View profile

Big Revolution - It sounds scary... but is it important?

Revue
 
After a week of whizzing around the country to events and workshops, today is, refreshingly, a day I
 
March 28 · Issue #31 · View online
Big Revolution
After a week of whizzing around the country to events and workshops, today is, refreshingly, a day I can use get on with normal work, with my feet up, on my sofa. There are lots of things to worry about in the 21st century, but the normalisation of working from home isn’t one of them.
But first, here’s Wednesday’s Big Revolution…
Martin

Big things you need to know today
- Facebook is apparently delaying the smart speaker it planned to launch in May, because… well, ‘Facebook wants to put a listening device in your home’ just doesn’t fly very well right now. 
- Meanwhile, Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress in the USA over the Cambridge Analytica saga, but is snubbing UK MPs.
- Apple has unveiled a revised 9.7-inch iPad with Apple Pencil support. It’s aimed at schools, who will get a $30 discount on the device. There’s also a new Schoolwork app to let teachers assign work to students, and students will get 200GB of iCloud storage for free. I doubt this will be enough to shake off the rise of Chromebooks in education, especially considering Google’s unlimited cloud storage deal with schools.
- Google is acquiring GIF search platform Tenor. The deal gives Google access to information about the burgeoning demand for GIFs as a form of visual communication. 
- Shyp, the American startup that took the pain out of sending parcels by mail, is shutting down. It follows a series of missteps that meant the business was slow to align its offering with a solid business case. CEO Kevin Gibbon is open about his mistakes in this good post-mortem on LinkedIn.
- More setbacks for autonomous vehicle testing. Uber has suspended all tests in California, and Nvidia and Toyota are also both pausing tests on public roads. But as a reminder this technology isn’t going away, yesterday also brought news that Alphabet’s Waymo has ordered a whopping 20,000 Jaguar cars for a self-driving ride-hailing service.
The big thought
Hey look, it's another picture of Alexander Nix. Credit: Web Summit
It sounds scary… but is it important?
Another day, another Cambridge Analytica story. The New York Times reports that the company received help from “at least one employee at Palantir Technologies, a top Silicon Valley contractor to American spy agencies and the Pentagon.”
Okay… but what does this tell us that’s useful? Sure, both companies have reputations for having engaged in shady behaviour over the years, but I’m really not sure what the significance of this story is. 
It seems every day now, we get some new detail about this story that sounds mildly ominous. Follow the right people on Twitter, and you’ll see fresh questions daily about Cambridge Analytica’s dealings around the world, and who might have been involved in them.
Sure, some of it might end up being significant, but can we calm it on all the coverage for now? If there’s a solid new scandal to be uncovered, bring it to light. But drip feeding vaguely sinister-sounding details about things that might not have been sinister at all is just fuel for conspiracy theorists.
One big read
Ad Scammers Need Suckers, and Facebook Helps Find Them Ad Scammers Need Suckers, and Facebook Helps Find Them
It’s open season for anti-Facebook stories, but this is a good one. This piece explains how the company’s ad platform helps scammers find the best marks to exploit.
One big tweet
ಠ_ಠ
i think one of the reasons facebooks reaction to the past few weeks seems so caught off guard is that this level of data collection and manipulation has literally been the standard for years

imagine them wondering “why does everyone suddenly care now?”
8:30 PM - 27 Mar 2018
…and of course the story is not so much that it happens, more that a lot of people have suddenly realised… and they don’t like it.
That’s all for today...
Don’t forget, if you’d like to support Big Revolution, you can choose to become a member for $5 per month. It’s like buying me a coffee every month for sending you these packed emails every day.
Just hit the ‘become a member’ button below. Thank you!
Did you enjoy this issue?
 
Become a member for $5 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Martin SFP Bryant
You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here
Powered by Revue