Want to Know How to Build a Better Democracy? Ask Wikipedia

Pity the poor public-relations specialist hired to influence what is said about his clients on Wikipedia. The sprawling, chaotic storehouse of knowledge is governed by thousands of independent-minded volunteers committed to being neutral and allergic to self-serving manipulators.

The barriers are formidable, but so is the temptation to do some reputational polishing there. What appears on Wikipedia matters. Daily traffic to the English site has barely grown in years, but that is because Wikipedia articles are so reputable that they are baked into the Internet—particularly Google’s results pages. A biographical capsule Google publishes on me, for example, has all its facts taken straight from Wikipedia, except for my age being 20, which Google came up with on its own. When YouTube tried to contain proliferating conspiracies, it turned to Wikipedia. Of course men landed on the moon, it says so right here on Wikipedia!

Attempts to influence the site are, as the recent college admissions scandal shows, sadly inevitable; there are few areas immune to power of wealth and status. How long can Wikipedia resist?

Noam Cohen

author photo


Noam Cohen is a journalist and author of The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball, which uses the history of computer science and Stanford University to understand the libertarian ideas promoted by tech leaders. While working for The New York Times, Cohen wrote some of the earliest articles about Wikipedia, bitcoin, Wikileaks, and Twitter. He lives with his family in Brooklyn.

Throughout Wikipedia’s history people have tried to nudge the content in their favor. There have been elaborate nonprofessional campaigns to promote nationalistic causes, such as what to call the Sea of Japan/East Sea. Likewise, there have been examples of stealth editing, presumably by the subjects of Wikipedia articles, as well as contributors secretly paid to polish the reputations of certain clients. These actions are considered conflicts of interest, prohibited along with a bunch of other sketchy practices as a threat to the Wikipedia’s ideal of a neutral point of view.

A recent account in The Huffington Post highlighted a novel approach by one marketing executive hired to influence what appears on Wikipedia: Instead of paid editing, Ed Sussman provides paid advocacy. Sussman, who is CEO of the marketing firm Buzzr.com, represents a range of clients, including the Axios news website, NBC, and the Facebook PR team. For NBC, he has focused on minimizing controversies, such as the question of whether NBC News handled allegations against Matt Lauer properly. In the case of one Facebook executive, Sussman’s goal was to get an article about her published.

For his fee, Sussman does not personally publish or edit the articles his clients care about; he won’t do that, he explains, because he has an obvious conflict of interest. As he writes on his Wikipedia user page: “If you ever think any of my work doesn’t conform to Wikipedia policy, please let me know and I’ll do my best to fix it!”

Instead, Sussman, who is a lawyer by training, prepares drafts of revised articles, or in the case of the Facebook executive, the entire article, which he posts on the pages used to discuss how to improve Wikipedia. His work is well written and well sourced. He then tries to persuade editors to make those changes themselves. After all, a frequent concern of Wikipedia editors is that articles are too short and too thinly sourced, and Sussman is doing his part to reduce that problem.

Indeed, for many dedicated volunteers, Sussman poses few problems, because he is so transparent about his motives. On reading the HuffPo headline, one Wikipedia administrator, Swarm, wrote that the news seemed “extremely alarming, and I was ready to crucify this guy.” Digging deeper, Swarm came to the opposite conclusion: “Most of the supposed ‘whitewashing’ seems to be mundane matters that don’t harm articles at all, if not actual improvements.”

The flip side of this embrace of transparency by Sussman, however, is that Wikipedia editors have tried, and in at least one case, succeeded, in transparently informing readers that the articles have been advocated for by a paid Wikipedia editor. The Axios article was edited to mention the news site had hired an advocate to “beef up its Wikipedia page (mostly with benign—if largely flattering—stats about Axios’ accomplishments).” Including such a sentence, of course, somewhat defeats the purpose of hiring an advocate; the best lobbyists blend into the background.

When Wikipedia editors complain about Sussman they, in essence, say he is behaving like an overly excited, and legally trained, flack. His arguments are long and have oodles of sources. One editor, kashmiri, a non-native-English speaker, pleaded for mercy: “May I kindly ask you to be more concise? I agree English is a beautiful language, but requiring other editors to read walls of text from you on every single issue is tad daunting, sorry.” While a good advocate tries to make every argument they can think of, in case one of them sticks, among Wikipedians the tactic is called bludgeoning and is frowned on.

Taking a step back, what could be wrong with making a case for a client with rigor and a broad range of sources, hoping that it gets adopted by the community? It’s not the careful attention that is the problem, but that the careful attention only goes to those who can pay. When different standards apply based on status and wealth, in areas as important as education and criminal justice, as well as relatively trivial ones like Wikipedia, poof, there goes the fairness crucial to a functioning democracy.

Wikipedia’s approach is collective, not individualistic. To come up with a solution, the community deliberates and seeks a consensus. Those deliberations, ideally, are driven by people far removed from the issues and parties involved. There is a belief in a type of karmic justice for those who try to game the system, which played out in the Axios article. It’s called the Streisand effect, so named in the wake of Barbra Streisand’s attempt to suppress photos of her Malibu home. Her efforts to deny access to those images only created more interest. Imagine a world where the more you try to manipulate the system, the more you are exposed!

