Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yesterday’s Privacy Foundation ( ) seminar on Artificial Intelligence and Privacy was quite educational.  The panelists agreed AI is not far in the future, it is here today.  Lots of interesting examples, but of course we couldn’t cover everything.  For example: 
How AI Will Help Us Defeat Aging
   “I think that applying AI to aging is the only way to bring it under the comprehensive medical control.  Our AI ecosystem is comprised of multiple pipelines.  With our drug discovery and biomarker development pipelines we can go after almost every disease and we even have several projects in ALS…  And since we are considering aging as a form of disease, many of the same algorithms are used to develop biomarkers and drugs to prevent and possibly even restore aging-associated damage.”
Renowned futurist Peter Diamandis envisions that in the next one to two decades, AI will bring in demonetization of our major everyday expenses and therefore considerably bring down the cost of living, including health care.  But before that happens, Dr. Zhavoronkov believes that AI can help bring about the cure for aging and maybe other notorious diseases like cancer.

(Related).  Something for my students to ponder.
Bill Gates could be the world's first trillionaire, but Jeff Bezos is hot on his heels
   According to a recent report from Oxfam, an international network of organizations working to alleviate poverty, given the exponential growth of existing wealth, the world could have its first trillionaire in the next 25 years.  Gates would be 86 then; Bezos, 78.
   For its analysis, Oxfam researchers applied the average growth rate of the ultra-rich — 11 percent per year since 2009 — to Gates' current levels of wealth, which was about $84 billion at the time of the study.
   Their fellow billionaire Mark Cuban has another prediction for who will first cross that finish line: entrepreneurs working with artificial intelligence.
"I am telling you, the world's first trillionaires are going to come from somebody who masters AI and all its derivatives and applies it in ways we never thought of," the star investor of ABC's "Shark Tank" told audiences at the SXSW Conference and Festivals.

See?  It can happen to anyone. 
Exclusive: Facebook and Google Were Victims of $100M Payment Scam
When the Justice Department announced the arrest last month of a man who allegedly swindled more than $100 million from two U.S. tech giants, the news came wrapped in a mystery.  The agency didn’t say who was robbed, and nor did it identify the Asian supplier the crook impersonated to pull off the scheme.
The mystery is now unraveled.  A Fortune investigation, which involved interviews with sources close to law enforcement and other figures, has unearthed the identities of the three unnamed companies plus other details of the case.
The criminal case shows how scams involving email phishing and fake suppliers can victimize even the most sophisticated, tech-savvy corporations.  But the crime also raises questions about why the companies have so far kept silent and whether—as a former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission observes—it triggers an obligation to tell investors about what happened.

Great news Australia: We've had our first metadata breach
   The AFP today revealed one of its officers "illegally" accessed the metadata of an Australian journalist's phone calls, "earlier this year."
"[The breach] was identified by the AFP as a result of our own review," said AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin.
Commissioner Colvin said police destroyed all data once it was clear they had breached the laws, and that data did not form part of any police investigations.
"Put simply, this was human error.  It should not have occurred."
Australia's mandatory data retention laws passed with bipartisan support in March 2015. Under the bill, internet service providers and telcos are required by law to store metadata about customer communications -- including names, addresses and the time, location and duration of communications -- for two years.
The laws also include provisions requiring police to get a warrant to access journalists' metadata.  [Non-journalists have no protection?  Bob] 
   "We have breached in respect to a journalist's particular circumstances on this occasion," he added.  "I don't think that gives cause to say that the public should have their confidence shattered in the system."
The spectre of a major data breach has been looming since the laws were first mooted, with critics warning that creating a trove of metadata on every single Australian with a phone or an internet connection was a recipe for a major data breach, or a major hack

I’ll grab at least one of these each week while teaching Computer Security.  I’m hoping they get the message.  Why no encryption?  Do people still believe that passwords can protect a laptop? 
From a notification filed on behalf of Donaldson Company, Inc.:
On March 24, 2017, a Donaldson employee’s company-issued, user ID and password-protected laptop was stolen from the employee’s vehicle while it was located off Donaldson’s premises.  On March 29, 2017, Donaldson discovered that the laptop contained, in electronic form, certain Donaldson employees’ personal information, specifically employee hiring information, employee number, name, birthdate, Social Security number, citizenship, and address.
The incident involved the personal information of 4,487 individuals,

Doesn’t every politician attempt to influence voters?  Are they always dealing in facts?  Don’t they too drift into opinion or even fantasy?  Will we simply muzzle all opposing viewpoints?  Could be difficult to determine where the line is… 
Facebook gearing up to fight political propaganda
Facebook is acknowledging that governments or other malicious non-state actors are using its social network to influence political sentiment in ways that could affect national elections.

How to Detect Fake News in Real-Time

Speaking of influence…
Microsoft hires former FTC commissioner
Former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Julie Brill is joining Microsoft to head its privacy lobbying department, the company announced Friday.
As corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Microsoft’s privacy and regulatory affairs group, Brill will oversee the company’s lobbying on cybersecurity, privacy and telecommunications regulation.

For my students.  Get a job with a technology company! 
Google CEO Sundar Pichai received nearly US $200 million salary last year
HOUSTON: Google's 44-year-old India-born CEO Sundar Pichai received nearly US $200 million in compensation last year, double the amount he got in 2015.
Pichai received a salary of US $650,000 last year, slightly less than the US $652,500 he earned in 2015.
But the long-time Google employee, who was named CEO during the company's re-organisation in August 2015, received a stock award of US $198.7 million in 2016, roughly double his 2015 stock award of US $99.8 million.
The company's compensation committee attributed the lavish pay to Pichai's promotion to CEO and "numerous successful product launches", the CNN reported.  [Compensation for failure is a lot lower.  Bob]

Tools for that first draft?
Two Free Speech-to-Text Tools
This morning on Practical Ed Tech Live I answered a request for a free speech-to-text tool.  There were two that I suggested.  One was and the other was Dictanote.
On you can simply click "start dictation" then start having your voice transcribed into a text document.  No registration is required in order to use  More than two dozen languages are support on  
In Google Chrome you can use the Dictanote Speech Recognizer app available for free through the Chrome Web Store.  To use the Dictanote Speech Recognizer just install it from the Chrome Web Store, launch it, then click the microphone to start taking and recording your voice.  The Speech Recognizer will type out your text when you finish recording.  You can then copy and paste your text to the paragraph box below the Speech Recognizer or to a document you have open in Google Docs.

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