LOS ANGELES/WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When the sheriff in Suffolk County, New York, requested $700,000 from the U.S. government for an artificial intelligence system to eavesdrop on prison phone conversations, his office called it a key tool in fighting gang-related and violent crime. But the county jail ended up listening to calls involving a much wider range of subjects - scanning as many as 600,000 minutes per month, according to public records from the county obtained by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Beginning in 2019, Suffolk County was an early pilot site for the Verus AI-scanning system sold by California-based LEO Technologies, which uses Amazon speech-to-text technology to transcribe phone calls flagged by key word searches. The company and law enforcement officials say it is a crucial tool to keep prisons and jails safe, and fight crime, but critics say such systems trample the privacy rights of prisoners and other people, like family members, on the outside. "The ability to surveil and listen at scale in this rapid way - it is incredibly scary and chilling," said Julie Mao, deputy director at Just Futures Law, an immigration legal group.
Donald Trump and his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are peddling a new story about the ex-president's coronavirus infection. Their first story was that Trump didn't test positive until Oct. 1, 2020, two days after he debated Joe Biden. Then Meadows admitted in his new book, The Chief's Chief, that Trump actually tested positive on Sept. 26, three days before the debate. That admission was problematic, since Trump never informed Biden--or hundreds of other unwitting people who interacted closely with the maskless president in the intervening five days--about the test result. So now Trump and Meadows have concocted yet another story: The Sept. 26 result was a "false positive."
Elon Musk claims his Neuralink, a brain-interface technology company, is less than a year away from implanting chips into human brains. The news comes from the billionaire himself during a live-streamed interview with The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit on Monday, when asked about plans for the company in 2022. 'Neuralink's working well in monkeys and we're actually doing just a lot of testing and just confirming that it's very safe and reliable and the Neuralink device can be removed safely,' Musk said. 'We hope to have this in our first humans -- which will be people that have severe spinal cord injuries like tetraplegics, quadriplegics -- next year, pending FDA approval. 'I think we have a chance of being able to allow someone who cannot walk or use their arms be able to walk again – but not naturally.'
Saudi Arabia has appealed to the United States and its allies in Europe and the Gulf for resupplies of ammunition it uses to defend the kingdom against drone and missile attacks, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (paywall), citing US and Saudi officials. Riyadh has been using its Patriot surface-to-air missile system over the past several months to thwart weekly ballistic missile and drone attacks launched by Houthi rebels based in Yemen, the officials told the WSJ. But the kingdom's stock of Patriot missiles to intercept aerial attacks has run dangerously low. The call for resupplies comes after the US has scaled back a large of portion its military presence in the Middle East that shored up the kingdom's security as the administration of President Joe Biden pivots to counter China's growing prowess on the global stage. Though the US is expected to approve the Saudi request for more Patriot interceptors, Saudi officials told the Journal they are concerned that insufficient stocks could result in a successful missile or drone attack, costing lives in the kingdom or harming the Saudi economy by damaging its critical oil infrastructure.
NASA inaugurated its 23rd class of new astronauts on Monday, which includes 10 individuals who are set to walk on the moon and maybe even Mars. Deemed the'Artemis Generation,' this group consists of several former US military, an ex-SpaceX medical director and a bioengineer who also participated in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a track cyclist. The name is a reference to NASA's Artemis program, which aims to send the first woman and the first person of color to moon as early as 2025. The astronaut candidates for 2021 are: Nichole Ayers, Marcos Berríos, Guaynabo, Christina Birch, Deniz Burnham, Luke Delaney, Andre Douglas, Jack Hathaway, Anil Menon, Christopher Williams and Jessica Wittner. This is NASA first new class in four years and the group is set to begin the two-year training process in January 2022.