By contrast, we know that large social networks respond to manipulations by those who have power and ignore those who don’t. Facebook, for example, fails to hire translators as genocide rages in Myanmar, yet personally apologizes in front of Congress when called out by conservatives for determining that the extreme rhetoric from a pair of Trump supporters, Diamond and Silk, was not safe for its community. Likewise, Twitter’s decision to allow President Trump to break its community standards for harassment and bullying, because as president what he says is newsworthy, is the ultimate example of a two-tiered system.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has witnessed firsthand how Facebook bends in the face of a powerful critic—herself. Facebook took down a Warren ad for supposed technical violations and then quickly restored it after an uproar. The experience left a bad taste: “You shouldn’t have to contact Facebook’s publicists in order for them to decide to ‘allow robust debate’ about Facebook,” she wrote on Twitter. “They shouldn’t have that much power.”

Perhaps the just-the-facts folks at Wikipedia can teach us all something.

More Great WIRED Stories

AT&T: Fool's Gold?

AT&T (T) management appears to have finally got the message on debt. The stock has finally rallied to multi-month highs over $32 as the CEO and CFO have remained steadfastly committed to paying down debt. The company continues making questionable moves changing over the leadership at WarnerMedia discussed in my previous article, but the stock has a clear path to $40 with a singular focus on reducing debt levels.

Clear Message

Randall Stephenson became the CEO and president of AT&T on May 9, 2007. During his tenure as the leader of the wireless and media giant, he has dramatically grown debt levels faster than revenues.

In the course of his dozen years at the helm, net debt grew to $180 billion at the peak and ended 2018 down at $171 billion. In all fairness, revenues are expected to hit $183 billion this year with a full year’s worth of WarnerMedia results.


Data by YCharts

A big key to the story is the stock returns over this period. AT&T shareholders have watched the stock lose nearly 19% of its value during the tenure of CEO Randall Stephenson. The S&P 500 has gained nearly 90% during the period despite the financial crisis shortly after he took over as CEO.


Data by YCharts

Now a lot of investors like to brag about substantial dividends due to the now 6.4% dividend yield. Clearly though, investors would’ve made far more money just owning the S&P 500 index. Over the course of this period, the S&P 500 index total return is up ~145% versus the total return of AT&T of only ~53%.

Anybody just looking at dividends is convinced they are making a great investment. Anybody buying the stock at nearly $40 when Stephenson took over the helm should be highly disappointed with the overall results.

Using the example of somebody buying $1 million worth of shares back in May 2007 at $40, the investor would have 25,000 shares. Those shares would now be worth only $800,000 with the stock down at $32.

An investor not paying attention to the details probably hasn’t realized that the capital position has lost so much money because the drip has only averaged about $16,666 each year or less than 1.7% of the initial value on an annual basis.

Where the investor gets excited is the dividend payout of $2.04 per year now pays the investor $51,000 annually and the company raises the dividend each year. The problem with the equation is that the shareholder would have an investment worth $2.45 million by just leaving it in an index fund and eliminating the single stock risk that has crushed investors in General Electric (GE) and countless other stocks in the past.

In essence, the dividends are fool’s gold. If an investor now swapped the S&P 500 index position worth $2.45 million for AT&T, that investor would now receive ~$157,000 in annual dividends.

Focus On Debt

For now, the management team appears to have finally got the message. Each and every time the CEO and CFO is paraded in front of the media and analyst community, both executives are clear to state that the internal goals are to pay down debt, not more M&A.

March 20, 2019 – CEO Randall Stephenson at Economic Club of Washington:

But I am focused on one thing, and that is paying that debt down this year. We took on $40 billion of debt to do it [Time Warner]. By the time we exit this year, we will have paid off $30 billion of it. And I can largely have that set aside.

March 13, 2019 – CFO John Stephens at Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference:

We want to most importantly and always in the front of our list, pay down debt. We want to make sure that we pay down debt.

February 27, 2019 – CFO John Stephens at Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference:

The company plans to use about $12 billion in cash after dividends – along with $6 billion to $8 billion from asset monetization – to reduce debt. The company expects to end 2019 with a net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA ratio in the 2.5x range.

January 30, 2019 – CEO Randall Stephenson on the Q4 2018 earnings call:

…we committed during our Analyst Day in November and in fact I would say we’re ahead of schedule on each of our key priorities, and as we said our top priority for 2019 is driving down the debt from the Time Warner acquisition, and I couldn’t be more pleased that how we close the year.

The question now is whether the debt talks are fool’s gold. The CEO made a key caveat in the discussion on March 20 that paying down debt was a goal for “this year.” The stock won’t rally into 2020 if the executives shift from this goal next year.

Cheap, Cheap Value

AT&T is extremely cheap for a reason, but the company should be able to close a lot of the multiple gap with top wireless competitor Verizon Communications (VZ). As much as my view questions the logic of the Time Warner merger, the stock has suffered far too much, if the management team stays on the debt repayment focus.

