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Apple Just Did Something Remarkable And It’s Very Good News For Its Customers

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No one likes to admit when they’re wrong. That’s true for you and me, and it’s especially true for big companies like Apple. The thing is, when you’re willing to admit when you made a mistake, it goes a long way towards building trust. And trust is, by far, your brand’s most valuable asset.

Today, Apple apologized for how it had handled recorded snippets of users’ voice interactions with Siri, the company’s digital assistant. In a statement, the company said that  “we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize.”

You might remember that Apple, like pretty much every other tech company, recently admitted that it used contractors to listen to, and transcribe these recordings in an effort to improve the artificial intellience-powered service. Making matters worse is that fact that the company hadn’t disclosed this practice, and contractors often heard false-activations that revealed personal information and other private conversations.

Earlier this month, Apple paused its review program and ended its relationship with the contractors involved. Now, it appears to be taking the next step, which started with an apology.

That’s actually pretty remarkable. It’s not often that companies say, “I’m sorry. We messed up.” Sure, they sometimes say a lot of words that vaguely sound like “I’m sorry,” but rarely are they this direct. Apple basically called itself out, saying that it wasn’t living up to its own standards, and that it owed customers an apology for a problem it caused.

Along with the apology, maybe the even bigger news here is that Apple announced a series of steps it plans to take moving forward, including:

  • The company will no longer retain recorded Siri interactions, but will use computer-generated transcripts instead.
  • Apple will allow users to opt in to having their audio samples included in the company’s efforts to improve the product. Users will also be able to opt out at any time after that.
  • Apple will only allow its employees (not contractors) to listen to audio samples, and will delete any “inadvertent trigger,” of Siri.

This is a big deal for a lot of reasons, but mostly because Apple will now allow users to ‘opt in.’ This is exactly how it should work.

There are perfectly legitimate reasons why Apple would want to listen to recorded snippets of Siri interactions. That’s one of the only ways it can really know how accurate the AI is at understanding user requests and providing the right information for a human to review and correction. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t agree that that’s reasonable.

But Apple is changing the default assumption of an unspoken ‘opt in’ to one where people are given the choice to participate, instead of simply offering some opaque way of opting out. Companies offer opt out because they know most people won’t go through the trouble of changing whatever the default setting is, meaning people stay in whether they really want to or not.

Every tech company handling sensitive data should do exactly this. Don’t just let people opt out, or delete their history, or make a request to no longer be recorded. Make the default position the thing that’s best for the user, even if it makes your job a little harder.

Then, make your case for why your practice is worth it to the customer, and let them decide to participate or not.

By: Jason Aten

 

Source: https://www.inc.com/

At its 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple showed off iOS 13, which will be coming to iPhones this fall. Some of the new features include a dark mode, an overhaul for Maps, and the ability to swipe to type. Here are the best features Apple showed off. The event took place at the San Jose Convention Center, not Cupertino as mentioned in the video. Tech Insider regrets the error. MORE IPHONE CONTENT: 23 iPhone Tricks To Make Your Life Easier https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U52mI… $479 Pixel 3a XL VS. $1,099 iPhone XS Max https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ddAY… Lifelong iPhone User Switches To The Galaxy S10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1r3wb… —————————————————— #Apple #iPhone #TechInsider Tech Insider tells you all you need to know about tech: gadgets, how-to’s, gaming, science, digital culture, and more. Visit us at: https://www.businessinsider.com TI on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/techinsider TI on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tech_insider/ TI on Twitter: https://twitter.com/techinsider TI on Amazon Prime: http://read.bi/PrimeVideo INSIDER on Snapchat: https://insder.co/2KJLtVo The Best Features Apple Just Announced Coming To The iPhone

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How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

Blockchain hype—led by cryptocurrency headlines—obscures powerful enterprise applications of the technology. We aim to change that. In this series, we’ll bring you insights from Amazon Web Services customers and partners who are using blockchain to change the world.

The world grows more interconnected every day. Businesses collaborate across the globe. Transactions increase in volume and intricacy. Organizations that share sensitive information across public networks risk information leaks and the possibility of sophisticated cyber attacks.

Traditional methods of storing, verifying, and securing transactions struggle to keep pace with this rising complexity. Massive inefficiency results from the need to process and verify information spread across entities. Entire industries exist only to serve as trusted intermediaries between parties. Attempts at automation create fragile webs of APIs.

Blockchain and digital ledger technologies solve these problems by storing transactions in ways that are transparent, immutable, and verifiable. And they allow multiple parties to transact in a trustworthy and efficient manner, with or without a centralized authority.

