Weekend Edition

How Amazon’s Algorithms Curated A Dystopian Bookstore [wired /34] Curation algorithms are largely amoral. They’re engineered to show us things we are statistically likely to want to see, content that people similar to us have found engaging—even if it’s stuff that’s factually unreliable or potentially harmful. On social networks, these algorithms are optimized primarily to drive engagement.

imagenet-roulette /0 Trevor Paglen Studio ImageNet Roulette uses a neural network trained on the “people” categories from the ImageNet dataset to classify pictures of people. It’s meant to be a peek into how artificial intelligence systems classify people, and a warning about how quickly AI becomes horrible when the assumptions built into it aren’t continually and exhaustively questioned. ImageNet Roulette is meant in part to demonstrate how bad politics propagate through technical systems, often without the creators of those systems even being aware of it.

YouTube fought Brie Larson trolls by changing its search algorithm [verge/41] This week, YouTube recategorized “Brie Larson” as a news-worthy search term. That does one very important job: it makes the search algorithm surface videos from authoritative sources on a subject. Instead of videos from individual creators, YouTube responds with videos from Entertainment Tonight, ABCCBSCNNand other news outlets first. (YouTube should rank ‘music videos’ higher in the recommendation mix -ed)

Pervasive real-time police surveillance is not just theoretical anymore. [reason/9] The public is already uneasy about the widespread police use of facial recognition technology. A 2018 Brookings poll found that 50 percent of Americans “believe there should be limits on the use of facial recognition software by law enforcement, 26 percent do not, and 24 percent are unsure.” Forty-two percent think that facial recognition software invades personal privacy, 28 percent do not, and 30 percent are unsure. Forty-nine percent believe the government should not compile a data base of people’s faces, 22 percent think they should, and 29 percent are unsure. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO), a nonpartisan watchdog, has just issued a report called Facing the Future of Surveillance. It starkly outlines the dangers to liberty posed by this technology, and it offers some recommendations for how to limit abuses.

You May Have Forgotten Foursquare, But It Didn’t Forget You [Wired/55] Priya Kumar, a privacy researcher and tech ethicist, says Foursquare should have been more respectful of users before rolling out a potentially controversial feature like Hypertrending. “Foursquare and the team that created this feature didn’t think about [whether] their use of this data fits the context in which the users provided it,” she says. “They should have gone back to users and let them opt in, or talked to civil society researchers who could give [Foursquare] insight on that before they even created the feature.”

Regulation of the digital world has not kept pace with its role in our lives. We need a new regulatory framework for big tech, says Lords Communications Committee. [parliament.uk/9] Recommendations for a new regulatory approach Digital Authority A new ‘Digital Authority’ should be established to co-ordinate regulators, continually assess regulation and make recommendations on which additional powers are necessary to fill gaps. The Digital Authority should play a key role in providing the public, the Government and Parliament with the latest information. It should report to a new joint committee of both Houses of Parliament, whose remit would be to consider all matters related to the digital world.

Elizabeth Warren is on the same page as the Parliaments regulatory framework as she has laid out in “Here’s how we can break up Big Tech” [Medium/1] Weak antitrust enforcement has led to a dramatic reduction in competition and innovation in the tech sector. Venture capitalists are now hesitant to fund new startups to compete with these big tech companies because it’s so easy [promarket/12] for the big companies to either snap up growing competitors or drive them out of business. The number of tech startups has slumped [axios/16], there are fewer high-growth young firms [pdf]typical of the tech industry, and first financing rounds for tech startups have declined 22% [economist/38] since 2012.

Tech Hiring a Bright Spot Amid Weaker Job Growth [wsj/37/firewall] is a tune the . tech co’s might want to focus on when it comes to regulation – Within the technology sector, which accounts for more than 40% of total IT employment, employers added 7,500 new jobs, led by technology services, custom software development and computer system design.

Four Charts That Show Why Mark Zuckerberg Is Overhauling Facebook [wsj/37/firewall] Users are posting photos and status updates to Facebook less often. In the final three months of 2018, 23% of Facebook users in the U.S. updated their status or posted a comment about what they were doing, down from 32% in the year-earlier period. And in the same three months, 28% of users in the U.S. posted a photo to Facebook, down from 37.5% a year earlier.

