Debugged Weekly: Jul 8th-14th

AI’s, the White House, and digital protests. Find out what has been in the news this week!

1. New Google sets out to improve the relations between humans and AI

Summary: Google is starting a new research push to understand and improve the relations between humans and AI. PAIR, for People + AI Research initiative, was announced today and will be led by two experts in data visualization, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg. One thing they hope to do is create a toolkit of techniques and ideas about how to design AI systems less prone to disappointing or surprising us humans.

Why this matters: PAIR has a chance at not only helping advance society’s understanding of what happens when humans and AI collide, but can significantly change how the tech sector operates.

2. NY Times: Apple Opens Data Center in China to Comply With Cybersecurity Law

Summary: Apple said Wednesday that it would open its first data center in China in a response to a strict new law in China that requires companies to store users’ data in the country. The new data center, in Guizhou, a province in southwest China, is part of a $1 billion investment in the province and will be operated in partnership with a local data management company, Apple said.

Why this matters: Apple’s response to China’s new cybersecurity law can potentially set the tone for other major tech companies to follow.

3. Hyperledger releases its first production ready blockchain

Summary: The Hyperledger Project, a group led by the Linux Foundation, has released its first blockchain code that can be used by large businesses to build software. On Tuesday, the group had announced that it had released the first version of Hyperledger Fabric, a type of distributed ledger code. The developers involved in the project believe Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 is strong and secure enough to be used by corporations to start building blockchain-based business applications.

Why this matters: The development of Hyerledger Fabric signifies progress in implementing blockchain throughout the private sector.

4. Report: Trump weighing government-wide ban on Russian security software

Summary: The Trump administration is mulling whether to bar all federal agencies from using security software developed by Kaspersky Lab, a prominent cybersecurity firm based in Russia. ABC News reported on Tuesday that a final decision could come in a matter of days. Such a move would remove Kaspersky Lab from the General Services Administration’s (GSA) list of approved outside vendors. Kaspersky Lab has been the subject of media attention in recent years for alleged ties to Russian intelligence agencies.

Why this matters: Kaspersky has been a leading cybersecurity firm in the US and this move by the White House could significantly cause ripples throughout the industry.

5.Tech companies plan virtual protest to protect net neutrality

Summary: On Wednesday, tech companies displayed special messages as part of a “Day of Action,” an online protest of proposed changes to net neutrality rules that would loosen regulations. Google, Facebook, Snap, Amazon, Reddit, Airbnb, Twitter and more than 70,000 other sites, organizations and individuals took part in the online protest, according to Fight the Future, one of the groups organizing the day of action.

Why this matters: This protest is among the largest collective action taken by businesses and organizations on net neutrality in 2017.