The market doesn’t expect much in the way of revenue growth for any company and the major 5G catalyst isn’t likely to show up until 2021 or after. For this reason, AT&T should close the forward P/E ratio gap with Verizon.


Data by YCharts

Analysts forecast AT&T to earn $3.63 per share in 2020. At 10x, the stock rallies to $36.30. At 11x, the stock rallied to $39.93. At this level, AT&T reaches my $40 price target and the dividend dips back towards normal levels at 5.1%.


Data by YCharts


The key investor takeaway is that as long as the AT&T executives stay on a singular focus of paying down debt with their excess free cash flows, the stock will close the P/E ratio gap with Verizon.

The CEO has made enough comments about only having this goal for 2019 suggesting an investor likely wants to get out when the stock rallies back to $40. The recent debt reduction could turn out to just be fool’s gold along with the concept of holding AT&T long term to collect the dividends.

Disclosure: I am/we are long T. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as a solicitation to purchase or sell securities. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion or consult a financial advisor. Investing includes risks, including loss of principal.

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos Each Wrote Exactly 93 Words About Their Divorce. Here's a Truly Stunning Theory About Why They Did It

Jeff and MacKenzie announced the terms of their divorce on Twitter this week in two simultaneous statements. When I wrote about it yesterday, I now think I may have missed something intriguing.

First, the background. It’s fascinating and admirable that the Bezoses worked through their agreement so quickly:

  • MacKenzie keeps 25 percent of their Amazon stock (which works out to something like $35 billion). 
  • Jeff keeps the remaining 75 percent of the Amazon stock, plus the voting power of MacKenzie’s shares, plus their interests in The Washington Post and Blue Origin.

When I wrote yesterday, I pointed out three things that I found unusual — but endearing — in the statements:

  1. They posted the statements almost simultaneously. 
  2. They used the same word, “grateful” twice each, which set the tone of the whole thing in a very positive way.
  3. They each wrote the exact same length: 93 words.

That last detail caught me. Why would they write 93 words each. Could it possibly be a coincidence? Hmmm. 

93 words

I’d only noticed this because I had to retype the statements into a text document. Being a word nerd, I also noticed that MacKenzie Bezos’s statement (embedded at the end of this article) doesn’t include many first person pronouns. 

For example, she writes: “Grateful to have finished the process of dissolving my marriage with Jeff…” instead of “I’m grateful to have finished….”

Actually every sentence is like that. 

I know people sometimes skip first person pronouns, and Twitter is informal, etc. But if she had included all the “I am” clauses, the statements would be uneven. She’d have more than 93 words.

Okay, this was really weird. I didn’t want to be known as a “Bezos Divorce Tweet Truther.” But was there something going on here? Did they agree on 93 words exactly?

And if so, why that number?

September 4, 1993

Then, a reader emailed me with an observation: “the obvious symbolism of the 93 words is they were married in ’93.”

Oh wow. The reader, who didn’t want to be identified, is right at least about the date. The Bezoses were married on September 4, 1993.

I haven’t heard back. I tried [email protected] as well, because why not? But it bounced back.

So I can’t confirm this “93-words-for-1993” theory, obviously. All I can do is put these intriguing facts in front of you, and share what I think of them.

My response is that if it’s true, it’s poignant and beautiful. The writer in me likes to think it’s a communication in a shared voice, going beyond the text itself.

It leaves me thinking about what was, what might have been, and what their relationship will be going forward.

Suspend your disbelief

Suspend your disbelief for just a second. Accept that it’s probably just a coincidence but then allow yourself to imagine what it means if it wasn’t.

Imagine if during the chaos of what could have been one of the most contentious and costliest divorces in history, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos quickly reached an agreement — not just on the big things, but on the little things, down to the length of their joint statement.

Suspend that disbelief just a bit longer, and ask yourself if it’s possible they chose 93 words for this special, sentimental reason.

Put that with their repeated symmetrical use of the word, “grateful,” and of the repeated phrases in each statement: “friends and co-parents,” and “co-parents an friends.”

Add to it how they both agreed with the language in MacKenzie’s post, where she says she’s “[h]appy to be giving Jeff all of my interests in The Washington Post and Blue Origin and 75% of our Amazon stock.”

Emphasis added there, since this phrasing is instead of Jeff saying he’s giving something to MacKenie, or them both saying they were splitting the assets. It’s MacKenzie giving what she owns to Jeff. That’s powerful.

I’m impressed. I’m a filled with a bit of awe. And, I find myself offering them both condolences and congratulations on the whole situation. 

South Korean, U.S. telcos roll out 5G services early as race heats up

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s three mobile carriers and top U.S. telco Verizon Communications commercially launched 5G services on Wednesday, ahead of their initial schedules, as they rushed for first spot in the race to roll out the latest wireless technology.

People take photographs during a launching ceremony for SK Telecom’s 5G service, in Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SK Telecom and two smaller carriers had planned to initially launch 5G in South Korea on Friday with Samsung Electronics’ new 5G-enabled smartphone Galaxy S10.

