Mark 1:1-4 New International Version (NIV)

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God,[b]as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”[c]
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”[d]

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

 

Israeli tech co. uses virtual & augmented reality tech to help Christians engage with the Bible — with thanks to Heidi McDow for the resource
Compedia Partners with U.S. Clients to Utilize Company’s Biblical Knowledge and Technological Expertise

TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 7, 2019 – Compedia, an Israel-based business-to-business tech company, is using virtual reality technology to service Christian clients with products that help users engage with the Bible in a meaningful way.

Compedia partnered with The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which attracted more than 1 million visitors during its first year of operation, to help bring the museum’s exhibits to life. With the help of Compedia’s innovation, visitors to the museum can immerse themselves in 34 different biblical sites through augmented reality tours, allowing them to soar across the Sea of Galilee, climb the stairs of the Temple Mount, explore the Holy Sepulchre and so much more. In addition to creating on-site attractions for The Museum of the Bible, Compedia also created a Bible curriculum for high-school students that includes interactive maps, 3-D guides, quizzes, trivia and more.

“Many people are dubious of augmented and virtual reality, but we see how they can be used for God’s glory,” said Illutowich. “When clients recognize how attentive users are to the Bible message when it’s presented through augmented and virtual reality, they see the power of it, too.”

In addition to their passion for furthering Bible education, Compedia is committed to developing products that help educators engage students of all types. The company is currently in partnership with a number of educational institutions and schools around the U.S. to utilize its interactive technology both in the classroom and in the online learning space. Other client collaborations include Siemens, Sony and Intel, to name a few.

About Compedia
Compedia uses cutting-edge technology to help students succeed by making education more fun, engaging, and meaningful. With over 30 years of experience in developing advanced learning solutions for millions of people in 50 countries and 35 languages, Compedia offers expertise in visual computing, augmented reality, virtual reality and advanced systems, as well as instructional design and UX.

 


 

 

 


 

 

The coming deepfakes threat to businesses — from axios.com by Kaveh Waddell and Jennifer Kingson

Excerpt:

In the first signs of a mounting threat, criminals are starting to use deepfakes — starting with AI-generated audio — to impersonate CEOs and steal millions from companies, which are largely unprepared to combat them.

Why it matters: Nightmare scenarios abound. As deepfakes grow more sophisticated, a convincing forgery could send a company’s stock plummeting (or soaring), to extract money or to ruin its reputation in a viral instant.

  • Imagine a convincing fake video or audio clip of Elon Musk, say, disclosing a massive defect the day before a big Tesla launch — the company’s share price would crumple.

What’s happening: For all the talk about fake videos, it’s deepfake audio that has emerged as the first real threat to the private sector.

 

From DSC…along these same lines see:

 

FTC reportedly hits Facebook with record $5 billion settlement — from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky and Caitlin Kelly

Excerpt:

AFTER MONTHS OF negotiations, the Federal Trade Commission fined Facebook a record-setting $5 billion on Friday for privacy violations, according to multiple reports. The penalty comes after an investigation that lasted over a year, and marks the largest in the agency’s history by an order of magnitude. If approved by the Justice Department’s civil division, it will also be the first substantive punishment for Facebook in the US, where the tech industry has gone largely unregulated. But Washington has taken a harsher stance toward Silicon Valley lately, and Friday’s announcement marks its most aggressive action yet to curb its privacy overreaches.

 

Also see:

 

 

Image from https://es.pngtree.com/freepng/color-cartoon-musical-note-stave_2521336.html

Image source

 

Psalm 150 — from biblegateway.com

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

 

I opted out of facial recognition at the airport — it wasn’t easy — from wired.com by Allie Funk

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

As a privacy-conscious person, I was uncomfortable boarding this way. I also knew I could opt out. Presumably, most of my fellow fliers did not: I didn’t hear a single announcement alerting passengers how to avoid the face scanners.

As I watched traveler after traveler stand in front of a facial scanner before boarding our flight, I had an eerie vision of a new privacy-invasive status quo. With our faces becoming yet another form of data to be collected, stored, and used, it seems we’re sleepwalking toward a hyper-surveilled environment, mollified by assurances that the process is undertaken in the name of security and convenience. I began to wonder: Will we only wake up once we no longer have the choice to opt out?