Many exciting use cases are possible. Manufacturers could build track and trace ledgers that unify data from multiple systems, enabling faster identification of the reasons for product defects. Consumers could see the history of goods from raw materials to last-mile delivery. Insurers could pay claims in seconds. The time it takes to issue a bond through a securities exchange could shrink from months to minutes.

Companies are working to reap the benefits of blockchain, such as greater speed, efficiency, and reduced risk. For example, Gartner calls blockchain one of the top 10 strategic technologies of 2019. Eighty-five percent of enterprises in a Deloitte survey said they invest $500,000 or more annually in blockchain technologies.

Yet few have deployed these systems to production. Significant challenges hamper the transformative potential of blockchain. Businesses cite regulatory issues, technical barriers, security threats, uncertain ROI, and lack of in-house skills as the biggest barriers.

Many of our own customers, such as Nestlé and Singapore Exchange, have told us about the complexity of building scalable enterprise applications on blockchain. Setting up the hardware, networking, and software can be daunting, even before getting to the experimentation phase. This delays potentially life-changing innovations.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) solves these issues in two major ways. First, we built Blockchain on AWS—a set of massively scalable blockchain and distributed ledger services in the cloud. If all you need is a centralized ledger that immutably records all application data changes, there’s Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (Amazon QLDB). If you need to build a distributed application with ledger capabilities and the ability for multiple parties to transact without a trusted central authority, there’s Amazon Managed Blockchain.

Second, we collaborate closely with leading enterprises to speed innovation. From global manufacturers to finance-industry cornerstones, these companies are creating a more scalable, secure, efficient future. For example, they’ve demonstrated that blockchain delivers throughput to handle U.S. securities trading. Others have built solutions to connect small-scale farmers with consumers thousands of miles away.

We’ll highlight these and many other exciting use cases in the coming weeks. We’re thrilled to bring you along on the journey.

For 13 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 165 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 66 Availability Zones (AZs) within 21 geographic regions, spanning the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, and the UK. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

Source: How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

 

Healthcare Startups Have Raised More This Year Than in 2012 And 2013 Combined – Michela Tindera

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With two months left in 2018, healthcare startups have already raised more in VC funding this year than they did in all of 2012 and 2013 combined, according to an analysis conducted for Forbes by Pitchbook. Venture capitalists have poured more than $26 billion into health startups this year. In 2012 and 2013 combined, the sector raised $22.3 billion in 12 months. So far this year that $26.3 billion has been spread among 1,540 deals, which is slightly less than half the 3,103 deals that took place in 2012 and 2013………

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michelatindera/2018/11/02/healthcare-startups-have-raised-more-this-year-than-in-2012-and-2013-combined/#521a6b867ac7

 

 

 

 

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Swiss Startup Aims To Help Paralyzed People Walk – Matthew Herper

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A group of scientists associated with GTX Medical, a Swiss medical device firm, published new evidence yesterday that using electricity to stimulate the spinal cord can help paralyzed people regain some walking ability. The new results, published yesterday in Nature and its sister journal Nature Neuroscience, show that using patterns of electrical stimulation allowed three men to regain the ability to walk with training. Unlike previous studies published in Nature Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine, which used continuous electrical signals, not pulses, two of the men maintained the ability to walk even when the stimulation device was turned off……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2018/11/01/swiss-startup-aims-to-help-paralyzed-people-walk/#75cb0e4a7557

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Investing In Your Employees Is The Future of Work – Drew Holler

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As we look toward the future of work, it’s becoming more important than ever for companies to understand the needs of their teams, and to build solutions and products to help serve them—whether that’s through training, healthcare, or other investments. At Walmart, we’ve been very deliberate about investing in our associates, particularly over the past three years as we’ve thought about new ways to improve their lives and careers. Education is the latest iteration of that commitment. Between historically low unemployment rates in the US and innovative technologies reshaping jobs, all businesses have a lot of work to do—both in terms of recruiting and upskilling  ……..

