Spring Returns, Biometrics Bloom

Live UK: Parliamentlive: Science and Technology Committee Subject: The work of the biometrics commissioner and the forensic science regulator

BioMetrics: Don’t look now: why you should be worried about machines reading your emotions [Guardian/14] According to Affectiva’s website, they have the largest emotion data repository in the world, with over 7.5m faces from 87 countries, most of it collected from opt-in recordings of people watching TV or driving their daily commute.

Biometrics: Amazon Rekognition Launches Enhanced Face Analysis [Amazon / ] With this release, we have improved the accuracy of gender identification, emotion detection (for all 7 supported emotions: ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’, ‘Surprised’, ‘Disgusted’, ‘Calm’ and ‘Confused’) and attributes such as ‘EyesOpen’.

Paper: Emotion Action Detection and Emotion Inference: the Task and Dataset [avxiv/0] Many Natural Language Processing works on emotion analysis only focus on simple emotion classification without exploring the potentials of putting emotion into “event context”, and ignore the analysis of emotion-related events

Research: Google data collection research (From last August) In “Google Data Collection,” Douglas C. Schmidt, Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, catalogs how much data Google is collecting about consumers and their most personal habits across all of its products and how that data is being tied together.

OpenSource: SOD – An Embedded Computer Vision & Machine Learning LibrarySOD is an embedded, modern cross-platform computer vision and machine learning software library that expose a set of APIs for deep-learning, advanced media analysis & processing including real-time, multi-class object detection and model training on embedded systems with limited computational resource and IoT devices.

Library of Congress > New National Recording Registry Class [loc] The classic radio western “Gunsmoke”; Ritchie Valens’ groundbreaking 1958 sensation “La Bamba”; Sam & Dave’s 1967 hit single “Soul Man”; the revolutionary 1968 Broadway musical “Hair”; and Neil Diamond’s 1969 “Sweet Caroline,” which became a popular sports anthem, are the newest recordings inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.

FT OP_ED Can Magic Leap’s ‘mixed reality’ find the human touch? [ft/10/paywall] Early teaser videos posted by Magic Leap on YouTube showed a whale breaching in a school gymnasium and a shootout with killer robots invading an office. Initially, Marina Abramovic: The Life seemed a rather sedate, even anticlimactic affair — a woman in a red dress doing not very much. Gradually, though, the minimalist, meditative performance won me over. That I was one of several real people experiencing the same collective hallucination only made it feel more vivid.

Everything In It’s Face

The future of streaming is the cable bundle [vox/34] But at the same time, my guess is that most of these companies know they’re not going to wipe massive companies like Netflix or Disney from the face of the earth — to say nothing of a company like Apple, which is still waiting in the wings with its own proposed streaming service, or YouTube, which has struggled to launch its own subscription service but owns the viewership habits of the generation just entering its teens and 20s…..

Privacy’s not dead. It’s just not evenly distributed [Fastcompany /34] To begin, Ciara Byrne looks at the split along class lines: Increasingly the wealthy can pay for more privacy, but the poor have always surrendered their privacy for survival. Glenn Fleishman examines how Do Not Track got caught between the hopes of privacy advocates and the fears of the ad industry. And an eighth grader explains how her family’s use of Facebook completely changed her mind about social media.

Facial recognition: Apple, Amazon, Google and the race for your face [c|net /27] Unlike other forms of biometric authentication, cameras can gather information about your face with or without your knowledge or consent. If you’re a privacy-minded person, you could potentially be exposing your data when in a public place without knowing it. Because the technology is so new, there aren’t any laws in the US limiting what companies can do with images of your face after they capture it. A bipartisan bill was recently introduced in the Senate to rectify the lack of regulation.

The Case for Investigating Facebook, When the US Antitrust Chairman pens a Facebook Op-Ed [NYT] And in its pursuit of dominance, Facebook gave at least 60 device makers direct access to its users’ data. Those actions are under criminal investigation, The Times reported last week. Facebook has also engaged in campaigns to obstruct congressional oversight and to smear and discredit critics — tactics reminiscent of the big tobacco playbook.

Timeliner [github/0] is a personal data aggregation utility. It collects all your digital things from pretty much anywhere and stores them on your own computer, indexes them, and projects them onto a single, unified timeline. The intended purpose of this tool is to help preserve personal and family history. [h/t 4SL] (local version of friendfeed – ED)

ScattertextText Data Visualization in Python. This is a tool that’s intended for visualizing what words and phrases are more characteristic of a category than others

New Emo City

Technology Watch – Emotion Detection Edition
DTPR – Digital Transparency in the Public Realm

Since the ’90s, I have been drawing attention to the impact of the surveillance economy, specifically the intersection of public and private data. It is time to revisit why this is important and why comprehensive privacy protection is necessary.

Where Are We Now?

