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Fun Size for 11/1/19: Twitter nixes political ads

The world of information - in Fun Size!

UMSI's Fun Size digest features tiny, delicious news tidbits relating to information and library topics. Reach us at [email protected].

Milking the till

To cut down on thefts and mistakes, Walmart is employing artificial intelligence to detect when an unscanned item goes into a shopper’s bag. Over 1000 Walmart stores use computer vision on their staffed and unstaffed checkout stations to prevent “shrink,” or inventory loss, says Entrepreneur. Turns out one of the most-missed items is milk. It’s hard to scan, so people often don’t – accidentally or not.

Beyond Smart Reply

You might think only you know what you’re going to type next, but Google is gaining on you. Predictive text is a relatively new feature of Gmail that anticipates how you’re going to finish that sentenceNew Yorker writer John Seabrook’s article on Google Compose includes entire sentences written by the software – and finds in some cases it’s more thoughtful than he is.


Play like an Egyptian

Almost everyone plays games on computers now, but a group of archaeologists and game experts are using computers and AI to figure out the rules to board games that are thousands of years old. Take a chunk of ceramic with 58 indentations, apply some standard sets of game rules and let the computer play 10,000 variations to discover how “58 Holes” was likely played back in Mesopotamia. According to AtlasObscura, the Digital Ludeme Project plans to make these ancient games available on their website by January; some you can even play now.


No more late-shaming

Late fines are going the way of the card catalog in many libraries. Over 150 library systems in the U.S. and Canada have done away with overdue fees to date, at the urging of the American Library Association. Apparently the guilt of having an overdue book or video means some patrons never return the book–or themselves–to the library. In the past late fees could even affect credit scores, reports the Wall Street Journal. But return those books on time anyhow – someone else could be waiting for them. Ahem.

Don’t leave home without these

What travel tools does a digital tools reporter use for a better travel experience? Poynter refers us to reporter Ren LaForme’s extensive compilation of tips and apps for cheap flights, helpful maps, recommendations, airport lounges, digital security and so much more.

A little bird told us

A truly amazing and – dare we say—beautiful example of data visualization from the Knight Foundation illustrates how much “fake news” can be identified on Twitter through bots’ automated posts. Prepare to scroll.

Smile, your webcam is watching

Facial recognition software is being used for everything from unlocking phones to identifying protestors in Hong Kong. But AI developers are going farther than that, says Scientific American. The latest technology attempts read your face and identify what you’re feeling. Worried about how this data could be used, filmmaker Noah Levenson created an interactive film to demonstrate–and raise warnings about–emotion recognition technology. The article includes a link to Stealing UR Feelings, a 6-minute video that watches you back–and draws conclusions about you.

A decade of data journalism

In a Medium article, data editor for Google News Simon Rogers shares his views on how data journalism has evolved in the past decade from a niche reporting exercise to becoming a key part of newsrooms all over the world. Data–it’s not just for scientists.

A matter of principle

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced on October 30 that the social platform would not accept political advertising after November 22, in direct opposition to rival Facebook, reports the New York Times. Mark Zuckerberg has stated he will allow politicians to run any ads, without fact checking, calling it a matter of free expression. Which platform has your vote?

News from UMSI

We’re proud to share news of honors for three faculty members at UMSI who have earned plaudits from their peers. Stephanie Teasley and Mark Newman have been named Distinguished Members of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), while Yan Chen has received the Carolyn Shaw Bell award for advancing the status of women in the economics profession.