The technology, called Perspective, will review comments and score them based on how similar they are to comments people said were “toxic” or likely to make them leave a conversation.
It has been tested on the New York Times and the companies hope to extend it to other news organizations such as The Guardian and The Economist as well as websites.
“News organizations want to encourage engagement and discussion around their content, but find that sorting through millions of comments to find those that are trolling or abusive takes a lot of money, labor, and time. As a result, many sites have shut down comments altogether,” Jared Cohen, President of Jigsaw, which is part of Alphabet, wrote in a blog post.
“But they tell us that isn’t the solution they want. We think technology can help.”
Perspective examined hundreds of thousands of comments that had been labeled as offensive by human reviewers to learn how to spot potentially abusive language.
CJ Adams, Jigsaw Product Manager, said the company was open to rolling out the technology to all platforms, including larger ones such as Facebook and Twitter where trolling can be a major headache.
The technology could in the future be expanded to trying to identify personal attacks or off-topic comments too, Cohen said.
Perspective will not decide what to do with comments it finds are potentially abusive; rather publishers will be able to flag them to their moderators or develop tools to help comment understand the impact of what they are writing.
Cohen said a significant portion of abusive comments came from people who were “just having a bad day”.
The initiative against trolls follows efforts by Google and Facebook to combat fake news stories in France, Germany and the United States after they came under fire during the U.S. presidential vote when it became clear they had inadvertently fanned false news reports.
The debate surrounding fake news has led to calls from politicians for social networks to be held more liable for the content posted on their platforms.
The Perspective technology is still in its early stages and “far from perfect”, Cohen said, adding he hoped it could be rolled out for languages other than English too.
Facebook Inc is currently negotiating with Major League Baseball to live stream one game per week during the upcoming season, which could be a key win as the social media platform works to offer more live sports, according to two people familiar with the situation.
Facebook has pushed to sign deals with owners of sports rights to live stream their games, going after an audience that competitor Twitter Inc is also trying to capture, according to sports media consultants.
For social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, live streaming sports is key to attracting people since sports is one of the few types of content that people still watch live.
“Facebook is aggressively going after sports content and they are now one of a number of competitors to traditional media outlets that are going after sports programming,” said sports media consultant Lee Berke. “It makes perfect sense that they would be going after name brand properties like the MLB.”
The companies were in advanced talks, according to one source. It was unclear which games MLB would live stream on Facebook. A representative for Facebook and MLB declined to comment.
By partnering with Facebook, MLB would get access to a young audience at a massive scale, consultants said.
The size of Facebook’s reach was a big reason Univision Communications Inc decided to use Facebook Live to live stream Mexican soccer matches in English, said Tonia O’Connor, chief commercial officer and president of content distribution at Univision.
Under that deal, Facebook will live stream 46 matches by Mexican soccer league Liga MX in 2017. Terms were not disclosed.
Over the past few months, Facebook has live streamed global basketball and soccer matches and table tennis.
Verizon Communications Inc reconfirmed plans to acquire Yahoo Inc’s core business for $4.48 billion, lowering its original offer by $350 million in the wake of two massive cyber attacks at the internet company.
The closing of the deal, which was first announced in July, had been delayed as the companies assessed the fallout from two data breaches that Yahoo disclosed last year. The No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier had been trying to persuade Yahoo to amend the terms of the agreement following the attacks.
Verizon and Yahoo signed the deal on Sunday evening after weeks of talks that included calls with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and a meeting between Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and Yahoo director Tom McInerney in New York earlier this month to agree on the amount of the price reduction, a person involved in the talks said.
The two sides had an agreement in principle about a week earlier that included a liability sharing agreement, something that Verizon decided early on that it needed to reach a deal.
Verizon conducted brand studies and found that Yahoo’s reputation was holding up after the hacks, the person said. The company decided to proceed in part because it continued to believe that the deal made strategic sense and that users were loyal and engaged.
The companies said on Tuesday they expect the deal to close in the second quarter. The data breach may delay some integration of Yahoo with Verizon after the closing, the person said.
The deal brings to Verizon Yahoo’s more than 1 billion users and a wealth of data it can use to offer more targeted advertising. Verizon will combine Yahoo’s advertising technology tools as well as its search, email and messenger assets with its AOL unit, purchased for $4.4 billion in 2015.
Verizon’s shares rose 0.3 percent to $49.33 in afternoon trading, while Yahoo’s shares were up 0.8 percent at $45.48.
Under the amended terms, Yahoo and Verizon will split cash liabilities related to some government investigations and third-party litigation related to the breaches.