Daily Dish March 8th 2019

Endeavor Returns Money to Saudi Arabia, Protesting Khashoggi Murder [artnewspaper/3] Endeavor’s clean break with the kingdom has made it an outlier in the business community.

Thread for those who teach or study information privacy: [Twitter/1] So I gave my information privacy students (2Ls and 3Ls) a project for spring break, after we learned about anonymous speech, reasonable expectation of privacy, third party doctrine, and privacy by obscurity. 1/6

SharpAI/DeepCamera [github /0] Deep Learning video processing surveillance on ARM GPU for face recognition and much more on the way. Turn existing camera into AI-powered. Production level platform for edge AI using ARM GPU/NPU, leveraging AutoML.

Taxing your privacy – Helping governments monetize data collection is big business [TC/17] Similarly, ClearRoad is a “road pricing transaction processor” that leverages data from vehicles to help governments determine road usage for new revenue streams. Safegraph, on the other hand, is a company that daily collects millions of trackers from smartphones via apps, APIs and other delivery methods often leaving the business of disclosure up to third parties. Data like this has begun to make its way into smart city applications, which could impact industries as varied as the real estate market to the gig economy.

Spotify And Amazon ‘Sue Songwriters’ With Appeal Against 44% Royalty Rise In The United States [mbw /14] “We thank Apple Music for accepting the CRB decision and continuing its practice of being a friend to songwriters. While Spotify and Amazon surely hope this will play out in a quiet appellate courtroom, every songwriter and every fan of music should stand up and take notice. We will fight with every available resource to protect the CRB’s decision.”

DeepMind is asking how Google helped turn the internet into an echo chamber [mit /21] Konstan also critiques the DeepMind study for approaching filter bubbles and echo chambers as machine-learning simulations rather than interactive systems involving humans—a limitation the researchers noted as well. “I am always concerned about work that is limited to simulation studies (or offline data analyses),” he says. “People are complex. On the one hand we know they value diversity, but on the other hand we also know that if we stretch the recommendations too far—to the point where users feel we are not trustworthy—we may lose the users entirely.”

Fight over the Amazon domain name pits Nature against Mammon [FT/9] But to no avail. When a meeting of the Icann board appeared to side with Amazon inc last October, the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, a group of eight Latin American governments, delivered a hotly-worded rebuke.

The George Michael Collection [christies/24] The collection represents a unique dialogue between George Michael and his British contemporaries in the visual arts, such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Michael Craig-Martin and Marc Quinn, who rose to prominence by challenging the status quo, and together created the Young British Art movement. George Michael developed friendships with many of these YBA artists through visits to galleries and their studios, and the collection reflects his dedication to cutting-edge creativity and his instinctive support of young, emerging artistic talent

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The Daily Dish for Thursday March 7th, 2019 – Dispute The Text

Cybersecurity for the Public Interest [schneier /0] When you broaden the definition of Internet security, many additional areas fall within the intersection of cybersecurity and policy. Our particular expertise and way of looking at the world is critical for understanding a great many technological issues, such as net neutrality and the regulation of critical infrastructure. I wouldn’t want to formulate public policy about artificial intelligence and robotics without a security technologist involved

Cryptojacking  +450% since 2017  IBM Corp. threat report.

The attention economy is dead  But Fortnite might have the answer [verge/32]  But Epic’s real genius is in how it markets to the game’s young audience: Fortnite is, above everything else, a place to hang out with your friends. That’s why it isn’t weird that Weezer is playing unreleased songs on an in-game island, and nobody bats an eye when the DJ and producer Marshmello plays a concert in a virtual park. The game’s immense popularity, and its status as a hang-out spot, has its competitors in the attention economy worried. Last month, Netflix mentioned in its 2018 earnings report that “we compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO.” As Polygon noted then, Netflix sees the game as its “stiffest competition” because, to the streaming giant, the most valuable consumer metric is screen time. If people are playing Fortnite, they can’t be watching Netflix.

