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...

"...An instrument no bigger than an inhaler lodges a needle into the back of Benigeri’s arm. Woo removes his hand to reveal a white plate sitting just above the implant. Benigeri smiles.
Read more at https://www.businessinsider.com/san-francisco-biohacking-continuous-glucose-monitors-2017-1#To0MjhyLcHHBIhcD.99

Posted
Authoralexanderhayes

"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-...

""...I've gotten these with Happy Meals for my kids and they are pretty much useless. One supposedly blinks slow or fast depending on the level of activity or motion. It merely blinks at  any motion, but not always and not necessarily faster with more intense activity. Battery lasts about two hours at best. The step counter just does the same thing as the blinking version but increments a number display. Unfortunately, a single "step" is often counted as a dozen or more and other times movements/step are not counted at all. Battery lasted an hour before the device stopped working completely. Most don't work at all, having dead batteries from the start.Perhaps it's the gesture that counts but these items are essentially garbage. My five year old just pretends that they are wrist-based computers/communicators."

Read more - https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/16/mcdonalds-activity-trackers-happy-meal/

Posted
Authoralexanderhayes
Categoriesnormalising

"A new study shows that knowledge of government surveillance causes people to self-censor their dissenting opinions online. The research offers a sobering look at the oft-touted "democratizing" effect of social media and Internet access that bolsters minority opinion.

The study, published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, studied the effects of subtle reminders of mass surveillance on its subjects. The majority of participants reacted by suppressing opinions that they perceived to be in the minority. This research illustrates the silencing effect of participants’ dissenting opinions in the wake of widespread knowledge of government surveillance, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

The “spiral of silence” is a well-researched phenomenon in which people suppress unpopular opinions to fit in and avoid social isolation. It has been looked at in the context of social media and the echo-chamber effect, in which we tailor our opinions to fit the online activity of our Facebook and Twitter friends. But this study adds a new layer by explicitly examining how government surveillance affects self-censorship."

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-sw...

Thanks for the link KMA.

"Ladies and gents, put down your technology and have more sex.
That's the advice from a team of scientists who found people are becoming so enveloped by their phone and tablets that their love lives are being put on the back burner. 
So if you are one of those reading this on your smartphone in bed, a glance across the sheets is likely to reveal your partner is engrossed in theirs too.
The researchers discovered 70 per cent of women said smartphones were interfering in their romantic relationship. 
The study said technology and the screens that consume us are creating 'technoference' in couples."

More here

Compare to declining birth rate in Japan in this article here. Could there be a link?

"Various reasons have been cited for the population decline, including:
  • The rising cost of childbirth and child-raising
  • The increasing number of women in the workforce
  • The later average age of marriage
  • The increasing number of unmarried people
  • Changes in the housing environment and in social customs."
The Australian government has been building a state-of-the art, secret data storage facility just outside Canberra to enable intelligence agencies to deal with a ‘’data deluge’’ siphoned from the internet and global telecommunications networks.

The high-security facility nearing completion at the HMAS Harman communications base will support the operations of Australia’s signals intelligence agency, the top-secret Defence Signals Directorate.

Privately labelled by one Defence official as ‘’the new black vault’’, the data centre is one of the few visible manifestations of Australia’s deep involvement in mass surveillance and intelligence collection operations such as the US National Security Agency’s PRISM program revealed last week by US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Fairfax Media has confirmed Australian intelligence agencies receive what Defence intelligence officials describe as ‘’huge volumes’’ of ‘’immensely valuable’’ information derived from PRISM and other US signals intelligence collection programs.

Australian agencies assist the US to target foreign nationals and Australian citizens who are of security and intelligence interest to both countries.
Source: http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/government-it...

Poll taken as of 18 July 2014 indicates 53%|47% for|against technology is enslaving us.

poll for and against iq2.jpg


More information on attending the event here

City Recital Hall Angel Place
2 Angel Place
Sydney Australia

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 
6:45 -8:30 pm

Tickets available here

A "3D" "immersive" environment from your phone.

The tech group has decided not to sell it at this stage, instead releasing instructions on how people can build it themselves.

If you want to cut down on costs, you can even make one with an old pizza box. But if you’re not keen on getting your hands greasy, you can always order one for around $30 online from one of the many companies offering to build it for you.

A number of the contraptions are also being sold on eBay by attendees of Google’s I/O developers’ conference, where the company handed out thousands of them for free.

Besides cardboard, you need lenses (to focus on your phone’s screen as it’s otherwise blurry when close to your eyes), magnets, Velcro, a rubber band, and an optional near-field communications (NFC) tag. A piece of elastic and some staples might also be worth investing in to make it stay on your head hands-free.

So what does it do?

Like any other VR headset on the market, it brings the user into a 3D space.

Unlike other headsets, it does not require a desktop or laptop computer to be connected to it. Instead, all you need is an Android smartphone running an app called Cardboard that splits the screen into two images (one for each eye) to create the illusion of looking at a 3D environment once it is placed into the cardboard device.

It is a jaw-dropping experience, as demonstrated by a Google video of developers’ reactions to using it at Google’s I/O conference.

Having used Oculus Rift, I found Cardboard an almost identical experience. I’d go as far as saying the experience is actually as good, if not better. I also didn’t feel sick when using it, but this might have been because the apps created for Cardboard thus far don’t cause motion sickness. Others created by third parties might have this result, also known as the “simulator effect”.
Source: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital...
Transient

"..A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give weight in one's life...There is an urge to say, 'I was here, I saw this, and it mattered to me." - Alain de Botton - Stendhal Syndrome."

