"...It uses AI to learn which faces are important to you, then starts automatically capturing photos and videos. I was similarly excited by early promotional videos of parents in Google Glass playing with their young kids, capturing photos and videos in a hands-free way that didn’t interrupt the moment." 

Read more




Elise Thomas writes at Hopes & Fears:

"Right now, in a handful of computing labs scattered across the world, new software is being developed which has the potential to completely change our relationship with technology. Affective computing is about creating technology which recognizes and responds to your emotions. Using webcams, microphones or biometric sensors, the software uses a person's physical reactions to analyze their emotional state, generating data which can then be used to monitor, mimic or manipulate that person’s emotions."


"Corporations spend billions each year trying to build "authentic" emotional connections to their target audiences. Marketing research is one of the most prolific research fields around, conducting thousands of studies on how to more effectively manipulate consumers’ decision-making. Advertisers are extremely interested in affective computing and particularly in a branch known as emotion analytics, which offers unprecedented real-time access to consumers' emotional reactions and the ability to program alternative responses depending on how the content is being received.

For example, if two people watch an advertisement with a joke and only one person laughs, the software can be programmed to show more of the same kind of advertising to the person who laughs while trying different sorts of advertising on the person who did not laugh to see if it's more effective. In essence, affective computing could enable advertisers to create individually-tailored advertising en masse."

"Say 15 years from now a particular brand of weight loss supplements obtains a particular girl's information and locks on. When she scrolls through her Facebook, she sees pictures of rail-thin celebrities, carefully calibrated to capture her attention. When she turns on the TV, it automatically starts on an episode of "The Biggest Loser," tracking her facial expressions to find the optimal moment for a supplement commercial. When she sets her music on shuffle, it "randomly" plays through a selection of the songs which make her sad. This goes on for weeks. 

Now let's add another layer. This girl is 14, and struggling with depression. She's being bullied in school. Having become the target of a deliberate and persistent campaign by her technology to undermine her body image and sense of self-worth, she's at risk of making some drastic choices."


Source: http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/now/int...

"Yahoo has filed a patent for a type of smart billboard that would collect people's information and use it to deliver targeted ad content in real-time."

To achieve that functionality, the billboards would use a variety of sensor systems, including cameras and proximity technology, to capture real-time audio, video and even biometric information about potential target audiences.

But the tech company doesn’t just want to know about a passing vehicle. It also wants to know who the occupants are inside of it.

That’s why Yahoo is prepared to cooperate with cell towers and telecommunications companies to learn as much as possible about each vehicle’s occupants.

It goes on to explain in the application:

Various types of data (e.g., cell tower data, mobile app location data, image data, etc.) can be used to identify specific individuals in an audience in position to view advertising content. Similarly, vehicle navigation/tracking data from vehicles equipped with such systems could be used to identify specific vehicles and/or vehicle owners. Demographic data (e.g., as obtained from a marketing or user database) for the audience can thus be determined for the purpose of, for example, determining whether and/or the degree to which the demographic profile of the audience corresponds to a target demographic.
Source: https://www.grahamcluley.com/yahoo-creepy-...

It never ceases to amaze me just how stupid screen culture is.

But now it's even parodying itself---in the way only the online spectacle can: by folding back into itself to keep us watching.

The problems and concerns, long since established, are all now just a big joke. Short attention spans. Superficial engagement with information. Advertising masquerading as content. The convergence of extremely powerful corporate empires that influence what we think, feel, and do, in a way never before possible. Distraction from the real world, while the real world burns.

The story of this first short is about the end of the world, and nobody even cares.  Could that be any more close to home?

There's also a short about an "Uber for people," invoking the themes of exploitation, surveillance, and the enslavement-addiction to technological solutions that parodies the screen culture of today---especially the mindset of "apps fix all."

Can we see this as one thing in terms of another?

Likewise with, "Enter the Hive Mind."

What will you do, when it's time you're asked to put your whole self into the global computer even more completely than now? What is your personal threshold? Will you continue to "breathe life" into the machine?

Source: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuK...

"Alphabet's [Google] executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently joined a Department of Defense advisory panel. Facebook recently hired a former director at the U.S. military's research lab, Darpa. Uber employs Barack Obama's former campaign manager David Plouffe and Amazon.com tapped his former spokesman Jay Carney. Google, Facebook, Uber and Apple collectively employ a couple of dozen former analysts for America's spy agencies, who openly list their resumes on LinkedIn.

