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✨ Good morning! Today is Tuesday, April 9, 2019 and “How to use Urban Dictionary” should be a required training course for every politician.
BULLETIN: LET’S GET REAL
• The Background
Artificial intelligence has become one of the most talked-about, utilized and feared technologies of our generation. (Read all about it here.) But with life-changing new technology comes uncharted waters that need to be charted real fast (oh hai, social media) and that’s exactly what the EU wants to do. The bloc published a set of guidelines yesterday that it hopes will help companies and governments navigate these new waters, helping them develop ethical applications of artificial intelligence. The rules focus on making sure AI systems don’t get out of hand when it comes to” admin and bureaucracy.” (This isn’t about preventing a robot revolt.) The Verge
• What Else You Need to Know
The guidelines include seven main pillars that were developed by 52 AI experts:
- Human agency and oversight: Humans should always have autonomy, and should be able to intervene or oversee every decision the software makes
- Technical robustness and safety: AI needs to be secure and reliable
- Privacy and data governance: Same as above, but relating to personal data collection
- Transparency: Data algorithms should be easy to understand and explain by operators
- Diversity, non-discrimination, and fairness: AI services should be available to all, and shouldn’t be biased based on age, gender, race, or other characteristics
- Environmental and societal well-being: AI systems should be sustainable and should “enhance positive social change”
- Accountability: Systems should be auditable; negative impacts should be reported
(If only humans had to be this accountable.)
• What’s Next?
While these guidelines aren’t legally binding, it’s possible that they could form the basis for future legislation drafted by the European Union or any one of its allies.
• Rough Skies Ahead
Better check your airline’s cancellation policy. Yesterday, as a result of the escalating conflict between Libya’s current government and the UN-backed government (the LNA), an air strike shut down the country’s only functioning airport. The UN and current prime minister have linked the attacks to the LNA’s general as a coup to try and overthrow the current government. At least 51 have been killed and 80 injured as a result of the fighting, and the UN is urging civilians to flee the capital. Libya has been in the midst of an extreme conflict since Gadhafi was overthrown and killed eight years ago, but Monday’s bombing escalated the tone of the conflict given that it broke humanitarian law by targeting civilian infrastructure. CBC News
• U.S.: And Another One
Just when you thought things (maybe? possibly? hopefully?) were beginning to calm down in the White House, President Trump announced that Secret Service Director Randolf “Tex” Alles will be replaced by James Murray, a current agent. In a move that is on-brand for the current administration, there was no concrete explanation as to why Director Alles was removed from his position. This removal comes just 24 hours after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation, and just a week after a security breach at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. During Alles’ two-year tenure as director, he gained favour with his agents after he fought for (and won approval) to compensate employees for the overtime hours it took to protect Trump’s incredibly large family. USA Today
• U.S.: Name-Calling
As if we didn’t have enough terrorist organizations to worry about (ISIL or ISIS? Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda — we could go on), POTUS just added another one to the list. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is officially a terror group according to the United States government. The announcement marks the first time the U.S. has designated a body of a foreign government as a terrorist organization. Trump, who made the announcement, said the decision reflects the notion that “Iran is not only a state sponsor of terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.” With the designation comes a number of sanctions: any assets that IRGC entities may have in the U.S. will be blocked and Americans are barred from conducting any transactions with those entities, and gives the U.S. power to prosecute anyone who tries to enter the U.S. that it feels may have assisted or worked with the IRGC. Iran responded by making the same claims about the U.S. Global News
📣 QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I want to apologize to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices to support their children and do so honestly.”