Our current position as it relates to our lives in public: we are losing the right to our own thoughts, as we see the consequences of unchecked technology deployment for three decades.

Compounded by impotent or even non-existent legislation and regulation that follows decades later, we have arrived at a place where business and governments can use cameras to interpret our emotions and use them against us. This is your right to negotiate, gone.

A shining urban example is Hudson Yards, the launch of a new surveillance city. “We can say how many people looked at this ad, for how long. Did they seem interested, bored, were they smiling?”. This type of software is being rolled out in all areas of our lives. At retail, at work, in transit, at home. Not just on city streets. It is legion.

A Cautionary Fable

Allow me a small digression on how we got to now. There is an old Tower of Babel fable – a tale of language and how there were places that existed just yards from each other that did not share common language, or even syllables.

The result of a massive incantation put forth from the top to protect us from a singular attack. One voice that could take us all out at once. Think an even larger incantation of an evil nature, (I know this is starting to sound like an allegory). A specific incantation put into place. Keeping language separate as method to protect us.

Fast forward to now with internet and technology in place where no language barriers exist anymore, one network, any language, no rules of engagement.

The Need for Vocabulary and Context

Most noteworthy, at almost each step we failed to implement proper vocabulary, context, ethics, around what was taking place en mass.

In the early 90’s when logging on to The Well you were greeted with this line at the first text prompt:: ‘you own your own words’ offering clarity by entering their digital house you did not lose your rights.

Now our actions are someone else’s rights. Even simple actions of walking down the street.

One more piece here, humans, man’s innate nature to trust, especially as we age. As a result we are ripe receptors for those who want to move men to action. (See the 2016 election).

List: Things that have been weaponized


Social networks

Cable TV News


The airwaves

Phone lines

Data/The Internet


For example, think about how many networks and things we use every day that we don’t have rights on. How many of those have been weaponized against us.

Appending Digital and IRL

We could break down the fails in each area weaponized, how it happened in post-op review. Remember self regulation and advertising? (Another longer post sometime on this and useless burden of big-data.)

If you look at this as part of the giant click bait advertising fail that has been going on for the last two decades. The fix for these fail’s mandates more data collection. Hence the new need to append your online identity with your offline behavior for even deeper targeting.

A terrible solution to a problem we never deserved. Does anyone really think the promise of providing more personal identifiable information for increased relevant advertising worked? Even if executed, effective?

The Solution is More Data

This pattern of massive failure followed with solutions that encroach on the public rights is everywhere. Take for example NYC congestion pricing. Another example of a nightmare solution due to a problem that could have many other solves, a result of gross mismanagement in the first place.

Due to of failures in infrastructure and basic traffic flow we now need a revenue fix. In this case surveillance economics becomes the solution. A mechanism to put in place location based tracking license readers.

Already in place are facial recognition towers that now stand at most gateways into NYC. Does anyone remember the public comment period for this?..get in touch.

To What End?

One of the ways I like to look at online offline behavior is this quote from one of the founders of Twitter @ev on data driven content – “whenever there is a car crash, everyone looks. That doesn’t mean we want more car crashes”. Swarm behaviors in the online world do not translate offline and vise versa, and shouldn’t.

We are actively trying to pair the two things to what end, what exactly is the end game here? Total situational awareness for commerce or security. Neither Optimal Key Result will be met, the cost will be liberty and lots of wasted dollars.

Your Thoughts In Public – Personal Event Data in Public Spaces

Back to the weaponization of the camera , and rights to privacy to your own thoughts in public. (Can not believe I had to type that sentence.)

The weaponized camera is a mechanism to trans-code your public, private and secret selves in one place. That place, is ‘not yours’ as they say from the auction block. Cameras take life as game and moves it to – life’s events as profit.

Awareness Gap

Understanding current software capability-set often non-existent or misunderstood. Context is almost always missing. Software exists that enable cameras to see your emotions. Machine learning software infer thoughts, illness (mental, physical), predisposed to do X.

This data off the events of our lives, event data that we create, data that allows us to exist independently, to negotiate, to have a private self, to be, to be singular is being taken without our permission.

Data-assault accurately describes the violations being deployed. They may sound digital but the lines blur with physical fast.

Personally identifiable event data being eviscerated includes at any age as long as you have a device. Location history, facial Identification and recognition, bio-metric data etc.

The arguments against this technology often fall to false positives. False positives are a technology solve, not a blocker. We need counter act this through ethics and human rights lenses, not a product imperfection view.

Personal Event Data in Public Spaces, Your Thoughts In Public – Action Plan

Why are not more people speaking up? It’s akimbo to a board not speaking up to a CEO. Legislative bodies that sit quiet in troubling times.

• Hold up a mirror

— Playback each day key political, and commercial figures with emotion recognition overlays.

— Flip the video on any camera that is watching by pushing to screen the machine view of the information. Display event data generated / being stolen. Think kiosks that display what the machine/camera sees in place of the advertisements.

