"...Take a picture of your face and upload it to a mobile app managed by your city’s government. Tap in your ID card number and, if you live in Shanghai, within 24 hours you will receive all of the information the government has about you. If you have been a good boy and you have your papers in order, you will be rewarded. Your reward may be a discount coupon on your next flight back home, or free access to an exclusive arline lounge. But, what happens if you have been bad? We don’t yet know." - Read more > http://china-social-credit.com/2017/06/from-china-to-facebook/
"...Chinese officials say it’s a way to influence their citizens’ behavior to benefit society and move their country forward, but others think it’s just the latest step in the country’s long history of state surveillance." - Read more - https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-11-09/whats-your-citizen-trust-score-china-moves-rate-its-13-billion-citizens
"...CEO of Face++ Yin Qi suggested that under our mission to empower machines with eyes, building “city brain” is definitely the ultimate social goal for people who work at Megvii Face++"
"...It may be no surprise to many of you that China's communist government has been monitoring on its own citizens for years. What may be news to you is that it's been using an artificially intelligent supercomputer do more than watch but to actually manage city operations. It is the "City Brain" in Hangzhou, China that oversees 9+ million people. It tracks the traffic of cars, bicycles, buses, trains, airplanes; tracks crimes, purchases, text messages, phone calls, social media, and much more. The government tries to justify its violation of citizen privacy with statistics of fewer traffic jams, car accidents, and crimes. While these are positive results, the loss of rights and the slippery slope of digital dictatorship are costs much too high to pay. A society whose entire information channels are censored by a communist state may simply be ignorant of the consequences and/or have accepted misleading notions repeated often enough. "
"...state-of-the-art RFID localization systems fall under two categories. The first category operates with off-the-shelf narrowband RFID tags but makes restrictive assumptions on the environment or the tag’s movement patterns. The second category does not make such restrictive assumptions; however, it requires designing new ultrawideband hardware for RFIDs and uses the large bandwidth to directly compute a tag’s 3D location. Hence, while the first category is restrictive, the second one requires replacing the billions of RFIDs already produced and deployed annually. This paper presents RFind, a new technology that brings the benefits of ultra-wideband localization to the billions of RFIDs in today’s world. RFind does not require changing today’s passive narrowband RFID tags. Instead, it leverages their underlying physical properties to emulate a very large bandwidth and uses it for localization. Our empirical results demonstrate that RFind can emulate over 220MHz of bandwidth on tags designed with a communication bandwidth of only tens to hundreds of kHz, while remaining compliant with FCC regulations. This, combined with a new super resolution algorithm over this bandwidth, enables RFind to perform 3D localization with sub-centimeter accuracy in each of the x/y/z dimensions, without making any restrictive assumptions on the tag’s motion or the environment."
Read the paper - http://www.mit.edu/~fadel/papers/RFind-paper.pdf
More about the project - https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/rfid-localization/overview/
"...“We can cram more parameters into a smaller space and the computer can churn through it much, much faster,” said Dekel." - read more at https://blogs.microsoft.com/ai/2017/06/29/ais-big-leap-tiny-devices-opens-world-possibilities/
At the borderline of technology and biology, ‘bodyhacking’ pioneers are defying nature to redesign their own bodies. Is this really the future?
Read More - https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/29/transhuman-bodyhacking-transspecies-cyborg
From Slashdot: "I deleted Facebook after it recommended as People You May Know a man who was defense counsel on one of my cases. We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email," an attorney told Gizmodo. Kashmir Hill, a reporter at the news outlet, who recently documented how Facebook figured out a connection between her and a family member she did not know existed, shares several more instances others have reported and explains how Facebook gathers information. She reports:
"Behind the Facebook profile you've built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you've never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections. Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook's algorithmic black box, people can't see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up. Facebook isn't scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer's address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defense counsel in one of her cases. Facebook will not confirm how it makes specific People You May Know connections, and a Facebook spokesperson suggested that there could be other plausible explanations for most of those examples -- "mutual friendships," or people being "in the same city/network." The spokesperson did say that of the stories on the list, the lawyer was the likeliest case for a shadow-profile connection. Handing over address books is one of the first steps Facebook asks people to take when they initially sign up, so that they can "Find Friends."
The problem with all this, Hill writes, is that Facebook doesn't explicitly say the scale at which it would be using the contact information it gleans from a user's address book. Furthermore, most people are not aware that Facebook is using contact information taken from their phones for these purposes."
Writer and artist James Bridle writes in Medium:
"Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatize, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me to question my own beliefs about the internet, at every level.
To begin: Kid's YouTube is definitely and markedly weird. I've been aware of its weirdness for some time. Last year, there were a number of articles posted about the Surprise Egg craze. Surprise Eggs videos depict, often at excruciating length, the process of unwrapping Kinder and other egg toys. That's it, but kids are captivated by them. There are thousands and thousands of these videos and thousands and thousands, if not millions, of children watching them. [...] What I find somewhat disturbing about the proliferation of even (relatively) normal kids videos is the impossibility of determining the degree of automation which is at work here; how to parse out the gap between human and machine."
