The tech website EFF has investigated the popular door bell app Ring. They found that the android version of the app is packed with third-party trackers. Ring sends out an array of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Ring has avoided a lot of scrutiny as it has successfully marketed itself as a company that helps customers with their personal security.
However, this investigation has drawn attention to the company for passing information, which is then used for marketing purposes, to branch.io, mixpanel.com, appsflyer.com and facebook.com.
It has also been found that Ring and the companies who have access to the users information have at times mismanaged this information. Also when data has been used lawfully it is not always clear to customers that their data has been passed onto third party, or how it is used.
The following video illustrates how good deep fakes are becoming. If you didn’t know this was fake, a casual viewer could be forgiven for believing this real footage. And in a short time this will be regarded crude.
Larry Page CEO of Alphabet the parent company of google has announced he is to step down. Current google CEO Sundar Pichai will take on the role of Alphabet CEO as well as his current responsibilities at Google. Co-Founder and President of Alphabet Sergey Brin will also step down, and the role of President eliminated.
Google’s shares increased at the news.
“With Alphabet now well-established, and Google and the Other Bets operating effectively as independent companies, it’s the natural time to simplify our management structure,” Page and Brin wrote in a blog post announcing the change. “We’ve never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company. And Alphabet and Google no longer need two CEOs and a President.”
As telecommunications companies roll out 5G, China and the US are already urging companies to begin working of 6G.
The race to faster wireless connections are needed for the innovations in driverless cars and augmented reality. Especially as current bandwidths are clogged by the shear volume of data we are sending.
These technologies are already a point of tension between the US and China. The US have banned Huawei from using their equipment in the US 5G infrastructure after it was found that Huawei rerouted data through Chinese government servers.
A new AI technology known as “GPT-2” has been released. The technology is able to be fed a piece of text and accurately predict what would come next. The text would be indistinguishable from human text.
The technology is so powerful, its creators have only released a limited version to researchers. In the wrong hands the technology could be used for malicious purposes by scammers; and political and terror organisations to generate propaganda.
GPT-2 could become the text equivalent of “deep fakes” in the image field. The consequences for internet users would be individuals would not know if content were genuine or not. Requiring the public to be more skeptical of online content as well as better educated.
French politicians are looking at how to best utilise facial recognition technologies. Over the summer French the interior ministry unveiled a new app, Alicem, allowing individuals with a biometric passport or electronic residence permit to identify themselves over the internet using the app.
Macron’s government are also planning to “supervise and assess” how else to use the technology.
However critics warn that Alicem is a step closer to a Chinese-style surveillance program, with questions asked as to how the data will be collected and used.
French authorities also want to harness the technology in the fight against terrorism and crime.
However the technology is still not perfect, and in a recent incident in London facial recognition technology resulted in the arrest of an innocent man.
Experts also warn about the threat hackers pose to huge data bases which contain the biomimetic data of individuals. They argue terrorists could hack such a database and remove information for a wanted criminal replacing it with that of an innocent individual. Pointing out that we are unable to maintain the security of peoples personal financial data; how can we expect to protect a persons facial identity?
Any student of science knows that the first lesson is in scientific method. That this enables us to put our trust in science. Scientific method leads on the idea of reproducibility. This means that an idea or theory can only be accepted as true if it is proven through experimental means, and those results have to be reproducible, i.e. someone repeating your experiment will get the same result. However a study found that only 25% of papers were reproducible. Why is this the case? And what does it mean for science?
Christopher Dummitt a pioneer in gender theory has come out to say he was wrong about much of his work in gender theory and sex, saying that a lot of what he proposed as truth was “made up”.
He admits that as a young, newly graduated scientist he was “angry and assertive” about his ideas regarding gender theory, and was hiding the fact he had no proof to back up his opinions.
However, his work and others have now been taken to lay the foundation of gender theory. Dummitt says, “[it is] so disappointing to see that the viewpoints I used to argue for so fervently — and so baselessly — have now been accepted by so many in the wider society”.
Indeed, his “flawed reasoning, and other scholarship using the same defective thinking” is now being used by “activists and governments to legislate a new moral code of conduct”.
Dummitt is now arguing for more research into sex and gender from a different ideological background and for the peer review process to be more thorough.
Facebook have launched a new service for users of the Oculus headgear. The new virtual reality space will allow users to interact with new places. Users can choose their own avatar and interact within an online virtual reality community.
Trump’s policy on dealing with Xi Jinping ’s China has seen Chinese tech firms placed on an “entry list”. This has stopped US firms doing business with these Chinese firms, and thus hampering their ability to advance Chinese development of AI and machine learning.
However, Trump is keen to strike a trade deal before the next election. This could see him remove Huawei from the entry list, as part of a future deal. This could prove disastrous to the US economy long term.
The next fight is over who controls 5G technology. If Trump holds his nerve US companies have the technology to control the market. However is Huawei accesses US technology they could control the market.