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The Architectural Imperative for AI-Powered E-Commerce
February 25, 2020
We've been promised, repeatedly, that AI would revolutionize e-commerce. Think about it for a moment. Has it lived up to expectations for you? If not, the problem may lie not in the technology you've deployed on your site, but in the architecture and data that support it. The effectiveness of AI-powered features ultimately depends on a high level of discipline about data and architecture.
Microsoft Releases 'Mind Blowing' Xbox Specs
February 25, 2020
Microsoft whetted demand for its Xbox Series X product line with the revelation of some impressive specs for its next-generation gaming console. "It's really going to be a kick in the pants for the industry," said Mark N. Vena, senior analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "It should provide quite a bit of adrenalin because the specs are really mind blowing."
2020: The Year for Custom CX and Privacy
February 24, 2020
With the introduction of the CCPA this year and GDPR in 2018, the age of data privacy has begun, bringing the opportunity for businesses to harness it to gain competitive advantage. There are both challenges and opportunities for those that aim to deliver superior CX while adhering to data privacy regulations. Data privacy protection concerns are driving new regulations around the world.
Getting Autonomous Car Technology Right
February 24, 2020
Autonomous car efforts aren't looking very good. It is becoming clear that the five-level ranking system for autonomous cars is stupid. The reality is that the definition of "autonomous" is binary: Either the car can drive itself or it can't. The fact is that car makers don't want to take the final step to autonomy -- Level 5 -- because they are afraid of liability.
Microsoft Injects New AI Features Into Dynamics 365
February 20, 2020
Microsoft has unveiled several new AI capabilities across Dynamics 365 applications and a new solution to help project-centric services organizations transform their operations. The AI enhancements include first- and third-party data connections in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Microsoft's customer data platform. The company also unveiled new manual and predictive forecasting capabilities.
AI in the Courts: The Jury Is Out
February 20, 2020
A session on the role of emerging technologies in the courtroom was part of last month's New York State Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York City. "Emerging Technologies in Litigation" included a panel of local and federal judges as well as an e-discovery researcher and emerging technology attorney. The group discussed the use of artificial intelligence in the courtroom.
Jeff Bezos Puts Up $10B From His Pocket to Fight Climate Change
February 19, 2020
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced a commitment of $10 billion of his personal money to the newly launched Bezos Earth Fund to fight climate change. "Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet," Bezos wrote. "This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs -- any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world."
The Drones Are Coming
February 18, 2020
Spurred by everything from environmental concerns to the desire to avoid congested roads, companies are developing, testing, and beginning to implement a wide array of drone delivery systems. A number of practicalities need to be worked out before drone delivery becomes an everyday occurrence -- including regulations and drone technology itself -- but it's likely only a matter of time.
Viewing the 2020 Presidential Race Through a Competitive Analysis Lens
February 17, 2020
Back in the 1980s, I was a competitive analyst for IBM, and it was one of the most interesting jobs I ever held. The practice largely has died out, but at the time we were like the corporate version of the CIA. Since I'd been an internal auditor as well -- which is somewhat like the corporate version of the FBI -- I was a rarity. Few people serve in both agencies.
Simplicity Does More Than Simplify Linux
February 14, 2020
If you want a Linux distro that caters to gaming, check out the Simplicity Linux Gaming release. If you prefer a general-purpose computing platform without a gaming focus, try Simplicity's revamped release. Either way, you will experience a no-nonsense Linux OS that requires no assembly. Simplicity Linux is a Devuan-based distro with Cinnamon as the default window manager desktop environment.
ACLU Blasts Clearview's Facial Recognition Accuracy Claims
February 14, 2020
The American Civil Liberties Union has leveled criticisms against facial recognition tool developer Clearview for making misleading claims about the accuracy of its product. Clearview apparently has been telling law enforcement agencies that its technology underwent accuracy testing modeled on the ACLU's 2018 test of Amazon's Rekognition facial recognition tool.
It's Time for a Social Media and Disinformation Reckoning: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 6
February 13, 2020
Can social media be saved? Can democracy be saved? The first question may seem less compelling than the second, but to some very worried observers, they are intimately entwined. Social networking -- on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of other online networks -- is the root of all current cultural evils, in the eyes of some critics. Undeniably, social networks offer positive experiences too.
Sprint T-Mobile Merger Gets Green Light
February 13, 2020
A U.S. District judge has ruled that Sprint and T-Mobile, the nation's third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers, can go forward with a $25 billion merger. The deal will not close until the California Public Utilities Commission approves the transaction, but clearing this latest hurdle moves the two companies one step closer to a merger that has been years in the making.
Samsung Scores With 5G Galaxy S20's Camera Specs, New Z Flip
February 12, 2020
Samsung has refreshed its Galaxy smartphone line, introduced a new foldable phone, and upgraded its wireless earbuds offering. Its three new flagship phones are all 5G ready. The S20 is priced at $999, while the S20 Plus will sell for $1,199, and the S20 Ultra for $1,399. The S20 is smallest of the trio, with a 6.2-inch display. The Plus' display is 6.7 inches and the Ultra's is 6.9 inches.
Razr Reviews Raise $1500 Durability Question
February 11, 2020
Motorola's new foldable Razr phone has been garnering mediocre notices from early reviewers, who tended to find its performance underwhelming for a phone priced at $1,500. Still, it does have personality, which can go a long way in the smartphone market, noted Bob O'Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research. "We've reached an era where phones are incredibly personal."
