jomc + google   152

reCAPTCHA: The amazing truth behind this Google project
The reason the words are blurry or warped isn’t to test your patience; these are taken from scanned texts, which are often mistranslated by auto-digitising programs — or optical character recognition (OCR) software if you wish to get technical. That’s where we step in.

Through the use of CAPTCHAs, humans around the world digitised 20 years worth of New York Times back issues in mere months. Within the first year, 440 million words had been deciphered: the equivalent of 17,600 books.
google  captcha  machine-learning 
4 weeks ago by jomc
The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won - The New York Times
acebook alone belonged to more than four dozen trade associations and industry coalitions, political shields that could advance Facebook’s interests in battles that were too toxic for direct engagement. It supported the Anti-Defamation League and the American Council of the Blind, the American Conservative Union and the N.A.A.C.P. It disbursed millions of dollars in grants to tech-advocacy groups — including those that sometimes criticized them. Like the web of personal data it mined for profit, Silicon Valley’s political network was simultaneously immense, powerful and inscrutable.
data  surveillance  google  california  politics 
9 weeks ago by jomc
Former Obama Officials Help Silicon Valley Pitch the Pentagon for Lucrative Defense Contracts
Work said he was “alarmed” to see the Silicon Valley company abandon the Project Maven initiative, adding that he hoped “it’s not a canary in the coal mine” that presages other technology firms distancing themselves from Defense Department contracts.
google  defense  technology  darpa  military 
july 2018 by jomc
Sapping Attention: Google Books and the open web.
part of what's going here may be that the same algorithm is used for books as in Google's image search. If you do an image search for these phrases, it pops up images from the Wikipedia article and the Amazon page (and, now, this very blog post). Google appears to treat books both as collections of text to be searched, *and* as entities that exist on the web described through the text of web pages.
google  search 
july 2018 by jomc
Google DeepMind and healthcare in an age of algorithms | SpringerLink
DeepMind Technologies Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Google conglomerate, Alphabet Inc. In 2016, DeepMind announced its first major health project: a collaboration with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust,
google  data  healthcare 
july 2018 by jomc
Why Tech Employees Are Rebelling Against Their Bosses | WIRED
“From the outside, it looks like there’s been an 180-degree change from last month to this month,” she says. In reality, she says, the 2016 election and internal disputes over diversity at Google have awakened employees to “the connections between the technology we’re building, issues in the workplace, and what impact that has had on our communities and on our world.”
google  ethics  tech-workers 
june 2018 by jomc
Google and HTTP
Many of the sites they will label as "not secure" don't ask the user for any information. Of course users won't understand that. Many will take the warning seriously and hit the Back button, having no idea why they're doing it. Of course Google knows this. It's the kind of nasty political tactic we expect from corrupt political leaders, not leading tech companies.
google  web  protocols  security 
june 2018 by jomc
How a Pentagon Contract Became an Identity Crisis for Google - The New York Times
The polarized debate about Google and the military may leave out some nuances. Better analysis of drone imagery could reduce civilian casualties by improving operators’ ability to find and recognize terrorists. The Defense Department will hardly abandon its advance into artificial intelligence if Google bows out. And military experts say China and other developed countries are already investing heavily in A.I. for defense.

