Thailand protests: Police deploy water cannon in Bangkok

first_imgDemonstrators were trying to march in Bangkok to deliver a message to King Maha Vajiralongkorn.- Advertisement –last_img

What Happens When Almost Anybody Can Build A Mobile Business App?

first_imgCrowded Market For App Development ToolsDecluttering the back end of app development is a mission on everybody’s mind. Built.io joins a crowded market, including services like Parse (just acquired by Facebook), Kinvey and Cocoafish. But here’s what makes Built.io different, for better or for worse: anybody can use it.(See also The Rise Of Mobile Cloud Services: BaaS Startups Grow Up.)Creating new apps requires a developer’s assistance. But “once the app is built and available, [employees] can log into the [content management system] and upload additional photos, press releases, anything they need to do to update the app without running to their developer or IT department,” Sampat says. The easy-to-use, what-you-see-is-what-you-get visual design is intended to make app upkeep less of a headache for developers. But developers have also historically been gatekeepers. When everyone and everyone at a company can make updates to the company app, what’s to keep the company app from becoming a huge, cluttered mess?Developers In ChargeTo avoid that, Built.io keeps developers in charge. A Built.io feature lets them assign roles and privileges to specific users. For a conference app, for example, the developer might give the organizer permission to update event names and times, but not to alter the structure of an app. Built.io has the potential to make developing a company app so fast and so easy (the beta is free) that everybody in the office may want to create apps for every purpose they can think of. The question yet to be answered is whether non-developers will use their newfound powers for good – or end up helping to churn out useless apps on a weekly basis, adding to the existing glut of unwanted and unused mobile apps.Photo and screenshot via Raw Engineering How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Tags:#app development#Backend Development#mobile apps#startups lauren orsini Why You Love Online Quizzes As programming tools become increasingly accessible, it’s not the actual building of a mobile app that’s difficult. It’s the time it takes — and the risk nobody will ever use it. Studies estimates that 26% of mobile apps are used just once, and more than 60% never get downloaded at all.We are well into the age of the disposable mobile app. Now, according to Raw Engineering, the makers of Built.io, we have the fast, easy to use app-development technology to match. Temporary, Disposable AppsToday, many businesses create apps for a variety of occasions, including one-time events like conferences and product announcements. But for most businesses, building these apps is a process that can take several months. At Demo Mobile 2013, Raw Engineering CEO Neha Sampat showcased an app her team built in a week. “The life of an app used by enterprises is sometimes as short as a month,” said Sampat. “If it takes you three to four months to build an app you’re only going to use for a month leading up to an event or a conference or an announcement, there’s no [return on investment] there.” Leveraging Built.io, Sampat said, app development can be almost “plug and play.”“We provide the back end, the building blocks, the basics of the app ready to go – and they can spend their time working on user experience and the app itself.” Related Posts Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoidlast_img read more

LinkedIn Is Trying To Ban The World’s Oldest Profession

first_imgLinkedIn just rolled out a number of changes to its privacy policy and user agreement, informing its more than 200 million members through a notice on the professional network’s website.Most of the changes are simplification of the legalese. But one in particular caught our eye. According to LinkedIn, thou shalt not:i. Even if it is legal where you are located, create profiles or provide content that promotes escort services or prostitution.What surprised us was that this was even necessary. On a site where every action you take is tied to your professional identity, would anyone really take the risk of advertising adult services?Apparently, yes. Prostitution, in fact, is a skill for which you can get endorsed on LinkedIn. (Many self-identified experts on the topic work in law enforcement or religious ministries, suggesting that their experience is with catching or counseling offenders rather than offering such services.)Judging by the suggestions LinkedIn’s search algorithm offers, LinkedIn members are actively looking for this kind of professional help. Search on “escorts,” for example, and LinkedIn will prompt you to search instead for the following terms:female escortsindependent escortscall girlshot girlsadult entertainmentescort servicesdubai escortsThis ban is not completely new. LinkedIn previously forbade advertising “unlawful” services. However, prostitution is legal in some European countries and parts of the United States, and escort services fall into a legal gray area in many jurisdictions.The clarification appears necessary, as some LinkedIn members appear to have been skirting the older terms to offer risqué business. For instance, check out this profile, which we’ve redacted just a bit: Tags:#LinkedIn#prostitution A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… owen thomas Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Lead image via Flickr user Bruce Tuten, CC 2.0 The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videoslast_img read more

