Google, Facebook, and the Legal Mess Over Face Scanning — from smh.com.au by Jeff John Roberts

Excerpt:

When must companies receive permission to use biometric data like your fingerprints or your face? The question is a hot topic in Illinois where a controversial law has ensnared tech giants Facebook and Google, potentially exposing them to billions in dollars in liability over their facial recognition tools.

The lack of specific guidance from the Supreme Court has since produced ongoing confusion over what type of privacy violations can let people seek financial damages.

 

The above article references this item from 2016:

 

 

From DSC:
The legal and legislative areas need to close the gap between emerging technologies and the law.

What questions should we be asking about the skillsets that our current and future legislative representatives need? Do we need some of our representatives to be highly knowledgeable, technically speaking? 

What programs and other types of resources should we be offering our representatives to get up to speed on emerging technologies? Which blogs, websites, journals, e-newsletters, listservs, and/or other communication vehicles and/or resources should they have access to?

Along these lines, what about our judges? Can we offer them some of these resources as well? 

What changes do our law schools need to make to address this?

 

 

 

 

Big tech may look troubled, but it’s just getting started — from nytimes.com by David Streitfeld

Excerpt:

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley ended 2018 somewhere it had never been: embattled.

Lawmakers across the political spectrum say Big Tech, for so long the exalted embodiment of American genius, has too much power. Once seen as a force for making our lives better and our brains smarter, tech is now accused of inflaming, radicalizing, dumbing down and squeezing the masses. Tech company stocks have been pummeled from their highs. Regulation looms. Even tech executives are calling for it.

The expansion underlines the dizzying truth of Big Tech: It is barely getting started.

 

“For all intents and purposes, we’re only 35 years into a 75- or 80-year process of moving from analog to digital,” said Tim Bajarin, a longtime tech consultant to companies including Apple, IBM and Microsoft. “The image of Silicon Valley as Nirvana has certainly taken a hit, but the reality is that we the consumers are constantly voting for them.”

 

Big Tech needs to be regulated, many are beginning to argue, and yet there are worries about giving that power to the government.

Which leaves regulation up to the companies themselves, always a dubious proposition.

 

 

 

FDA approves HoloLens powered medical augmented reality system — from by Richard Devine
HoloLens might be about to make surgical procedures a whole lot different.

Excerpt:

From Healthimaging.com

OpenSight specifically utilizes the Microsoft HoloLens headset that allows simultaneous visualization of the 3D patient images in AR and the actual patient and their real-world surroundings. The technique may decrease operative times and improve surgical planning and the understanding of anatomic relationships.

 

 

Can virtual reality revolutionize education? — from cnn.com by Emma Kennedy

 

“Kids love to engage with [VR] lessons,” said Guido Kovalskys, chief executive and co-founder of US-based edtech company Nearpod. “One minute, they are learning about Roman history, and the next, they are transported to ancient Rome and are exploring the Colosseum.”

 

From DSC:
Ok, so the title is on the overhyped side, but I do think XR will positively impact learning, understanding.

 

 

University of Washington Researchers Demo Ability to Generate 3D Augmented Reality Content from 2D Images — from next.reality.news by Tommy Palladino

 

 

 

Age of Sail: Setting the course for virtual reality narratives in the future — from by Jose Antunes
The most ambitious project from Google Spotlight Stories is also the one that pushes the boundaries in terms of the creation of narratives in Virtual Reality: embark on Age of Sail.

Augmented Reality Remote Collaboration with Dense Reconstruction

 

Addendum:

  • VR & AR 2018: A year in review — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick
    Excerpt:
    If 2016 was the birth of modern VR/AR technology, than 2018 was its elementary school graduation. While this past year may have seemed like a quiet one when compared to the more exciting releases featured in 2017 and 2016, these past 12 months have been crucial in the development of the immersive entertainment sector.

    Major hardware releases, vast improvements to software, and various other integral advancements have quietly solidified VR & AR as viable, long-term technological platforms for years to come. So while there may not have been any bombshell announcements or jaw-dropping reveals per sey, 2018 will still go down as a key, if not climactic, year for VR & AR technology regardless.

    With a new year full of exciting possibilities ahead of us, let’s hang back a second and take a look back at 2018’s most pivotal moments.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Thanks to Mike Matthews for his item on LinkedIn for this.

 

 

 

Smart speakers hit critical mass in 2018 — from techcrunch.com by Sarah Perez

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

We already know Alexa had a good Christmas — the app shot to the top of the App Store over the holidays, and the Alexa service even briefly crashed from all the new users. But Alexa, along with other smart speaker devices like Google Home, didn’t just have a good holiday — they had a great year, too. The smart speaker market reached critical mass in 2018, with around 41 percent of U.S. consumers now owning a voice-activated speaker, up from 21.5 percent in 2017.

