On Thursday, Australians woke to unobscured the fact that Facebook had banned all news media publication based/operating in Australia. The ban was due to the recent media code introduced in the house of representatives which according to Facebook may prove to be a financial liability for them.
Facebook have said that the law, which needs to be passed by the Senate, “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it”.
In response to the actions committed by Facebook, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison used his Facebook page to react, saying: “Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing.”
So first lets understand what does the proposed law say.
What does the law say ?
On Wednesday, Australian parliament was enlightened with the world’s first media legislation, which obliges Facebook to owe a certain amount of payment to news media outlet in Australia, in order to reciprocate the intensive usage of news content on Facebook’s newsfeed.
According to the Australian government and its supporters this law was necessary in order to aid the financial loss accommodated by traditional and digital media companies based in Australia. For example, facebook accounts for 28% of the total expenditure on online advertising, Google makes up for around 53% and rest everyone just 19%. According to a report by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, each of the corporations generated an estimate of 4.3bn$ and 0.7bn$. The code aims to ensure that news media business are fairly remunerated for the content they have published.
Although the lays out a framework which will allow them to bargain about the sum of amount they owe to media outlets. But if they refuse to agree, an arbiter will implicate the “final offer arbitration” in order to finalise the size of remuneration. A refusal from any side of the agreement will result in a penalty of $10m, or 10% of annual Australian turnover, or 3 times the profit collected.
What does this mean for Facebook ? and what was their response ?
If this law is passed facebook would be required a pay a sum of money to all news outlets who own a Facebook profile.
In response to the new propose law, Facebook has forbidden all publishers and people in Australia from publishing or viewing any form of content which suits the definition of “news”. Various sources have even reported the obliteration of Government depts profiles. Even international news agency have been banned Australian province.
“As the law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.
Over the years, facebook have been criticized for its impact on news distribution but ut argues that it has helped many publications to expand their reach, a Facebook spokes person said that “In fact, and as we have made clear to the Australian government for many months, the value exchange between Facebook and publishers runs in favor of the publishers – which is the reverse of what the legislation would require the arbitrator to assume. Last year Facebook generated approximately 5.1 billion free referrals to Australian publishers worth an estimated AU$407 million.”
Facebook believes it offers much more benefit to news companies than news companies offer to Facebook. The company’s head in Australia and New Zealand, Will Easton, said in a blog post announcing the block that news content accounts for less than 4% of content people see in their news feeds, while Facebook accounted for 5.1bn clicks to Australian news websites in 2020.
Facebook argues this value isn’t taken into account in how the negotiations are structured in the proposed news code.
Facebook has hit the nuclear button to try to show media companies how little news means to Facebook – and how much it might affect traffic to news sites if they were suddenly cut off.
For Facebook’s part, it advocates the fact that news content only account for around 4% of the total content circulated on platform.
How are Australians reacting ?
Facebook’s actions have divided opinion across the country, with some indifferent, and others angry. The #deletefacebook hashtag was trending on Twitter in Australia on Thursday.
When removing news pages from its platform, Facebook also inadvertently pulled pages for dozens of charities, state health organizations, small businesses, and a weather bureau.
Sydney resident Fred Azis-Laranjo told CNBC that he thinks Facebook’s decision will “massively backfire” and that Facebook will lose fans and customers in Australia as a result.
“It will inconvenience and annoy a huge group of the population who get their news from their Facebook news feed,” he said.
“Longer term, I think it is a good thing if it encourages more people to seek news more proactively, which will likely mean they’re exposed to a greater diversity of views and will also likely benefit established news organizations over niche players.”
Josh Gadsby, director of client relationship management at Visa in Sydney, told CNBC that he cares and he thinks most other people in Australia do as well. Facebook exacerbated the situation by banning non-news pages, according to Gadsby.
“Having worked for the Financial Times for several years, I saw the impact Facebook and Google were having on ad revenues for traditional publishers and I think it’s reasonable for them to be expected to pay something to use content from publishers,” he said.
