Ix Digest

Weekly tech dose and other fascinating insights curated by Ionixx Technologies

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  • If AI is going to help us in a crisis, we need a new kind of ethics | MIT Review

    Jess Whittlestone at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge and her colleagues published a comment piece in Nature Machine Intelligence this week arguing that if artificial intelligence is going to help in a crisis, we need a new, faster way of doing AI ethics, which they call ethics for urgency. Read the experts to know how AI will be quicker to deploy when needed if it is made with ethics built in.

  • 9 ways to focus a wandering mind | Creative Bloq

    Your mind has a tendency to wander at the best of times – not least while working from home. From Netflix and WhatsApp, to checking the contents of the fridge (again), it's hard to stay vigilant against the thousands of distractions begging for our attention. A wandering mind isn't always a bad thing for creatives, we might add, but if you need some focus right now, you're in luck. Not only is there an abundance of scientific research into how to avoid distraction, but a handy infographic (below) translates the science into nine easy steps to follow to help you stay focused.

  • How to protect yourself online from misinformation right now | The Hindu

    There wasn’t a communications blackout in Washington, DC, on Sunday, but #dcblackout trended on Twitter anyway, thanks to some extremely distressing tweets telling people that, mysteriously, no messages were getting out from the nation’s capital. The tweets, Reddit posts, and Facebook messages about the “blackout” got thousands of shares, fueled by pleas to spread the information widely and ominous warnings about what would happen next to protesters.

  • A brewing storm: On Trump vs Twitter | The Hindu

    As political ironies go, U.S. President Donald Trump’s tirade against social medial platforms is a class apart. After Twitter flagged two of his posts as factually inaccurate, the President threatened to “strongly regulate” or “close down” all social media platforms. Like most of his statements, this one too appeared on Twitter where he has 80.4 million followers. When Mr. Trump entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2015, critics scorned him as a mere, inconsequential Twitter handle, for his acerbic posturing on the platform.

  • Sundar Pichai on Managing Google through the pandemic - The Interview | The Verge

    Like all big tech companies, Google and Alphabet are playing an outsized role in our lives as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Whether it’s helping people find reliable information in search, working with the government on testing, building an exposure-tracking system into Android and iOS in partnership with Apple, or battling misinformation on YouTube, Google’s capability — and responsibility — has never been greater. Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, in this interview, talks about the challenges Google faces during this time, including a shift in its core ad business and the challenges of managing the company remotely. Pichai is himself adapting to remote work; he’s actively blocking out more time on his calendar to read and think, something he used to do during his commute.

  • How We Can Get the Next Phase of the Coronavirus Right | New York Times

    Heading into our pandemic summer, biggest worry is that in the effort to flatten the coronavirus curve, nobody prepared the country for what comes next. In late February “flatten the curve” became our collective refrain — stay home, save lives. Charts showing how social distancing can reduce the spread of the virus and protect hospitals from overcrowding were simple to interpret and they became a meme.

  • Why time feels so weird right now | Vox

    March was 30 years long and April was 30 minutes long. What gives? We talked to a time philosopher to find out. Wait. What happened to April? If you’re at all like me, you might have flipped over your wall calendar to May (because if you’re at all like me, you have several wall calendars) and felt a perplexing confusion. How is it that a whole month could have disappeared into the gaping maw of quarantine, especially after March felt like it dragged on for (conservatively) 72 years.

  • The antidote: your favourite weekend reads beyond coronavirus

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by coverage of the pandemic, try The Guardian’s list of non-coronavirus articles that the readers spent the most time with over the weekend.

  • No Time like The Present

    You don’t know what day it is, do you?Writer, Performer and Musician- Robert Burke Warren digs into ‘the Oddball Effect’ and fascinating brain data that may help explain why.

  • 10 ways to take care of yourself during the COVID outbreak | Reachout.com

    The world is pretty topsy-turvy right now, because of the global panic around coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed by it all, be reassured that this is a very normal response. However, it’s important to go easy on yourself and to take time for self-care. We’ve put together this list of self-care activities that you can do from home. They’ll help you feel a little better and give you a sense of control during a very uncertain time.

  • Build Your Resilience in the Face of a Crisis | HBR.org

    As the spread and far-reaching impacts of Covid-19 dominate the world news, we have all been witnessing and experiencing the parallel spread of worry, anxiety, and instability. Indeed, in a crisis, our mental state often seems only to exacerbate an already extremely challenging situation, becoming a major obstacle in itself. Why is this and how can we change it?. Mental resilience, especially in challenging times like the present, means managing our minds in a way that increases our ability to face the first arrow and to break the second before it strikes us. Resilience is the skill of noticing our own thoughts, unhooking from the non-constructive ones, and rebalancing quickly. Visit the link to read three effective strategies to nurture your skills and get trained.