Yahoo, however, will continue to be responsible for liabilities from shareholder lawsuits and SEC investigations.
Yahoo said in December that data from more than 1 billion user accounts was compromised in August 2013, making it the largest breach in history.
This followed the company’s disclosure in September that at least 500 million accounts were affected in another breach in 2014.
Money transfer company TransferWise debuted a new service that allows users to send money internationally through Facebook Inc’s chat application, as competition in the digital payments landscape intensifies.
The London-based startup said on Tuesday that it had developed a Facebook Messenger “chatbot”, or an automated program that can help users communicate with businesses and carry out tasks such as online purchases.
TransferWise’s chatbot enables customers to send money to friends and family to and from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Europe from Facebook Messenger. It can also be used to set up exchange rate alerts.
Facebook already allows its users to send money domestically in the United States via its Messenger app, but has not yet launched similar services internationally. TransferWise said its service will be the first to enable international money transfers entirely within Messenger.
Facebook opened up its Messenger app to developers to create chatbots in April in a bid to expand its reach in customer service and enterprise transactions.
Chatbots have become a hot topic in enterprise technology over the past year because recent advances in artificial intelligence have made them better at interacting. Businesses, including banks, are hoping that they can be used to improve and reduce the cost of their customer service operations.
One of Europe’s most well-known fintech companies, TransferWise was launched in 2011 by Estonian friends Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann out of frustration with the high fees they were being charged by banks for international money transfers.
The company, which is valued at more than $1 billion, is backed by several high profile investors including Silicon Valley venture fund Andreessen Horowitz, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, and PayPal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, through his fund Valar Ventures.
Customers in more than 50 countries send roughly $1 billion through its website every month.
While the TransferWise chatbot is now only available in Facebook Messenger it can be adapted to work with other popular chat services, Scott Miller, head of global partnerships for TransferWise said. He said the service would eventually be extended to work in other countries and money transfer routes that the company operates in.
The app will roll out soon from app stores for Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV and Amazon Fire TV, the company said in a blogpost on Tuesday.
The blogpost also said users can scroll through their news feed and simultaneously watch videos on their timeline.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Facebook was creating an app for TV set-top boxes that would bring the company closer to live video and video advertisements.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg during a post-earnings call said this month that the company expected a major ramp-up in hiring and other spending during 2017 as it invests in video and other priorities.
The company last year expanded its live video product, Facebook Live – a potential threat to broadcast television.
Twitter rolled back a new fix intended to prevent abuse a few hours after it met with protests, reflecting that the company is still scrambling to find solutions to the problem of harassment on its service, but is willing to make changes quickly in response to its users.
The social network on Monday rolled out a new feature that would ensure that users would not get notified when they are added to a list. “We want you to get notifications that matter. Starting today, you won’t get notified when you are added to a list,” wrote Twitter Safety. One user pointed out that it was critical for people to know if they have been added to a list intended for targets.
“This is blinding the vulnerable,” the user added, suggesting that the correct approach is to allow people to remove themselves from lists or do it upon blocking the owner. Another user asked for a button that prevents users from being added to lists. “I’m on a ton of lists and I don’t want to be on any,” he added.
Ed Ho, vice president of engineering at Twitter, quickly described the move as a “misstep” and said Twitter was reversing the change, while CEO Jack Dorsey said “we’re reverting and debugging what led us here.”
A number of users ridiculed Twitter for even considering the change, with some questioning whether the company understood its own platform and user concerns. Others wanted assurance that the missteps wouldn’t happen again.
Twitter said last month it would be rolling out new features to its service to counter abuse. It did not provide details of the changes but said it would be introducing a number of product changes in the coming days and weeks. Some of the changes would be immediately visible, while others would be more targeted to specific scenarios, the company said. It added that it would be testing, learning and iterating on the changes as it went along.
The company said recently that it is taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts, with a focus on accounts that are set up only to abuse and harass others. It also said it was working on ‘safe search’ that removes tweets with potentially sensitive content or that come from blocked and muted accounts, besides identifying and collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality Tweet replies.
Acer is expected to break into new territory in the fields of artificial intelligence, deep learning in 2017 and has begun talking with several potential clients about shipping its first in-house robotics devices, according to company CEO Jason Chen.
Focus on AI and deep learning in the transportation sector
The Taiwan-based multinational computer company began its foray into AI and deep learning two years ago in 2015 and mostly focused its efforts on the transportation sector and related commercial uses. In 2016, the company managed to win a top award for forecasting traffic through a mountain tunnel in northern Taiwan, and now it plans to introduce some of the first fruits of its partnerships within the Taiwan transportation market in the first half of 2017.