Verizon was due to roll out the technology in Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11, and said last month customers could use 5G on Motorola’s Z3 and a “Moto Mod”, a physical magnet-like attachment for the phone.

Countries including South Korea, United States, China and Japan are racing to market 5G, hoping the technology will spur breakthrough in fields such as smart cities and autonomous cars.

The technology can offer 20-times faster data speeds than 4G long-term evolution (LTE) networks and better support for artificial intelligence and virtual reality with low latency.

Sometimes it can offer 100-times faster speeds.

South Korea claimed to be the first country to launch 5G, but that was disputed by U.S. carriers who say they rolled out 5G in limited areas as early as last year.

U.S. telco AT&T Inc said it was the first to launch a “commercial and standards-based” 5G network in December 2018. The service, however, was made available to mobile hotspot devices but is not yet on phones.

SK Telecom spokeswoman Irene Kim told Reuters the company had internal discussions and decided to launch the 5G service early as the company had networks and customers ready.

South Korean carriers started offering 5G services at 11 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) on Wednesday.


In South Korea, telcos and smartphone makers are pulling out all stops to market 5G services and devices.

On Wednesday, SK Telecom showed off K-pop stars and an Olympic gold medalist as its first 5G customers.

The company said it was working with its memory-chip making affiliate SK Hynix to build a highly digitized and connected factory powered by 5G technology.

Smaller rival KT Corp said it will offer cheaper 5G plans than its LTE service, with unlimited data and four-year installments to buy 5G devices.

Samsung was the first to unwrap a 5G phone in February when it unveiled the Galaxy S10 5G and a nearly $2,000 folding smartphone, putting the world’s top smartphone maker by volume in pole position in the 5G race, some analysts say.

LG Electronics Inc plans to release its 5G smartphone in South Korea later this month.


While security concerns over 5G networks using telecom equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd have marred the buildup to the release of these services, South Korean telcos have tried to shrug them off.

“I don’t think we have a security issue in South Korea,” Park Jin-hyo, head of SK Telecom’s information and communication tech research center, told reporters.

Slideshow (2 Images)

He added the company uses advanced technology to block eavesdropping or hacking into 5G networks.

Among South Korea’s three operators, SK Telecom and KT Corp do not use Huawei equipment for 5G. Smaller carrier LG Uplus Corp uses Huawei gear.

But SK Telecom officials said it was likely there will be an open auction for network equipment makers including Huawei if South Korea needs more base stations for higher frequencies. The country has one of the world’s top smartphone penetration rates.

Reporting by Ju-min Park in Seoul and Kenneth Li in New York; Editing by Diane Craft, Sayantani Ghosh and Himani Sarkar

How Much Higher Can Apple Climb?

Apple (AAPL) keeps moving, from the stock that everyone hated in December to a stock that everyone loves again. The technical charts suggest the shares continue to rise and move higher toward $209 in the coming weeks. Additionally, options betting for the stock continues to be bullish.

On March 15 I noted that Apple’s stock was nearing a big break out and could rise to $195. Well, the stock is now at $195 and is breaking out again.

Breaking Out

The technical chart shows that Apple is once again rising above a significant level of technical resistance – this time at $195. Shares have crossed that resistance level and now may be on their way to $209, where the next significant level of resistance awaits.

The equity is entering a region where trading volumes were very light as the stock fell sharply in the fall. That should provide very little resistance for the stock should it continue to rise.

The relative strength index (RSI) is still trending higher and is entering overbought territory. But it still indicates that the stock can continue to rise. However, should the stock rise to $209 an overbought RSI could mean the shares are setting up for a pullback, so one should watch how it performs closely.

Bullish Options

The options for expiration on June 21 suggest the stock rises or falls about 9% from the $200 strike price using the long straddle strategy. It places the stock in a trading range between $182 and $218 by the middle of June. However, the open interest level for the calls far outweighs the puts, by a ratio of about 2 to 1, with almost 21,000 open call contracts to just 10,000 open put contracts. It would suggest that the stock price continues to rise.

A buyer of the $200 calls would need the stock’s price to rise to around $207 by expiration, a gain of about 6% over the coming weeks. The open interest levels have been steadily rising over the past six months

(Apple June 18 $200 Calls)

No Longer Cheap

If there’s one reason for caution, it’s that the stock is nearing a point where the valuation is getting lofty trading at about 14.7 times one-year forward earnings estimates. In the past, this region has been at the upper end of the range. It would suggest that the stock may be running out of room to rise.


Data by YCharts


However, should analyst estimates for next year begin to rise then that could help the multiple from expanding too far. Additionally, it isn’t clear yet if the market is in the process of revaluing Apple from a hardware maker of phones to a higher multiple consumer product- subscription service company. Investors typically give hardware companies cheaper earnings multiples because margins are tighter and the business is highly cyclical. However, service businesses typically trade with a higher earnings multiple because of the better margins and a more predictable revenue stream.

