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University of Michigan School of Information


Fun Size for 12/2/22: Meet the real Winnie-the-Pooh

We need more data!

Language models in artificial intelligence programs are trained using huge amounts of data from sources such as Wikipedia, news articles, scientific papers and books – a seemingly infinite supply of material. Not so, say researchers from an AI forecasting organization in the MIT Technology Review. We could run out of “high-quality” data as early as 2026.

To click or not to click

We’ve all received messages in emails or chat apps that claim to be from friends or familiar businesses, urging us to click on a link. But how to determine if the link is legit or if it’s going to subject you to a sales pitch … or worse? How To Geek offers tips on how to test a suspicious link before you click.

The paper ceiling 

It’s no secret that many employers use AI to narrow the field of job applicants, screening with keywords and education level. There’s a growing concern that these algorithms may be excluding certain groups, such as women, people of color and those without college degrees. Marketplace describes new employment software that assesses candidates by skills, which led to a happy result for one Michigan woman.

A dazzling collection 

Over its 125 years, The New York Public Library has collected an astonishing 56 million historic items. Selected treasures from its collection are currently on display at the main branch in New York, including the Declaration of Independence, Charles Dickens’ writing desk, and the original Winnie-the-Pooh and his pals. A slideshow on the library’s site shares a few choice highlights.

Gone but not forgotten 

Five Iraqi cultural heritage sites destroyed or damaged by ISIS have been recreated virtually by Qaf Lab, an innovation hub that supports Iraqi entrepreneurs. Using documentation, computer technology and virtual reality artistry, the lab has created historically accurate virtual reconstructions. The exhibition at the Mosul Heritage Museum aims to help young people connect with their country’s past, according to The National.

Copilot stirs coders’ wrath 

When Microsoft released Copilot, a new kind of AI capable of writing its own code, many professional programmers were delighted at the work it saved them. Not Matthew Butterick, a programmer, designer and–unfortunately for Microsoft– lawyer. He’s instituted a class-action lawsuit claiming that the legal rights of the original programmers, from whose codes Copilot learned its skills, have been violated, reports the New York Times.

Way too open house  

Realtors can utilize many tech tools for marketing a home, but researchers at the University of Washington are warning that one popular sales feature carries privacy risks. Personal information visible in 3-D tours of a home could offer clues to an owner’s identity, they say, leaving them open to phishing or credit card fraud. Not to mention what your snoopy neighbors might find.

Don’t call us. Seriously. 

Budget airline Frontier has come up with a new way to save money. In November it eliminated its customer service phone line.To contact the airline, customers can interact with a chatbot on the website (always a fun time), engage in live chat 24/7 or reach out on social media. “Most of our customers prefer online communication,” a Frontier spokesperson told NPR.

Curtain down on DVDs by mail 

Those iconic red and white mailers that hold Netflix DVDs are a rare sight these days, but the service still exists – for now. About 1.5 million Netflix subscribers continue to get movies by mail, but according to USA Today, the rental service could end next year. Sorry, film buffs.

Mastodon 101 

With Twitter in a flap, many micro-bloggers are looking for a new outlet and huge numbers have decamped to Mastodon. To learn what Mastodon is, how it differs from Twitter and how a federated network works, The Conversation turned to information science professor Brian Keegan.

UMSI’s own Professor Cliff Lampe shares his thoughts on what Elon Musk’s ownership could mean for Twitter.