Collaborating Authors

Voting & Elections

How Synthetic Data is Accelerating Computer Vision


This article originally appeared in Hacker Noon. In the spring of 1993, a Harvard statistics professor named Donald Rubin sat down to write a paper. Rubin's paper would go on to change the way that artificial intelligence is researched and practiced, but its stated goal was more modest: analyze data from the 1990 U.S. census, while preserving the anonymity of its respondents. It wasn't feasible to simply anonymize the data, because individuals could still be identified by their home address, phone number, or social security number, all of which was crucial to the analyses that Rubin's colleagues wanted to perform. To solve the problem, Rubin generated a set of anonymized census responses whose population statistics mirrored those of the original data set.

Viewpoint: What Donald Trump gets wrong about Somalia

BBC News

In our series of letters from African journalists, Ismail Einashe considers how Somalia has become caught up in the US election campaign. President Donald Trump is making Somali-American congresswoman Ilhan Omar one of the bogeywomen of his campaign for re-election to the White House in November - and by proxy her country of birth Somalia. In his most recent attack, at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he tore into the 37-year-old alleging that she wanted to bring the "anarchy" of Somalia to the US. "She would like to make the government of our country just like the country from where she came - Somalia. And now, she's telling us how to run our country. Ms Omar, who arrived in the US as a child refugee in 1995, is the congressional representative for Minnesota, which includes the city of Minneapolis where African-American George Floyd was killed by police in May, reigniting Black Lives Matter protests. But it was Ms Omar's Somali heritage the president chose to focus on in Tulsa, perhaps to distract from all the turmoil and unrest closer to home. In response Ms Omar said his remarks were "racist". She added that his anger came out of a recent poll that had shown him trailing his rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, in her state, which is home to a large Somali-American community. The president described Ms Omar as a "hate-filled, American-bashing socialist", warning she would have a role in shaping the country if Mr Biden were to win. This is despite the fact that the pair are on the opposite ends of the Democratic Party - Ms Omar had been a prominent supporter of Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic ticket. But such rhetoric plays well to his base, so the electoral stage has been set, the cast chosen - and Ms Omar and Somalia have starring roles. In fact they both debuted last year at Mr Trump's rally in North Carolina where the crowd chanted about Ms Omar: "Send her back!

Hackers hijack more than 1,200 accounts in Roblox and flood it with Trump 2020 propaganda

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Hackers have taken over more than 1,200 Roblox accounts, flooding the popular children's video game with Trump 2020 campaign propaganda. Initially, a handful of players reported that they were receiving strange messages in game supporting Donald Trump's reelection campaign, and later other players began noticing avatars wearing Trump-inspired apparel. This included donning red pants, a white shirt with an American flag and bald eagle graphic, and a red baseball cap with white lettering. In the'About' field of each hacked player's main profile page, the message'Ask your parents to vote for Trump this year!#MAGA2020' has replaced the original biographical information. 'Why is my avatar this?' one hacked player posted, according to a report from BBC'I'm not even American.'

AI Makes A Splash In Advertising


In this incredibly fast paced and noisy world, it's getting increasingly more difficult to get and retain people's attention. We're on 24 hour news overload, social media demands our attention, and the barrage of email and messages continues without losing steam. It's a relative wonder that companies can get their messages across and communicate their offerings to prospective customers. Leaping into the foray are AI solutions that are aiming to help identify potential customers, hyperpersonalize and tailor messages to their specific needs, and identify the most effective means to communicate the message. In fact, AI is particularly good at all those things: identifying potential customers through clustering and pattern matching, tailoring messages through AI-enabled hyperpersonalization, and finding the best times and means to communicate through pattern identification.

Unreal Engine 5′s demo is the next-gen graphics showcase you've been waiting for

Washington Post - Technology News

Travis Scott performed a virtual concert tour in "Fortnite" that was viewed by almost 28 million people over three days. Live concert publication Pollstar speculates that the Travis Scott performance might end up as the biggest live event of the year. The virtual event was so successful, it even caught the attention of Democratic political consultants. The Post asked if Democratic nominee Joe Biden or his campaign had reached out after comments made by former Pete Buttigieg spokeswoman Lis Smith on Monday. Sweeney said no, but added that they wouldn't stop Biden if he decided to create his own map in the game's Creative Mode.

