technology

I wish I was little bit taller I wish I was a baller

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A Japanese hotel offers a room that costs only $1 per night, but there’s a catch — the guest’s entire stay is livestreamed on YouTube.

{ UPI | Continue reading }

Are we someone else when we lie?

[Google CEO] Eric Schmidt continued: “Our business is highly measurable. We know that if you spend X dollars on ads, you’ll get Y dollars in revenues.” At Google, Schmidt maintained, you pay only for what works.

Karmazin was horrified. He was an old fashioned advertising man, and where he came from, a Super Bowl ad cost three million dollars. Why? Because that’s how much it cost. What does it yield? Who knows. […]

In 2018, more than $273bn dollars was spent on digital ads globally, according to research firm eMarketer. Most of those ads were purchased from two companies: Google ($116bn in 2018) and Facebook ($54.5bn in 2018). […]

Picture this. Luigi’s Pizzeria hires three teenagers to hand out coupons to passersby. After a few weeks of flyering, one of the three turns out to be a marketing genius. Customers keep showing up with coupons distributed by this particular kid. The other two can’t make any sense of it: how does he do it? When they ask him, he explains: “I stand in the waiting area of the pizzeria.” […] Economists refer to this as a “selection effect.” It is crucial for advertisers to distinguish such a selection effect (people see your ad, but were already going to click, buy, register, or download) from the advertising effect (people see your ad, and that’s why they start clicking, buying, registering, downloading). […]

The online marketing world has the same strategy as Luigi’s Pizzeria and the flyer-handling teens. The benchmarks that advertising companies use – intended to measure the number of clicks, sales and downloads that occur after an ad is viewed – are fundamentally misleading. None of these benchmarks distinguish between the selection effect (clicks, purchases and downloads that are happening anyway) and the advertising effect (clicks, purchases and downloads that would not have happened without ads).

It gets worse: the brightest minds of this generation are creating algorithms which only increase the effects of selection. Consider the following: if Amazon buys clicks from Facebook and Google, the advertising platforms’ algorithms will seek out Amazon clickers. And who is most likely to click on Amazon? Presumably Amazon’s regular customers. In that case the algorithms are generating clicks, but not necessarily extra clicks.

{ The Correspondent | Continue reading }

‘Now looking at the screen, it feels like the future didn’t last long, so Find The Filter You Love The Most And Let It Kill You.’ –Fette Sans

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“The human eye is extraordinarily sensitive to light,” Dr. Woods said. Throw a few dozen photons its way, a few dozen quantum-sized packets of light, and the eye can readily track them. […]

N.I.S.T. disk number two was an example of advanced ultra-black technology: elaborately engineered arrays of tiny carbon cylinders, or nanotubes, designed to capture and muzzle any light they encounter. […] The N.I.S.T. ultra-black absorbs at least 99.99 percent of the light that stumbles into its nanotube forest. But scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported in September the creation of a carbon nanotube coating that they claim captures better than 99.995 of the incident light. “The blackest black should be a constantly improving number,” said Brian Wardle, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and an author on the new report. “Folks will find other materials that are blacker than ours.” […]

Psychologists have gathered evidence that black is among the most metaphorically loaded of all colors, and that we absorb our often contradictory impressions about black at a young age. […] Participants were asked to link images with traits. Which boy was likeliest to cheat on the test? Which man was likely to be in charge at work? Which girl was the smartest in her class, which dog the scariest? Again and again, among both children and young adults, black pulled ahead of nearly every color but red. Black was the color of cheating, and black was the color of cleverness. A black tie was the mark of a boss, a black collar the sign of a pit bull. Black was the color of strength and of winning. Black was the color of rage. […]

Diemut Strebe, an artist in residence at M.I.T., collaborated with Dr. Wardle on a project that would merge carbon at its most absorptive configuration, in the form of carbon nanotubes, with carbon in its most reflective and refractive state, as a diamond. One of their biggest challenges: finding a jeweler willing to lend them a chunky diamond that would be plastered with what amounts to high-tech soot. “I tried many companies, Tiffany, others,” Ms. Strebe said. “I got many no’s.” Finally, L.J. West Diamonds, which specializes in colored diamonds, agreed to hand over a $2 million, 16.78-carat yellow diamond, provided the process could be reverse-engineered and the carbon nanotube coating safely removed. The resulting blackened bling is on view at the New York Stock Exchange, which Ms. Strebe calls “the holy grail of valuation.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

typography can save the world just kidding

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Google is engaged with one of the country’s largest health-care systems to collect and crunch the detailed personal health information of millions of Americans across 21 states.