The path of least resistance for Apple still appears to be higher for now. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Disclosure: I am/we are long AAPL. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Mott Capital Management, LLC is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Upon request, the advisor will provide a list of all recommendations made during the past twelve months. Past performance is not indicative of future results. t

Cranfield gets Rubrik backup plus Nutanix in drive to the cloud

Cranfield University has replaced its Veeam and Data Domain backup infrastructure for one comprising Rubrik backup appliances and Microsoft Azure cloud storage.

In doing so, it has cut its on-site hardware footprint from 24U to 4U, slashed equipment and licensing costs, and reduced data restore times from hours or days to minutes.

The move also gives Cranfield peace of mind in disaster recovery by gaining the ability to run all operations from any location using virtual servers running in Azure, should the entire site become unavailable.

The refresh comes alongside one in which the university replaced its existing Pure Storage flash storage arrays with 12 nodes of Nutanix hyper-converged infrastructure hardware.

The entire project is a drive towards simplifying Cranfield’s on-site physical infrastructure in a move that encompasses cloud as a site for storage (and compute in case of outages).

Cranfield is a leading research establishment in science, industry and technology, with 1,600 staff and 4,000 postgraduate students.

Its IT stack is based around Microsoft and Linux servers with Microsoft and Oracle-based applications. It is effectively 100% virtualised on VMware, with 400-600 virtual machines running at any one time.

Its existing backup infrastructure was based on Veeam backup software and Data Domain hardware, with replication to a third party-hosted Data Domain box.

That setup had reached end of life and was showing the signs, said head of IT infrastructure Edward Poll.

“Data Domain did what it was supposed to do, but it was time to refresh things and we wanted to reduce costs, management time and complexity, and increase performance,” he said.

“The major issue with Data Domain had become restores. It ingests well, but recovering was more problematic. It would be fine for one restore, but if we’d had to restore multiple – 50, 100 or 150 – servers, we would have struggled.”

Cranfield’s IT department had already started a journey towards cloud by using StorSimple appliances – with about 80TB on site and 0.5PB in the Azure cloud – and had discovered how cost-effective it can be.

“Azure was a good fit and we started by thinking we could use Veeam and Data Domain instances in the cloud, but it was suggested to us, ‘why not get rid of a layer of software?’, and we looked at using Rubrik appliances,” said Poll.

Rubrik is part of an emerging category of backup appliances that come as nodes that build into clusters in a similar way to hyper-converged infrastructure.

Rubrik’s software appliance can come on approved server hardware from Cisco, HPE or Dell with flash and spinning disk inside. Capacities for a minimum four-node cluster are in the 64TB-160TB range, depending on the hardware.

Customers can set policies to specify how long data should be retained as a backup and which can be accessed for production use from Rubrik hardware. Rubrik backup data is seen as an NFS file share before being sent to an in-house physical archive or the cloud.

Cranfield has deployed eight Rubrik R348S nodes with a total of about 80TB of storage on site, with flash and SAS spinning disk tiers of storage inside. Data is ingested, then copied off to the Azure cloud.

The key benefits for Poll’s team are the substantially better restore times, plus the ability to potentially restore virtual machines in the cloud, allowing staff to work from any location in the event of a disaster.

Rubrik’s CloudOn enables rapid recovery to allow for business continuity in the event of a disaster, said Poll. “If our on-prem site is down, we can quickly convert our archived VMs into cloud instances, and launch those apps on-demand in Azure,” he added.

“We don’t notice any difference in data ingest, but performance on restores is very much better.”

In cost terms, Cranfield had been spending £50,000 a year on off-site hosting. It now spends about £25,000 a year with Microsoft Azure.

Meanwhile, time spent managing backup is down from about half a day a week to five minutes a day.

In terms of physical space and equipment savings, Poll said the university had turned off 42U of storage and backup devices, of which backup servers and Data Domain comprised 24U.

“Overall, it has given us a simpler, faster and more reliable backup service,” he said. “It is more easily integrated with a department that is moving towards a DevOps model, and when it comes to data recovery, we are down to minutes rather than many hours.”

The storage and backup refresh – with the move towards hyper-converged infrastructure – forms part of a wider plan to rationalise IT by making use of contemporary devices’ formats with a smaller physical footprint, as well as the cloud.

Poll added: “The university masterplan is to knock down the IT department and to no longer have two large datacentres on site. Instead, there will be one datacentre, a ‘resiliency room’ for redundancy of network equipment, and the cloud.”

How Artificial Intelligence Could Humanize Health Care

Using artificial intelligence in health care could actually make medicine more human by giving doctors more time to interact with their patients.

The technology promises to improve health care by making it more effective and speedy by eliminating some of the mundane functions that eat up doctors’ time, said Eric Topol, founder and director of the nonprofit Scripps Research Translational Institute, at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference on Tuesday in San Diego. Machine learning could free doctors from having to type medical information into patient files while also helping give patients better access to their personal data.

“All that effort can then get us to what we’ve been missing for decades now, which is the true care in health care,” Topol said.

Topol’s vision is the topic of his new book, Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again. To achieve this optimistic future, he said the health care industry must aggressively adopt artificial intelligence.