But skilled technologists who chose Google for its embrace of benign and altruistic goals are appalled that their employer could eventually be associated with more efficient ways to kill.
google  ethics  ai  harm-reduction  defense 
may 2018 by jomc
Google’s AI sounds like a human on the phone — should we be worried? - The Verge
...One effect of AI phone calls might be to make us all a little bit ruder. If we can’t tell the difference between humans and machines on the phone, will we treat all phone conversations with suspicion? We might start cutting off real people during calls, telling them: “Just shut up and let me speak to a human.”
google  ai 
may 2018 by jomc
Sidewalk Labs: Google’s Guinea-Pig City in Toronto - The Atlantic
If the Sidewalk Toronto project were implemented as described in the vision document, the area would become some of the most heavily surveilled real estate on the planet
google  cities  gentrification  surveillance 
february 2018 by jomc
Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built - The New York Times
Jim Steyer, chief executive and founder of Common Sense, said the Truth About Tech campaign was modeled on antismoking drives and focused on children because of their vulnerability. That may sway tech chief executives to change, he said. Already, Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, told The Guardian last month that he would not let his nephew on social media, while the Facebook investor Sean Parker also recently said of the social network that “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
tech-regrets  labor  attention  google  facebook 
february 2018 by jomc
The Dirty War Over Diversity Inside Google | WIRED
Diversity advocates say that by trying to stay neutral, Google is being exploited by instigators, who have disguised a targeted harassment campaign as conservative political thought.
google  diversity  harassment  silicon-valley 
january 2018 by jomc
Facebook and Google Have Grown Too Big for Disruption
machine learning, self-driving cars, and augmented or virtual reality — all require enormous investments, not to mention the kind of vast troves of data only available to the biggest and most successful companies in Silicon Valley.
platforms  antitrust  google  facebook 
december 2017 by jomc
1000 different people, the same words – Textio Word Nerd
In large organizations, you don’t end up with thousands of people using the same words by accident
culture  google  facebook  silicon-valley  management  communication 
december 2017 by jomc
YouTube and Facebook Are Removing Evidence of Atrocities, Jeopardizing Cases Against War Criminals
Social media companies can, and do, remove content with little regard for its evidentiary value. First-hand accounts of extrajudicial killings, ethnic cleansing, and the targeting of civilians by armies can disappear with little warning, sometimes before investigators notice. When groups do realize potential evidence has been erased, recovering it can be a kafkaesque ordeal. Facing a variety of pressures — to safeguard user privacy, neuter extremist propaganda, curb harassment and, most recently, combat the spread of so-called fake news — social media companies have over and over again chosen to ignore, and, at times, disrupt the work of human rights groups scrambling to build cases against war criminals...“These platforms are now essentially privately owned evidence lockers,” said Christoph Koettl, a senior analyst at Amnesty International.
youtube  censorship  moderation  google  human-rights 
november 2017 by jomc
Google Docs 'terms of service violation' affecting users - The Washington Post
Update: On Tuesday afternoon, Google said that it does not technically read files, but instead uses an automated system of pattern matching to scan for indicators of abuse. Though it can identify clusters of data that might suggest a violation, the system does not pull meaning from the content, according to a company spokesperson.
october 2017 by jomc
Google Clips camera lays the groundwork for our AI-powered future
"I made a deliberate decision to name the hardware product with [a] software name," Pichai said. "The reason we named it Clips is that the more exciting part of it is ... the machine learning, the computer vision work we do underneath the scenes."
machine-learning  google 
october 2017 by jomc
The Self Driving Car Whiz Who Fell from Grace | WIRED
However, documents filed with California show that Levandowski is Way of the Future’s CEO and President, and that it aims “through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society.”
ai  singularity  google  self-driving  auto 
september 2017 by jomc
Chips Off the Old Block: Computers Are Taking Design Cues From Human Brains - The New York Times
Google reached this point out of necessity. For years, the company had operated the world’s largest computer network — an empire of data centers and cables that stretched from California to Finland to Singapore. But for one Google researcher, it was much too small.

In 2011, Jeff Dean, one of the company’s most celebrated engineers, led a research team that explored the idea of neural networks — essentially computer algorithms that can learn tasks on their own. They could be useful for a number of things, like recognizing the words spoken into smartphones or the faces in a photograph.

In a matter of months, Mr. Dean and his team built a service that could recognize spoken words far more accurately than Google’s existing service. But there was a catch: If the world’s more than one billion phones that operated on Google’s Android software used the new service just three minutes a day, Mr. Dean realized, Google would have to double its data center capacity in order to support it.
google  neural-networks 
september 2017 by jomc
Why One Silicon Valley City Said “No” to Google – Next City
City bureaucrats often characterize themselves as victims of large tech corporations that threaten to “overrun” their towns. But the reality is far more complex. The relationship between a giant, global corporation and a tiny municipality is a strange one, unbalanced and yet in many ways symbiotic. Tech companies are not colonizing cities against their will. Cities need tech money; and tech needs city support — especially as more companies buy more property all over Silicon Valley, planning for greater growth. The result is a redefining of local public-private partnership.
silicon-valley  urbanism  google  architecture  public-space  public-private 
september 2017 by jomc
A Serf on Google’s Farm – Talking Points Memo
If you’re a Star Trek fan you’ll understand the analogy. It’s a bit like being assimilated by the Borg. You get cool new powers. But having been assimilated, if your implants were ever removed, you’d certainly die. That basically captures our relationship to Google.
google  blogs  antitrust  journalism 
september 2017 by jomc
The Google Bus | The Point Magazine
When the first bus protests erupted in late 2013, my peers and I reacted with bewilderment, certain that we had been unjustly cast as scapegoats for the city’s problems. “Why are they angry at us?” a friend remarked one night over dinner.
google  stigma 
august 2017 by jomc
Segregated Valley: the ugly truth about Google and diversity in tech | Technology | The Guardian
Picture a technology hub where more than 17% of high-tech workers – from programmers to security analysts to software and web developers – are African American.

