The Download: the impact of video games, and healthy brains

The must-reads I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.  1 Google flagged a father’s medical photos of his son as abuseWhen Big Tech’s abuse-detection tools get it wrong, the consequences can be extremely serious. (NYT $)  2 Software can do better than ‘male,’ ‘female,’ and ‘other’In many cases, a […]

ITP news in brief 22nd August

Victoria MacLennan. 22 August 2022, 11:16 pm Nau mai haare mai, Welcome, ITP members and supporters to news in brief on 22nd August 2022. First up I have to shout out to everyone in Whakatū Nelson (my home town), Tasman and elsewhere who are cleaning up after the incredible volume of rain over the last […]

How do strong muscles keep your brain healthy?

Myokines are released into the bloodstream when your muscles contract, create new cells, or perform other metabolic activities. When they arrive at the brain, they regulate physiological and metabolic responses there, too. As a result, myokines have the ability to affect cognition, mood, and emotional behavior. Exercise further stimulates what scientists call muscle-brain “cross talk,” […]

Software can do better than ‘male,’ ‘female,’ and ‘other’

Why something as dehumanizing as “other”? Even a choice of the three most popular—“he,” “she,” and “they”—would be reasonable. From a coding perspective, it would be quite simple to update the dropdown language. It should not be difficult for companies to improve gender inclusivity on existing forms. Providing additional options often requires just changing or […]

We may never fully know how video games affect our well-being

The moral panic around video games has stuck in a way that previous entertainment-fueled panics such as those around rock music and TV haven’t. But the evidence isn’t there.  Media reports that the perpetrators of mass shootings from the mid-1990s onwards were avid gamers, coupled with a slew of studies starting in the early 2000s, […]

Debit card fraud leaves Ally Bank customers, small stores reeling

Enlarge / Ally debit card owners are reporting fraudulent charges at a steady cadence over the past week. Getty Images reader comments 34 with 25 posters participating Share this story Ben Langhofer, a financial planner and single father of three in Wichita, Kansas, decided to start a side business. He had made a handbook for […]

The Download: an “unhackable” phone, and Ring’s TV show

The fight for “Instagram face” Through beauty filters, platforms like Instagram are helping users achieve increasingly narrowing beauty standards—though only in the digital world—at a stunningly rapid pace. There is evidence that excessive use of these filters online has harmful effects on mental health, especially for young girls. “Instagram face” is a recognized aesthetic template: […]

Ring’s new TV show is a brilliant but ominous viral marketing ploy

The costs of market domination  In 2021, Ring sold 1.7 million devices, roughly the same number as its next four competitors combined, according to business intelligence firm Strategy Analytics. In other words, it has successfully dominated the market that it created—even while the results regarding safety have been questionable. Previous MIT Technology Review reporting shows […]

Erik Prince wants to sell you a “secure” smartphone that’s too good to be true

Prince told investors the UP Phone is built by “engineers with deep experience in lawful interception, surveillance, and spoofing capabilities.”  While taking various privacy and security enhancements from open source projects, Unplugged spokesperson Alona Stein told MIT Technology Review via email, Unplugged’s proprietary operating system developed their own “enhancements” including “based on knowledge not available […]

The fight for “Instagram face”

But behind every filter is a person dragging lines and shifting shapes on a computer screen to achieve the desired look. Beauty may be subjective, and yet society continues to promote stringent, unattainable ideals that—for women and girls—are disproportionately white, slender, and feminine.  Instagram publishes very little data about filters, especially beauty filters. In September […]