  • The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’ |The Atlantic

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for “community mitigation strategies” to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, which include recommendations for “social distancing”—a term that epidemiologists are using to refer to a conscious effort to reduce close contact between people and hopefully stymie community transmission of the virus.

  • How to work from home, the right way | BBC

    Google, Microsoft, Twitter. Hitachi, Apple, Amazon. Chevron, Salesforce, Spotify. From the UK to the US, Japan to South Korea, these are all global companies that have, in the last few days, rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amid the spread of Covid-19.Whether you’re a newbie or WFH veteran, here’s what you need to do to stay productive.

  • Nine out of 10 people found to be biased against women |The Guardian

    It’s nearly International Women’s Day! Here’s a new survey by - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) analyzed data from respondents from 75 countries. More than half of them feel men are better political leaders, some 40% believe men are better business executives, and a third believe that it’s fine for a man to beat his wife. Despite progress in closing the equality gap, 91% of men and 86% of women hold at least one bias against women in relation to politics, economics, education, violence or reproductive rights.

  • 5G will transform smartphones—but it won’t stop there |Fortune

    Though the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancelation of Mobile World Congress, one of the technology industry’s biggest annual events, in Barcelona next week, mobile innovation marches onward. Today we stand on the cusp of 5G, the new generation of mobile broadband rolling out globally. 5G smartphones will allow consumers to download a movie in less than one minute, browse the web 10 times faster, experience life-like virtual and augmented reality, and stream 4K video the same way users stream audio today. But while 5G smartphones will be remarkable, focusing only on the 5G smartphone user experience is limiting the technology’s true potential.

  • The Left’s Search for the ‘Right’ Cash | US News

    THEY NEED IT, BUT THEY resent that they need it. They've acquired it, but are almost embarrassed by it. They rail against it, but end virtually every speech or debate closing remarks asking people to please give it to them.
    The Democratic presidential contenders have a love-hate relationship with money, which is essential to running a presidential campaign but which – among Democrats at least – carries a sort of dirty quality that has contenders competing not just for dollars but for dollars they claim are cleaner than everyone else's.

  • The WIRED Guide to the Internet of Things | Wired

    How many engineers does it take to change a lightbulb? Depends on whether or not that lightbulb is connected to Wi-Fi. Lightbulbs, along with refrigerators, coffee makers, microwave ovens, baby monitors, security cameras, speakers, televisions, and thermostats have, in the past few decades, transformed from ordinary objects into conduits for the future.

  • Loneliness is a national crisis. But there is a way to tackle it | The Guardian

    A desire for social connection is fundamentally hardwired into our psychology, and so being deprived of it has devastating mental and physical consequences. Yet we live in a society which has become ever more fragmented and atomised. From pubs to factories, the spaces where we socially connect are in decline. Thankfully there’s a group bringing local people together. Click on the link to read more.

  • Here's what I learned at DAVOS 2020 | WEF.org

    Climate change and its financial impact dominated conversations this year. Beneath the noise, I came away with even higher conviction that climate risk analysis of companies and portfolios is moving out of a specialised niche and into the mainstream. The Trumpification of global trade, the side effects of QE Infinity and the continued rally in tech stocks were also hotly debated. Europe hardly got a look in as investors and policymakers were focused on more vibrant growth and technology plays in the US and Asia.

  • Australian bushfires didn’t just destroy specific species, but entire ecosystems | The Next Web

    The sheer scale and intensity of the Australian bushfire crisis have led to apocalyptic scenes making the front pages of newspapers the world over. An estimated 10 million hectares (100,000 sq km) of land have burned since 1 July 2019. At least 28 people have died. And over a billion animals are estimated to have been killed to date. Of course, the actual toll will be much higher if major animal groups, such as insects, are included in these estimates.The scientific evidence shows that human-caused climate change is a key driver of the rapid and unprecedented increases in wildfire activity. What is particularly worrying is the extent to which this is eroding the resilience of ecosystems across wide regions. Yes, it is plausible to expect most plants and animals that have adapted to fire will recover.

  • Conversational AI Can Propel Social Stereotypes | Wired

    Alexa, Siri, Watson, and their talking AI siblings serve to make our lives easier, but they also reinforce gender stereotypes. Polite, subservient digital secretaries like Alexa and Siri are presented as female. Assertive, all-knowing Jeopardy! champion Watson is most often referred to as “he.” New generations of AI are coming that will make this problem more significant, and much harder to avoid. As the field expands, designers need to ensure they’re creating a more expansive world, and not replicating a close-mindedly gendered one. Linguists can help them get there.

