Ashton Kutcher has a simple fix for social media rage-outs


CNET 19 July, 2021 - 07:00am 37 views

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Let's face it, social media can be a hot mess. You don't have to look hard to find a hotbed of insults and inflammatory comments, perpetually escalating. Actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher has a deceptively simple way to curb at least some of that toxicity, and it has to do with the "like" button.

Or, more accurately, a "dislike" button. 

While social networks make it easy to "like" or "heart" a post, there isn't a parallel function on platforms like Twitter or Instagram. Kutcher argues a dislike button would represent a far less volatile expression of disagreement. That, he believes, would head off a lot of hate on social media. 

"If we just gave people a very simple, frictionless way to say, 'I disagree with this,' you would probably reduce a massive amount of the sort of negative swaller that exists inside of social media," he said in an interview on Wednesday. 

Kutcher (right) was on an AT&T panel to discuss the applications of 5G. 

His thoughts on a "dislike" button are just one of many he shared in an interview following his appearance at a 5G event hosted by AT&T last week in New York. Kutcher may be best known for his roles in That '70s Show, Punk'd or, most recently, Netflix's The Ranch, but he's been a tech investor for the last 15 years with smart bets on companies such as Uber, Airbnb and trading app Robinhood, which is poised to go public later this year. He's also a would-be astronaut, who sold his ticket a Virgin Galactic flight after his wife, actor Mila Kunis, urged him to skip the trip.

Given the event, he, of course, discussed his interest in 5G, as well as gaming and his approach to ethical investing. But it was a question about social media that gave Kutcher pause for a moment, eliciting his most thoughtful response. 

The lack of a "dislike" or "heart" means people will leave comments or respond. And while some of it is trollish and extraordinarily offensive, much of the commentary likely comes from an innocent place, even if the tone or phrasing feels more aggressive than it is, Kutcher said. 

"Different people speak in different ways," he said. "My wife's criticism of me is very different than my criticism of my wife, not only in content, but in the way that we give criticism to one another. And we've had arguments in life that have just been about me not understanding the way that she was giving me criticism and her not understanding the way I was giving her criticism, but with love. 

"Now apply that to strangers at large."

That fundamental misunderstanding and the ability to appreciate the background and context of comments and responses -- something you could do better if you spoke with them face to face -- is the root cause of many disputes that spiral out of control. 

"So what's happened is you have this massive escalation, and the mob mentality around that escalation," Kutcher said. "And then people are getting whacked."

Kutcher was among the first to recognize the power of social media, jumping on platforms like Twitter early. Back then, the vibe was experimental, and you weren't penalized for saying or asking the wrong thing. 

"It was this community where you could try ideas," he said. "You didn't have to be right." 

But now, even asking the wrong question can invite a pile-on. Back in 2011, a Kutcher tweet about the firing of longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno elicited massive backlash, prompting him to scale back his use of the platform

"Now it's cut your head off, cancel you, you're done," he said in the interview. "That's more of a comment on society than it is on social media. Society's become intolerant."

Kutcher also believes that people are motivated to comment negatively because that's the best way to get attention. 

"I think the incentive systems have to change if we want social media to change," he said. 

The pandemic shined a spotlight on the need for better videoconferencing, and 5G is poised to deliver on that improved experience. Its low latency, or near-real-time responsiveness, and ultra-high-resolution video capability will be critical because more meetings are taking place through teleconferencing. 

Kutcher recalled a time around six years ago when he checked out a military-grade videoconferencing system. When he asked why it was necessary, the response was: "When you're making a  decision about whether or not to go to war, you want to see if the general is sweating," he said. 

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With more important decisions happening over video calls now, he gets why 5G is critical. That applies to business and the medical field, where doctors can truly see their patients remotely. 

The low-latency and bandwidth improvements of 5G will also be key to self-driving cars. Kutcher said he invested in a startup called that specializes in artificial intelligence for autonomous technologies. 

The initial benefit of 5G is the ability to untether you from a stationary console, Kutcher said. He's invested in Backbone, a startup making a zero-latency wireless game controller that pairs with your smartphone. 

Right outside our interview room, AT&T had set up a demonstration of Google's Stadia running on a Pixel phone connected solely to its 5G network. The intent was to show how similar the experience is to being at home on a wired computer. 

Kutcher notes he isn't a gamer. 

"What excites me more about it is the notion that the game doesn't just have to be on screen," he said, alluding to experiences akin to augmented reality-based Pokemon Go. "The game can be out here."

5G's ultra-responsiveness should also do wonders for virtual reality, eliminating any video lag that might make the experience uncomfortable, he said. 

Ashton Kutcher says he's excited by 5G's ability to bring more bandwidth and a more responsive connection, which will help everything from gaming to telemedicine. 