Europe’s AI start-ups often do not use AI, study finds [ft/15]  Two-fifths of Europe’s artificial intelligence start-ups do not use any AI programs in their products, according to a report that highlights the hype around the technology. (you have to eat your own dog food-ed)

FB pivot to privacy –  coverage pull-quotes emphasis mine. -ED

WSJ (40) By building an impregnable wall around large swaths of user conversations, Facebook also would in effect be limiting its own responsibility for policing content—an area where it has been investing billions of dollars in recent years in response to widespread abuse and misinformation on the platforms.

NYT (30) But none of those moves addressed the issue of public sharing. And in many ways, consumers were already moving en masse toward more private methods of digital communications.

FT (9) Facebook was weighing how to allow users’ messages and metadata to auto-delete after a certain amount of time, he said, and would only store data in countries where governments did not violate citizens’ privacy, even if this meant its services were blocked in those regions.

Guardian (14) “Privacy is really about the citizens’ right to control what is shared, and know the contexts in how it can be accessed,” he said. “Nothing has changed in terms of that control. Access to users’ data is still dictated by Facebook. And now the terms of service will expand to all of Facebook’s subordinate services and apps.”

TC (25) It’s different with privacy. Privacy is about philosophy. It’s about how you handle things from the start. Facebook effectively stole a whole bunch of shit over a long period of time, relying on intentional obfuscation, legal muscle and user ignorance to pull off the heist. Now, the company is trying to make it out of the store with all that contraband stuffed under its shirt before the security guard ambles back. Unfortunately for Facebook, its hands are stained with a decade and a half of data wrung out of a now cumulative 2.3 billion users.


Lexicon : Some thoughts on why I started to prefer the term ‘spatial computing’ to ‘ [x] reality’ last year.  [twitter/1]

Software robots market including those that incorporate AI,  expected to grow to $2.9B by 2021, up from $250M in 2016, according to Forrester Research Inc. 


Everything Is Video For Rachel Rose, the Art World’s Screen Star [w/42] Next up for her is Enclosure, a joint commission for the Luma Foundation, in Arles, France, where it will premiere in early summer, and the Park Avenue Armory, in New York, where it will debut in 2020. The new piece, filmed with actors and a script, returns to the agrarian England of Wil-o-Wisp, but from a new perspective. “I was interested in the people who were seizing the land,” she says. “It has a very different narrative and aesthetic, but is also concerned with magic.” After that, she has still bigger plans: “I want to make feature films. It feels like a natural step for me to develop, especially because I’m so interested in story.” She considers the prospect, calm and steady. “Of course, that creates a whole different set of expectations.”

Privacy is Power

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Daily Dish for Wednesday 6th March, 2019 
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A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking [fb/2] I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about. We plan to build this the way we’ve developed WhatsApp: focus on the most fundamental and private use case — messaging — make it as secure as possible, and then build more ways for people to interact on top of that, including calls, video chats, groups, stories, businesses, payments, commerce, and ultimately a platform for many other kinds of private services.  (This is so laughable its insane – Trust them with your crypto keys AYOR, the reasoning for combined messaging isn’t singular UX driven-  its a regulation avoiding feature that sets things deeper, darker and at the same time – the table for their crypto coin – ED

Move Fast And Build Solidarity [thenation/20]  Activism at Google and Amazon paid off. But can the emerging “tech left” forge long-term alliances between janitors, drivers, and engineers? – major challenge for the emerging tech-labor movement today happens to be its biggest advantage as well: The definition of a “tech worker” is broad, almost to the point of being meaningless. Working “in tech” could conceivably mean doing anything on the Internet, or with computers or smartphones or anything that plugs into a wall. This, in turn, means there are far more potential recruits for the labor movement. But while software engineers and Uber drivers may get their paychecks from the same pot of corporate money, their experiences, problems, and approaches to solving them aren’t necessarily aligned.