“Having said that there are two sides to the story and there’s a fair bit of negative press over here about this being driven by the government because they’re in Murdoch’s pocket,” added Gadsby.
Gadsby believes that Facebook should have negotiated a deal with publishers. “It’ll be interesting to see what their next step is as personally, I think it’s unlikely the ban will be long-lasting,” he said.
Neuralink: a deeper introspection
6th sense of Human beings the Neuralink- Neuralink is a medical device developed in order to track and enhance brain activity. Moreover, it is like a Fitbit that tracks brain activities like neuron spike. Elon Musk said that the device will also be able to help regain someone’s eyesight even if they’ve lost their optic nerve. He said that this technology will be able to fix everything that’s wrong with the brain. With complete symbiosis of the tech, humans will be able to interact with each other without the need to talk.
It will be surgically implanted into the brain and with it, one will be able to communicate with machines and control them. For now, human trials are not yet begun but would start at the end of 2020. Furthermore, it will also help study the electrical signals in the brain and help cure various medical problems. Before testing on humans, Neuralink prototypes have been tested on rodents, monkeys, pigs, etc.
Before peeping deeper into Neuralink let’s understand the human brain first.
There are 86 billion Neurons in our Brain. These neurons consist of 3 parts: a dendrite that receives the signal, a cell body that computes the received signal, and an axon that sends the signal out.
Neurons are connected through Synapses. The neurons of your brain connect each other to send and receive signals through axon-dendrite connections called synapses. Neurons communicate through Electric Signals. These signals can be recorded in the brain. Recordings from many neurons allow us to decode the information and it represents intended movements.
To understand how Neuralink works, we must understand how our brain sends information to different parts of our body using neurons. These neurons in our brain connect to form a large network and communicate using chemical signals called neurotransmitters.
This reaction generates an electric field to record the reactions. These electrodes translate electrical signals into an algorithm that a machine can read. This is how Neuralink will be able to read what one is thinking and find a way to talk to machines without uttering a single word. It’s all your thoughts and link’s action.
The neural implant will let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go. Micron-scale threads are inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant, the Link.
It’s a sealed, implanted device that processes and stimulates, and transmits neural signals.
Each small and flexible thread contains many electrodes for detecting neural signals.
A compact inductive charger that connects to the implant wirelessly to charge the battery; same as a smart-watch or fit bit.
Precision Automated Neurosurgery.
The threads on the Link are extremely fragile and flexible that they can’t be inserted by a human hand. Hence neurosurgeons would be provided with a robotic system that can reliably and efficiently insert these threads. The robot would be able to insert the link within an hour without general anesthesia and the patient would be able to leave the hospital on the same day.
Robots will do everything from the incision, removing the skull, inserting electrodes, placing the device, and then closing it up. These robotic systems were tested on numerous pigs used to test the device. This system has no room for errors. The Head of the machine holds and guides the needle that performs the operation and contains a large number of cameras to capture the whole brain.
How Neuralink will help to overcome mental disorders?
The Neuralink aims to fight neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and epilepsy, spinal cord injuries, and other medical problems. The link is expected to even fight with common anxiety and depression yet that’s not proven. By taking primitive measures of implementing the Neuralink slowly and gradually we can hope best for it. There are high abilities and possibilities that Link could help fight a large number of medical illnesses and aims to create an affordable solution for people who lack the essential needs of medical treatment. At its level best, it will help to control the number of suicides that end lives before help can be received.
For now, those goals are very much out of reach. Scientists need to learn far more about the brain and how it works for any of those ideas to become reality. The brain is still mysterious and the neurological causes of addiction and anxiety are still unclear.
Why is Elon Musk testing his implant on Pigs?
