Category: Internet/Web

U.S. Refuses To Sign Treaty On Net Regulation; Fears Legally-Binding Rules In Future

 

The United States has said it will refuse to sign an updated communications treaty set to be ratified by the United Nations, because it veers too far into agreements to regulate the Internet.

For the last two weeks, delegates from more than 190 countries have been discussing the UN treaty at a conference for the International Telecommunications Union in Dubai. Countries such as Russia, China and Saudi Arabia have pushed for proposals that include allowing nations to regulate global Internet companies and online content that is perceived as being “spam.”

The treaty is not legally binding, and does not come into effect until January 2015, but Ambassador Terry Kramer, who headed the U.S. delegation Dubai, said it was important to make sure that countries did not eventually agree to a more binding set of global agreements that they could use to justify acts of censorship online.

Read the complete article at Forbes.

Searching without searching: Expect Labs taps Nuance for bold predictive computing tech

We’re now getting the first taste of a world where our computing devices fetch us relevant information without our asking. Google Now is the most notable example; it’s Google’s Siri-esque competitor that can learn from your daily routine and parse information in your e-mail.

In that same vein there’s Expect Labs, a small startup that’s been working on an “Anticipatory Computing Engine” that can understand conversations in real time and deliver relevant information to you. Today the company announced that its technology is getting a big accuracy boost with the addition of Nuance’s voice recognition technology, which also powers Siri, Google Now, and most other voice-recognition implementations.

“I really think, in the next 10 to 20 years, that the huge changes that we’re going to be seeing in software are really around becoming more intelligent,” said Tim Tuttle, the chief executive officer of Expect Labs, in an interview with VentureBeat. “It’s inevitable, and the way we’re going to use computers then will be fundamentally different.”

Read the complete article at VentureBeat.

Video network Koozoo puts a friendlier, crowd-sourced spin on Big Brother

Big Brother isn’t just a dystopian nightmare or bad television show anymore — it’s a growing part of the Internet age where people are connected all the time.

Koozoo is a platform that crowd-sources live video from public places to create a continuously broadcasting network. Members of the community can post and watch user-generated video feeds from places such as cafes or world landmarks.

Read more at VentureBeat.

 

2.5 Years Of Computer Usage Turned Into A Stunning Data Visualization

All these years you’ve been surfing the web and messing around on your computer, have you ever put any consideration into what all that usage might look like? A blur of cat videos, status updates, and badly-authored Excel sheets, maybe?

Read the complete article at The Creators Project.

U.S. Government Will Launch a Dynamic Airwave-Sharing Scheme

Aiming to boost wireless bandwidth and innovation, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is poised to recommend the biggest regulatory change in decades: one that allows a newly available chunk of wireless spectrum to be leased by different companies at different times and places, rather than being auctioned off to one high bidder.

The step “is a critical milestone,” said David Tennenhouse, Microsoft’s vice president of technology policy, adding that it will not only release more spectrum but also enable “dynamic spectrum sharing that is particularly well suited for absorbing growing wireless data traffic.”

Cisco Systems estimates that mobile data traffic will grow by a factor of 18 by 2016, and Bell Labs predicts it will increase by a factor of 25. Many more airwaves could eventually be shared with the help of cognitive radios, which sense available frequencies and shift between them.

The move will open up a piece of spectrum in the 3.550 to 3.650 gigahertz band now used by radar systems. The move in effect allocates spectrum for another Wi-Fi—a technology that has had tremendous impact. But it is the sharing approach that represents a dramatic change in unleashing bandwidth.

Read the complete article at Technology Review.

The Artist Google Street View Photographed Twice

Getting your picture taken by Google Street View twice was just luck? Or did you have an idea that they were photographing the neighborhood? What are your thoughts on Street View?

Yes yes, it was just luck. I had no control.

Street view is a great tool but the way it was implemented (imposed) was, in my opinion, at least questionable. They made private agreements with governments to scan the globe skipping any kind of people’s feedback, people who happen to be the subjects, beside the public environment, of this pretty intrusive practice.

