Law and Legal

Google open-sources Live Transcribe’s speech engine

VentureBeat: “Google today open-sourced the speech engine that powers its Android speech recognition transcription tool Live Transcribe. The company hopes doing so will let any developer deliver captions for long-form conversations. The source code is available now on GitHub. Google released Live Transcribe in February. The tool uses machine learning algorithms to turn audio into real-time captions. Unlike Android’s upcoming Live Caption feature, Live Transcribe is a full-screen experience, uses your smartphone’s microphone (or an external microphone), and relies on the Google Cloud Speech API. Live Transcribe can caption real-time spoken words in over 70 languages and dialects. You can also type back into it — Live Transcribe is really a communication tool. The other main difference: Live Transcribe is available on 1.8 billion Android devices. (When Live Caption arrives later this year, it will only work on select Android Q devices.)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

To Everything There Is a Season

The American Archivist, Frank J. Boles: “Three ideas, not always juxtaposed to one another in the literature, have had a pro-found impact on what archivists preserve. The ideas that archivists should create a universal record of human activity, that social justice should inform archival selec-tion decisions, and that archivists hold a unique form of power that can be exercised through appraisal have led some to posit a professional obligation not only to work toward a more equitable future but also toward a moral one. This article argues that these ideas are generally not helpful to archivists. Local autonomy and unique archival missions better define how archivists can best perform their core functions, rather than ideas based on assumptions of universal documentation or social jus-tice, each rooted in a notion of archival power.”

Categories: Law and Legal

5 times when using paper and a pen is better than using an app

FastCompany: “We’re living in a digital world—one where screens dominate our time. The average American adult spends three hours and 43 minutes on mobile devices, according to 2019 research by eMarketer. This doesn’t include the time spent on a computer at work or parked in front of the television at home. It’s easy to find an app or software platform to help you do run your life, making paper and pen feel old-school. But paper products offer advantages that tech does not. Here are five times when you should choose analog over digital…”

Categories: Law and Legal

ABA Profile of the Profession 2019 Survey

“The growth of the legal industry has slowed in recent years, according to the 2019 ABA National Lawyer Population Survey, a tally of lawyers by every state bar association and licensing agency.In the past year, from 2018 to 2019, the number of active lawyers grew 0.7%. It was the third time in the past four years that annual growth was less than 1%, a marked slowdown from earlier in this century. Despite this slowdown, the legal profession has grown nearly twice as fast as the nation’s population since 2010. As of Jan. 1, 2019, there were 1,352,027 active lawyers in the United States. That’s up 12.4% since 2010, when there were 1,203,097 lawyers. Over the same period, the population of the United States grew 6.3%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since 2000, the number of lawyers nationwide has grown an average of 1.7% each year – from 1,022,462 in 2000 to 1,352,027 in 2019, a 32% increase. In the entire 20th century, the number of lawyers grew 793% – from 114,460 to just over 1 million. 12.4% – Increase in the number of lawyers from 2010 to 2019.• 1970s – Decade when the number of lawyers grew fastest, by 76%. The largest increase in the number of lawyers occurred in the 1970s, a decade when the number of lawyers jumped 76% – from 326,000 in 1970 to 574,000 in 1980.For much of the 20th century, the industry’s growth was much slower. It took 50 years for the number of lawyers to nearly double – from 114,000 in 1900 to 221,000 in 1950. It took less than 30 years for that number to double again – from 221,000 in 1950 to 464,000 in 1978…”

See also Key Resources referenced in this report.

Categories: Law and Legal

The Version Museum

Kottke.org: “The mission of Version Museum is to record and present what the interfaces of software and websites looked like, from their earliest versions until now. The site’s tagline is “a visual history of your favorite technology”. Here’s the history of Facebook; …The collection isn’t huge, but the father/son team behind it hits the high points, including Amazon, New York Times, OS X, and iTunes…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Amazon launching new program to donate unsold products after reports millions were destroyed

CNBC: “Amazon wants its third-party sellers to make better use of their unsold or unwanted products that often get dumped — by giving them away to charity. Amazon is launching a new donations program, called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, for third-party sellers that store their inventory in Amazon’s warehouses in the U.S. and UK, CNBC has learned. Starting on September 1, the donation program will become the default option for all sellers when they choose to dispose of their unsold or unwanted products stored in Amazon warehouses across those two countries. Sellers can opt out of the program, if they want. The donations will be distributed to a network of U.S. nonprofits through a group called Good360 and UK charities such as Newlife and Barnardo’s. After this story was published, Amazon announced the program via a blog post on Wednesday afternoon…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Was E-mail a Mistake? The mathematics of distributed systems suggests that meetings might be better

The New Yorker: “The walls of the Central Intelligence Agency’s original headquarters, in Langley, Virginia, contain more than thirty miles of four-inch steel tubing. The tubes were installed in the early nineteen-sixties, as part of an elaborate, vacuum-powered intra-office mail system. Messages, sealed in fibreglass containers, rocketed at thirty feet a second among approximately a hundred and fifty stations spread over eight floors. Senders specified each capsule’s destination by manipulating brass rings at its base; electro-mechanical widgets in the tubes read those settings and routed each capsule toward its destination. At its peak, the system delivered seventy-five hundred messages each day.

