Facial recognition tech is arsenic in the water of democracy, says Liberty

The Guardian

Automated facial recognition poses one of the greatest threats to individual freedom and should be banned from use in public spaces, according to the director of the campaign group Liberty. Martha Spurrier, a human rights lawyer, said the technology had such fundamental problems that, despite police enthusiasm for the equipment, its use on the streets should not be permitted. She said: "I don't think it should ever be used. It is one of, if not the, greatest threats to individual freedom, partly because of the intimacy of the information it takes and hands to the state without your consent, and without even your knowledge, and partly because you don't know what is done with that information." Police in England and Wales have used automated facial recognition (AFR) to scan crowds for suspected criminals in trials in city centres, at music festivals, sports events and elsewhere.

NHS cyber attack is worse than first feared

The Independent - Tech

The cyber attack that on the NHS is more widespread than initially feared. NHS Scotland has also been affected by the cyber attack, which is preventing hospital staff from accessing patient data. Ransomware called Wanna Decryptor appears to be at the heart of the problem, and is demanding payment to unlock infected machines. How much data has been accessed remains unclear for now, but security experts have warned that medical records can be much more valuable to criminals than financial data. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.

New Artificial Intelligence Advisory Body in England and Wales – Bringing the Modern World to the Judiciary


Lord Burnett of Maldon, the current Lord Chief Justice, has set up a new Advisory Body with the aim of ensuring that the Judiciary of England and Wales is fully informed about developments in artificial intelligence (AI). Professor Richard Susskind, President of the Society for Computers & Law, has been named chair of the body, and in a recent interview stated that AI has taken off in the last six or seven years, to the point where it has become "affordable and practical". Professor Susskind believes that the new group will start a dialogue among the judiciary about "one of the most influential technologies that there is", and recognises the importance of judges being open to the opportunities that AI technology could offer to the court system (with "practical tasks" cited as an example). The 10-person team will be made up of both senior judges (including Lord Neuberger, past President of the UK Supreme Court, and Lady Justice Sharp, Vice-President of the Queen's Bench Division), as well as leading experts on AI and law (such as Professor Katie Atkinson, past President of the International Association for AI and Law). There is little doubt that automation already plays an essential role for the legal profession, for example, in large disclosure exercises.

A Modern Retrospective on Probabilistic Numerics

arXiv.org Machine Learning

The field of probabilistic numerics (PN), loosely speaking, attempts to provide a statistical treatment of the errors and/or approximations that are made en route to the output of a deterministic numerical method, e.g. the approximation of an integral by quadrature, or the discretised solution of an ordinary or partial differential equation. This decade has seen a surge of activity in this field. In comparison with historical developments that can be traced back over more than a hundred years, the most recent developments are particularly interesting because they have been characterised by simultaneous input from multiple scientific disciplines: mathematics, statistics, machine learning, and computer science. The field has, therefore, advanced on a broad front, with contributions ranging from the building of overarching generaltheory to practical implementations in specific problems of interest. Over the same period of time, and because of increased interaction among researchers coming from different communities, the extent to which these developments were -- or were not -- presaged by twentieth-century researchers has also come to be better appreciated. Thus, the time appears to be ripe for an update of the 2014 Tübingen Manifesto on probabilistic numerics[Hennig, 2014, Osborne, 2014d,c,b,a] and the position paper[Hennig et al., 2015] to take account of the developments between 2014 and 2019, an improved awareness of the history of this field, and a clearer sense of its future directions. In this article, we aim to summarise some of the history of probabilistic perspectives on numerics (Section 2), to place more recent developments into context (Section 3), and to articulate a vision for future research in, and use of, probabilistic numerics (Section 4).

Social media firms have 'duty of care' to keep children safe and should be regulated, minister says

The Independent

Global technology companies have a "duty of care" to keep children safe and they should act responsibly, the culture secretary has said. Matt Hancock has called on tech platforms to do more on online safety, adding they have a "moral responsibility" to build an internet which protects the next generation. Speaking at the NSPCC's conference in London, Mr Hancock said the argument no action can be taken in Britain to make global tech companies act responsibly was "wrong". "There is no other industry that we would let that argument work for. Imagine if we said'these oil companies are global so we can't regulate them'. It would be ridiculous," Mr Hancock said. New laws to tackle internet'wild west' to be drawn up The culture and digital secretary called on social media companies to enforce clear terms of use which children can understand and to display methods for users to report abusive or harmful content.