• Take back your block and data. Fall 2019
— A day of civic action at the block level. Massive city wide education and activism with existing .orgs addressing this issue.

• Legal plan. Does the Fourth Amendment protect such information from unlawful search and seizure, or is this data merely a part of a third party’s business records?

1- File injections to stop and cease Sidewalk labs link NYC kiosks based on Carpenter v. US.

2- Put in place privacy protection laws and candidates that support data civil rights and stop the practice full stop. We do not need governors on data collection but protection from collection or using it period.

This is not the smart city I was looking for.

Looking for other rights minded tech, design and legal focused teams, organizations and individuals.

ed note: this is first daft – revisions and updates to follow.

Surveillance City, Amazon-Arlington disclosure clause…

Open-records activists question Amazon-Arlington disclosure clause – [The Washington Post / 18] Amazon’s deal gives the company the ability not just to work with the government to tailor what information it provides in response to citizens’ requests, which is common, but also allows time for the company to go to court to prevent the release of the information.

All the Crime, All the Time: How Citizen Works [NY Times 15] An app called Citizen promises “awareness” of nearby danger. What it provides is more complicated.

In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload…[Twitter/ Facebook Newsroom] Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we’re also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content.” — Mia Garlick, Facebook New Zealand

Andreessen Horowitz, Christopher Wylie, Cambridge Analytica 2016 Meeting – [The Guardian /16] Individuals who attended the meeting with Wylie and Andreessen claim it was set up to learn what Cambridge Analytica was doing with Facebook’s data and how technologists could work to “fix” it. It is unclear in what capacity Andreesen Horowitz hosted and who attened the meeting but it is nonetheless a hugely embarrassing revelation for Facebook, which was revealed last week to be the subject of a criminal investigation into whether it had covered up the extent of its involvement with Cambridge Analytica. See also – How Cambridge Analytica Sparked the Great Privacy Awakening [Wired /35]

Related’s Hudson Yards: Smart City or Surveillance City? [The Real Deal / 19] Related says its use of technologies will make life better for those who work, live or shop in the 16 buildings planned for the $25 billion development. But the company’s decision to hold user data indefinitely, as well as its partnership with the firm behind the controversial LinkNYC kiosks, has sparked alarm among surveillance and data privacy watchdogs. Related says it hasn’t yet determined exactly what it will do with data it collects from people in the neighborhood, or movements its cameras record. “But from our point of view, the data is our data for the purposes of allowing us to make Hudson Yards function better,” said Cross……In another quote they reference emotional recognition software… “We can say how many people looked at this ad, for how long. Did they seem interested, bored, were they smiling?” he said.

When it comes to the middle finger, police might need a thicker skin. – [AP/ 7] A federal appeals court says a Michigan woman’s constitutional rights were violated when she was handed a speeding ticket after giving the finger to a suburban Detroit officer in 2017. The decision means a lawsuit by Debra Cruise-Gulyas can proceed.

MIT Emotional Recognition Company Full Court Press – [Twitter/2] In a series of news items, Tweets, podcasts, blog posts etc – MIT spawned emotional recognition company Affectiva deployed on kids at a Disney event as a game and promotional take-a-way. The Company, it’s investors and news stories keep framing this as something we can stop – as they roll it – out prior to laws being able to catch up or public debate and vocabulary taking place. The tone is always a moral question of some sort, couching its evilness in a false high ground (mental health, road safety, handicapped kids etc). Have always respected The Media Lab but they have gone too far here. Joi come on.

Weekend Arts Edition

‘Really a Time of Reckoning’: Activist Group Art Space Sanctuary Protests MoMA and Trustee Larry Fink [artnews /4] It has been a tumultuous year for New York art museums, which have faced calls for board members to resign, moves toward unionization, and a continuation of protests garnering attention from far outside the art world. Now an activist group has set its sights on one of the city’s biggest institutions: the Museum of Modern Art.In a petition circulating online via Google Docs, Art Space Sanctuary is calling on MoMA and Larry Fink, the CEO of the investment firm BlackRock and a museum trustee, to cease investments connected to private prisons in the U.S. MoMA relies on Fidelity Investments to manage its pension fund,, the group alleges, and Fidelity owns stock in private prison companies. According to prior reports, Fink is a stakeholder in GEO Group and CoreCivic, two companies that operate private prisons.