The Joe Biden em Fortnite /em Grand Canyon Hologram Tweet, Explained


Earlier today, you might have seen this tweet (or some variation of it) make its way across your screen. "Travis Scott's takeover of Fortnite… if we could do that with Joe Biden [for the convention], Joe Biden projected over the Grand Canyon" -- Lis Smith, democratic strategist, on politico live There's a good chance you'll recognize some subset of these words. You'll almost certainly be familiar with Joe Biden and the Grand Canyon, for instance. Maybe you also play Fortnite and listen to Travis Scott. Or perhaps your soul has withered away to the point that you already had Lis Smith's Politico Live appearance circled on your calendar.

How Facebook Works for Trump

The Atlantic - Technology

At the start of the year, Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, who led Facebook's ad team during the 2016 election, wrote that Trump "ran the single best digital ad campaign I've ever seen from any advertiser." Trump's team agrees, of course. But that might not mean what you think it does. He didn't do it via microtargeting--the ability to send highly differentiated audiences just the right messages to change attitudes or inspire action--either, despite conventional understanding. His campaign did so via pure, blunt constancy, using Facebook in exactly the way the tech giant intended: pouring heaps of money and data into Facebook's automated advertising system.

Zoom releases major new update to try to stop 'Zoom-bombing' among other security concerns

The Independent - Tech

Zoom has released a major new update as it continues to grapple with its security problems. The video chat company also announced that it has recruited former Facebook executive Alex Stamos to serve as an advisor, in an attempt to fix its problems with privacy. Mr Stamos served as Facebook's chief security officer during some of its most controversial years, including the 2016 election. The new update to the Zoom client, numbered 4.6.10, "focuses on critical security and privacy updates", according to Zoom.

Laziness in humans could be used to tell us apart from bots

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Humans' unique laziness when it comes to interacting on social media could be the key to telling us apart from artificially intelligent'bots', a new study shows. US researchers have identified behavioural trends of humans on Twitter that are absent in social media bots – namely a decrease in tweet length over time. The team studied how the behaviour of humans and bots changed over the course of a session on Twitter relating to political events. While humans get lazier as sessions progress and can't be bothered typing out long tweets, bots maintain consistent levels of engagement over time. Such a behavioural difference could inform new machine learning algorithms for bot detection software.

ACM's 2020 General Election

Communications of the ACM

The ACM constitution provides that our Association holds a general election in the even-numbered years for the positions of President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Members-at-Large. Biographical information and statements of the candidates appear on the following pages (candidates' names appear in random order). In addition to the election of ACM's officers--President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer--five Members-at-Large will be elected to serve on ACM Council. Please refer to the instructions posted at To access the secure voting site, you will need to enter your email address (the email address associated with your ACM member record) and your unique PIN provided by Election Services Co. Please return your ballot in the enclosed envelope, which must be signed by you on the outside in the space provided. The signed ballot envelope may be inserted into a separate envelope for mailing if you prefer this method. All ballots must be received by no later than 16:00 UTC on 22 May 2020. Validation by the Tellers Committee will take place at 14:00 UTC on 26 May 2020. Elizabeth Churchill is a Director of User Experience at Google. Her field of study is Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and User Experience (UX), with a current focus on the design of effective designer and developer tools. Churchill has built research groups and led research in a number of well-known companies, including as Director of Human Computer Interaction at eBay Research Labs in San Jose, CA, as a Principal Research Scientist and Research Manager at Yahoo! in Santa Clara, CA, and as a Senior Scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and FXPAL, Fuji Xerox's Research lab in Silicon Valley. Working across a number of research areas, she has over 100 peer reviewed top-tier journal and conference publications in theoretical and applied psychology, cognitive science, human-computer interaction, mobile and ubiquitous computing, computer-mediated communication, and social media, more than 50 patents granted or pending, and 7 academic books. Her team produces research that impacts a large number of Google's products (by shaping Google's Flutter and Material Design), influencing the work of hundreds of thousands of designers and developers globally, and thus affecting the user experience of millions of end-users. She continues to guest lecture at universities and to mentor early stage career professionals and students.