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Showing posts from July, 2018

Artificial intelligence, immune to fear or favour, is helping to make China’s foreign policy

Artificial intelligence, immune to fear or favour, is helping to make China’s foreign policy
The programme draws on a huge amount of data, with information ranging from cocktail-party gossip to images taken by spy satellites, to contribute to strategies in Chinese diplomacy
By Stephen Chen Monday, 30 July, 2018, 12:00am
Attention, foreign-policy makers. You will soon be working with, or competing against, a new type of robot with the potential to change the game of international politics forever.
Diplomacy is similar to a strategic board game. A country makes a move, the other(s) respond. All want to win.
Artificial intelligence is good at board games. To get the game started, the system analyses previous play, learns lessons from defeats or even repeatedly plays against itself to devise a strategy that was never thought of before by humans.
It has defeated world champions in chess and Go. More recently, it has won at heads-up no-limit Texas Hold’em poker, an “imperfect information g…

US Adults Now Spend Nearly Half a Day Interacting With Media

TIME FLIES: U.S. ADULTS NOW SPEND NEARLY HALF A DAY INTERACTING WITH MEDIA
MEDIA | 07-31-2018 The world has never been more connected, and U.S. audiences have never had as many options to access content as they do these days. In short, consumers in the U.S. seem like they can’t get enough content, and the possibilities for marketers to reach them, while fragmented, is an opportunity that is just too good to pass on.
AMERICAN ADULTS SPEND OVER 11 HOURS PER DAY LISTENING TO, WATCHING, READING OR GENERALLY INTERACTING WITH MEDIA
According to the first-quarter 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, nearly half an adults’ day is dedicated to consuming this content. In fact, American adults spend over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, reading or generally interacting with media. Behind this surge are the growing use of new platforms, as well as the younger, multicultural generations who leverage them. The amount of people using traditional platforms held relatively steady when looking …

Autonomous indoor drone surveillance system developed

Autonomous indoor drone surveillance system developed
JUL 30 2018 11:25AM EDT
NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - Two European drone companies are partnering to create the first autonomous indoor surveillance drone system.
Skysense has partnered with Avansig, to autonomously power the drone for Prosegur, a multinational security company.
Skysense says Prosegur’s surveillance drone can execute its own patrol route in a building and land itself on Skysense’s charging pad to recharge.The company says the lightweight, fast-charging infrastructure eliminates the need for battery removal or manual charging every time a drone battery runs out.
During surveillance patrols, the drone records and streams real-time video, and sends alerts to the security central station when potential security threats or breaches are discovered.
“We realized we needed a charging partner at the beginning of the project because we want the drone to work completely unattended,” said David Trillo, CEO of Avansig. “We were in conta…

'Trigger warnings' may undermine 'emotional resilience,' Harvard study finds

'Trigger warnings' may undermine 'emotional resilience,' Harvard study finds
Published on Friday in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental
By Bradford Richardson - Monday, July 30, 2018
“Trigger warnings” may do more harm than good, according to a study by a team of Harvard University psychologists.
Psychiatry, the study found that trigger warnings do not reduce the anxiety that people experience upon encountering a distressing text.
The alerts even had the opposite effect in some cases, increasing “perceived emotional vulnerability to trauma,” “anxiety to written material perceived as harmful” and “belief that trauma survivors are vulnerable.”
“Trigger warnings do not appear to be conducive to resilience as measured by any of our metrics,” the authors wrote. “Rather, our findings indicate that trigger warnings may present nuanced threats to selective domains of psychological resilience.”
The study was released as college students, professors and administrat…

Ontario scraps 'basic income' experiment...

