This platform is a state-of-the-art, high-performance supercomputer, ready to process a huge amount of information in a short period of time. "Daca" – Data Centre Android, their virtual host, welcomed the audience, adding that the Data Centre in Kragujevac is five times larger than the one in Belgrade and that it meets the highest standards for this type of facility, unique in the region in terms of capacity and performance. The national platform will be available to the state, local self-government, but also to universities, science and technology parks and startup companies. The government has determined the construction of the State Data Centre in Kragujevac as a project of importance for Serbia, since it is one of the capital investments in that city, worth 30 million. The data centre covers 14,000 square meters and was built in less than a year and a half.
Facial-recognition technology (FRT) is mainly deployed in the cybersecurity and surveillance sectors. It has long been in use at airport borders and on smartphones, and as a tool to help police identify criminals. But it is now creeping further into private and public spaces. From Quito to Nairobi, Moscow to Detroit, hundreds of municipalities have installed cameras equipped with FRT, sometimes promising to feed data to central command centres as part of'safe city' or'smart city' solutions to crime. The COVID-19 pandemic might accelerate their spread.
A software developer with PolyAI who was testing the system, asked about booking a table for himself and a Serbian friend. "Yes, we allow children at the restaurant," the voice bot replied, according to PolyAI founder Nikola Mrksic. Seemingly out of nowhere, the bot was trying make an obnoxious joke about people from Serbia. When it was asked about bringing a Polish friend, it replied, "Yes, but you can't bring your own booze." Mrksic, who is Serbian, admits that the system appeared to think people from Serbia were immature.
What was the technology used? An automated phone questionnaire – using an artificial intelligence voice analysis system – graded officials as low, medium or high risk. No official refused to undergo the process, which measures the cognitive functions through the caller's responses to questions such as "Have you ever cheated in a boxing event?" According to the sports integrity expert and AIBA advisor Richard McLaren, the technology "bore no resemblance whatsoever" to a lie detector test and is used in military, diplomatic and insurance sectors by analysing the "cognitive functions of the brain through voice responses". "The investigators and analysts utilise the voice analytical tool to help screen officials," McLaren was quoted by The Guardian.
Brnabic said that as early as the first grade, children are introduced to algorithmic thinking and she recalled that in 2017 programming became an obligatory subject since the fifth grade of elementary school. Since 2017 we have started with the introduction of digital textbooks and digital classrooms and the plan is to fully digitise all our schools and the educational system by the end of 2022, the Prime Minister stated. She noted that retraining of employees for the field of IT is an excellent example of how the state takes care of the digital literacy of the people of all ages and added that until now over 2,000 candidates underwent the retraining and that this process is ongoing. Speaking about the digital connectedness, the Prime Minister explained that the goal is to provide broadband network for 99 percent of households in Serbia by 2025. According to her, over the past five years Serbia achieved an incredible success in the field of digital transformation of the government.
Two years after a mass surveillance system with thousands of facial recognition security cameras was introduced to the streets of Serbian capital Belgrade, concern continues to grow about the impact of the technology. The Huawei-based surveillance system sparked controversy when it was initially introduced in 2019. And now human and digital rights organizations in the country are pushing back and warning about the risks that facial recognition software can bring. During the summer of 2020, the SHARE Foundation, a Belgrade-based digital rights organization that advocates for data privacy and digital security, launched a website called "Thousands of cameras", as a space where Serbian citizens could share their concerns over the mass surveillance project. "The total loss of anonymity represents a certain loss of our freedom – the awareness that we are under constant surveillance drastically changes our decisions," it warns.
The European Union (EU) should ban biometric mass surveillance tools such as facial recognition when it lays out its plans to regulate artificial intelligence (AI), a coalition of privacy advocates have claimed. The coalition, which includes Reclaim Your Face, European Digital Rights (EDRi), Privacy International, and numerous other non-profits, has made its demands official by launching a petition aimed at pressuring the EU to reconsider its stance on surveillance using biometric technology. The petition warns of numerous potential outcomes of not regulating the technology, such as employers monitoring facial expressions of job candidates in order to decide if they're fit for the position, or insurance companies increasing premiums based on dress codes. The coalition listed various examples of uses of biometric mass surveillance in EU member states including France and Serbia, which had violated EU data protection law as well as "unduly restricted people's rights including their privacy, right to free speech, right to protest and not to be discriminated against". According to EDRi member Linus Neumann, biometrics used in mass surveillance bring "'internet-style' omnipresent tracking to the offline world", leading to the eradication of "the few remaining refuges of privacy".
Patrick Breyer didn't expect to have to take the European commission to court. The softly spoken German MEP was startled when in July 2019 he read about a new technology to detect from facial "micro-expressions" when somebody is lying while answering questions. Even more startling was that the EU was funding research into this virtual mindreader through a project called iBorderCtrl, for potential use in policing Europe's borders. In the article that Breyer read, a reporter described taking a test on the border between Serbia and Hungary. She told the truth, but the AI border guard said she had lied.
What John Madden was to pro football, Neda Cvijetic is to autonomous vehicles. Cvijetic, senior manager of autonomous vehicles at NVIDIA, drives our NVIDIA DRIVE Labs series of videos and blogs breaking down the science behind autonomous vehicles. A Serbian-American electrical engineer, Cvijetic seems destined for this role. She literally grew up in the shadow of Nikola Tesla. His statue in Belgrade stood across the street from her childhood home.
Recent findings confirm the importance of a disrupted functional connectivity within the fronto-limbic system and other candidate areas important for depression. The question behind our work is whether areas with confirmed aberrated functioning in Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are actually involved in the network which has different dynamics from a healthy one. On a sample of 21 depressed patients (11 women and 9 men) and 20 age-matched healthy controls (10 women and 10 men), we applied Transfer Entropy (TE) to quantify the directed dynamical interactions in the resting-state electroencephalographic (EEG) data recorded in our previous research in which we compared physiological complexity features of recurrently depressed patients and healthy controls. The dynamics of healthy resting-state EEG is substantially different from the dynamics of MDD brain: the interactions (information transfers) in healthy controls are numerous during resting state, contrary to MDD brains which are repeatedly showing the "isolated" activity in frontal, parietal and temporal areas. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a graphical representation of information transfer and its directions is presented showing the differences between MDD and healthy controls.