According to oral histories maintained by the C.I.A., employees were saddened when, in the late nineteen-eighties, during an expansion of the headquarters, this steampunk mail system was shut down. Some of them reminisced about the comforting thunk, thunk of the capsules arriving at a station; others worried that internal office communication would become unacceptably slow, or that runners would wear themselves out delivering messages on foot. The agency’s archives contain a photograph of a pin that reads “Save the Tubes.”

The C.I.A.’s tube system is a defining example of one of the major technological movements of the twentieth century: the push to create what communication specialists call “asynchronous messaging” in the workplace. An interaction is said to be synchronous when all parties participate at the same time, while standing in the same room, perhaps, or by telephone. Asynchronous communication, by contrast, doesn’t require the receiver to be present when a message is sent. I can send a message to you whenever I want; you answer it at your leisure…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Danah Boyd on the Spread of Conspiracies and Hate Online

PBS – “Danah Boyd is a senior researcher at Microsoft and founder of the research institute “Data & Society,” where she studies how media manipulators may be responsible for mass shootings and other crisis events. She sat down with Hari Sreenivasan to explain how digital media amplifies the spread of false information…”

Categories: Law and Legal

ABA Votes to Urge Legal Profession to Address Emerging Legal and Ethical Issues of AI

Robert Ambrogi – LawSites: “The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, its policy-making body, voted this week to approve a resolution urging courts and lawyers to address the emerging ethical and legal issues related to the usage of artificial intelligence in the practice of law. Among the AI-related issues the profession should address, the ABA said, are bias, explainability, and transparency of automated decisions made by AI; ethical and beneficial usage of AI; and controls and oversight of AI and the vendors that provide AI…”

Categories: Law and Legal

African Law for Everyone: AfricanLII and Laws.Africa

DipLawMatic Dialogues – “On Monday, July 15, 2019, the 2019 Schaffer Grant recipient, Mariya Badeva-Bright, who leads the AfricanLII project at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (and recently co-founded Laws.Africa, a legislative commons), delivered a fantastic presentation titled “African Law for Everyone: AfricanLII and Laws.Africa.” Mariya’s presentation was a summary of her motivations and processes for gathering and digitizing African law as well as a “call to action” to law librarians worldwide for help in making African law accessible to all…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The ultimate guide to Boolean Search for social listening

awario: “Boolean search is an advanced and effective way to work with almost all search engines. It allows users to combine keywords with Boolean operators (AND, OR, AND NOT and etc.) and find exactly what you’re looking for. With Boolean operators you can configure more specific queries, create multiple combinations, modify existing requests and do many other crazy things that are not available in a simpler search mode. Moreover, you can even use it for lead generation”… [Note: librarians have been using Boolean search for many decades – long before the internet, apps, social media, and “social listening” were in the frame…see also related posting –  Meet the next generation of entrepreneurs. They’re all over 65.]

Categories: Law and Legal

Univ of Washington – New portal takes you deep within the ocean’s hidden world

Washington.edu: “”n her introductory oceanography class, Cheryl Greengrove’s undergraduate students learn how one of the most critical forces of nature — upwelling — ties the rotation of the Earth, weather patterns and climate to what is happening in the ocean. Now, with a new Interactiveoceans website launched in June, her students will be able to apply what they learn in a textbook to what’s actually happening in the ocean. They will be able to explore real-time data to evaluate whether upwelling is happening off the Oregon coast— when the wind blows parallel to the coast, forcing the deeper water up to replace the water being pushed off shore — using data on wind direction, oxygen, nitrate and chlorophyll levels, water temperature and salinity. Even more, the data can help the students better understand one of the most biologically productive areas of the ocean…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Capital One hacker took data from more than 30 companies, new court docs reveal

ZDNet: “Paige A. Thompson, the hacker accused of breaching US bank Capital One, is also believed to have stolen data from more than 30 other companies, US prosecutors said in new court documents filed today and obtained by ZDNet. “The government’s investigation over the last two weeks has revealed that Thompson’s theft of Capital One’s data was only one part of her criminal conduct,” US officials said in a memorandum for extending Thompson’s detention period. “The servers seized from Thompson’s bedroom during the search of Thompson’s residence, include not only data stolen from Capital One, but also multiple terabytes of data stolen by Thompson from more than 30 other companies, educational institutions, and other entities.” US prosecutors said the “data varies significantly in both type and amount,” but, based on currently available information, “much of the data appears not to be data containing personal identifying information….”

Categories: Law and Legal

Meet the next generation of entrepreneurs. They’re all over 65.

