If facial recognition is good enough for Taylor Swift, is it good enough for you?

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

In this Oct. 31, 2018, file photo, a man, who declined to be identified, has his face painted to represent efforts to defeat facial recognition during a protest at Amazon headquarters over the company's facial recognition system, "Rekognition," in Seattle. San Francisco is on track to become the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition by police and other city agencies. These days, with facial recognition technology, you've got a face that can launch a thousand applications, so to speak. Sure, you may love the ease of opening your phone just by facing it instead of tapping in a code. But how do you feel about having your mug scanned, identifying you as you drive across a bridge, when you board an airplane or to confirm you're not a stalker on your way into a Taylor Swift concert?

Mini robotic cars show how driverless cars improve traffic flow Verdict


A fleet of miniature autonomous cars has shown how driverless cars improve traffic flow by at least 35% when programmed to work together. Researchers at the University of Cambridge, UK, tested how 16 miniature robotic cars driving around a two-lane track reacted when one of the cars on the inner lane stopped. When the cars were in cooperative mode, they alerted the rest of the cars to slow down as it neared the immobile car, allowing the inner lane cars to quickly pass it. However, when they were not driving cooperatively, traffic built up as cars had to stop and wait for a safe moment to overtake the stopped car. "Autonomous cars could fix a lot of different problems associated with driving in cities, but there needs to be a way for them to work together," said co-author of the study Michael He, an undergraduate student at St John's College who designed the lane-changing algorithms for the experiment.

US airports will scan 97% of outbound flyers' faces within 4 years


If you board a flight out of the United States four years from now, chances are the government is going to scan your face -- an ambitious timeline that has privacy experts reeling. That's according to a recent Department of Homeland Security report, which says that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to dramatically expand its Biometric Exit program to cover 97 percent of outbound air passengers within four years. Through this program, which was already in place in 15 U.S. airports at the end of 2018, passengers have their faces scanned by cameras before boarding flights out of the nation. If the AI-powered system determines that the photo doesn't match one on file, CBP officials can look into it. The goal of these airport face scans is purportedly to catch people who have overstayed their visas, but civil liberties expert Edward Hasbrouck sees them as potentially giving the government increased control over American citizens.

15 inspiring artificial intelligence success stories from brands


AMAZON: Has opened an AI-powered convenience store in Seattle. The premise of Amazon Go is simple: to eliminate everyone's least-favorite part of the shopping experience, checking out. With ceiling-mounted sensors and cameras backed by artificial intelligence, Amazon is able to track every interaction a customer has with a product. It knows exactly when a product is picked up or put back. Go works like a physical manifestation of Amazon's 1-Click checkout, where you "click" by taking an item off a shelf.

New laws of robotics needed to tackle AI: expert


Decades after Isaac Asimov first wrote his laws for robots, their ever-expanding role in our lives requires a radical new set of rules, legal and AI expert Frank Pasquale warned on Thursday. The world has changed since sci-fi author Asimov in 1942 wrote his three rules for robots, including that they should never harm humans, and today's omnipresent computers and algorithms demand up-to-date measures. According to Pasquale, author of "The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms Behind Money and Information", four new legally-inspired rules should be applied to robots and AI in our daily lives. "The first is that robots should complement rather than substitute for professionals" Pasquale told AFP on the sidelines of a robotics conference at the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences. "Rather than having a robot doctor, you should hope that you have a doctor who really understands how AI works and gets really good advice from AI, but ultimately it's a doctor's decision to decide what to do and what not to do." "The second is that we need to stop robotic arms races. There's a lot of people right now who are investing in war robots, military robots, policing robots."

r/artificial - An intermediate step to self driving cars could be services that monitor and take control of cars when they get stuck


I know this is the real reason Elon is building satellite internet. I require the ability to take a nap while driving to the store. As wonderful as it is to have Lyft drivers become coders, I mean mechanics, they can do this instead.

Teaching AI how to feel FEAR could make autonomous cars better drivers, study suggests

Daily Mail - Science & tech

'Physiological changes are correlated with these biological preparations to protect one-self from danger.' According to the researchers, teaching the algorithm when a person might feel more anxious in a given situation could serve as a guide to help machines avoid risks. 'Our hypothesis is that such reward functions can circumvent the challenges associated with sparse and skewed rewards in reinforcement learning settings and can help improve sample efficiency,' the team explains. The researchers put the autonomous software through a simulated maze filled with walls and ramps to see how they performed with fear instilled in them. And, compared to an AI that was trained based only on wall proximity, the system that had learned fear was much less likely to crash. 'A major advantage of training a reward on a signal correlated with the sympathetic nervous system responses is that the rewards are non-sparse - the negative reward starts to show up much before the car collides,' the researchers wrote. 'This leads to efficiency in training and with proper design can lead to policies that are also aligned with the desired mission.'

Toyota considers offering self-driving technology to ride-hailing firms in Asia

The Japan Times

NAGOYA - Toyota Motor Corp. is considering offering autonomous driving technologies to ride-hailing firms, sources close to the matter said Thursday, in its latest push to become a company offering not only cars but also various mobility services. The automaker is planning to supply a new driverless system to be developed with U.S. ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. to companies such as Grab Taxi Holdings Pte Ltd. of Singapore and ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd.'s Ola of India, the sources said. Toyota said last month it will jointly invest $1 billion in Uber's new subsidiary to develop autonomous vehicles, together with SoftBank Group Corp. and auto parts supplier Denso Corp. SoftBank Group is the biggest shareholder in Uber and has also invested in Grab and Ola. Toyota is also a stakeholder in Grab, which has a wide range of businesses across Southeast Asia.

Digital camera sees around corners by guessing what's lurking behind

New Scientist

Seeing the out-of-sight has turned a new corner. Now, digital cameras can take an image of an object hidden around a wall, which could help autonomous cars detect hazards in blind spots. In principle, any vertical edge can act as an accidental camera, by projecting subtle patterns of light onto the ground. These patterns reveal a semblance of what is happening on the other side of the edge and, though too faint to be noticed by the human eye, can be enhanced and interpreted by imaging algorithms.

A Confused Police Officer Pulled Over a Self-Driving Vehicle on Its First Day Carrying Passengers

TIME - Tech

A self-driving shuttle got pulled over by police on its first day carrying passengers on a new Rhode Island route. Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements says an officer pulled over the odd-looking autonomous vehicle because he had never seen one before. The bus-like vehicle operated by Michigan-based May Mobility was dropping off passengers Wednesday morning when a police cruiser arrived with blinking lights and a siren. It was just hours after the public launch of a state-funded pilot shuttle service. The shuttle offers free rides on a 12-stop urban loop.