A predictive model of a polarized group, similar to the current U.S. Senate, demonstrates that when an outside threat – like war or a pandemic – fails to unite the group, the divide may be irreversible through democratic means. Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as part of a Dynamics of Political Polarization Special Feature, the model identifies such atypical behavior among the political elite as a powerful symptom of dangerously high levels of polarization. "We see this very disturbing pattern in which a shock brings people a little bit closer initially, but if polarization is too extreme, eventually the effects of a shared fate are swamped by the existing divisions and people become divided even on the shock issue," said network scientist Boleslaw Szymanski, a professor of computer science and director of the Army Research Laboratory Network Science and Technology Center (NeST) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "If we reach that point, we cannot unite even in the face of war, climate change, pandemics, or other challenges to the survival of our society." The model – essentially a game that simulates the views of 100 theoretical legislators over time – allowed researchers to dial up party identity, intolerance for disagreement, and extremism to levels such that almost no degree of shock could unite the legislative group. In some situations, the simulation revealed that even the strongest shock fails to reverse the self-reinforcing dynamics of political polarization.
'Watters' World' host lists the many domestic issues President Biden faces This is a rush transcript from "Watters' World," December 4, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: Welcome to WATTERS' WORLD, I'm Jesse Watters. The Annual White House Christmas Tree lighting is always such a special event, except Joe Biden, the President seemingly forgot he was supposed to light it. Maybe he thought Barack was going to light it. These things just keep happening every single week. I kind of feel bad for LL, they needed to do a second take. Now, President Biden and First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden [CHEERING AND APPLAUSE] (END VIDEO CLIP) WATTERS: So, how are we supposed to feel confident the President can crush the virus when he can't even get it together for a Christmas Tree lighting? I'm not worried about the new variant. I'm worried about how the government is going to overreact to the new variant. Biden has got a new plan. More masks, more testing, but unvaxxed illegals can just pour across the Southern border without testing, without quarantining. And then Joe packs them onto planes and buses and sends them to your neighborhood. Does that make sense to anybody? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Fauci, as you advised the President about the possibility of new testing requirements for people coming into this country? ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Everybody who is coming into the country needs to get a test within 24 hours of getting on the plane to come here. DOOCY: But what about people who don't take a plane and just these border crossers coming in in huge numbers?
In media news today, a women's group says'good riddance' to Chris Cuomo after CNN firing, Brooke Baldwin calls on the liberal network to replace Cuomo with a woman, and an MSNBC anchor appears to downplay Bob Dole's accomplishments because of his support for Trump. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank doubled down Monday on his recent op-ed that claimed "sentiment analysis" data proved the media is tougher on President Biden than they were on former President Trump. Milbank's piece, titled, "The media treats Biden as badly as - or worse than - Trump. Here's proof," cited research from Forge.ai, a data analytics unit of the information company FiscalNote. The study used algorithms focused on adjectives and their placement in articles - more than 200,000 of them - to rate the coverage Biden received in the first 11 months of 2021 and the coverage Trump got in the first 11 months of 2020.
Advancing trustworthy AI and machine learning to mitigate agency risk is a priority for the US Department of Energy (DOE), and identifying best practices for implementing AI at scale is a priority for the US General Services Administration (GSA). That's what attendees learned in two sessions at the AI World Government live and virtual event held in Alexandria, Va. last week. Pamela Isom, Director of the AI and Technology Office at the DOE, who spoke on Advancing Trustworthy AI and ML Techniques for Mitigating Agency Risks, has been involved in proliferating the use of AI across the agency for several years. With an emphasis on applied AI and data science, she oversees risk mitigation policies and standards and has been involved with applying AI to save lives, fight fraud, and strengthen the cybersecurity infrastructure. She emphasized the need for the AI project effort to be part of a strategic portfolio.
In a move that aims to benefit 65,600 students and 540 teachers from government and government-aided schools in Goa, the State government in March this year implemented its novel and first of its kind in India – Coding and Robotics Education in Schools Scheme from the academic year 2021-22. The scheme aims to incorporate computational and design thinking abilities, as well as programming, into the Goa state board curriculum to prepare students to the needs of the digital world in the 21st century. It was introduced by Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant, who is also the Minister of Education. The State government is looking to make this sort of skill education (coding and problem solving skills) accessible to school-going children from all sections of society. This scheme is a collaborative effort of the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), Directorate of Education, State Council Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and industry experts.