The initiative, code-named “Project Nightingale,” appears to be the biggest in a series of efforts by Silicon Valley giants to gain access to personal health data and establish a toehold in the massive health-care industry. […] Google began the effort in secret last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, the second-largest health system in the U.S., with the data sharing accelerating since summer, the documents show.

The data involved in Project Nightingale encompasses lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth.

Neither patients nor doctors have been notified. At least 150 Google employees already have access to much of the data on tens of millions of patients, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents.

Some Ascension employees have raised questions about the way the data is being collected and shared, both from a technological and ethical perspective, according to the people familiar with the project. But privacy experts said it appeared to be permissible under federal law. That law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, generally allows hospitals to share data with business partners without telling patients, as long as the information is used “only to help the covered entity carry out its health care functions.”

Google in this case is using the data, in part, to design new software, underpinned by advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, that zeroes in on individual patients to suggest changes to their care.

{ Wall Street Journal | Continue reading }

oil on panel { Mark Ryden, Incarnation, 2009 | Work in progress of the intricate frame for Mark Ryden’s painting Incarnation }

on me voit, on me voit plus

Canada’s Hyperstealth Biotechnology has patented a new “Quantum Stealth” material that disguises a military’s soldiers — or even its tanks, aircraft, and ships — by making anything behind it seem invisible.

{ Futurism | Continue reading }

Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move

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An artificial intelligence hiring system has become a powerful gatekeeper for some of America’s most prominent employers […]

Designed by the recruiting-technology firm HireVue, the system uses candidates’ computer or cellphone cameras to analyze their facial movements, word choice and speaking voice before ranking them against other applicants based on an automatically generated “employability” score. HireVue’s “AI-driven assessments” have become so pervasive in some industries, including hospitality and finance, that universities make special efforts to train students on how to look and speak for best results. More than 100 employers now use the system, including Hilton, Unilever and Goldman Sachs, and more than a million job seekers have been analyzed.

But some AI researchers argue the system is digital snake oil — an unfounded blend of superficial measurements and arbitrary number-crunching, unrooted in scientific fact.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Loading the BRICKS from my FRONT YARD into a DUMPSTER because my neighbor TODD is a FUCKHEAD

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Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has unveiled updated privacy legislation he says will finally bring accountability to corporations that play fast and loose with your private data.

Dubbed the Mind Your Own Business Act, the bill promises consumers the ability to opt out of data collection and sale with a single click. It also demands that corporations be transparent as to how consumer data is collected, used, and who it’s sold to, while imposing harsh fines and prison sentences upon corporations and executives that misuse consumer data and lie about it. […]

“Mark Zuckerberg won’t take Americans’ privacy seriously unless he feels personal consequences,” Wyden said. “A slap on the wrist from the FTC won’t do the job, so under my bill he’d face jail time for lying to the government.”

{ Vice | Continue reading }

art { Nick Knight, Transhuman After All, VMAN, 2013 }

Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move

Founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel and some fellow PayPal alumni, Palantir cut its teeth working for the Pentagon and the CIA in Afghanistan and Iraq. The company’s engineers and products don’t do any spying themselves; they’re more like a spy’s brain, collecting and analyzing information that’s fed in from the hands, eyes, nose, and ears. The software combs through disparate data sources—financial documents, airline reservations, cellphone records, social media postings—and searches for connections that human analysts might miss. It then presents the linkages in colorful, easy-to-interpret graphics that look like spider webs. U.S. spies and special forces loved it immediately; they deployed Palantir to synthesize and sort the blizzard of battlefield intelligence. It helped planners avoid roadside bombs, track insurgents for assassination, even hunt down Osama bin Laden. The military success led to federal contracts on the civilian side. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses Palantir to detect Medicare fraud. The FBI uses it in criminal probes. The Department of Homeland Security deploys it to screen air travelers and keep tabs on immigrants.

Police and sheriff’s departments in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles have also used it, frequently ensnaring in the digital dragnet people who aren’t suspected of committing any crime. People and objects pop up on the Palantir screen inside boxes connected to other boxes by radiating lines labeled with the relationship: “Colleague of,” “Lives with,” “Operator of [cell number],” “Owner of [vehicle],” “Sibling of,” even “Lover of.” If the authorities have a picture, the rest is easy. Tapping databases of driver’s license and ID photos, law enforcement agencies can now identify more than half the population of U.S. adults. […]

In March a former computer engineer for Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, testified in the British Parliament that a Palantir employee had helped Cambridge Analytica use the personal data of up to 87 million Facebook users to develop psychographic profiles of individual voters. […] The employee, Palantir said, worked with Cambridge Analytica on his own time. […]

Legend has it that Stephen Cohen, one of Thiel’s co-founders, programmed the initial prototype for Palantir’s software in two weeks. It took years, however, to coax customers away from the longtime leader in the intelligence analytics market, a software company called I2 Inc.