Sapna Maheshwari also explores in The New York Times:
"Parents and children have flocked to Google-owned YouTube Kids since it was introduced in early 2015. The app's more than 11 million weekly viewers are drawn in by its seemingly infinite supply of clips, including those from popular shows by Disney and Nickelodeon, and the knowledge that the app is supposed to contain only child-friendly content that has been automatically filtered from the main YouTube site. But the app contains dark corners, too, as videos that are disturbing for children slip past its filters, either by mistake or because bad actors have found ways to fool the YouTube Kids algorithms. In recent months, parents like Ms. Burns have complained that their children have been shown videos with well-known characters in violent or lewd situations and other clips with disturbing imagery, sometimes set to nursery rhymes."
Very horrible and creepy.
"Feeds need to die because they distort our views and disconnect us from other human beings around us. At first, I thought I was missing out on some Very Important Content. I felt disconnected. I fought against my own FOMO. But now, I don't feel anything. What's going on on Instagram? I don't care. Facebook is now the worst internet forum you can find. Twitter is filled with horrible, abusive people. Instagram has become a tiny Facebook now that it has discouraged all the weird, funny accounts from posting with its broken algorithm. LinkedIn's feed is pure spam.
And here's what I realized after forgetting about all those "social" networks. First, they're tricking you and pushing the right buttons to make you check your feed just one more time. They all use thirsty notifications, promote contrarian posts that get a lot of engagement and play with your emotions. Posting has been gamified and you want to check one more time if you got more likes on your last Instagram photo. Everything is now a story so that you pay more attention to your phone and you get bored less quickly -- moving pictures with sound tend to attract your eyes... [F]inally, I realized that I was missing out by constantly checking all my feeds. By putting my phone on 'Do Not Disturb' for days, I discovered new places, started conversations and noticed tiny little things that made me smile."
"As far as video games go, Operation Overmatch is rather unremarkable. Players command military vehicles in eight-on-eight matches against the backdrop of rendered cityscapes -- a common setup of games that sometimes have the added advantage of hundreds of millions of dollars in development budgets. Overmatch does have something unique, though: its mission. The game's developers believe it will change how the U.S. Army fights wars. Overmatch's players are nearly all soldiers in real life. As they develop tactics around futuristic weapons and use them in digital battle against peers, the game monitors their actions.
Each shot fired and decision made, in addition to messages the players write in private forums, is a bit of information soaked up with a frequency not found in actual combat, or even in high-powered simulations without a wide network of players. The data is logged, sorted, and then analyzed, using insights from sports and commercial video games. Overmatch's team hopes this data will inform the Army's decisions about which technologies to purchase and how to develop tactics using them, all with the aim of building a more forward-thinking, prepared force... While the game currently has about 1,000 players recruited by word of mouth and outreach from the Overmatch team, the developers eventually want to involve tens of thousands of soldiers. This milestone would allow for millions of hours of game play per year, according to project estimates, enough to generate rigorous data sets and test hypotheses."
Brian Vogt, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Capabilities Integration Center who oversees Overmatch’s development, says:
“Right after World War I, we had technologies like aircraft carriers we knew were going to play an important role,” he said. “We just didn’t know how to use them. That’s where we are and what we’re trying to do for robots.”
*An excerpt from the book The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race, and the Future of Law Enforcement (2017).
"Data-driven policing means aggressive police presence, surveillance, and perceived harassment in those communities. Each data point translates to real human experience, and many times those experiences remain fraught with all-too-human bias, fear, distrust, and racial tension. For those communities, especially poor communities of color, these data-collection efforts cast a dark shadow on the future."
"Shocking surveillance video shows the moment a Pittsburgh woman was knocked out cold by a man on a busy sidewalk — but that’s not the worst of it. The footage also shows the woman being beaten and robbed by bystanders — who proceed to take pictures of her, including selfies — as she lies unconscious on the ground.
A group of men can then be seen walking over to her — cellphones in hand, snapping pictures and video — as she lies unconscious on the sidewalk. Shortly after leaving, the men reportedly returned and began taking even more photos."
"One of the engineers behind Google's self-driving car has established a nonprofit religious corporation with one main aim – to create a deity with artificial intelligence. According to newly uncovered documents filed to the state of California in September 2015, Anthony Levandowski serves as the CEO and president of religious organisation Way of the Future."
Way of the Future’s startling mission: “To develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”
"Saudi Arabia has officially recognised a humanoid robot as a citizen, marking the first time in history that an AI device has been awarded such status.
Specific details of Sophia's citizenship were not discussed. It is unclear whether she will receive the same rights as human citizens, or if Saudi Arabia will develop a specific system devoted to robots.
