Category Archives: The Future

San Francisco is first US city to ban facial recognition

Legislators in San Francisco have voted to ban the use of facial recognition, the first US city to do so.

The emerging technology will not be allowed to be used by local agencies, such as the city’s transport authority, or law enforcement.

Additionally, any plans to buy any kind of new surveillance technology must now be approved by city administrators.

Opponents of the measure said it will put people’s safety at risk and hinder efforts to fight crime.

How they gonna catch all the street crappers now?


The USA faces its first ban on ‘inhumane’ facial recognition technology

One Thursday in April, in the middle of final exam season, an American student named Amara Majeed woke up in her Brown University dorm room to find 35 missed calls on her phone and numerous death threats on her social media pages.

The reason, she soon learned, was that police in Sri Lanka – where her parents had come from – had released a photograph wrongly identifying her as one of the terrorists who had killed more than 250 people at three churches and three hotels in Colombo two days earlier. Specifically, she had been misidentified by facial recognition software employed by an enterprising assistant superintendent.

The story is symptomatic of how quickly and how widely facial recognition technology (FRT) is being deployed in the real world despite serious questions about its accuracy and its fairness. In Oregon, police are using FRT developed by Amazon to catch petty thieves and even to identify dead bodies, unconscious people and people who refuse to give their names.


Amazon rolls out machines that pack orders and replace jobs

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Inc is rolling out machines to automate a job held by thousands of its workers: boxing up customer orders.

The company started adding technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years, which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelopes them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item, two people who worked on the project told Reuters.

Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one, these people said. These facilities typically employ more than 2,000 people.

Amazon is treading lightly, it’s apparent automation will eventually replace most humans.


Why Silicon Valley is turning against the machines

A spectre is haunting Silicon Valley – the spectre of regulation and limits on social-media and smartphone technologies. This is a remarkable development. Not only is the demand for action on ‘tech addiction’ coming from within that citadel of free enterprise and entrepreneurship itself, but it is also being driven by some of Silicon Valley’s brightest and most creative talents – insiders, that is, who have been intimately involved in the development of those very technologies now regarded as socially corrosive.


Outsmarted – The phone in our pockets sees and hears all.

The smartphone is many things—the pool of Narcissus, Alice’s rabbit hole. It is an absorptive miniature self and a megaphone and magical extension of the user, a Swiss Army knife of the mind: a genius, it must be admitted, compared with the dope who holds it in his palm. The self plunges into the little screen, Googling or texting with double thumbs, posting away, begging to be liked or shared.

Yet the transaction is not what it pretends to be. You’re not using the phone; the phone is using you.


Google Wing drones approved for US home deliveries

Drone home delivery company Wing has been approved as an airline by the US Federal Aviation Authority.

It means the company will start delivering goods in rural Virginia within months.

Wing, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, says the drones will carry food and medicine from local shops.

In order to receive the certification, it said it had proved that its drone deliveries carry a lower risk to pedestrians than those made by cars.


Will AI kill developing world growth?

Artificial intelligence (AI) could displace millions of jobs in the future, damaging growth in developing regions such as Africa, says Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University.

I have spent my career in international development, and in recent years have established a research group at Oxford University looking at the impact of disruptive technologies on developing economies.

Perhaps the most important question we have looked at is whether AI will pose a threat – or provide new opportunities – for developing regions such as Africa.


I spy AI. And AI spies on me…

Many fears of artificial intelligence (AI) are overblown. AI will not become conscious and take away all our jobs. It does, however, give considerable powers to governments and global corporations to invade our lives minutely:

Google also doesn’t mind telling you what you should and shouldn’t know. Roy Spencer, author of Climate Confusion, notes that when he did a Google search for “climate skepticism,” the first ten pages of results that came up contained links, not to climate skepticism, but to articles criticizing climate skepticism. By contrast, a search for “Nazi Party” yielded mostly straightforward information and commentary on Nazi beliefs…

In recent years, Russia has aimed considerable social media mischief at the United States. What’s the point? Science writer Alex Berezow ventures an explanation: “Russia is a country in inexorable decline. Its economy is roughly the same size as the combined economies of Belgium and Netherlands. Thus, causing trouble keeps it relevant.” If that sounds odd, recall that most Americans are too young to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Vladimir Putin’s predecessors were all too relevant. Keeping a constant media buzz going in the United States about Russia’s intentions is much cheaper, easier, and safer for Putin than trying to install nuclear warheads again in U.S. territorial waters. Denyse O’Leary, “Big Artificial Brother” at Salvo 48

Artificial intelligence isn’t dangerous. Only natural intelligence is dangerous.