Degenerate Feedback Loops in Recommender Systems [arxiv/0] Machine learning is used extensively in recommender systems deployed in products. The decisions made by these systems can influence user beliefs and preferences which in turn affect the feedback the learning system receives – thus creating a feedback loop. This phenomenon can give rise to the so-called “echo chambers” or “filter bubbles” that have user and societal implications. In this paper, we provide a novel theoretical analysis that examines both the role of user dynamics and the behavior of recommender systems, disentangling the echo chamber from the filter bubble effect. In addition, we offer practical solutions to slow down system degeneracy. Our study contributes toward understanding and developing solutions to commonly cited issues in the complex temporal scenario, an area that is still largely unexplored.  (tl/tr recommendation is broken and its hostile -ed)

There’s no such thing as a “tech person” in the age of AI [techreview /23]  That so-called dominating technology is artificial intelligence. Its sudden rise has already permeated every aspect of our lives, transforming our social, political, and economic systems. We no longer live in a society that reflects our old, manufactured separations. To catch up, we need to restructure the way we learn and work.

ghidra-sre.org [download]  Ghidra is a software reverse engineering (SRE) framework developed by NSA’s Research Directorate for NSA’s cybersecurity mission. It helps analyze malicious code and malware like viruses, and can give cybersecurity professionals a better understanding of potential vulnerabilities in their networks and systems. NSA will be making Ghidra available to the public as an open source release in time for its first public demonstration at the 2019 RSA Conference this March. For more NSA releases, check 0ut  CODE.NSA.GOV  for open source, and NSA’s Technology Transfer Program for other technology. Related  Ghidra opens up JDWP in debug mode listening on port 18001, you can use it to execute code remotely (palm to face emoji) .. to fix change line 150 of support/launch.sh from * to

AI Art – sold for £32,000 today.

Study: Facing the Future of Surveillance -The Constitution Project’s Task Force On Facial Recognition Surveillance  [pogo.org / 2]  The importance of limiting government access to the private lives of citizens is highest for sensitive information. But quantity of information can raise its own privacy issues. In Carpenter, the Court highlighted that “a cell phone—almost a feature of human anatomy—tracks nearly exactly the movements of its owner,” and therefore presents heightened risks to privacy.50 While cell phones may have become an extension of our bodies, our faces require no such metaphor; unlike cellphones, our faces are never able to be turned off, left behind, or cast aside. If our faces can be subjected to the same type of continuous surveillance as cellphones, strong limits on surveillance technology will be necessary to properly rebalance power between the government and the people.

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Daily Dish for Tuesday 5th March, 2019 
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Spotify adds 1 million unique listeners in India in less than a week [reuters /14]  India, with a population of 1.3 billion and more than 400 million smartphone users, is a potentially huge market for the Swedish company.

National Security Agency halts surveillance program [cnn /28]  The National Security Agency has stopped using a surveillance program in recent months that relied on bulk data collected from US domestic phone records, according to a Republican congressional official. The program authorized under the USA Freedom Act, requires reauthorization at the end of the year and the Trump administration may not seek to extend it, according to Luke Murry, national security adviser to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

These Cameras Can Spot Shoplifters Even Before They Steal [bloomberg / 27] Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed artificial intelligence software that hunts for potential shoplifters, using footage from security cameras for fidgeting, restlessness and other potentially suspicious body language. (nothing to see here move along – ed)

What’s new — March 2019 – Artists + Machine Intelligence [medium /0] A monthly newsletter about Artists + Machine Intelligence

NYC Open Data Week  March 1 – 9, 2019 Open Data Week is organized and produced by the NYC Open Data Program and BetaNYC. This week-long event series takes place during the first week of March to celebrate New York City’s Open Data Law, which was signed into law on March 7, 2012. The goal of Open Data Week 2019 is to raise awareness about NYC Open Data, a free data resource: www.nyc.gov/opendata

Pan, Tilt And Zoom [arambartholl/0]  2018 installation – CCTV cameras, cable variable.  Three motorized CCTV dome cameras are installed on the gallery floor. The built-in auto-tracking function makes the cameras follow any motion in the room. While moving its lens the center of the weight of the device shifts and the whole camera starts to roll on the floor. As a result the software is confronted with even more motion which needs to be tracked. From time to time the cameras bump into each other or start to follow and trigger each other movements.

Privacy is Power 

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Daily Dish for Monday 4th March, 2019
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degooglisons-internet.org [0] Alternatives to Google.  The Free Software community offers alternative ethical services, The web giants centralize our digital lives in exchange for their services, The Framasoft network intends to prove it by hosting them.

