Apple’s Radical Approach to News: Humans Over Machines - The New York Times


#1

I’m glad to see that Apple News continues to give precedence to human editors rather than algorithms:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/technology/apple-news-humans-algorithms.html

This very interesting op-ed ran a few days ago:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/20/opinion/sunday/ai-fake-news-disinformation-campaigns.html


(David Silbey) #2

My God, they’ve invented “editors”!

(not original to me)


(Tommy Weir) #3

It is good that they do, a tightrope to walk for sure, but no more than what good journalism has had to do. Curious to see what she does with it. I’ve got my news spots I go to, I subscribe to them, and I’m pretty loyal, but Apple News has become something I do check in on from time to time.

I’m not convinced a separate app for MacOS was the way to go, I’d perhaps be quicker to check in on a website.

I did find this of interest in the app’s settings “Siri can suggest stories, channels, and topics based on your Safari and app usage.” First that Siri is named as the AI component and also that there might be some tracking beyond Safari to other apps. Beyond my Twitter client I can’t see what that might be.


(Mark McKean) #4

Many (most?) web publications and special-interest sites have their own
dedicated apps. It’s probably tracking which of those are installed and
how often they’re used. It also may be looking at usage of other news
aggregator apps, such as Flipboard, which have their own internal
tracking of what’s read.

Mark D. McKean
[email protected]


(Tommy Weir) #5

Probably true enough. We all live within our limits. I’m sure there are people who check multiple apps for news. I can’t imagine doing it but hey that’s me.

The editorial stance on the midterms is interesting to see. https://apple.news/AB_nLbMSnSFyqncSAB1Qc8A

Haven’t seen an Apple exec sign their name to a public announcement other than Tim. Fits the role of course. Let’s see what independence she has.


#6

tommy
Tommy Weir

    October 29

I’m not convinced a separate app for MacOS was the way to go, I’d perhaps be quicker to check in on a website.

I like the way News syncs with my iPad and iPhone. If I opened the site in Chrome, or a PC user did in Microsoft’s browser, you’d be tracked and followed around for sure.

I did find this of interest in the app’s settings “Siri can suggest stories, channels, and topics based on your Safari and app usage.” First that Siri is named as the AI component and also that there might be some tracking beyond Safari to other apps. Beyond my Twitter client I can’t see what that might be.

A very good point that I never thought about, so I checked Apple’s website:

We understand that the articles you read are personal, so we designed Apple News so your reading activity is not linked to other Apple services, and the data we collect is associated with an identifier specific to the Apple News and Stocks apps. Recommendations in Today are made based on the information stored on your device. To remove your reading history from your device, tap or click “Clear” in the History section of Apple News. This will also reset the identifier used for Apple News and Stocks. You can also reset the identifier by selecting the “Reset Identifier” option in Settings on iOS or in the menu bar on Mac.

Siri suggests stories, channels, and topics you may like based on on-device information derived from the apps you use and the websites you visit with Safari. Also, when you use search in Apple News, information including recently used apps and popular apps installed on your device are sent to Apple with your search query to provide you with relevant search results. If you allow Apple News to access your location, your location is also used to provide more relevant search results. This information is not associated with your Apple ID.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205249

Personally, it sounds OK to me. I’ve never had a problem with Netflix tracking me even though I know they don’t store anything on any of my devices and nothing is randomized. It’s learning curve, like that of News was rather swift and quite good. I spend a lot of time with content from Netflix and Apple News because they serve up a lot of content that I think is very good and I don’t have to spend a lot of time searching for it. On the other hand, I’m getting awfully fed up with having to scroll through pages and pages and pages of HBO, Showtime and other streaming cable channels to find something I might want to watch.


(Tommy Weir) #7

Interesting Marilyn, thanks for that.

I hadn’t considered syncing. That makes a lot of sense.

Agreed on the tracking. Apple are exemplary here and I had no alarm bells going off, I was merely curious. The Netflix folks certainly know how to categorize and deliver appropriately. My only bugaboo with them is the half screen preview for everything on my AppleTV. Too much preview, not enough choices.