"If we have an indication that there's a secondary or tertiary effect that we can proactively, preemptively anticipate that is a negative nature, we just won't invest," he said. "I don't care about making money that much."

But he noted that many of his companies are in the extremely early stages of their growth. Those companies eventually tend to pivot, making the person in charge one of the most important elements of his investments.. 

"Oftentimes, the company that you initially invested in isn't the company that gets very large and massive, right?" he said. "Because early-stage companies, especially if they're smart founders, they're constantly evolving what the company is."  

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iPhone 14: Price, release date, specs and all the latest details

Laptop Mag 19 July, 2021 - 01:00am

iPhone 14 may be another massive leap forward from Apple

With all of that preamble aside, here’s a look at everything we’ve gathered on the iPhone 14 so far, including the expected release date, pricing, design, specs and more.

Bloomberg added that an in-display fingerprint reader won’t be ready for the iPhone 13, but didn't rule it out for next year. There has been considerable support for this rumor with Kuo forecasting the inclusion of an under-display fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 14 in the same analyst note regarding the large iPhone 14 pricing.

The only spec update of note so far regarding the iPhone 14 is about the A16 Bionic processor. Keep in mind that name may be in flux. Ignoring the name, the rumor suggests the processor will move to a 4-nanometer process from the current 5nm process of the A14 Bionic and presumably the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic. That should lead to a larger performance jump than we will see this year along with improved power efficiency. 

Some have projected a move to 3nm next year, but the general consensus is that only the iPad will be ready for that jump and that the iPhone won’t see it until either 2023 or 2024. 

The cameras have the potential to be one of the most significant year-over-year upgrades for the iPhone 14. Once again, citing a Ming-Chi Kuo investor note, he believes the iPhone 14 Pro will adopt a 48MP primary wide-angle camera. While Apple has done a better job of improving the quality of its 12MP sensors, like Google, it hasn’t moved beyond the outdated resolution. 

That’s the sum of what we have so far on the iPhone 14 without reading the tea leaves and instead going off of sources with a strong history of multi-year projects regarding Apple products. 

While it’s far from a complete picture, there are some incredibly compelling updates in there. In particular for those who have been impressed by Apple’s computational photography, but felt left out of some of the camera hardware breakthroughs happening on the Android side. 

In a similar vein, the iPhone 14 will deliver other tech to Apple fans that Android fans have been enjoying for a couple of years now. That includes an under-display fingerprint reader and more minimally invasive front-facing cameras. 

We’ll be eagerly following along for any additional leaks on the iPhone 14, particularly as the iPhone 13 is announced and we get a clearer picture of the feature updates Apple didn’t quite manage to address in 2021.

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Gurman: MacBook Pro with miniLED display coming between September-November

9to5Mac 18 July, 2021 - 08:23am

- Jul. 18th 2021 6:23 am PT

In today’s Power On newsletter, Bloomberg Mark Gurman discusses the availability of the new MacBook Pro with miniLED display, expected to be announced from September to November. Head below for the full details.

Reiterating what reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said a couple of weeks ago, the new MacBook Pro is expected to go into production in the third quarter, which means an announcement is expected around September to November, according to Gurman as well.

In his newsletter, Mark Gurman says “these new MacBooks were supposed to launch earlier, but complications around the new miniLED display have held up production.”

The miniLED display, which Apple calls Liquid Retina XDR, is already available on the new 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro. This panel uses 10,000 mini-LEDs, which provide much greater control of localized backlighting, allowing higher brightness and deeper blacks. The combination boosts the contrast ratio, as well as using less power.

According to the company, the Liquid Retina XDR display delivers “true-to-life” detail with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. It also features 1000 nits of full-screen brightness and 1600 nits of peak brightness.

Although the new MacBook Pro is expected to feature the M1X chip and more slots, Gurman doesn’t talk about that in today’s newsletter. Instead, he gives a tip about choosing between the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

MacBook Pro for those who necessitate more speed and RAM with app development, Photoshop, and heavy video editing, while the Air is ideal for web browsing, email, and light photo editing.

Recently, Bloomberg published that the new MacBook Pro would be configurable with up to 64GB of RAM. Last week,YouTuber Luke Miani reported that new Macs could be limited to 32GB of RAM.

If you want to know everything expected from the new MacBook Pro with a miniLED display, check out our guide here.

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Apple’s Mac lineup consists of MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini. The Mac runs macOS for its operating system.

Apple's premium laptop comes in 13- and 16-inch screen sizes. Each model includes 2-4 USB-C ports for charging, accessories, and data transfer. Higher-end models also include the Touch Bar.

Brazilian tech Journalist. Author at 9to5Mac. Previously at tv globo, the main TV broadcaster in Latin America.

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