August 19, 2022
Image: Enrique Jiménez/Flickr
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Enterprise! Today: a summary of our recent reporting on the increasingly aggressive U.S. strategy to target chipmaking tools destined for China, how Intuit deals with automated tax return-reading software and a troubling pattern at SAP.
Under the leadership of President Joe Biden, U.S. foreign policy related to China and tech has undergone a significant change. No longer is the administration content to attempt to keep Chinese tech a generation or two behind the U.S; instead, the White House is now attempting to damage its existing efforts.
To do so, the White House has elected to target semiconductor manufacturing equipment, under the theory that it can hobble China’s military efforts if it obstructs access to the expensive, complex machines needed to make chips.
Whether the efforts to curtail China’s chip industry will succeed is another story entirely.
China is not pleased with the U.S. plans. Part of the Chips Act prohibits any company that receives government money from building more advanced chip factories in China, and officials there have complained publicly about it.
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Box 12 was a tricky one.
Unlike other fields in the W2 tax form, box 12 can include one of nearly 30 different codes or be left blank altogether. That was tripping up Intuit’s optical character recognition system, which sometimes had trouble deciphering what tax filers using the company’s TurboTax software put in that space.
“We've actually built a model to just predict if something is blank, so that we know it wasn't a mistake — it actually really is empty. That's helped us increase our accuracy on that particular part of the document,” said Diane Chang, director of data science at Intuit.
Document understanding is getting better, Chang told me earlier this week. But there’s a lot more work to be done.
Right now, Chang’s team of data scientists are working to improve how Intuit’s Optical Character Recognition — which uses computer vision and natural language processing to interpret images and identify words in documents — understands the context of a document.
While these systems have gotten good at turning image data into text, they are now just beginning to make sense of text in relation to a document’s purpose or broader context, Chang said.
“This structure of documents has so much information that you don't want to lose that structure and just sort of turn it into a bunch of text,” Chang said.
Two female SAP employees said the company’s HR department failed to respond effectively to reports that they were raped at company events, according to a report from Bloomberg.The LockBit ransomware group said it was behind an attack earlier this year on Entrust, a security vendor.
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Thanks for reading — see you Monday!