BCCI announces Rs 20 lakh cash prize for India U-19 squad

first_imgThe BCCI on Sunday announced a cash prize of Rs 20 lakh each for members of the Indian team which lifted its third Under-19 World Cup title in Townsville after defeating defending champions Australia.BCCI President N Srinivasan congratulated the team, which was led superbly by unbeaten centurion skipper Unmukt Chand in the final against the defending champions.Chand led from the front with a magnificent 111 as the Indian colts beat Australia by six wickets.”Many congratulations to the Indian team for winning the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. We won the ‘senior’ World Cup last year, and now our boys have triumphed in the junior version of the tournament.This is a great day for Indian cricket. The Board would like to announce a cash prize of Rs 20 lakh to each player, and Rs 15 lakh to each member of the support staff,” Srinivasan said in a statement.This was India U-19s first triumph after Mohammed Kaif and Virat Kohli led their respective teams to victory in 2000 and 2008 editions respectively.BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale also extended his wishes to the Indian team and said every member of the squad worked hard towards this victory.”The Indian cricket team has played some extraordinary cricket in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup. The members of the team have worked hard, and deserve the title. Heartiest congratulations to the boys and support staff for winning the World Cup,” he said.last_img read more

Sir Geoff Hurst thinks playing at Wembley is now tiresome for

first_imgEngland’s 1966 Word Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst believes the “privilege” of playing at Wembley no longer exists for Tottenham.Due to White Hart Lane being redeveloped, Spurs have hosted all of their home games at Wembley in all competitions since 2017.Mauricio Pochettino’s side have had several delays this season in their attempt to play at their old ground once more, despite the fact that it should have been ready for them to return to at the start of the current campaign.Star playmaker Christian Eriksen has recently made it clear that he cannot wait to get out of Wembley once and for all.And Hurst accepts that the thrill players usually get from playing at Wembley probably no longer exists for the Spurs team.“You could say that playing at Wembley so often has taken away the privilege for Tottenham and their supporters,” Hurst told Football London.“It’s a fantastic stadium, befitting for big occasions such as England matches, cup semi-finals and finals. But playing there every week has become tiresome for the team.Harry Maguire, Manchester UnitedLiverpool legend Nicol slams Harry Maguire’s Man United form Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Steve Nicol believes Harry Maguire has made some “horrendous mistakes” recently, and has failed to find his best form since joining Manchester United.“Their players have made noises about looking forward to leaving and playing in their own ground, and you can see why as the atmosphere and turnout isn’t what it could and should be for the national stadium.Although the former West Ham striker cannot see why there should be any issues over Spurs playing at the stadium.“Should they have been allowed to have played there? I don’t see why not,” added Hurst.“It’s important that the FA help English teams when they can, and Spurs have been flying the flag for the country when playing in the Champions League, so it made sense to help them while the stadium was being built.”Now 77 years old, Hurst is renown in England for his exploits on the international stage which famously saw him score a hat-trick against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final.Overall, Hurst scored 24 times in 49 appearances for the Three Lions and entered the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004.last_img read more

Firm behind Fearless Girl nixed payequality resolutions says report

first_img3:04 Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice Powerful women of the Marvel universe Culture Comment Tags The Fearless Girl statue now stands outside the New York Stock Exchange.  Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images Tuesday is Equal Pay Day. The topic, trending on Twitter, puts a spotlight on the pay disparity between women and men. While more attention is being focused on the inequality in pay, not every company is putting its money where its mouth is. A report published Tuesday by investment-research company Morningstar said that State Street Global Advisors, the New York company that commissioned the Fearless Girl statue, voted against a number of gender diversity initiatives. The bronze Fearless Girl statue, created by Kristen Visbal and installed in 2017, stood defiantly in front of the Charging Bull in Manhattan’s Financial District. It became a tourist attraction and was seen by some as a symbol for women in leadership. It was moved in December to the New York Stock Exchange. Morningstar’s report found that State Street’s Gender Diversity fund, known as SHE, didn’t have a voting record in line with its stated goals of “closing the gender gap” by “strengthening gender diversity and inclusion practices across corporate America.” SHE voted no or abstained on eight of the 10 gender diversity-related shareholder resolutions in a four year period, according to Morningstar. In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for State Street said that examining its voting record based on shareholder proposals doesn’t tell a complete story on how the company approaches gender issues.”We do not simply consider the topic being addressed in a shareholder proposal when deciding how to vote, rather we vote on a case-by-case basis, taking into account each company’s unique circumstances and the level of disclosure relative to our expectations,” the company said.State Street said it has been vocal about the importance of diversity the last few years and voted against directors over “1,000 times” for lack of board gender diversity. Equal Pay Day is an annual maker that symbolizes how far into a year women would have to work in order to have earned as much as men did in the previous year. So, for a white woman to match a white man’s 2018 salary, she’d have had to work through 2018 and continue on till April 2. The exact day can change every year, and it also varies depending on ethnicity. In 2019, black and Asian women reach parity in August, while Latinas don’t reach parity until November.Originally published April 1 at 11:23 a.m. PT.Update, 1:06 p.m.: Adds comment from State Street.  1last_img read more