Back in October, Acer shipped its first in-house robotics product called Jibo at a base price of $749. The project, originally led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, began as an effort to build a family robot with digital assistant features, allowing users to make phone calls, shop online, stream music and video using voice commands and manage connected household appliances.
Although the consumer robotics market is expected to remain relatively flat in 2017, the company is reportedly in talks with potential clients to land more orders of its in-house robots, though it has not specified whether it will begin developing separate models for business commercial-oriented purposes.
Digital signage shipments began in January
Acer is apparently making ground in the field of digital signage products, and landed orders for more than 1,000 digital signage devices from a European supermarket chain in late 2016. The company began its first shipments in January and is likely to expand negotiations with other clients in the next few months.
One of the first partners for Windows Holographic Platform
Last month during CES, the company unveiled a prototype headset for the Windows Holographic platform that will be compatible with the Windows 10 Creators Update later this April. Microsoft’s first three partners include Acer, HP and Dell and each include specialized cameras that can integrate VR alongside the Windows Holographic Mixed Reality platform. Each vendor has noted that users will not need a high-end PC to run these headsets, and pricing is expected to begin around $299. The Acer headset is expected to hit store shelves sometime in mid-2017.
Back in August, the company also began shipments of its first VR device for cinemas. Dubbed the StarVR, this panoramic virtual reality headset features two 5.5-inch displays each with 2560x1440p resolution, delivering the combined output of a 5K VR experience. With a 210-degree field of view, the displays deliver a more expansive panoramic environment using custom Fresnel-based optic technology. The 0.84-pound (380g) headset also features six degrees of freedom, 360-degree submillimeter optical tracking and a low-latency feedback mechanism that combines an IMU with an optical sensor.
The shipments were headed to IMAX Corporation, which started operating its first VR Experience Center in Los Angeles and is working on opening a second center in Manchester UK, says Chen.
Acer’s PC division will focus heavily on notebooks
Acer’s top executive also noted that its PC business in 2017 will focus primarily on its notebook products rather than its Aspire towers, all-in-one desktops and media center boxes. There is more market share and profitability to be gained with its 2-in-1 notebook offerings, Chromebooks, gaming notebooks and slim notebooks, and it currently ranks fourth in this market.
A slight reshuffling of the company’s board of directors and board of supervisors is also expected to occur in 2017, according to founder Stan Shih. The change includes electing CEO Jason Chen as the new chairman, while also remaining CEO for at least three years.
The world’s biggest online social network is also in discussions with media companies to license long-form, TV-quality programming, the Journal reported on Tuesday.
Facebook declined to comment.
An app for set-top boxes would bring Facebook closer to live video and video advertisements.
Getting advertisers to buy more video ads is key to Facebook’s continued revenue growth as such ads fetch higher rates from advertisers than text or photo-based ads.
Live video is also becoming a highly competitive feature on social platforms, with companies competing to stream major sports events and exclusive video components from high-profile events such as the Oscar and Grammy awards shows.
In April, Facebook expanded its live video product, Facebook Live – a potential threat to broadcast television, giving it prominent placement on its app and rolling out features to make it easier for users to search and comment in real time.
The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBZ) has filed suit against WhatsApp in the Berlin regional court, alleging that the company collects and stores data illegally and passes it on to Facebook, the federation said Monday.
The policy changes have also landed WhatsApp in hot water elsewhere.
Within days, privacy campaigners including the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy complained to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, accusing the companies of unfair and deceptive trade practices.
The city of Hamburg was first to rule against the companies, ordering Facebook in September to stop collecting data about WhatsApp users and to delete any data it had already gathered.
In October, European Union privacy watchdogs asked the companies to end the data transfers while they investigated whether they needed additional user consent to comply with EU privacy laws.
“We’re taking a completely new approach to abuse on Twitter. Including having a more open & real-time dialogue about it every step of the way,” wrote company CEO Jack Dorsey, referring to a tweet by Ed Ho, vice president for engineering, in which he promised the changes soon.
“This week, we’ll tackle long overdue fixes to mute/block and stopping repeat offenders from creating new accounts,” wrote Ho in one of a series of tweets.
Twitter has been asked by a large number of users to crack down on abuse and harassment on its platform, with some even quitting the service after being harassed online.
Dorsey asked users in December to identify what were the most important things users wanted Twitter to improve or create in 2017, and he was able to narrow down on four categories, of which one was abuse. The others were the flexibility to easily fix typos in tweets, and make it easier to follow conversations and find topics.
