How Amazon puts misinformation on your reading list | John Naughton | Opinion

It’s a truism that we live in a “digital age”. It would be more accurate to say that we live in an algorithmically curated era – that is, a period when many of our choices and perceptions are shaped by machine-learning algorithms that nudge us in directions favoured by those Continue Reading

GPT-3: an AI game-changer or an environmental disaster? | John Naughton | Opinion

Unless you’ve been holidaying on Mars, or perhaps in Spain (alongside the transport secretary), you may have noticed some fuss on social media about something called GPT-3. The GPT bit stands for the “generative pre-training” of a language model that acquires knowledge of the world by “reading” enormous quantities of Continue Reading

The UK’s app failure sums up our fatally flawed coronavirus response | John Naughton | Opinion

I’ve just been looking at the coronavirus death toll in various countries as tallied on the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 tracker. At the time I checked, the UK had 45,407 deaths, Poland had 1,642, Ireland had 1,753, New Zealand had 1,555 and Greece had – wait for it – 197. Continue Reading

Recovery from Covid-19 will be threatened if we don’t learn to control big tech | John Naughton | Opinion- Tempemail

Last Wednesday, Twitter suffered the biggest hacking attack in its history. A scammer got into its system, probably by hacking the account of someone working in the company, and acquired some of the special privileges that internal staff possess in order to do their work. This enabled the intruder to Continue Reading

Is it payback time for Apple as the EU goes after its licences to print money? | John Naughton | Opinion

On 16 June, the European commission opened two antitrust investigations into Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay practices. The first investigation will examine whether Apple has broken EU competition rules with its App Store policies. The second investigation is into whether restrictions imposed by Apple on the near field communication Continue Reading

Twitter taking on Trump’s lies? About time too | John Naughton | Opinion

In addition to washing your hands while singing the first two verses of The Internationale, it might be a good time also to clean out your Twitter feed. According to a recent report of a research study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems, Continue Reading

Facebook’s ‘oversight board’ is proof that it wants to be regulated – by itself | John Naughton | Opinion

Here we go again. Facebook, a tech company that suffers from the delusion that it’s a nation state, has had another go at pretending that it is one. Originally, you will recall, it was going to create a global currency called Libra and in effect become shadow banker to the Continue Reading

Contact apps won’t end lockdown. But they might kill off democracy | John Naughton | Opinion

Repeat after me: there is no magic bullet for getting us through this pandemic. And smartphone-based proximity-sensing is definitely not that bullet, though it might be useful if two conditions are met. One is that it’s perceived by citizens to be trustworthy and protects their privacy; the other is that Continue Reading

For non-intrusive tracking of Covid-19, smartphones have to be smarter | John Naughton | Opinion

On the weekend of March 20-21 news organisations in the US and elsewhere were reporting that beaches in Florida were thronged with holidaymakers, none of whom seemed to be observing any kind of social distancing. “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not Continue Reading

Smartphones could help us track the coronavirus – but at what cost? | John Naughton | Opinion

As we confront the pandemic, we’re flying blind, like pilots in 1930s aeroplanes flying through fog. That, at any rate, is what I take away from reading John Ioannidis, a Stanford professor who is an expert in epidemiology, population health, biomedical data science and statistics. Covid-19, he writes, in a Continue Reading