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Category Archives: E-Commerce

Harms of AI

NBER – Harms of AI, Daron Acemoglu, Working Paper 29247 DOI 10.3386/w29247 Issue Date “This essay discusses several potential economic, political and social costs of the current path of AI technologies. I argue that if AI continues to be deployed along its current trajectory and remains unregulated, it may produce various social, economic and political harms. These include: damaging competition, consumer privacy and consumer choice; excessively automating work, fueling inequality, inefficiently pushing down wages, and failing to improve worker productivity; and damaging political discourse, democracy’s most fundamental lifeblood. Although there is no conclusive evidence suggesting that these costs are imminent or substantial, it may be useful to understand them before they are fully realized and become harder or even impossible to reverse, precisely because of AI’s promising and wide-reaching potential. I also suggest that these costs are not inherent to the nature of AI technologies, but are related to how they are being used and developed at the moment – to empower corporations and governments against workers and citizens. As a result, efforts to limit and reverse these costs may need to rely on regulation and policies to redirect AI research. Attempts to contain them just by promoting competition may be insufficient.”

The Battle for Digital Privacy Is Reshaping the Internet

The New York Times – “Apple introduced a pop-up window for iPhones in April that asks people for their permission to be tracked by different apps. Google recently outlined plans to disable a tracking technology in its Chrome web browser. And Facebook said last month that hundreds of its engineers were working on a new… Continue Reading

How to create a business page on Facebook

Mashable: “Facebook is infamous for the numerous ways in which folks use — and misuse — the platform, from your uncle sharing conspiracy theories to your roommate selling your couch on Marketplace. There’s one tool Facebook offers that is almost unilaterally helpful to users, though, and that’s the option for business owners to create a… Continue Reading

The farmers market is moving online

The Verge: “The pandemic brought rampant growth for local food distribution platforms…the pandemic came, and it hit farms hard. Supply chains, customer bases, and in some cases labor were upended. Small and medium-sized independent farms that relied on restaurant wholesale lost huge percentages of their business overnight. Some local CSAs folded. Some farming operations went… Continue Reading

How Extortion Scams and Review Bombing Trolls Turned Goodreads Into Many Authors’ Worst Nightmare

TIME: “Since its launch in 2007, Goodreads has evolved into the world’s largest online book community. The social networking site now has millions of users who rate and review books, find recommendations for new ones and track their reading. But over time, Goodreads has also become a hunting ground for scammers and trolls looking to… Continue Reading

FTC disputes Facebook reasoning for shutting down NYU disinformation project

ZDNet – “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has criticized Facebook for claiming that a consent decree handed down by the organization was the reason they had to shut down New York University’s Ad Observatory. Facebook has faced significant backlash this week after they closed the researchers’ accounts working for the Ad Observatory project, which let Facebook… Continue Reading

How Your Ad Blocker Can Track You Across the Web

Gizmodo: “…the average ad blocker leaves tiny traces of data on the websites you visit. When those traces are collected en masse, a bad actor (or tech company) could use these signals to identify your specific browser—a process literally called “fingerprinting” in the ad-targeting industry. And like a fingerprint, these signals are basically impossible to… Continue Reading

Firefox 91 pushes privacy with stronger new cookie-clearing option

CNET: ” With the release of Firefox 91 on Tuesday, Mozilla has introduced a bigger hammer for smashing the cookies that websites, advertisers and tracking companies can use to record your online behavior. The new feature, called enhanced cookie clearing, is designed to block tracking not just from a website, but also from third parties… Continue Reading

Sci-Fi Guru Who Predicted Google Earth Explains Silicon Valley’s Latest Obsession

Vanity Fair – Way back in 1992, author Neal Stephenson published his breakthrough novel, Snow Crash, a cyberpunk exploration of then-futuristic technologies: mobile computing, virtual reality, wireless Internet, digital currency, smartphones, and augmented-reality headsets. The book famously opens with a breakneck car chase as the main character, Hiro Protagonist (it’s something of a satire), races… Continue Reading

You Don’t Really Own the Digital Movies You Buy

The New York Times Wirecutter: “As the entertainment industry shifts its distribution strategy to let people buy or rent movies closer to—or simultaneously with—their release in theaters, you may find yourself amassing a larger digital library than you’ve had in the past. But when you buy a movie from a digital service like Amazon Prime… Continue Reading