Summer romance is in the air and the special someone you just met at an online dating site or on social media seems too good to be true. The sad truth is the person just might turn out to be. In fact, your would-be dreamboat could be a "catfisher." Some states have a higher risk than others, it seems. HighSpeedInternet.com has issued a new report "When Love Bites," in which the internet service provider comparison website identified the states where you are most likely to fall prey to these scammers.
Twitter has just announced it has picked up London-based Fabula AI. The deep learning startup has been developing technology to try to identify online disinformation by looking at patterns in how fake stuff vs genuine news spreads online -- making it an obvious fit for the rumor-riled social network. Social media giants remain under increasing political pressure to get a handle on online disinformation to ensure that manipulative messages don't, for example, get a free pass to fiddle with democratic processes. Twitter says the acquisition of Fabula will help it build out its internal machine learning capabilities -- writing that the UK startup's "world-class team of machine learning researchers" will feed an internal research group it's building out, led by Sandeep Pandey, its head of ML/AI engineering. This research group will focus on "a few key strategic areas such as natural language processing, reinforcement learning, ML ethics, recommendation systems, and graph deep learning" -- now with Fabula co-founder and chief scientist, Michael Bronstein, as a leading light within it.
Walt Disney World recently showed the Associated Press what it takes to put their shows together. It's a shift for a resort that hasn't allowed many peeks behind the curtains of the fantasy it creates. Maybe romantic Disney fairy tales come true after all. Data from the popular global online dating site Plenty of Fish reveals that singles who have expressed an interest in Disney are 3.6 times more likely to leave the app in a relationship compared to singles who more generally list interests in music and movies. That was certainly true for Disney fan Abby Schiller.
At the endless booths of this week's RSA security trade show in San Francisco, an overflowing industry of vendors will offer any visitor an ad nauseam array of "threat intelligence" and "vulnerability management" systems. But it turns out that there's already a decent, free feed of vulnerability information that can tell systems administrators what bugs they really need to patch, updated 24/7: Twitter. And one group of researchers has not only measured the value of Twitter's stream of bug data, but is also building a piece of free software that automatically tracks it to pull out hackable software flaws and rate their severity. Researchers at Ohio State University, the security company FireEye, and research firm Leidos last week published a paper describing a new system that reads millions of tweets for mentions of software security vulnerabilities, and then, using their machine-learning-trained algorithm, assessed how much of a threat they represent based on how they're described. They found that Twitter can not only predict the majority of security flaws that will show up days later on the National Vulnerability Database--the official register of security vulnerabilities tracked by the National Institute of Standards and Technology--but that they could also use natural language processing to roughly predict which of those vulnerabilities will be given a "high" or "critical" severity rating with better than 80 percent accuracy.
If you shop at Westfield, you've probably been scanned and recorded by dozens of hidden cameras built into the centres' digital advertising billboards. The semi-camouflaged cameras can determine not only your age and gender but your mood, cueing up tailored advertisements within seconds, thanks to facial detection technology. Westfield's Smartscreen network was developed by the French software firm Quividi back in 2015. Their discreet cameras capture blurry images of shoppers and apply statistical analysis to identify audience demographics. And once the billboards have your attention they hit record, sharing your reaction with advertisers.
In the 11 months since 17 teachers and students were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, campuses across the country have started spending big on surveillance technology. The Lockport, New York, school district spent $1.4 million in state funds on a facial-recognition system. Schools in Michigan, Massachusetts, and Los Angeles have adopted artificial-intelligence software--prone to false positives--that scans students' Facebook and Twitter accounts for signs that they might become a shooter. In New Mexico, students as young as 6 are under acoustic surveillance, thanks to a gunshot-detection program originally developed for use by the military to track enemy snipers. Earlier this month, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission released its report on the safety and security failures that contributed to fatalities during last year's shooting.
Eat too much and there won't be grass for anyone. In an essay written in 1833, the British economist William Forster Lloyd made a profound observation using the example of cattle grazing. Lloyd described a hypothetical scenario involving herders who share a pasture, and individually decide how many of their animals would graze there. If few herders exercised restraint, overgrazing would occur, reducing the pasture's future usefulness and eventually hurting everybody. The sinister beauty of this example is that the rational course of action is to behave selfishly.
Over the past week, the #2009vs2019 meme challenge, alternately known as the #10yearchallenge and #HowHardDidAgeHitYou, has become the latest social media trend ripe for think piece fodder. While the challenge inspired a host of discussions about social media narcissism and gendered norms, author and consultant Kate O'Neill put her own spin on the meme in a tweet raising the privacy implications of posting age-separated photos of oneself on Facebook. The post generated enough buzz and discussion on Twitter that O'Neill expanded it into an article in Wired, in which she argued that Facebook or another data-hungry entity could exploit the meme to train facial recognition algorithms to better handle age-related characteristics and age progression predictions. She noted that the clear labeling of the year in which the pictures were taken, along with the volume of pictures explicitly age-separated by a set amount of time, could be quite valuable to a company like Facebook. "In other words, thanks to this meme, there's now a very large data set of carefully curated photos of people from roughly 10 years ago and now," O'Neill wrote.
If you've so far withstood the temptation to install a smart speaker in your home, worried about the potential privacy pitfalls and a bit embarrassed about the notion of chatting aimlessly to an inanimate object, brace yourselves. This Christmas, the world's biggest tech giants, including Amazon, Google and Facebook, are making another bid for your living room, announcing a range of new devices that resemble tablets you can talk to. Facebook's is called Portal, Google's the Home Hub, and Amazon has unveiled the second version of its Echo Show. You can still speak to the digital assistants embedded in these devices, but their screens enable hands-free video calling (apart from the Google one), can act as a control pad for various smart devices you may have around your home, such as thermostats or security cameras and (this feature is on heavy rotation in all the promotional material) you can use them to prompt you through a recipe without resorting to smearing your buttery fingers over your phone or laptop. But before you make the leap and send off that letter to the north pole, you may want to ask a few questions.
Smart displays are the new smart speakers. A day after Facebook revealed Portal, a WiFi-connected video-chatting device for your home, Google has announced Home Hub, a new 7-inch smart screen that acts as a voice-controlled conduit for the Google Assistant. It's Google's first smart home gadget that's comprised largely of a touchscreen display, after having launched three different display-free smart speakers over the past couple years. The Home Hub is also part of Google's larger strategy to make its virtual assistant infinitely more useful, and also, to get its tech into every facet of your life that it can. Both Google and Facebook's connected displays are coming on the heels of Amazon's second-generation Echo Show, another smart display that's equipped with Alexa and displays snippets of information.