UPDATE House GOP Postpones Key Immigration Vote

first_imgThe Republican-run House has rejected a conservative immigration bill that offered no path to citizenship for young “Dreamer” immigrants. It also would have made it harder for immigrant citizens to bring relatives to the U.S. and taken steps to crack down on illegal immigration.The measure’s defeat was long expected. Many GOP moderates considered it too harsh and Democrats were solidly against it.Thursday’s vote gave hard-right Republicans, who largely come from deep-red districts, a chance to broadcast to voters the tough steps they would take on the issue. The measure was defeated 231-193.The House next plans to debate a GOP-measure crafted by Republican leaders as a compromise between party moderates and conservatives.That bill also seems likely to be defeated because some conservatives consider it too lenient.___ President Donald Trump said he’s “officially” inviting Democratic leaders to the White House to discuss immigration legislation.Speaking ahead of a Cabinet meeting, Trump said he was making the open invitation through the press.Trump said: “We should be able to do a bill. I’d invite them to come to the White House any time they want. This afternoon would be good. After the Cabinet meeting would be good.”Trump is blaming Democrats for obstructing immigration legislation, saying, “We need two to tango.” A Republican-led effort in the House to address legal status for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally and to fund Trump’s border wall is teetering on the edge of collapse.Trump said: “I just told you I’ll invite Sen. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. They can come over. They can bring whoever they want.”It wasn’t immediately clear whether Democrats had been formally invited or if they were planning to accept.___President Donald Trump is defending his Wednesday executive order to end new family separations at the border, but said Congress needs to act to permanently fix the problem.Speaking before a Cabinet meeting, Trump said “I signed a very good executive order.”But he said the “only real solution” is for Congress to close loopholes in the immigration system, saying “If we don’t close these loopholes there is no amount of money or personnel in the world.”As congressional Republicans look to pass sweeping immigration bills Thursday, Trump said Democrats are obstructionists and is accusing them of not caring about the children separated from their parents.This spring, the Trump administration put in a place a zero-tolerance policy on illegal border crossings, resulting in children separated from families at the border.___AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteSpeaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., meets with reporters before a House showdown on immigration, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 21, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was “pleased” President Donald Trump ordered an end to separating children from parents at the U.S. border.“I was pleased the president took action yesterday to ensure families can remain together while we enforce our immigration laws,” the Wisconsin Republican said at his weekly press conference. “We do not want children taken away from their parents.”But Ryan stopped short of predicting the House will pass legislation Thursday aimed at resolving broader immigration issues ahead of the November elections.Trump tweeted earlier that any such legislation is all but doomed in the narrowly-divided Senate.We do not want children taken away from their parents. Yesterday’s action by @POTUS will ensure families can remain together while we enforce our immigration laws. In a few short hours, the House will take further action on legislation to address our broken immigration system. pic.twitter.com/5y5NTXKtJA— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 21, 2018____There’s an embarrassing, $100 billion oops in a House immigration bill.The Republican-written measure was supposed to give initial approval for $24.8 billion spread over the next five years for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico and other security measures.Instead, the legislation says it would provide $24.8 billion “for each” of the next five years.Republicans call it a drafting mistake.The text will be corrected in a procedural vote the House expects to take Thursday.The error is in a bill that offers no pathway to citizenship for many young migrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and has stringent restrictions on legal immigration. The measure seems certain to be defeated.The House also plans to vote on a more moderate GOP immigration bill.___House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is deriding the Republican immigration legislation coming up for a vote as a “compromise with the devil.”Pelosi said the legislation makes House Republicans “complicit” in President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that has resulted in more than 2,000 children being separated from their parents at the border.She spoke as the House raced toward votes on two broad immigration bills that would, among other things, allow immigrant families detained after crossing the border to be held together. Trump suggested Thursday that any measure the chamber passes would be doomed in the Senate anyway. One bill is aimed at appealing to GOP moderates, while the other is harder-line legislation favored by conservatives.Pelosi said the bill aimed at moderates “may be a compromise with the devil, but it’s not a compromise with Democrats.”