rDigital News: Facebook’s AI initiative, shopping with IBM Watson, and more

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Facebook’s AI initiative moving forward with new labfacebook's AI initiative

The company will reportedly announce a new artificial intelligence research laboratory Monday. Yann LeCun, New York University professor of computer and neural sciences, has been appointed lab director, according to his Facebook post.

Mashable reports that this could play a part in deciphering all the personal data being posted on Facebook every day and could help the social networking site produce more targeted ads. This comes after Facebook’s AI initiative was started in September with eight members.

Could this spell another debate on Facebook’s privacy regulations? Will there come a time when Facebook moves from social platform to social robot?

Revolutionizing online shopping with IBM Watson

Outdoor gear retailer The North Face is working with IBM’s Watson technology to give customers a personalized shopping experience unlike aindexny other, according to Adage.

IBM Watson is known for its cognitive computing technology, which means it’s built to be receptive to how humans naturally talk and think. The idea is to create a shopping experience specific to each customer, almost as if the site has a shopping concierge having a conversation with each of the shoppers online.

But in order to do have this “conversation”–IBM Watson needs to use our data. It can ingest information like previous purchases and even personal data from outside sources.

Companies using our available data isn’t something new. But what seems to be becoming a trend is the reliance on mining personal information. Are there better ways to provide convenience without invading consumer privacy?

Twitter reverses privacy change after complaints

This week, Twitter started allowing blocked users to view and send tweets to the person who blocked them. But this change was quickly reversed after Twitter received complaints from users who did not want to receive abusive tweets from people they blocked.


The New York Times reports that this is the latest example of backlash regarding privacy changes faced by Twitter and other social networking companies like Facebook.

Although this was only announced on a Twitter help centre account, it attracted enough attention that the company had to roll back the change. The reversal is a testament to the voice that Internet users still have, even though it may seem like we have no privacy rights left.

For more on privacy, check out our recent series:


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