May 24, 2013
The attempt to mine for insights in big data is not a new concept. The Huffington Post confirms this as they describe one of the more interesting pushes in this area. We learned more about Crowdoptic in “Visual Data Mining from Crowdsourcing: From Augmented Reality to Augmented Security?”
On the ever-continuous hunt for elusive metadata-laden images and other files, Crowdoptic focuses on the majority rules idea. This technology filters through files to find ones where people are/were “crowding” to click photos. Additionally, they can pinpoint hotspots within that given location where people are physically focusing their cameras. Of course this can be done in real time.
The article discusses this technology’s potential for augmented marketing and advertising:
“The potential uses for this kind of technology in business and marketing are still to be explored fully. The technology basically identifies what is holding the attention of people at a place at a given time. It is basically like Twitter trending, but with images posted online. And if the company’s claims are anything to go by, if they have a target location and time, the technology is capable of mining online visual data and pinpointing events or places that many people focus on with their smartphone cameras (basically, what people are looking at) in a matter of seconds.”
Not only marketing is discussed, but also security — for purposes of justice but also excessive surveillance such as in Orwell’s “1984.” Keep these new controversial technologies coming in; this is better than Hollywood gossip.
Megan Feil, May 24, 2013
May 24, 2013
Copy machines seem slightly outdated as they evoke images of futile technology a la Office Space. But Popular Science represents the antithesis of this and so does the new photocopier discussed in “New Software Teaches Photocopiers How To Grade Papers.” Automated grading machines for multiple choice exams have been around for decades but this takes it to a new level where handwritten answers can be graded by this new Xerox machine.
The software, called Ignite, would keep track of which students are doing poorly and on which questions. At a glance teachers will be able to see who’s struggling and with what concepts.
According to the article:
“The software, called Ignite, needs some pointers first. Teachers enter in the test and an answer key, which Ignite uses not only to figure out which answers are right but also to know where on the page to look for handwritten answers. Teachers also need to tell the software what concepts each question covers. Fourth-graders at one school in Rochester, New York, that has tested the software were impressed. Their teacher, Pat McDonald, named their machine Ziggy and told the Democrat and Chronicle that the kids have written poems about Ziggy.”
We thought IBM’s Watson was fascinating. This steals it’s thunder. The practical application and positive impact this could have on education is enormous.
Megan Feil, May 24, 2013
May 23, 2013
Watch any crime-solving show on TV and the forensics department has facial recognition technology that can take a blurry photo and make it as clear as pure water. Sadly, ARS Technica points out that facial recognition technology is more fantasy than truth: “Why Facial Recognition Tech Failed In The Boston Bombing Manhunt.” The article points out the faults in facial recognition, citing how the suspected Boston bombers’ photos were in a database but cameras around the area failed to pick them up. The technology can work, but it almost needs the right person at the right time:
“Under the best circumstances, facial recognition can be extremely accurate, returning the right person as a potential match more than 99 percent of the time with ideal conditions. But to get that level of accuracy almost always requires some skilled guidance from humans, plus some up-front work to get a good image.”
Improved graphic quality and cloud computing make the process more reliable and accurate, even deployable to mobile devices. Multiple mobile devices with cameras from different angles can actually cobble together an image, but more cameras are not a solution. The current systems are not complex enough to handle it, but the technology is well on its way. Facial recognition is more science-fiction than reality. It exists, but only in the beta phase.
Whitney Grace, May 23, 2013
May 21, 2013
In the article Digital Footprints Broken Down by Generation on Bit Rebels, there are some very interesting facts laid out about the amount of data generated everyday by humans. According to the article, citing “science”, the internet in all its encompassing hugeness weighs no more than the average strawberry, but the data printed out could cross the US and China fifteen times. To discover your data footprint and get a label (such as super-user) you can visit Cisco’s website What is Your Digital Footprint. The article also states,
“What I found to be the most staggering stat is that from the beginning of time until 2003, humans generated 5 billion gigabytes worth of data. Today, we generate that much data every two days. In a year from now, we will generate that much data every ten minutes. What will it be like in 10 years from now? Doesn’t it seem like at some point it would get full? Science is full of mystery and wonder.”
