Teaching machines to understand – and summarize – text

Karuna Pande Joshi and Tim Finin in The Conversation: “We humans are swamped with text. It’s not just news and other timely information: Regular people are drowning in legal documents. The problem is so bad we mostly ignore it. Every time a person uses a store’s loyalty rewards card or connects to an online service, his or her activities […]

Why blockchain could be your next form of ID as a world citizen

Alison DeNisco at TechRepublic: “Blockchain is moving from banking to the refugee crisis, as Microsoft and Accenture on Monday announced a partnership to use the technology to provide a legal form of identification for 1.1 billion people worldwide as part of the global public-private partnership ID2020. The two tech giants developed a prototype that taps Accenture’s […]

AI software created for drones monitors wild animals and poachers

Springwise: “Artificial intelligence software installed into drones is to be used by US tech company Neurala to help protect endangered species from poachers. Working with the region’s Lingbergh Foundation, Neurala is currently helping operations in South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe and have had requests from Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia for assistance with combatting poaching. The […]

Remix, Slang and Memes: A New Collection Documents Web Culture

Wendi Maloney at the Library of Congress: “…just announced the release of the Web Cultures Web Archive Collection, a representative sampling of websites documenting the creation and sharing of emergent cultural traditions on the web. Why is this important? Increasingly, people take to their smart phones, tablets and laptops to enact much of their lives through […]

Does democracy cause innovation? An empirical test of the popper hypothesis

Yanyan Gao, Leizhen Zang, Antoine Roth, and Puqu Wang in Research Policy: “Democratic countries produce higher levels of innovation than autocratic ones, but does democratization itself lead to innovation growth either in the short or in the long run? The existing literature has extensively examined the relationship between democracy and growth but seldom explored the effect of democracy on […]

Towards Crowd-Scale Deliberation

Paper by Mark Klein: “Let us define deliberation as the activity where groups of people (1) identify possible solutions for a problem, (2) evaluate these alternatives, and (3) select the solution(s) that best meet their needs. Deliberation processes have changed little in centuries. Typically, small groups of powerful players craft policies behind closed doors, and then […]

How did awful panel discussions become the default format?

Duncan Green at The Guardian: “With the occasional exception, my mood in conferences usually swings between boredom, despair and rage. The turgid/self-aggrandizing keynotes and coma-inducing panels, followed by people (usually men) asking ‘questions’ that are really comments, and usually not on topic. The chairs who abdicate responsibility and let all the speakers over-run, so that the […]

Fly on the Facebook Wall: How UNHCR Listened to Refugees on Social Media

Timo Luege at Social Media for Good: “In “From a Refugee Perspective” UNHCR shows how to conduct meaningful, qualitative social media monitoring in a humanitarian crisis. Between March and December 2016 the project team (one project manager, one Pashto and Dari speaker, two native Arabic speakers and an English copy editor) monitored Facebook conversations related to […]