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News 16 April 2018

The Week in Internet News: AI Goes to the Dogs

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Do you trust this documentary? Do You Trust This Computer? is a new documentary from filmmaker Chris Paine that’s dedicated to the dangers of artificial intelligence. Elon Musk, who’s been vocal about the potential downsides of the technology, appears in the film and has promoted it. But The Verge finds the film a bit overly dramatic, saying “feels more like a trailer for a bad sci-fi movie than a documentary on AI.”

Or you could just get a dog: Speaking of AI, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle are using canine behavior to train an AI system to make dog-like decisions, reports MIT Technology Review.  The researchers are using dog behavior as a way to help AI better learn how to plan, with hopes of helping AI better understand visual intelligence, among other things.

News apps meet the Great Firewall: The Chinese government has temporarily blocked four news apps from being downloaded from Android app stores, ZDNet reports. The apps, with a combined user base of more than 400 million, have been suspended for up to three weeks in an apparent government media crackdown. Meanwhile, Chinese regulators have permanently banned a joke app for supposed vulgar content.

Mr. Zuckerberg goes to Washington: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress last week after recent reports of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica taking personal data from the social media giant to profile potential voters for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Zuckerberg apologized and promised to abide by strict European data standards worldwide, while some lawmakers called for new U.S. privacy regulations. Here’s a New York Times roundup of his appearance before Congress.

EU presses websites about fake news: One of the big criticisms of Facebook among lawmakers was the way it assisted the spread of so-called fake news during the 2016 presidential election. Meanwhile, the European Union is looking at ways to force tech giants to do more to stop the spread of fake news, according to Reuters. The EU plans to release a “Code of Practice” by July that would require online platforms and advertisers to take a number of steps to prevent fake news.

Encryption backdoor only for feds? U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, has proposed a government-only encryption backdoor, reports The Register. Like in the past, many encryption experts have questioned whether the U.S. government could keep that backdoor to itself.

Want to learn more about AI? Read the Internet Society’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning policy paper and explore how it might impact the Internet’s future.

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