Beyond humanizing health care, deep learning, a type of artificial intelligence, can also reduce human error and help doctors make better decisions, Topol said.

Radiologists falsely clear patients of disease 32% of the time, Topol said. Meanwhile, gastroenterologists regularly miss small polyps that are just as pre-cancerous as larger ones.

“We have to fess up to how bad things are now,” Topol said. “All these things can be improved by deep learning and machine vision.”

Artificial intelligence also opens the door to new discoveries, crunching massive amounts of data both from patients and medical literature that would have been too onerous for a human to review. This would allow doctors to provide more individualized care for patients such as a diet that is more likely to succeed based on a patient’s body type. It also could lead to improved wearable technology and innovations like virtual medical coaches that give patients health advice.

Combining all of these things, artificial intelligence could improve an industry burdened by doctor burnout, early retirement, and a growing feeling that enrolling in medical school is a bad idea.

“What we need is some hope,” Topol said. “It’s reassuring that we have a path, that if we work on it hard, we might get there.”

For more coverage of Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference, click here. For news delivered daily to your inbox, subscribe to Fortune’s Brainstorm Health Daily newsletter.

Facebook Had a Busy Weekend, From News Feed to Livestream Changes

While millions of Americans were enjoying a warm spring weekend, Facebook employees were hard at work responding to an avalanche of news about their company. After an already busy week for the social media platform—including a lawsuit from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as a policy change regarding white nationalist and separationist content—five major Facebook stories broke over the last few days, including a Washington Post op-ed in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls for the social network to be regulated. Here’s what you need to know to get caught up.

Facebook Explores Restricting Who Can Livestream

The torrent of Facebook news began Friday, when COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company was “exploring restrictions on who can go Live depending on factors such as prior Community Standard violations.” The decision came less than three weeks after a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 50 people was livestreamed on Facebook. The social network, as well as other companies like YouTube, struggled to stop the shooter’s video from being reuploaded and redistributed on their platforms.

In 2016, Zuckerberg said that live video would “create new opportunities for people to come together.” Around the same time, the company invested millions of dollars to encourage publishers like Buzzfeed to experiment with Facebook Live. The feature provided an unedited, real-time window into events like police shootings, but it was also repeatedly used to broadcast disturbing events. After the Christchurch attack, Facebook is now reexamining who should have the ability to share live video, which has proven difficult for the company to moderate effectively.

Sandberg also said Facebook will research building better technology to “quickly identify edited versions of violent videos and images and prevent people from re-sharing these versions.” She added that Facebook had identified over 900 different variations of the Christchurch shooter’s original livestream. Sandberg made her announcement in a blog post published not to the Facebook Newsroom but to Instagram’s Info Center, indicating Facebook wants its subsidiaries to appear more unified.

Old Zuckerberg Blog Posts Disappear

Also on Friday, Business Insider reported that years of Zuckerberg’s public writings had mysteriously disappeared, “obscuring details about core moments in Facebook’s history.” The missing trove included everything the CEO wrote in 2007 and 2008, as well as more recent announcements, like the blog post Zuckerberg penned in 2012 when Facebook acquired Instagram.

Facebook said that the posts were mistakenly deleted as the result of technical errors. “The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed, so we didn’t do it,” a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider. They added that they didn’t know exactly how many posts were lost in total.

This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg’s content has gone missing from Facebook. Last April, TechCrunch reported that some of the CEO’s messages were erased from people’s private inboxes. (Facebook later extended an “unsend” feature to all Facebook Messenger users.) And in 2016, “around 10” Zuckerberg blog posts also disappeared from the social network. The deletion was similarly blamed on a technical error, but in that case the blogs were later restored.

Zuckerberg Calls for Regulation in Four Areas

In an interview with WIRED last month, Zuckerberg said, “There are some really nuanced questions … about how to regulate, which I think are extremely interesting intellectually.” On Saturday, the Facebook CEO expanded on that idea in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post. “I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators,” Zuckerberg wrote, calling for new regulation in four particular areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.

In the piece, Zuckerberg acknowledged that he believes his company has too much power when it comes to regulating speech on the internet. He also mentioned Facebook’s new independent oversight board, which will decide on cases where users have appealed the content decisions made by Facebook’s moderators. (On Monday, Facebook announced it was soliciting public feedback about the new process.)

Zuckerberg also said the rest of the world should adopt comprehensive privacy legislation similar to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation that went into effect last year. There’s currently no modern privacy law in the United States, though California passed a strong privacy bill last summer, which Facebook originally opposed. Now a number of lawmakers, and lobbyists, are jockeying to get a federal privacy law in place before the state-level rules take effect next year.

The op-ed arrives as Facebook faces a looming Federal Trade Commission investigation over alleged privacy violations. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have also recently expressed an interest in regulating or even breaking up the social media giant. Zuckerberg’s op-ed provides a sketch of the kind of regulation that his company would be comfortable adopting. Some critics have also argued that legislation like GDPR can strengthen the dominant position of companies like Facebook and Google.

