Category: Tech

Smart cities won’t infringe on privacy or destroy buildings

Across the world, over a thousand smart city pilots have been launched—many of them attempt to construct entirely new cities with fresh identities from the ‘tabula rasa’ of a blank slate. These new cities can be simply placed down onto the landscape like a grounded alien spaceship, built with technology in mind from day one. Equipping existing urban centers with the latest technology, though, is a different challenge entirely. Cities shaped over centuries by the demands of different civilizations, where horses once pulled carriages, are gradually transitioning to a smarter future. AI-directed traffic, smart parking and other intelligent infrastructure are taking its place on…

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Why China’s ‘military AI budget’ is irrelevant (spoiler: all AI is military AI)

A recently published study from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a think-tank at Georgetown University, indicates commonly held perceptions about China‘s supposed AI spending may be grossly off-base. Key takeaways suggest the PRC spends much less than the US on ‘military‘ and ‘defense‘ AI. Here’s a hot take: All AI is military AI. Let’s start with the study. You can read it here, but to briefly sum up, the authors write: We assess with low to moderate confidence that China’s public investment in AI R&D was on the order of a few billion dollars in 2018. With…

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Uber’s safety report revealed over 3,000 sexual assault cases last year

Yesterday, Uber finally released its full safety transparency report, including stats around sexual assault and harassment over 2018 and part of 2017 in the US — something the company left out of its report when in its initial release last year.  “Uber’s US Safety Report includes information about Uber’s actions on safety, as well as data on the most serious safety incidents reported on our ridesharing platform in 2017 and 2018,” the document outlined. “This includes traffic fatalities, fatal physical assaults, and sexual assault.” Back in 2017, Uber said that 2,936 passengers reported incidents of sexual assault while using the…

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DeepMind’s Mustafa Suleyman joins Google AI

DeepMind and co-founder Mustafa Suleyman have decided to go their separate ways. Earlier this year there were disputed reports the two were arguing, some even suggested he’d been placed on leave. But now it seems he’s actually left the UK-based enterprise. And for its sister. Ouch. After a wonderful decade at DeepMind, I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be joining @Kent_Walker, @JeffDean and the fantastic team at Google to work on opportunities & impacts of applied AI technologies. Can’t wait to get going! More in Jan as I start the new job! — Mustafa Suleyman (@mustafasuleymn) December 5, 2019…

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Survey: People in their 20s are more likely to sell their data

For all the flack the elder generation’s taken as of late, it turns out that millennials and Gen Z-ers are more likely to sell their data for a few bucks than boomers are. This is according to research published by TheBestVPN, a virtual private network service provider. In a recent study titled “Putting a Price on Privacy” researchers surveyed 1,002 people to determine their views on personal data and privacy. Respondents were asked if they’d ever considered selling their data, how much they thought certain types of data were worth, and whether they took any steps to protect their privacy…

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How the ‘bigger is better’ mentality is damaging AI research

Something you’ll hear a lot is that the increasing availability of computing resources has paved the way for important advances in artificial intelligence. With access to powerful cloud computing platforms, AI researchers have been able to train larger neural networks in shorter timespans. This has enabled AI to make inroads in many fields such as computer vision, speech recognition, and natural language processing. But what you’ll hear less is the darker implications of the current direction of AI research. Currently, advances in AI are mostly tied to scaling deep learning models and creating neural networks with more layers and parameters. According to artificial intelligence…

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Twitter to introduce stricter content NSFW guidelines — worrying adult content creators

Over the past year, social networking platforms Facebook and Instagram have made it almost impossible for NSFW artists to exist on the platforms in their efforts to ‘clean up’ the sites. The measures employed have ranged from banning any discussion around “sexual preference,” “sexual roles,” “breasts,” and “buttocks” to the tech giant’s latest stunt in restricting solicitation that involves “sexual emoji or emoji strings.” The trend of deteriorating conditions for NSFW artists to make a living online first started last year when Tumblr announced that it would block anything it considered to be adult-rated visual content. Now, Twitter, a platform…

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Spotify’s 2019 Wrapped has arrived: Here’s what you need to know

It’s the most wonderful (or irritating, your choice) time of the year! That’s right, Spotify has released its 2019 Wrapped list! If you’re unaware of what this is, basically every year Spotify releases a customized breakdown of how you’ve spent your year on their platform. If, of course, you have a Premium subscription to the service. Think this sounds like your thing? Then it probably is. So, what exactly is Spotify‘s 2019 Wrapped? Well, it’s a web app (you can check it out here) that presents a range of stats about your listening habits over the past year. You know, things like…

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Elon Musk testifies he wasn’t calling the person he accused of marrying a preteen a pedophile

“I suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what’s actually going on and stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole.” Elon Musk in an email to Buzzfeed dated 30 August, 2018. In another sign of just how ridiculous the US justice system has become, Elon Musk‘s lawyers are today defending the billionaire in a US District Court over a defamation suit by claiming the person he called a “child rapist” and accused of marrying a 12-year-old girl in Thailand is wrong to infer that the term “pedo guy” is meant to imply he is a pedophile.…

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Pichai is a mistake

Silicon Valley is still politely shrugging after the mildly interesting, but definitely important news broke yesterday that Alphabet’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, also the founders of Google, were “stepping aside” from their leadership positions. In a company blog post, the duo said it was time to simplify the two company’s command structures and that both of them would be replaced by Google’s current CEO Sundar Pichai, who has now assumed control of both companies. Well, at least on paper anyway. This story is both exciting – Alphabet is probably the most important company in the world – and boring. Did…

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