology/personaltech/fingerprinting-track-devices-what-to-do.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York Times</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, as soon as they have enough details, they can use this information to pinpoint and follow your online habits, such as how you browse the web and use applications.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once enough device characteristics are known, the theory goes that the data can be assembled into a profile that helps identify you the way a fingerprint would.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Get enough of those attributes together and it creates essentially a bar code,” said Peter Dolanjski, a product lead for Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, who is studying fingerprinting. “That bar code is absolutely uniquely identifiable.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bad news? The technique happens invisibly in the background in apps and websites, which makes it harder to combat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As it’s a new way of discovering your web habits, the ways to protect yourself are limited as proper solutions are still in development.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Apple users have protections in Safari for computers and mobile devices, which makes your device look the same to a website by sharing the bare minimum of information that the site needs to load properly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For Android and Windows users, the safety recommendation is to use the Firefox web browser, as Mozilla introduced fingerprint blocking in its browser this year. However, the feature can prevent some content from loading on certain websites.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfortunately, if you’re a Google Chrome user, Google hasn't announced any defence system as of yet, but it has plans to release protections in the future. </span></p>

Technology

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How Australia can catch up digitally

<p>Australia’s ability to compete with other nations in a technology-enabled world is declining, according to a<span> </span><a href="https://www.ceda.com.au/News-and-analysis/Media-releases/Australia-digital-competitiveness-slips">report</a><span> </span>recently released by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).</p> <p>In 2019 Australia dropped to 14th on the global league table of digital competitiveness, down from 13th last year and ninth in 2015.</p> <p>The results, from the<span> </span><a href="https://www.imd.org/wcc/world-competitiveness-center-rankings/world-digital-competitiveness-rankings-2019/">World Digital Competitiveness rankings</a><span> </span>compiled by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development, show that Australia is becoming complacent in areas such as science education, information and communication infrastructure, and digital literacy.</p> <p><strong>What is digital competitiveness?</strong></p> <p>Digital competitiveness is a standardised measure of a country’s ability to develop cutting-edge digital technologies as well as its willingness to invest in research and development (R&amp;D) and promote digital literacy training to create new knowledge, all of which are key drivers for economic development.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CPbT8umgaTY"></iframe></div> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"> <p>Proactive countries put money and effort into this process, regarding it as nation-building that hedges against future uncertainty. These countries score highly in the rankings. Countries further down the list tend to be reactive, sitting back and letting others go first.</p> <p><strong>In what areas are we behind?</strong></p> <p>The overall digital competitiveness score has three components: knowledge, technology, and future readiness.</p> <p>Australia’s<span> </span><a href="https://www.ceda.com.au/CEDA/media/ResearchCatalogueDocuments/PDFs/2019_AustraliaDigitalCompRanking.pdf">scores</a><span> </span>across these categories show we need to try much harder in future readiness. Our scores are also falling in the sub-categories of adaptive attitudes, business agility, and IT integration.</p> <p>In a field of 63 countries, Australia comes 44th on current digital and technological skills and employers’ willingness to train their staff in these areas.</p> <h2>Which countries are doing it right?</h2> <p>The top ten countries in 2019 are the United States, Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Finland, Hong Kong, Norway, and South Korea.</p> <p>Looking at the strategic approach of the top five, all emphasise knowledge generation, but beyond that there are different approaches to digital competitiveness. The US and Sweden put equal emphasis on knowledge generation, creating a conducive environment for technology development, and fostering a willingness to innovate. Singapore, Denmark and Switzerland each place heavier emphasis on one or two of the factors.</p> <p><strong>More STEM graduates</strong></p> <p>At 53rd place, Australia ranks abysmally in the proportion of our university graduates in science and mathematics - the people who do research and development now and will continue to do it in the future. Our universities are among the best in the world, so that is not the problem. If jobs for these graduates existed, universities would be meeting the demand.</p> <p>Australia’s information and communication technologies, including internet infrastructure, also score very poorly at 54th. This will not surprise the many Australian businesses and individuals who put up with slow, patchy internet connections. With more computing services and data moving into the cloud, fast internet is essential.</p> <p>The news is not all bad though. Australia rates highly as a desirable destination for international students. It also scores well on digital access to government services, and ease of starting a business.</p> <p><strong>Why is Australia slipping?</strong></p> <p>Australia has grown complacent in certain areas, and we have been unwilling to invest sufficiently in building our digital capability in the areas mentioned. “Sufficient” is the key word. The fact that we are falling behind other countries means we cannot say we are investing enough.</p> <p>The CEDA report indicates that one key reason for the investment shortfall is the disparity between the public’s and employers’ perspectives on how much it is needed. Industry sees a greater need than the general public does, but government policy tends to align with public sentiment for electoral reasons.</p> <p>Funding is limited and there are many voices competing for a share of government spending. It is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.</p> <p><strong>Building digital capability</strong></p> <p>Nation-building projects at scale need a coordinated approach across public and private sectors. Building the physical infrastructure to meet future needs is no different in principle to building the nation’s digital capabilities, which includes creating the communication technology, the means to develop new knowledge and ways of applying it to good effect. This is no less important than roads, power stations and hospitals for the nation’s future.</p> <p><strong>A national conversation</strong></p> <p>Australia needs to have a long conversation in national, state and local forums about the importance of investing in our digital future. We need to talk about all the ways R&amp;D can benefit the Australian community, and why businesses need to embrace cutting-edge technology.</p> <p>If we don’t get consensus on staying competitive we will fall further and further behind as more proactive countries accelerate their efforts. In time the economy will suffer, unemployment will rise and quality of life decline. It is no legacy to leave our children.</p> <p>We are indeed a lucky country with our resources, but that will take us only so far in the 21st century. For the sake of future generations we have to make a new kind of luck and level up our digital game.</p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-digital-competitiveness-is-slipping-heres-how-we-can-catch-up-124430">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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“Nerd” or “wrongdoer”: How artificial intelligence will label you in the future

