Zero One Group Newsletter #4 - Zero One Technology

Zero One Group Newsletter #4

By Nanistya Probosutedjo, Data Analyst at Zero One Technology, and Daniela Sugih, Summer Intern at Zero One Group

Welcome back to our newsletter! We are concluding the month of September, which was also our Intern Appreciation month, with our regularly scheduled programming.

The topic for today’s newsletter will focus on the major actions carried out by AppleFacebook, and Temasek-backed startup Basis AI recently. Let’s get cracking!

Apple Steps up and Develops Easily Created Extensions on Safari

You can now create Safari extensions to enhance and customise the browsing experience on your Mac | Apple

Surely, you’ve heard of Google Chrome, Firefox, or Microsoft Edge extensions, but Apple will now allow you to create extensions on their default browser! You will also be able to repackage them or even convert an existing extension you have on Google Chrome.

So, what do these extensions have to offer? Well, like other extensions, it increases the practicality of the browser as a whole, and it’s very customisable to your needs and preferences. The extensions are built on widely utilised file formats, such as CSS, Javascript APIs, and HTML, hence currently existing extensions on other browsers can be easily duplicated into your Safari. XCode, which is built in your regular MacBook, offers impressive functionalities to aid this process, by simplifying the hassle to convert the extensions and allowing you to even build a new extension and refurnish them.

Additionally, an overload of extensions installed in your browser can be overwhelming, especially when access permissions are needed and a good number are not needed for specific tasks. Safari’s web extensions allow you to allocate specific extensions to respective active tabs, and it will only bug you when you open that tab. The rest of the extensions, including their uncontrollable pop-ups, can remain dormant. Furthermore, Apple allows you to only trigger the extension for a period of time, for example, a day, thus increasing the custom functionality of this system!

Internally at ZOG, we have been experimenting with these Safari extensions. It’s always good practice to equip ourselves with new technological releases. To join in our exploration, have a look at the official online documentation provided by Apple.

Temasek-backed Startup Aims to Evolve AI Black Boxes With Their Debut Product, Bedrock

Singaporean-based startup, Basis AI, debuted Bedrock, which acts as a “glass box” software, as a counter to artificial intelligence or AI’s well-known black box.

To demystify AI, we first should understand that it is based on mathematical modelling. Hence, it takes real-world data and imitates our reality. With such modelling, even unconscious bias becomes part of our everyday AI. On top of the embedded unintended biases, many still don’t understand the AI model and hence are unable to resolve this apparent issue. As a result, Bedrock is using its platform to show features used in a model, and highlighting factors that contribute more to the output. This way, users are made aware of discriminating features and are able to make suitable corrections.

By allowing you to track down mechanical pathways within your organisation and backtrack specific flaws that need to be fixed inside the “black box”, Bedrock promises “explainability, maintainability, and auditability built into the systems you deploy.” The software allows you to pinpoint exactly what the key ingredient is in generating your final output, hence being able to work out optimisation processes from there by making adaptable modifications right there and then.

Future plans of Basis AI start from the root of seeking to raise series A funding, where they hope to be able to broaden the scope and functionality of Bedrock, and focus on their internal expansion. As our world revolutionises and becomes highly tech-dependent, the implementation of AI and machine learning will become increasingly popular and practical for many rising startups and existing corporations. Bedrock paves the way to promising both optimisation and credibility of AI altogether.

We are looking forward to seeing what impressive products Basis AI will come up with next. Read up and explore specific examples they have performed to improve optimisation and practicality and start your journey to uncover the AI black box.

Facebook Allegedly Sues Developers Outside of the US for the First Time

Facebook announced on August 27, that they have filed a lawsuit against a developer house outside of the US. The top-tiered social media platform claims that UK-based MobiBurn have previously been asked to respect their audit request, but this has unfortunately been overruled.

Two years back, Facebook faced a hijack scandal with 87 million of its users being compromised of their privacy which became famous as the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Although Facebook has implemented stricter policies and other verification instruments, this seems to be inadequate in preventing the trespasses experienced by users. Thus, it was imperative for them to sue MobiBurn, in order to prevent similar scandals violating consumer security from occurring in the near future.

Interestingly, this misconduct was bound to happen. In late November last year, Facebook and Twitter users had their personal information stolen, right after signing up for the Software Development Kit (SDK) that was revealed to be developed by MobiBurn. This suspicion was consequently proven true just late last month as Facebook announced the lawsuit. In the lawsuit, Facebook asserts that the SDK was encoded into external applications that users all over the world could unintentionally have downloaded on their devices. This further heightens the difficulty to track down the transmission of data breaching for Facebook and its team.

What does this mean for us? Staying updated with these news carefully is essential in order to maintain the privacy of our personal and institutional information. Recently, major tech companies have gathered together to discuss antitrust issues that lawmakers have highlighted, hence data privacy is increasingly monitored and guaranteed throughout the years.

Apple Announces Built-in Contact Tracing in iOS 13.7

Apple introduces a COVID-19 contract-tracing feature for users of iOS 13 and above | 9to5Mac

The latest iOS 13.7 update is a game-changer for Apple and Android users.

After releasing an API with Google to enable secure exposure notifications, users would still be required to install third-party apps to retrieve information and extract notification. Fortunately, the downloading of third-party apps won’t be necessary anymore as the iOS 13.7 allows users to receive these notifications without hassle.

Directly from iOS, users are immediately notified when they have been in close proximity with those expected to have COVID-19. With that being said, personal active cases must still be reported independently. The iOS comes with an opt-in functionality, as well as an option for Android users. Hence, Android users may either participate in contact-tracing efforts or anonymously send notifications of positive cases to people within the vicinity.

The initial launch of Apple and Google’s joint efforts were underwhelming, and the adoption rates were significantly lower than expected across many countries, with 56% of US consumers expressing their doubts about using this exposure notifying feature. With this in mind, the new contract tracing system would not only be accessible to Apple and Android customers, but also for those groups of people who don’t necessarily own mobile devices, but should still be able to prevent exposure to COVID-19. For example, children and elders can use their Bluetooth wearable devices to be involved in this contact-tracing mechanism.

All of these features may seem like a hassle to install, so this easy implementation blogpost allows you to equip yourself with all the information you need as a starter-pack to this update! Enjoy!

Is Apple Going to Accept the Third-Party Tesla Watch app on the App Store?

Uncertainty looms over the future of the Tesla Watch app | 9to5Mac

A Tesla third-party watch app, developed by Kim Hansen in May this year, encountered difficulties during the pre-launch of their fifth update, despite its impressive features, handy for Tesla electric car owners. Although this app is not officially developed by Tesla, its credibility has been acknowledged by the company.

Their previous updates and debut had been smooth sailing when Apple announced their concern about the app utilising an unauthorised third-party API, which in layman’s terms refer to a platform used to transfer information between apps and services under one ecosystem. According to the Legal section of the App Store Review Guidelines, “Authorisation must be provided upon request.” when using an unofficial API.

Thus, until Tesla reinforces guidelines and opens accessibility and connection of their services to other developers, Apple will not be approving their latest update. Although recent records state that the Tesla Watch app is now approved for launching in the App Store, the future of third-party API developing apps is undoubtedly still a blur. The debate on whether third-party APIs will still be allowed on the App Store in the near future is still advancing.

This news is essential for developers, and staying updated with Apple’s decision is vital in our daily programmes and administering to our clients. If your personally developed apps have been taken down or some of your go-to apps are now unavailable on the App Store, this may be the answer to your calls!

That concludes our fourth newsletter and we hope you’ll join us in our next one! We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

As always, stay safe, well, and healthy!

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