Tuesday January 21, 2020
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Apple, Google Face Criticism For Hosting Saudi Woman- tracking App

Amnesty International called on Apple and Google to demand changes to the app so that it can be stopped for being used to harm women

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Apple could acquire the entertainment company, Netflix
Apple could acquire the entertainment company, Netflix. IANS
Apple and Google are facing criticism from human rights activists for hosting an app that allows men in Saudi Arabia to track and control women’s movements.
According to a report in Insider on Friday, the app called “Absher” lets men to give women permission to travel, and also get SMS when a woman uses her passport at the border.
For making the apps available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, the US-based tech giants have been accused of facilitating misogyny and helping “enforce gender apartheid”.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a women’s rights activist urged Apple and Google should reconsider hosting the app, Insider reported, adding that the two tech giants did not respond to its requests for comment.
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The Google name is displayed outside the company’s office in London, Britain. VOA
Under Saudi law, it is essential for women to have a legal “guardian” who can restrict her travel.
While Absher – a government service – offers other functions like paying parking fines, its travel features have been targeted by activists as it makes it difficult for women to leave Saudi Arabia.
“Apple and Google have rules against apps that facilitate threats and harassment,” Human Rights Watch was quoted as saying.
“Apps like this one can facilitate human rights abuses, including discrimination against women.”
Amnesty International called on Apple and Google to demand changes to the app so that it can be stopped for being used to harm women.
Yasmine Mohammed, a critic of Saudi Arabia, told Insider that the companies are “facilitating the most archaic misogyny” and help the Saudi government to enforce “gender apartheid”. (IANS)

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Here’s Why Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai Believes That Artificial Intelligence Needs To Be Regulated

Advanced AI which is beyond chat bots will soon be used to manipulate social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

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Sundar
The Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai stressed that "international alignment will be critical to making global standards work" on AI. Wikimedia Commons

Joining Microsoft President Brad Smith and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday called for new regulations for Artificial Intelligence (AI), saying the only question now is how to approach it.

Although new regulation is needed, “a cautious approach is required that might not see significant controls placed on AI,” Pichai who was last month took over as the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in an editorial piece in The Financial Times.

“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. It is too important not to. The only question is how to approach it”.

“Companies such as ours cannot just build promising new technology and let market forces decide how it will be used. It is equally incumbent on us to make sure that technology is harnessed for good and available to everyone,” Pichai wrote.

According to CNET, the timing of the editorial coincides with a big push from Google to reveal some of the results of its own work in AI and bring tools it has developed out into the world.

The Alphabet CEO stressed that “international alignment will be critical to making global standards work” on AI.

Sundar
Joining Microsoft President Brad Smith and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday called for new regulations for Artificial Intelligence (AI), saying the only question now is how to approach it. Wikimedia Commons

We need to take a “principled approach to applying AI, said the company, while offering Google’s “expertise, experience and tools.”

“We need to be clear-eyed about what could go wrong,” he said.

His comments come as lawmakers and governments globally are considering to limit the use of AI in fields such as face recognition system – an issue close to Microsoft President Brad Smith’s heart who has often criticized the technology, urging governments to enact legislation regarding the technology.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” said Smith.

Advanced AI which is beyond chat bots will soon be used to manipulate social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned recently.

In his famous debate with former Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Musk entered into a lassic argument over the capabilities of emerging technologies like AI.

Sundar
Although new regulation is needed, “a cautious approach is required that might not see significant controls placed on AI,” Sundar Pichai who was last month took over as the CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in an editorial piece in The Financial Times. Pixabay

Musk said that computers will one day surpass humans in “every single way”. He has predicted that a single company that develops “God-like super intelligence” might achieve world domination.

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If not regulated or controlled soon, AI could become an “immortal dictator” and there will be no escape for humans, the SpaceX CEO had warned. (IANS)