Issue 1475 - Tuesday 19th October, 2021

In Today's Issue

The News

New MacBook Pros using souped up M1 SoCs and some other random Apple stuff

Apple's got new MacBook Pros in 14" and 16" screen sizes. There's two choices of CPU, the M1 Pro and M1 Max, which Anandtech describes as "no longer an SoC with an integrated GPU, rather it's a GPU with an SoC around it" and Apple compares to a GeForce RTX 3080. Design wise, the new MBPs are pure fan service. There's HDMI, an SD card reader, MagSafe 3 and they've killed off the TouchBar. The display is Mini-LED, capable 120Hz adaptive refresh and has a notch in the middle like the iPhone for a 1080p webcam at last (but not FaceID). Also announced at the same event is a release date for macOS Monterey (October 25), 3rd-generation AirPods (not AirPods Pro), HomePod minis in different colours, a special version of Apple Music you can only use via Siri and a $29 polishing cloth. Video of the event is on Apple's website as usual.

Facebook's internal documents show how pissweak AI is at moderation

More internal documents leaked out of Facebook, which state as recently as March 2021 Facebook knew its moderation AI is dogshit. The Wall Street Journal cites Facebook's own research that Facebook's automated systems were "removing posts that generated 3% to 5% of the views of hate speech on the platform, and 0.6% of all content that violated Facebook’s policies against violence and incitement". A big difference to Zuck's statements in the past that Facebook will use Ai to detect "the vast majority of problematic content" by the end of 2019. Apparently one of the hardest problems the AI faced was trying to tell cockfighting and car crashes apart. The AI also fails badly on non-English content as there just isn't enough training data. Disgusting videos from Afghanistan and India were consistently not moderated because the AI had no insight to those languages.

Australian international travel vaccine QR code live and is good

Vaccine passports for Aussies travelling overseas are now live and they don't suck! It's blandly called the "International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate" and uses a QR code standard the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) came up with called Visible Digital Seal for Non-Constrained Environments (VDS-NC). According to cryptography expert and Thinking Cybersecurity CEO Vanessa Teague, the international certificate is "great" and should be "rolled out to everyone in Australia" so "we'd have a privacy-respecting standard digitally signed by an Australian authority, instantly recognisable across states, very hard to forge and verifiable offline without the need for the sort of privacy-invading lookup that some states are relying on for verification". Oh to have a competent federal government.

Something I Saw On The Internet

Reflections on Grand Theft Auto and why there won't be a GTA6

Nice opinion piece in the Guardian today about the legacy of Grand Theft Auto, as a "definitive edition" set of remasters goes on sale later this year. I wondered for ages why Rockstar never got around to making a new version of GTA with a fresh story. I figured the GTA online stuff is such a cash cow, why bother. But as raised by the article, Dan Houser quit last year and as early as 2018 said regarding GTA 6 "it's really unclear what we would even do with it, let alone how upset people would get with whatever we did" and regarding the current state of the USA, "some of the stuff you see is straightforwardly beyond satire. It would be out of date within two minutes, everything is changing so fast". I reckon that's why we don't have a new GTA and may never see another title in that franchise again - shit is too real.


The End

📻 I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone - Sleater-Kinney

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The Sizzle is created on Wathaurong land and acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, recognising their continuing connection to land, water and community. I pay my respect to them and their cultures and to elders both past and present.