 

In the U.S., there are now more than 100 million Alexa-enabled devices installed — a key milestone for Alexa to become a “critical mass platform,” the report noted.

 

 

5 influencers predict AI’s impact on business in 2019 — from martechadvisor.com by Christine Crandell

Excerpt:

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) already proving its worth to adopters, it’s not surprising that an increasing number of companies will implement and leverage AI in 2019. Now, it’s no longer a question of whether AI will take off. Instead, it’s a question of which companies will keep up. Here are five predictions from five influencers on the impact AI will have on businesses in 2019, writes Christine Crandell, President, New Business Strategies.

 

 

Should we be worried about computerized facial recognition? — from newyorker.com by David Owen
The technology could revolutionize policing, medicine, even agriculture—but its applications can easily be weaponized.

 

Facial-recognition technology is advancing faster than the people who worry about it have been able to think of ways to manage it. Indeed, in any number of fields the gap between what scientists are up to and what nonscientists understand about it is almost certainly greater now than it has been at any time since the Manhattan Project. 

 

From DSC:
This is why law schools, legislatures, and the federal government need to become much more responsive to emerging technologies. The pace of technological change has changed. But have other important institutions of our society adapted to this new pace of change?

 

 

Andrew Ng sees an eternal springtime for AI — from zdnet.com by Tiernan Ray
Former Google Brain leader and Baidu chief scientist Andrew Ng lays out the steps companies should take to succeed with artificial intelligence, and explains why there’s unlikely to be another “AI winter” like in times past.

 

 

Google Lens now recognizes over 1 billion products — from venturebeat.com by Kyle Wiggers with thanks to Marie Conway for her tweet on this

Excerpt:

Google Lens, Google’s AI-powered analysis tool, can now recognize over 1 billion products from Google’s retail and price comparison portal, Google Shopping. That’s four times the number of objects Lens covered in October 2017, when it made its debut.

Aparna Chennapragada, vice president of Google Lens and augmented reality at Google, revealed the tidbit in a retrospective blog post about Google Lens’ milestones.

 

Amazon Customer Receives 1,700 Audio Files Of A Stranger Who Used Alexa — from npr.org by Sasha Ingber

Excerpt:

When an Amazon customer in Germany contacted the company to review his archived data, he wasn’t expecting to receive recordings of a stranger speaking in the privacy of a home.

The man requested to review his data in August under a European Union data protection law, according to a German trade magazine called c’t. Amazon sent him a download link to tracked searches on the website — and 1,700 audio recordings by Alexa that were generated by another person.

“I was very surprised about that because I don’t use Amazon Alexa, let alone have an Alexa-enabled device,” the customer, who was not named, told the magazine. “So I randomly listened to some of these audio files and could not recognize any of the voices.”

 

 

On one hand XR-related technologies
show some promise and possibilities…

 

The AR Cloud will infuse meaning into every object in the real world — from venturebeat.com by Amir Bozorgzadeh

Excerpt:

Indeed, if you haven’t yet heard of the “AR Cloud”, it’s time to take serious notice. The term was coined by Ori Inbar, an AR entrepreneur and investor who founded AWE. It is, in his words, “a persistent 3D digital copy of the real world to enable sharing of AR experiences across multiple users and devices.”

 

Augmented reality invades the conference room — from zdnet.com by Ross Rubin
Spatial extends the core functionality of video and screen sharing apps to a new frontier.

 

 

The 5 most innovative augmented reality products of 2018 — from next.reality.news by Adario Strange

 

 

Augmented, virtual reality major opens at Shenandoah U. next fall — from edscoop.com by by Betsy Foresman

Excerpt:

“It’s not about how virtual reality functions. It’s about, ‘How does history function in virtual reality? How does biology function in virtual reality? How does psychology function with these new tools?’” he said.

The school hopes to prepare student for careers in a field with a market size projected to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022, according to Statista. Still at its advent, Whelan compared VR technology to the introduction of the personal computer.

 

VR is leading us into the next generation of sports media — from venturebeat.com by Mateusz Przepiorkowski

 

 

Accredited surgery instruction now available in VR — from zdnet.com by Greg Nichols
The medical establishment has embraced VR training as a cost-effective, immersive alternative to classroom time.

 

Toyota is using Microsoft’s HoloLens to build cars faster — from cnn.comby Rachel Metz

From DSC:
But even in that posting the message is mixed…some pros…some cons. Some things going well for XR-related techs…but for other things, things are not going very well.

