Big Tech &
Google search will now give you feedback on your pronunciation (1 minute read)
Google search has a new feature that will help users check their pronunciation of unfamiliar words. After a user searches for a pronunciation guide, they will be able to speak the word and Google's AI will analyze how the word was pronounced. It will then provide feedback on how each syllable matches Google's expected pronunciation. The feature currently only works for American English, but Spanish pronunciations will be released soon. Google will also start to include images with its translations so that users will be less confused with definitions.
PayPal abruptly cuts off Pornhub’s payroll, leaving performers with few payment options (2 minute read)
Pornhub has announced that PayPal will no longer support payments to Pornhub performers. Paypal's acceptable use policy forbids certain sexually oriented materials or services. Performers who are part of Pornhub's Model Program will have to update their payment information to use one of the many other payment options available. Other payment options are not guaranteed to be safe. For example, some banks refuse to serve sex workers. PayPal's sudden decision to drop Pornhub means that over a hundred thousand performers have to quickly update their details or risk receiving their payments late.
Hologram-like device animates objects using ultrasound waves (3 minute read)
A device that produces 3D animated objects that can talk to and interact with people has been unveiled by researchers in Sussex. The device uses ultrasound waves to levitate a polystyrene bead and move it around at high speeds to trace shapes in the air. LEDs that are built into the display shine light onto the bead to create color. The bead moves at speeds approaching 20 mph. By manipulating the ultrasonic field, the scientists can make the objects produce sounds and allow users to interact with the objects. The current prototype is able to make 3D objects inside a 10cm-wide cube of air. This technology has the potential to improve 3D printing, as it may be possible to levitate different materials to be dropped into place. The ultrasound waves are able to create precise patterns, so objects feel just as rich and dynamic as they appear on the display.
The USPTO wants to know if artificial intelligence can own the content it creates (3 minute read)
AI technology may mean that copyright laws might have to be changed. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is gathering information about the impact of artificial intelligence on copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights. Attributing ownership of the material that is created by AI is difficult. A lot of machine learning also uses copyrighted material for training, so the rights of the original owners of the training material should be considered. Current rules state that works produced by a machine with no creative input or intervention from a human can't be given authorship, but lines are being blurred as AI's hand in creative works continues to get more complicated and nuanced.
Programming, Design & Data Science
Project Quay (GitHub Repo)
Project Quay is a package that builds, stores, and distributes container images. It features Docker Registry Protocol v2, Docker Manifest Schema v2.1 and v2.2, Image Squashing, Continuous Integration, Security Vulnerability Analysis via Clair, and more. A live instance of Project Quay, as well as a talk and a documentary about Project Quay, is linked.
Why is the Migration to Python 3 Taking So Long? (7 minute read)
Python 2 is finally at end of life. Its drop-dead date for support is on January 1, 2020. Despite this, many companies are still heavily utilizing the language and have not migrated to Python 3. Python 3 was developed to remove a legacy problem in Python which rendered all strings as Unicode behind the scenes. It isn't backward compatible with Python 2. When it first came out, many people did not see the changes in Python 3 as a significant improvement. A lot of large organizations move very slowly. Migrating codebases takes a long time and a lot of effort. Instagram's move took 10 months, and Dropbox's migration is still ongoing after three years. Many companies that aren't focused on cutting-edge technology may find it even more difficult to migrate their code. Company security policies may also hinder the migration process.
States’ massive Google antitrust probe will expand into search and Android businesses (4 minute read)
The antitrust probe into Google is now moving beyond the company's advertising business and will start to investigate its search and Android businesses. The civil investigative demands into Google might not be served immediately. Each state is investigating different parts of Google's business. At the moment, the investigation is solely focused on online advertising. States can be more aggressive in antitrust investigations compared to federal regulators due to less lobbying and political pressures. The states have committed to sharing resources for the Google investigation. Most of Google's offerings are free to the user, making it difficult to prove antitrust violations. Google has been fined before for breaking antitrust rules, but these fines have not stopped the company from expanding into other businesses. It has recently started to enter into health care.