These connections are neither new nor secret. But the fact they are so accepted illustrates how tech's leaders -- even amid current fights over encryption and surveillance -- are still seen as mostly U.S. firms that back up American values. Christopher Soghoian, a technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union, said low-level employees' government connections matter less than leading executives' ties to government. For instance, at least a dozen Google engineers have worked at the NSA, according to publicly available records on LinkedIn. And, this being Silicon Valley, not everyone who worked for a spy agency advertises that on LinkedIn. Soghoian, a vocal critic of mass surveillance, said Google hiring an ex-hacker for the NSA to work on security doesn't really bother him. "But Eric Schmidt having a close relationship with the White House does..."

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/201...

Ultimately, do we talk or not talk to journalists?

Many of us have been burnt by them, but it is the only way to get out of the ivory tower and to reach the broader public with our research. Some interviews are successful, where the interviewee engages in some serious dialogue with the interviewer, but even these may be considered mere profiles after an article goes to print having gone through the editing process multiple times.

We all know how modern journalism can work with the “grab” or the “hook line”. But the grab (similarly to the antecedents of surveillance) is at least as old as the “Let there be light”! But it is still worth the risk however it might make us look, if at least the grab causes some useful and widespread discussion.

I have often donated hours of my time to answering queries a journalist might have about a topic I have expertise in when asked. I cannot determine what parts of my contribution are cited or how they are cited. Thank goodness there have been more positive than negative experiences.

What matters beyond any aggrandizing of the self in the press, is that the journalist presents a balanced perspective in an article with the grabs from the different interviewees. We will not always be quoted in context nor will reference always be made to our “resume” or to the larger corpus of our work.

"According to University of Wollongong associate professor Katina Michael, it will allow wearers to ''share visual surveillance in real-time with people in underground networks of all sorts - for the distribution of child pornography, for grooming, cyberstalking, voyeurism and even for corporate fraud''.

As for my recent quote (above) in the Sydney Morning Herald in the article written by Asher Moses published on 23 March, I stand by it completely and absolutely with the only qualification that digital glass is certainly far more than those negatives of my quote and it will (in its positive applications) provide for extraordinary times in all spheres of our lives. To Asher Moses on 18 March I began with the following statement in response to an email inquiry:

"There are a number of societal implications of wearable computing technologies: some positive, some negative. When used for emergency response or ehealth applications, the advantages of Digital Glass are significant, remote step-by-step instructions through a digital eyeglass leaving both hands free and remote diagnosis of patients increasing doctor to patient ratios. 
But one has to ponder on whether the projected harms will outweigh these selective benefits. For example, one can quickly imagine this new technology being misused by cybercriminals- namely for crimes against the person. In effect, we are providing a potential capability to share visual surveillance in real-time with people in underground networks of all sorts- for the distribution of child pornography, for grooming, cyberstalking, voyeurism and even for corporate fraud where "the computer" is the ultimate target."

And yet, if anybody in our ICT community genuinely holds that my “grab” will not be part of the Glass legacy, they are seriously mistaken. Those corporations and vendors marketing and “selling the glass” without the caveat emptor, will have you believe academics such as myself are dangerous, backwards, and a threat to our bright future. Let me say to them, there will come a time when Dylan Thomas’ famous “rage, rage against the dying of the light” will come back to haunt you with the equally evocative and soul stirring, “rage, rage against the double-dealing of the glass.” I for one, along with those whose research findings point them to similarly cautious responses, will not “go gentle into that good night.”

We are headed for wonderful times with digital glass and we are headed for horrible times with digital glass. There is no utopia and there is no dystopia. I've always believed in the "via media" (centrality/middle ground). Importantly, philosophers who have contemplated on the question of technology and its impact on society, have argued that technology must be vigorously critiqued for the worst of all possible outcomes would be the dehumanization of the individual and the loss of dignity. One of the fundamentals of this literature is the profound comprehension that technology has not only to do with building but that it is also a social process.

But one thing I do know from almost two decades of active involvement in ICT- whether it be industry or academia and through my numerous research collaborations (especially with MG Michael)- is that where a technology can be misused, it will be. Then again, history itself is proof enough.