Children are being “datafied” before we’ve understood the risks, report warns

A report by England’s children’s commissioner has raised concerns about how kids’ data is being collected and shared across the board, in both the private and public sectors.

In the report, entitled Who knows what about me?, Anne Longfield urges society to “stop and think” about what big data means for children’s lives. Big data practices could result in a data-disadvantaged generation whose life chances are shaped by their childhood data footprint, her report warns. The long term impacts of profiling minors when these children become adults is simply not known, she writes. “Children are being “datafied” – not just via social media, but in many aspects of their lives,” says Longfield. “For children growing up today, and the generations that follow them, the impact of profiling will be even greater – simply because there is more data available about them.” By the time a child is 13
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Audit Facebook and overhaul competition law, say MEPs responding to breach scandals

After holding a series of hearings in the wake of the Facebook -Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal this summer, and attending a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg himself in May, the European Union parliament’s civil liberties committee has called for an update to competition rules to reflect what it dubs “the digital reality”, urging EU institutions to look into the “possible monopoly” of big tech social media platforms.

Top level EU competition law has not touched on the social media axis of big tech yet, with the Commission concentrating recent attention on mobile chips (Qualcomm); and mobile and ecommerce platforms (mostly Google; but Amazon’s use of merchant data is in its sights too); as well as probing Apple’s tax structure in Ireland. But last week Europe’s data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, told us that closer working between privacy regulators and the EU’s Competition Commission is on the
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Nvidia launches Rapids to help bring GPU acceleration to data analytics

Nvidia, together with partners like IBM, HPE, Oracle, Databricks and others, is launching a new open-source platform for data science and machine learning today. Rapids, as the company is calling it, is all about making it easier for large businesses to use the power of GPUs to quickly analyze massive amounts of data and then use that to build machine learning models.

“Businesses are increasingly data-driven,” Nvidia’s VP of Accelerated Computing Ian Buck told me. “They sense the market and the environment and the behavior and operations of their business through the data they’ve collected. We’ve just come through a decade of big data and the output of that data is using analytics and AI. But most it is still using traditional machine learning to recognize complex patterns, detect changes and make predictions that directly impact their bottom line.” The idea behind Rapids then is to work with the
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AI could help push Neo4j graph database growth

Graph databases have always been useful to help find connections across a vast data set, and it turns out that capability is quite handy in artificial intelligence and machine learning too. Today, Neo4j, the makers of the open source and commercial graph database platform, announced the release of Neo4j 3.5, which has a number of new features aimed specifically at AI and machine learning. Neo4j founder and CEO Emil Eifrem says he had recognized the connection between AI and machine learning and graph databases for awhile, but he says that it has taken some time for the market to catch up to the idea. “There has been a lot momentum around AI and graphs…Graphs are very fundamental to AI. At the same time we were seeing some early use cases, but not really broad adoption, and that’s what we’re seeing right now,” he explained.

EU antitrust regulator eyeing Amazon’s use of merchant data

The European Union’s competition commission is looking into how Amazon uses data from retailers selling via its ecommerce marketplace, Reuters reports. Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager revealed the action today during a press conference. “We are gathering information on the issue and we have sent quite a number of questionnaires to market participants in order to understand this issue in full,” she said. It’s not a formal antitrust probe at this stage, with Vestager also telling reporters: “These are very early days and we haven’t formally opened a case. We are trying to make sure that we get the full picture.” The Commission appears to be trying to determine whether or not third-party merchants selling on Amazon’s platform are being placed at a disadvantage vs the products Amazon also sells, thereby competing directly with some of its marketplace participants. Companies found to be in breach of EU antitrust rules can
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Computational Design: The Future of How We Make Things is Tech-Driven

Computational Design: The Future of How We Make Things is Tech-Driven

Future Design is Computational

Design is always changing, and never stagnant. In the late 20th century, it was the emergence of Design Thinking that upended how architects, engineers, and industrial design organizations made decisions about how to make new things. Now, the rapid pace of technological advancement has brought forth a new design methodology that will again forever alter the course of design history. Computational design, which takes advantage of mass computing power, machine learning, and large amounts of data, is changing the fundamental role of humans in the design process.

Designing With Billions of Data Points

Today’s infographic comes to us from Schneider Electric, and it looks at how the future of design will be driven by data and processing power. While computational design is still a term with no real consensus, attempts to define it do have overlap: Parameter setting
Algorithmic, “rules-based” code can be applied as
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George Church’s genetics on the blockchain startup just raised $4.3 million from Khosla