Namer.ai [1] is a machine learning-based domain name generator powered by a smart artificial brain. It wants to name your blog or website.  (anything would be smarter than godaddy -ed)

project_alias  [github /2] Alias is a teachable “parasite” that is designed to give users more control over their smart assistants, both when it comes to customisation and privacy. Through a simple app the user can train Alias to react on a custom wake-word/sound, and once trained, Alias can take control over your home assistant by activating it for you. (more of this please -ed)

OpenAI Shouldn’t Release Their Full Language Model [thegradient.pub/5] In response to Dear OpenAI: Please Open Source Your Language Model In response to Better Language Models and Their Implications

Here are the data brokers quietly buying and selling your personal information [Fastcompany/16] By buying or licensing data or scraping public records, third-party data companies can assemble detailed profiles with thousands of attributes each for billions of people. For decades, companies could buy up lists of magazines subscribers to build targeted advertising audiences. These days, if you use a smartphone or a credit card, it’s not difficult for a company to determine if you’ve just gone through a break-up, if you’re pregnant or trying to lose weight, whether you’re an extrovert, what medicine you take, where you’ve been, and even how you swipe and tap on your smartphone.

Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger launches anti-Brexit poster campaign [artnewspaper /2]  Posters featuring Prime Minister Theresa May will be cropping up on billboards across Britain

80+ Free #DataScience Books  [datasciencecentral/6]An archive of all O’Reilly data ebooks is available for free download.

PCjs Machines Directory of C:\PCJS.ORG [pcjs.org/1] Welcome to PCjs, home of PCx86, the original IBM PC simulation that runs in your web browser. It is one of several JavaScript Machines in the PCjs Project, an open-source project that includes:

Daily Dish – 030319

myplay.meetchopra.com  stream any torrent [meetchopra/0]

voice.mozilla.org/en/datasets 22 GB of voices. – We’re building an open source, multi-language dataset of voices that anyone can use to train speech-enabled applications. We believe that large, publicly available voice datasets will foster innovation and healthy commercial competition in machine-learning based speech technology. Common Voice’s multi-language dataset is already the largest publicly available voice dataset of its kind, but it’s not the only one.

When our devices can read our emotions: Affectiva’s Gabi Zijderveld   [technologyreview/2] There is no part of this piece that I am comfortable with  – the entire podcast is a normalization strategy for a technology that should be illegal.

Facebook’s global lobbying against data privacy laws [theguardian /7] Lobbied politicians across Europe in a strategic operation to head off “overly restrictive” GDPR legislation. They include extraordinary claims that the Irish prime minister said his country could exercise significant influence as president of the EU, promoting Facebook’s interests even though technically it was supposed to remain neutral.  Used chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s feminist memoir Lean In to “bond” with female European commissioners it viewed as hostile. Threatened to withhold investment from countries unless they supported or passed Facebook-friendly laws.

How Will We Prevent AI-Based Forgery? [hbr /3] In February, AI-based forgery reached a watershed moment–the OpenAI research company announced GPT-2, an AI generator of text so seemingly authentic that they deemed it too dangerous to release publicly for fears of misuse. Sample paragraphs generated by GPT-2 are a chilling facsimile of human- authored text. Unfortunately, even more powerful tools are sure to follow and be deployed by rogue actors.

Are Robots Competing for Your Job? [newyorker /11]“Given this long record of false alarms, contemporary economists are generally dismissive of arguments that technological progress might lead to unemployment as well as falling wages and soaring income inequality,” Ford admits. After all, “history shows that the economy has consistently adjusted to advancing technology by creating new employment opportunities and that these new jobs often require more skills and pay higher wages.”

Face Value – How tattoos on foreheads and cheekbones turn unknown teens into internet stars.
  [vox /10 ] Face tattoos fuel this escalation, in that they make a new face instantly recognizable. On Instagram, in YouTube videos, in clips pulled out of YouTube videos to go viral on Twitter. They render the face a cross-platform commodity. For a boy with Benjamin Franklin tattooed on his face (and the SoundCloud logo on his arm), they connect the dots as he appears on an Instagram account with 2 million followers, then in a parody video that gets picked up on Twitter, and then on the cover of XXL’s prestigious “Freshman” issue. And they connect the dots between a nobody YouTuber and Justin Bieber.