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tabong Kima logged onto Twitter one morning and saw a hashtag that said #ImageNetRoulette.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The site allows users to upload photos and artificial intelligence would analyse each face and describe what it saw.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One photo pegged a man as an “orphan” where another photo, where the person was wearing glasses, was labelled a “grind, nerd, wonk and dweeb”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kima, an African American, didn’t like what he saw when he uploaded his photo.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The site tagged him as a “wrongdoer” and an “offender”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I might have a bad sense of humour,” he </span><a href="https://twitter.com/TabKim2/status/1174330442385907712?s=19">tweeted</a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, “but I don’t think this is particularly funny”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">ImageNet Roulette is a digital art project that’s intended to shine a light on the unsound and offensive behaviour that can creep into artificial intelligence technologies.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Artificial intelligence technology is rapidly infiltrating its way into our everyday lives, including the facial-recognition services used by internet companies and police departments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">ImageNet Roulette, designed by American artist Trevor Paglen and Microsoft researcher Kate Crawford, aims to show the depth of this problem.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We want to show how layers of bias and racism and misogyny move from one system to the next,” Paglen said in a phone interview from Paris.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The point is to let people see the work that is being done behind the scenes, to see how we are being processed and categorised all the time.”</span></p>

Technology

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New research shows baby boomers are less threatened by technology in the workplace

