Friday roundup: A week in tech

YouTube

YouTube has been accused of being either incompetent or irresponsible – well, we all have bad days.

Having said that, few of us suffer bad days that are linked to far right, hate-filled propaganda videos – a nuisance that YouTube continues to struggle with.

And that is exactly what has riled MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Committee, who is tired of the network’s inability to block a video that promotes the banned British Neo-Nazi gang, National Action.

Ms Cooper has flagged the video ‘at least seven times’ in the last year, and has even shown it to the firm’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, but so far no dice.

Speaking about the video network’s failings, the MP said: ‘YouTube’s continued failure to deal with the same illegal extremist video is a complete disgrace – and shows the shocking lack of effort they have put into the most basic of their social and legal responsibilities

‘If this was a copyright issue they would take it down immediately and automatically, and would invest in the technology to sort it out.’

Responding to the grim issue, YouTube said: ‘We do not want National Action content on YouTube and while we recognise our systems haven’t worked 100% in this instance we’re getting faster at removing violent extremist content by investing in machine learning technology and by hiring more people.’

Same old, then.

***

Excellent news, portable energy source fans – the world’s first rechargeable proton battery has been built!

What’s a proton battery? you ask. Don’t worry, I don’t know either but, according to the Guardian article I took this story from, the latest invention is a big step towards a ‘cheaper and more environmentally-friendly’ battery, which must be a good thing.

Created by scientists at Melbourne’s RMIT university, the small prototype uses carbon and water rather than lithium (lithium is used in lithium batteries. I’m learning).

According to Professor John Andrews ‘lithium-ion batteries are great,’ which is nice of him to say BUT ‘they rely on ultimately scarce and expensive resources’.

His battery, on the other hand, has the great benefit of ‘storing protons in a carbon-based material, which is abundant, and we are getting protons from water which is readily available’.

Sadly, it won’t be available commercially for at least five to 10 years but, still, it’s not often I get to write a positive battery story – or, indeed, any battery story at all.

***

A dating app has banned guns from its network, which is the sort of sentence I’ve just had to get used to typing out in these dark, daft, increasingly incomprehensible times.

‘Bumble’ has forbidden its members from posing with firearms in their profile pics, in the wake of Florida’s school massacre.

Henceforth, new and existing snaps will be screened and any featuring weapons will be binned.

In a statement, Bumble said: ‘As mass shootings continue to devastate communities across the country, it’s time to state unequivocally that gun violence is not in line with our values, nor do these weapons belong on Bumble.’

I love the ‘gun violence is not in line with our values’. It’s somehow as profound as it is absurd.

The app’s founder (great name alert) Whitney Wolfe Herd has acknowledged that the gun ban will affect law-abiding owners, hobbyists and hunters – and, presumably, their admirers.

Ho-hum.

Friday roundup: A week in tech

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