Rumblings in the Cloud
February 10, 2020
One of the old sayings is that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics," with the implication being you really can't trust most reported numbers. Still, we've often thought, at least with major vendors, that you could trust rankings. One current set of rankings involves cloud providers. The general impression was that Amazon was first, Microsoft second, and Google third.
Cyber Worries Help Push Doomsday Clock Closer to Midnight
February 7, 2020
The hands on the iconic "Doomsday Clock" moved to just 100 seconds to midnight last month. That is the closest they have come to the final hour since its creation in 1947. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board, in consultation with the Bulletin's Board of Sponsors, made the unprecedented decision to express the time remaining in seconds rather than minutes.
Philips Hue Vulnerability Shines Light on Possible IoT Security Nightmare
February 6, 2020
A vulnerability in Philips Hue smart lightbulbs and their controller bridges could allow intruders to infiltrate networks with a remote exploit, Check Point Software Technologies has disclosed. The researchers notified the owner of the Philips Hue brand about the vulnerability in November, and it issued a patched firmware version through an automatic update.
Consumers Like Augmented Reality More Than They Know
February 4, 2020
The augmented reality space continues to evolve. Device makers such as Bosch, Panasonic, Huawei and Pico are introducing significantly smaller and more powerful smart glasses and AR headsets, such as those demonstrated last month at CES 2020, one of the country's largest consumer technology conferences. What is augmented reality exactly? There's not really an easy answer.
Coronavirus Pandemic: 6 Things We Should Be Doing
February 3, 2020
As I write this, the first studies of the Coronavirus outbreak are coming in. The count now exceeds 17,500 cases in 24 countries. There have been more than 360 deaths, almost all in China. Most at risk are older males with pre-existing chronic diseases that weaken their immune symptoms. Women appear to have a higher natural resistance to viruses. WHO has declared it a global health emergency.
Tech's Role in Addressing Coronavirus and Other Potential Pandemics
January 31, 2020
WHO has declared the coronavirus a global health emergency in recognition that the disease risk no longer is confined to China. UN member countries may decide to close their borders, cancel flights, implement special screenings at airports, or take other steps in response to the notice. U.S. health officials earlier this week announced they would fast-track work on a coronavirus vaccine.
From Personal to Planetary: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 4
January 30, 2020
We asked ECT News Network's roundtable of industry insiders to reflect on their own personal tech preferences, to speculate on what popular gadgets may vanish from use in the next decade, to consider the role of wearable health tools -- and then to expand the discussion to the health of the planet, tech advances in traveling on it, and the prospect of leaving it altogether.
Feds Seek Restraining Orders in Robocall Cases
January 30, 2020
The DoJ has filed complaints in two landmark cases calling for temporary restraining orders against five companies and three individuals alleged to have carried hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to American consumers. "This is the first time the DoJ is taking legal action against anyone for facilitating fraudulent robocalls," said Liz Miller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
DoubleTake App Turns Your iPhone Into a Multi-Cam Studio
January 29, 2020
A new iPhone app allows you to capture two high-quality video streams simultaneously from any of the mobile device's cameras. Called "DoubleTake," the free software is produced by FiLMiC, which also makes a pro style video capture and editing app for the iPhone. With DoubleTake, you can shoot two 1080p video streams at the same time, in either landscape or portrait mode.
With Foldable Razr, Motorola Makes Bid for Old Glory
January 28, 2020
Motorola is taking orders for its $1,499 Razr foldable smartphone, and units are expected to start shipping on Feb. 6. Motorola made its mark on the mobile handset business with the original Razr, introduced in 2004, which ushered in the era of flip phones. The new Razr is a flip phone, too. The 6.2-inch OLED screen folds in half to create a compact package that fits in a shirt pocket.
COPRA May Be Coming, and It's Not Too Soon to Prepare
January 28, 2020
All eyes are on the West Coast as California reins in the unfettered collection, use and sale of the personal data consumers share as part of the bargain for "free" online services. For years this bargain has been explained in privacy policies that few people read, because there is not a lot of negotiating in the personal data market. The CCPA gives consumers revolutionary rights.
Is Icahn Attempting a Hostile Takeover of HP? Figuring Out the Backstory
January 27, 2020
When it comes to any merger, you often can't trust the reason the firms are merging, particularly if financial rather than operational managers are driving the process. When it comes to hostile takeovers, you can bet you are being misled, because the rhetoric will address synergy, but the folks driving the effort know the more likely goal is to destroy the acquired company.
Grabbing the Cybersecurity and Privacy Problems by the Horns: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 3
January 23, 2020
Cybersecurity and privacy threats aren't confined to the tech world. They've cast their pall on the world in general. Computer viruses, malware and data leaks have become commonplace, personal privacy has become a bad joke, and cyberwar looms like a virtual mushroom cloud. What sometimes gets lost in the gloom are the many ways security professionals have been working to shore up cyberdefenses.
Is Congress Finally Ready to Take On Cybersecurity?
January 23, 2020
The United States Congress made some significant progress this session when it comes to data privacy, but cybersecurity remains a blind spot for lawmakers. Congress currently is considering a national privacy law that mirrors legislation enacted in the European Union. It would allow people to access, correct and request the deletion of the personal information collected from them.
Uber Tests Plan to Let Drivers Set Their Own Fares
January 22, 2020
Uber has launched a pilot program in California that lets drivers in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento set their own fares for airport rides. Drivers can set a fare multiple on Uber's base, time, and distance rates for UberX and UberXL trips, according to the company. Drivers can increase the fare in 10 percent jumps up to five times Uber's base price.
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