transportation

‘McDonald’s removed the mcrib from its menu so it could suck its own dick’ –@jaynooch

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iBorderCtrl is an AI based lie detector project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020. The tool will be used on people crossing borders of some European countries. It officially enables faster border control. It will be tested in Hungary, Greece and Letonia until August 2019 and should then be officially deployed.

The project will analyze facial micro-expressions to detect lies. We really have worries about such a project. For those who don’t have any knowledge on AI and CS, the idea of using a computer to detect lies can sound really good. Computers are believed to be totally objective.

But the AI community knows it is far from being true: biases are nearly omnipresent. We have no idea how the dataset used by iBorderCtrl has been built.

More globally, we have to remind that AI has no understanding of humans (to be honest, it has no understanding at all). It just starts being able to recognize the words we pronounce, but it doesn’t understand their meaning.

Lies rely on complex psychological mechanisms. Detecting them would require a lot more than a simple literal understanding. Trying to detect them using some key facial expressions looks utopian, especially as facial expressions can vary from a culture to another one. As an example, nodding the head usually means “yes” in western world, but it means “no” in countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.

{ ActuIA | Continue reading }

The ‘iBorderCtrl’ AI system uses a variety of ‘at home’ pre-registration systems and real time ‘at the airport’ automatic deception detection systems. Some of the critical methods used in automated deception detection are that of micro-expressions. In this opinion article, we argue that considering the state of the psychological sciences current understanding of micro-expressions and their associations with deception, such in vivo testing is naïve and misinformed. We consider the lack of empirical research that supports the use of micro-expressions in the detection of deception and question the current understanding of the validity of specific cues to deception. With such unclear definitive and reliable cues to deception, we question the validity of using artificial intelligence that includes cues to deception, which have no current empirical support.

{ Security Journal | Continue reading }

Just remember how we shook shook

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There’s an unwritten rule for taking escalators in Vancouver. People stand on the right side or walk on the left. Makes sense, right? Well it turns out this is a very inefficient, and possibly dangerous way to use an escalator. […]

At their maximum capacity, with two people on each step, escalators can move about 13,500 people per hour. But in reality, this number is closer to 7,000-7,500 people and a big reason is because people who walk are taking up more room. On top of that, there just aren’t that many people walking up escalators. […]

A study in London found 74.9 per cent of people choose to stand instead of walking, especially on the longer ones. With this ’stand on the right, walk on the left’ rule, we’re giving up 50 per cent of the space on our escalators for roughly 25 per cent of our commuters. […]

In 2017, the subway operator in Nanjing, China, reported 95 per cent of their escalators were experiencing severe wear and tear on the right side. […]

Efficiency aside, there’s another reason why walking on escalators might be a bad idea—safety. Escalator accidents are much more common than you think. […] In the U.S., about 10,000 escalator-related injuries end in emergency room visits every year.

{ CBC | Continue reading }

Hey Titi, tu viens te promener avec moi?

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Two years ago, Nissan hired the studio Man Made Music for what seemed like a straightforward task: Design a sound that its quiet electric vehicles could play to announce themselves on the road.

The automaker wasn’t just splurging on a flashy feature. It was preparing for a federal regulation set to take effect next year that would require all hybrid and electric vehicles, which are quieter than their gas-guzzling ancestors, to emit noise at certain speeds for pedestrian safety. […]

The team at Man Made Music, which is used to developing audio for TV, movies and radio, spent nearly half of 2017 working on the sound, a layering of sampled wind and string instruments, and analog and digital synth sounds [listen to “Canto,” the future sound of Nissan’s electrified vehicles].

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

quote { Titi en voiture, 1974 }

photo { American Museum of Natural History, New York » Museum staff moving Brontosaurus skeleton, June 1938 }

meep meep

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More than a million customers signed up for Prime memberships in just the third week of December 2013. Sales hit a record high. But UPS couldn’t keep up.

Analysts and companies in the logistics industry think Amazon eventually will become a formidable competitor to UPS and to FedEx. […] The next spring, Amazon was testing contract couriers in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. And in 2015, Amazon introduced Flex, an app that allows people to sign up for delivery shifts using their own vehicles. (Amazon considers Flex drivers independent contractors, too.)

