Miscellaneous

25 March 2020

Big Tech Could Emerge From Coronavirus Crisis Stronger Than Ever New York Times

Amazon is hiring aggressively to meet customer demand. Traffic has soared on Facebook and YouTube. And cloud computing has become essential to home workers.

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12 March 2020

EU plans 'right to repair' rules for phones and tablets The Guardian

Manufacturers of phones, tablets and laptops will face legal obligations to make their products easier to repair and reuse, under a far-reaching recycling plan from the European Union executive.

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17 January 2020

Microsoft makes 'carbon negative' pledge BBC

Microsoft has pledged to remove "all of the carbon" from the environment that it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975.

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17 December 2019

Apple and Google named in US lawsuit over Congolese child cobalt mining deaths The Guardian

A landmark legal case has been launched against the world’s largest tech companies by Congolese families who say their children were killed or maimed while mining for cobalt used to power smartphones, laptops and electric cars, the Guardian can reveal.

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14 December 2019

The "Ghost Workers" Underpinning the World's Artificial Intelligence Systems Centre for International Governance Innovation

Ron Orol speaks with Mary Gray, the co-author of a new book on the unseen labour that powers the internet, about the need for a better “social contract” when it comes to the rights of informal workers

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09 December 2019

The Price of Recycling Old Laptops: Toxic Fumes in Thailand's Lungs New York Times

The e-waste industry is booming in Southeast Asia, frightening residents worried for their health. Despite a ban on imports, Thailand is a center of the business.

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05 December 2019

How Google's Founders Slowly Stepped Away From Their Company New York Times

Larry Page and Sergey Brin became billionaires thanks to the success of Google. But toward the end, they appeared happy to let someone else run it.

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SpaceX plans to launch thousands of satellites: Is this the end of dark skies? ABC News

The night sky may feel vast, but it's about to get very crowded up there for scientists peering into distant galaxies. Elon Musk's SpaceX is one of several companies that intend to launch vast constellations of small satellites into low-Earth orbit.

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13 November 2019

Microsoft tops list of the most 'just' US corporations Al Jazeera

With capitalism widely under fire in the United States for its contributions to widening wealth inequality and a deepening climate crisis, many Americans have called for major structural change.

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29 June 2019

Introducing Equiano, a subsea cable from Portugal to South Africa Google

Today we are introducing Equiano, our new private subsea cable that will connect Africa with Europe. Once complete, Equiano will start in western Europe and run along the West Coast of Africa, between Portugal and South Africa, with branching units along the way that can be used to extend connectivity to additional African countries. The first branch is expected to land in Nigeria. This new cable is fully funded by Google, making it our third private international cable after Dunant and Curie, and our 14th subsea cable investment globally.

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10 February 2019

Tokyo 2020: Medals to be made from recycled waste BBC News

All the medals at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will be made from recycled electronic waste, say organisers.

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07 January 2019

Apple and China's problems show that today's titans may not rule the world tomorrow by Will Hutton The Observer

Our mental geography is bounded by what has gone before. What has happened in the recently remembered past is most likely to continue. Inflection points, when trends decisively change, are more infrequent than the many instances when things go on as they have done.

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11 December 2018

The internet is going to hell and its creators want your help fixing it The Register

If ever there was doubt that 2018 is the year of fear, it was confirmed by a panel discussion involving the two men that are credited with inventing the internet and the world wide web.

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06 December 2018

Protecting our digital heritage in the age of cyber threats The Conversation

One of the key functions of the government is to collect and archive national records. This includes everything from property records and registers of births, deaths and taxes, to Parliamentary proceedings, and even the ABC’s digital library of Australian news and entertainment.

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30 November 2018

Microsoft Is Worth as Much as Apple. How Did That Happen? New York Times

Just a few years ago, Microsoft was seen as a lumbering has-been of the technology world. It was big and still quite profitable, but the company had lost its luster, failing or trailing in the markets of the future like mobile, search, online advertising and cloud computing. Its stock price languished, inching up 3 percent in the decade through the end of 2012.