___A civil rights group attorney says federal prosecutors unexpectedly dropped misdemeanor charges against 17 adult immigrants who crossed the border with children.Efren Olivares is a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project. Speaking outside of the federal courthouse in McAllen, Texas, he said the 17 immigrants were supposed to have been sentenced Thursday morning for improperly entering the U.S.Olivares said the 17 will likely be placed in immigration detention, though he didn’t know whether they would be reunited immediately with their children or released altogether. Asked if they had any reaction to the charges against them being dropped, he said, “They’re asking about their children, frankly.”The Texas Civil Rights Project is interviewing adults to track them and their children through separate government systems.The dropping of the charges comes a day after President Donald Trump reversed a policy of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents upon entering the U.S. without permission.___The Pentagon says it is providing 21 lawyers to the Justice Department to help prosecute illegal immigration cases on the U.S.-Mexico border.A spokesman, Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, said Thursday that the lawyers have criminal trial experience and will be appointed as full-time special assistant United States attorneys. He said the attorneys will help prosecute border immigration cases with a focus on misdemeanor improper entry and felony illegal entry cases.Davis said the temporary assignments are to last for 179 days.Davis said the Justice Department made the request in May, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved it earlier this month.___House and Senate Democrats are demanding that President Donald Trump reunify the families that were separated at the U.S. border.Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House sent a letter Thursday to the White House urging the president to do everything necessary to reunite more than 2,300 children with their families.Trump on Wednesday issued an executive order that allowed families to stay together, but the Democrats say that the Health and Human Services Department didn’t take immediate steps to reunify the families.Earlier Thursday, Trump took aim at the Democrats saying New York’s Schumer and California’s Pelosi are both weak on crime and border security.The House is set to vote Thursday on two immigration bills. House Republican leaders are still trying to build support for one negotiated among conservative and moderate factions of the GOP.___President Donald Trump is fueling uncertainty about an already shaky House GOP immigration overhaul, questioning “the purpose of the House doing good immigration bills when you need nine votes by Democrats in the Senate.”Trump tweeted Thursday that “the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms).” He adds: “Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!”Trump’s tweet comes as the House plans to vote on two immigration bills. House Republican leaders are still trying to build support for one negotiated among conservative and moderate factions of the GOP.The president has said previously that he wants to change the Senate’s rules to eliminate the filibuster, and allow passage of all bills on a simple-majority vote.____President Donald Trump says the U.S.-Mexico border is a “big mess,” and that at some point the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate “will be forced to do a real deal” on immigration.Trump’s tweet Thursday comes as the House plans to vote on two immigration bills. House Republican leaders are still trying to build support for one negotiated among conservative and moderate factions of the GOP, although the measure is unlikely to pick up much, if any, Democratic support.Trump had embraced a hardline “zero-tolerance policy” at the border, only to back down after reports that the approach resulted in 2,300 children detained separately from their families.Tweeting on Thursday, Trump said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi are both weak on crime and border security.He wrote: “At some point Schumer and Pelosi, who are weak on Crime and Border security, will be forced to do a real deal, so easy, that solves this long time problem. Schumer used to want Border security – now he’ll take Crime!”___House Republicans are trying to approve an immigration overhaul that teetered ahead of voting Thursday.Lawmakers are struggling to move past a debate that has become politically fraught amid the dire images of families being separated at the border.President Donald Trump’s sudden executive action Wednesday on the border crisis stemmed some of the urgency for Congress to act. But House GOP leaders still were pulling out the stops to bring reluctant Republicans on board to resolve broader immigration issues ahead of the November midterm elections.Passage was always a long shot. But now failure may come at a steeper price as Republicans — and Trump — raise expectations that the party in control of Congress and the White House can fix the nation’s long-standing immigration problems. Share Photo via PBS NewsHourPresident Donald Trump sits at this desk in the Oval Office with DHS Secretary Kristin Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence prior to signing an executive order on immigration policy at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2018.THE LATEST on the immigration controversy: House Republican leaders abruptly postponed voting on a compromise immigration measure amid ongoing infighting between conservative and moderates.Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office confirmed the decision. Voting that had been expected Thursday now would be held Friday instead. That’s according to aides who demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.House Republicans have been struggling on rival immigration bills. A more conservative measure was rejected Thursday. The compromise was negotiated between GOP conservative and moderate factions.___last_img read more