PC's plan to scrap Ontario basic income pilot project called 'shameful' by NDP leader
Planned 3% increase to welfare and disability support to be cut in half
CBC News · Posted: Jul 31, 2018 2:30 PM ET | Last Updated: 4 hours ago
The Ontario basic income pilot project is coming to an end, says Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod.
MacLeod said Tuesday that the project was expensive, and "clearly not the answer for Ontario families."
She said the ministry would have "more details at a later date" about how the government would end the project.
Close to 4,000 people were enrolled in the basic income pilot program in Thunder Bay, Lindsay, Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County.
The pilot project started in April 2017. It was originally set to last three years, and explore the effectiveness of providing a basic income to those living on low incomes — whether they were working or not.
Under the project, a single person could have recei…
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Starbucks to Begin Coffee Delivery in China With Alibaba
By Bloomberg News 31 July 2018, 12:28 PM 30 July 2018, 11:54 PM
(Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Corp. will be joining forces with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to begin delivering its drinks and baked goods in China, according to people with knowledge of the plans, rolling out an effort to stave off competitors and turn around sales in the country.
Ele.me, the meals delivery service owned by Alibaba, will handle the logistics in a deal that will be announced Thursday, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the information is not yet public. Starbucks last week said it plans to start deliveries with a partner this fall in Beijing and Shanghai.
A Starbucks representative said it doesn’t comment on speculation. Alibaba said the company and Starbucks are “always exploring new ways to deepen our long-term partnership in China.” The two companies partnered to make visits to Starbucks’ Roastery high-tech store in Shanghai in…

New facial recognition system installed at Hong Kong-Shenzhen border

Parallel traders, beware: new facial recognition system installed at Hong Kong-Shenzhen border
Technology will also help to speed up customs checks on border that sees 640,000 crossings every day, authorities say
By Alice Shen Tuesday, 24 July, 2018, 10:19am
Chinese authorities have introduced a new system to crack down on “parallel traders” at two border checkpoints between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, in a move that marks the beginning of facial recognition technology being used on the large-scale at the mainland’s border checkpoints with the city.
Parallel traders refers to people who buy tax-free goods in the former British colony and then resell them in the mainland.
According to a message posted by the General Administration of Customs on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, the new system in place at the Shenzhen Bay and Lo Wu checkpoints will also speed up the processing time for people travelling between the two cities.
“Passengers shuttling between Shenzhen and Hong Kong can now…

France bans smartphones and tablets from schools to counter 'screen addiction' in children and teenagers

France bans smartphones and tablets from schools to counter 'screen addiction' in children and teenagers·Smartphones and tablets banned in all schools in France from September ·The new ban will apply to all schoolchildren until the age of 15 ·Ban fulfils a campaign promise by French President Emmanuel Macron ·        By AFP and SARA MALM FOR MAILONLINE 11:23 EDT, 31 July 2018  · Smartphones and tablets have been banned from all French schools ahead of the academic year, after a new law was voted through Parliament yesterday.   The phone ban will apply to all pupils in France up to the age of 15, as of the start of the new term in September. The new law fulfils a campaign promise by President Emmanuel Macron, but it has been criticised by the opposition as a 'publicity stunt'. 2 Lawmakers of Macron's centrist LREM party and its allies gave final approval to the bill on Monday, while MPs on the left and right abstained from the vote. The opposition has called the bill 'cosm…

Facebook Takes Down Fraudulent 'Resistance' Pages...

FACEBOOK SAYS IT HAS IDENTIFIED A POLITICAL INFLUENCE CAMPAIGN AIMED AT CREATING LEFT-WING ‘RESISTANCE’
By Joe Simonson 6:33 PM 07/31/2018
Facebook announced Tuesday that it has removed 32 inauthentic Instagram and Facebook profiles and pages because the company believes they were part of a coordinated disinformation campaign.
“We’re still in the very early stages of our investigation and don’t have all the facts — including who may be behind this. But we are sharing what we know today given the connection between these bad actors and protests that are planned in Washington next week. We will update this post with more details when we have them, or if the facts we have change,” the company said in a statement.
Many of the named pages and accounts seem to espouse progressive or left-wing political messages. One page, “Resisters,” went as far as creating an event scheduled between August 10 and 12 called “No United the Right 2 — DC.”
About 2,600 Facebook users expressed interest in the…

How Toxic Is Twitter? Universities Are Working to Find Out

How Toxic Is Twitter? Universities Are Working to Find Out
Twitter selects Leiden University to study echo chambers on the platform, while the University of Oxford and University of Amsterdam will try to measure the health of Twitter conversations.
By Michael Kan July 30, 2018 6:03PM EST
Twitter is looking to the world of academia to find out why it's so toxic.
The company hired a pair of research groups to measure the presence of "echo chambers" on Twitter, and whether exposing users to diverse viewpoints can make a dent in stopping prejudice, it said in a blog post on Monday.
Five months ago, the company called on the public to submit ideas about how it might measure "conversational health" across the platform. This came as Twitter's CEO admitted that the platform had become a hotbed of harassment, abuse, and propaganda campaigns, despite ongoing attempts to root out bad content.
To improve Twitter's health, the company asked for proposals on how the…