For a breakdown of generational usage of everything from tv to smart phones to desktop computers, examine this handy infographic by Wikibon. It predicts that soon we will generate 5 billion gigabytes of data every ten minutes. Some of this data is private, and at ArnoldIT you can learn from a team of professionals about how to avoid leaving a digital footprint that will open you up to risk and embarrassment.
Chelsea Kerwin, May 21, 2013
If you are interested in gourmet food and spirits, read Gourmet De Ville.
May 20, 2013
From Marketplace Tech comes an interesting article on Google Glass and the projections into the future in regards to similar projects. The article, “Google’s Ray Kurzweil on the Computers that will Live in our Brains,” discusses how everything Google puts its hands on is changing how we search, retrieve and interact with information. As in nearly all articles these days discussing Google Glass Ray Kurzweil, the director of engineering at Google, leads the conversation.
Kurzweil posits that we will eventually move beyond devices that simply allow us to look at the world through a keyhole. Instead, he forecasts that people will be online all the time. He projects that devices post-Glass will ultimately be the size of blood cells able to be sent inside the brain and connect to the cloud around the mid-2030’s.
The article tells us more:
“In Kurzweil’s vision, these advances don’t simply bring computers closer to our biological systems. Machines become more like us. ‘Your personality, your skills are contained in information in your neocortex, and it is information,’ Kurzweil says. ‘These technologies will be a million times more powerful in 20 years and we will be able to manipulate the information inside your brain.’ As that data locked up inside our brain becomes searchable, inimitable human qualities suddenly become easier to emulate. Kurzweil denies that the searching and backup up of the brain itself is a bloodless pursuit, depleted of human emotion.”
Artificial intelligence and the melding of biology and machine is increasingly discussed in the media in reference to Google Glass. Will Glass evolve to Google impants? The bigger question is touched upon in this particular article: is it altruistic intentions or advertising that is driving this kind of technology?
Megan Feil, May 20, 2013
May 16, 2013
France was once the basin of western culture and artists flocked there to seek inspiration. While France may not have the renaissance going on, it did host the Computer Human Interface conference for 2013. Reminiscent of past artists, technology professionals and researchers flocked to the conference to see the latest developments in how humans interact with machines. CIO has the details in the article, “Future Of Computer Interaction On Display In Paris.”
The conference’s goal is that people across different technology fields can cross-pollinate their ideas. There is also a mini trade show dubbed the interactivity section where attendees can try the newest toys. Some are advances in medical technology, others are tools, but some are beyond bizarre:
“Some projects have seemed more like science fiction. For example, in 2012 researchers from Meiji University in Japan changed the taste of food by adding electricity to it. Their reasoning was that electricity could mimic the taste of salt and by adding electricity to certain foods, people could decrease their salt intake. The electricity diet has yet to go mainstream.”
It sounds like the “World of Tomorrow” exhibition that used to be at the World’s Fair. It fits in with the Paris scene even more, since the Eiffel Tower was built for such an event. Just imagine that this technology will one day be commonplace.
Whitney Grace, May 16, 2013
May 14, 2013
Urban professionals and early tech adopters may be the target audience Google has in mind for Google Glass but the writer of a recent article from ZDNet, “Old Age is the Killer App for Google Glass,” would not be surprised if the aging Baby Boomer generation becomes the most enthralled with this new technology.
The problems of old age are no secret and ZDNet glosses over a quick list: dementia, difficulties walking, brittle bones and more. Remember the ”Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” ads in the 90’s? We’ll let you put two and two together on that one.
According to the article:
“The possibilities for Google Glass are huge in this older market. Why do companies chase the 19 to 25 year old demographic? Those kids have little money and the entire generation has lousy job prospects. The Baby Boomers of Generation A are the largest and wealthiest demographic of them all. They will love Google Glass. Google’s rush to Google Glass makes perfect sense if you consider that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are 40 and 39 years old, respectively. With every day, they have more and more in common with 60 year-olds than with 20 year-olds.”
ZDNet suggests that Google has brought Ray Kurzweil on to ensure that they are getting the inside scoop on the complete integration of biology and technology — the singularity. This, in addition to the other posits made, is a very harsh assessment and makes us question the entire list of assertions in the article.
