May 19, 2020

620,000 Canadian’s affected by Facebook data breach as trust falls 55%

Mark Zuckerberg
Cambridge Analytica
zaymalz malz
2 min
620,000 Canadian’s affected by Facebook data breach as trust falls 55%

In a public apology, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg revealed that approximately 622,161 Canadian users were affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw their data improperly shared with the data analysis company.

This is just a fraction of the total number, with Facebook having estimated that 87mn of its users were affected, with nearly 82% of these located in the US. The company said that those affected will be notified on Monday.

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The scandal has been subject to significant controversy, with Cambridge Analytica having been accused of collecting data in the aim of aiding Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign in 2016.

As a result of the global public outcry against this, a new report from cybersecurity company Barracuda that surveyed over 350 IT decision makers has revealed that 55% of them trusted Facebook less as a result of the news.

Further, Barracuda states that the scandal will have further implications within the workplace, with 62% of those surveyed having revealed that this had led to businesses reviewing their corporate policy, whilst 46% are better educating their employees on better protecting themselves and their personal details online.

“These privacy concerns have raised some strong feelings in the business community around Facebook’s viability as a business tool,” said Chris Ross, Senior Vice President, Barracuda.

Zuckerberg is set to testify before a US congressional committee in the wake of the scandal.

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Jun 16, 2021

Dr Peng Wei: Designing the Future of Autonomous Aircraft

3 min
NASA has announced that it will fund a new project, headed by Dr Peng Wei, to develop safety management systems for autonomous electric aircraft

Air traffic is expected to double by 2037. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world will need 37,000+ new passenger and freight aircraft, and more than half a million new pilots—unless we come up with another solution. Right now, a George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science professor, Dr Peng Wei, is starting to research autonomous electric aircraft design. 


NASA will fund the research, which will study how to minimise risks for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). As Airbus states: ‘Autonomous technologies also have the potential to improve air traffic management, enhance sustainability performance and further improve aircraft safety’. 


Who is Dr Wei? 

An assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr Wei has researched aircraft control, optimisation, and AI and ML applications in aviation. Over the next three years, he’ll lead the US$2.5mn NASA grant project in collaboration with researchers from Vanderbilt, the University of Texas at Austin, and MIT’s Lincoln Lab


Why is His Research Important? 

Even though the wide adoption of self-piloting cars, much less aircraft, is still far down the road, technologies that Dr Wei and his colleagues are researching will form the commercial transport of the future. But aviation manufacturers, in order to produce autonomous aircraft, will have to meet extremely high safety standards. 


‘The key challenge for self-piloting capabilities is how the system reacts to unforeseen events’, said Arne Stoschek, Wayfinder Project Executive at Acubed. ‘That’s the big jump from automated to autonomous’. In the air, AI-piloted aircraft will have to manoeuvre around adverse weather conditions, such as wind and storms, and other high-altitude risks, such as GPS hacking, cyberattacks, and aircraft degradation. And the stakes are high.


‘If a machine learning algorithm makes a mistake in Facebook, TikTok, Netflix —that doesn't matter too much because I was just recommended a video or movie I don't like’, Dr Wei said. ‘But if a machine learning algorithm mistake happens in a safety-critical application, such as aviation or in autonomous driving, people may have accidents. There may be fatal results’. 


What Are His Other Projects? 

In addition to the new NASA research, Dr Wei has been awarded three other grants to pursue AI-piloted aircraft: 



Research like NASA and Dr Wei’s three-year programme will help improve how AI reacts and adapts to challenging air conditions. In coming years, autonomous aircraft will likely take off slowly, starting with small package delivery, then upgraded drones, and finally commercialised aircraft. But congestion issues will worsen until autonomous aircraft are the best alternative. 

According to BBC Future, by 2030, commuters will spend nearly 100 hours a year in Los Angeles and Moscow traffic jams, and 43 cities will be home to more than 10 million people. The final verdict? Bring on the AI-operated transit.

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