The New York City Council yesterday passed legislation seeking to address problems with Algorithms which can determine which school a child can attend, whether a person will be offered credit from a bank, what products are advertised to consumer, and whether someone will receive an interview for a job. Government officials also use them to predict where crimes will take place, who is likely to commit a crime and whether someone should be allowed out of jail on bail. The algorithms used in facial recognition technology, for example, have been shown to be less accurate on Black people, women, and juveniles.
The new bill seeking the signature of Mayor Bill de Blasio. States:
This bill would require the creation of a task force that provides recommendations on how information on agency automated decision systems may be shared with the public and how agencies may address instances where people are harmed by agency automated decision systems.
The task force would need to be formed within three months of the bill’s signing, and importantly it must include “persons with expertise in the areas of fairness, accountability and transparency relating to automated decision systems and persons affiliated with charitable corporations that represent persons in the city affected by agency automated decision systems.”
The New York division of the ACLU has argued in favor of it.
By 2030 up to 30% of the hours worked globally could be automated. According to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute researchers estimate that between 400 million and 800 million people could find themselves displaced by automation and in need of new jobs, depending on how quickly new technologies are adopted. Of this group, as many as 375 million people—about 14% of the global workforce—may need to completely switch occupational categories and learn a new set of skills to find work.
Number of workers needing to find new jobs due to automation
Outlets are reporting that Chinese scientists have genetically altered pig embryos (using added genes from mice) to create “skinny pigs” who have a lower percentage of body fat and could be used, one day, to produce what some headlines are deeming “healthy bacon.
Genetically modified (GM) foods continue to be a contentious subject. Proponents believe that it could help feed millions of hungry people amid climate change and population growth. Others balk at the idea of eating science experiments.
The World Health Organization reports that counterfeit medicines could make up more than 50 percent of drugs sold on the global market, with a large amount of fake drugs being bought and sold in developing countries.
Whether due to loose regulation or lax law enforcement, counterfeiters can run wild in less developed countries. The demand is high and many people seek inexpensive treatment options. Others are simply trying to survive with limited access to care. Many die making that choice. The only people who profit from fake pharmaceuticals are the counterfeiters.
Matt Keller, a research scientist at Intellectual Ventures Laboratory says ” a simple technology may be able to spot the fakes.” At a quick glance, can you tell the difference between these two drugs?”
If you just hold fake and genuine packets of drugs next to each other, just looking at them — the counterfeiters have gotten quite good at, you know, just making them look real,” said Keller.
“So, you might have to, for example, kind of crush up the pill, mix it with a chemical and kind of put it on a paper readout strip. But, the thing we like about spectroscopy is it’s nondestructive. There’s no ongoing cost. So, you basically buy your device and use a phone app that we developed and then that’s basically all that you need. We developed an app that basically just talks to the spectrometer. And then, it tells you, first of all, is this a genuine or a fake drug? And if it’s genuine, then it confirms what the ingredient is,” said Keller.
Researchers are working to expand the use of the app and test it in Southeast Asia, in areas where counterfeit drugs are a huge problem.
A new imaging technique is suggesting there is a large, previously undiscovered void inside the Great Pyramid of Giza(Credit: HIP Institute)
A team of scientists has discovered a mysterious “big void” inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest pyramid in the Giza complex. The void was discovered using a novel scanning technology called cosmic-ray muon radiography, and while the scanning team is suggesting this could be an undiscovered inner structure, this theory is debated among Egyptologists. The team deployed a scanning technique that detects the path of muon particles, an elementary particle that is created when cosmic rays collide with atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
Scientists are confident that a void exist.
Zahi Hawass, possibly the most prominent Egyptian archeologist and former antiquities minister, has expressed great skepticism at the “void” claims. Hawass says that this is not only not a new discovery, but the pyramid is in fact full of voids. Hawass is also critical of the way the scientists are reporting their results.
A look inside the Great Pyramid(Credit: HIP Institute
The surprising result of a survey of 1,006 employees and 307 senior managers conducted by staffing company OfficeTeam. Survey respondents were asked how appropriate it was to connect with co-workers on various social media platforms. It turns out that bosses and their employees have very different answers to this question.
When it comes to Facebook, 77 percent of employees thought it was either “very appropriate” or “somewhat appropriate” to be Facebook friends with your work colleagues, but only 49 percent of senior managers agreed. That disagreement carries over to other social media platforms. Sixty-one percent of employees thought it was fine to follow a co-worker on Twitter, but only 34 percent of bosses agreed. With Instagram, 56 percent of employees, but only 30 percent of bosses thought following a co-worker was appropriate. Interestingly, the one social platform bosses and employees seem to almost agree about is Snapchat, with 34 percent of employees thinking it was fine to connect with colleagues, and 26 percent of bosses thinking so too.
LinkedIn was not included in the OfficeTeam survey, but because it’s a professional networking tool, few bosses will object to you connecting with coworkers there.