Amazon is only getting faster in delivering orders, and its competitors are racing to catch up. Last April, after reporting a record $3.6 billion quarterly profit, Amazon’s chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky, told Wall Street analysts that the company was investing $800 million to make free overnight delivery the default for Prime members in the United States.

The next day, Walmart teased on Twitter: “One-day free shipping … without a membership fee. Now THAT would be groundbreaking. Stay tuned.” Walmart began offering free overnight delivery of 220,000 popular items in a few American cities, with a goal of expanding to 40 major metropolitan areas. […]

In its relentless push for e-commerce dominance, Amazon has built a huge logistics operation in recent years to get more goods to customers’ homes in less and less time. […] The retailer has created a network of contractors across the country that allows the company to expand and shrink the delivery force as needed, while avoiding the costs of taking on permanent employees. […]

Amazon requires that 999 out of 1,000 deliveries arrive on time, according to work orders obtained from contractors with drivers in eight states.

Amazon has repeatedly said in court that it is not responsible for the actions of its contractors, citing agreements that require them, as one puts it, to “defend, indemnify and hold harmless Amazon.” Just last week, an operations manager for Amazon testified in Chicago that it signs such agreements with all its “delivery service partners,” who assume the liability and the responsibility for legal costs. The agreements cover “all loss or damage to personal property or bodily harm including death.” […]

“I think anyone who thinks about Amazon has very conflicted feelings,” said Tim Hauck, whose sister, Stacey Hayes Curry, was killed last year by a driver delivering Amazon packages in a San Diego office park. “It’s sure nice to get something in two days for free. You’re always impressed with that side of it. But this idea that they’ve walled themselves off from responsibility is disturbing.”

{ ProRepublica | Continue reading }

‘The weak and ill-constituted shall perish: first principle of our philanthropy. And one shall help them to do so.’ –Nietzsche

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Tesla is a car company whose stock trades like a tech company. Tesla might sell 400,000 cars this year. By contrast, Ford might sell 6 million, GM 8.5 million. Granted, the Tesla Model 3 looks and drives like a dream. But when you count salaries and overhead according to Tesla’s own quarterly statements, it costs more to make a Tesla than people are willing to pay for it. And that calculus includes the federal subsidies that will dry up on December 31 of this year. Ford is worth $35 billion and makes money on its cars. Tesla is worth $40 billion and doesn’t. How is this math possible?

Tesla’s stock trades at such a large multiple of its revenue because Musk has convinced shareholders that it’s not a car company, but an artificial-intelligence company that happens to use a fleet of 500,000 cars to collect and label data. It’s a clever sleight-of-hand, but it’s not fooling those who matter. As a fund manager on Wall Street once told me, “You’re not a hedge-fund manager until you’ve shorted Tesla at least once.” […]

We estimate that ninety percent of the startups in the autonomous-vehicle space today will not exist in five years. […] The big crunch is coming because, over the next year, all the major auto and trucking companies will decide on who will be the suppliers for their main production lines in 2022. This won’t be for full self-driving, but for something a little more modest if still vitally important: a car so safe it is incapable of crashing.

{ National Review | Continue reading }

I am the Nightrider. I’m a fuel injected suicide machine.

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After one too many snowstorms, Boston tech executive Larry Kim had had it with shoveling out his car and struggling to find parking. So in 2014 he ditched his Infiniti luxury sedan and began commuting by Uber and Lyft—at an annual cost of as much as $20,000. I would never go back to owning a car,” says Kim […]

Auto sales in the U.S., after four record or near-record years, are declining this year, and analysts say they may never again reach those heights. […] IHS sees the biggest impact of mobility services coming in China. Auto sales there plunged 18 percent in January, an unprecedented seventh consecutive monthly decline, as commuters rapidly embraced ride-hailing. Last year, 550 million Chinese took 10 billion rides with the Didi ride-hailing service. That’s twice as many rides as Uber provided globally in 2018. “Increasing numbers of Chinese are opting for mobility as a service over car ownership,” wrote Michael Dunne, CEO of automotive researcher ZoZo Go. […]