Until we have evidence that facial recognition is accurate and reliable—as opposed to simply convenient—travelers should avoid the technology where they can.

 

To figure out how to do so, I had to leave the boarding line, speak with a Delta representative at their information desk, get back in line, then request a passport scan when it was my turn to board. 

 

From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I am generally a pro-technology person. That said, there are times when I don’t trust humankind to use the power of some of these emerging technologies appropriately and ethically. Along these lines, I don’t like where facial recognition could be heading…and citizens don’t seem to have effective ways to quickly weigh in on this emerging technology. I find this to be a very troubling situation. How about you?

 

Daniel Christian -- A technology is meant to be a tool, it is not meant to rule.

 

 

Facial recognition smart glasses could make public surveillance discreet and ubiquitous — from theverge.com by James Vincent; with thanks to Mr. Paul Czarapata, Ed.D. out on Twitter for this resource
A new product from UAE firm NNTC shows where this tech is headed next. <– From DSC: though hopefully not!!!

Excerpt:

From train stations and concert halls to sport stadiums and airports, facial recognition is slowly becoming the norm in public spaces. But new hardware formats like these facial recognition-enabled smart glasses could make the technology truly ubiquitous, able to be deployed by law enforcement and private security any time and any place.

The glasses themselves are made by American company Vuzix, while Dubai-based firm NNTC is providing the facial recognition algorithms and packaging the final product.

 

From DSC…I commented out on Twitter:

Thanks Paul for this posting – though I find it very troubling. Emerging technologies race out ahead of society. It would be interested in knowing the age of the people developing these technologies and if they care about asking the tough questions…like “Just because we can, should we be doing this?”

 

Addendum on 6/12/19:

 

1 Chronicles 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.

 

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay
 

Revelation 21:2-4 New International Version (NIV) — from biblegateway.com

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 

From DSC:
My dad used to sign a song that had the highlighted scripture in it. It represents a wonderful, desirable, powerful vision…especially after listening to NPR for a while (which I do several times a week).

 

 

San Francisco becomes first city to bar police from using facial recognition— from cnet.com by Laura Hautala
It won’t be the last city to consider a similar law.

San Francisco becomes first city to bar police from using facial recognition

Excerpt:

The city of San Francisco approved an ordinance on Tuesday [5/14/19] barring the police department and other city agencies from using facial recognition technology on residents. It’s the first such ban of the technology in the country.

The ordinance, which passed by a vote of 8 to 1, also creates a process for the police department to disclose what surveillance technology they use, such as license plate readers and cell-site simulators that can track residents’ movements over time. But it singles out facial recognition as too harmful to residents’ civil liberties to even consider using.

“Facial surveillance technology is a huge legal and civil liberties risk now due to its significant error rate, and it will be worse when it becomes perfectly accurate mass surveillance tracking us as we move about our daily lives,” said Brian Hofer, the executive director of privacy advocacy group Secure Justice.

For example, Microsoft asked the federal government in July to regulate facial recognition technology before it gets more widespread, and said it declined to sell the technology to law enforcement. As it is, the technology is on track to become pervasive in airports and shopping centers and other tech companies like Amazon are selling the technology to police departments.

 

Also see:

 

People, Power and Technology: The Tech Workers’ View — from doteveryone.org.uk

Excerpt:

People, Power and Technology: The Tech Workers’ View is the first in-depth research into the attitudes of the people who design and build digital technologies in the UK. It shows that workers are calling for an end to the era of moving fast and breaking things.

Significant numbers of highly skilled people are voting with their feet and leaving jobs they feel could have negative consequences for people and society. This is heightening the UK’s tech talent crisis and running up employers’ recruitment and retention bills. Organisations and teams that can understand and meet their teams’ demands to work responsibly will have a new competitive advantage.

While Silicon Valley CEOs have tried to reverse the “techlash” by showing their responsible credentials in the media, this research shows that workers:

    • need guidance and skills to help navigate new dilemmas
    • have an appetite for more responsible leadership
    • want clear government regulation so they can innovate with awareness

Also see:

  • U.K. Tech Staff Quit Over Work On ‘Harmful’ AI Projects — from forbes.com by Sam Shead
    Excerpt:
    An alarming number of technology workers operating in the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence say they are concerned about the products they’re building. Some 59% of U.K. tech workers focusing on AI have experience of working on products that they felt might be harmful for society, according to a report published on Monday by Doteveryone, the think tank set up by lastminute.com cofounder and Twitter board member Martha Lane Fox.

