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  • News & article

    That special human 'thing' will always beat AI

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 19/12/2016

    » This year's news about what artificial intelligence can do in the arts has been both exciting and scary. Neural networks have learned to paint like masters and compose sophisticated music. Those of us in creative endeavours might be as endangered by technological advances as blue-collar workers are often said to be -- though we are protected by certain limitations that technology is never likely to overcome.

  • News & article

    Innovation no fix for urban transport ills

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 03/07/2018

    » Urban transportation is undergoing a revolution. Offerings such as Uber and Lyft, as well as car- and bike-sharing services are widely believed to reduce congestion and generally make urban dwellers more mobile; driverless cars are expected to provide further benefits. Yet the notion that these innovations always make things better is far from a given: The new services are a net good only if they complement traditional public transportation systems rather than compete with them.

  • News & article

    The Cambridge Analytica red herring

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 21/03/2018

    » Facebook is being hammered for allowing the data firm Cambridge Analytica to acquire 50 million user profiles in the US, which it may or may not have used to help the Trump campaign. But the outrage misses the target: There's nothing Cambridge Analytica could have done that Facebook itself doesn't offer political clients.

  • News & article

    The cyber whodunnit and the global blame game

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 21/12/2017

    » The US government has officially attributed to North Korea the WannaCry ransomware attack, which encrypted hundreds of thousands of computer drives around the world in May, 2017. And yet as with a series of other highly public cyberattack attributions, little evidence for the claim was made public. It's time for the cybersecurity world to follow the advice of the Rand Corporation and set up an unbiased international consortium that would seek to attribute attacks based on a common set of rules.

  • News & article

    Crimean conflict simmers on with Jamala's victory

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 18/05/2016

    » Ukraine may not be able to win its wars against Russian-backed rebels and against domestic corruption, but it has just beaten Russia in spectacular fashion at the Eurovision Song Contest. The political message has been amplified by the pundits, but the Russians and Ukrainian voters themselves seemed unwilling to be dragged into the propaganda war.

  • News & article

    Putin lacks the clout to cut isles deal with Abe

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 24/01/2019

    » The window of opportunity for Russia and Japan to officially end World War II with a peace treaty narrowed again after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Moscow on Tuesday failed to end in a breakthrough. There's still time for Mr Abe to secure his legacy, but a lot depends on President Vladimir Putin's increasingly shaky domestic standing.

  • News & article

    Yes, Russia abused Facebook. But did it actually work?

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 20/12/2018

    » Russia's propaganda operations during the 2016 US presidential election were broader than previously thought, according to two recently published studies. But they don't provide proof the influence campaign was as effective as the Kremlin may have hoped. Both reports, based on data provided by social networks, combine a distrust of the companies' disclosures and a naive trust in the metrics they tout.

  • News & article

    Elon Musk doesn't need more sleep, he needs better sleep

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 22/08/2018

    » Last week, Arianna Huffington said Elon Musk's lack of sleep is impairing his performance. "The science is clear," she wrote after Tesla's chief executive officer told <i>The New York Times</i> that he works 120 hours a week, leaving him with little time to rest.

  • News & article

    What's scary about Facebook's new troll findings

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 03/08/2018

    » Facebook's widely publicised discovery of a possible influence operation through "inauthentic" accounts warrants some scrutiny -- and some reflection about the difference between a genuine political debate on social networks versus its simulated version.

  • News & article

    Cambridge Analytica's business simply isn't data

    News, Leonid Bershidsky, Published on 23/03/2018

    » As the Cambridge Analytica scandal unfolds, the Western world is meeting a little-known part of its political industry, the one that has operated in developing nations since at least the 1990s. CA's methods as revealed by Britain's Channel 4 News, whose reporter posed as a potential Sri Lankan client, may be a bit extreme -- but for the most part, the consultancy has been one of many firms that have brought Western-style electioneering to lawless environments in which it has been blatantly abused.

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