On Tuesday, in an 8-1 tally, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to ban the use of facial recognition software by city departments, including police. Supporters of the ban cited racial inequality in audits of facial recognition software from companies like Amazon and Microsoft, as well as dystopian surveillance happening now in China. At the core of arguments around the regulation of facial recognition software use is the question of whether a temporary moratorium should be put in place until police and governments adopt policies and standards or it should be permanently banned. Some believe facial recognition software can be used to exonerate the innocent and that more time is needed to gather information. Others, like San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin, believe that even if AI systems achieve racial parity, facial recognition is a "uniquely dangerous and oppressive technology."
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visited Silicon Valley Thursday to ask for ethical guidance on how the military should develop or acquire autonomous systems. The public comment meeting was held as part of a Defense Innovation Board effort to create AI ethics guidelines and recommendations for the DoD. A draft copy of the report is due out this summer. Microsoft director of ethics and society Mira Lane posed a series of questions at the event, which was held at Stanford University. She argued that AI doesn't need to be implemented the way Hollywood has envisioned it and said it is imperative to consider the impact of AI on soldiers' lives, responsible use of the technology, and the consequences of an international AI arms race.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday, after the kingdom's energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf. On Sunday night, a rocket crashed in the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy, further stoking tensions. No casualties were reported in the apparent attack. Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke a week after four oil tankers-- two of them Saudi-- were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline. "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests," al-Jubeir told reporters.
Wing, an offshoot of Google's parent company, Alphabet, will launch drone deliveries to one of Finland's most populous areas next month according to a recent blog post from the company. Pilot deliveries will be rolled out in the Vousari district of Finland's capital, Helsinki, and will deliver products from gourmet supermarket Herkku foods and Cafe Monami. As noted by Wing, deliveries will include'fresh Finnish pastries, meatballs for two, and a range of other meals and snacks' that can be delivered in minutes. Wing will launch deliveries for customers in Finland starting next month. Wing, the first commercial drone company approved by the FAA in the U.S. will start delivering in Virginia.
U.S. Navy pilots and sailors won't be considered crazy for reporting unidentified flying objects, under new rules meant to encourage them to keep track of what they see. Yet just a few years ago, the Pentagon reportedly shut down another official program that investigated UFO sightings. Is the U.S. military finally coming around to the idea that alien spacecraft are visiting our planet? The answer to that question is almost certainly no. Humans' misinterpretation of observations of natural phenomena are as old as time and include examples such as manatees being seen as mermaids and driftwood in a Scottish loch being interpreted as a monster.
Elizabeth Keatinge tells us about Tesla's Autonomy Investor Day where robotaxis were discussed. A Tesla Model 3 had Autopilot engaged in the seconds before it crashed into a semi truck in March, killing the driver, federal investigators confirmed in a report on Thursday. The car drove beneath the trailer in a crash that is similar to one that occurred in another part of Florida in 2016, also involving Autopilot. In both instances, drivers died and the top of the car was sheared off. In the most recent crash in Delray Beach, Florida, the 50-year-old driver turned on Autopilot about 10 seconds before the sedan collided with a semi-truck, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Computer scientists have taught an artificial intelligence agent how to take in its whole environment by just taking a few snapshots. The new technology can gather visual information that can be used for a wide range of tasks including search-and-rescue. Researchers have taught the computer system how to take quick glimpses around a room it has never seen before to create a'full scene'. The scientists used deep learning, a type of machine learning inspired by the brain's neural networks, to train their agent on thousands of 360-degree images of different environments. They say that their research could aid effective search-and-rescue missions by making robots that could relay information to authorities.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.
DETROIT - A Tesla Model S involved in a fatal crash with a semitrailer in Florida March 1 was operating on the company's semi-autonomous Autopilot system, federal investigators have determined. The car drove beneath the trailer, killing the driver, in a crash that is strikingly similar to one that happened on the other side of Florida in 2016 that also involved use of Autopilot. In both cases, neither the driver nor the Autopilot system stopped for the trailers, and the roofs of the cars were sheared off. The crash, which remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, raises questions about the effectiveness of Autopilot, which uses cameras, long-range radar and computers to detect objects in front of the cars to avoid collisions. The system also can keep a car in its lane, change lanes and navigate freeway interchanges.