I would be interested to know if these agreements were “economic”. This is an important step because in the end all the Street View material is copyrighted and private owned, resulting in contradiction with the subject matter, and of course, above all when you find yourself featured in it twice.

Read the complete article at Rhizome.

Julian Assange’s book an exercise in dystopian musings

Julian Assange‘s new book is not a manifesto, he writes in its introduction – “There is no time for that”. Instead the short volume, entitled Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet and published on Monday, is intended to be what the Wikileaks founder calls “a watchman’s shout in the night”, warning of an imminent threat to all civilisation from “the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen” – the web.

Assange announced in October his intention to publish the book, based largely on the transcript of an interview conducted earlier in the year with three fellow “cutting-edge thinkers” on the web, and broadcast on the Russian state-controlled TV channel RT.

But in his introduction, written from the small room in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to which he has been confined for more than five months, the Australian has described for the first time how he views the context for its publication.

Read the complete article at The Guardian.

 

Court Rules — Wrongly — That Google Is A Publisher

An Australian court made a huge mistake Monday. It ruled that Google can be treated as a publisher for the content of its search results — and therefore be found guilty of libel. If the ruling stands, Google will owe $200,000 to music promoter Milorad Trkulja, who sued Google because content on other websites linked him to criminal activity, and Google’s algorithm displayed those sites in search results for him.

According to a report in the Guardian, the offending materials suggested that Trkulja was a criminal and that rivals had hired a hitman to kill him. Though he had been shot in a restaurant in 2004, Trkulja has never been convicted of any criminal activity. But people said otherwise on the Web, and they published images as well, so Google did its job and indexed those search results.

Whose Fault Is It?

Trkulja’s lawyers began contacting Google in 2009 asking for these search results to be removed, but Google told them to take it up with the publishers of the content instead. That’s how this Internet thing works. If someone publishes lies about you, it’s their fault – not the fault of the people and companies who read those lies and link to them.

Read the complete article at ReadWriteWeb.

Interact With A Website Using A Book

Have some pity for poor old paper. Once it was king of the world of communication, spreading human knowledge and information—but now it has to play second fiddle to a code of 0s and 1s. But its days aren’t numbered just yet, not when people like Waldek Węgrzy are around. He’s created a concept that utilizes both analogue and digital in his project Elektrobiblioteka/Electrolibrary.

Read the complete article at The Creators Project.

Do online courses spell the end for the traditional university?

“It’s going to change. There is no doubt about it.” Specifically, Thrun believes, higher education is going to change. He has launched Udacity, an online university, and wants to provide mass high quality education for the world. For students in developing countries who can’t get it any other way, or for students in the first world, who can but may choose not to. Pay thousands of pounds a year for your education? Or get it free online?

University, of course, is about so much more than the teaching. There’s the socialising, of course, or, as we call it here in Britain, drinking. There’s the living away from home and learning how to boil water stuff. And there’s the all-important sex and catching a social disease stuff. But this is the way disruptions tend to work: they disrupt first, and figure out everything else at some unspecified time later.

Thrun’s great revelation came just over a year ago at the same TED conference where he unveiled the self-driving car. “I heard Salman Khan talk about the Khan Academy and I was just blown away by it,” he says. “And I still am.” Salman Khan, a softly spoken 36-year-old former hedge fund analyst, is the founding father of what’s being called the classroom revolution, and is feted by everyone from Bill Gates (who called him “the world’s favourite teacher”) down.

The Khan Academy, which he set up almost accidentally while tutoring his niece and nephew, now has 3,400 short videos or tutorials, most of which Khan made himself, and 10 million students. “I was blown away by it,” says Thrun. “And frankly embarrassed that I was teaching 200 students. And he was teaching millions.”

Thrun decided to open up his Stanford artificial intelligence class, CS221, to the world. Anybody could join, he announced. They’d do the same coursework as the Stanford students and at the end of it take the same exam.

Read the complete article at The Guardian.