 

 

Exquisite underwater photos to make you love the ocean — from wired.com by Laura Mallonee

 

Job 12:7-10

7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.”

 

Glory to GOD in the highest!

 

We Built an ‘Unbelievable’ (but Legal) Facial Recognition Machine — from nytimes.com by Sahil Chinoy

“The future of human flourishing depends upon facial recognition technology being banned,” wrote Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern, and Evan Selinger, a professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, last year. ‘Otherwise, people won’t know what it’s like to be in public without being automatically identified, profiled, and potentially exploited.’ Facial recognition is categorically different from other forms of surveillance, Mr. Hartzog said, and uniquely dangerous. Faces are hard to hide and can be observed from far away, unlike a fingerprint. Name and face databases of law-abiding citizens, like driver’s license records, already exist. And for the most part, facial recognition surveillance can be set up using cameras already on the streets.” — Sahil Chinoy; per a weekly e-newsletter from Sam DeBrule at Machine Learnings in Berkeley, CA

Excerpt:

Most people pass through some type of public space in their daily routine — sidewalks, roads, train stations. Thousands walk through Bryant Park every day. But we generally think that a detailed log of our location, and a list of the people we’re with, is private. Facial recognition, applied to the web of cameras that already exists in most cities, is a threat to that privacy.

To demonstrate how easy it is to track people without their knowledge, we collected public images of people who worked near Bryant Park (available on their employers’ websites, for the most part) and ran one day of footage through Amazon’s commercial facial recognition service. Our system detected 2,750 faces from a nine-hour period (not necessarily unique people, since a person could be captured in multiple frames). It returned several possible identifications, including one frame matched to a head shot of Richard Madonna, a professor at the SUNY College of Optometry, with an 89 percent similarity score. The total cost: about $60.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
What do you think about this emerging technology and its potential impact on our society — and on other societies like China? Again I ask…what kind of future do we want?

As for me, my face is against the use of facial recognition technology in the United States — as I don’t trust where this could lead.

This wild, wild, west situation continues to develop. For example, note how AI and facial recognition get their foot in the door via techs installed years ago:

The cameras in Bryant Park were installed more than a decade ago so that people could see whether the lawn was open for sunbathing, for example, or check how busy the ice skating rink was in the winter. They are not intended to be a security device, according to the corporation that runs the park.

So Amazon’s use of facial recognition is but another foot in the door. 

This needs to be stopped. Now.

 

Facial recognition technology is a menace disguised as a gift. It’s an irresistible tool for oppression that’s perfectly suited for governments to display unprecedented authoritarian control and an all-out privacy-eviscerating machine.

We should keep this Trojan horse outside of the city. (source)

 

From DSC:
Thank you LORD for your grace, your love, your forgiveness…and for all kinds of music which moves our souls. Especially as we reflect on the gift that was offered for us this week…thank you LORD! While we were yet sinners…you died for us. You paid the price. Then you rose again!

The gifts of grace, music and eternal life! Thank you LORD.

 

 

From DSC:
For those of you in warmer climates, this is no big deal. But for us here in Michigan, these last few winters have seemed like forever…they’ve been very long indeed. So when flowers appear, it’s a big deal to us!

I saw my first view of flowers in 2019…and guess what?! I saw them right outside a funeral home…hmmm….new life…right next to “death.”

Flowers right outside a funeral home -- new life, right next to death

 

A funeral home

 

From DSC:
This reminded me of the beginning of
Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die…

 

Along these lines of thinking about time…the trick for me has been to not let time put so much heat in my kitchen as to make my life (and others as well) highly stressful — a trick that I’m still trying to learn. I sometimes think that I give too much weight to Psalm 90:12 (“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”) Unfortunately, I put too much focus on the first part of that verse. But it’s easy for me to do that these days. As our family watches our parents entering into the last of their twilight years, I’m once again reminded that our lives are but a vapor. I’m trying to use them wisely.

As Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter are rapidly approaching us…perhaps it’s a good time to think about life and death…hmmm.

 

 

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