Monthly Archives: March 2016

An event that is arguably worth more value and attention that it has received in recent months for Apple amid their FBI fiasco, is something that is good, really good actually. Its referred to as Apple’s CareKit and it released last Monday. This is and open source platform which allows the developers to create consumer-oriented apps that will help their patients communicate with their healthcare providers and monitor them more closely than ever before possible. Jeff Williams a chief operator of the program says that “When we introduced ResearchKit, our goal was simply to improve medical research, and we thought our work was largely done,” he said. “What became clear to us later was the very same tools used to advance medical research can also be used to help people with their care.”

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The initial release will reach little more that 10 thousand participants which will make it the worlds largest research study of disease according to Apple. The app will also help the researchers understanding of Parkinson’s disease. This is one of the few diseases they are going to hyper focus on. The idea being that if they atleast know to a limited degree what questions they are trying to answer before hand it will stream line the process and make this platform a lot more useful to its users and the medical field in general. This is a standard role of business in information technology. 

This platform will also pair with your smartphone giving a wider range of data points including regional and environmental factors and contaminates. Thus creating this application which is designed to monitor health conditions, Apple is going to essentially provide an intimate detailed information on consumer behavior in a way that previously was not available on a large scale. This is going to be an interesting new frontier of computing, personal security, net neutrality, business, and of coarse health. It is on one hand extremely optimistic and hopeful for what this platform will be able to do on so many levels, however, we need to bare in mind that Apple brgis the most profitable company in the United States. We often have this very cushy image of them as being the computer of the people and our buddy we get expensive coffee with and talk about NPR on our way to Yoga class. But why do we have this image? Is it warranted? Probably not, Apple as we know is a sever abuser of human rights from the cobalt mining they support in Africa that exploits children into a life of bondage and slavery, to the very manufacturing of their products in China that exploits their work force to work for about a dollar an hour US for 6 days a week, for over 12 hours a day. I’m not saying that this new invention of theirs may not do some good, I think it will. But to sit there will a straight face and think that there will not be some unforeseen consequence of giving this company our most intimate data of our lives is extremely naive and potentially dangerous.

 

IT just got incredibly personal. The controversial app “Peeple” invites users to recommend and rate others professionally, personally, and even as a date. It’s set to launch in Canada and the United States starting this Monday, March 7th.

There was an uproar regarding the idea, as the app was set to allow for people to be added and rated without their consent. The criticism sent developers back to the drawing board. Now this latest version will only allow for members who have signed up to be visible on the site.

The original app was also going to utilize a “five star” rating system similar to that of Yelp. This idea has also been dropped, likely because of its dehumanizing nature and philosophical and ethical issues regarding quantifying the value of a human being.

Instead, judgments will take the form of “recommendations.”

peeple2Co-founder Julia Cordray explained that app users will be able to control which recommendations appear on their profiles, making the site less likely to be a hub of cyberbullying and a magnet for the ugliness of the internet. Not that it will help all that much.

Especially when you take into consideration that, in April, Peeple will unleash a premium service called the “Truth License” that will enable those who pay to upgrade to view all comments made regarding the members, whether those members have chosen to share the comments or not.

Upgrades are likely to cost about $1 a month according to Cordray.

“We are going to hold everybody accountable to what they say about others,” she explained. How likely the couple is to hold itself accountable for the monstrous platform for public and personal criticism is exemplified by the fact that the company is still pushing to release the app despite the mountains of backlash that its concept has received.

The firm behind Peeple was apparently shocked by the outrage that greeted its first unveiling of the app. Web users stated that the concept ranged from “creepy” to “terrifying.”

“We could never have predicted the backlash to the concept,” stated Cordray. “But it was a positive thing because we ended up being able to give the people what they wanted.” She was quick to add that despite any storm of criticism that may have greeted the app at first, 10,000 people did volunteer to beta-test the app.

The following changes have been made to the original concept: Peeple users will be able to control what goes live on their profiles, no one can add others to the app without their consent, profiles can be de-activated, and the star rating system will be replaced with a public view of the total number of recommendations received.

Users will also be able to grey-out the “dating” category so that they neither make nor receive recommendations in the field.

Peeple, an app under development and co-founded by an Orange County woman, came under Internet fire for its purpose to give people a star rating, much like Yelp. The founders have shifted gears and are now pitching the app as a positivity network.

To use the app, members must use their Facebook log-ins. They can be blocked or reported if they break rules, and activation involves a entering a pin code sent to a user’s mobile phone.

University of East Anglia law professor and privacy advocate Paul Bernal still believes the app is worrying: “It has solved some of the problems, but very significant problems remain,” he stated. “The fact that you can no longer rate people who aren’t on it is probably the best thing they have done but it also means it’s unlikely to succeed as it will be much more limited for the people who do join it.”

“The idea of de-activating your profile is illusionary because the data is still there and vulnerable,” he added. “The Truth License overrides almost all of their safeguards- if people say bad stuff about you that stuff could get out… I actually think calling it the Truth License is unbelievably creepy.”