Atty General Loretta Lynch Announces Wide Ranging Investigation of Baltimores Police

first_imgAttorney General Loretta Lynch announces a civil rights investigation of the Baltimore Police Department during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Friday, May 8, 2015. Lynch announced the Justice Department will conduct a broad investigation into the Baltimore police force in search of law enforcement practices that are unconstitutional and violate civil rights. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department waded anew Friday into fraught, big city police-community relations, with new Attorney General Loretta Lynch declaring the subject “one of the most challenging issues of our time.” She announced a wide-ranging investigation into Baltimore’s police.The federal civil rights investigation, which city officials sought following the death last month of a man in police custody, will search for discriminatory policing practices and examine allegations that Baltimore officers too often use excessive force and make unconstitutional searches and arrests.The investigation is to build upon the government’s voluntary and collaborative review of the Baltimore police that began last year. Since then, the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray and the days of rioting that followed exposed a “serious erosion of public trust,” Lynch said, and showed that community concerns about the police were more pervasive than initially understood and that a broader investigation was warranted.“It was clear to a number of people looking at this situation that the community’s rather frayed trust — to use an understatement — was even worse and has, in effect, been severed in terms of the relationship with the police department,” Lynch said.The announcement indicated that Lynch, who was sworn in last week as the successor to Eric Holder, is likely to keep the Justice Department engaged in a national dialogue about race relations and law enforcement. That issue consumed the final year of Holder’s tenure and flared most vividly last summer following the shooting death of an unarmed Black 18-year-old by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer.The federal department has undertaken dozens of other city police investigations, including more than 20 during Holder’s tenure. If they find systemic civil rights violations, the investigations typically result in court-enforceable agreements between the federal government and the local community that serve as blueprints for change and are overseen by an independent monitor. The Justice Department has the option of suing a police department that is unwilling to make changes.In some cases, such as in Ferguson — where Justice found sweeping patterns of racial discrimination — the federal government has initiated the process on its own; in others, including in Cleveland and Albuquerque, New Mexico, city officials made the request.A separate Justice Department review of Baltimore police policies, by the Community Oriented Police Services office, will continue but its findings will be folded into the new civil rights investigation announced on Friday, Lynch said.Lynch visited Baltimore earlier this week to meet with city and community leaders as well as Gray’s family.“We’re talking about generations, not only of mistrust, but generations of communities that feel very separated from government overall,” she said on Friday. “So you’re talking about situations where there’s a flashpoint occurrence that coalesces years of frustration and anger. That’s what I think you saw in Baltimore.”The city endured days of unrest after Gray died April 19 following a week in a coma after his arrest. Protesters threw bottles and bricks at police the night of his funeral on April 27, injuring nearly 100 officers. More than 200 people were arrested as cars and businesses burned. Last week, Baltimore’s top prosecutor charged six police officers in connection with the death, and the Justice Department is investigating the encounter for potential civil rights violations.Friday’s announcement followed a request from Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who initially appeared determined to fix the city’s problems on her own but then on Wednesday requested a Justice Department investigation.“Our city is making progress in repairing the fractured relationship between police and community, but bolder reforms are needed and we will not shy away from taking on these challenges,” she said in a statement.Baltimore police Capt. J. Eric Kowalczyk, a department spokesman, said Police Commissioner Anthony Batts stands by a statement in which he said he welcomed the mayor’s request “with open arms.”“We have never shied away from scrutiny or assistance,” Batts said on Thursday. “Our work is ongoing and anyone who wishes to be a part of helping the department better connect with the community will always be welcome.”He has said the department has accomplished reforms and made progress during his 2 1/2 years in office. By the end of 2014, he said, complaints about discourtesy had fallen 54 percent, and excessive force complaints were down more than 40 percent.___Associated Press writer David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Maryland, contributed to this report.___Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAPlast_img read more