Interview: Siri Hustvedt: ‘I’m writing for my life’  [ theguardian /7] Hustvedt’s novel evokes a New York that has vanished, a city that feels both smaller and shabbier, yet also richer, with an intellectual life that no longer feels plausible in the suburbanised city of today, in which public spaces have eroded and people gather in cafés not to debate ideas, but to plug in. But the city has become safer. A pivotal scene in Memories of the Future culminates in an attempted rape. Nothing quite so terrible happened to Hustvedt, although she bore her share of horrors. “I was never mugged, but I was molested on the subway, someone grabbed my genitals,” she replies matter-of-factly. “I actually did get my elbow into his side before he left the train, and he cried out, which was extremely gratifying.” She also recalls being handed a whistle at Columbia University library after reports of a flasher lurking among the shelves, a precaution she finds hysterical today.

Comme Des Garcons and Junya Watanabe Autumn/Winter 2019 Ready-To-Wear   [vogue.uk/7]

Daily Dish 030119

Breakthrough Technologies 2019 [MIT TR/20] — robot dexterity, new-wave nuclear power, predicting preemies, gut probe in a pill, custom cancer vaccines, the cow-free burger, CO2 catcher, ECG on your wrist, sanitation without sewers, AI assistants.

RIAA 2018 Year-End Music Industry Revenue Report (PDF) The music industry has clawed back to 2007 revenues,   US recorded music industry grew to $10b last year, streaming revenues now account for 65% of the market.

Deception & Trust: A Deep Look At Deep Fakes [techdirt/12] However, life is more complex than that. Studies suggest that in repeated interactions with the same individual, a person is more likely to place trust in the other individual because, without any trust, neither party would gain in the long term. When members of a group can rely on other members, individuals within the group gain a net benefit on average.

Limiting Your Digital Footprints in a Surveillance State [nyt /25]  What is the oddest surveillance tech you’ve seen in China? China is a gadget-loving nation. Often technology that doesn’t totally work is embraced with alacrity. I think my favorite example was the facial-recognition sunglasses that made the rounds last year. The police were rocking these glasses, with a camera that plugged into a smartphone-like minicomputer. The idea was the glasses could identify people as the police looked at them. When I got to try them on, I found out they didn’t work all that well. In some ways, that doesn’t matter. If you convince people you know everything about them, they’re less likely to break rules. The police officer told me about how they had used the glasses to intimidate a drug smuggler into a full confession. It shows you that tech doesn’t always have to function in order to work.

More updates on our actions related to the safety of minors on YouTube  [googleblog /3]  Taking action on creators who cause egregious harm to the community . No form of content that endangers minors is acceptable on YouTube, which is why we have terminated certain channels that attempt to endanger children in any way. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges targeting any audience are also clearly against our policies. We will continue to take action when creators violate our policies in ways that blatantly harm the broader user and creator community. Please continue to flag these

Upping the Ante on Bulk Surveillance .Robust surveillance legislation and effective intelligence oversight can serve as bulwarks against the erosion of fundamental rights in our democracies. Unfortunately, national governments regularly need to be admonished for flaws in their intelligence laws by national or regional courts. Rightly, courts demand more rigorous and effective oversight mechanisms. Yet, given the rapid evolution and the complexity of surveillance technology, what should effective oversight look like in actual practice? Courts will not design oversight institutions or prescribe specific accountability mechanisms. This is the important task of democratic governance that needs to be administered elsewhere.  (full text online- ED)

How 5G Will Change So Much More Than Your Phone [wsj / /firewall]  Making surveillance more precise. Early experiments suggest cameras and sensors with 5G enhancements could allow police departments to scan public places more quickly for suspects in their databases. It could also allow stores to track their customers’ movements with more precision, perhaps allowing them to tailor marketing to them based on their behavior. Engineers at the wireless carrier developed customized software that allows computers to process images near a cell tower rather than in a data center hundreds of miles away. The test took advantage of two 5G benefits. Enhanced bandwidth allows cameras to pass data-heavy images over the air without degrading their quality. Lower latency also lets computers process images close to where they are captured, allowing them to quickly identify people and objects. Verizon says the on-site processing led its systems to find matching images twice as fast as they could using conventional methods.