In August 2020, Elon Musk’s 3 pig trial got rearing spotlight. The Neuralink implant was tested on 3 pigs; on 1st with no implant, on 2nd with an implant for some days and later it was removed and the 3rd pig still has the implant in her brain. The experiment of 2nd pig was done to show that if someone wanted to remove the link, they should be able to live a happy and healthy life after that. 3rd pig’s implant is active to track down all neural movements and to list down moments of snout and sniffs.
Hiring engineers for neurotechnology firm Neuralink
Neuralink is almost done dealing with a neuroscience background. The chip is an electrical device that requires mechanical/software engineers to deal with. It would be easier for these engineers to sort out problems like processing, indictive charging, power mgmt, etc. Most importantly, great problem-solving skills, solving high-volume, high-reliability, low-cost production problems are especially valued.
In the end, let’s hope best for the future of brain interfaces and inventing new technologies that will expand our abilities, our community, and our world.
Scientists spot a sign of possible Life on Venus
VENUS- Earth’s evil twin it’s clouds are made of battery acids. At 900 degrees its surface heat enough to melt lead, Venus is pretty much like the biblical vision of hell today. This may be the hostile real estate in the solar system yet billions of years ago Venus looked alike Earth but to the near of sun Venus was doomed and Earth blossomed. Venus burned yet even here life may thrive.
An international team of astronomers has detected a rare molecule in the atmosphere of Venus that could be produced by living organisms. The discovery instantly puts the brightest planet in the night sky back into the conversation about where to search for extraterrestrial life.
The surface of Venus is a more like a hell. However, some layers of its clouds spot surprisingly hospitable temperatures and pressures. Phosphine is a poisonous gas however, the organizers of the study and other experts agree that the presence of phosphine is not proof of life on another planet.
As astronomers look for signs of life outside our solar system, one method is to look for chemicals that result only from biological processes. These processes are known as bio-signatures.
Phosphine can form only in two ways on Earth. It can be created by an industrial process, or it can come from a biological process in animals and microbes that is not well understood. Some scientists consider it as a waste product.
It’s said that phosphine can be found in the bottom of ponds, the insides of animals like badgers and in the waste of penguins. The astronomers carefully looked at all the possibilities for production of the phosphine: volcanoes, lightning strikes or meteorites falling into the atmosphere. Not a single process we looked at could produce phosphine in high enough quantities to explain the team’s findings.
Furthermore, it is noticed that 50 kilometers above the planet’s surface, in Venus’ thick carbon dioxide clouds, it is about room temperature. The clouds are mostly made up of sulfuric acid. But they also contain droplets with very small amounts of water.
The scientists asked themselves if the phosphine could be coming from microbes living inside the sulfuric acid droplets. Than when the droplets fall to the ground, they might dry out but could collect in other droplets and reanimate.
Venus is one of the most beautiful objects in Earth’s sky. But at a closer glance, the less lovely it becomes. Venus is roughly the same mass as Earth. Many scientists think that Venus was once covered in water and possessed an atmosphere where life as we know it could have flourished.
In earlier days of the solar system, Earth was not so hospitable to the desires we have. Even an entire biosphere that did not survive in the oxygen-rich environment that later developed. And much as Earth over time became a home for jellyfish, ferns, dinosaurs and Homo sapiens, Venus was transformed by something into a hell.
Today, the second planet from the sun has an atmosphere stifled by carbon dioxide gas, and surface temperatures that average more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit. The dense atmosphere of Venus exerts a pressure of more than 1,300 pounds per square inch on anything at the surface. That is more than 90 times the 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level on Earth, or the equivalent to being 3,000 feet underwater in the ocean.
For the last two decades, scientists keep making new discoveries that collectively imply a significant increase of the likelihood to find life elsewhere. Many scientists would not have guessed that Venus would be a significant part of this discussion. But, just like an increasing number of planetary bodies, Venus is proving to be an exciting place of discovery.
If there really is phosphine on Venus, its believed there could be no other obvious explanation than anaerobic life.