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Palantir, Silicon Valley’s largest spy machine, faces its fire test

The company created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel opens on the stock exchange between accusations of opacity and operations outside the legality and privacy of citizens Peter Thiel What happens if you mix an unscrupulous megamillionaire, able to secretly fund the bankruptcy of a media outlet, with artificial intelligence technology and contracts with some of the world’s major intelligence agencies, defense departments, and governments, from the CIA to the Pentagon to the FBI or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? The result is Palantir, one of the most opaque and power-wielding technology companies in the world that is about to be released on the Stock Exchange today. Your departure to parquet on Wall Street will mean a before and after to see how far you can go in using algorithms for all kinds of tasks: from hunting down a terrorist to accepting or denying a mortgage in a discriminatory way. Palantir’s IPO is one of the techno-financial events of the year. The company will do so unusually, without issuing new shares as happens in a traditional OPV. Instead, it will go straight to the parquet, as has already happened with other technology such as Spotify or Slack. And that’s where the party will start… or the funeral. Several analysts put the value of the company (which has never made a profit) at $22 billion, but others put it in less than half. But this is the least of it. The figures are just a reflection of the real ‘quid’ of the matter: does Palantir have an artificial intelligence technology worth so many millions? The company, created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, one of the first Facebook investors and Donald Trump’s colleague, says yes. His name is a statement of intent. The ‘palantir’ is the crystal ball of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ that allows you to connect with distant people and moments in time and space and spy on everything. Sauron uses it to see the past, keep an eye on his enemies and drive his victims crazy. Your product is easy to understand: AI ‘software’ capable of delivering real-time data that easily helps you make better decisions on the go. Where are the most dangerous conflict zones that soldiers should avoid? Which voters do you have to touch to win an election? Which areas have the highest rates of covid-19 contagion? They are all lands on which Palantir has been helping the US government especially for the past few years. The problem pointed out by engineers and artificial intelligence specialists is that their technology is not necessarily better, it can fail and, above all, it is used with such opacity and secrecy that it is impossible to ensure that there are no serious illegalities in the form of discrimination or serious privacy breaches. “I came out of there convinced it was easier to use.” This was recently explained to New York Magazine by Heidi Shyu, former head of arms purchases for the U.S. Army. Shyu tells how in a meeting with senior Palantir executives these showed how a couple of clicks were enough to create heat maps that point to the most dangerous combat zones. It is also something that made the existing ‘software’ of the army, but it took much longer. And Palantir’s didn’t hang as often as his competitors’ either. This is how since 2003, aggressively and offering free trials to soldiers, Palantir began to be used within the U.S. military. It became so essential that the Pentagon had to take letters in the matter for negligence in the procurement process and excluded Palantir from the award for the purchase of this system. Thiel went crazy: he sued the Army and won the judicial pulse in October 2016. But that wasn’t the best thing. Just a few days later, his friend Donal Trump became president of the United States. Coincidentally, four months later, Palantir won what he longed for: a 10-year contract worth more than $876 million to develop the American army’s combat analysis software. The US Army already had one on which more than $2.3 billion had been spent. Money thrown away to replace it with Palantir. It is just one of countless contracts the company has signed with companies and government bodies to place its two flagship products: Palantir Gotham and Palantir Metropolis. They’re named after the cities of Batman and Superman. Theoretically, Gotham is designed to monitor terrorist targets and analyzes relationships between people, places and objects, while Metropolis observes behavior over time to investigate illegal transactions linked to financial fraud but also to human trafficking, substances, stolen art, etc. In practice, as El Confidencial published last year in an extensive report, the two are tools to monitor people and are designed for three very specific industries: government, financial sector and legal sector. Both are predictive technology. Your job is to use data on what has happened to point out crimes that have not yet happened. In the Palantir government sector it has been more successful, but Palantir Metropolis has been a fiasco in the financial sector. Alex Karp himself, co-founder and CEO of the company, stated internally that Metropolis was an “absolute failure”. Despite having Donald Trump’s favor and spending millions in lobbying in the highest political spheres, the reality is that Palantir continues to lose money in shovels (580 million last year). And the fundamental problem is its own technology: doing everything Palantir promises and doing it effectively and, above all, legally, is virtually impossible. Like Cambridge Analytica (CA), Palantir uses public data, purchased data and third-party data. Unlike CA, it has access to the archives of federal, state, and local governments and their institutions. That is, their databases are full of arrests, complaints, police reports, fines, license plates registered by road radars… A 2015 ‘leak’ speaks of up to 160 different databases from the LAPD alone, including hot zones in difficult neighborhoods. Numerous studies since its implementation in cities confirm its toxicity and the danger of its sesgade algorithms. Chicago’s “strategic list of suspects” has actually proven to generate more violence than it prevents. To top it all off, Palantir has access to sensitive personal data, such as fingerprints and other biometric data, medical records, card purchase history, travel logs, communications, taxes, child history. And it gets all the data it processes, for use with other customers. He takes his algorithmic bias wherever he goes. Thanks to several leaks we know that they have contracts with intelligence agencies in England, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Who controls all this? One man: Peter Thiel. As Bloomberg reveals, a change in the company’s governance model gives Thiel greater power in voice and vote than any other investor in the company, and gives it to him perpetually. Not a rarity in Silicon Valley, other companies like Facebook and WeWork have used a similar system to give their founders full power. And the potholes that Facebook and WeWork have dared (and traverses) are well known. The big unknown now is to see if Palantir operates under strict law enforcement or we are facing a new Cambridge Analytica-style scandal. The IBRO may be the ultimate needle that the smoke ball even though, unfortunately, until a new Edward Snowden or a Christopher Wylie dares to take the step, we probably never know.

