Sep

Is Anonymity the Future of the Internet?

Right now we're in a world that sees  transparency as the new form of integrity. Right now we're in a world that understands that reputation is everything. Loyalty is somewhat fleeting as consumers, armoured with this incessant flow of knowledge from the web, have the ability to make swift  judgements and decisions about individuals, companies and governments, often times to the detriment of the target.

The emergence of social media has forced companies to stop hiding from behind that veil of corporate spin and address the very things that the web has thrown at them. Nothing is secret any longer. Even secrets that were once held secure behind invulnerable fortresses now have a strong probability of materializing today.

Is transparency as a norm working? Or, are the results of transparency surfacing a new order that will create yet another tier of acceptance from the masses?

"Anonymity is Authenticity"

Following the death of Rahteah Parsons, who, after being assaulted by 4 boys, was tormented relentlessly by classmates and other kids on social networks; and also following the suicide of Hannah Smith, who experienced the same torment, it's clear the internet has evolved to an era that has given free reign to voice an opinion and use like-minded affiliations to express and further spread that opinion. In these cases, anonymous profiles proliferated the incessant stream of hateful attacks that eventually wore down both girls' defences.

And while I originally argue that anonymity was a cowardice state that allowed people to be and feel comfortable being the anti-self that runs away from accountability, my stance has seen another side of this coin.

Anonymity is Safe

It becomes clear that humans, while inherently social, are discriminating of the things we disclose and to those to whom we share. 

If transparency breeds contempt, then anonymity should build acceptance

The freedom to express opinion and judgement without feeling guarded, or without fearing others linking you to a statement is indeed liberating. And while this free reign may take the form of a soapbox soliloquy or criticisms (and perhaps bullying attacks) against opposing views, there is a large segment of users who want the ability to share a secret, or have a place to vent their frustrations or challenges -- without the fear of reprisal.

Despite revelations from Snowden and the NSA that nothing on the net is private, this does not stop the wave of user adoption for applications like SnapChat, Whisper or Secret.

Here are some recent stats for Snapchat from Mashable

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I've recently downloaded Whisper and my experience has been more than liberating. It has allowed me an outlet to record my hopes, desires and more importantly, my anger and not-for-public emotions. Being judged in real life or on social takes its toll. If my reputation precedes me, then I will be discriminating about what I say in places where my content and identity are linked.

Popular opinion just doesn't matter. It's irrelevant. But I want to track progress in my life: my emotions, my dark moments, my personal observations, my milestones -- all in my own digital diary.

Why shouldn't users have the option to keep part of their identities secret and separate?

It's up to the next generation

This new medium has created is an endless volatile loop of positive and negative reinforcement. While transparency has extreme benefits, there are just as many negative consequences that have come as a result of creating this honesty within social channels. Society continues to send the wrong message to Millennials and GenZers, warning them to be more discerning and to suppress who they really are as individuals... warning them of the potential consequences should they venture down the wrong path.

How we communicate today poses tremendous issues for this younger generation. Their experiences are grounded in the fear of being vulnerable... fear of being misjudged... fear of not being accepted... fear of being punished. When the next generation grows up, it'll be up to them to shape the landscape and determine how to balance the impacts of transparency and anonymity.

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

nmodes Technology - Overview

                                                       

nmodes ability to accurately deliver relevant messages and conversations to businesses is based on its ability to understand these messages and conversations. Once a system understands a sentence or text, it can easily perform a necessary action, i.e. bring a sentence about buying a car to the car dealership, or a complaint about purchased furniture to the customer service department of the furniture company.

Understanding sentences is called semantics. nmodes has developed a strong semantic technology that stand out in a number of ways.

Here is how nmodes technology is different:

1. Low computational power. We don’t use methods and algorithms deployed by almost everyone else in this space. The algorithms we are using allow us to achieve high level of accuracy while significantly reducing the computational power. Most accurate semantic systems, e.g. Google’s, or IBM’s, rely on supercomputers. By comparison our computational requirements are modest to the extreme, yet we successfully compete with these powerhouses in terms accuracy and quality of results.

2. Private data sources. We work extensively with Twitter and other social networks, yet at the same time we process enterprise data.  Working with private data sources means system should know details specific only to this particular data source. For example, when if a system handles web self-service solution for online electronics store it learns the names, prices, and other details of all products available at this store.  

3. User driven solution. Our system learns from user’s input. Which makes it extremely flexible and as granular as needed. It supports both generic topics, for example car purchasing, and conversations concentrating on specific type of car, or a model.

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AI: Our Only Weapon Against Climate Change?



Artificial Intelligence, more commonly referred to as simply AI, has been, since it’s early days, changing our lives in many ways. AI has become one of the greatest inventions of the human mind. When thinking of AI, we do not normally associate AI as being involved in helping farmers grow more crops to feed the exponentially growing population, or helping develop cancer treatment, or even keeping kids safe from trafficking and abuse by finding improper online activities. Instead we think of computers to phones, to self-driving cars and robots. However AI doesn’t just power the gadgets that we have grown so accustomed to in our daily lives, but it is increasingly being used to help solve impending social challenges.

One of these impending social issues is the quite literally hot topic – global warming. The challenges of global warming are growing by the day, as its impacts are becoming more severe and harder to manage. Melting ice caps, severe sever weather changes, extinction of species, are just a few of the consequences of the manmade climate change that is plaguing our world today. Despite widespread acceptance and awareness, the rate at which the world is embracing positive change is unfortunately not fast enough.

Fortunately there are many large companies that are setting an example by using AI to develop new ways in which to battle global warming. In fact, it seems as though AI is the only solution we have. It is helping us not only track and our present data, but also analyze our past data so that we can make informed decisions about the future. One such example is the use of AI to collect large amounts of data on land, animals, weather, ecosystems, etc… and organize it, so that scientists and governments can then determine what needs to be done, and the most cost effective ways to engage conservation methods.

We are quite surely seeing more and more AI initiatives being undertaken to help create a more eco-friendly world.

In order to reduce human influence on nature, increasing levels of human interference with natural processes are required”  (Harvard University)

Whatever the downfalls of AI may be, its ability to help us against destroying our planet is perhaps its most important trait – because as hard as it may be to accept, our planet is dying and AI can help us prevent that. 

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