Jerry Saltz Wins National Magazine Award for ‘How to Be an Artist’ Article [artnews /4] The citation for the prize said that Saltz “provided 33 thoughtful, wise, and reassuring lessons that made artistic challenges feel like child’s play. After reading ‘How to Be an Artist,’ it would seem almost impossible not to be successful

Bid me up before you go-go: sun goes down on George Michael’s art collection at Christie’s [theartnewspaper /3] That year was a particularly busy one for buying art. Michael bought almost half of the 61 lots offered in 2007, many from White Cube, whose owner Jay Jopling was an early champion of the Young British Artists including Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst and Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Art Historian Darby English Untangles the Politics of Kerry James Marshall’s Portrait of a Black Police Officer [artnet /5] When working figuratively, Marshall only paints black people—figures wholly distinctive in aesthetic style. More important, they emit with equal constancy that sense of intrinsic worth—the ability to love and to remain indifferent—that some call self-respect. Such people run, as it were, on autonomy. That, of course, is a quality embedded in the historical temporality of modernist painting, a representational convention to whose manner and topoi Marshall holds fiercely—except for its ban on black people. In this critical aspect, Marshall fancies himself a full-time restoration agent. Really black black people function for him, however, as a way not to disclose an (open) secret about modernism, but rather to make of modernism a more completely worldly cultural practice. “Worldly” here describes the attitude of a person, or a thing, that would take its place without wanting the approval of anyone or anything else. But Marshall’s figures show anonymous and fictional qualities that render them irreal by catalyzing their collapse into the pictorial settings they inhabit—settings whose labored yet clearly delineated structures, copious localized embellishments, and near-campy conventionality make it impossible ever to forget you’re looking at a painting.

‘Punk’ Once Meant a Prostitute, Then a Rock ’n’ Roll Rebel [wsj/ 30] A documentary series on the music movement of the 1970s shows how the term came to define its musicians over their objections – The noun “punk” first got associated with a surly, chaotic kind of rock music around 1970, though it seemed to occur to many people at roughly the same time. Ed Sanders, member of the experimental countercultural band the Fugs, called his music “punk rock” in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in March 1970. In July of that year, the music critic Nick Tosches wrote an essay for the magazine Fusion titled “The Punk Muse.” In October, in a listing in the Village Voice, the avant-garde electronic band Suicide advertised a show at a New York art space as “Punk Music by Suicide.”

The Reënchantment of Carolee Schneemann [newyorker/27] We arrived at her studio, which was lovely and busy and hot. On the far wall was “Flange 6rpm” (2011-13), a series of hand-molded aluminum shapes revolving on motors, with a video of the fire that forged the shapes playing behind them. I couldn’t help but think of the extravagant, awe-inducing forge scene in Matthew Barney’s “River of Fundament” (2014), because I’d just watched the film, and how the scale and feeling here were almost the opposite—Carolee’s felt handmade, a kind of anti-apocalypse. Carolee apologized that one couldn’t really get the full effect of the flames projected on the wall during daylight hours, but I liked the look of the pale orange flickering in the midday heat, the weird flanges creaking in the foreground. On a long table sat an ensemble that she had recently unearthed from “Noise Bodies” (1965), a piece that would soon be travelling to a retrospective of her work. The ensemble was akin to a bicycle wheel strung with pots and pans, designed for a performer to wear and shake. Carolee told me me to put it on and move around. I felt silly doing so, but, so instructed, I submitted—I shook.

The Luxury Paint Company Creating a New Kind of Decorating Anxiety [newyorker/29] In the twenty-four years that Studholme has worked for Farrow & Ball, its palette has spread across the wealthier districts of London. In Peckham, a formerly gritty area of the city now filled with microbreweries and artisanal butchers, clients favor bold colors like Radicchio, a dark red, or Studio Green, a bilious black. In Notting Hill, which the investment-banking class has taken over, the prevailing preference has been for gray—Pavilion Gray, Lamp Room Gray, Plummett—in ever-increasing degrees of modernist coldness

Secure Voting Systems + Constructive Social Networks

DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System [motherboard /23] “It’s normal, open source voting system software, which just happens to be running on top of those secure CPUs,” said Kiniry. “Our contention is… that a normal voting system running on COTS [commercial off-the-shelf hardware] will be hacked. A normal voting system running on the secure hardware will probably not be hacked.” Not only are teams developing secure CPUs but to best take advantage of what a secure CPU offers, they’re developing new versions of open source C-compilers so they can recompile the entire software stack on a system—the operating system, the kernel, all the libraries and all the user software that’s written in C.

Apple Addressing Spotify’s claims [apple /0] What Spotify is demanding is something very different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem — including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers — without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it — even going so far as to take these creators to court.