Facebook Opens Up About How News Feed Works

How Facebook chooses what content to feature in the News Feed has consistently remained mostly a mystery. As Will Oremus wrote last week in Slate, “For all of Facebook’s efforts to improve its news feed over the years, the social network remains as capricious and opaque an information source as ever.”

But on Sunday evening, Facebook quietly announced that it will begin revealing more about why users see one post over another when they scroll through their feeds. The company will soon launch a “Why am I seeing this post?” button, similar to the one it launched in 2014 for advertisements. It will begin rolling out this week and will be available for all Facebook users by the middle of May, according to Buzzfeed.

“This is the first time that we’ve built information on how ranking works directly into the app,” Ramya Sethuraman, a product manager at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. The new feature might tell users, for example, that they’re seeing a post because they are friends with someone on Facebook or because they joined a specific group. But the button will also provide more granular information, such as telling users they’re seeing a specific photo because they’ve “commented on posts with photos more than other media types.”

Facebook is also making updates to its preexisting “Why am I seeing this ad?” button. It will now tell users when an advertiser has uploaded their contact information to Facebook. In addition, it will show users when advertisers work with third-party marketing firms. For example, an ad for a shoe company might reveal the name of the marketing agency it hired to sell its new sandals.

Pivot to Paying Publishers?

On Monday morning, Zuckerberg suggested he might create a new section of Facebook dedicated to “high-quality news.” Details are scarce, but it may feature content Facebook pays publishers directly to share. The remarks were made during an interview Zuckerberg did with European media executive Mathias Döpfner, which the CEO posted to his personal Facebook page. The announcement comes a year after Facebook said it would begin deprioritizing news stories in its News Feed in favor of content from friends and family.

Last week, Apple announced it was launching a $10 per month paid news aggregation service called News+ (it features content from WIRED). But unlike Apple, Facebook doesn’t appear to be getting into the subscription business. “We’re coming to this from a very different perspective than I think some of the other players in the space who view news as a way that they want to maximize their revenue. That’s not necessarily the way that we’re thinking about this,” Zuckerberg said in the interview.

Facebook’s earlier attempts to partner with media organizations have been a mixed bag. The social network also previously explored creating a dedicated feed for publishers but abandoned the project. Without knowing more, it remains to be seen what, if anything, is going be different this time.

More Great WIRED Stories

Could Your Conference Rooms Cause Bad Decisions? 

The average American spends 93% of their life indoors. The media headlines often talk about the depleting outdoor air quality, but neglect to talk about the air inside that we happen to be breathing the majority of our lives. For those who have chosen the “startup path” proper ventilation and constant monitoring of the air quality is often treated as a luxury than a necessity.

Personally, I have advised and worked for early-stage companies that had very humble office beginnings. I’ve walked into poorly ventilated rooms and could instantly determine what my co-workers had for breakfast and who forgot to give an extra swipe of deodorant that morning. Sometimes I would roll out of a marathon strategy session in a small room and feel lightheaded, never knowing if it was the lack of oxygen, the fluorescent lights, or the fiscal policy that made me wheezy. Needless to say, startups aren’t for everyone.

Scientific studies have shown that poor indoor air quality could play a big part in how we feel at work, and it could also have a direct correlation to cognitive function. Studies from Berkeley National Laboratory and Harvard University looked at indoor carbon dioxide (C02) levels and how it affects our cognitive function and decision making.

First, let’s flashback to 5th-grade science class to get a quick recap of carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is a greenhouse gas that is natural and safe in small quantities, yet high levels can quickly escalate to be harmful to your health. Because humans produce carbon dioxide (CO2) when we exhale, concentrations of CO2 in occupied indoor spaces are higher than concentrations outdoors. The less ventilation, the more CO2 can hang around and cause problems.

The studies looked at both CO2 in the office and evaluated human participates decision-making skills in environments with different levels of CO2. What they found directly correlates to the zonked feeling you get when you tumble out of a crowded meeting room. First, it had been previously stated that 350-1000 pmm was typical for indoor buildings with good air quality. The study showed that at the 1000 pmm level there was some moderate, yet statistically significant decrements in decision making among the subjects. At 2500 pmm the deficits became more significant. People in these environments who complained about the indoor air quality also reported more acute health symptoms, such as headaches. They often work slightly slower and they were more often absent from work or school.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that in approximately 500 indoor air quality (IAQ) investigations in the last decade, 52 percent of the indoor air quality problems were related to inadequate ventilation. On an even sadder note, the Berkeley National Laboratory study looked at crowded elementary classrooms in California and Texas and documented that the average CO2 concentrations were above 1,000 ppm, a substantial proportion exceeded 2,000 ppm, and in 21% of Texas classrooms peak, CO2 concentration exceeded 3,000 ppm!

Now, back to our excessively long meeting in a closed room. When several people are talking in a closed off room for several hours the CO2 levels rise. Studies say those CO2 levels can exceed 1000 ppm and get as high as 5000 ppm depending on the ventilation and number of people. The longer the meeting, the more CO2 is trapped in the room with you and your coworkers. The levels are highest at the end of the meeting, at the same time when important decisions are being made. 

