Tech Bytes to Know this Week: 12.2.2016December 2nd, 2016
There Are Two Kinds of Free Speech, and We’re About to Put Both to the Test – The 2016 U.S. presidential election pushed the boundaries of what is considered acceptable speech in the public domain. But it’s important to understand that there are two different forms of speech – legal and cultural. Legally, the First Amendment protects citizens from the government limiting free speech via executive action or legislative infringements. The government can’t pass laws that curtail speech and the executive branch can’t commit any act that might limit speech.
The second type of free speech is cultural. As a society we have a general expectation of free speech, although we accept limits to speech in the public domain all the time. The U.S. Constitution does not protect speech beyond limiting the power of the government to impinge on it. If Facebook or Twitter want to ban certain types of speech (say, racism) they are well within their right to do so.
Digital platforms and devices are at the center of this debate around limitations of both kinds of speech. Legal free speech is being put to the test as President Elect Trump transitions from being a private citizen to a public one, with all the restrictions placed on his limitation of the speech of others as protected by the First Amendment. Cultural speech is the center of a larger debate as Twitter, Facebook and others begin the process of evaluating limitations on the platforms. Twitter was the center of the debate this week when it banned several “Alt-Right” accounts for violations of its updated user agreement prohibiting hate speech.
Read More: Twitter Move Triggers Free Speech Debate
Read More: Reddit Will Punish Hundreds of ‘Toxic Users’ and Hide Some Posts from Pro-Trump Community
Read More: U.S. Border Agents Stopped Journalist from Entry and Took his Phones
Read More: Reddit’s CEO Regrets Trolling Trump Supporters by Secretly Editing their Posts
Read More: Donald Trump Suggests Flag Burners Should Lose U.S. Citizenship
Netflix Targets Developing Markets with Offline Content Availability – Netflix made a critical decision that should help it grow in developing markets – it’s allowing users to download content to watch later when not connected to the internet. The move will be available in all markets via the iOS and Android apps, but is designed to get over the hurdles of internet connectivity and performance in developing markets around the world. When former Netflix executive, Gib Biddle T’91, visited Tuck in October he discussed the company’s goal of moving into more global markets. Watch Gib’s session to learn more about Netflix’s strategy.
Amazon Web Services Develops AI Tools for Its Cloud – In addition to cost and headache savings by switching to the cloud, AWS continues to add services that companies managing their own data centers likely wouldn’t be able to develop on their own. The latest examples are a text-to-speech service and image recognition capabilities. The move comes as Oracle tries to regain ground lost to Amazon, whose AWS now owns 45% of the IaaS market.
Apple Provides New Use Case for Drones – Apple announced yet another use case for commercial drones – mapping. Apple has long trailed Google in the mapping department (remember the debacle over Apple Maps in 2012?). The company, reportedly, received FAA approval for commercial data-collecting drones that could help the company create maps, including reading street signs, understand construction zones, and even map interiors of buildings (Apple’s Indoor.io acquisition was about mapping). Will it lead to improved maps and level the playing field with Google? It’s hard to say, but it’s a smart bet for Apple and a way to get developers using the mapping software over Google Maps. Unrelated, but progress on the new Apple headquarters are being videoed using drones.
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