Techaways – The week best bits in 4 bites

Just how bad is the Facebook data breach?

Source: The Washington Post/Getty Images

It is getting to the point now where if you believe that Facebook is an innocent bit of fun, you’re likely a naïve child who is totally unaware that the world does not revolve around your own experience. Fortunately, however, children and young people, in general, are switching off from the social network behemoth as it staggers from crisis to crisis because mum and dad have made Facebook uncool.

The lame factor is the least of Facebook’s problems at the moment, however, as the latest crisis is so big that it could see head honcho Zuckerberg hauled in front of government officials to explain how his creation has reeked so much damage. This is, of course, the Cambridge Analytica crisis, which has seen millions of Facebook users’ details land in the hands of politically motivated actors, seemingly devoid of any moral compass and who are willing to use the data they’ve amassed in the service of the highest bidder.

Even if you’re a Trump supporter in the US or a Brexit supporter in the UK, the fact that Cambridge Analytica has been pitching to Russian Oil companies, likely under the auspice of Putin, should have alarm bells ringing. Thanks to Facebook, these people have been able to steal your data and are willing to sell it and the insights they’ve gained from it to the highest bidder, even if that highest bidder will act against your best interest.

The latest Facebook data breach is both shocking and awful and amounts to nothing short of a coup against democracy and freedom. Sort it out, Mark!

JFK finally delivers his Dallas speech from November 22nd 1963

Source: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images 

November 22nd, 1963 still lives on in infamy as it was the day John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Much is still in doubt about what actually happened on that fateful day, but something that cannot be refuted is the speech the great man was due to deliver before he was shot down on the streets of Dallas.

The speech has been a matter of public record for some time and can read on the pages of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library here. Kennedy never got to deliver his speech of course but, thanks to new voice synthesis technology and some painstaking work from Scottish voice company CereProc, that does not mean you can’t listen to him giving his final speech.

The project was commissioned by The Times and used 831 separate recordings of JFK, each only 0.4 seconds long, to create the illusion of a fluent a fluid recitation of Kennedy’s final speech by the man himself. All in all, it took over two months to complete the work on the speech, but the results are quite stunning. You can hear the speech here (unfortunately, it is behind The Times paywall, so only paid subscribers will be able to hear it).

This Black Mirror nightmare is real in China

Source: Fossbytes

Black Mirror, the dystopian Netflix series based on the terrible path that technology is leading us down, has been prescient more than once. Whether it was successfully predicting ex UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s intimate relations with Pigs or showing a driverless pizza van buzzing around town, many things featured in the show have either shown up in popular culture or are well on the way to becoming a reality. Unfortunately for Chinese citizens one of the most terrifying concepts shown in Black Mirror will soon be true for them.

The idea of a social credit score, as seen in Black Mirror, put all citizens at the mercy of a score made up of an amalgamation of ratings that were given to you whenever you interacted with other people. The episode that described this idea showed an unfortunate woman’s life spiral out of control as she stumbled from one social car crash to another. As her social credit score dropped, so did her access to certain products, services, and even social circles. On May 1st, this terrifying concept will become a reality in China when bad social credit scores start having a tangible effect on people’s lives.

China’s social credit score is based on social and financial behavior. The first series of acts that’ll have a negative effect on your score include spreading false information, causing trouble on public transportation, using expired travel tickets, failing to pay social insurance, and smoking on trains. Rather terrifyingly the guiding principle behind the scheme is “Once untrustworthy, always restricted.” Those restrictions become real on 1st May when people with low social credit scores will be unable to travel via plane or train for up to a year.

Cutlery 2.0 – The strange world of Japanese dining gadgets

Source: Engadget

Japan loves a good gadget. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a good gadget for Japan to love it. The Japanese word “chindogu” is used to describe gadgets that transcend the limits of usefulness. Gadgets do not need to be good or useful to be celebrated in Japan. To celebrate the principle of Chindogu, British Sushi restaurant chain OK Sushi has introduced some dining gadgets to its restaurant.

These marvels rage from a noodle splash guard that’ll turn you into a scoffing sunflower to chop sticks fitted with a fan that should cool your Ramen soup for you so you don’t have to blow on it. Other wonders include a Wasabi stick for dabbing your sushi with Japanese horseradish and an absolutely ridiculous napkin hat.

These gadgets will only be knocking around in the OK Sushi restaurants for a week, but their memory will likely linger much longer. Especially if you decide to take that Tinder match to OK Sushi for your first date.

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