This isn’t some kind of utopian diversity thought experiment. It is the greater Washington DC metropolitan area, home to more than 200,000 high tech jobs, many of them with the federal government or government contractors.

Sexual harassment in Silicon Valley: have we reached a tipping point?
Read more
“You’d be hard pressed to have someone out here who thinks that blacks doing computer work is weird,” said William Spriggs, a professor of economics at Howard University. And lest you think that the computing in DC is less advanced than that in Silicon Valley, he adds: “We don’t do Mickey Mouse stuff out here. This is the number one place if you want to do cyber security.”
google  diversity 
august 2017 by jomc
Google fights spam with artificial intelligence -
For the most part, Google’s system is based on Gmail’s “report spam” and “not spam” buttons. By taking this user input and referencing other user actions, the Internet giant can learn what counts as spam and what doesn’t. For e-mails that were sent with maliciousness intent, the server can learn, parse, and redirect from the inbox...Neural networks apply limited layers of computation to draw conclusions and learn, which is different from the distributed, varied, and compounded approach that brains take, says Blumer, whose research is in machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and human-computer interaction.
spam  google  neural-networks 
july 2017 by jomc
Android killed Windows Phone, not Apple - The Verge
Google’s real target was always Microsoft, and it hit the bullseye.
mobile  iphone  android  google 
july 2017 by jomc
Google’s Go-to-Market Gap – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
The problem is that as much as Google may be ahead, the company is also on the clock: every interaction with Siri, every signal sent to Facebook, every command answered by Alexa, is one that is not only not captured by Google but also one that is captured by its competitors.
google  stacks 
june 2017 by jomc
Be Careful Celebrating Google’s New Ad Blocker. Here’s What’s Really Going On.
But who’s part of the Coalition for Better Ads? Google, for one, as well as Facebook. Those two companies accounted for 99 percent of all digital ad revenue growth in the United States last year, and 77 percent of gross ad spending. As Mark Patterson of Fordham University explained, the Coalition for Better Ads is “a cartel orchestrated by Google.”
google  facebook  advertising  stacks 
june 2017 by jomc
A Utopia of One’s Own – Weird Future – Medium
"I think people are naturally concerned about change. We’re changing quickly, but some of our institutions, like some laws, aren’t changing with that. The laws [about technology] can’t be right if it’s 50 years old — that’s before the Internet. Maybe more of us need to go into other areas to help them improve and understand technology."
larry-page  google  thebook 
june 2017 by jomc
Zoe Tillman on Twitter: "9th Circuit: No, the word "google" hasn't become so generic that Google should lose its trademark"
9th Circuit: No, the word "google" hasn't become so generic that Google should lose its trademark ªª …ºº
may 2017 by jomc
Google launches new effort to flag upsetting or offensive content in search
Google’s quality raters, over 10,000 contractors that Google uses worldwide to evaluate search results. These raters are given actual searches to conduct, drawn from real searches that Google sees. They then rate pages that appear in the top results as to how good those seem as answers.
fake-news  centaur  automation  google  filters  moderation 
march 2017 by jomc
How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist — Medium
The more choices technology gives us in nearly every domain of our lives (information, events, places to go, friends, dating, jobs) — the more we assume that our phone is always the most empowering and useful menu to pick from. Is it?
design  consent  thebook  digital-literacy  google  workingon  choice 
may 2016 by jomc
Google AI ethics board remains a mystery - Business Insider
Google's artificial intelligence (AI) ethics board, established when Google acquired London AI startup DeepMind in 2014, remains one of the biggest mysteries in tech, with both Google and DeepMind refusing to reveal who sits on it.
google  artificial-intelligence  ethics 
march 2016 by jomc
What World Are We Building? — Data & Society: Points — Medium
All it knew is that people clicked on those ads for some searches but not others, and so it was better to serve them up when the search queries had a statistical property similar to queries where a click happens. In other words, because racist viewers were more likely to click on these ads when searching for black names, Google’s algorithm quickly learned to serve up these ads for names that are understood as black. Google was trained to be “racist” by its racist users.
race  algorithms  google 
february 2016 by jomc
If you're not paying for the product, you are the product. I have to admit,…
Google is the most moral company in which I have ever worked.  But guarding our users' privacy doesn't just make moral sense, it makes business sense.  If we purposefully violated our users' privacy, we wouldn't have a business at all before very long.
google  thebook 
july 2015 by jomc
To our friends | The Anarchist Library— The Invisible Committe
. We believe that our “personal” data belong to us, like our car or our shoes, and that we’re only exercising our “individual freedom” by deciding to let Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon or the police have access to them, without realizing that this has immediate effects on those who refuse to, and who will be treated from then on as suspects, as potential deviants.
google  data 
may 2015 by jomc
Courts docs show how Google slices users into “millions of buckets” — Medium
Gmail can sort users not just into a few thousand demographic and interest categories, but into literally millions of distinct “buckets”. A “bucket” is just a cluster of users, however small, who share some feature in common that might interest advertisers.
google  algorithms  algos  data 
may 2015 by jomc
Book Review: Consent of the Networked by Rebecca MacKinnon
interesting thoughts on comparing facebook, google etc to states
statecraft  google  stacks 
january 2015 by jomc
Project Goliath: Inside Hollywood's secret war against Google | The Verge
A number of Goliath-related emails also point to examples of copyright-infringing search results found on Google; the persistence of file-sharing links in Google search rankings has been a sore point in Hollywood for years.
google  hollywood  stacks  sony-hack  copyright  piracy 
december 2014 by jomc
Don’t Force Google to ‘Forget’ -
What if search engine companies were to think more creatively about how such searches might work? In 2007, Google admirably experimented in this area, introducing a feature to its Google News aggregator that allowed people quoted or mentioned in a news article indexed by Google News to add a comment next to that article in the search results. Such participants could offer readers of Google News an explanation, an apology, or a reason to discount whatever it was they were about to read. (Academics were among the first users of the feature, often adding a comment to contextualize something a newspaper reporter had quoted them as saying.) But Google ultimately abandoned the feature.
search  annotation  google 
june 2014 by jomc
Thanks for nothing, jerkface | ZDNet
For LGBT, political dissidents, activists and at-risk people everywhere, Google's little Google+ project became a loaded gun pointed right at anyone whose privacy is what keeps them alive.

