The end of household chores? Be careful what you wish for

This article by Fiona J McEvoy (YouTheData.com) was originally posted on All Turtles.

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Facebook’s and Google’s new home-based devices are designed to improve the way we live and interact in our personal time. These tech giants, along with vast swathes of smaller AI firms, are looking to upgrade and streamline our domestic experiences including how we share, relax, connect, and shop.

The veritable avalanche of new gizmos vying for a place in our most private spaces constitutes a true home invasion, and while many have voiced concerns about privacy and the security of personal data, fewer have considered what this might mean for the human condition.

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AI needs cooperation, not an arms race

This article by Fiona J McEvoy (YouTheData.com) was originally posted on All Turtles.

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Writing in the New York Times recently, venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee signaled an important, oncoming change in the way we think about artificial intelligence. We are graduating, he cautioned, from an age of discovery and vision into a more practical era of implementation.

Lee is promoting his new book, titled A.I. Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, and he suggests that this transition from lab to launchpad may naturally privilege Chinese advantages—like data abundance and government investment—above the research capabilities and “freewheeling intellectual environment” of the U.S.

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If internet trolls are cybercriminals, can AI stop them?

This article by Fiona J McEvoy (YouTheData.com) was originally posted on All Turtles.

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In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack made international headlines. The breach (which was later linked to North Korea) used leaked NSA tools to target businesses that were running outdated Windows software. WannaCry wreaked havoc by encrypting user data and then demanding  Bitcoin ransom payments. Hackers gave victims 7 days to pay, threatening to delete the files of those who wouldn’t comply.

Though a “kill switch” was ultimately discovered, the attack affected over 200,000 business in 150 countries. It has been estimated that WannaCry caused hundreds of millions – and perhaps even billions – of dollars of damage.

Despite the alarm and headlines associated with it, the WannaCry attack was neither unique nor especially surprising. In today’s connected world we have almost become accustomed to these types of hostile acts. Yahoo. Equifax. Ashley Madison. The list goes on.  Technology has catalyzed big changes to our conception crime, and while the word still attaches itself to physical infringements like theft and assault, “crime” now captures a broad range of clandestine activities, including so-called cybercrimes.

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Good Gadgets: The rise of socially conscious tech

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From algorithmic bias to killer robots, fake news, and the now almost daily prophesying about the dangers of AI, it’s fair to say that tech is under scrutiny.

Episodes like the Cambridge Analytica scandal opened our eyes to the fact that some of our nearest and dearest technologies had become fully socialized before we truly understood the full force of their influence. Consequently, new tools and gadgets coming down the line are being closely examined so that we can begin to uncover any damaging consequences that could manifest 10, 20, or even 100 years from now.

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Peer pressure: An unintended consequence of AI

This article by Fiona J McEvoy (YouTheData.com) was originally posted on All Turtles.

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Last winter, Kylie Jenner tweeted that she stopped using Snapchat, and almost immediately the company’s shares dropped six-percent, losing $1.3 billion in value. Her seemingly innocent comments had led investors to believe that the 20-year-old’s 25 million followers would do the same, and the knock-on effect would seal the social media apps fate as a “has been” among its key demographic of younger women.

This astonishing event demonstrates in technicolor how the notion of influence is evolving, latterly taking on a new significance. In the age of technology, though influence is still associated with power, it is no longer the limited reserve of “the Powerful”—i.e. those in recognized positions of authority, like bankers, lawyers, or politicians.

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Trying on wearables

This article by Fiona J McEvoy (YouTheData.com) was originally posted on All Turtles.

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The dramatic failures of Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles demonstrated the countless challenges faced by wearable technologies. Beyond the ubiquitous activity trackers and smartwatches, wearable consumer products have yet to yield a mass-market success. Though the idea of wearable tech and human-technology synergy still gets marketers excited, product designers have yet to hit upon a breakout device that will prove as popular and indispensable as blue jeans. Still, the allure of developing such a product remains irresistible.

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AI and the future shape of product design

This article by Fiona J McEvoy (YouTheData.com) was originally posted on All Turtles.

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These days we talk so much about artificial intelligence and its creators that it’s easy to overlook the increasingly prolific role AI itself is playing in product creation and design. Across different industries, the technical and the creative are being drawn closely together to create a range of products that may otherwise never have been conceived.

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Take, for example, the new aerodynamic bicycle presented this month at the International Conference on Machine Learning, which was designed using Neural Concept software. By employing AI in the design phase, a small team from French college IUT Annecy were able to completely bypass the usual methods of testing for aerodynamism – a process that usually requires a great deal of time and computing power.

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What AI can learn from nature

This article by Fiona J McEvoy (YouTheData.com) was originally posted on All Turtles.

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In designing his famous flying machine, Leonardo da Vinci took inspiration from bird flight. The inventor’s Codex on the Flight of Birds, details their behaviors and makes proposals for mechanical flight that would influence the development of the first modern airplane hundreds of years later.

Birds aren’t the only animals to influence scientific progress. For many years scientists have sought to unlock the extraordinary qualities of shark skin, which has huge advantages for both increasing speed and repelling germs. Recently, Walmart filed a patent for the creation of a swarm of robotic bees which they hope to use for the autonomous pollination of crop fields. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the humble original is perfectly designed for the task.

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AI that understands how you really feel

This article by Fiona J McEvoy (YouTheData.com) was originally posted on All Turtles.

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The way we interact with technology keeps changing. Of late, many more of us are using speech and gesture to give instructions to our devices, and it’s actually starting to feel natural. We tell Alexa to turn the lights off, silence our smart watches by smothering them with our palms, and unlock our phones with a look. For this to work as seamlessly as it does, our devices have to pensively watch and listen to us. Pretty soon they could begin to understand and anticipate our emotional needs, too.

The move towards what’s been called implicit understanding – in contrast with explicit interaction – will be facilitated by technologies like emotion-tracking AI. Technology that uses cues from our vocal tone, facial expressions and other micro-movements to determine our mood and, from there, our needs. According to researchers at Gartner, very soon our fridge will be able to suggest food to match our feelings, and research VP Annette Zimmerman has even claimed that, “By 2022, your personal device will know more about your emotional state than your own family.”

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