“We heard you, we didn’t move fast enough last year; now we’re thinking about progress in days and hours not weeks and months,” Ho promised in a message on Twitter. He did not provide details on the changes the company plans to introduce.
A company spokesman did not also provide details, promising to reveal more in the coming days and weeks.
Twitter said in a statement that it is approaching safety with a sense of urgency, and will be rolling out a number of product changes in the coming days and weeks. Some of these will be immediately visible, while the others will be more targeted to specific scenarios.
We will update you along the way and continue to test, learn and iterate on these changes to evaluate their effectiveness. You can expect to see meaningful progress in this area,” the company said.
The company is releasing an open source protocol that will let third-party sites recover user accounts through Facebook.
Typically, when people forget their password to a site, they’re forced to answer a security question or send a password reset request to their email. But these methods of account recovery can be vulnerable to hacking, said Facebook security engineer Brad Hill.
He recalled a time when he was granted permission to break into an online bank account. To do so, he took advantage of the password reset questions.
“It asked me what my favorite color was, and it let me guess as many times as I wanted,” he said Monday, during a presentation at the USENIX Enigma 2017 security conference.
Most other account recovery methods rely on sending a message to a user’s email address. But many people fail to properly secure their email accounts with strong passwords or two-factor authentication — and if there’s ever a breach, a hacker can reset passwords to the user’s other third-party accounts, Hill said.
Facebook is proposing it become another option for account recovery.
Essentially, users would be able to link their Facebook account to a third-party site, and if password recovery is ever needed, they could do so through the social networking site, Hill said.
Facebook’s protocol works in the web browser over HTTPS and requires no plugins. GitHub, an online repository for open source projects, is the first to adopt it. On Tuesday, it’ll start using Facebook, as part of a two-factor method, to recover accounts on the site.
The thought of centralizing all password recovery with Facebook might alarm some people. But Hill stressed that the protocol isn’t exclusive to the social networking service.
“I hope you do trust Facebook, but first of all, we’re opening up this protocol,” Hill said. “You’ll be able to choose the accounts you trust, not just Facebook, to do secure recovery.”
The hope is to create a “diverse ecosystem,” where any site can rely on multiple trusted sources for account recovery, Hill said.
He compared the protocol to OAuth, an open standard that lets third-party applications access services like a user’s account, without the risk of handling sensitive password information.
Facebook is hoping to attract other early adopters. The company has released the protocol on GitHub.
This year, several smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung Electronics, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi are expected to introduce new devices that feature better AI-based assistants in an effort to increase overall market share, according to industry reports.
Apple developing “enhanced Siri” this year
Apple acquired Seattle-based learning startup Turi in August 2016 in an effort to further strengthen the functionality and usefulness of its Siri personal assistant. The company promised to build out its portfolio of services and algorithms powered by machine learning, and is even building an engineering office in that city occupying less than two floors of a nearby office tower. Turi is expected to remain in the region and continue to grow as Apple continues to hire expertise in data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. However, the byproduct of its efforts could lead to a better version of Siri arriving on newer iPhone models scheduled to be released later this year.
Huawei to push Amazon Alexa
During its CES keynote this year, Huawei announced its Mate 9 smartphone in the US which became the first mobile device with Amazon’s Alexa assistant preinstalled as an app. The voice assistant lets people create tasks and to-do lists with voice commands, receive information and alerts about news and weather, play music and videos, and pull up responses to search engine requests. The company currently ranks as the third largest global smartphone vendor and has ambitiously stated its aims to overtake Apple’s second place lead sometime in the next two years. For now, however, it hopes that Amazon Alexa will remain a more compelling voice assistant option over Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s use of Google Assistant.
Samsung to introduce new assistant called “Bixby”
The latest reports suggest that Samsung is on the verge of introducing its own virtual assistant called Bixby, which is rumored to debut with the Samsung Galaxy S8 in mid-April. The service will compete with Google’s Assistant, but also collaborate with the company’s efforts to help push artificial intelligence ahead for mobile consumer services. The competition between Bixby and Assistant may eventually improve each service’s features and overall capabilities, though Bixby will only remain compatible with Samsung’s own devices.
HTC introduces “Sense Companion” assistant
Following the tail end of CES this year, HTC held its own press conference on January 12th and announced two new smartphones, the U Ultra and the U Play. Both devices are equipped with the company’s own AI-based voice assistant called the HTC Sense Companion, which aims to learn from peoples’ habits and interactions and will improve its helpfulness over time. For instance, the device will suggest you wear warmer clothes and leave for work a little earlier when expecting snowy weather, and can set reminders to pack certain items for different trips or events.