Drew Harwell (wapo) [Twitter] The New Zealand massacre was live streamed on Facebook, announced on 8chan, reposted on YouTube, commentated about on Reddit, and mirrored around the world before the tech companies could even react. Followed by YouTube Tweet.Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.” Zuckerberg described FB Live at launch: “We built this big technology platform so we can go and support whatever the most personal and motional and raw and visceral ways people want to communicate” Related- In the European Parliament, Anti-terrorism Censorship : Second Setback at the European Parliament “An upcoming European law pretexts fighting terrorism to silence the whole Internet”

Who Controls Diners’ Data? OpenTable Moves to Assert Control [wsj/30/paywall] “This information is our information. It’s not OpenTable’s information,” said Wassef Haroun, an owner of MBar, a restaurant in Seattle that uses both OpenTable and SevenRoom

Boldness in Business person of the year: Sir Tim Berners-Lee [ft/21/paywall] Thousands of developers across 26 countries are experimenting with 50,000 Solid personal online data stores (PODs). The company is also collaborating with some bigger partners, including an Indian telecoms company and the UK’s National Health Service, to explore how Solid could be configured at scale. To that end, Inrupt is aiming to complete a multimillion-dollar fundraising by the end of March, enabling it to launch a user product by the end of the year. In tech jargon, Solid is aiming to “re-decentralise” the web, returning ownership of data to the users who generate it and empowering them to give consent to others to access it.

Artificial Intelligence Policy: A Primer and Roadmap [pdf] [ucdavis] AI is remaking aspects of society today and likely to shepherd in much greater changes in the coming years. As this Essay emphasized, the process of societal transformation carries with it many distinct and difficult questions of policy. Even so, there is reason for hope. We have certain advantages over our predecessors. The previous industrial revolutions had their lessons and we have access today to many more policymaking bodies and tools. We have also made interdisciplinary collaboration much more of a standard practice. But perhaps the greatest advantage is timing: AI has managed to capture policymakers’ imaginations early enough in its life-cycle that there is hope we can yet channel it toward the public interest. I hope this Essay contributes in some small way to this process.

A Peek into the Future of Wearables [ieee.org/7] Mind-reading smart glasses. Julia Brown, CEO of MindX, said that her company plans to produce glasses that let you “access information with a single thought.” The company is using technology licensed from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics lab to pick up signals from eye movement and from brain waves to know where you are looking and what you are thinking when you look there. Brown is excited about the possibilities of visual search, for example. No word on when the first devices might come to market; the company is still in the development stage, and currently looking to hire a brain computer interface software engineer who is a “full stack neuro nerd” and a neural data scientist who is “expert in extracting meaning from bio signals” along with more traditional software engineers.

Lou Reed Archive at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts [nypl.org/2] The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is thrilled to announce that the Lou Reed Archive has been processed and is now available to users. The Lou Reed Archive documents the history of Reed’s life as a musician, composer, poet, writer, photographer, and tai-chi student through his own extensive papers, photographs, recordings and other materials. The archive spans Reed’s creative life—from his 1958 Freeport High School band, the Shades, to his final performances in 2013.
The Library for the Performing Arts is celebrating the opening of the Lou Reed archive with a special edition library card, a display of collection items, and more.

Privacy is Power

DeepMind and Google: the battle to control artificial intelligence, Facial Recognition and Fair Use, Death Metal Brings Joy, Algorithmic Bill of Rights…

Live now: http://legacyweb.media.mit.edu/events/medialabtalk/ [mit] agenda. Beyond the Cradle 2019: Envisioning a New Space Age

DeepMind and Google: the battle to control artificial intelligence [1843magazinet /21] Hassabis has always seen life as a game. A large part of his career was devoted to making them, a large part of his leisure time has been spent playing them. At DeepMind, they are his chosen vehicle for developing AGI. Just like his software, Hassabis can learn only from his experiences. The pursuit of AGI may eventually lose its way, having invented some useful medical technologies and out-classed the world’s greatest board-game players. Significant achievements but not the one he craves. But he could yet usher AGI into being, right under Google’s nose but beyond its control. If he does this, Demis Hassabis will have beaten the toughest game of all

We need an algorithmic bill of rights before algorithms do us wrong [fastcompany /28] As Kearns reflected on this, his message was a call to action for the members of his audience: “The scientists who designed these systems have to take on the mantle to fix them.” Kearns was right. But his call should be extended beyond scientists and technologists to also include business leaders, regulators, and end users. Together, we have to decide how to design, manage, use, and govern algorithms so we control the narrative of how algorithms impact our lives. Related – Changing Contexts and Intents [O’Reilly / 9] — context and intent as framing mechanisms for determining whether a use of data is appropriate. —- When Google decides to use your location to target advertisements, that’s not only a different context but a different intent. 

ICE is tapping into a huge license-plate database, [wapo/19] ACLU says, raising new privacy concerns about surveillance [ / ] Immigration agents have been tapping into a vast, privately maintained database of icense plate numbers gleaned from vehicles across the United States to track down people who may be in the country illegally, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and released Wednesday. The database contains billions of records on vehicle locations captured from red-light and speed-limit cameras as well as from parking lots and toll roads that use the nearly ubiquitous and inexpensive scanners to monitor vehicle comings and goings. Local police forces have long used those scanners to track criminal suspects and enforce traffic laws across the United States. But the records the ACLU obtained from the Department of Homeland Security through a Freedom of Information Act request shed new light on a little-noticed and expanding network of surveillance that has developed over the years and for which there appear to be few legal limitations

Don’t break up big tech — regulate data access, says EU antitrust chief [tc/18] “To break up a company, to break up private property would be very far reaching and you would need to have a very strong case that it would produce better results for consumers in the marketplace than what you could do with more mainstream tools,” she warned this weekend, speaking in a SXSW interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher. “We’re dealing with private property. Businesses that are built and invested in and become successful because of their innovation.”

