Saturday, May 30, 2009

week 13

Question 1)
See if you can find an example of a privacy breach that was reported in the Australian or international news in the last 6 months. What were the consequences? i.e. legal, political, financial, personal etc. What action was taken in response to the privacy breach?
Recently in the news it was reported that a commonwealth bank customer in QLD received the private financial details of 19 others. Darren Starkey received more than 40 pages of financial statements that included names, addresses, bank account numbers, loan details and financial transactions. It was not until The Courier-Mail contacted the banks did they become aware of the problem. However they released a statement saying that they would retrieve that statements are inform the effected customers. The staff involved in the blunder have been talked to and reminded of the seriousness of the situation and the importance of customers confidentiality. The bank said that they would review their processes to ensure that a similar issue would not occur again.
The breach was serious because the details the were those that could be manipulated for identity fraud.
The bank in not legally required to inform their customers of a privacy breach however the Australian Privacy Commissioner has recommended full disclosure in situations were a reasonable possibility of harm could arise from the blunder.

Question 2)
Have you been using Turnitin software this semester? If you have was it a positive or negative experience and why?
My girlfriend has to use this software and is not a fan, I myself have not had anything to with this software

week 12

Question 1)
What does this mean by the following statements?

Trust is not associative (non-symmetric):
The amount of trust that you have in another person will never be the same as the other person has in you. Each person trusts differently and to different levels. In a business situation buyers and sellers have different levels of trust in each other. In some situations buyers will have more trust in the sellers than the sellers have in the buyers and in other situations the trust relationship is vice versa.

Trust is not transitive:
I think this means that trust can not be transferred to another person or situation. Only you can give away your trust to another person, but you can not make another person trust the other person. They must themselves learn whether to trust that person.

Trust is always between exactly 2 parties:
Trust can only ever be between 2 people. There can not be a four way trust, because you would trust each person individually, hence trust is between 2 people. There could be a situation where you trust another person but that person doesn't trust you. Hence a 1 way trust situation.

Trust will involve either direct trust or recommender trust:
Direct trust is where an individual trusts another due to direct contact and first hand impressions. Recommender trust is where you trust a person due to a recommendation of others experiences and judgements due to their first-hand contact.

Question 2a)
Have a look at the following websites. What are some of the elements that have been incorporated to increase your trust in the sites? If there are also some aspects which decrease you level of trust describe them as well.
eBay has implemented the process of having to create an account to partake in actions. This process means that people have to log in using a password when using the site. However for me, the use of the bright colours actually makes me less trusting in the site. I think that it makes it seem less professional. The large amounts of images on the home page also make the site seem cluttered and makes me feel like it is unprofessional.
The ANZ site seems very trust worthy because the site is uncluttered and clearly organised. The use of the 2 colours makes it clear and professional. The site also has numerous security procedures in place to increase security.
I don't think this site seems very trustworthy because the site seems a little disorganised. There are to many colours, fonts, shapes and sizes of fonts. There is no common theme or design through the site. It makes the site seems a little like it was made in a backroom of someones house not done by a large professional business.
The PayPal site seems trustworthy because everyone has heard of the name. The site itself is clear, organised and easy to read. The site is easy to negotiate and look around. Having the ability to log in to use the system also helps to increase security and hence trustworthiness. The fact that PayPal is showing that it is aligned with the major banks also helps in increasing its trustworthiness.

Question 2b)
Find a web site yourself that you think looks untrustworthy.
I don't trust any websites that tell me that i have won a million dollars and all I need to do is send $10,000 and a goat to receive my prize. Not sure what it is but something just makes me suspicious...

Week 8

Online Auctions
Q1: eBay is one of the only major Internet "pure plays" to consistently make a profit from its inception. What is eBay's business model? Why has it been so successful?
eBay's primary business model is a brokerage model. It has been so succesful because:
eBay allows consumers to purchase things that aren't in normal stores
consumers can buy items without leaving their house
consumers can purchase goods that are almost new for a lower cost
Items can be purchased easily interstate
eBay is a very trusted site

Q2: Other major web sites, like and Yahoo!, have entered the auction marketplace with far less success than eBay. How has eBay been able to maintain its dominant position?
eBay has kept its dominant position by continuing to provide an efficient service and a trusted service. eBay provides a way of coomunicating with potential buyers and sellers throughout the world and I think this makes people think that they can trust each other.

