/ Weekly Takeaways

The dark intent behind the 10 year challenge, The rise of anti-snooping devices and How Kickstarter has replaced pan-handling

The 10 year challenge is likely another nefarious effort to get people to hand over their data

Over the past few weeks, a social media challenge has gone viral in which people post pictures of themselves from ten years ago next to a photo from 2019. It seems fairly benign and not any different from any other trending hashtag, but if you peel beneath the surface - these days, it's likely just another ploy to get people to hand over personally identifiable information. In this case, you're helping someone train AI on how to age a face by ten years, but it may be for something far darker.

Shoshana Zuboff has just published a book about the larger issue beneath these types of social campaigns, and does a great job explaining the full ecosystem and ill-intent from the companies that are pushing it all forward: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/20/shoshana-zuboff-age-of-surveillance-capitalism-google-facebook

Key Takeaway

EVERYTHING you do online is being used somehow to sell something to you, or condition you to buy something later. Be vigilant in your use of your own information, whether it's a photo or text.

Project Alias prevents Alexa and Google Home from eavesdropping on you

Using 3D printing, a startup has created a brilliant addon for Smart Speakers that sits on top of them and muffles the microphone with white noise. The only way it can listen to you is if you say "Hey Alias" instead of "Hey Google". Check it out here: https://fossbytes.com/project-alias-prevents-alexa-and-google-from-eavesdropping-on-you/

Key Takeaway

Similar to how we saw malware removal software and ad blockers in the early 2000s, we're now starting to see similar devices pop up to combat digital eavesdropping. I won't be surprised if new players emerge in the market to play against the Googles and Amazons of the world - based on a mission to give power back to consumers... Or one can hope - or do it ourselves.

Kickstarter, GoFundMe and other online funding platforms have become the go-to tools for middle-class with debt

With the US government shut down creating financial issues for their workers - thousands of them have taken to online donation platforms to keep themselves afloat during the crisis; however, as it turns out, they're not the only ones. Apparently these tools have been used for the past few years by families that can't make ends meet, students who need an extra pay bump, and those who need medical payment support. All of this is being summed up now as "The Begging Economy": https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/a3m59p/we-are-living-in-the-begging-economy?utm_source=reddit.com

Key Takeaway

As we get closer to a recession - these stories are the hallmark of the complete collapse of the middle class - as they start looking to digital tools to ask strangers for money. It's begging, but without having to sit on the street.

There are other tools like these coming on to the market, and we're likely to start seeing many more creative ways of making money beyond our day jobs.

The dark intent behind the 10 year challenge, The rise of anti-snooping devices and How Kickstarter has replaced pan-handling
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