Hashtag Trending – Canadians win Turning Award; MacBook keyboard fail; FTC fines robot callers

Canadian AI pioneers win Turing Award; MacBook keyboards continue to fail; FTC hits robot callers with massive fines.

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It’s all the tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Thursday, March 28th, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

Trending on Google, two Canadian AI pioneers have won the most prestigious computer science prize in the world. Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio, both of whom have contributed to laying the foundations of machine learning, were chosen to win the Turing award. The $1 million prize money will be shared among Hinton, Bengio, and the third winner Yann LeCun from the New York University. Dr. Hinton is currently the VP and engineering fellow at Google Inc., while Dr. Bengio is the co-director of CIFAR’s machine learning program. Read our coverage for a comprehensive list of their accomplishments.

The MacBook’s butterfly switch keyboards continue to be a lowlight of Apple MacBooks. Back when it was first announced, users were already concerned about its durability, accusing Apple of prioritizing thinness over function. Heeding the call, Apple added a silicon layer below the keycaps to keep out debris. Despite Apple’s efforts, MacBook keyboards are continuing to fail, stirring ire among users who must leave their device for repairs. In response to a Wall Street Journal piece highlighting the issue, an Apple spokesperson acknowledged that a small fraction of users is still experiencing problems and that it’s sorry for the inconvenience. He then added that most MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros are just fine.

Trending on Google, the FTC slapped four robot calling companies with million dollar fines. According to a Verge article, NetDotSolutions, Higher Goals Marketing, Veterans of America, and Pointbreak Media were responsible for billions of robot calls between 2017 and 2018. Nature of these calls ranged from marketing scams, fake debt relief services, and duping people into donating to fake charities. The companies chose to settle with massive fines, which ranged from $500,000 to $3.62 million. In addition, the settlement barred these companies from ever running robot calling services again.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. I’m Tom Li, thanks for listening.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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