Volume Thirty-Six Number One! Spring 2019
Hospital viruses: Fake cancerous nodes in CT scans, created by malware, trick radiologist [wapo/26] The research isn’t theoretical. In a blind study the researchers conducted involving real CT lung scans, 70 of which were altered by their malware, they were able to trick three skilled radiologists into misdiagnosing conditions nearly every time. In the case of scans with fabricated cancerous nodules, the radiologists diagnosed cancer 99 percent of the time. In cases where the malware removed real cancerous nodules from scans, the radiologists said those patients were healthy 94 percent of the time.
Judge orders Fairfax police to stop collecting data from license plate readers [wapo] A Fairfax County judge on Monday ordered the Fairfax County police to stop maintaining a database of photos of vehicle license plates, with the time and location where they were snapped, ruling that “passive use” of data from automated license plate readers on the back of patrol cars violates Virginia privacy law. The ruling followed a related finding by the Virginia Supreme Court last year, meaning the case could affect how long — if at all — Virginia police can keep license plate data.
The KFC Fiasco: A Dissection Of The Worst Dj Set Of All Time [mixmag] In the space of 300 seconds, the way we consume product and brand-messaging changed right in front of us. The Ultra crowd and indeed anyone who’s seen the video, was force-fed a KFC advert in the form of a DJ set and ultimately a very worrying precedent has been set: Companies are literally buying stage time to promote themselves.
NYT Op-ed By Geoffrey Starks (Mr. Starks is a member of the Federal Communications Commission.) Why It’s So Easy for a Bounty Hunter to Find You this real-time phone location data has long been available to entities beyond your wireless carrier, for a price. In one alarming example, reported by Vice, a bounty hunter was able to pay to track a user’s location on a map accurate to within a few feet. In another case, a sheriff in Missouri used location data provided by carriers to inappropriately track a judge.
Google AI Ethics Council Is Falling Apart After a Week [Bloomberg/27] On Monday, a group of employees started a petition asking the company to remove another member: Kay Coles James, president of a conservative think tank who has fought against equal-rights laws for gay and transgender people. More than 500 staff signed the petition anonymously by late Monday morning local time.
What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction [FT/9] Whenever a tech founder is asked about their favourite novel it is usually worth paying attention. Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s admiration of Ayn Rand’s architect creator, standing alone against the whole world in The Fountainhead, made increasing sense once it emerged how far Uber was willing to push the limits of the law. Jeff Bezos’s interest in the quiet despair of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Dayis jarring given the scale of his ambitions, but Elizabeth Holmes’ attachment to Moby-Dick is almost too on the nose for the disgraced founder of Theranos.
Video: #RecodeDecodeLive @karaswisher talks to AI researchers @katecrawford and @mer__edith about why policymakers need to pay attention to AI.
Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me — AI in an alternate 1980s London [ft/9] Is AI, wonders the book’s promotional material, the “triumph of humanism” or its “angel of death”? Never didactic, McEwan takes care to leave that question intelligently explored but more or less unanswered. His work has always suggested a certain techno-optimism, and an impatience for spiritual hokum against the clarity of science. But he is too circumspect a writer to impose his view on the audience. And too aware that technology run amok makes for a better story than technology purring nicely.
There Are Probably Cameras on Your Flight, but Relax, They’re Not On (Yet) [NYT] Now, two senators have asked eight airlines based in the United States to respond in the next few weeks to questions about the cameras, including whether the airlines have used them “to monitor passengers” and whether passengers have been “informed of this practice.”
Toronto group wants Google sister company removed from Quayside project A group hoping to send Manhattan-based Sidewalk Labs packing is warning of stealth privatization and corporate decision-making on Toronto’s valuable east waterfront. “In Toronto (Sidewalk Labs) is aiming to take over the functions of government — do we really need a coup d’état to get transit and nice paving stones?” waterfront resident Julie Beddoes told reporters at the city hall launch of #BlockSidewalk’s public outreach campaign.
Machines can now allegedly identify anger, fear, disgust and sadness. ‘Emotion detection’ has grown from a research project to a $20bn industry [Guardian] Typically, the second step employs a technique called supervised learning, a process by which an algorithm is trained to recognize things it has seen before. The basic idea is that if you show the algorithm thousands and thousands of images of happy faces with the label “happy” when it sees a new picture of a happy face, it will, again, identify it as “happy”.