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Author: Jen Elsie MacGill

Apple Names Denise Young Smith as VP of Diversity

Apple Names Denise Young Smith as VP of Diversity

apple diversity

Apple announced that they are giving the position of Diversity to former VP, Worldwide Human Resources, Denise Young Smith.  Which means, Apple has made the position of diversity an actual position.  And not just any position, but specifically in the role of a Vice President.  Typically, these types of positions and initiatives fall within the Human Resources Department, and it did for Apple for quite some time.  However, Apple is now making it a stand-alone position.  Obviously, it will need to be tied to HR in many ways, but what does this move mean for Apple?  Many associate the idea of diversity with the concept of affirmative action.  Hiring someone because they company has to in order to fill a quota.  But diversity is about your workforce reflecting the population that you are serving.

Many companies are making the move to becoming more diverse.  After all, would you consider buying their product if they weren’t diverse? Let’s look at it from a different angle.  Would you support a company that knowingly does harmful things to their employees?  So why would you support a company that doesn’t believe in diversity?  Apple’s move to create a permanent, more prominent position is a smart one on their part.  Why?  Because Apple is going to be seen not only as an innovative tech giant, but also as a place that values its employees.  While this might not be their goal, but it gives the appearance that they have a softer side.… Read the rest

What are you doing with your life? 14 Year Old Carson Huey-You Graduates University with Physics Degree

What are you doing with your life? 14 Year Old Carson Huey-You Graduates University with Physics Degree

carson huey you

This is maybe one of the craziest things I’ve seen all week, and there is some pretty crazy stuff going down in the world these days.  Not only is it crazy, but it’s a good news story.  Which are hard to come by, so this is actually refreshing.  A 14 year old boy in Texas received an undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University. When I say boy, I literally mean a child.  He’s only 14, and has a bachelor’s degree.  He started university when he was only 11, and graduated this year with all of his peers.  Did his Mom take him to class every day?  How does this work?  First of all, his name is Carson Huey-You, and he describes himself as “a normal dude”.

Second, I’d like to raise the stakes on this one a bit.  Not only did he graduate, but he graduated with a degree in physics AND a double minor in math and Chinese.  That is far more than I walked away with in my 20s.  There are literally no words to describe just how amazing this is.  According to the Star-Telegram, his favourite thing about university was:  “Getting to learn new things about things you never thought about, things that you never knew existed, things that you might not even think about thinking about”.  Which is also incredible.  Think about what you were doing when you were 14, and then compare it to this.  I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but this will help to put it into perspective.  … Read the rest

The Facebook Files: Leaked Guidelines to Help Moderate Hate Speech

The Facebook Files: Leaked Guidelines to Help Moderate Hate Speech

facebook thumbs down

I woke up to somewhat disturbing news this morning.  Facebook has begun to qualify what is considered offensive content.  Now, I’ve been kind of critical of Facebook lately.  But can you blame me?  There have been numerous cases where some posts have gone too far.  Including a sexual assault and the diatribe of a murder after he committed his crime.  One would assume that after these kinds of scenario’s that Facebook would get it’s act together and come up with ways to prevent these kinds of things from happening.  Well, they have, but the disturbing part is what is considered ok.

This information has been obtained by the Guardian as part of some “leak” known as the Facebook Files.  It sounds kinda cryptic, but the information is quite interesting.  Before I lean in too hard against Facebook, I should give them the benefit of the doubt.  They are, after all, trying.  But, in my opinion, they’re missing the mark in a very big way.  And because they’re using human moderators, they need to develop guidelines to help them make proper decisions.  Human moderators are likely better than machine moderators as they would be able to pick up on wording that might otherwise go unnoticed.

These guidelines define things like revenge porn.  Something that the moderators see on a daily basis.  So of course, this kind of thing needs to be defined.  Why?  Because a blanket statement like – no nudity – limits certain types of images being shown.… Read the rest

Google Wants to Put Artificial Intelligence in Everything – Can They?

Google Wants to Put Artificial Intelligence in Everything – Can They?


Artificial Intelligence has been around for quite some time now.  Many industries have been using it in one form or another  And most of us don’t even really know that we’re using AI.  Google, however, is bringing it to the forefront.  And, it kind of is, already.  But they’re really going to start bringing it.  During the Google I/O Conference this week, Google made several announcements outlining where it’s going to be.  And it’s going to be everywhere.  It was all over the keynote.  With the intention that Google is going to be “AI first”.  I wrote a couple of posts this week about some of their more interesting initiatives, but they’re right.  AI is involved with all of it.

