A retired police detective has claimed that Madeleine McCann could be found using facial recognition technology on Facebook. Madeleine vanished from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal on May 3, 2007, when she was three years old – with her mother Kate saying the 10th anniversary is a'horrible marker of time, stolen time'. Former Scotland Yard detective chief inspector Mick Neville has revealed that the site's cutting-edge software could help find Maddie, who would now be 14 years old. When Facebook users upload an image the social media platform maps facial features and'recognises' other users - making tagging easier. Mr Neville, a forensics expert, believes the state of the art technology could be used to trace Maddie because of a distinctive blemish in her right eye.
What gave you the idea to work in this area? What problem--or problems--are you trying solve? When I was doing my PhD at Cambridge University, I was constantly using my laptop to communicate with my family back home in Egypt. I realized I was spending more time interacting with technology than with any other human being. And as I communicated with my family, they had no clue how I was feeling except for the smiley or sad face emojis that I could send them.
One of today's more popular artificially intelligent (AI) androids comes from the TV series "MARVEL's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Those of you who followed the latest season's story -- no spoilers here! One of the most interesting things about this fictional AI character is that it can read people's emotions. Thanks to researchers from the University of Cambridge, this AI ability might soon make the jump from sci-fi to reality. The first step in creating such a system is training an algorithm on simpler facial expressions and just one specific emotion or feeling. To that end, the Cambridge team focused on using a machine learning algorithm to figure out if a sheep is in pain, and this week, they presented their research at the IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition in Washington, D.C.
Vladimir Putin was not in attendance, but his loyal lieutenants were. On 14 July last year, the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, and several members of his cabinet convened in an office building on the outskirts of Moscow. On to the stage stepped a boyish-looking psychologist, Michal Kosinski, who had been flown from the city centre by helicopter to share his research. "There was Lavrov, in the first row," he recalls several months later, referring to Russia's foreign minister. "You know, a guy who starts wars and takes over countries." Kosinski, a 36-year-old assistant professor of organisational behaviour at Stanford University, was flattered that the Russian cabinet would gather to listen to him talk. "Those guys strike me as one of the most competent and well-informed groups," he tells me. Kosinski's "stuff" includes groundbreaking research into technology, mass persuasion and artificial intelligence (AI) – research that inspired the creation of the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Five years ago, while a graduate student at Cambridge University, he showed how even benign activity on Facebook could reveal personality traits – a discovery that was later exploited by the data-analytics firm that helped put Donald Trump in the White House.
At a surveillance centre in Kaliningrad, monitoring teams are keeping a close eye on the city. Sitting at their computers, staff are studying CCTV images from more than 700 security cameras. Another 1,200 cameras have been installed at Kaliningrad Stadium, where England play Belgium on 28 June. With the latest face-recognition technology, individuals are checked automatically in a police database within seconds of being caught on camera. Similar security systems are in operation in the other World Cup host cities. "In terms of anti-terrorism, this system will help locate suspicious individuals," says Sergei Evstigneev from the Kaliningrad regional government.