The system could work in a similar way to the "personhood" status proposed by European Parliament earlier this year, which would see robots with AI given rights and responsibilities."
"Silicon Valley's utopians genuinely but mistakenly believe that more information and connection makes us more analytical and informed. But when faced with quinzigabytes of data, the human tendency is to simplify things. Information overload forces us to rely on simple algorithms to make sense of the overwhelming noise. This is why, just like the advertising industry that increasingly drives it, the internet is fundamentally an emotional medium that plays to our base instinct to reduce problems and take sides, whether like or don't like, my guy/not my guy, or simply good versus evil. It is no longer enough to disagree with someone, they must also be evil or stupid...
Nothing holds a tribe together like a dangerous enemy. That is the essence of identity politics gone bad: a universe of unbridgeable opinion between opposing tribes, whose differences are always highlighted, exaggerated, retweeted and shared. In the end, this leads us to ever more distinct and fragmented identities, all of us armed with solid data, righteous anger, a gutful of anger and a digital network of likeminded people. This is not total connectivity; it is total division."
"Our computers and smartphones might seem "clean," but the digital economy uses a tenth of the world's electricity—and that share will only increase, with serious consequences for the economy and the environment.
The global Information-Communications-Technologies (ICT) system now uses approximately 1,500 terawatt-hours of power per year. That’s about 10% of the world’s total electricity generation or roughly the combined power production of Germany and Japan. It’s the same amount of electricity that was used to light the entire planet in 1985. We already use 50% more energy to move bytes than we do to move planes in global aviation.
Reduced to personal terms, although charging up a single tablet or smart phone requires a negligible amount of electricity, using either to watch an hour of video weekly consumes annually more electricity in the remote networks than two new refrigerators use in a year. And as the world continues to electrify, migrating towards one refrigerator per household, it also evolves towards several smartphones and equivalent per person."
"Does reading an e-book, or watching a streaming video, use more energy than reading it on paper, or buying a DVD? Does playing a video game use more energy than playing Monopoly? Does a doctor using an iPad for diagnostic advice from artificial intelligence in the Cloud use more energy than, what? Traveling for a second opinion? The answer involves more than knowing how much electricity one iPad, PC or smartphone uses. It requires accounting for all the electricity used in the entire ICT ecosystem needed to make any of that possible, and the energy characteristics of the ICT ecosystem are quite unlike anything else built to date. Turning on a light does not require dozens of lights to turn on elsewhere. However, turn on an iPad to watch a video and iPad-like devices all over the country, even all over the world, simultaneously light up throughout a vast network. Nothing else in society operates that way. Starting a car doesn’t cause dozens of cars elsewhere to fire up."
"When Hurricane Maria knocked out power in Puerto Rico, residents there realised they were going to need physical cash—and a lot of it. Bloomberg reported that the Fed was forced to fly a planeload of cash to the Island to help avert disaster.
"William Dudley, the New York Fed president, put the word out within minutes, and ultimately a jet loaded with an undisclosed amount of cash landed on the stricken island. [Business executives in Puerto Rico] described corporate clients' urgent requests for hundreds of thousands in cash to meet payrolls, and the challenge of finding enough armoured cars to satisfy endless demand at ATMs... As early as the day after the storm, the Fed began working to get money onto the island."
For a time, unless one had a hoard of cash stored up in ones home, it was impossible to get cash at all. 85 percent of Puerto Rico is still without power... Bloomberg continues: "When some generator-powered ATMs finally opened, lines stretched hours long, with people camping out in beach chairs and holding umbrellas against the sun." In an earlier article from September 25, Bloomberg noted how, without cash, necessities were simply unavailable."
"...Neurala’s difference is in our DNA. Our first project for NASA was to design AI for autonomous planetary exploration. Supercomputers, GPS, active sensors, and Cloud were not an option. Essentially, we were asked to build AI that can run anywhere. To do that, we created The Neurala Brain, a highly efficient software which is based on the way brains work in nature. Today’s Neurala Brain builds upon that effort to enable industry-leading performance on devices with low-cost sensors and processors." Read more at https://www.neurala.com/tech/
"....In the near future, the camera will be able to recognize images and communicate that data with other Si500s. For example, if a cop were seeking a missing child, the body cam could learn the infant's likeness from an image. That info would then be automatically distributed to other officers wearing the device, allowing them to take part in the search. Neurala claims that its AI will even be able to pick out a person of interest in crowded public spaces." - read more at https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/17/police-body-cams-ai/
"...IEEE is proud to host two incredible SXSW Featured Speakers: Vint Cerf, Internet Founding Father, Chief Internet Evangelist for Google and Founder, People Centered Internet and Thad Starner, Tech Lead for Google Glass and Director/Founder of Georgia Tech’s Contextual Computing Group. Come learn from IEEE experts across all sectors of technology, who are joined in a mission to advance technology for humanity. " - read more at http://tech-for-humanity.ieee.org/