See also: Your phone is selling your secrets You’d be shocked to know what it tells people who want your money


Your phone knows everything now. And it is talking.


Security Experts: Whopping 217.5% Increase in Cyber Attacks on ‘Smart Home’ Connected Devices in 2018

According to the annual 2019 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, we’re being subjected to more attacks by cybercriminals than ever before. The report provides an in-depth look at threat intelligence obtained from the company’s more than one million sensors located around the world. In 2018 there were a record-high 10.52 billion malware attacks that included 391,689 newly identified attack variants.

“Cyber perpetrators are not letting up in their relentless pursuit to illegally obtain data, valuable information and intellectual property,” said Bill Conner, president and CEO of SonicWall.

K absolutely will not allow a connected device into the house, sorry Alexa.


How Pope Francis could shape the future of robotics

Will robot priests be programmed not to molest?

It might not be the first place you imagine when you think about robots.

But in the Renaissance splendour of the Vatican, thousands of miles from Silicon Valley, scientists, ethicists and theologians gather to discuss the future of robotics.

The ideas go to the heart of what it means to be human and could define future generations on the planet.

The workshop, Roboethics: Humans, Machines and Health was hosted by The Pontifical Academy for Life.


Tech fail: Man told he’s dying via video link

A mobile robotic device rolled in, bearing a screen…

Mr. Quintano, who needed help understanding the voice explaining that that further treatment would not help him, and that he was being offered palliative care, died March 5. According to Wilharm, the medical staff told her that the video link method is “policy” and “what we do now.” But Wilharm had taken cell phone video of the event, intending to show medical information to other family members. More.

Reality check? Did you think high tech was there just to help you?

California this month. Here next year?

See also: The $60 billion-dollar medical data market is coming under scrutiny For good reason. You don’t own the data they collect and you don’t know what they do with it.


AI dangers that are not just fake news


US seeks to allay fears over killer robots

Humans will always make the final decision on whether armed robots can shoot, the US Department of Defense has said.

The statement comes as plans emerge for gun platforms that can choose their own targets on the battlefield.

The plans seek to upgrade existing aiming systems, using developments in machine intelligence.

The US said rules governing armed robots still stood and humans would retain the power to veto their actions.


Straight talk on killerbots in warfare

Coloured robot design Free Vector  Baylor computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks asks, how will bans help if the enemy doesn’t ban them? But here are some realistic problems:

The more complicated a system becomes, the more difficult it is to analyze all of its actions. There are plenty of roads on which to test and tune the self-driving cars, but there are not a lot of wars available in which to test and tune autonomous AI weapons. If we seek military superiority to deter aggression, imaginative and creative minds are needed to assess all possibilities.

Unanticipated consequences will always be a problem for totally autonomous AI. In the development of technology overall, there is always a tradeoff in which human life is given a price. For example, cheap cars aren’t safe and safe cars aren’t cheap. Cars can be made very safe indeed if you don’t mind that the poor can’t afford to drive.

Why we can’t just ban killer robots: Autonomous AI weapons are potentially within the reach of terrorists, madmen, and hostile regimes like Iran and North Korea. As with nuclear warheads, we need autonomous AI to counteract possible enemy deployment while avoiding its use ourselves.

See also: Jay Richards: The way the media cover AI, you’d swear they had invented being hopelessly naïve


Buddhist robot priest to dole out advice in Kyoto temple

A 400-year-old temple in the deeply traditional Japanese city of Kyoto has unveiled a robotic deity to deliver Buddha’s teachings in a bid to reach younger generations of Japanese.

The Android Kannon, based on the traditional Buddhist deity of mercy, delivered its first teachings at Kodaiji temple on Saturday and is due to start preaching to the public in March.

Developed at a cost of Y100 million (£692,000), the robot is a joint project between the Zen temple and Hiroshi Ishiguro, a professor of intelligent robotics at Osaka University.

The Catholic version will have its hands disabled.