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New research commissioned by technology leader </span><a href="http://links.erelease.com.au/wf/click?upn=5eYQ-2B9hvLjY4F2EakWBi1ZLO7jaULuWnZBmbjF1-2FN2Awx-2F-2FA9sj0-2BQL-2BinGrP-2BrI_hfIqhjxrH5PXl2rHT1sLDTWyF1R6hGp8veDS2OqJRfJ2gqdnaHEljBkVvra9aGlx4VjSVUbKFpLRdZf3fB2LscCpfNHBZj472Ly9XaNbOKGSrO9w0nJWn8lTtojc5Iz41jlOpJCekIRYEVTulwB977Q2DlfgspDP1rDMixltb-2FDHmXx8SrNCmjiIToeB0EoXDNalY9E7KRn64YmdzVzUef-2B6t6bZP3-2FzMJbnfRI54eK0ZKR120HaEiYqQz5nWbnR"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Genesys</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has shown that older generations are significantly more positive towards artificial technology in Australia and New Zealand.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new research also suggested that older generations are more comfortable with the implementation of modern workforce tools as opposed to younger respondents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">70 per cent of respondents aged 18-38 years believe there should be a minimum requirement of human employees over AI/bots compared to 59 per cent of respondents aged 55-73 years. The younger respondents appear to be more cautious of the implementation of this technology compared to more senior respondents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All age demographics have reported seeing the benefit of advanced technology in the workplace, with an average of 87 per cent stating that it has a positive impact.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, 23 per cent of respondents aged 18 – 38 reported feeling threatened by new technology in the workplace. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gwilym Funnell, Vice President of Sales and Managing Director for Genesys in Australia and New Zealand said, “Older generations are valuable members of our workplace, and these results dispel the myth that they are averse to technology. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The evolution of business is calling for greater adaptability; this is when experience can be leveraged for greater success.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The survey also uncovered another key difference between the generations, which was the perception of the impact of technology on social interactions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">44% of respondents aged 55-73 years report technology does not inhibit social interactions at all, while those aged 18-38 years report it does – 7% more than their older peers.</span></p>

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New designs have been revealed for an incredible hotel in space

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Californian company known as </span><a href="https://gatewayspaceport.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Gateway Foundation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has released plans for the </span><a href="https://gatewayspaceport.com/von-braun-station/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Von Braun Station</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which is a cruise ship-style hotel that floats among the stars.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The aim is to get the hotel off the ground by 2025 and fully operational for travel in 2027.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tim Alatorre, senior design architect at the Gateway Foundation, says that the rotation wheels would create a simulated gravity, which would likely be the first commercial space construction project in history.</span></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vTNP01Sg-Ss"></iframe></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"The station rotates, pushing the contents of the station out to the perimeter of the station, much in the way that you can spin a bucket of water -- the water pushes out into the bucket and stays in place," he tells </span><a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/space-hotel-designs-von-braun-station-scn/index.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">CNN Travel</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, getting to space is an expensive journey. The Von Braun hotel is hoping to make the journey into space and a stay at the hotel the equivalent of “a trip on a cruise or a trip to Disneyland”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The station is aiming to sleep 352 people and has a maximum capacity of 450, with plenty of recreational activities on board.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We're going to have a number of different recreation activities and games that'll highlight the fact that you're able to do things that you can't do on Earth," says Alatorre. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Because of the weightlessness and the reduced gravity, you'll be able to jump higher, be able to lift things, be able to run in ways that you can't on Earth."</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2uwMJPDU1d/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2uwMJPDU1d/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Soon, you could vacation in space 🌌 The Gateway Foundation released plans for the Von Braun Station, a cruise-ship-style hotel floating among the stars. The aim is to get the hotel off the ground by 2025 and make it fully operational for travel by 2027. The hotel will initially cater to those with money to blow, but the foundation is hoping to eventually make the cost equivalent to a trip to Disneyland. (📸: Courtesy Gateway Foundation)</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/cnn/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> CNN</a> (@cnn) on Sep 22, 2019 at 3:37pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The goal of the Gateway Foundation is to create a “starship culture” where people eventually want to live and work in space.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"People will want to go and experience this just because it's a cool new thing and they've never done it before," he admits.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"But our goal -- the overall goal of the Gateway Foundation -- is to create a starship culture where people are going to space, and living in space, and working in space and they want to be in space. And we believe that there's a demand for that."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And if you’re more environmentally conscious, you can relax on a trip in space as everything will be recycled.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"On the station itself, it's going to be about the most environmentally friendly vacation you'll ever have. Because we're recycling everything," says Alatorre.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"There's no amount of water or trash or waste that is going to be discarded, everything will be recycled, reused, stored, converted to some other form.”</span></p>

