facebook_Facebook Announces Shift in Privacy Strategy

Mark Zuckerberg posted a 3,200-word message this week describing a major change for Facebook and its users. According to Zuckerberg, Facebook will refocus on creating more products such as WhatsApp and similar services that enable private, encrypted communications.

“Facebook, which for a generation has encouraged billions of people to widely share their life updates and pictures, is trying to reinvent itself as a place for private communication,” writes Elizabeth Dwoskin of The Washington Post. “But the shift, which shows how the embattled company is positioning itself for an uncertain future marked by consumer distrust, declining growth on its core social network and ongoing fights with regulators around the world, could cause an upheaval in Facebook’s business model of mining people’s information to show them ads.”

This is a genuinely fascinating development in the history of social media and messaging platforms. I can guarantee we will be reading and talking more about Facebook’s change in strategy over the weeks and months ahead.

AI_Technology_updatedHuawei Aiming for AI Dominance

Chinese tech giant Huawei shows no signs of backing down from the looming worldwide battle over AI leadership. Ren Zhengfei, the firm’s founder and CEO, told reporters in a rare interview that he will fight back against U.S. efforts to impede Huawei’s strategy to grow swiftly and exert its influence in global markets.

“Huawei’s technology road map, especially in the field of artificial intelligence, points to a company that is progressing more rapidly—and on more technology fronts—than any other business in the world,” writes Will Knight in the MIT Technology Review. “Apart from its AI aspirations, Huawei is an ascendant player in the next-generation 5G wireless networking market, as well as the world’s second-largest smartphone maker behind Samsung (and ahead of Apple).”

I recommend reading Knight’s article, which paints a compelling picture of an epic struggle for dominance in a critical area of 21st century technology.

tech-newsT-Mobile Steps Up the Fight Against Robocalls

T-Mobile is taking the fight against spam calls to a new level, equipping five new phones with a new feature authenticate that callers are real humans and not robocallers.

T-Mobile announced this week that “it’s expanding its robocall-fighting Caller Verified feature to five new phones, including the Galaxy S10E, S10, and S10 Plus, along with the forthcoming LG G8 ThinQ and the LG Aristo 3,” writes Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge. “Those phones join the Note 9, Galaxy S9, and S9 Plus in supporting Caller Verified, which displays a message that an incoming call is coming from a verified person, not a VoIP internet spammer.”

Fighting spam is definitely an area in which telecoms should play a more front-and-center role. Kudos to T-Mobile for stepping up and raising the bar.

netflix-croppedSpielberg Fights Uphill Battle Against Streaming Video

Academy Award-winning director Stephen Spielberg is wading into the fight between traditional motion picture studios and streaming video services like Netflix, saying the Oscars shouldn’t reward the tech companies by honoring them with prizes.

“Spielberg firmly believes that Netflix and other companies that release their movies on streaming platforms at the same time they show in theaters should be barred from Academy Awards consideration. He’s reportedly looking to use his position on the Academy’s board of governors to push for rules change,” writes Brent Lang in Variety.

With all due respect to Mr. Spielberg, I believe he’s on the wrong side of history in this particular debate. Technology has played a starring role in movies from the earliest days of the motion picture industry. Relegating streaming video to a second-tier status would be a mistake.