robots & ai

‘A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.’ –John le Carré

{ Malmö-based startup Bitcraze has come up with a way to pre-program their tiny 27 gram drones to work autonomously, enabling them to fly in science fiction-like coordinated swarms of up to 49 units at a time. | The Local | full story }

related { Autonomous killer drones }

(O my shining stars and body!)

A powerful antibiotic that kills some of the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria in the world has been discovered using artificial intelligence.

{ The Guardian | Continue reading }

how paisibly eirenical, all dimmering dunes and gloamering glades

Army researchers have developed an artificial intelligence and machine learning technique that produces a visible face image from a thermal image of a person’s face captured in low-light or nighttime conditions. This development could lead to enhanced real-time biometrics and post-mission forensic analysis for covert nighttime operations.

{ DSIAC | Continue reading }

A gull. Gulls. Far calls.

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Facebook said on Friday that it had removed hundreds of accounts with ties to the Epoch Media Group. […] Researchers said the profiles used photos generated by artificial intelligence. […]

The people behind the network of 610 Facebook accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts posted about political news and issues in the United States, including President Trump’s impeachment, conservative ideology, political candidates, trade and religion. “This was a large, brazen network that had multiple layers of fake accounts and automation that systematically posted content with two ideological focuses: support of Donald Trump and opposition to the Chinese government,” Mr. Brookie said in an interview. […]

The people behind the network used artificial intelligence to generate profile pictures, Facebook said. They relied on a type of artificial intelligence called generative adversarial networks. These networks can, through a process called machine learning, teach themselves to create realistic images of faces, even though they do not belong to a real person. […] This A.I. technique did not actually make it harder for the company’s automated systems to detect the fakes, because the systems focus on patterns of behavior among accounts. […] Facebook said the accounts masked their activities by using a combination of fake and authentic American accounts to manage pages and groups on the platforms. 

{ NYTimes | Continue reading }

photo { Ian Strange, SOS, 2015-2017 }

Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine.

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[We] discovered at least 450 websites in a network of local and business news organizations, each distributing thousands of algorithmically generated articles and a smaller number of reported stories. Of the 450 sites we discovered, at least 189 were set up as local news networks across ten states within the last twelve months by an organization called Metric Media. […]

Titles like the East Michigan News, Hickory Sun, and Grand Canyon Times have appeared on the web ahead of the 2020 election. These networks of sites can be used in a variety of ways: as ‘stage setting’ for events, focusing attention on issues such as voter fraud and energy pricing, providing the appearance of neutrality for partisan issues, or to gather data from users that can then be used for political targeting. […]

Some of these mysterious, partisan local news sites publish physical newspapers and many have minimal social media presence. At first, they do not  appear to be owned by the same network or organization, but a number of clues suggest that they are intimately linked. Our analysis demonstrates the links between the networks by identifying shared markers, such as unique analytics tokens, server IP addresses, and even shared design templates and bylines on articles. Further, the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service for many of these websites—but not all—suggest they are part of Locality Labs, LLC. 

{ Columbia Journalism Review | Continue reading }

still { Martin Kersels, Pink Constellation, 2001 }

Three quarks for Muster Mark!

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In 2016, London-based DeepMind Technologies, a subsidiary of Alphabet (which is also the parent company of Google), startled industry watchers when it reported that the application of artificial intelligence had reduced the cooling bill at a Google data center by a whopping 40 percent. What’s more, we learned that year, DeepMind was starting to work with the National Grid in the United Kingdom to save energy throughout the country using deep learning to optimize the flow of electricity.

Could AI really slash energy usage so profoundly? In the three years that have passed, I’ve searched for articles on the application of AI to other data centers but find no evidence of important gains. What’s more, DeepMind’s talks with the National Grid about energy have broken down. And the financial results for DeepMind certainly don’t suggest that customers are lining up for its services: For 2018, the company reported losses of US $571 million on revenues of $125 million, up from losses of $366 million in 2017. Last April, The Economist characterized DeepMind’s 2016 announcement as a publicity stunt, quoting one inside source as saying, “[DeepMind just wants] to have some PR so they can claim some value added within Alphabet.” […]

Many of McKinsey’s estimates were made by extrapolating from claims made by various startups. For instance, its prediction of a 10 percent improvement in energy efficiency in the U.K. and elsewhere was based on the purported success of DeepMind and also of Nest Labs, which became part of Google’s hardware division in 2018. In 2017, Nest, which makes a smart thermostat and other intelligent products for the home, lost $621 million on revenues of $726 million. That fact doesn’t mesh with the notion that Nest and similar companies are contributing, or are poised to contribute, hugely to the world economy.

{ IEEE Spectrum | Continue reading }

‘But as the power of Hellas grew, and the acquisition of wealth became more an objective, the revenues of the states increasing, tyrannies were established almost everywhere.’ –Thucydides

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“Financial machine learning creates a number of challenges for the 6.14 million people employed in the finance and insurance industry, many of whom will lose their jobs — not necessarily because they are replaced by machines, but because they are not trained to work alongside algorithms,” said Marcos Lopez de Prado, a Cornell University professor. […]

Nasdaq runs more than 40 different algorithms, using about 35,000 parameters, to look for market abuse and manipulation in real time.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }

related { 90% of high-tech job growth concentrated in just 5 cities: Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and San Diego }

photo { Matthew Reamer }

‘Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion.’ –Kierkegaard

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In Japan, one restaurant is exploring artificial intelligence (AI) robotics technology to enable paralyzed employees to remotely pilot robotic waiters. […] By 2023, the number of people with disabilities employed will triple due to AI and emerging technologies reducing barriers to access. […]

By 2024, the World Health Organization will identify online shopping as an addictive disorder as millions abuse digital commerce and encounter financial stress. […]

By 2024, AI identification of emotions will influence more than half of the online advertisements you see. […]

By 2025, 50% of people with a smartphone but without a bank account will use a mobile-accessible cryptocurrency account. […]

By 2023, up to 30% of world news and video content will be authenticated as real by blockchain, countering deep fake technology.

{ Gartner | Continue reading }

acrylic on canvas { Victor Vasarely, Micron, 1984 }

Maria enters with the news that Malvolio is now about to make an ass of himself by approaching Olivia in yellow stockings, cross-gartered, and with his face wrinkled in smiles

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Last month, China saw its first lawsuit filed over the use of [facial recognition] technology by a Chinese law professor in eastern Zhejiang province. The professor sued a local safari park after it began forcing visitors to scan their faces to enter the park. The case has not been heard yet, but the park decided to allow visitors to opt between having their face scanned or using a fingerprint system—which still means the collection of visitors’ biometric data.

{ QZ | Continue reading }

related { New app claims it can identify venture capitalists using facial recognition }

electrophotographic (3M Color-in-Color) print { Sonia Landy Sheridan, SOnia in Time, 1975 }

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 }

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 }

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

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