Q3: What method does eBay use to reduce the potential for fraud among traders on its site? What kinds of fraud, if any, are eBay users most susceptible?
eBay use a range of methods to stop potential fraud among the traders on their site. These include:
only using safe payment methods such as PayPal. With PayPal your account information is hidden from sellers.
Never trade outside the eBay site. Items purchased outside the site may not be eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection.
Never use Western Union, MoneyGram or other instant wire transfer services which are prohibited on eBay.
Remember: If an offer sounds too good to be true – it probably is. Don’t believe a seller who says that eBay is holding goods at its warehouse. eBay is a marketplace that brings together sellers and buyers. They never take possession of items from sellers or hold money from buyers.

Q4: eBay makes every effort to conceptualize its users as a community (as opposed to, say "customers" or "clients"). What is the purpose of this conceptual twist and does eBay gain something by doing it?
The purpose of this twist is so that everyone feels equal and doesn't feel they have more pressure on themselves because they're either buying or selling. By doing this eBay gains respect and trust from the people in its "community" and they will continue to utilise the services that eBay has to offer.

Q5: eBay has long been a marketplace for used goods and collectibles. Today, it is increasingly a place where major businesses come to auction their wares. Why would a brand name vendor set-up shop on eBay?
They would set up shop on eBay because so many people use and browise eBay that they would get sales from this. Where as, consumers are less likely to go to a certain companies website and specifically look for a product but if it shows up on eBay then a consumer might buy it because they can. Also it gives brand names good exposure without having to fork out a lot of money.

week 7

Digital Automata
Question 1
Write a pararaph describing the Turing test and another paragraph describing an argument against the Turing test known as the Chinese Room?
The Turing test was contrived by Alan Turing as a test of a machines capability to demonstrate intelligence. It was based on a party game known as the “Imitation Game”, where a male and female are separated from the other guests who try to tell them apart through a series of typewritten questions and answers. The male and female try to convince the guests that they are the other person. In the Turing test a human judge engages in a text-only conversation with a machine and a human each of which aims to appear human. All participants are in separate locations. If the judge is unable to tell the two participants apart the machine is considered to have passed the test and demonstrated intelligence. Since it was conceived in the 1950’s the Turing test has become a key concept in artificial intelligence philosophy.

The Chinese Room argument, proposed by John Searle in 1980, challenges the Turing test by endeavoring to demonstrate that a machine such as a computer does not think, and can therefore never be described as having a “mind” no matter how intelligent it appears. The Chinese Room thought experiment begins with the supposition that a computer that behaves as if it understands Chinese exists. Searle hypothesizes that the computer is programmed so successfully that a human Chinese speaker is convinced that the machine is another human Chinese speaker. The computer easily passes the Turing test, and advocates of artificial intelligence would surmise that the computer understands Chinese. Searle then proposes that he is in a closed room with a book that contains an English version of the computer program because he does not speak Chinese. He receives Chinese characters and processes them manually following the program instructions. He, in essence, is performing the same task as the computer, yet it is obvious that he does not understand Chinese. Searle asserts that both he and the computer are simply following a step-by-step process which only simulates artificial intelligence. There is no intentionality in the process and therefore no actual thought or understanding is involved.

Question 2
Can virtual agents succeed in delivering high-quality customer service over the Web?

I think that when this technology is further advanced there will be a lot to gain in this field. At the moment i don't think that the automata technology is smart enough to answer indepth questions but when it is it would definantly save companys on staff costs. It would also keep their customers happy because they would not need to wait on hold to speak with someone.
answer. At the moment customers would become very impatient and frustrated if like the “cybertwins” the virtual agent delivers a totally irrelevant answer to a question. With technological development increasing exponentially, it is only a matter of time before businesses can deliver a high-quality, automated, customer service function over the Web.