Web Log: Twitter rolls out Topics

Majority of Irish people in favour of killer robot ban

 

Twitter rolls out Topics

Following a public figure, company or sports team on Twitter doesn’t necessarily guarantee you can keep on top of their latest news and doesn’t allow you to tap into the current chatter about them (unless you follow William Shatner who is a prolific retweeter).

If you find yourself constantly searching Twitter for updates on your favourite things, Twitter Topics will be a boon. Already rolling out on iOS, it began to appear yesterday on Android and the web. Topic suggestions will pop up in both your timeline and search results. Tap on these and follow to see tweets, people, events and, yes, ads about this topic.

Topic suggestions, by the way, are generated from interests Twitter has compiled based on your previous activity and your profile in general. If you want to see (and change) what Twitter thinks you’re interested in go to settings -> your Twitter data -> Twitter interests.

Apparently, among other things, I’m into Diet Coke, combat sports and Nigel Farage. I have in the past tweeted my disdain for all of these and hope they don’t make it to my topic suggestions.

Keep in mind that all topics you follow are public so other users can see this from within your profile. And unless you have your timeline set to see latest tweets, these topics will take priority among your top tweets.

https://twitter.com/Twitter/status/1194015365845700608

Majority of Irish people in favour of killer robot ban

A recent poll conducted by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has found the 81 per cent of Irish people are opposed to the use of lethal autonomous weapons systems. Out of the 10 European countries polled, Ireland had the highest proportion of people in favour of their Government working towards an international treaty banning killer robots.

“This survey shows that the Irish public want their Government to help create an international treaty to prohibit fully autonomous weapons and prevent potentially catastrophic human suffering before it’s too late,” said Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch and coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

Overall, a majority of people (73 per cent) across all 10 countries are in favour of an international ban on such weapons systems. In 2018, a similar poll across 26 countries including the US and Russia showed that 61 per cent were in support of a killer robot ban.

“The European Parliament has taken a strong stance against autonomous weapons. Ireland is a major centre for technological development and this makes it our responsibility to work towards a legally binding instrument to prevent the development and use of killer robots,” says Laura Nolan, Irish member of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control.

https://www.stopkillerrobots.org/2019/11/new-european-poll-shows-73-favour-banning-killer-robots/

Google’s Project Nightingale raises patient data concerns

Following Google’s recent partnership with US healthcare organisation Ascension, there are growing concerns over how the personal health data of millions of Americans will be used. Google has made a statement that this data “cannot be used for any other purpose” than the services in the agreement, which include moving Ascension’s infrastructure to the cloud and creating AI tools to assists doctors and other healthcare professionals.

“Patient data cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data,” they added.

Meanwhile, a whistleblower has made claims to the Guardian newspaper that Project Nightingale involves the transfer of up to 50 million healthcare records including personal information, like names and date of birth, along with full medical histories – and all without being anonymised before transfer.

“There’s a massive issue that these public-private partnerships are all done under private contracts, so it’s quite difficult to get some transparency,” Prof Jane Kaye at the University of Oxford told BBC News.

“Google is saying they don’t link it to their other data but what they’re doing all the time is refining their algorithms, refining what they do and giving them[selves] market advantage.”

https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/inside-google-cloud/our-partnership-with-ascension

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