 

 

…but on the other hand,
some things don’t look so good…

 

Is the Current Generation of VR Already Dead? — from medium.com by Andreas Goeldi

Excerpt:

Four years later, things are starting to look decidedly bleak. Yes, there are about 5 million Gear VR units and 3 million Sony Playstation VR headsets in market, plus probably a few hundred thousand higher-end Oculus and HTC Vive systems. Yes, VR is still being demonstrated at countless conferences and events, and big corporations that want to seem innovative love to invest in a VR app or two. Yes, Facebook just cracked an important low-end price point with its $200 Oculus Go headset, theoretically making VR affordable for mainstream consumers. Plus, there’s even more hype about Augmented Reality, which in a way could be a gateway drug to VR.

But it’s hard to ignore a growing feeling that VR is not developing as the industry hoped it would. So is that it again, we’ve seen this movie before, let’s all wrap it up and wait for the next wave of VR to come along about five years from now?

There are a few signs that are really worrying…

 

 

From DSC:
My take is that it’s too early to tell. We need to give things more time.

 

 

 

Why should anyone believe Facebook anymore? — from wired.com by Fred Vogelstein

Excerpt:

Just since the end of September, Facebook announced the biggest security breach in its history, affecting more than 30 million accounts. Meanwhile, investigations in November revealed that, among other things, the company had hired a Washington firm to spread its own brand of misinformation on other platforms, including borderline anti-Semitic stories about financier George Soros. Just two weeks ago, a cache of internal emails dating back to 2012 revealed that at times Facebook thought a lot more about how to make money off users’ data than about how to protect it.

Now, according to a New York Times investigation into Facebook’s data practices published Tuesday, long after Facebook said it had taken steps to protect user data from the kinds of leakages that made Cambridge Analytica possible, the company continued to sustain special, undisclosed data-sharing arrangements with more than 150 companies—some into this year. Unlike with Cambridge Analytica, the Times says, Facebook provided access to its users’ data knowingly and on a greater scale.

 

What has enabled them to deliver these apologies, year after year, was that these sycophantic monologues were always true enough to be believable. The Times’ story calls into question every one of those apologies—especially the ones issued this year.

There’s a simple takeaway from all this, and it’s not a pretty one: Facebook is either a mendacious, arrogant corporation in the mold of a 1980s-style Wall Street firm, or it is a company in much more disarray than it has been letting on. 

It’s hard to process this without finally realizing what it is that’s made us so angry with Silicon Valley, and Facebook in particular, in 2018: We feel lied to, like these companies are playing us, their users, for chumps, and they’re also laughing at us for being so naive.

 

 

Also related/see:

‘We’ve hit an inflection point’: Big Tech failed big-time in 2018 — from finance.yahoo.com by JP Mangalindan

Excerpt:

2018 will be remembered as the year the public’s big soft-hearted love affair with Big Tech came to a screeching halt.

For years, lawmakers and the public let massive companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon run largely unchecked. Billions of people handed them their data — photos, locations, and other status-rich updates — with little scrutiny or question. Then came revelations around several high-profile data breaches from Facebook: a back-to-back series of rude awakenings that taught casual web-surfing, smartphone-toting citizens that uploading their data into the digital ether could have consequences. Google reignited the conversation around sexual harassment, spurring thousands of employees to walk out, while Facebook reminded some corners of the U.S. that racial bias, even in supposedly egalitarian Silicon Valley, remained alive and well. And Amazon courted well over 200 U.S. cities in its gaudy and protracted search for a second headquarters.

“I think 2018 was the year that people really called tech companies on the carpet about the way that they’ve been behaving conducting their business,” explained Susan Etlinger, an analyst at the San Francisco-based Altimeter Group. “We’ve hit an inflection point where people no longer feel comfortable with the ways businesses are conducting themselves. At the same time, we’re also at a point, historically, where there’s just so much more willingness to call out businesses and institutions on bigotry, racism, sexism and other kinds of bias.”

 

The public’s love affair with Facebook hit its first major rough patch in 2016 when Russian trolls attempted to meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election using the social media platform. But it was the Cambridge Analytica controversy that may go down in internet history as the start of a series of back-to-back, bruising controversies for the social network, which for years, served as the Silicon Valley poster child of the nouveau American Dream. 

 

 

 

From DSC:
How long before voice drives most appliances, thermostats, etc?

Hisense is bringing Android and AI smarts to its 2019 TV range — from techradar.com by Stephen Lambrechts
Some big announcements planned for CES 2019

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Hisense has announced that it will unveil the next evolution of its VIDAA smart TV platform at CES 2019 next month, promising to take full advantage of artificial intelligence with version 3.0.

Each television in Hisense’s 2019 ULED TV lineup will boast the updated VIDAA 3.0 AI platform, with Amazon Alexa functionality fully integrated into the devices, meaning you won’t need an Echo device to use Alexa voice control features.

 

 

 

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