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09 November 2018

Sundar Pichai of Google: 'Technology Doesn't Solve Humanity's Problems' New York Times

Growing up in India, he slept on the floor of a house without a refrigerator. Today, the chief executive is steering Google through the most turbulent period in its history.

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Google in China: When 'Don't Be Evil' Met the Great Firewall Bloomberg

If you’re planning on moving to China anytime soon, here’s a piece of advice: Get yourself a WeChat account. Open up the “super app,” as it’s known in China, and you can do almost anything: Pay your cab fare, order from a five-star restaurant, buy fruit from a street vendor, or even give alms to a panhandler—they often wear QR codes slung around their necks. It’s possible to spend long stretches in China without so much as touching a banknote.

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09 September 2018

Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China's Richest Man, to Retire From Company He Co-Founded New York Times

Alibaba’s co-founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma, said he planned to step down from the Chinese e-commerce giant on Monday to pursue philanthropy in education, a changing of the guard for the $420 billion internet company.

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04 September 2018

Google at 20: how a search engine became a literal extension of our mind The Conversation

We are losing our minds to Google. After 20 years, Google’s products have become integrated into our everyday lives, altering the very structure of our cognitive architecture, and our minds have expanded out into cyberspace as a consequence. This is not science fiction, but an implication of what’s known as the “extended mind thesis”, a widely accepted view in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience.

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05 August 2018

There's ingenuity behind Apple's great success. But we must guard against its might The Observer

The more awesome our technological progress, the more our politicians take refuge in the familiar ideological categories of the 19th century. Last week, Apple became the world’s first trillion-dollar corporation. It, like Amazon and Google hard on its heels, offers products and services that have transformed our lives. These companies’ financial and market powers are staggering. They are the new technopolists. But how are the great things they do to be curated and enhanced and how are the menaces to be contained?

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03 August 2018

Apple's $1 Trillion Milestone Reflects Rise of Powerful Megacompanies New York Times

... Apple’s new 13-figure valuation highlights how a group of enormous companies has come to dominate the United States economy. Today, a smaller cluster of American companies commands a larger share of total corporate profits than since at least the 1970s.

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26 July 2018

Children mining cobalt in slave-like conditions as global demand for battery material surges ABC News

If you have not spared a thought for cobalt since high school science, then it might be time.

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28 June 2018

Amazon, Google and Microsoft Employee AI Ethics Are Best Hope For Humanity Forbes

Artificial Intelligence can seem like it is improving at an often alarming rate but the reality is often less glamorous. Slow improvements and long paths to success. Despite this, we often see stories that depict giant leaps and dystopian futures. Despite significant progress, we are nowhere near the singularity, Matrix or Terminator images used to illustrate reality. AI can be helpful, but this doesn't mean AI can't cause more significant problems than it solves either. In fact, it's causing employees to quit and stop working on projects until the employer changes the policy - in some cases successfully and time will tell in others. These employees aren't MIT or a Think Tank in Switzerland they are companies you use every day...Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

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11 June 2018

The lesson from big tech’s latest PR events? They know we’re on to them... The Observer

In the bad old days of the cold war, western political and journalistic institutions practised an arcane pseudoscience called Kremlinology. Its goal was to try to infer what was going on in the collective mind of the Soviet Politburo. Its method was obsessively to note everything that could be publicly observed of the activities of this secretive cabal – who was sitting next to whom at the podium; which foreign visitors were granted an audience with which high official; who was in the receiving line for a visiting head of state; what editorials in Pravda (the official Communist party newspaper) might mean; and so on.

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Underpaid and exhausted: the human cost of your Kindle The Observer

Five o’clock in the morning and the young woman’s eyelids are drooping. All night she has been removing spots of dust from Amazon smartspeakers with a toothbrush. Time seems to crawl. Now she is overwhelmed with exhaustion.

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