Users found out in January 2014 when Google+ force-integrated chat and SMS into "hangouts" in the Android 4.4 "KitKat" update.

At-risk users were disproportionately affected, most especially transgender people who needed to keep their identities separate for personal safety and employment reasons.

One woman was outed to a co-worker when she texted him, and risked losing her employment.
google  anonymity  outing 
june 2014 by jomc
Twitter / alliebland: Then Google Maps was like, ...
Then Google Maps was like, "turn right on Malcolm Ten Boulevard" and I knew there were no black engineers working there
race  google 
may 2014 by jomc
Google Is Only 2 Percent Black
Oh man, my favorite excuse for lily white or mostly male workplaces, "the pipeline."

— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) May 29, 2014
race  diversity  google 
may 2014 by jomc
On the Future of MetaFilter — Technology Musings — Medium
Google calling links found on MetaFilter “inorganic” is troubling. We have a staff of six full-time moderators in five timezones throughout the world (two are in Europe) to make sure zero spam ends up on the site.
google  algos  community 
may 2014 by jomc
You Can Hide Your Pregnancy Online, But You'll Feel Like A Criminal - Forbes
It’s not the first time Vertesi has rejected online data collection. When Google changed its privacy policy in 2012 to allow it to profile users across all of its products, Vertesi dumped the tech giant’s products. “I went off Google entirely and that was pretty easy,” she says. “So I assumed keeping the Internet from knowing I was pregnant would be like going from vegetarianism to veganism.”
data  tracking  google 
may 2014 by jomc
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