Sat. Dec 10th, 2022

LISBON, Portugal – The longer term-of-tech conversations at Internet Summit right here might have performed on a break up display. In a single body, fraught forecasts of ill-used expertise leaving real-world injury; in one other, glowing predictions of a digitally-enhanced future that when stuffed extra of the schedules of talkfests like this.

Disclosure: I moderated 4 panels at Internet Summit, with the organizers overlaying my airfare and lodging.

The session that opened the 71,033-attendee convention Tuesday featured an particularly stark reminder of how excessive tech may be utilized to low makes use of.

“Russia places expertise on the service of terror,” stated Ukrainian first girl Olena Zelenska earlier than displaying pictures of the destruction left throughout Ukraine by Russian assaults with Iranian-made drones.

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“For 150 years, what now we have seen is expertise more and more put civilians in hurt’s method,” Microsoft President Brad Smith stated at a press convention Thursday after asserting that the corporate would proceed all of its digital help to Ukraine by 2023, including $100 million to its $300 million in assist up to now.

Sitting beside him, talking by an interpreter, Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov thanked Microsoft for its help in thwarting cyberattacks towards civilian infrastructure, a weaponization of networking expertise Smith decried in earlier Summit talks.

Social media, usually a punching bag right here, took extra hits this 12 months. In a Thursday panel on the state of journalism, audio system lamented what number of youthful would-be readers as an alternative depend on TikTok for information however had no good solutions about methods to get them again.

“That is what occurs whenever you abandon audiences,” stated James Ball, international editor on the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

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Thursday, TikTok safety head Will Farrell touted the corporate’s cybersecurity transparency.

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Like many tech corporations, it runs a “bug bounty” program to reward confirmed reviews of flaws. However that discuss unavoidably underscored how opaque its rating algorithm seems to be compared, even when Farrell ended the panel by saying TikTok was now working to open that system to misinformation and different researchers.

Internet Summit’s organizers earlier confronted accusations of elevating misinformation retailers when this system listed a session that includes Grayzone, a fringe weblog that has run debunked storylines from such dictators as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

The convention yanked that invitation final week, however CEO Paddy Cosgrave sounded regretful over the retreat at a press convention Thursday: “I wish to stay a Switzerland, an enormous tent.”

One other tech chapter: Twitter sued for mass layoffs with zero discover days after Elon Musk’s takeover

Attendees following the #WebSummit dialog on Twitter couldn’t miss that service unraveling as new proprietor Elon Musk made huge layoffs and denounced advertisers for not spending there as if nothing had modified.

In an interview Friday, Alan Rusbridger, a longtime journalist and member of Fb’s Oversight Board, requested pointed questions on Musk’s plan to arrange a content material moderation council akin to the quasi-judicial physique he joined in 2021.

“Is it going to be international or is it going to be American?” he requested. “How unbiased is he going to make it? How a lot cash is he going to provide it?”

Warned Rusbridger: “If it will be international, it isn’t going to be low-cost and it isn’t going to be fast.”

However on different levels, tech gross sales pitches went on as ordinary. Amazon’s Rohit Prasad, senior vp and head scientist for Alexa, instructed attendees Wednesday to make extra room for that digital assistant of their routines and possibly their hearts.

“It isn’t simply an AI assistant,” he stated. “It is also a trusted adviser and a companion.”

Possibly we might use extra cybernetic companionship. Nevertheless dangerous issues get on the earth, when you ask Alexa to let you know some excellent news, she, in contrast to many Summit audio system, will try this.

Rob Pegoraro is a tech author based mostly out of Washington. To submit a tech query, electronic mail Rob at [email protected] Comply with him on Twitter at

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: TikTok, Twitter and the struggle in Ukraine dominate Internet Summit in Lisbon

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