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New OnePlus 9RT: Specs, launch date, colors revealed

OnePlus hasn’t said how much RAM the 9 RT will feature, however Geekbench has shown that it will sport 12GB of RAM. However, an 8GB variant will almost certainly be available.

Shenzhen [China]: The OnePlus 9 RT’s launch date and specifications have been revealed by OnePlus ahead of its official announcement.

According to GSM Arena, the OnePlus 9 RT will go on sale in China on October 13, or next week.
Although the new OnePlus smartphone will be unveiled in China first, it is expected to make its way to India as well. In India, the OnePlus 9 RT has yet to be announced.

The Snapdragon 888 SoC will power the OnePlus 9 RT, which will be paired with LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage. It will have a 120Hz E4 screen and a 4,500mAh battery that will charge at 65W. The primary camera on the 9 RT will be 50 megapixels.

OnePlus hasn’t said how much RAM the 9 RT will feature, however Geekbench has shown that it will sport 12GB of RAM. However, an 8GB variant will almost certainly be available.

The phone maker also revealed that the 9 RT will be available in two colour options: black and grey, and that pre-orders will begin on October 13 in China, with the first sale on October 19.

We’re still four days away from the launch, so expect more information regarding the OnePlus 9 RT in the days leading up to it.

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Meaning of CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CTO and CMO: Calling each executive by name

The adoption of business terms and technicalities from English-speaking organizations is increasingly widespread, and acronyms that describe executive positions are often favorites when used by those responsible for the areas of the company. The use of acronyms such as CEO, COO, CIO, CTO and CMO has become widespread, both in more traditional organizations such as startups and other technology-based companies.

But what is the meaning of these acronyms?

If we pay careful attention to its definition, we will see that the meaning of CEO and the rest of the management figures of companies are much simpler than you thought.

What is the CEO of a company?

The CEO of a company is the acronym corresponding to the acronym for Chief Executive Officer, which in Spain we usually know as CEO or Executive Director. He is the head of administrative management and direction in the company.

Who is the COO?

It comes from the Chief Operating Officer and can be translated as Director of Operations or Chief of Operations, responsible for the daily operations of the company such as production, logistics, etc.

What does CFO stand for in English?

CFO is the abbreviation for Ch IEF Financial Officer. In our business culture it corresponds to the Chief Financial Officer and his responsibility is the economic and financial planning of the company based on the objectives established by the board of directors, generally made up of those responsible for each area that we are analyzing in this post.

What is the CIO of a company?