Replacing a taxi driver with a robot cuts 60 percent from a ride’s cost, making travel in a driverless cab much cheaper than driving your own car.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

ballin’ out of control

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[T]hough air travel is safer than it has ever been, the intervening time has not provided an enormous upgrade of our ability to track aircraft far from land-based radar. […]

[O]ver international waters, air traffic controllers have no real-time knowledge of where planes are—they rely on flight plans, radio contact with pilots, and a system called ACARS that provides what is effectively text-message communication between planes and ground stations. […]

In 2010, the FAA mandated that all US aircraft would need to use a system called ADS-B, which means “Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast.” Essentially, by 2020, aircraft are required to broadcast their location, derived from GPS, each second. […]

However, ground receivers need to be within about 172 miles (277 km) of the aircraft to collect ADS-B signals. Out over the ocean, there’s still a knowledge gap between the planes and the air traffic controllers they can’t reach. […]

The solution: more satellites.

Specifically, Aireon has installed payloads on 75 Iridium satellites that have been launched over the past two years, with the final installment reaching orbit in a SpaceX rocket on Jan. 11. These payloads are designed to detect ADS-B signals wherever they are broadcast, whether over the open ocean or a mountain range, finally providing continuous tracking of aircraft anywhere on Earth. The satellites are already processing more than 13 billion ADS-B messages each month. […]

For airlines themselves, the benefits will include using that real-time traffic management to fly faster, in part because they will be able to fly more closely to other planes, which will cut fuel costs (and emissions).

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

etching { Damien Hirst, Cinchonidine, 2004 }

“The Pleasure Principle” is an “independent woman” anthem about love gone wrong built around a dance beat

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Previous studies have shown that male attractiveness can be enhanced by manipulation of status through, for example, the medium of costume. The present study experimentally manipulated status by seating the same target model (male and female matched for attractiveness) expressing identical facial expressions and posture in either a ‘high status’ (Silver Bentley Continental GT) or a ‘neutral status’ (Red Ford Fiesta ST) motor-car. […]

Results showed that the male target model was rated as significantly more attractive on a rating scale of 1–10 when presented to female participants in the high compared to the neutral status context. Males were not influenced by status manipulation, as there was no significant difference between attractiveness ratings for the female seated in the high compared to the neutral condition.

{ The British Psychological Society | PDF }

unrelated { Sweden plans to make sex toys safer because so many people get them stuck in their rectum }

The veripatetic imago of the impossible Gracehoper on his odderkop in the myre

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{ She was told all bags had to go through the X-ray machine, but she refused to part with her handbag }

And call a spate a spate

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{ Lufthansa introduced a new logo, identity, and livery designed in-house in collaboration with Munich-based Martin et Karczinski }

Three Billboards is a good damn movie. I give it two billboards up!

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Here, we present a method that estimates socioeconomic characteristics of regions spanning 200 US cities by using 50 million images of street scenes gathered with Google Street View cars.

Using deep learning-based computer vision techniques, we determined the make, model, and year of all motor vehicles encountered in particular neighborhoods.

Data from this census of motor vehicles, which enumerated 22 million automobiles in total (8% of all automobiles in the United States), were used to accurately estimate income, race, education, and voting patterns at the zip code and precinct level.

The resulting associations are surprisingly simple and powerful. For instance, if the number of sedans encountered during a drive through a city is higher than the number of pickup trucks, the city is likely to vote for a Democrat during the next presidential election (88% chance); otherwise, it is likely to vote Republican (82%).

{ PNAS | PDF }

photo { Tod Papageorge }

When that hark from the air said it was Captain Finsen

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The travel booking systems used by millions of people every day are woefully insecure and lack modern authentication methods. This allows attackers to easily modify other people’s reservations, cancel their flights and even use the refunds to book tickets for themselves.

{ Computer World | Continue reading }

related { By posting a picture of your boarding pass online, you may be giving away more information than you think }