Weekend update: Facebook facing criminal investigation, Spotify files Apple complaint, AI in marketing placed under the microscope and a "new data economy" beckons

Innovation Enterprise's regular update returns with a host of highlights – and a few lowlights – from across the tech world over the past week


While Brexit fumbles on and distracts those of us who would much rather be tucking into a diet of tech news, the team at Innovation Enterprise has continued to keep its finger on the pulse of all things AI and data.

This week, we saw Microsoft announce the launch of new cross-platform mobile software which will bring Xbox Live functionality to iOS and Android, although it remained tight-lipped on the future of the Nintendo Switch. Appen announced its forthcoming $300m deal to acquire San Francisco-based Figure Eight Technologies, bringing the two data annotation companies together to enhance their AI and machine learning (ML) models. Also, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Hive co-founder and CEO Kevin Guo in which he discusses the implementation of AI in marketing and when best to utilize the technology.

DATAx San Francisco is fast approaching, but fear not as tickets are still available to purchase in advance of this data extravaganza. Further information on all of our upcoming events can be found on our Summits page.

Below, we present our selection of news, analysis and interviews from across our Channels over the past seven days.

Facebook under criminal investigation for data-sharing

Another barrage of stories came out of Menlo Park this week, among which we saw Facebook facing a criminal investigations for data-sharing deals with the likes of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and a number of other leading tech players.

A New York grand jury subpoenaed records from "at least" two companies who create smartphone and other devices, a report from The New York Times revealed.

"We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously," declared a Facebook spokesperson. "We've provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so."

Since that story came to light earlier in the week, we've reported on the social media giant's growing list of exiting C-suites, following the news that Facebook's chief product officer and the head of WhatsApp announced their departures ahead of moves toward a "privacy first" strategy.

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Spotify files complaint against Apple's "unfair" app store

Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission this week against Apple, accusing it of giving Apple Music an advantage over rivals in the Apple App Store.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said Apple forced the music-streaming firm's hand as it had been unable to resolve the issue with Apple outside of court.

"Apple is both the owner of the iOS platform and the App Store – and a competitor to services like Spotify. In theory, this is fine. But in Apple's case, it continues to give itself an unfair advantage at every turn," Ek bemoaned.

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Ebook: DATAx Guide to AI in Marketing

Another week passes and another ebook arrives from the editorial team at Innovation Enterprise. Two weeks ago, we published our guide to AI in the world of healthcare, which has so far proved to be a popular download with readers from the healthcare community.

This week, we published our guide for marketers looking to embrace the next wave of technology in their endeavors to help build recognition of the brands and businesses they are busy promoting, while making the most of opportunities afforded by AI, ML and data capture technologies.

The ebook is available to download now, featuring interviews and insights from leading marketers at Wibbitz, Instacart, Zinio and the Center for Positive Marketing.

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DATAx insights: The role of unstructured data in AI

CLARA analytics CEO and founder Jayant Lakshmikanthan took a deep dive into the significance of unstructured data when training of AI systems on our Channels this week.

"Unstructured data is vital to the development of an AI system," says Lakshmikanthan in his in-depth analysis of the area. "The better an AI system communicates with users, the more it can learn on its own and, therefore, the more efficient it will be.

"This is important because if an AI system requires a user to interact only in a structured format, its components are dramatically limited. For AI to be successful, it has to make sense out of messy information," he continues.

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Four ways to improve your SEO with podcasts

As more and more people listen to the growing multitude of podcasts available, and with the medium increasing its cultural and commercial significance, Innovation Enterprise contributor Ester Brierley offers four ways organizations can enhance SEO on their website via podcasting.

"The benefits of podcasts for producers and consumers are rather obvious, however, they also offer great opportunities for advertisers and SEO experts," Brierley writes. "You can include your advertisements in somebody else's podcasts or create your own podcast from scratch and watch how your textual and audio content work hand in hand, increasing traffic and bringing more profit."

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New blockchain technology to spur "new data economy"

The world seems a somewhat cynical place at the moment. A never-ending Brexit debacle in the UK parliament, a White House continually biting back against self-inflicted wounds, and incessant economic woes causing concern for many the world over seem to be more than enough to fuel general malaise and fatigue among those, like myself, who watch far too much TV news.

But fear not fellow concerned folk, for a new economic model is right around the corner. Ocean Protocol, a decentralized data exchange protocol used to unlock data for AI, this week announced its intention to launch phase one of its borderless data-sharing network by the end of March, and with it usher in the age of the "new data economy".

"Our goal is to remove frictions in data sharing, breakdown data silos and equalize access to data so that it can be applied to advance industries and solve societal problems," explained Ocean Protocol founder Trent McConaghy. "It's time that people gain back control and actively participate in an open data economy."

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