– Felicity Huffman pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud for her part in the college admissions scandal. Huffman paid $15,000 to a fake charity to have someone cheat on her daughter’s SATs. CNN
• Factory Farming
It’s not just Silicon Valley start-ups and independent producers carrying the vegan meat market anymore. (No, we’re not talking about a dating app for vegetarians.) Meat industry giant Maple Leaf Foods announced yesterday that it’s opening a new facility dedicated entirely to the production of meatless meats. The 230,000-square-foot factory — valued at US $310 million and funded partly by US $50 million in government and utility grants and incentives — will double the production capacity for products produced under Maple Leaf’s Greenleaf Foods banner in order to meet “surging consumer demand” for plant-based proteins. Located in Shelbyville, Indiana, the facility will make the Lightlife-branded product line, which includes plant-based burger patties, sausages and ground beef substitutes and arrives in Canadian grocery stores this month. Financial Post
• Motion Magic
Leave it to Bang & Olufsen to raise the bar on the home theatre experience. The Danish maker of luxury a/v products unveiled the Beovision Harmony television at Milan Design Week yesterday and it is a sight to behold. With the freestanding unit, B&O’s designers were on a mission to “reduce the visual presence of the TV” and turn it into “a welcoming addition to living spaces.” When off, the big, 77-inch black screen is dropped low to the floor and is partly obscured by a pair of oak and aluminium panels. When turned on, the panels — which house the TV’s speaker system — fan out like “like a butterfly opening its wings” while the thin OLED screen raises up to what the company says is the perfect viewing height. Sadly, this mechanical wonder is something most of us will only get to enjoy by visiting a B&O showroom, rather than the comfort of our own homes — when it hits stores in October, the Beovision Harmony will be priced at an unattainable €18,500, or about $27,700. Engadget
• Party Harder
News of one of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s planned amendments to provincial regulations has leaked ahead of his government’s full budget announcement (coming on Thursday) — and it’s finally something people aren’t mad about. Ontario is about to become the first province in Canada to legalize U.S.-style BYOB tailgating. Ford’s executive director of strategic communications, David Tarrant, confirmed yesterday that the government “is going to treat adults like adults by legalizing tailgating across Ontario.” The new regulations will make any parking lot or venue “within a reasonable distance from a major sports complex” eligible for a tailgating permit, allowing fans to partake in the (responsible) consumption of food, booze and debauchery (well, maybe not that last one) before, during and after sporting events. The revamped special occasion liquor permits will also allow venues to sell alcoholic beverages at tailgating locations (but don’t expect Ford’s much hyped Buck-a-Beer pricing to be on the menu). BlogTO
• Oops! Yesterday, we forgot to add that the Winnipeg Jets have also made it into the NHL playoffs! Thank you (and our sincerest apologies) to all the Jets fans who let us know about our mistake. The Jets will take on the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night at 8pm.
• Ladies of the Flies
As William Golding once said, “the greatest ideas are the simplest.” The Walking Dead’s newest spinoff will take a cue from the author with a Lord of the Flies-esque 10-episode series. Featuring two young female leads, the yet-to-be-named show will address the issues faced by the first generation to come of age post-zombie-apocalypse. Casting names and details are still under wraps, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of the flagship series’ stars pop in for cameos. Though The Walking Dead’s most recent season had record-low ratings, fans are still amped about other productions in The Walking Dead universe: protagonist Rick Grimes is getting a movie trilogy, and spinoff series Fear the Walking Dead is seeing revived (forgive the pun) numbers. The newest incarnation of the franchise will enter production this summer with plans to hit the small screen in 2020. Vanity Fair
• Feel the Burn
When it rains before a big game and your outdoor sports field is soaked, what’s a high school to do? Well, if you’re Ridgefield High School in Connecticut, you attempt to dry it out as quickly as possible by any means necessary. What exactly does that entail? About 24 gallons of gasoline and a lighter. That’s right: some genius decided that by soaking the field in gasoline and lighting it on fire, it would dry quickly — and while he (or she) wasn’t totally wrong (the field dried real fast), it was also completely burnt and put the neighbourhood and surrounding vegetation at risk. Officials are now looking into the incident. WTVR
• Vimy Ridge Day
Today, Canadians remember those who died in the Battle of Vimy Ridge during World War I at Vimy Ridge, France, in 1917.
⚡️ STRAIGHT TO THE POINT
• Sudan’s citizens have made it through a third day of protests (they want President Omar al-Bashir to resign), and now they’ve gotten some of the country’s troops on their side.
• Pinterest filed its S-1 yesterday, setting a price range of US $15 to US $17 per share for a sale of 75 million shares. (For the non-mathletes, that’s a US $10.6 billion valuation.)
• Facebook is taking its hate speech policy seriously. The social media giant banned six Canadian accounts yesterday, including that of former Toronto mayoral candidate Faith Goldy.
• Ellen DeGeneres is taking her love of animals to Discovery Channel, producing a new series called “Wildlife Warriors,” focused on those who work to save endangered species.
• One day after Netflix teased a new Beyoncé documentary, it went ahead and dropped the whole damn trailer.
• Having a Ruff Time
If you’re not turning your dog into a viral sensation at the expense of his dignity, are you even a responsible pet owner?