MIT Technology Review – Meet the next generation of entrepreneurs. They’re all over 65. “…That’s why Kamber created Senior Planet, a tech-themed community center that preps seniors to hack their way through a world conspiring to keep them sidelined. The glass door reads “Aging with Attitude.” With its sleek grays and wood tables, it rivals the WeWork next door in the Chelsea district of Manhattan… The post-60 set is here for many reasons. By and large, they do not want your wearable panic buttons and fall detectors, thankyouverymuch. They’re here for the free classes and camaraderie, to learn to find the photos their daughter is putting on Facebook, to grok the smart lock system their apartment building is installing whether they like it or not (and mostly not). They want to plug back into a world in which “technology has run them over,” as Kamber puts it. Roughly one in five arrive wanting to use technology to work and make money—whether because they’ve gotten bored with retirement or to turn a passion into a side hustle. They want Etsy and Instagram, Google Suite and Microsoft Word. They want to process payments on PayPal, and build a Wix website, and email video clips for acting auditions. They want to open stores aimed at older people like themselves, and launch magazines for curvy women, and drive around Harlem in their own dog-grooming van. They may want to reach their goals even more than younger folks do, because when you get to a certain age, “your horizon is shorter—your dreams become more critical and urgent,” Kamber says…”

Categories: Law and Legal

What is Section 230 and why does Donald Trump want to change it?

MIT Technology Review – This provision of the Communications Decency Act is being blamed for everything from social-media bias to enabling revenge porn. Here’s how to understand the law that created the modern internet. “Section 230 is one of the pieces of legislation that allowed today’s internet—and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—to develop. Now, it’s being accused of enabling everything from anti-conservative censorship to revenge porn, and politicians on both sides of the aisle are calling for change. Most recently, President Donald Trump drafted an executive order that would limit the provision. Though the executive order may change or be abandoned completely, expect the sound and fury over Section 230 to continue…”

Categories: Law and Legal

metaLAB (at) Harvard

“An idea foundry, knowledge-design lab, and production studio, metaLAB (at) Harvard explores the digital arts and humanities through research, teaching, publications, and exhibitions. Our projects infuse traditional modes of academic inquiry with an enterprising spirit of hacking, making, and creative research. We believe that some of the key research challenges and opportunities of the new millennium transcend divisions between the arts, sciences, and humanities; between the academy, industry, and the public sphere; between theoretical and applied knowledge…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Ethical ‘Fails’: Social Media Pitfalls and In-House Counsel

Law.com: “It’s an incredibly wired world we live in. Over 82% of the adult American population has at least one social networking profile, and in a single minute we’ll witness 293,000 status updates posted to Facebook, more than 360,000 tweets on Twitter, and roughly 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube. And while lawyers have yet to catch up with the social media usage of the general population, the rate at which lawyers use social networking platforms has been climbing steadily every year. In-house lawyers are no different; according to a 2017 survey conducted by Zeughauser Group and Greentarget, 73% of corporate counsel report using social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook for professional reasons…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Consider Buying Microsoft Office Before It Becomes a Subscription Service

Life Hacker: “The good news: You can still buy a standalone version of Microsoft Office (for now) instead of paying Microsoft regular money for a subscription. The bad news, however, is that you can no longer get a super-cheap, one-off copy of Office via Microsoft’s Home Use Program. The Home Use Program allowed people to purchase a discounted version of Microsoft Office to use on their personal computers—assuming, of course, that Office was already offered at their workplace. The cost for the different standalone versions of Office was a mere $15, though you could also purchase a discounted subscription to Office 365 Personal or Office 365 Home for $49 and $70 respectively, a savings of $20–30…”

Categories: Law and Legal

The Best Web Browsers for Privacy and Security

Life Hacker: “Your web browser knows a lot about you, and tells the sites you visit a lot about you as well—if you let it. We’ve talked about which browsers are best at ad-blocking, but in this guide, we’re going to focus on the browsers that you’ll want to use to better conceal everything you’re up to from all the advertisers that want to track your digital life…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Google’s jobs search draws antitrust complaints from rivals

Reuters: “Google’s fast-growing tool for searching job listings has been a boon for employers and job boards starving for candidates, but several rival job-finding services contend anti-competitive behavior has fueled its rise and cost them users and profits. In a letter to be sent to European Union competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday and seen by Reuters, 23 job search websites in Europe called on her to temporarily order Google to stop playing unfairly while she investigates. Similar to worldwide leader Indeed and other search services familiar to job seekers, Google’s tool links to postings aggregated from many employers. It lets candidates filter, save and get alerts about openings, though they must go elsewhere to apply. Alphabet Inc’s Google places a large widget for the 2-year-old tool at the top of results for searches such as “call center jobs” in most of the world. Some rivals allege that positioning is illegal because Google is using its dominance to attract users to its specialized search offering without the traditional marketing investments they have to make. Other job technology firms say Google has restored industry innovation and competition…”

Categories: Law and Legal

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