Google employees petition to pull the company out of a Pentagon AI project, Facebook increases its estimation of the number of users exposed to data harvesting, and three Canadian cities make the list of the top 25 most high-tech cities in the world.
First up is news from Reddit that thousands of Google employees have signed and sent a petition to CEO Sundar Pichai calling for the tech giant to end a partnership with the US Pentagon to improve artificial intelligence and image-recognition tech that could be used for drone strikes. The program, titled Project Maven, was established in 2017 to speed up the military’s implementation of the latest AI tech. The letter has made its rounds internally for the last couple weeks and has more than three thousand signatures. The letter states that employees believe Google should not be in the business of war, and not only does it say the company should pull out of Project Maven, it also recommends Google should avoid all contracts of this nature in the future.
Next from Facebook is more Facebook news in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that as many as 87 million user profiles were improperly accessed by marketers and consultants during the US election, almost double the original estimate of 50 million. This number includes more than 620 thousand Canadian accounts. He also said that most of Facebook’s two billion worldwide users have been exposed to data harvesting at some point thanks to a vulnerability in the platform’s search and account-recovery functions. It’s also confirmed that it spies on user’s Facebook messenger conversations, although it claims that’s to prevent abuse.
And in better news from Twitter, Business Insider has revealed its top 25 list of the most high-tech cities in the world, and three Canadian cities have made the list. Montreal comes in at number 18, Vancouver ranks 14th, and Toronto is the top Canadian city, sitting in ninth spot thanks to its great startup culture and innovative infrastructure. Number one on the list is San Francisco, which shouldn’t be a surprise given its proximity to Silicon Valley, and New York, London, England, Los Angeles, and Seoul, South Korea round out the top five.
That’s what’s trending this week. Hashtag Trending is produced by the ITWC Podcast Network. If you enjoy Hashtag Trending, please be sure to give us a rating and a review on Amazon, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or wherever else you get your podcasts from.