So what does this mean?  Well, I think it means that it’s going to be easier for us to do things.  Maybe that’s simplified, but when you get down to it, what else is AI doing?  For example, cities use AI to identify infrastructure issues.  A vehicle can be equipped with a camera that will automatically detect a pothole for example.  This makes people’s lives a bit easier.  And I would also add, more efficient.  If we take that line of thinking and apply it to what Google is doing, the reach of AI could be endless.  Google has it’s fingers in a lot of different pots.

But, the pothole identifying version of AI isn’t what people want.  Or at least not most consumers. … Read the rest

Google Makes Improvements to Photos – Should Apple be Worried?

Google Makes Improvements to Photos – Should Apple be Worried?

Google Photos

Move over iOS Photos, there’s a new kid in town. Well, maybe not new, but certainly much improved.  Google announced yesterday that they have over half a billion users uploading photos every day.  Every single day.  Which means it’s time for an improved version of the app.  Part of that update is Google Lens, which I talked about in yesterday’s post.  But that’s not going to be ready for a little while.  So sit tight, but in the mean time, here are some cool new enhancements to Google Photos.

google suggested sharing

  • Suggested Sharing

If your photo is if your good friend Thomas, Google Photos will suggest that you share the photo with him.  And even anyone else that might know him or want to see the photo.  This is really neat as it’s using machine learning to identify Thomas, and then determine what to do with that photo.  Google has been making strides in the AI arena in order to identify objects – such as mountains.  But this is taking it to the next level.

google shared libraries

  • Shared Libraries

Now you can share an entire library with a group of people.  I might suggest this to my sister in law for photos of my nephew.  She often sends a ton via email, which is nice to get, but this would be easier.  I would like to point out that this can be done through iCloud sharing now.  The one difference is, with Google Shared Libraries, the photo stays in your camera roll as well.… Read the rest

Here’s What Was Announced at the Google I/O Conference Today

Here’s What Was Announced at the Google I/O Conference Today

2 billion android users

There were a lot of announcements at the Google I/O Conference today.  Almost too many to put in just one post.  But I will highlight some of the more interesting ones to start.  Or at least more interesting in my opinion.  First of all, it is estimated that there are 2 billion android devices being used world wide. Two billion!  That is almost 1/3 of the world’s population.  Which is insane.  It is almost 3 times that of the number of iPhone users, which is only at 700 million.  That in itself is incredible.  Which means there is a huge market to be tapped.  So bring it on Google.

google home

Let’s start with Google Home.  So far, it’s just been able to give you answers to questions that you ask.  I’m not trying to downplay this at all.  That in itself is incredible.  Not just from the perspective of Google Home, but in general.  What’s really interesting about the next version is that the device is going to be more proactive.  Meaning, if there is a traffic jam on your regularly route to work, it will let you know. Presumably, this would work for public transit delays and maybe some weather related events.  All and all, this is pretty amazing.  I wonder what else it could do?  Maybe predict my mood swings?  Just kidding.  I am interested to see what kinds of things this ends up being able to predict.

google assistant

And now onto Google Assistant.  … Read the rest

Nike LED Running Track Allows You to Compete Against Yourself

Nike LED Running Track Allows You to Compete Against Yourself

nike led running track

If you happen to be in Manila, perhaps you want to check out the Nike LED running track.  What is this, you ask?  It is a 200 metre track in the centre of Manila.  It is in the shape of a Nike shoe imprint, which essentially allows you to run in a figure eight.  But the coolest part about it? It is lined with LED screens.  The screens are there to give you the impression that you’re running against someone.  In an attempt to push you harder and make you run farther and faster.  Its an interesting concept.


How it works is that you attach some kind of censor to your shoe.  You select an avatar and then run one lap around the track.  From there, the avatar runs along side you.  The faster and farther you run, the larger the avatar gets.  Which hopefully pushes you to kick it up a notch.  Why is this so cool?  Well, technology aside, it’s giving you a running partner essentially.  How many times have you heard people complain that they don’t want to work out because they don’t have someone to do it with?  They need an accountability partner to get them going.  And now you don’t need a physical person to do this with you.

Also, think about it from the perspective of training.  This avatar is always going to be just a few seconds faster than you are.  Doesn’t that motivate you to want to do a little bit better?  … Read the rest