  • Australia is blazing into the Pyrocene - The Age of Fire | Wired

    Huge bushfires have torched 14.5 million acres since September, killing at least 18. Vast plumes of smoke are pouring into major cities along the east coast, imposing a dire respiratory health hazard on millions of people. And Australia’s fire season is just getting started.

  • Why the Fires in Australia Are So Bad | New York Times

    This fire season has been one of the worst in Australia’s history, with at least 15 people killed, hundreds of homes destroyed and millions of acres burned. And summer is far from over. This week, thousands of residents and vacationers in southeastern Australia were forced to evacuate to shorelines as bush fires encircled communities and razed scores of buildings. Military ships and aircraft were deployed on Wednesday to deliver water, food, and fuel to towns cut off by the fires.

  • 2019’s Year in Pictures | NBCnews.com

    The beginning of the end of the decade began with chaos at the U.S. border and “yellow vest” protests in Paris. A photograph of a drowned migrant and his daughter shocked the world, and a teen climate activist gained global attention. Sometimes tragic, sometimes thrilling, sometimes amusing, take a look at the images that captivated photo editors in 2019.

  • India Awakens to Fight for Its Soul | NY Times

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government have deployed propaganda very successfully since coming to power in 2014. So much so that numerous egregious decisions the government has made — demonetization, electoral bonds allowing secret donations to political parties, a flawed citizens registry in the state of Assam, revoking the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir — were accepted by a majority of people. But over the past few days, India seems to have risen up in countrywide mass protests. A growing awareness of what the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act means for the country seems to have jolted people, bringing them into the streets.

  • The greatest threat to Indian democracy today | Telegraph

    A friend, demoralized by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s emphatic victory in May, said ruefully that Narendra Modi could now write Annihilation of Caste, given how decisively his party swept Uttar Pradesh despite the subaltern caste mosaic pieced together by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav. Having suggested in print on the eve of the election that the mahagathbandhan might be the fulcrum on which India’s politics might turn, I could only nod. The National Register of Citizens and the citizenship bill are part of the BJP's agenda to institutionalize discrimination opines Historian Mukul Kesavan.

  • Who is Kamala Harris and why did she drop out of the 2020 election race | The Week

    Kamala Harris was the perfect presidential candidate for the institutional Democratic Party in 2019. By which I mean that she talked, looked, and acted like she was grown in a top-secret high-tech lab deep in the bowls of the Democratic National Committee. A graduate of Howard University and the Hastings College of Law in the University of California system, she had elite credentials without seeming too elite. Her law career was spent in the public sector prosecuting criminals — first for the office of the San Francisco District Attorney, then as the DA herself, and finally as Attorney General for the state of California, before finally winning the Senate seat vacated by a retiring Barbara Boxer in 2016. A tough-as-nails, law-and-order black woman to take down President Trump: What could be better than that?

  • How Technology Is Improving The Future Of Home Service Installations | Forbes

    As winter sets in, a warm home is important. In the U.K., home heating is almost exclusively done with a boiler, which conjures images of cantankerous elderly equipment that fails at the worst moment. If you think that home heating is a relic of the analog world and technology wants nothing to do with it, think again.

  • The climate crisis leaders' debate: what did we learn? | The Guardian

    Zoe Williams, Guardian Journalist, Alice Bell, Co Director - Climate charity possible, John Vidal, Former Environment Editor and Eli o Maegan, Environment journalist respond on how the leaders of main parties, minus Boris Johnson addressed the biggest issue of our times. Read this insight to know more.

  • Every Tech Company Wants to Be a Bank—Someday, At Least | WIRED

    Most tech companies seem to be treading more carefully than Facebook. That’s why you’re seeing cooperation, not a competition, with banks—things like cobranded credit cards and checking accounts. The big tech firms get the consumer lock-in and business benefits they want, without the regulatory headaches. Caesar Sengupta, a Google payments executive, told The Wall Street Journal that the search giant plans to partner with banks to get its products off the ground—a somewhat pointed statement, one month after Zuckerberg was hauled into Congress after failing to do just that.

  • The Extraordinary Impeachment Testimony of Fiona Hill | The New Yorker

    Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council official who testified at the impeachment hearings on Thursday, was born in Bishop Auckland, a hardscrabble former coal town in County Durham, in the northeast of England. Her father was a miner; her mother was a nurse. As she noted in her testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, her modest roots and working-class accent would have been a career handicap in the Britain she grew up in, but in the late nineteen-eighties she escaped. After attending the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, she applied for a graduate scholarship to Harvard and was called for an interview. “I was so nervous, I walked into a broom closet by accident,” she later recalled.