Taxi strike targeting Uber brings chaos to Spanish cities

Taxi strike targeting Uber brings chaos to Spanish cities
Reuters July 30, 2018
MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish taxi drivers blocked major city streets including Barcelona's Gran Via and Madrid's Castellana on Monday in a protest to pressure the government to curb licences to online ride-hailing services such as Uber.
Union representatives were due to meet officials of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's government later in the day to try to resolve the dispute, in which taxi drivers have choked main roads and snarled airports, bus and train stations since Saturday.
Along with counterparts in many other European countries, Spain's taxi drivers say that ride-hailing apps have made it impossible to compete.
"Uber and Cabify are putting the viability of the taxi sector and 130,000 jobs at risk...The union considers this unfair competition intolerable," the UGT union said in a statement.
Union representatives say the current law of one ride-hailing licence for every 30 ta…

Japan's police eye AI to control crowds at Tokyo Games

Japan's police eye AI to control crowds at Tokyo Games
The Japan News Published 8:27 am CDT, Monday, July 30, 2018
TOKYO - An experiment using an artificial intelligence system to estimate the number of spectators and their movements was conducted during the annual Sumida River Fireworks Festival in Tokyo by the Metropolitan Police Department and Panasonic.
The MPD and the major electronics maker will analyze the data collected on Sunday at the festival's venues, and examine whether the system could be utilized at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
MPD vehicles equipped with Panasonic cameras were stationed at two major crossings near the venues, and monitors nearby counted the number of people in designated areas and made estimations about which direction they would take.
The MPD and Panasonic will continue operating the system at major events and other occasions to equip the AI with more data. They are hoping to utilize the system for crowd control at the Tokyo Games.

Employers Eager to Hire Try a New Policy: ‘No Experience Necessary’ & College Degrees not Required

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Employers Eager to Hire Try a New Policy: ‘No Experience Necessary’
Inexperienced job applicants face better odds in the labor market as more companies drop work-history and degree requirements
By Kelsey Gee Updated July 29, 2018 1:14 p.m. ET
Americans looking to land a first job or break into a dream career face their best odds of success in years.
Employers say they are abandoning preferences for college degrees and specific skill sets to speed up hiring and broaden the pool of job candidates. Many companies added requirements to job postings after the recession, when millions were out of work and human-resources departments were stacked with résumés.
Across incomes and industries, the lower bar to getting hired is helping self-taught programmers attain software engineering roles at Intel Corp. and GitHub Inc., the coding platform, and improving the odds for high-school graduates who aspire to be branch managers at Bank of America Corp. and Terminix pest control.
“Candidates have s…

Human Bankers Are Losing to Robots as Nordea Sets a New Standard

Human Bankers Are Losing to Robots as Nordea Sets a New Standard
By Niklas Magnusson July 29, 2018, 3:00 AM PDT
Something interesting happened in Swedish finance last quarter. The only big bank that managed to cut costs also happens to be behind one of the industry’s boldest plans to replace humans with automation.
Nordea Bank AB, whose Chief Executive Officer Casper von Koskull says his industry might only have half its current human workforce a decade from now, is cutting 6,000 of those jobs. Von Koskull says the adjustment is the only way to stay competitive in the future, with automation and robots taking over from people in everything from asset management to answering calls from retail clients.
While many in the finance industry have struggled to digest that message, the latest set of bank results in Sweden suggests that executives in one of the planet’s most technologically advanced corners are drawing inspiration from Nordea.
At SEB AB, CEO Johan Torgeby now says that “whatev…

Tech firms should be made liable for 'fake news' on sites: UK lawmakers

Tech firms should be made liable for 'fake news' on sites: UK lawmakers
By Alistair Smout July 28, 2018
LONDON (Reuters) - Tech firms like Facebook should be made liable for "harmful and misleading" material on their websites and pay a levy so they can be regulated, British lawmakers said, warning of a crisis in democracy due to misuse of personal data.
Facebook has increasingly become a focus of the media committee's inquiry into "fake news" after the data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by British-headquartered consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook executives said on Wednesday its profit margins would plummet for several years due to the cost of improving privacy safeguards and slowing usage in its top advertising markets. The news wiped over $120 billion off the company's share price.
At the same time, the company is coming under concerted regulatory scrutiny in Britain, the United States and the European Union.
"Companies l…