In one adventure missing from the glowing accounts of Palantir’s early rise, I2 accused Palantir of misappropriating its intellectual property through a Florida shell company registered to the family of a Palantir executive. A company claiming to be a private eye firm had been licensing I2 software and development tools and spiriting them to Palantir for more than four years. I2 said the cutout was registered to the family of Shyam Sankar, Palantir’s director of business development.

I2 sued Palantir in federal court, alleging fraud, conspiracy, and copyright infringement. […] Palantir agreed to pay I2 about $10 million to settle the suit. […]

Sankar, Palantir employee No. 13 and now one of the company’s top executives, also showed up in another Palantir scandal: the company’s 2010 proposal for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to run a secret sabotage campaign against the group’s liberal opponents. Hacked emails released by the group Anonymous indicated that Palantir and two other defense contractors pitched outside lawyers for the organization on a plan to snoop on the families of progressive activists, create fake identities to infiltrate left-leaning groups, scrape social media with bots, and plant false information with liberal groups to subsequently discredit them.

After the emails emerged in the press, Palantir offered an explanation similar to the one it provided in March for its U.K.-based employee’s assistance to Cambridge Analytica: It was the work of a single rogue employee.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

Police databases now feature the faces of nearly half of Americans — most of whom have no idea their image is there

{ NY Times | full story }

‘Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien : mais l’amour infini me montera dans l’âme.’ —Rimbaud

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The ads you see online are based on the sites, searches, or Facebook posts that get your interest. Some rebels therefore throw a wrench into the machinery — by demonstrating phony interests.

“Every once in a while, I Google something completely nutty just to mess with their algorithm,” wrote Shaun Breidbart. “You’d be surprised what sort of coupons CVS prints for me on the bottom of my receipt. They are clearly confused about both my age and my gender.”

[…]

“You never want to tell Facebook where you were born and your date of birth. That’s 98 percent of someone stealing your identity! And don’t use a straight-on photo of yourself — like a passport photo, driver’s license, graduation photo — that someone can use on a fake ID.”

[…]

“Create a different email address for every service you use”

[…]

“Oh yeah — and don’t use Facebook.”

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Miss Yiss, you fascinator, you

Japanese idol Ena Matsuoka was attacked outside her home last month after a fan figured out her address from selfies she posted on social media — just by zooming in on the reflection on her pupils.

The fan, Hibiki Sato, 26, managed to identify a bus stop and the surrounding scenery from the reflection on Matsuoka’s eyes and matched them to a street using Google Maps.

{ Asia One | Continue reading }

Tokyo Shimbun, a metropolitan daily, which reported on the stalking case, warned readers even casual selfies may show surrounding buildings that will allow people to identify the location of the photos.

It also said people shouldn’t make the V-sign with their hand, which Japanese often do in photos, because fingerprints could be stolen.

{ USA Today | Continue reading }

O weep for the hower when eve aleaves bower!

Starbucks plans to begin testing a new type of store that only takes orders via mobile app […] that’s more or less what’s happening right now at regular Starbucks stores: the company already accepts mobile orders, and has more than 16 million mobile users. The drawback is that those users crowd the stores and cause bottlenecks at peak times; in some outlets, the glut of mobile orders has gotten so bad that it’s discouraging walk-in customers. Thus, the mobile-only store model is presumably a response to problems already created by mobile ordering.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

Or Culex feel etchy if Pulex don’t wake him?

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‘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 }

Can’t hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk.

The U.S. government is in the midst of forcing a standoff with China over the global deployment of Huawei’s 5G wireless networks around the world. […] This conflict is perhaps the clearest acknowledgement we’re likely to see that our own government knows how much control of communications networks really matters, and our inability to secure communications on these networks could really hurt us.

{ Cryptography Engineering | Continue reading }

related { Why Controlling 5G Could Mean Controlling the World }

Desire, for hire, would tire a shire, phone, phunkel, or wire

When the world’s first cellular network was installed in Washington, D.C., in 1983, Gatt and Rwayitare knew instinctively that cellular could solve many of Africa’s communication problems. […] “How do you educate a government on what cellular is all about?” asked Gatt. […] You hand him a mobile phone and get him to call home, of course. […]

On an official state visit to the United States, Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko was handed a Motorola mobile phone and urged to call home. It was 1985, so he had to be persuaded that the device — which weighed as much as a bottle of wine and boasted a retractable antenna — was not a walkie-talkie. But once he’d spoken to his family in Kinshasa, he needed no further convincing. Joseph Gatt and Miko Rwayitare’s plan was coming together.

