Regional Government

DNC Tech Chief Raffi Krikorian Talks Bridging The Silicon Valley, Politics Gap

International Business Times

The Democratic National Committee's chief technology officer, Raffi Krikorian, says that changes within the post-2016 political party are as much about the culture as they are about security. The MIT grad's time is physically split between his Silicon Valley home and Washington D.C., although he's looking to bridge the cultural gap between tech and politics. Krikorian previously led Uber's Advanced Technologies Center, where he was tasked with putting the ride-sharing company's self-driving cars on the streets of Pittsburgh, Pa. And preceding that, Krikorian was Twitter's vice president of engineering after successfully managing the social media giant's application programming interface. Following last year's hacks, leaks and ongoing discussion about Russian interference, his priority was to move security and communication to a trusted cloud service assisted by Microsoft.

Tillerson pushes for stronger ties with India while chiding China

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Wednesday for the U.S. and India to expand strategic ties. He also pointedly criticized China, which he accused of challenging international norms needed for global stability. Tillerson's remarks on relations between the world's two largest democracies, ahead of his first trip to South Asia as secretary of state, risked endearing Washington to one Asian power while alienating another. Tillerson said the world needed the U.S. and India to have a strong partnership. He said the two nations share goals of security, free navigation, free trade and fighting terrorism in the Indo-Pacific, and serve as "the Eastern and Western beacons" for an international rules-based order that is increasingly under strain.

CNN first to get FAA waiver to fly drones over crowds

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – CNN received a waiver allowing routine drone flights above crowds, a milestone for the industry seeking greater use of the remote-controlled devices for everything from insurance inspections to covering news. The approval is the first time the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has granted a waiver for unlimited flights over people, the news network said in an emailed statement. The standards used in the application can be applied to other applicants, potentially opening vast new uses by the media and other industries for so-called unmanned aerial systems, or UAS. "This waiver signifies a critical step forward not only for CNN's UAS operations, but also the commercial UAS industry at large," said David Vigilante, senior vice president of legal affairs for CNN. The FAA currently prohibits drone flights overhead, although its regulations allow for waivers if applicants can show there's no risk of injury.

AI Experts Want to End 'Black Box' Algorithms in Government


The right to due process was inscribed into the US constitution with a pen. A new report from leading researchers in artificial intelligence cautions it is now being undermined by computer code. Public agencies responsible for areas such as criminal justice, health, and welfare increasingly use scoring systems and software to steer or make decisions on life-changing events like granting bail, sentencing, enforcement, and prioritizing services. The report from AI Now, a research institute at NYU that studies the social implications of artificial intelligence, says too many of those systems are opaque to the citizens they hold power over. The AI Now report calls for agencies to refrain from what it calls "black box" systems opaque to outside scrutiny.

Explainable AI Systems: Understanding the Decisions of the Machines - OpenMind


DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), is a division of the American Defense Department that investigates new technologies. It has for some time regarded the current generation of AI technologies as important in the future. It has been in the forefront of AI research in image recognition, speech recognition and generation, robotics, autonomous vehicles, medical diagnostic systems, and more. However, DARPA is well aware that despite the high level of problem-solving capabilities of AI programs – they lack explainability. AI deep learning algorithms use complex mathematics that is very difficult for human users to understand or comprehend.

The robots that will sweep Earth's skies


After six years in space, China's first orbital station, the Tiangong-1 (aka the "Heavenly Palace") has finally outlived its operational limits and begun its descent back to Earth. It's expected to re-enter the atmosphere in a few months, whereupon a majority of the 9.3-ton station should burn up before reaching the surface. This is how defunct satellites are supposed to be disposed of. Unfortunately, until very recently, that hasn't often been the case. For the past 50 years, we've been filling Low Earth Orbit with defunct satellites, launch vehicle upper stages, and various bits of broken spacecraft (including frozen water, coolant and paint flecks).

The Role Of Machine Learning In UK Employee Productivity


Though it probably doesn't feel this way to those who spend their lives running between meetings, dealing with customers, or negotiating with suppliers, the UK isn't working hard enough. Or at least it isn't working smart enough. UK productivity--how much all of us produce over a year divided by how many hours we spend doing it--lags France, Germany, and the U.S. by up to 30%, according to the Office of National Statistics. And it's not just the G7's most productive three countries that outperform the UK. Irish, Spanish, Belgian, and Dutch workers all significantly outperform their UK counterparts.


Los Angeles Times

While football fans and labor experts ponder whether Colin Kaepernick found a smoking gun to bolster his collusion case against the National Football League, the still-unemployed quarterback is pointing to a central figure in the case: President Trump. Trump, according to the text of Kaepernick's grievance complaint, "has been an organizing force" in the joint decision by the league's 32 owners to deny the quarterback even a tryout. "Owners have described the Trump administration as causing paradigm shifts in their views toward NFL players." The complaint was originally made public by ABC News. Kaepernick may have a point, since Trump injected himself personally into the case and openly denigrated NFL players who supported Kaepernick.

Canada is officially testing driverless cars on public streets


Canada is celebrating a technological milestone after its first official self-driving car test on public roads last week. The street test was conducted in Ottawa's west end using technology developed by Blackberry. The city of Ottawa announced a partnership with Blackberry's QNX team, the operating system arm of the company which is developing self-driving vehicle software. "With support from BlackBerry QNX and its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center and by working closely with all our partners, we are facilitating smart initiatives and research, and fuelling innovation and job creation in Ottawa," said the city's mayor, Jim Watson in a press release. The test was not run in real-life conditions as the roads were closed during the demonstration.

AI Nanomachines Could Soon Allow Us To Control Things With Our Minds


Artificial Intelligence (AI) will more than likely bring about the next technological renaissance. Although it's capable of some extraordinary things already, it's not quite at the revolutionary stage yet – but that doesn't stop people in the know making some intriguing predictions. Enter John McNamara, a senior inventor and the Innovation Centre Technologist Lead at IBM. He was recently giving evidence to the UK Parliament's House of Lords AI Committee, and he said that by around 2040, AI nanomachines being injected into our blood streams – effectively creating machine-augmented humans – will be a reality. "These will provide huge medical benefits, such as being able to repair damage to cells, muscles, and bones," he told those in session, adding that they could actually end up improving the original biological frameworks.