Read more: https://qz.com/1410509/why-investing-in-your-employees-is-the-future-of-work/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=firefox_placement

 

 

 

 

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This Thermometer Tells Your Temperature, Then Tells Firms Where to Advertise – Sapna Maheshwari

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Most of what we do — the websites we visit, the places we go, the TV shows we watch, the products we buy — has become fair game for advertisers. Now, thanks to internet-connected devices in the home like smart thermometers, ads we see may be determined by something even more personal: our health. This flu season, Clorox paid to license information from Kinsa, a tech start-up that sells internet-connected thermometers that are a far cry from the kind once made with mercury and glass……

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/23/business/media/fever-advertisements-medicine-clorox.html

 

 

 

 

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How To Improve Your Digital Journey With The Right Partners – Derek Klobucher

Compared to a classic IT solution, [partnership] enables you to go much further along the way in a short period of time,” Carlo Schots, from The Netherlands-based IT service provider Ordina, stated in a video shown at SAP Leonardo Now last month. “Together they enable you to innovate digitally.” Ordina partnered with SAP to help Brussels-based telecom Proximus expand its fiberoptic network, shipping materials from a central warehouse to contractors and subcontractors spread across the country. Proximus used some of SAP Leonardo’s intelligent technologies to…….

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2018/09/21/how-to-improve-your-digital-journey-with-the-right-partners-video/#1cd590056567

 

 

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Could This Low-Cost Device Provide Clean Drinking Water To Those In Need – Emily Matchar

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Worldwide, some 850 million people lack access to clean drinking water. Contaminated water transmits a huge variety of diseases, including cholera, dysentery and typhoid, causing more than half a million deaths a year.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have developed a solar water purifier they hope can sanitize water more quickly, cheaply and effectively than other models.

“Solar energy is basically free,” says Qiaoqiang Gan, a professor of engineering who led the research. “In some countries in tropical areas, they are short of resources but they have an abundance of solar energy.”

The design looks more or less like a small A-frame tent. Black carbon-dipped paper is draped over a triangular form and set on top of the water. The edges of the paper trail in the water, soaking it up like a sponge. It’s a modernization of the ancient technology of the solar still, which uses solar energy to evaporate water and leave contaminants behind. The water vapor then cools, condenses and can be collected.

Gan’s team improved the design of the solar still, making it more efficient by giving it a sloped shape—this keeps the paper cool, since light hits it at a slant instead of directly. Since the paper stays below the ambient temperature, it draws heat from its surroundings, which makes up for the loss of solar energy during the vaporization process.

The device can evaporate about 2.2 liters of water per hour for every square meter of paper hit by the sun. This is more efficient than other solar-powered water purifiers, Gan says.

The research was described in a paper published earlier this month in the journal Advanced Science. The work, funded by the National Science Foundation, was a collaboration between University at Buffalo, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Fudan University in China. The first authors on the paper were Haomin Song and Youhai Liu.

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Researchers Qiaoqiang Gan, Zongmin Bei and Haomin Song were among the authors of the new study. The three engineers and their colleagues are working to bring the solar still to those who need it through their startup, Sunny Clean Water. (Douglas Levere/University at Buffalo)

Gan and his colleagues have set up a company to commercialize the technology. Their prototype can condense and collect between 10 and 20 liters every day in full sun conditions, Gan says. As the average adult woman needs about 2.7 liters of fluid per day and the average man needs about 3.7, some 80 percent of which comes from drinks, the still could in theory provide enough daily drinking water for a family. Gan estimates it will cost about $200 and will be available within a year or so.

Gan hopes the device will be cheaper than similar technologies developed in recent years, many of which rely on expensive nanomaterials. Stanford scientists have created a tiny water filter using “nanoflakes” of molybdenum, several companies have been looking at using nanocellulose for water treatment, while a Tanzanian engineer’s nanofilter won the African innovation prize from the UK Royal Academy of Engineering. In contrast, the solar still uses inexpensive and widely available carbon paper.

The device can be used on any kind of water surface—a lake, a pond, a trough, even the ocean. But how it works will depend on the setting.

“The major challenge is different people in different areas have local needs,” says Gan, who just returned from a fact-gathering trip to Argentina. “Especially if the source water quality is very different.”

For example, if the still is used on the ocean, salt will eventually accumulate on the surface. This and other design challenges are still being worked on.

The still can remove nearly 100 percent of bacteria, viruses and organic compounds like arsenic, Gan says. It does less well with certain volatile chemicals, including certain pesticides, which are evaporated up with the water rather than left behind.

“It looks like it has some serious promise to it,” says Desmond Lawler, an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, of the system.

Lawler says one major consideration will be the humidity of the environment where the still is used. In very humid conditions—think the Caribbean after a hurricane—it’s much harder to evaporate water. The team will need to take this into consideration when designing systems for specific locations.

Though he doesn’t imagine the system being a substitute for more permanent clean water sources, Lawyer says he finds the simplicity of the system promising.

“A small-scale system that could create drinking water for a family,” Lawler says. “It’s very exciting to think about, particularly for emergency situations.”

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