Google bringing Assistant to more devices
Google’s latest mobile device lineup, including the Pixel and Pixel XL, have launched with its voice-activated Google Assistant feature preinstalled, and it is also possible to get the service running on some previous generation models including the Nexus 6, 5 and 4 series, Moto G series, OnePlus and Samsung Galaxy S5.
LG has also been in talks with Amazon and Google to integrate AI-based voice assistants into its own smartphone lineup. While Google Assistant is currently supported on the LG V20 by modifying a single file through root access, the company hopes to make the feature available by default starting with the LG G6 that will be revealed next month during Mobile World Congress. The company is also expected to integrate Amazon’s Alexa into the device as a preinstalled app.
After months of collaborating, Apple is joining the Partnership on A.I., with other founding members including Google, IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.
The Partnership on A.I. was founded in September last year to also steer debate on best practices on A.I. The group believes A.I. could help in the areas of health care, transportation, and automation in factories.
Apple’s most visible A.I. technology is Siri, a voice assistant that can answer questions. But a larger A.I. strategy is still a subject of speculation. Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Amazon, and Google have well established A.I. strategies.
Speech and recognition are well-known use cases for A.I. Apple will likely implement A.I. in its mysterious autonomous car project so self-driving vehicles can navigate and cruise the roads safely without a human at the wheel.
Beyond the Alexa voice assistant, Amazon uses A.I. to provide buying recommendations. Google this week said it was providing TensorFlow tools so users can build a wide variety of A.I. capabilities into Raspberry Pi 3 and IBM’s high-powered cognitive computers.
The group believes A.I. holds tremendous promise and will lead to a big societal impact. A.I.’s impact needs to be discussed, and companies need to establish ground rules on how the technology is developed and deployed, according to the group.
The Partnership on A.I. is establishing a diverse board to bring in a variety of opinions. The board includes personnel from the top companies and members from universities and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
There is a lot of cooperation among organizations pursuing A.I. research. Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has poured $1 billion into OpenAI, which is also a member of the Partnership on A.I.
The move to AI could be the one catalyst which could help AMD and Nvidia carve up Intel’s mighty kingdom.
Last year saw Microsoft, Apple, Google develop more software for ARM based chips. During the year AMD and Nvidia saw their stock prices rise as shareholders started to think that they might succeed in taking Intel’s crown.
On of the reasons for this is AI which is fast becoming a bigger buzz world than Interent of Things – which is the basket Intel is putting its eggs into.
AMD and Nvidia are both making perfect AI processors in their graphics cards and now that AMD has released Polaris it is properly in a game dominated by Nvidia. AMD’s Radeon Instinct is specifically designed for the market.
Intel is doing ok in the market but it is not growing as fast as AMD or Nvidia.
According to the Verge, investors are buying up AMD stock because they know the processing challenges of the future are practically tailored for the massively parallel architecture of a GPU.
Nvidia and IBM have revealed their own agreement to provide “the world’s fastest” deep learning enterprise solution.
AMD and Nvidia should do well in the growing consumer interest in virtual reality although that might be a bubble waiting to burst. On paper at least, the most popular HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, both require tons of GPU power. However it is a moot point if these machines are the ones that will make AR work or if it will be something much cheaper and require less spec.
But if AR does take off then it will be yet another thing that Intel missed out on.
The super-cool and innovative tech power house Apple is rumored to have come up with some game-changing glasses which superimpose information and pictures onto reality.
Dubbed AR, no other technology company has come up with the idea before and it is believed to be the brain child of Tim Cook himself. Of course, it is all top secret because other companies will steal the idea before Apple gets it to market.
However, word on the street is that Apple is working with the German optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss on a pair of lightweight AR/mixed reality glasses.
The rumor comes from tech evangelist Robert Scoble who thinks the project could be announced as early as this year. Apparently it has been confirmed by a Zeiss employee, Scoble wrote in a Facebook post Monday.
Unlike virtual reality, which promises to immerse goggle-wearing users in new and exciting digital worlds, AR tends to overlay images and data atop the real world. This is the sort of idea which was shown with Pokemon Go.
To show how in advance Apple is over companies like Microsoft and Google Cook told ABC News that he saw bigger possibilities for AR than VR in September! That is long before anyone else came up with the idea and pours cold water on the idea that Apple has run out of ideas, can only update its ten-year-old smartphone technology and that it is always getting beaten to the punch issuing technology years after everyone else.
The company has filed several patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office that deal with augmented reality because, you know, no one else is doing AR.