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Artificial Intelligence(AI) & Customer Service

 

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AI & X-Ray

RF-Pose A.I. using turning machine learning and a wifi signal into X-ray vision

A new piece of software has been trained to use wifi signals — which pass through walls, but bounce off living tissue — to monitor the movements, breathing, and heartbeats of humans on the other side of those walls. The researchers say this new tech’s promise lies in areas like remote healthcare, particularly elder care, but it’s hard to ignore slightly more dystopian applications.

Project’s leader Dina Katabi, a 2013 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow who teaches electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, to talk about how the new tech may be used.

She says “We actually are tracking 14 different joints on the body … the head, the neck, the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists, the hips, the knees, and the feet,

“So you can get the full stick-figure that is dynamically moving with the individuals that are obstructed from you — and that’s something new that was not possible before.”

The Problem: identifying human activity from wifi signals isn’t really something that even humans know how to do themselves. So the team developed one A.I. program that monitored human movements with a camera, on one side of a wall, and fed that information to their wifi X-ray A.I., called RF-Pose, as it struggled to make sense of the radio waves passing through that wall on the other side.

The Goal: Katabi would like to get the RF-Pose A.I. sophisticated enough that it can help monitor a variety of human health data tied to movement, identifying the early manifestations and progression of diseases like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis (MS). (Prior versions of this research could already track physiological data like breathing patterns and heart rate.) She also said RF-Pose’s underlying tech could easily apply to a number of other potential uses: from search-and-rescue missions retrieving avalanche victims, to wild futuristic revivals of Xbox Kinect, to intervening in dicey hostage situations between terrorists and law enforcement.

AI Predicts How You’ll Look In Old Age

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H. Yang et al., arXiv 1711.10352v1 (2017)

Scientists have created advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to render artificial aging that’s more realistic (and some say depressing) than ever.

The system uses a two-part AI algorithm called a generative adversarial network (GAN). The first part takes a face and produces another face of the same individual at a target age. During training, a second part compares this image with a real image of someone at that age and with the original image and provides feedback, encouraging the first part to improve its abilities. Other artificial aging systems have used GANs, but this one differs by focusing not just on getting the age right, but also on maintaining the individual’s identity. Unlike others, it also renders foreheads and (lack of) hair, as seen in the photos of Justin Timberlake and Kirsten Dunst above.

The researchers trained their AI on more than 100,000 images from two databases, including mugshots and celebrities at different ages. A separate computer program then judged how the AI performed on a novel set of images. When the AI aged photos of people more than 20 years, so that people under 30 were meant to look between 50 and 60, for example, the computer program saw them (on average) as a 60-year-old (for mugshots) or a 52-year-old (for celebs).

Yahoo Hacker Gets 5 Years

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A Canadian man has pleaded guilty to hacking charges related to a 2014 spear-phishing operation of Yahoo employees. The hack ultimately compromised 500 million Yahoo accounts.

The operative, Karim Baratov, appeared in a San Francisco federal court on Tuesday afternoon. He also admitted that his role was to “hack webmail accounts of individuals of interest to the FSB,” the Russian internal security service. Baratov then sent those passwords to his alleged co-conspirator, Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev.

Baratov was indicted in late February 2017 along with three other men who remain in Russia.

The prosecutors said Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, 33, and Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, 43—both officers of the Russian Federal Security Service—worked with two other men—Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, 29, and Karim Baratov, 22—who were also indicted. The men gained initial access to Yahoo in early 2014 and began their reconnaissance, the indictment alleged. By November or December, Belan used the file transfer protocol to download part or all of a Yahoo database that contained user names, recovery e-mail accounts, and phone numbers. The user database (UDB) also contained the cryptographic nonces needed to generate the account-authentication browser cookies for more than 500 million accounts.