It comes from the acronym for Chief Information Officer. Their role is attributed to the person responsible for the company’s information technology systems and usually falls into different professional profiles depending on the organization’s structure. Thus, the position of CIO may be the counterpart of the systems manager, although there is ambiguity in its implementation and it is often confused with the CTO, which we explain below.

What does the acronym CTO stand for?

It is the abbreviation of Chief Technology Officer and it is usual to give it the same treatment as the system manager in an erroneous way by many companies. The main difference is that while the CIO is responsible for the company’s information services at the process level and from the planning point of view, the CTO is the technical person in charge of the development and correct operation of the information systems from the point of view of execution.

What is a CMO in a company?

It corresponds to the acronym of Chief Marketing Officer and its translation in our business language is that of Marketing Director as the head of sales and product development, among other functions.

Its application in practice is different according to the structure of each organization, and there may be various combinations in the hierarchy of these executive positions. In general, the meaning of CEO of the company falls on the highest part of the organization and has as subordinates the executives responsible for each area, who report directly to this CEO to make his decisions. However, in other organizational models, the position of CEO held by its president as the visible image in communication and public relations of the company, delegating the highest decision-making authority to the COO.

The meaning of CEO extends

This definition nomenclature of executive positions in companies does not end here. Many of these terms did not exist a few years ago, and the increasing specialization of departments in large organizations gives rise to new positions, which after the meaning of CEO and the other positions that we have seen evolve into new figures such as the CSO (Chief Science Officer), CCO (Chief Commercial Officer), CLO (Chief Legal Officer) among many other definitions of executive positions.

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Coworking: Need or Opportunity?

Many times when it comes to undertaking we see that there are a great multitude of impediments that stop our initiative.

One of the most obvious, especially in times of crisis, is financing. That is why a work modality called coworking has proliferated in Spain for a few years. But what is coworking?

The foundation of coworking is to bring together professionals from different fields in the same space where they can develop their activity, which means significant cost savings. In other words, it’s like having roommates with whom you share expenses.

Surely, you have heard a friend talk about a coworking space, collaborative work, cost savings, … So far great, but the philosophy that underlies this type of work is even broader. The work tends to be increasingly multidisciplinary and many times, as entrepreneurs , we cannot cover the requests of a potential client.

We are going to put an example. Let’s imagine that we are a freelance professional specialized in Online Marketing and we have several accounts as a Community Manager.

As you are self-employed, but you are not motivated either by being in your pajamas all day locked at home listening to music, or worse, some gossip program that they give in the morning on TV – not to mention going to work in a library where the WIFI is slower than on your first Smartphone – you decide to try a coworking space where you have all the comforts for a small price and from which you can always “run away” if things don’t go well for you.

One fine day comes the opportunity to create a Social Media plan for a company. Within this Plan the creation of a corporate blog, the creation of videos,… to which you obviously answer: “no problem!” Is contemplated, since it is an opportunity that you cannot miss.

Once you dismiss the client, you sit in your chair and a cold sweat starts to run down your forehead thinking “now how do I do all this?”

From its programming, database creation, corporate identity creation … to the creation of promotional videos and a long etcetera.

Suddenly you raise your head like a meerkat in the African savannah and you see Nika, that nice girl who is a web designer and a little further on you see Alfon, that “compi” with whom you go out for beer on Fridays when you finish ” currar ”and it turns out that in addition to working as an illustrator, he has a hobby which is making videos, especially for his friends, and on top of that, it’s really good!

Et voilá! You already have a fully qualified team to carry out your project… and who knows if a future company. This idea is what underlies the coworking philosophy : Being able to create flexible collaborative environments that adapt to the needs of projects or clients.

Obviously, cooperative work has its advantages and disadvantages. Creating a multidisciplinary team for a project can be complicated, since managing the team is not an easy task when the participants do not share a mutual philosophy or common goals. Therefore, it is important to create a team that complements each other both on a human and professional level, and above all that wants to move the project forward.

From my own experience, if you want to develop your own project and do not have funding , it is better to make it very clear to the participants the delivery times and what their role in the team is. Otherwise, you will end up spending more time trying to coordinate people than working directly on your project.
“Luck is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet and merge.” Voltaire

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