Sunday November 17, 2019
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Robot journalist: Will IQ outsmart EQ now?

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By Swati Gilotra

BEIJING: Robo journalist Dreamwriter, designed by Chinese gaming giant Tencent, penned a flawless 916- word article through the company’s instant messaging service. It was completed in just one minute, a website report said on Saturday.

This brings us to a critical question. Can robots write on all beats of journalism? It would be interesting to see a robot doing a music review or trying to write a comprehensive analysis of an ethnic violence.

The robot journalist produced a business report in Chinese. The subject of the article was China’s August consumer price index (CPI). It even quoted analysts on the economic prospects of China, which is experiencing a slowdown after decades of high growth.

Photo Credit: scmp.com
Photo Credit: scmp.com

The robot is, interestingly enough, invoking fear among local journalists who are worried about losing their jobs to the AI (Artificial Intelligence).

The robot workers take no holidays, miss no deadlines and produce clean, well-researched copy for as little as $7 an article in the US. On top of that, the algorithms that power these machines are designed to catch errors and learn from their mistakes. The software powering the robots that write these stories uses algorithms designed to collate data, find patterns and pull quotes from sources by sifting through reams of material, including those found online.

“The piece is very readable. I can’t even tell that it wasn’t produced by a person,” Li Wei, a reporter was quoted as saying by South China Morning Post. “I have heard about robot reporters for a long time, but thought they only operated in the United States and Europe…I’m not ready to compete with them yet.” Li added, depicting her anxiety.

A former associate professor at Hong Kong University said, “Generating news stories in plain language following a certain template is not difficult for computers…There is no reason why we can’t do it in Chinese as well.”

Although it is possible for a machine to write a report based on numbers and statistics, when we talk about expressing our emotions, it might not be able to do that. At least, in present times, the AI is limited to answering some questions and guiding us on daily issues with wit and information.

Photo Credit: business2community.com
Photo Credit: business2community.com

The robot might become more efficient than human beings, but what remains to be known is it’s ability to write on the spur of the moment. If we are talking about robots replacing human beings in corporate sectors then can we say that there will be a time when from the employee to the boss, will everyone be a bot?

The interesting irony, however, is that these robots have been made to assist and not to replace humans. Is the time approaching fast where we will sit at home, unemployed and robots would draw our salary cheques? Technology has improved our lives but now will it govern us and become our new masters?

Earlier, it was just films and cartoons which used to amuse us portraying the ‘bad robot villains’, may be now the fiction will turn into fact. The larger question which remains to be answered is, will the robot be able to assume the mantle of human beings? It can think logically but as human beings do, most of the times, can it also think illogically and then justify it with reason and sarcasm. Irony and sarcasm are the very bases of our common-day expressions. Can the robot understand these feelings or human emotions? Of course the time is approaching very fast when we will have to think about these issues too.

Get ready to compete with technology!

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Apple Refutes Report of Sharing Safari Data with Tencent or Google

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he believes privacy is "ingrained in the Constitution," but that he's worried about how third-party companies have worked to collect information on us

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Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

After media reports surfaced that Apple is sending iOS users’ data via its Safari browser to Google and the Chinese tech company Tencent, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker refuted such reports, saying it safeguards people’s information in its own systems and never shares it with third-party players.

A report in reclaimthenet.org stated that “Apple, which often positions itself as a champion of privacy and human rights, may be sending some IP addresses from users of its Safari browser on iOS to Chinese conglomerate Tencent — a company with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party”.

The report focused on Apple’s “fraudulent website warning” system which is built into Apple’s Safari web browser to warn people when they visit sites that are harmful and can trick users into sharing login passwords for banks, email and social media.

“Before visiting a website, Safari may send information calculated from the website address to Google Safe Browsing and Tencent Safe Browsing to check if the website is fraudulent. These browsing providers may also log your IP address,’ read the information on Apple’s “Safari & Privacy” section.

It’s unclear when Apple started allowing Tencent and Google to log some user IP addresses, but one Twitter user reported the change in Safari happened as early as the iOS 12.2 beta in February 2019, said the report.

Google on an Android device. Pixabay

In a statement, the company said it actually doesn’t send information to Google or Tencent.

“Instead, it receives a list of bad websites from both companies and then uses it to protect people as they surf the web. Apple sometimes obscures the information about the website people visit if it requests more information to check if a questionable website is malicious,” CNET reported on Monday, citing Apple’s statement.

Also Read: Kerala Unable to get Medics from Reserved Category

For people concerned about their privacy, the service can be turned off in Safari preferences on the iPhone or Mac.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he believes privacy is “ingrained in the Constitution,” but that he’s worried about how third-party companies have worked to collect information on us. (IANS)