Halide creators launch Spectre, an AI-powered long exposure camera app for iPhone  [9to5mac / 29] MAKE CROWDS DISAPPEAR: Spectre helps take photos of crowded, touristy places. Simply set a medium or long duration and take a shot to erase the crowd from a location. Capture those special moments like you remember them. RIVERS OF LIGHT: At night, AI scene detection automatically switches modes to draw beautiful light trails, for stunning nighttime city photography or light painting. GORGEOUS WATER: Capture waterfalls, ocean waves, fountains and more with beautiful ghostly water. 

Android Now FIDO2 Certified, Accelerating Global Migration Beyond Passwords [fidoalliance.org /12]  FIDO Alliance announced today that Android is now FIDO2 Certified, bringing simpler, stronger authentication capabilities to over a billion devices that use this platform every day. With this news, any compatible device running Android 7.0+ is now FIDO2 Certified out of the box or after an automated Google Play Services update. This gives users the ability to leverage their device’s built-in fingerprint sensor and/or FIDO security keys for secure passwordless access to websites and native applications that support the FIDO2 protocols.




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Daily Dish for Thursday 27th February, 2019 
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Facebook and Telegram Are Hoping to Succeed Where Bitcoin Failed [nyt/27]  The messaging companies have a reach that dwarfs the backers of earlier cryptocurrencies. Facebook and Telegram can make the digital wallets used for cryptocurrencies available, in an instant, to hundreds of millions of users.  Meanwhile back in Irie … Facebook Faces 10 Privacy Probes in Ireland as Global Scrutiny Intensifies [wsj /38] and gangster style Facebook wants up to 30% of fan subscriptions vs Patreon’s 5% [techcrunch 18]  Patreon, which now has 3 million patrons who’ll pay 100,000 artists, comedians, models and makers more than $500 million this year.

AT&T Weighs Combining HBO, Turner Units [wsj /37/paywall] Veteran television executive and producer Robert Greenblatt is in advanced talks withAT&T Inc. to take a senior role at WarnerMedia that could include oversight of a new unit that would combine HBO and Turner entertainment networks and an upcoming streaming service, people familiar with the matter said. The priority of AT&T is to get its as-yet-unnamed direct-to-consumer streaming service up and running. AT&T has said that HBO Now, the premium channel’s own streaming service, will be the centerpiece of that effort.

How fashion tripped over the hip-hop economy [ft /10/paywall]  There is an expression within the black community — “twice as good.” Parents say it to their children to explain that you’ll have to be twice as hardworking, twice as talented, twice as ambitious to get what white people have. We see it across fashion. In Prada’s response, and the decision to look to black figures who are already celebrated, busy and removed from the hierarchies of fashion, we are reminded that the bar is held higher for black creatives.

Twitter threadEugene Wei on social capital.   “We’re at the end of the first era of social networks. They’ve been fun and useful and toxic all at once. To fix the problems from this first era will require modeling users as status-seeking monkeys from the start. We’ve met the enemy, and it is us. /FIN”


Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework in the United States   Archived Webcast from 2/27 [senate.gov /6]  “In an age of rapid innovation in technology, consumers need transparency in how their data is collected and used,” said Wicker. “It is this committee’s responsibility and obligation to develop a federal privacy standard to protect consumers without stifling innovation, investment, or competition. As we continue to examine this critically important issue, I hope this first hearing will offer valuable insights that will help set the stage for meaningful bipartisan legislation.”

Closing comments by Jan Kleijssen, 27 February 2019, Helsinki [coe.int /2] High-level Conference: Governing the Game Changer – Impacts of artificial intelligence development on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law…To ensure respect for human rights and core values, we need oversight mechanisms with strong mandates and enforcement capacities. Robust risk assessment processes must lead to the effective implementation of precautionary measures, if citizens are to trust that expressed commitments will be upheld. These are big challenges and we need to continue close international collaboration and sharing of knowledge, understanding and practices to meet them.