Implicit violent imagery processing among fans and non-fans of music with violent themes [royalsocietypublishing /13] The results of the binocular rivalry task suggest that long-term exposure to music with aggressive themes does not lead to a general desensitization to violence as depicted in images. Fans of violent music, just like non-fans, showed a robust bias to process violent imagery. However, results also suggest that fans of violent music do become desensitized to the aggressive and violent themes in their preferred music, in that they assigned high ratings of emotional valence relative to those of non-fans.

How India conquered YouTube [ft/10/paywall] India’s craze for videos is shaking the world of entertainment. Valued at more than $700m, the country’s online video market is shaping the content and pricing models of local and global companies. Netflix, with approximately two million viewers there, is investing more in Indian content than it has done anywhere outside the US. While Amazon Prime charges US subscribers $119 a year, those in India pay $14.50 annually. Millions of dollars are tossed around at auctions for the streaming rights for cricket matches, and dozens of shows have been commissioned to tap into India’s love of comedy.

Facebook Can Make Vr Avatars Look—And Move—Exactly Like You [wired/57] If the word panopticon comes to mind, it should—though it would be better applied to the second capture area, a larger dome known internally as the Sociopticon. (Before joining Oculus/Facebook, Sheikh established its predecessor, Panoptic Studio, at Carnegie Mellon.) The Sociopticon looks a lot like Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture Studio, albeit with more cameras (180 to 106) that are also higher-resolution (2.5K by 4K versus 2K by 2K) and capture a higher frame rate (90Hz versus 30 or 60). Where Mugsy concentrated on your face, the Sociopticon helps the Codec Avatar system learn how our bodies move—and our clothes. So my time in there is less about facial expression and more about what I’d describe as Lazy Calisthenics: shaking out limbs, jumping around, playing charades with Belko via webcam.

Use and Fair Use: Statement on shared images in facial recognition AI [creativecommons /12] While we do not have all the facts regarding the IBM dataset, we are aware that fair use allows all types of content to be used freely, and that all types of content are collected and used every day to train and develop AI. CC licenses were designed to address a specific constraint, which they do very well: unlocking restrictive copyright. But copyright is not a good tool to protect individual privacy, to address research ethics in AI development, or to regulate the use of surveillance tools employed online. [emphasis mine -ed] Those issues rightly belong in the public policy space, and good solutions will consider both the law and the community norms of CC licenses and content shared online in general.

It’s also cool to create content from a whole different side of things, like in school” – Olivia Jade

“After careful review of recent developments, we have made the decision to end the Sephora Collection partnership with Olivia Jade, effective immediately,” – Sephora

——————————————————————————————————————–Privacy is Power

Richard Prince (detail)

Regulation reactions, unintended inferences

Consumers and Innovators Win on a Level Playing Field [spotify / ] It’s why, after careful consideration, Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC), the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair and nondiscriminatory. In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience—essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers. After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competiti

Regulation reactions: Where Warren’s Wrong [stratechery /2] I do know what is the first thing Senator Warren should do: rectify three clear areas where I believe she is mistaken about technology. Her proposal is wrong about tech’s history, the source of the tech giants’ power, and the fundamental nature of technology itself. All three are, unsurprisingly, interrelated, and it is impossible to craft a cogent antitrust policy without getting all of them right. Benedict’s Newsletter [ -archive.com /2] But what does that mean? Is Amazon not allowed to sell on its own behalf at all and still have Marketplace – so it has so kill half of the business? Or does this only apply to private-label products? Does that mean Walmart and every other retailer have to shut down private-label products as well (invented c.150 years ago)? Then, Apple isn’t allowed to both have an app store and have apps in the app store… so does that mean when you turn on your phone there are no apps and you have an ‘choose which App Store to use’ screen? Does Apple have to shut down Final Cut Pro (now sold on the Mac App Store)? Or what? —- In the UK..We need tougher scrutiny of Big Tech’s data use and deals [FT /9] The UK should create a digital markets unit, which could sit within the Competition and Markets Authority or a sector regulator, to supervise companies deemed to have “strategic market status”. The unit would enforce a code of conduct as well as open, shared standards. We must make it easier for people to move their personal data from one digital platform to another and improve general access to non-personal or anonymised data.