Telecel, the company they formally founded a year later, would soon have 3,000 subscribers in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) — well before mobile phones were ubiquitous in America. Zaire’s near-defunct fixed-line infrastructure meant that the country’s elite were willing to spend $5,000 on a handset and up to $16 per minute to remain connected. […]

Despite being impressed, the dictator — like most people in 1985 — hadn’t fully grasped how life-changing the technology would be and he initially refused to grant Telecel an operating license. Gatt and Rwayitare knew they were onto a good thing, however, so they used their life savings to purchase an ailing U.S. mobile technology firm and obtained finance from Motorola to erect a small system in Kinshasa. All that remained was to buy a couple of hundred handsets — at $3,000 a pop — and give them to Mobutu and his inner circle.

“These 200 Zairean officials called each other and overseas over the next year without paying for a single call.” […] At the end of the trial period, and faced with the prospect of losing what had now become an essential cog in the state machinery, Mobutu agreed to give them their license.

{ OZY | Continue reading }

the head of a human and the body of a lion

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Google has reportedly built a quantum computer more powerful than the world’s top supercomputers. A Google research paper was temporarily posted online this week, the Financial Times reported Friday, and said the quantum computer’s processor allowed a calculation to be performed in just over 3 minutes. That calculation would take 10,000 years on IBM’s Summit, the world’s most powerful commercial computer, Google reportedly said.

Google researchers are throwing around the term “quantum supremacy” as a result, the FT said, because their computer can solve tasks that can’t otherwise be solved. “To our knowledge, this experiment marks the first computation that can only be performed on a quantum processor,” the research paper reportedly said.

{ CNet | Continue reading }

photo { The Sphynx of Gizeh before excavation, photo taken by balloon, 1871 }

Lee Jun-fan (November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), known professionally as Bruce Lee

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of course there is no behind the scenes, no real self, no authenticity, etc. just a precession of simulacra; influencers sort of serve the same function Baudrillard thought Disneyland served: to make everyone else feel “authentic”

{ Rob Horning }

‘They muddy the water, to make it seem deep.’ –Nietzsche

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We are connecting everything to everything.

[…]

In the network economy the winner-take-all behavior of Hollywood hit movies will become the norm for most products—even bulky manufactured items. Oil wells are financed this way now; a few big gushers pay for the many dry wells. You try a whole bunch of ideas with no foreknowledge of which ones will work. Your only certainty is that each idea will either soar or flop, with little in between. A few high-scoring hits have to pay for all the many flops. This lotterylike economic model is an anathema to industrialists, but that’s how network economies work. There is much to learn from long-term survivors in existing hits-oriented business (such as music and books). They know you need to keep trying lots of things and that you don’t try to predict the hits, because you can’t.

Two economists proved that hits—at least in show biz—were unpredictable. They plotted sales of first-run movies between May 1985 and January 1986 and discovered that “the only reliable predictor of a film’s box office was its performance the previous week. Nothing else seemed to matter—not the genre of the film, not its cast, not its budget.” The higher it was last week, the more likely it will be high this week— an increasing returns loop fed by word of mouth recommendations. The economists, Art De Vany and David Walls, claim these results mirror a heavy duty physics equation known as the Bose-Einstein distribution. The fact that the only variable that influenced the result was the result from the week before, means, they say, that “the film industry is a complex adaptive system poised between order and chaos.” In other words, it follows the logic of the net: increasing returns and persistent disequilibrium.

[…]

Because prices move inexorably toward the free, the best move in the network economy is to anticipate this cheapness.

{ Kevin Kelly, New Rules for the New Economy, 1998 | PDF | More: Wired }

Surveiller et punir

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Paul Hildreth peered at a display of dozens of images from security cameras surveying his Atlanta school district and settled on one showing a woman in a bright yellow shirt walking a hallway.

A mouse click instructed the artificial-intelligence-equipped system to find other images of the woman, and it immediately stitched them into a video narrative of her immediate location, where she had been and where she was going.

There was no threat, but Hildreth’s demonstration showed what’s possible with AI-powered cameras. If a gunman were in one of his schools, the cameras could quickly identify the shooter’s location and movements, allowing police to end the threat as soon as possible, said Hildreth, emergency operations coordinator for Fulton County Schools.

AI is transforming surveillance cameras from passive sentries into active observers that can identify people, suspicious behavior and guns, amassing large amounts of data that help them learn over time to recognize mannerisms, gait and dress. If the cameras have a previously captured image of someone who is banned from a building, the system can immediately alert officials if the person returns.

{ LA Times | Continue reading }

installation sketch { ecstasy, 2018 }