Belan also downloaded an account management tool (AMT) that Yahoo used to make and track changes to user accounts. Together, the pilfered UDB and AMT allowed Belan, Dokuchaev and Sushchin to locate Yahoo e-mail accounts of interest and to mint authentication cookies needed to access 6,500 accounts without authorization. The accounts belonged to Russian journalists, Russian and US government officials, employees of a prominent Russian security company, and employees of other Internet companies the indicted men wanted to target. Belan and Baratov also used their access to commit additional crimes, including by manipulating Yahoo search results to promote a scam involving erectile dysfunction drugs, stealing electronic gift cards, and sending spam messages to Yahoo users’ contacts.

Racism & algorthms

 

It has been publicized, the unconscious biases of white developers proliferate on the internet, mapping our social structures and behaviors onto code and repeating the imbalances and injustices that exist in the real world.

There was the case of black people being classified as gorillas; the computer system that rejected an Asian man’s passport photo because it read his eyes as being closed; Earlier this year, the release of Google’s Arts and Culture App, which allows users to match their faces with a historical painting, produced less than nuanced results for Asians, as well as African-Americans. Additionally, a new book, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, argues that search engines themselves are inherently discriminatory.

Installation view of Stephanie Dinkins, “Conversations with Bina48,” 2014-present, at Recess’ Assembly Gallery, Brooklyn, 2017.

Installation view of Stephanie Dinkins, “Conversations with Bina48,” 2014-present, at Recess’ Assembly Gallery, Brooklyn, 2017.

Stephanie Dinkins has since ventured into investigations with the way that culture—particularly the experiences of race and gender—is codified in technology. She has become a strong voice in the effort to sound the alarm about the dangers of minority populations being absent from creations of the computer algorithms that now mold our lives. Her research into these imbalances has taken her on a head-spinning tour of tech companies, conferences, and residencies over the past few years. Dinkins is currently in residence at the tech programs of both Pioneer Works and Eyebeam, nonprofit art centers based in Brooklyn. 

 

Senate Overturns Ajit Pai’s Net Neutrality Repeal

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The US Senate today voted to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules, with all members of the Democratic caucus and three Republicans voting in favor of net neutrality.

The Senate approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would simply undo the FCC’s December 2017 vote to deregulate the broadband industry. If the CRA is approved by the House and signed by President Trump, Internet service providers would have to continue following rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has scheduled his repeal to take effect on June 11. If Congress doesn’t act, the net neutrality rules and the FCC’s classification of ISPs as common carriers would be eliminated on that date.

Sephora Uses Artificial Intelligence & Augmented​ Reality For Their Cosmetics

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Sephora is the industry-leading chain of cosmetic stores that have used technology to position itself as the number one specialty beauty retailer in the world. While other cosmetic companies rely heavily on department store sales, Sephora offers customers a number of tech options that allow them to personalize their shopping experience by trying on makeup virtually using AR, matching their skin tone to a foundation with AI, and sampling a fragrance via a touchscreen and scented air.

Sephora’s was founded in France by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1970, and acquired by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1997. The company now operates some 2,300 stores in 33 countries worldwide, with more than 430 stores across the Americas.

Sephora Virtual Artist, an AR tool that allows customers to try on thousands of shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, false lashes, and many other makeup products sold at Sephora. It also lets users go through beauty tutorials on their own face digitally to learn how to achieve certain looks. A new feature called Color Match taps AI to help customers find the right color shade for their skin tone via an uploaded photo. Virtual Artist is available in the Sephora app as well as in select stores.

For the past five years, ModiFace and Sephora experimented with AR. ModiFace worked closely with Sephora to ensure every single color of a virtual product matches the product in real life.

Customers in New York City can try out the Innovation Lab’s newest tech venture, Tap and Try. The technology lets you pick any lip or lash product on an endcap display, and immediately try it on using Sephora Virtual Artist combined with RFID scanning.

Several stores across North America offer Sephora’s Fragrance IQ experience with a first-to-market sensory technology called InstaScent. After filling out an online scent profile, InstaScent allows clients to test 18 different scents using a dry air delivery system so they can test them out without actually trying them on.

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