Monday, September 07, 2015

This is the problem facing any autonomous device – cars, drones, Rumba vacuums, etc.
Toyota announces artificial intelligence research collaboration with MIT and Stanford
You may have seen Google’s self-driving pod car, or the Audi RS 7 that hot lapped Sonoma Raceway, and thought they were pretty clever. But while these cars may be smart, they are not intelligent.
All autonomous vehicles built so far rely on programming to make decisions. If engineers did not write software for a given scenario, the car simply does not know what to do. One possible solution is developing artificial intelligence capabilities for future robot cars, and at a press conference in Palo Alto today, Toyota said it will take the first steps to develop that.
The Japanese carmaker will invest $50 million over the next five years to establish joint research centers at MIT and Stanford. Researchers will work to develop artificially-intelligent systems and investigate how they can be applied to future self-driving cars.

Sometimes it's hard to keep all the reasons people are suing straight. At least we are getting some interesting new legal terms like “biometric slurpage.”
Alexander J. Martin reports on the latest class action launched against Facebook over face prints.
Facebook has been hit with a class-action complaint over its biometrics slurpage, with millions of possible plaintiffs who may claim damages if the advertising giant is found to have acted unlawfully.
The complaint (PDF) states that “Facebook has created, collected and stored over a billion ‘face templates’ (or ‘face prints’)”, which, ostensibly, are as uniquely identifiable as fingerprints. These have been gathered “from over a billion individuals, millions of whom reside in the State of Illinois”.
It is alleged that in doing this, the ZuckerBorg is in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which was passed by the state legislature in 2008.
Read more on The Register.

Background for my IT Governance students. We call them “Best Practices” or “Frameworks.”
Use Checklist Templates & Tools to Prevent Mistakes
Checklists aren’t very exciting, [In the world of Computer Security, the opposite of dull & boring is outright panic. Bob] but there’s evidence that they can make a huge difference in how well you do something. Nine hospitals in Michigan instituted a checklist system for reducing the number of infections in their intensive care units (ICUs), and infections went down by 66%, saving 1,500 lives and 75 million dollars in healthcare expenses over an 18-month period.
The hospitals’ checklist was only five items long, and included things that everyone already knew they should be doing. But just because they knew that they should do them didn’t mean that they actually did them. They often just forgot. And if doctors in the ICU are forgetting simple things, it stands to reason that you are, too.

I'm not taking sides, I'm just saying there are lots of languages to choose from.
Facebook’s New Spam-Killer Hints at the Future of Coding
… Brandy is a software engineer at Facebook, and alongside a team of other Facebookers, he spent the last two years rebuilding the system that removes spam—malicious, offensive, or otherwise unwanted messages—from the world’s largest social network. That’s no small task—Facebook juggles messages from more than 1.5 billion people worldwide—and to tackle the problem, Brandy and team made an unusual choice: they used a programming language called Haskell.
… Indeed, they already are. Newer languages such as Google Go and Mozilla’s Rust are designed so that developers can build massively parallel code and build it at speed. And as Brandy points out, other projects are building Haskell-like software libraries for additional languages, including “reactive” programming projects like RxJava.

Perspective and a few “Things” for my students.
Internet Of Things Projected To Explode With Massive Quadruple Growth By 2020
… Market research firm ABI Research predicts that the number of business-to-business (B2B) IoT connections will more than quadruple to 5.4 billion by 2020. The stat is cited in a Verizon reported titled, "State of the Market: The Internet of Things 2015." It's aimed at enterprises that might be underestimating the IoT sector by not having a strategy in place.
… Based on its research, Verizon estimates that just 10 percent of enterprises have adopted IoT extensively, though it expects that number to grow. By 2025, organizations that dive deep into IoT will be at least 10 percent more profitable than competitors that don't, Verizon says.
You can read the report here (PDF).

(Related) Is football really a high tech game?
The Internet of Things comes to the NFL
… On Thursday, when the defending Superbowl XLIX champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers to open the 2015 football season, each player will be equipped with a set of RFID sensors about the size of a quarter [Why so huge? Bob] embedded in his shoulder pads, each emitting unique radio frequencies. Gillette Stadium (and every other stadium used by the NFL) has been equipped with 20 receivers to pick up those radio frequencies and pinpoint every player's field position, speed, distance traveled and acceleration in real time.
… The NFL plans to use the data generated to power the NFL 2015 app for Xbox One and Windows 10, allowing for things like "Next Gen Replay" that will allow fans to call up stats for each player tied into highlight clips posted on the app. But that's just the beginning. The data will be fed to broadcasters, leveraged for in-stadium displays and provided to coaching staff and players.
… What do you need in order to effectively track professional athletes? You need the ability to track a motion in subseconds. Our tags can blink up to 85 times per second."
You also need the capability to deliver data from a tag to a server with very low latency. She notes that it takes about 120 milliseconds between the time a tag blinks on the field and when it hits a server. The location data is accurate to within six inches. [Not good enough! Bob]

(Related) For my Computer Security students.
Gartner: Internet of Things will change cybersecurity dramatically

Another source of “Best Practices” for my Computer Security students.
Linux Foundation Security Checklist: Have It Your Way
The Linux Foundation's recently published security checklist may draw more attention to best practices for protecting Linux workstations, even if IT pros do not embrace all of its recommendations.
… "Checklists and best practices documents are how Linux Foundation IT works internally. We are just taking an extra step of making generalized versions of these documents available to others under free documentation licenses, in hopes that they are useful to other teams.

The “gig economy” is a bit bigger than I thought. Or is this a micro-bubble?
Uber China raises $1.2 billion in ongoing fundraising round
Uber Technologies Inc's China unit has raised $1.2 billion as part of an ongoing fundraising round, the U.S. ride-hailing service's CEO Travis Kalanick said on Monday, even as its Chinese rival Didi Kuaidi raises $3 billion.

Perspective. (and a quote for my students)
Pew – 8 facts about American workers
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Sep 6, 2015
“Although the U.S. economy is recovering and appears to be on stable ground compared with other parts of the world, there’s still a lot of debate over how to best secure the future for American workers. Some Democrats have pushed for raising the federal minimum wage, and the Obama administration has proposed new overtime rules that would make millions of Americans eligible for extra pay. Meanwhile, some Republican presidential candidates have maintained that labor unions are too powerful and impede business. Just in time for Labor Day, here are eight facts about the state of American workers….”
[From the report:
5 On virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment, young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education to a greater extent than in the past.

Might make an interesting App to transcribe my lectures for my students.
How To Create Advanced transcription and analytics with Voicebase and Tropo
Tropo provides an API for automating communications by connecting code to a phone network for both voice and messaging. This service is able to transcribe any recording, including multi-party conference calls. This tutorial by Adam Kalsey on the Tropo blog guides followers through creating advanced transcription with analytics using Tropo with VoiceBase’s audio indexing and transcription API.

Something to point to in several classes? Could amuse my students.
Our World in Data
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Sep 6, 2015
“Life around the world is changing rapidly – here you find the data visualizations that show you how. Poverty, violence, health, education, the environment and much more. Our World In Data covers a wide range of topics and visualizes the empirical evidence of how living standards changed over the last decades, centuries, and millennia. A web publication authored by Max Roser. (work in progress)”

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