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In the news … June 11, 2018

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Let Gmail Finish Your Sentences

The new Gmail feature that lets the software write your mail messages for you sounds intriguing, if not unsettling. How does it work, and has the feature rolled out to regular users so I can see it for myself?

A. The Smart Compose feature of Google’s recent Gmail update does not exactly write your full message for you. The program uses machine learning techniques to evaluate what you are writing — and then suggests what to type next based on that analysis. Gmail’s text suggestions appear in slightly lighter gray type at the end of the sentence you are writing. If you choose to accept the computer-generated words, tap the Tab key to add the material and move on to the next sentence.

NEW YORK TIMES

Majority of charities need to revisit their digital strategy

According to findings from the new research report “Engineers for change: Why finance teams must drive the digital agenda,” although the bulk of UK charities understand the role that digital must play in delivering better services and outcomes for charity beneficiaries, most still need to rethink and asses their current digital strategy.

The research also established how finance leaders have a critical role in helping charities advance the pace of digital transformation. Only a minority of finance professionals are currently (43%) involved in digital planning or delivery in their organisations.

INFORMATION AGE

GOOGLE TRIES BEING SLIGHTLY LESS EVIL

This week, researchers at the M.I.T. Media Lab, who’ve used artificial intelligence to do things like write horror stories and induce empathy, unveiled a new, skin-crawling exploration into the unsettling possibilities of A.I. Norman, a “psychopath A.I.,” is a “case study on the dangers of artificial intelligence gone wrong when biased data is used in machine-learning algorithms.” The M.I.T. team fed Norman data from a subreddit known for its graphic imagery of death, and then asked him to interpret Rorschach inkblots. The results were alarming: Where a standard A.I. saw a “close-up of a wedding cake on a table,” Norman saw a “man killed by speeding driver.” Where a standard A.I. saw “a group of birds sitting on top of a tree branch,” Norman saw “a man [that] is electrocuted and catches to death.”

VANITY FAIR

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