Arrow of Time and its Reversal on IBM Quantum Computer [pdf] Here we show that, while in nature the complex conjugation needed for time reversal is exponentially improbable, one can design a quantum algorithm that includes complex conjugation and thus reverses a given quantum state. Using this algorithm on an IBM quantum computer enables us to experimentally demonstrate a backward time dynamics for an electron scattered on a two-level impurity (they reversed the direction of time!! -ED)

A New Privacy Constitution for Facebook [BruceSchneier/medium/1 ] What follows is a list of changes we should expect if Facebook is serious about changing its business model and improving user privacy. (a long and strong list of changes needed by someone with a clue -ed)

Unintended inferences: The biggest threat to data privacy and cybersecurity [techrepublic / 19 ] . What is unintended inference? In the research paper A Right to Reasonable Inferences: Re-Thinking Data Protection Law in the Age of Big Data and AI, co-authors Sandra Wachter and Brent Mittelstadt of the Oxford Internet Institute at University of Oxford describe how the concept of unintended inference applies in the digital world. The researchers write that artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics are able to draw non-intuitive and unverifiable predictions (inferences) about behaviors and preferences: “These inferences draw on highly diverse and feature-rich data of unpredictable value, and create new opportunities for discriminatory, biased, and invasive decision-making. Concerns about algorithmic accountability are often actually concerns about the way in which these technologies draw privacy invasive and non-verifiable inferences about us that we cannot predict, understand, or refute.”

A Right to Reasonable Inferences: Re-Thinking Data Protection Law in the Age of Big Data and AI [ssrn / 5 ] In this paper we argue that a new data protection right, the ‘right to reasonable inferences’, is needed to help close the accountability gap currently posed ‘high risk inferences’ , meaning inferences that are privacy invasive or reputation damaging and have low verifiability in the sense of being predictive or opinion-based. In cases where algorithms draw ‘high risk inferences’ about individuals, this right would require ex-ante justification to be given by the data controller to establish whether an inference is reasonable. This disclosure would address (1) why certain data is a relevant basis to draw inferences; (2) why these inferences are relevant for the chosen processing purpose or type of automated decision; and (3) whether the data and methods used to draw the inferences are accurate and statistically reliable.

Deepnews.ai report # 4: building an angle detector for journalism [mondaynote / 2] Our goal is to measure the semantic distance between stories within the context of an event, to detect the most original and the deepest story. In doing so, we want to spotlight the key differentiator which is the angle chosen by a journalist or an editor.

Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance [pdf] Technologies are also enabling employers to expand the granularity, scale, and tempo of data collection. Data collected about workers are often fed into systems to inform automated decision-making, to make predictions about workers’ future behaviors, their skills or qualities, as well as their promotion or continued employment. As Adler-Bell and Miller point out, “data-mining techniques innovated in the consumer realm have moved into the workplace.”1 This can alter the power dynamics between workers and employers, as data-driven decision-making can make management more opaque and difficult to interrogate or challenge. Predictive analytics and flagging tools meant to identify rule-breaking can augment biased and discriminatory practices in workplace evaluations and segment workforces into risk categories based on patterns of behavior— such as identifying which employees are mostly likely to leave their jobs. While these tools are touted as bringing greater insight into workforces through a growing array of metrics, workers and others are challenging the power imbalances they generate, as well as their accuracy and fairness on a technical level.

Under the hood: Portal’s Smart Camera [facebook/ 2] The filmmakers that we worked with shared a range of insights, some of which were well-established techniques — such as how experts tend to compose shots and how those decisions influence audience expectations — while others were more instinctual and harder to replicate with AI. For one experiment, we asked a group of professional camera operators to film a series of scenes where it was difficult to capture the action from a single angle. Analyzing the results revealed that while there’s no consistent ground truth for how a seasoned pro films a given situation (camera operators often make different decisions despite sharing the same angle and subjects), there are subtle movements that filmmakers instinctively use to produce a more natural, intuitive camera experience. We carefully analyzed these movements and distilled them into software models that aim to mimic this experience in Smart Camera. These proved more effective than movements guided by simple mathematical strategy

Being Queen’s Roadie was One Intense, Rewarding Job [medium /1] Few people could approach Fred as he prepared for a show, but I would saunter over to him, while he was surrounded by ‘beautiful and important’ people, and ask, ‘Oi! What do you fancy playing tonight then, Fred?’

Great Fire Wall

The Great Firewall of China — web of control [ft /7 /paywall] China learnt from the best to build its firewall: US tech companies, such as Cisco, that had developed basic internet traffic-filtering tools that gave corporations control over their employees’ browsing. But Beijing took these tools to a new level and scale, and today operates the world’s most sophisticated censorship and surveillance system. To stop people from connecting to websites or services the Communist party does not like, the Great Firewall blocks website names, misdirects traffic and can even shut off encrypted communications by figuring out to what kind of service the user is trying to connect.