In Favor of Developing Ethical Best Practices in AI Research  [stanford /8] Of course, academic research in AI has a set of issues and concerns unique to it that these general codes of ethics for technology and computing professional may not address. Fortunately, substantial effort has been put into addressing this area as well. In particular, “ETHICALLY ALIGNED DESIGN – a Vision for Prioritizing Human Well-being with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems” by the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems and the ASILOMAR AI Principles by the Future of Life Institute both provide concrete recommendations for AI researchers. Last but not least, researchers should be familiar with the codes of conducts at their universities and professional events they attend. Not all AI conferences have explicit codes of conduct, so a good baseline to be aware of is the NeurIPS 2018 code of conduct. Likewise, the NeurIPS affiliated ML Ally pledge is worth reading and thinking about.

Beyond Local Pattern Matching: Recent Advances in Machine Reading [stanford.edu /8] In today’s age of information explosion, when too much new knowledge is generated every day in text (among other modalities) for any single person to digest, enabling machines to read large amounts of text and answer questions for us is one of the most crucial and practical tasks in the field of natural language understanding. Solving the task of machine reading, or question answering, will lay an important cornerstone towards a powerful and knowledgeable AI system like the librarian in the movie Time Machine:

Reconstructing meaning from bits of information [nature /13] . Here, we demonstrate using functional MRI (fMRI) that the brain combines bits of information into meaningful object representations. Participants receive clues of individual objects in form of three isolated semantic features, given as verbal descriptions. We use machine-learning-based neural decoding to learn a mapping between individual semantic features and BOLD activation patterns.

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Daily Dish 022719

Daily Dish for Wednesday 27th February, 2019 
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Amazon Personalize – Real-time personalization and recommendation, based on the same technology used at Amazon.com  [aws/ 5]  With Amazon Personalize, you provide an activity stream from your application – page views, signups, purchases, and so forth – as well as an inventory of the items you want to recommend, such as articles, products, videos, or music. You can also choose to provide Amazon Personalize with additional demographic information from your users such as age, or geographic location. Amazon Personalize will process and examine the data, identify what is meaningful, select the right algorithms, and train and optimize a personalization model that is customized for your data.

Status as a Service (SaaS) [eugenewei.com /9] I think network effects are great, but in a sense they’re a little overrated. The problem with network effects is they unwind just as fast. And so they’re great while they last, but when they reverse, they reverse viciously. Go ask the MySpace guys how their network effect is going. Network effects can create a very strong position, for obvious reasons. But in another sense, it’s a very weak position to be in. Because if it cracks, you just unravel. I always worry when a company thinks the answer is just network effects. How durable are they?

@bethmsemel  #AICantFixThis – Threaded read  ... What alternative models of computing is MIT trying to prevent today? The CoC has appeared precisely at a time when critical perspectives of computing are coming to the fore- precisely at the time of #techwontbuildit and @Data4BlackLives#AICantFixThis

Spotify launches in India: Ad-supported free tier and $1.67 monthly subscription [spotify / 3] launch comes on the heels of our recent expansion across MENA and Southeast Asia, bringing the total number of Spotify markets to seventy-nine. Spotify now has more than 200 million users, including more than 96 million subscribers.

How Listening To Music Impairs Creativity  [eurekalert.org /8] video . – The popular view that music enhances creativity has been challenged by researchers who say it has the opposite effect. Psychologists investigated the impact of background music on performance by presenting people with verbal insight problems that are believed to tap creativity. They found that background music ‘significantly impaired’ people’s ability to complete tasks testing verbal creativity — but there was no effect for background library noise

Surveillance Cameras [eff /0] Recognizing the Types of Cameras – Here is a visual guide to some of the types of surveillance cameras you may encounter day-to-day. This is not an exhaustive list, and it’s important to note that some cameras may incorporate multiple features described below.

Are Robots Competing for Your Job? [newyorker / 59!] Futurists foretell inevitable outcomes by conjuring up inevitable pasts. People who are in the business of selling predictions need to present the past as predictable—the ground truth, the test case. Machines are more predictable than people, and in histories written by futurists the machines just keep coming; depicting their march as unstoppable certifies the futurists’ predictions. But machines don’t just keep coming. They are funded, invented, built, sold, bought, and used by people who could just as easily not fund, invent, build, sell, buy, and use them. Machines don’t drive history; people do.

Swiss Cybervoting – source code being shared wide after DMCA takedown –  e-voting source code

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