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“World will be changed forever” as Amazon Music is launched in US

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Amazon have launched their better-than-CD quality audio streaming plan called </span><a href="https://music.amazon.com/home"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Amazon Music HD</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The streaming service starts at $12.99 a month and offers over 50 million tracks in either CD or 24-bit quality.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The way that this service differs from other streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play music is that those services only offer compressed files.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Amazon is one of a handful of companies that are able to offer high-quality FLAC streams.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Musician Neil Young, who launched the Pono player several years ago is excited that Amazon is embracing lossless audio.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses," Young said in a statement. "This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The service costs $USD 12.99 a month for Prime members and $USD 14.99 a month for regular Amazon customers, or an additional $5 a month for current subscribers. Current memberships start at $7.99 a month. It's not yet offered in Australia or New Zealand.</span></p>

Technology

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NBN tries to lure new customers with lower prices and faster speed

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The company whose in charge of building the National Broadband Network has decided to open the door to cheaper and faster internet plans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It comes after abandoning an earlier and unpopular proposal that wanted to charge users more to stream videos.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">NBN Co called it a “Netflix tax” on streaming video that was using up capacity on the network, but due to the backlash from customers has quickly distanced itself from this plan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The NBN has indicated shifting its focus to maintaining reliable performance during peak periods as well as making higher speed tiers more affordable.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The majority of respondents in the first round of consultation highlighted streaming video as an important application driving the need for higher download speeds and more capacity inclusions,” NBN Co chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Currently, NBN Co sells internet plans to retail service providers on a wholesale basis but providers have been complaining about the wholesale pricing is too high. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A bundle that was offered earlier in the year that offered up to 50-megabit-per-second downloads and up to 20 mbps uploads surged in popularity once the NBN lowered the price to $45 a month.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A number of respondents stated that a discount to the entry level wholesale bundle would help them to maintain an affordable retail broadband plan in a market with uncapped data inclusions,” Mr Whitcomb said.</span></p>

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Skype users warned after Microsoft could be “listening” to calls

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A new investigation done by tech website </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Motherboard</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has revealed that Microsoft workers could be “listening in” on your Skype conversations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It has been revealed that some employees occasionally have to review real video chat that has been processed by translation software in order to check the quality of translations, according to </span><em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/9680295/microsoft-caught-secretly-listening-to-skype-calls/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Microsoft spokesperson told Motherboard that Microsoft collects voice data to improve features on Skype.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They said: “We also put in place several procedures designed to prioritise users’ privacy before sharing this data with our vendors, including de-identifying data, requiring non-disclosure agreements with vendors and their employees, and requiring that vendors meet the high privacy standards set out in European law.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate from Comparitech.com, told </span><em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/security/microsoft-could-be-listening-to-some-skype-calls/news-story/d92ee2c5f713af3a7252be645004a365"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">: “Microsoft clearly states that recordings and transcriptions are analysed to verify accuracy and make corrections.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The fact that humans are performing that analysis might make users uneasy, but I don’t think there’s much risk to end users.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That is, unless a contractor steals recordings and gives them to a Vice reporter. Microsoft ought to take steps to ensure this can’t happen in the future.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I recommend users refrain from revealing any identifying information while using Skype Translation and Cortana. Unless you identify yourself in the recording, there’s almost no way for a human analyst to figure out who you are.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Skype is an online video chat and voice call service that also provides an instant messaging platform.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Javvad Malik, a security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, said: “This latest revelation goes to show more needs to be done to ensure consumer data is being protected when customers use such services.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In this instance, there needs to be a clear level of transparency and honesty about the entire call-recording process to give people a true understanding of what they are signing up for.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There is a fine line between invading someone’s privacy and collecting data for business purposes; a line that if crossed, can lead to serious breaches of data privacy.”</span></p>

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