Read more

Article from The Age, April 17, 2014

 "Forget mobile phones, get a microchip implant instead."

"Forget mobile phones, get a microchip implant instead."

Thousands of technology enthusiasts use it as the ultimate app, enabling them to lock and unlock their homes, cars, computers and mobile phones with a simple wave of a hand. But there’s a catch: they must have a microchip inserted into their bodies.

It involves using a hypodermic needle to inject an RFID (radio-frequency identification) microchip, the size of a grain of rice, usually into the person’s hand or wrist. The same kind of chip is used for tracking lost pets.

The implants send a unique ID number that can be used to activate devices such as phones and locks, and can link to databases containing limitless information, including personal details such as names, addresses and health records.

RFID chips are everywhere. Basically, if you have to swipe a card, your ID is encoded in the magnetic stripe. If you touch it to a reader, as with Myki, it has an RFID chip with your number on it linked to the relevant database with your info on it. The latest credit cards have both stripe and RFID.

Some RFID tags have a tiny battery or other power source, enabling them to operate at hundreds of metres so they don’t need to be within line of sight of a reader. As far as we know, this type cannot yet be made small enough to embed in humans.

Cybernetics scientist Dr Mark Gasson of the University of Reading, in Britain, became the first human to be infected with a computer virus, after he injected himself with a microchip in 2009 to control electronic devices in his office.

The virus was replicated on the swipecards of staff accessing his building and infected the university’s database. Nonetheless, Gasson and other scientists say a new world with mass populations of computerised people is imminent and inevitable.

They say complex computing devices routinely implanted into humans for medical reasons also have the technology to enhance the abilities of healthy people.

”It has the potential to change the very essence of what it is to be human,” Gasson says. “It’s not possible to interact in society today in any meaningful way, without having a mobile phone. I think human implants will go along a similar route. It will be such a disadvantage not to have the implant that it will essentially not be optional.”

Last year the line between man and machine became even more blurred, when Stanford University announced its scientists had created the first purely biological transistor that was made entirely of genetic material.

Stanford assistant professor of bioengineering, Dr Drew Endy, described the breakthrough as the final component needed for a biological computer that can operate within living cells and reprogram living systems.

Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at Reading University, has an electronic device in his body that interfaces with his nervous system, and had a simpler version implanted into the arm of his wife. Rudimentary signals between the two proved that purely electronic communication is possible between two human nervous systems.

Warwick’s chipped arm allows him to use it via a computer link to operate a robot arm on another continent. The robot arm will mimic whatever hand and arm movements he makes with his natural arm. But the link with his wife’s nervous system is so rudimentary that he says he can only tell if she moves her arm.

Melbourne internet entrepreneur and free software activist Jonathan Oxley injected himself with a microchip in 2004, after obtaining the same kit that vets use for family pets. His Twitter account describes him as a cyborg in progress.

Oxley uses it to operate house locks and his computer, and says that after a decade inside his body the implant has caused no ill effects. “Now it’s just like any other part of me. I don’t even think about it,” he says.

The idea of electronic implants becoming widespread in humans concerns Dr Katina Michael, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong, who specialises in the socio-ethical implications of emerging technologies.

”RFID microchips are essentially a unique ID embedded in your body, and, as we know, numbers can be stolen and data can be hacked. Bringing one’s external computer problems into the human body is fraught with dangers “ she says. “They point to an uber-surveillance society that is big brother on the inside looking out. Governments or large corporations would have the ability to track people’s actions and movements, categorise them into different socio-economic, political, racial, religious or consumer groups and ultimately even control them.”

Michael worries about people being forced or coerced into having one, something she says is likely to have already happened. “It’s such a concern that at least nine US states so far have banned forced microchip implants,” she says.

In 2007 a company called VeriChip injected 200 Alzheimer’s patients, many of them incapacitated, with microchips linked to their healthcare records. The patients were supplied by a Florida nursing home that benefited from the company’s sponsorship.

A furore erupted after it was discovered that VeriChip conducted the study without obtaining the required approval from Florida’s Institutional Review Board, which oversees the protection of human subjects in research.

Mexico’s attorney general and senior members of his staff have been implanted with VeriChips to give them access to secure areas of their headquarters, and the country’s military and police are reportedly next in line for chipping.

VeriChip distributor Solusat has also announced an agreement with Mexico’s National Foundation for the Investigation of Lost and Kidnapped Children, to promote the microchipping of the country’s children.

How the chips could help is uncertain, as they do not have GPS tracking technology.

The VeriChip company has now changed its name under a barrage of negative publicity and has emerged as a developer of what it calls “biological detection systems”.

Other companies are also marketing microchip implants, and their researchers are working hard to integrate them with GPS technology. When they succeed, the products are forecast to gain a huge international market.

Opponents of the idea are fighting back. “Technology of this kind is easily abusive of personal privacy,” says Lee Tien, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “If a kid is trackable, do you want others to be able to track your kid? It’s a double-edged sword.”
Source: http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/digi...
Posted
AuthorJordan Brown
For more information about Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital's participation in the Google Glass Explorer Program please visit http://childrens.memorialhermann.org/google-glass/ Learn more about the Houston Zoo at http://www.houstonzoo.org/ Children's Memorial Hermann teamed up with the Houston Zoo, located across the street from the hospital, to allow patients to visit some of their favorite animals through Google Glass.