Nebula Genomics, the startup that wants to put your whole genome on the blockchain, has announced the raise of $4.3 million in Series A from Khosla Ventures and other leading tech VC’s such as Arch Venture Partners, Fenbushi Capital, Mayfield, F-Prime Capital Partners, Great Point Ventures, Windham Venture Partners, Hemi Ventures, Mirae Asset, Hikma Ventures and Heartbeat Labs. Nebula has also has forged a partnership with genome sequencing company Veritas Genetics. Veritas was one of the first companies to sequence the entire human genome for less than $1,000 in 2015, later adding all that info to the touch of a button on your smartphone. Both Nebula and Veritas were cofounded by MIT professor and “godfather” of the Human Genome Project, George Church. The partnership between the two companies will allow the Nebula marketplace, or the place where those consenting to share their genetic data can earn Nebula’s cryptocurrency called “Nebula
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How Big Data Will Unlock the Potential of Healthcare

How Big Data Will Unlock the Potential of Healthcare

How Big Data Will Unlock the Potential of Healthcare

Data is driving the future of business, and any company not prepared for this transformation is at risk of being left behind. This is a reality in almost every sector, but it’s especially relevant to companies in the healthcare industry. That’s because the amount of health data being created is growing at a 48% rate annually, and by 2020, a Stanford University study estimates that 2,314 exabytes of healthcare data will be produced per year. Simply put, the companies that can extract meaningful insights from these mountains of data will have a serious and durable competitive advantage – and those that don’t have a proper strategy for this boom in data will get lost in the weeds.

Breaking Down Big Data

Today’s infographic comes to us from Publicis Health, and it shows why big data is one of the six
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Outlier raises $6.2 M Series A to change how companies use data

Traditionally, companies have gathered data from a variety of sources, then used spreadsheets and dashboards to try and make sense of it all. Outlier wants to change that and deliver a handful of insights right to your inbox that matter most for your job, company and industry. Today the company announced a $6.2 million Series A to further develop that vision. The round was led by Ridge Ventures with assistance from 11.2 Capital, First Round Capital, Homebrew, Susa Ventures and SV Angel. The company has raised over $8 million. The startup is trying to solve a difficult problem around delivering meaningful insight without requiring the customer to ask the right questions. With traditional BI tools, you get your data and you start asking questions and seeing if the data can give you some answers. Outlier wants to bring a level of intelligence and automation by pointing out insight
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SessionM customer loyalty data aggregator snags $23.8 M investment

SessionM announced a $23.8 million Series E investment led by Salesforce Ventures. A bushel of existing investors including Causeway Media Partners, CRV, General Atlantic, Highland Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also contributed to the round. The company has now raised over $97 million. At its core, SessionM aggregates loyalty data for brands to help them understand their customer better, says company co-founder and CEO Lars Albright. “We are a customer data and engagement platform that helps companies build more loyal and profitable relationships with their consumers,” he explained. Essentially that means, they are pulling data from a variety of sources and helping brands offer customers more targeted incentives, offers and product recommendations “We give [our users] a holistic view of that customer and what motivates them,” he said.

Screenshot: SessionM (cropped)

To achieve this, SessionM takes advantage of machine learning to analyze the data stream and integrates
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Sumo Logic brings data analysis to containers

Sumo Logic has long held the goal to help customers understand their data wherever it lives. As we move into the era of containers, that goal becomes more challenging because containers by their nature are ephemeral. The company announced a product enhancement today designed to instrument containerized applications in spite of that. They are debuting these new features at DockerCon, Docker’s customer conference taking place this week in San Francisco. Sumo’s CEO Ramin Sayer says containers have begun to take hold over the last 12-18 months with Docker and Kubernetes emerging as tools of choice. Given their popularity, Sumo wants to be able to work with them. “[Docker and Kubernetes] are by far the most standard things that have developed in any new shop, or any existing shop that wants to build a brand new modern app or wants to lift and shift an app from on prem [to
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Devo scores $25 million and cool new name

Logtrust is now known as Devo in one of the cooler name changes I’ve seen in a long time. Whether they intended to pay homage to the late 70s band is not clear, but investors probably didn’t care, as they gave the data operations startup a bushel of money today. The company now known as Devo announced a $25 million Series C round led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from Kibo Ventures. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $71 million. The company changed its name because it was about much more than logs, according to CEO Walter Scott. It offers a cloud service that allows customers to stream massive amounts of data — think terabytes or even petabytes — relieving the need to worry about all of the scaling and hardware requirements processing this amount of data would require. That could be from logs from web servers, security
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Alibaba Group leads $26.4M Series B in GPU database provider SQream

SQream CEO and co-founder Ami Gal

SQream, the GPU database developer, will deepen its focus on China after raising a $26.4 million Series B led by Alibaba Group. The round also included investors Hanaco Venture Capital, Sistema.vc, World Trade Ventures, Paradiso Ventures, Glory Ventures and Silvertech Ventures. The startup describes the funding, which brings its total raised to a little over $40 million, as a strategic investment from Alibaba. Earlier this year, SQream and Alibaba Cloud announced a new agreement that will give Alibaba Cloud users access to the GPU database starting in October. In a statement to TechCrunch, Chaoqun Zhan, director of Alibaba Database Business, said “Alibaba Cloud and SQream announced a collaboration in February and this investment deepens our relationship, and together we aim to provide the best cloud solutions to all kinds of businesses to enable their success in this digital age.” Based
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We are all trapped in the “Feed”