Why wives make more friends in late 30s while hubbies stay aloof

first_imgLadies please take note! If your hubby does not feel like going to parties or social gatherings with you, do not fret especially if he is in his late 30s.Researchers including an Indian-origin researcher have revealed that the social circle of men reduces after they get married while women become more socially active from late 30s onwards.”Young men are more connected than young women and the patterns of connection change for both men and women as they grow older,” said Kunal Bhattacharya from Aalto University in Finland. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The findings indicate that after the of age 25, the social circle of men starts shrinking until it stabilises again in the late 40s. After 60s, the decay begins again and old men appear to be rather socially isolated. To reach this conclusion, the team analysed unnamed call records, gender and age information of three million mobile phone users from an European country to understand the communication patterns of individuals.The results indicate that at age 25, both men and women are able to invest time in maintaining large social circles. “The number of connections reaches maximum at age 25 for both genders.  Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixWhile men maintain a lot of casual relationships and women seem to be more focused on their romantic partner,” Bhattacharya added in the paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.From late 30s onwards, women become more connected than men. This is when people get married, settle down and participate in parenthood. “The communication patterns of women would suggest their pivotal roles as parents and grandparents,” Bhattacharya noted.last_img read more

We are not going to withdraw from the future says Microsofts Brad

first_imgThe Pentagon has been trying to get a hold of AI and related technologies from tech giants. Google employees had quit over it, Microsoft employees had asked the company to withdraw from the JEDI project. Last Friday, Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote about Microsoft and the US Military and the company’s visions in this area. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle are the companies who have bid for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) project. JEDI is a department wide cloud computing infrastructure that will give the Pentagon access to weapons systems enhanced with artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Microsoft believes in defending USA “We are not going to withdraw from the future, in the most positive way possible, we are going to work to help shape it.” said Brad Smith, President at Microsoft indicating that Microsoft intends to provide their technology to the Pentagon. Microsoft did not shy away from bidding in the Pentagon’s JEDI project. This in contrast to Google, which opted out of the same program earlier this month citing ethical concerns. Smith expressed Microsoft’s intent towards providing AI and related technologies to the US defense department saying, “we want the people who defend USA to have access to the nation’s best technology, including from Microsoft”. Smith stated that Microsoft’s work in this area is based on three convictions: Microsoft believes in the strong defense of USA and wants the defenders to have access to USA’s best technology, this includes Microsoft They want to use their ‘knowledge and voice’ to address ethical AI issues via the nation’s ‘civic and democratic processes’. They are giving their employees to opt out of work on these projects given that as a global company they consist of employees from different countries. Smith shared that Microsoft has had a long standing history with the US Department of Defense (DOD). Their tech has been used throughout the US military from the front office to field operations. This includes bases, ships, aircraft and training facilities. Amazon shares Microsoft’s visions Amazon too shares these visions with Microsoft in empowering US law and defense institutions with the latest technology. Amazon already provides cloud services to power the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos said: “If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble.” Amazon also provides the US law enforcement with their facial recognition technology called Rekognition. This has been a bone of contention for not just civil rights groups but also for some Amazon’s employees. Rekognition will help in identifying and incarcerating undesirable people. But it does not really work with accuracy. In a study by ACLU, Rekognition identified 28 people from the US congress incorrectly. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has now filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request which demands the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to disclose how DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) use Rekognition for law enforcement and immigration checks. Google’s rationale for withdrawing from the JEDI project Last week, in an interview with the Fox Network, Oracle founder Larry Ellison stated that it was shocking how Google viewed this matter. Google withdrew from the JEDI project following strong backlash from many of its employees. In the official statement, they have stated the reason for dropping out of the JEDI contract bidding as an ethical value misalignment and also that they don’t fully have all necessary clearance to work on Government projects.’ However, Google is open to launching a customized search engine in China that complies with China’s rules of censorship including potential to surveil Chinese citizens. Should AI be used in weapons? This question is the at the heart of the contentious topic of the tech industry working with the military. It is a serious topic that has been debated over the years by educated scientists and experienced leaders. Elon Musk, researchers from DeepMind and other companies even pledged to not build lethal AI. Personally, I side with the researchers and believe AI should be used exclusively for the benefit of mankind, to enhance human lives and solve problems that would prosper people’s lives. And not against each other in a race to build weapons or to become a superpower. But then again what would I know? Leading nations are in an AI arms race as we speak, with sophisticated national AI plans and agendas. For more details on Microsoft’s interest in working with the US Military visit the Microsoft website. Read next ‘Employees of Microsoft’ ask Microsoft not to bid on US Military’s Project JEDI in an open letter Google employees quit over company’s continued Artificial Intelligence ties with the Pentagon Oracle’s bid protest against U.S Defence Department’s(Pentagon) $10 billion cloud contractlast_img read more