Today’s Cache | AI could soon detect breast cancer in scans; Meta to ask EU users’ consent for targeted advertising; Meta starts news block in Canada

Updated - August 03, 2023 09:17 am IST

Published - August 02, 2023 02:17 pm IST

File photo of a Breast Cancer Awareness Month event

File photo of a Breast Cancer Awareness Month event | Photo Credit: REUTERS

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

AI could soon detect breast cancer in scans

The results of a new Swedish study have suggested that AI technology could be used to lighten or even halve the workload of radiologists who work in twos to read breast scans for signs of cancer. Around 80,000 scans were split between an AI system and two human experts to see the rates at which both groups accurately predicted the cancer risk. The AI system saw more cancers than the human control group, while the rates of false positives were around equal for each group.

The initial findings might excite the medical industry, but researchers warned that more study was needed before AI could confidently be used to assess patients’ medical scans. A shortage of radiologists is a challenge faced by many countries in the world.

Meta to ask EU users’ consent for targeted advertising

Meta said it will ask its EU-based users for permission in order to use their data for targeted advertising across its services. The move comes as European regulators such as the Irish Data Protection Commission pressure the Big Tech company to comply with its stringent user privacy regulations. While Meta tried to defend its data collection methods by citing legitimate interest, European regulators were far from convinced. The standard will be changed to take into consideration users’ consent. By default, people joining Facebook and Instagram allow Meta to collect their data for advertising unless they adjust the setting manually.

The new measure will apply to people in the EU, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland. Meta said that advertisers would still be able to run “personalised advertising campaigns” to reach their customers.

Meta starts news block in Canada

Some Canada-based users of Meta’s Facebook and Instagram found they could not read their daily news on these platforms because the social media giant blocked access to such content as a response to the country’s Online News Act. Meta confirmed the block and said it would continue to be expanded over the next few weeks, affecting foreign publications as well.

Canada’s government backed the law which mandates that Big Tech firms such as Google and Meta have to pay news publishers for the news content displayed on the search engine platform or services such as Instagram and Facebook. Meta disagreed with this view, claiming that its social media platforms brought more value to news companies as opposed to Meta users benefiting from news content.

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