Facial recognition’s ‘dirty little secret’: Millions of online photos scraped without consent [NBC / 12] To see if your Flickr photos are part of the dataset, enter your username in a tool NBC News created based on the IBM dataset:

Amazon’s Alexa Has 80k Apps–and No Runaway Hit [bloomberg /3] “This platform is almost four years old, and you can’t point me to one single killer app,” says Mark Einhorn, who created a well-reviewed Alexa game that lets users operate a simulated lemonade stand and is one of 10 developers interviewed for this story.

OpenAI LP [openai.com /3] We’ve created OpenAI LP, a new “capped-profit” company that allows us to rapidly increase our investments in compute and talent while including checks and balances to actualize our mission. Our mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) benefits all of humanity, primarily by attempting to build safe AGI and share the benefits with the world. (Thiel + Hoffman (once Musk) backed safe AI company – ED)

Web inventor urges users to seek ‘complete control’ of data [japantimes / 34] “You should have complete control of your data. It’s not oil. It’s not a commodity,” he told a small group of journalists gathered at Europe’s physics lab CERN, where he first came up with the idea for the web 30 years ago. When it comes to personal data, “you should not be able to sell it for money,” he said, “because it’s a right.

More on Kate Klonick privacy class project from NPR Googling Strangers: One Professor’s Lesson On Privacy In Public Spaces Her students, who scattered across the country for break, started writing to her in astonishment. Some of the most outspoken skeptics of privacy protections in her class — the ones who once suggested that they didn’t need privacy because they had nothing to hide — were stunned at how quickly they’d found out details of the lives of strangers who happened to cross their paths.

biometric entry-exit systems and other identity features coming to a airport and retail store near you

The US Government Will Be Scanning Your Face At 20 Top Airports, Documents Show [buzzfeed / 14 ] According to 346 pages of as-yet-unpublished documents obtained by the nonprofit research organization Electronic Privacy Information Center — shared exclusively with BuzzFeed News and made public on Monday as part of Sunshine Week — US Customs and Border Protection is scrambling to implement this “biometric entry-exit system,” with the goal of using facial recognition technology on travelers aboard 16,300 flights per week — or more than 100 million passengers traveling on international flights out of the United States — in as little as two years, to meet Trump’s accelerated timeline for a biometric system that had initially been signed into law by the Obama administration. This, despite questionable biometric confirmation rates and few, if any, legal guardrails.

Stores See a Future Without ‘May I Help You?’ (They’ll Already Have Your Data) [nyt] facial-recognition technology to engage with customers after they walked into stores. The company’s chief executive, Peter Trepp, showed how stores could send automatic text messages to shoppers and receive their profiles to assist them better. He showed an example of a profile, which contained a shopper’s visit history, the minutes she spent in the store on her last trip, what she bought during that visit and the sum of her online purchases with the store’s chain

23andMe thinks polygenic risk scores are ready for the masses, but experts aren’t so sure [technologyreview /22] A new genetic test that estimates your risk for diabetes is probably less useful than standing on a scale. (DO NOT SHARE YOUR DNA – EVER -ED)

Inside The High-Stakes Race To Make Quantum Computers Work
[wired /39] Beyond pure science, banks, pharmaceutical companies, and governments are also waiting to get their hands on computing power that could be tens or even hundreds of times greater than that of any traditional computer. And they’ve been waiting for decades. Google is in the race, as are IBM, Microsoft, Intel and a clutch of startups, academic groups, and the Chinese government. The stakes are incredibly high. Last October, the European Union pledged to give $1 billion to over 5,000 European quantum technology researchers over the next decade, while venture capitalists invested some $250 million in various companies researching quantum computing in 2018 alone. “This is a marathon,” says David Reilly, who leads Microsoft’s quantum lab at the University of Sydney, Australia. “And it’s only 10 minutes into the marathon.”

Philosopher Nick Bostrom on Whether We Live in a Simulation [vulture/21] Do you ever hear about scientific breakthroughs — say, a quantum-physics experiment purporting to prove that our reality is not a simulation — and consider them in relation to your hypothesis?
No, nothing with quantum physics. But the advances toward ever-faster computers have slightly reduced the probability that civilizations at our stage will go extinct before reaching technological maturity. The closer we get to technological maturity without having gone extinct, the less probable that one seems. But that’s more an incremental change. I mean, we’re not that much more advanced than we were in the early 2000s, but a little bit more. At the meta level, I haven’t really seen any convincing objections or attempts at refutation [of the simulation hypothesis]. So the absence of that also, I guess, strengthens my confidence that the reasoning is sound.

bullets.techThe best articles for science lovers shortened to 5 bullet points or less

John Oliver Rips HBO Parent AT&T Amid Lengthy Rant About FCC and Robocalls [hr] be if someone had, I don’t know, say, the office numbers of all five FCC commissioners. Because then you could, hypothetically, have a program to robocall all of those numbers every 90 minutes with a message, say, oh, I don’t know. Like, this.”