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Marketing and sports data apps join fight against pandemic

The Japan Times

Devices designed for improving customer marketing and sports performance are now being used in the fight against COVID-19 as companies deploy their technologies to meet new needs during the pandemic. Hitachi-LG Data Storage originally developed its 3D LiDAR People Counter sensor for retail stores to track shoppers' movements and analyse data in order to improve sales and customer satisfaction. The company, a joint venture between Japan's Hitachi and South Korea's LG Electronics, has now paired the application with a heat detection and camera app that takes customers' temperatures and checks if they are wearing a mask with a facial detection system. The technology monitors the number of people and their movements to reduce congestion and it estimates wait times at cash registers, to help reduce infection risks. It can also determine whether or not a customer has stopped by a specific area such as a required hand sanitizer station.


Pizza Hut to test drone delivery to 'landing zones'

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Pizza Hut is reaching new heights with its latest delivery experiment. Tech company Dragontail Systems Limited announced this week that it has deployed drones for restaurants to carry meals to delivery drivers in remote landing zones. Those drones will be flying pizzas from a Pizza Hut location in northern Israel starting in June, The Wall Street Journal reported.


New study finds tech elites view the world with more meritocracy

ZDNet

A new study has revealed that while the top 100 richest people in tech share similar views to other wealthy people, they are also more focused on meritocracy. The research, published in PLOS One, used data sets based on tweets by these individuals who were named by Forbes as the top 100 richest people in the tech world, plus their statements on websites about their philanthropic endeavours. As part of the study, the researchers analysed 49,790 tweets from 30 verified Twitter account holders within the tech elite subject group and 60 mission statements from tech elite-run philanthropic websites, plus 17 statements from tech elites and other wealthy individuals not associated with the tech world for comparison purposes. The Twitter text analyses, according to the research, revealed tech elites used Twitter to tweet about subjects that placed emphasis on disruption, positivity, and temporality compared with the average user. Their most frequently used words were'new' and'great', and referred mostly to their peers and other tech firms. At the same time, the authors found that while tweets showed the tech elites did not see a significant difference between power and money or power and democracy, they did note the tech elites denied a connection between democracy and money, a view that was not shared by ordinary Twitter users.


Google is investigating an AI researcher over the handling of sensitive data

Engadget

Google is investigating an artificial intelligence researcher after it detected that "an account had exfiltrated thousands of files" and shared them externally. Margaret Mitchell, a co-lead of the Ethical AI unit, has been locked out of Google's corporate systems over the matter. But apparently they've told her she will be locked out for at least a few days. The investigation follows the acrimonious exit last month of another prominent AI researcher, Timnit Gebru, who said Mitchell has been told that she'll be locked out for a few days. According to an Axios source, Mitchell used automated scripts to search her messages for examples of discriminatory treatment toward Gebru.


A Site Published Every Face from Parler's Capitol Riot Videos

WIRED

When hackers exploited a bug in Parler to download all of the right-wing social media platform's contents last week, they were surprised to find that many of the pictures and videos contained geolocation metadata revealing exactly how many of the site's users had taken part in the invasion of the US Capitol building just days before. But the videos uploaded to Parler also contain an equally sensitive bounty of data sitting in plain sight: thousands of images of unmasked faces, many of whom participated in the Capitol riot. Now one website has done the work of cataloging and publishing every one of those faces in a single, easy-to-browse lineup. Late last week, a website called Faces of the Riot appeared online, showing nothing but a vast grid of more than 6,000 images of faces, each one tagged only with a string of characters associated with the Parler video in which it appeared. The site's creator tells WIRED that he used simple open source machine learning and facial recognition software to detect, extract, and deduplicate every face from the 827 videos that were posted to Parler from inside and outside the Capitol building on January 6, the day when radicalized Trump supporters stormed the building in a riot that resulted in five people's deaths.


Trump pardoned Church of AI founder, so I went there to worship

ZDNet

Where have you gone, Godhead? Forgiveness is a spiritual, religious concept. As a child, I used to go to Catholic confession and tell the priest I'd sworn and stepped on a spider. I'd wait for the priest to absolve me and then ask whether I'd been taking sneak peeks at Playboy. So when I heard that former President Donald Trump had pardoned former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski, my thoughts were only religious.


August's WiFi smart lock hits all-time low of $183 at Amazon

Engadget

August's 4th-generation WiFi smart lock is one of its best yet, and now you can get it at a more affordable price. Amazon has discounted the silver model to $183.49, down from its usual $250 price. The black version is also on sale, but is only $14.67 off. We've seen the August lock drop as low as $199 in the past, but more frequently it's been discounted to $210, making this one of the best opportunities to buy it to date. Buy August smart lock at Amazon - $183.49


Robots: Jellyfish-inspired swimming machine could explore coral reefs and archaeological sites

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A swimming robot that mimics the super-effective way that jellyfish move about underwater could soon be used to explore coral reefs and archaeological sites. Experts use a measure called the'cost of transport' to compare the movement efficiency of different species from across the animal kingdom. Such studies have show that nature's more efficient mover -- easily beating out running and flying animals and bony fish -- is the moon jellyfish, Aurelia aurita. These soft-bodied creatures move by squeezing their bodies in order to expel a jet of water that propels them forward. Inspired by this, engineers from Southampton and Edinburgh built a jet-driven robot that is around 10–50 times more efficient that its propeller-driven peers.


Watch a robot squid propel itself through water with rhythm

New Scientist

Robot squid that move to a rhythm can match the power efficiency of the real animals, a trick that could be useful for designing next-generation submarines. Real squid have small fins that they use for careful manoeuvring, but when a big burst of speed is required they suck in and expel water to propel themselves. Researchers have tried to build robots that mimic this jet-like behaviour, but now a team led by Gabriel Weymouth at the University of Southampton, UK, has discovered a way to boost their efficiency. