New York, Nov 16 (AP/UNB) — Apple has signed a multiyear film production deal with A24, the acclaimed New York-based studio behind "Moonlight" and "Lady Bird."
People close to the deal who requested anonymity because they weren't authorized to comment confirmed the agreement Thursday. Apple is investing in scripted content with the intention of competing with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. The deal connects Apple with one of the most respected makers of prestige and arthouse titles in film.
Neither Apple nor A24 commented Thursday. Unclear is how many films the deal includes, or if the movies will be released theatrically.
A24 was previously rumored to potentially be an acquisition target for Apple. This deal leaves the distributor of films like "The Witch," ''Mid90s," ''Hereditary" and "Eighth Grade" with its independence.
New York, Nov 16 (AP/UNB) — Facebook said it's making progress on detecting hate speech, graphic violence and other violations of its rules, even before users see and report them.
Facebook said that during the April-to-September period, it doubled the amount of hate speech it detected proactively, compared with the previous six months.
The findings were spelled out Thursday in Facebook's second semiannual report on enforcing community standards. The reports come as Facebook grapples with challenge after challenge, ranging from fake news to Facebook's role in elections interference, hate speech and incitement to violence in the U.S., Myanmar, India and elsewhere.
The company also said it disabled more than 1.5 billion fake accounts in the latest six-month period, compared with 1.3 billion during the previous six months. Facebook said most of the fake accounts it found were financially motivated, rather than aimed at misinformation. The company has nearly 2.3 billion users.
Facebook's report comes a day after The New York Times published an extensive report on how Facebook deals with crisis after crisis over the past two years. The Times described Facebook's strategy as "delay, deny and deflect."
Facebook said Thursday it has cut ties with a Washington public relations firm, Definers, which the Times said Facebook hired to discredit opponents. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a call with reporters that he learned about the company's relationship with Definers only when he read the Times report.
On community guidelines, Facebook also released metrics on issues such as child nudity and sexual exploitation, terrorist propaganda, bullying and spam. While it is disclosing how many violations it is catching, the company said it can't always reliably measure how prevalent these things are on Facebook overall. For instance, while Facebook took action on 2 million instances of bullying in the July-September period, this does not mean there were only 2 million instances of bullying during this time.
Clifford Lampe, a professor of information at the University of Michigan, said it's difficult for people to agree on what constitutes bullying or hate speech — so that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to teach artificial intelligence systems how to detect them.
Overall, though, Lampe said Facebook is making progress on rooting out hate, fake accounts and other objectionable content, but added that it could be doing more.
"Some of this is tempered by (the fact that) they are a publicly traded company," he said. "Their primary mission isn't to be good for society. It's to make money. There are business concerns."
Facebook also plans to set up an independent body by next year for people to appeal decisions to remove — or leave up — posts that may violate its rules. Appeals are currently handled internally.
Facebook employs thousands of people to review posts, photos, comments and videos for violations. Some things are also detected without humans, using artificial intelligence. Zuckerberg said creating an independent appeals body will prevent the concentration of "too-much decision-making" within Facebook.
Facebook has faced accusations of bias against conservatives — something it denies — as well as criticism that it does not go far enough in removing hateful content.
Detroit, Nov 15 (AP/UNB) — Testing by AAA shows that electronic driver assist systems on the road today may not keep vehicles in their lanes or spot stationary objects in time to avoid a crash.
The tests brought a warning from the auto club that drivers shouldn't think that the systems make their vehicles self-driving, and that they should always be ready to take control.
AAA also said that use of the word "pilot" by automakers in naming their systems can make some owners believe the vehicles can drive themselves.
"These systems are made as an aid to driving, they are not autonomous, despite all of the hype around vehicle autonomy," said Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering. "Clearly having 'pilot' in the name may imply a level of unaided driving, which is not correct for the current state of the development of these systems."
The test results released Thursday come after several highly publicized crashes involving Tesla vehicles that were operating on the company's system named "Autopilot." The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating some of the crashes, including a March fatality that involved a Model X that struck a freeway barrier near Mountain View, California.
The AAA findings are the second tests showing that the systems can't handle every situation in real-world driving, including some that are relatively common. In August, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released tests that showed similar problems to the AAA study.
The auto club tested the systems on four vehicles that had adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking. Vehicles tested included the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S Class, the 2018 Nissan Rogue, a 2017 Tesla Model S and a 2019 Volvo XC40. In addition to Tesla's Autopilot, Volvo calls its system "Pilot Assist," while Nissan's is named "ProPilot Assist."
Automakers generally say they tell drivers that their cars aren't fully self-driving and that they should always be alert and ready to intervene.
AAA says all four vehicles drifted out of lanes and hugged lane markers, struggling with moderate traffic, curved roads and streets with busy intersections. Three of the four would have failed to avoid a crash when the vehicle ahead of them changed lanes and a simulated stopped vehicle was ahead.
"As a result we had to take evasive action," said Brannon, who wouldn't identify the vehicles that failed to stop in time.
The vehicles' owner's manuals say that spotting a stationary vehicle after a lead vehicle changes lanes is a design limitation for the systems, Brannon said. But he said researchers expected the vehicles to see stopped vehicles and react in time.
Automakers generally say that the systems are designed to supplement a human driver and they make it clear the vehicles don't drive themselves.
Nissan said its system name contains the word "assist," showing that it's designed to help the driver.
"Mercedes-Benz has always stressed that this technology is designed to assist the driver, not to encourage customers to ignore their responsibilities as drivers," the automaker said in a statement.
Tesla says that it reminds drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. "Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn't make the car impervious to all accidents," the company said in a statement earlier this year.
A message was left Thursday seeking comment from Volvo.
Brannon said that despite their shortcomings, the systems have great potential to save lives and stop crashes from happening.
"Anything that can serve as a backstop to a good driver is going to enhance the safety of the system, of the driver," he said.
Boston, Nov 14 (AP/UNB) — A Nigerian internet service provider said Tuesday that a configuration error it made during a network upgrade caused a disruption of key Google services, routing traffic to China and Russia.
Even with MainOne's explanation, there was speculation that Monday's 74-minute data hijacking might not have been an accident. Google's search, cloud hosting and corporate-focused G-Suite collaborative tools were among services disrupted.
"Everyone is pretty confident that nothing untoward took place," MainOne spokesman Tayo Ashiru said.
But Jake Williams, president of Rendition InfoSec and a former U.S. government hacker, said a skeptic should not rule out meddling by a nation-state with something to gain. The level of corruption in a country like Nigeria is well known, he said.
The type of traffic misdirection involved can knock essential services offline and facilitate espionage and financial theft. It can also be used to block access to information by sending data requests into internet black holes. Experts say China, in particular, has systematically hijacked and diverted U.S. internet traffic.
But the problem can also result from human error. It's very difficult to tell the difference, said Williams.
Google said it had no reason to believe the traffic hijacking was malicious.
Ashiru said engineers at MainOne, a major west African ISP, mistakenly forwarded to China Telecom addresses for Google services that were supposed to be local. The Chinese company, in turn, sent along the bad data to Russia's TransTelecom, a major internet presence. Ashiru said MainOne did not yet understand why China Telecom did that, as the state-run company normally doesn't allow Google traffic on its network.
The traffic diversion into China created a detour with a dead end, preventing users from accessing the affected Google services, said Alex Henthorn-Iwane, an executive at the network-intelligence company ThousandEyes.
He said Monday's incident offered yet another lesson in the internet's susceptibility to "unpredictable and destabilizing events. If this could happen to a company with the scale and resources available that Google has, realize it could happen to anyone."
The diversion, known as border gateway protocol route hijacking, is built into the internet , which was designed for collaboration by trusted parties — not competition by hostile nation-states. Experts say it is fixable but that would require investments in encrypted routers that the industry has resisted .
ThousandEyes said the diversion at minimum made Google's search and business collaboration tools difficult or impossible to reach and "put valuable Google traffic in the hands of ISPs in countries with a long history of Internet surveillance."
Most network traffic to Google services — 94 percent as of Oct. 27 — is encrypted, which shields it from prying eyes even if diverted. But work was interrupted on services like G-Suite, which Google CEO Sundar Pichai in February said had more than 4 million businesses as customers. G-Suite and Google Cloud combined generate about $4 billion in revenue each year.
Google did not quantify the disruption other than to say in a statement that "access to some Google services was impacted."
Indeed, the phenomenon has occurred before. Google was briefly afflicted in 2015 when an Indian provider stumbled. In perhaps the best-known case, Pakistan Telecom inadvertently hijacked YouTube's global traffic in 2008 for a few hours when it was trying to enforce a domestic ban. It sent all YouTube traffic into a virtual ditch in Pakistan.
In two recent cases, such rerouting has affected financial sites. In April 2017, one affected MasterCard and Visa among other sites. This past April, another hijacking enabled cryptocurrency theft .
Dhaka, Nov 13 (UNB)- A private university student won a brand new TVS motorbike in a raffle draw held for all the participants of a mega concert organised by Airtel recently in the city.
Chief Commercial Officer, Pradeep Shrivastava and head of HR, Md Faisal Imtiaz Khan of Robi Axiata Limited handed over the TVS motorbike to Mozahidul Islam Sohan, a student of BBA of Independent University Bangladesh.
Robi’s Vice President, Media, Communications and Sustainability, Ekram Kabir and General Manager, Airtel Business Unit, Masudul Amin Rintu were present at the programme.