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Last Week Online #27 – Facebook launched Libra with lofty ambitions

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

Despite one over-ambitious launch, last week was the slowest week online in 6 months.

Facebook have lofty goals when revealing its new cryptocurrency Libra

Facebook revealed its new cryptocurrency Libra hoping it will "transform the global economy." The currency will launch during the first half of 2020.

At first, you will be able to send Libra inside of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, making it an intermediary for transferring traditional currencies. However, Facebook hopes Libra will become a widely accepted payment form, and that others will build financial services on top of its blockchain-based network.

Facebook is developing the currency, but they intend to share control over it with a consortium of organisations consisting of venture capital firms, credit card companies, and other tech giants. However, with Facebook's reputation for disregarding privacy and affecting political and social issues throughout the world, the announcement created an immediate backlash from regulators.

YouTube is hiding its comment sections instead of cleaning them up

With the comments section on YouTube often being a war zone, the company is now working on a new feature that would hide comments by default. This move comes after critique from creators about YouTube not enforcing its policies against harassment.

Currently, you have to scroll past engagement buttons and recommended videos to find the comments. However, the new test reportedly hides the comments section entirely and comments are instead accessible by clicking a new icon.

One question is if viewer engagement will go down with hidden comments. When they confirmed the test in a statement, YouTube said "This is one of many small experiments we run all the time on YouTube, and we'll consider rolling features out more broadly based on feedback on these experiments."

The comments section has been not only the home to bullying, harassment, and abuse. It also became exploited when a ring of paedophiles communicated through the comments to share videos and timestamps, causing YouTube to disable comments on videos with kids.

Walmart uses computer vision technology to catch everyone who forgot to scan the milk

While Amazon is using computer vision to remove the checkout in stores altogether, Walmart is using AI-powered cameras to prevent theft at checkout lanes in more than 1000 stores. Their surveillance program uses computer vision to help identify and reduce "shrinkage", which is the term retailers use to define losses due to scanning errors, theft, fraud, and more.

Cameras track and analyse activities both at self-checkout registers and those operated by cashiers, and AI-powered technology can notify checkout attendants, giving staff a chance to step in when an item is moving past a checkout scanner without getting scanned.

After two years of trials, Walmart confidently says that shrinkage rates are declining in stores with the surveillance system in place and Walmart spokeswoman LeMia Jenkins said "Over the last three years, the company has invested over half a billion dollars in an effort to prevent, reduce and deter crime in our stores and parking lots. We are continuously investing in people, programs and technology to keep our stores and communities safe."

Tool of the week: Tableau Prep

Most everyone working with data spend too much time preparing it for analysis. Tableau Prep is a tool that lets users clean, merge or modify their data, and it's made specifically with this use case in mind. The idea is that you should then continue to work with your data in Tableau, but that is not required.

Compared with many other data processing tools, Tableau Prep is very visual. You drag and drop files and actions in a visual interface, and you can see how your different data files branch together, and you can see the various cleaning steps in a visual timeline.

It's so simple anyone can use it, and I don't think I've said that about a data analysis software ever before.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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