Friday Five for September 24, 2021

1. Thanks to UCLA graduate student, a lunar honor for explorer Matthew Henson

"Thanks to a UCLA graduate student, a crater on the moon is now named for the famed Arctic explorer Matthew Henson. In 1909, Henson, a Black man, became one of the first people in recorded history to stand at the North Pole.

The naming honor was bestowed by the International Astronomical Union. But it was Jordan Bretzfelder, a UCLA doctoral student, who proposed the idea while completing a summer internship at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. Continue reading.

2. Video: UC IT Town Hall with President Drake

UC President Michael V. Drake was the featured speaker in last week’s UC IT Town Hall. Over 700 people joined remotely from across the UC system.

President Drake welcomed Van Williams as new UC CIO, spoke about the future of IT at UC, and answered pre-submitted questions. Continue reading.

3. Facebook ‘overpaid in data settlement to avoid naming Zuckerberg’ 

Facebook was fined by the FTC in 2019 for “deceiving” users about its ability to keep personal information private, after a year-long investigation into the Cambridge Analytica data breach, where a UK analysis firm harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters.

“Zuckerberg, [chief operating officer Sheryl] Sandberg, and other Facebook directors agreed to authorise a multibillion settlement with the FTC as an express quid pro quo to protect Zuckerberg from being named in the FTC’s complaint, made subject to personal liability, or even required to sit for a deposition,” said the shareholder lawsuit filed in Delaware last month but made public this week. Continue reading.

4. California passes law targeting Amazon labor algorithms

Still, supporters of the new law have presented it as a breakthrough against algorithmic monitoring of workers generally. “The bill is the first attempt to create transparency and protections against unsafe algorithmic-enforced quota systems used by corporations like to push warehouse workers’ bodies to the breaking point,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D) said in a tweet earlier this month. Continue reading.

5. AI cannot be the inventor of a patent, appeals court rules

"The rights to a patent normally belong to the inventor, or their successor in title. However, if a decision were made to allow a machine to be named as inventor, ownership of these rights would be thrown into question," he explained.

"It seems inevitable that the current criteria for assessing inventorship will need to be reassessed to take into account the greater role the machine plays in the invention process," he said. Continue reading.