A photo storage app used customers’ private snaps to train facial recognition AI – The Verge

A photo storage app that offers users “free, unlimited private backup of all your life’s memories” has been secretly using customers’ private snaps to train and sell facial recognition software.

As detailed in a report from NBC News, the startup Ever launched as a simple cloud storage business in 2013, but pivoted to become a facial recognition technology vendor in 2017 after realizing that a photo app “wasn’t going to be a venture-scale business.”

https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/10/18564043/photo-storage-app-ever-facial-recognition-secretly-trained-ai

Will Artificial Intelligence Enhance or Hack Humanity? | WIRED


what’s happening now is that the philosophical framework of the modern world that was established in the 17th and 18th century, around ideas like human agency and individual free will, are being challenged like never before. Not by philosophical ideas, but by practical technologies. And we see more and more questions, which used to be the bread and butter of the philosophy department being moved to the engineering department. And that’s scary, partly because unlike philosophers who are extremely patient people, they can discuss something for thousands of years without reaching any agreement and they’re fine with that, the engineers won’t wait. And even if the engineers are willing to wait, the investors behind the engineers won’t wait. So it means that we don’t have a lot of time. And in order to encapsulate what the crisis is,maybe I can try and formulate an equation to explain what’s happening. And the equation is: B times C times D equals HH, which means biological knowledge multiplied by computing power, multiplied by data equals the ability to hack humans. And the AI revolution or crisis is not just AI, it’s also biology. It’s biotech. There is a lot of hype now around AI and computers, but that is just half the story. The other half is the biological knowledge coming from brain science and biology. And once you link that to AI, what you get is the ability to hack humans.

https://www.wired.com/story/will-artificial-intelligence-enhance-hack-humanity/

How Algorithms Know What You’ll Type Next – pudding.cool

If you have ever typed something on a smartphone, you have likely seen it attempt to predict what you’ll write next. This article is about how text predictors work, and how crucial the input language dataset is for the resulting predictions. To see how this in action, we will predict tweets by four Twitter accounts: Barack Obama, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian, and Lady Gaga.

To be able to make useful predictions, a text predictor needs as much knowledge about language as possible, often done by machine learning. We will look at a simple yet effective algorithm called k Nearest Neighbours. This works by looking at the last few words you wrote and comparing these to all groups of words seen during the training phase. It outputs the best guess of what followed groups of similar words in the past.

https://pudding.cool/2019/04/text-prediction/

Opinion | Think You’re Discreet Online? Think Again – The New York Times


Because of technological advances and the sheer amount of data now available about billions of other people, discretion no longer suffices to protect your privacy. Computer algorithms and network analyses can now infer, with a sufficiently high degree of accuracy, a wide range of things about you that you may have never disclosed, including your moods, your political beliefs, your sexual orientation and your health.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/21/opinion/computational-inference.html

The average person in Europe loses two years of their life due to air pollution | World Economic Forum

The average person living in Europe loses two years of their life to the health effects of breathing polluted air, according to a report published in the European Heart Journal on March 12.

The report also estimates about 800,000 people die prematurely in Europe per year due to air pollution, or roughly 17% of the 5 million deaths in Europe annually. Many of those deaths, between 40 and 80% of the total, are due to air pollution effects that have nothing to do with the respiratory system but rather are attributable to heart disease and strokes caused by air pollutants in the bloodstream, the researchers write.

https://qz.com/1577756/air-pollution-reduces-european-lives-by-an-average-of-2-years/?utm_source=reddit.com

The future of news is conversation in small groups with trusted voices | TechCrunch


I feel like my news consumption these days is like those sushi boats. I sit down and the news just streams by and I pick out the articles I like and read them. Very efficient and also a little bit of fun. But I’ve been stuck at the sushi boat bar of news for far too long, watching the same imitation crab rolls go by. I need a better way to consume better information.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/07/stuck-at-the-sushi-boat-bar-of-news/

The future of agriculture is computerized | MIT News

What goes into making plants taste good? For scientists in MIT’s Media Lab, it takes a combination of botany, machine-learning algorithms, and some good old-fashioned chemistry.

Using all of the above, researchers in the Media Lab’s Open Agriculture Initiative reportthat they have created basil plants that are likely more delicious than any you have ever tasted. No genetic modification is involved: The researchers used computer algorithms to determine the optimal growing conditions to maximize the concentration of flavorful molecules known as volatile compounds.

But that is just the beginning for the new field of “cyber agriculture,” says Caleb Harper, a principal research scientist in MIT’s Media Lab and director of the OpenAg group. His group is now working on enhancing the human disease-fighting properties of herbs, and they also hope to help growers adapt to changing climates by studying how crops grow under different conditions.

http://news.mit.edu/2019/algorithm-growing-agriculture-0403

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