Megan Feil, May 14, 2013
May 13, 2013
IBM’s Watson has already conquered Jeopardy, but now he aims to conquer the kitchen in inventing new culinary delights. Fast Company notes the endeavor in“Try The First Recipe Devised By IBM’s Supercomputer Chef.” Taking on cooking is part of IBM’s goal to master the art of creativity. Unlike chess and trivia questions, cooking has billions of random decisions that have a positive or negative impact on the dish, not to mentioned one person might enjoy it, but another may not. Lav Varshney, the project head, is aware of this conundrum and he does not let it hold him back.
“‘We’ve been interested in pushing computing to a new direction, computational creativity. We’re trying to draw on data sets, not just to make inferences about the world, but to create new things you’ve never seen,’ Varshney says.”
To experiment with creative cooking, the cyberchef AI references three databases: cooking basics, hedonic psychophysics, i.e. flavor compounds, and chemoinformatics-a combo of the prior two. The AI already has created new dishes, but it ranks the ones that are most flavorful and novel at the top of the list. The ranking exists to maximize creative potential. IBM has stated that unlike its previous creations Deep Blue and Watson, the cyberchef AI is made to be a collaborative system. IBM’s deep-set idea is that robots will not replace humans, but rather save it, i.e. combating obesity. If humans cannot find the solution why not turn to an objective source. It may prove to work.
Whitney Grace, May 13, 2013
May 13, 2013
The New York Times explores “Brain computers Inch Closer To Mainstream.” Engineers are already tweaking the Google Glass so that simple movements control it, but eventually thoughts will power it. Thoughts could even complete small home tasks or inform robot assistants of needs. Samsung’s Emerging Technology Lab is working on tablets that can be controlled by the brain, but it is less than a fashion statement with a ski hat and attached electrodes. People with paralysis and other disabilities can benefit the most as robotic arms and other machines will be able to be controlled with a simple thought.
There are already some products on the market, but eventually these will look like relics from an ancient society:
“’The current brain technologies are like trying to listen to a conversation in a football stadium from a blimp,’ said John Donoghue, a neuroscientist and director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science. ‘To really be able to understand what is going on with the brain today you need to surgically implant an array of sensors into the brain.’ In other words, to gain access to the brain, for now you still need a chip in your head.”
Projects are already underway to make a computer chip for the head, but even that could get old. The Obama Administration is funding the Brain Activity Map that will enhance the human’s knowledge of its own mind deeper than anything ever done. The hope is that brain computer interfaces will be viable. These ideas are still rooted in the world of science-fiction, but so were smartphones in 1970s. Time changes and advances technology.
Whitney Grace, May 13, 2013
May 11, 2013
Being out at sea is isolating and requires a person with a certain personality capable of handling that mindset, but ARS Technica points to something interesting that may shave off some of that feeling, “Good Morning, Captain: Open Ports Let Anyone Track Ships On Internet.” It is not surprising that everything is connected to the Internet and Rapid7 Lab researchers discovered during a census of the entire Internet that there was a lot of data from ships’ Automated Identification System receivers. The receivers allow people to track ships’ movements and are placed on ships, buoys, and other navigation markers. They are used to prevent collisions, the H2O equivalent of air traffic controllers. When the researchers discovered the data, within two hours they collected more than two gigabytes on ships, including military and law enforcement.
Before you ask the question, yes it does post a security risk, because everything from safety messages to casual greetings were picked up. The alarming factor is what type of ships they came from.
“As the Rapid7 report points out (and as numerous readers have pointed out as well) the data from AIS is openly published via AIS itself and a number of websites in any case. The data is public by nature—otherwise it wouldn’t be effective in preventing collisions at sea. But the information collected from the AIS system itself is a vulnerable asset—the US Coast Guard counts on AIS in combination with other, secure data sources as part of its Nationwide AIS, a maritime security system.”
Attackers could spoof the data and feed misinformation to cause terror and panic. The weakness has been noted and someone is on the case, per usual. The main question is when?
Whitney Grace, May 11, 2013