For companies of all sizes, when you are evaluating office space it is important to keep air quality in mind, especially in the conference rooms. Monitors are now inexpensive and can help your team stay on top of any issues. Additional filtration systems and office plants can also aid in ensuring healthy levels of CO2 in the office.

Over-indexing for a healthy work environment will pay dividends in the future to your employees’ overall health, happiness, proper decision making. Indoor air quality should not be taken for granted as the risks to business are too high.

South Korea's burned out millennials chose YouTube over Samsung

SEOUL (Reuters) – Yoon Chang-hyun’s parents told him to get his sanity checked when he quit his secure job as a researcher at Samsung Electronics Co in 2015 to start his own YouTube channel.

Yoon Chang-hyun works on his Youtube clip in Seongnam, South Korea, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The 65 million won ($57,619) a year salary – triple South Korea’s average entry level wage – plus top-notch healthcare and other benefits offered by the world’s biggest smartphone and memory chip maker was the envy of many college graduates.

But burned out and disillusioned by repeated night shifts, narrowing opportunities for promotion and skyrocketing property prices that have pushed home ownership out of reach, the then 32-year old Yoon gave it all up in favor of an uncertain career as an internet content provider.

Yoon is among a growing wave of South Korean millennials ditching stable white collar jobs, even as unemployment spikes and millions of others still fight to get into the powerful, family-controlled conglomerates known as chaebol.

Some young Koreans are also moving out of city for farming or taking blue collar jobs abroad, shunning their society’s traditional measures of success – well-paid office work, raising a family and buying an apartment.

“I got asked a lot if I had gone crazy,” Yoon said. “But I’d quit again if I go back. My bosses didn’t look happy. They were overworked, lonely…”

Yoon now runs a YouTube channel about pursuing dream jobs and is supporting himself from his savings.

Samsung Electronics declined to comment for this article.

Chaebols such as Samsung and Hyundai powered South Korea’s dramatic rise from the ashes of the 1950-53 war into Asia’s fourth-largest economy in less than a generation. Well-paid, secure jobs provided a gateway to the middle-class for many baby boomers.

But with economic growth stagnating and competition from lower cost producers weighing on wages, even milliennials who graduated from top universities and secured chaebol jobs say they are less inclined to try to fulfill society’s expectations.

Similar issues among younger workers are being seen globally. However, South Korea’s strict hierarchical corporate culture and oversupply of college graduates with homogeneous skills make the problem worse, says Ban Ga-woon, a labor market researcher at state-run Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training.

South Koreans had the shortest job tenure among member countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as of 2012, just 6.6 years compared to the average of 9.4 years and 11.5 years in neighboring Japan.

The same survey also showed barely 55 percent of South Koreans were satisfied with their jobs, the lowest rate in the OECD.

This January, ‘quitting jobs’ appeared on the nation’s top 10 new year resolution list on major social media sites.


Some workers are even going back to school to learn how to do just that.

A small three-classroom campus in southern Seoul, named “School of Quitting Jobs”, has attracted over 7,000 attendees since opening in 2016, founder Jang Su-han told Reuters.

The 34-year-old Jang, who himself quit Samsung Electronics in 2015 to launch the school, said it now offers about 50 courses, including classes on how-to-YouTube, manage an identity crisis, and how to brainstorm a Plan B.

The school’s rules are displayed at its entrance: “Don’t tell your bosses, say nothing even if you run into a colleague, and never get caught until your graduation.”

“There is strong demand for identity-related courses, as so many of us were too busy with cram schools to seriously think about what we want to do when were teenagers,” he said.

To be sure, the lure of a prestigious chaebol job remains strong, especially with the country mired in its worst job slump since 2009 and youth joblessness near a record high.

Samsung Electronics is still the most desired workplace for graduates as of 2019, a survey of 1,040 job seekers by Saramin, a job portal, showed in February.

However, many entering the workforce are much less willing to accept the long hours or mandatory drinking sessions synonymous with the country’s hierarchical, cutthroat corporate life, says Duncan Harrison, country head of London-based recruitment agency Robert Walters Plc.

“The mindset of people entering the workforce is very different from past generations,” Harrison said.


Among elementary school students, YouTube creator is now the fifth-ranked dream job, behind being a sports star, school teacher, doctor or a chef, a 2018 government poll showed.

Some are choosing a simpler life in the country.

Between 2013 and 2017, South Korea saw a 24 percent increase in the number of households who ditched city life for farming – more than 12,000 in total.

And in the face of dwindling opportunities at home, nearly 5,800 people also went abroad for jobs last year using government-subsidized programs, more than tripling from 2013, according to government data.

Others left without support or new jobs lined up.

Slideshow (7 Images)

Plant engineer Cho Seung-duk bought one-way tickets to Australia in December with his wife and two kids.

“I don’t think my son could get jobs like mine in South Korea,” said 37 year-old Cho, who moved from Hyundai Engineering & Construction to another top construction firm in 2015 before he emigrated.

“I will probably clean offices in Brisbane, but that’s ok.”

Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Lincoln Feast