Every afternoon, during lunch, I open up YouTube, and I find myself marveling at the sheer dumbness of its recommendations. Despite having all this viewing data of mine, world’s second most popular search engine is dumb as a brick. It shows me propaganda channels from two ends of the political spectrum. It surfaces some inane celebrity videos. It dredges up the worst material for me — considering I usually like watch science videos, long conversations and interviews, and photography-focused educational videos. Continue reading "We are all trapped in the “Feed”"

Meet Alchemist Accelerator’s latest demo day cohort

An IoT-enabled lab for cannabis farmers, a system for catching drones mid-flight and the Internet of Cows are a few of the 17 startups exhibiting today at Alchemist Accelerator’s 18th demo day. The event, which will be streamed live here, focuses on big data and AI startups with an enterprise bent. The startups are showing their stuff at Juniper’s Aspiration Dome in Sunnyvale, California at 3pm today, but you can catch the whole event online if you want to see just what computers and cows have in common. Here are the startups pitching onstage. Tarsier – Tarsier has built AI computer vision to detect drones. The founders discovered the need while getting their MBAs at Stanford, after one had completed a PhD in aeronautics. Drones are proliferating. And getting into places they shouldn’t — prisons, R&D centers, public spaces. Securing these spaces today requires antiquated military gear that’s clunky and expensive.
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Is America’s national security Facebook and Google’s problem?

Outrage that Facebook made the private data of over 87 million of its U.S. users available to the Trump campaign has stoked fears of big US-based technology companies are tracking our every move and misusing our personal data to manipulate us without adequate transparency, oversight, or regulation.

These legitimate concerns about the privacy threat these companies potentially pose must be

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Splunk turns data processing chops to Industrial IoT

Splunk has always been known as a company that can sift through oodles of log or security data and help customers surface the important bits. Today, it announced it was going to try to apply that same skill set to Industrial Internet of Things data. IIoT is data found in manufacturing settings, typically come from sensors on the factory floor giving engineers and plant managers data about the health and well-being of the machines running in the facility. Up until now, that data hasn’t had a modern place to live. Traditionally, companies pull the data into Excel and try to slice and dice it to find the issues Splunk wants to change that with Splunk Industrial Asset Intelligence (IAI). The latest product pulls data from a variety of sources where it can be presented to management and engineers with the information they need to see along with critical alerts. The
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IoT devices could be next customer data frontier

At the Adobe Summit this week in Las Vegas, the company introduced what could be the ultimate customer experience construct, a customer experience system of record that pulls in information, not just from Adobe tools, but wherever it lives. In many ways it marked a new period in the notion of customer experience management, putting it front and center of the marketing strategy. Adobe was not alone, of course. Salesforce, with its three-headed monster, the sales, marketing and service clouds, was also thinking of a similar idea. In fact, they spent $6.5 billion dollars last week to buy MuleSoft to act as a data integration layer to access  customer information from across the enterprise software stack, whether on prem, in the cloud, or inside or outside of Salesforce. And they announced the Salesforce Integration Cloud this week to make use of their newest company. As data collection takes center
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African VC TLcom Capital invests $5M in Nigerian data analytics firm Terragon Group

The African venture firm TLcom Capital is betting on Africa’s data analytics markets with a $5 million investment in Nigerian-based Terragon Group, the developer of a software analytics service for customer acquisition.

TLcom’s commitment is the second from its $40 million TIDE Africa Fund for early and growth-stage digital companies.

“We liked…that the business has matured into a new platform with very strong technology behind it,” said TLcom Capital Partner, Ido Sum. “It allows the largest advertisers and brands…to reach consumers in a way they couldn’t do before.”

Located in Lagos, Terragon’s software services give its clients — primarily telecommunications and financial services companies — data on Africa’s growing consumer markets.

Products allow users to drill down on multiple combinations of behavioral and demographic information and reach consumers through video and SMS campaigns while connecting to online sales and payments systems, according to the company.

“We can

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Trump’s new national security advisor has ties to Cambridge Analytica

Trump’s third national security advisor, John Bolton, shares at least one thing in common with his first one, Michael Flynn: both men have ties to Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm at the center of a new Facebook privacy firestorm. In a new story, The New York Times reports that John Bolton’s political action committee The John Bolton Super PAC hired Cambridge Analytica in August 2014, “months after the political data firm was founded and while it was still harvesting the Facebook data.” In Cambridge Analytica’s early days, Bolton’s PAC funneled $1.2 million toward polling and “behavioral microtargeting with psychographic messaging” over the course of two years. “To do that work, Cambridge used Facebook data, according to the documents and two former employees familiar with the work,” The New York Times reports. That research supported candidates on the right, including Republican Thom Tillis’s 2014 bid for
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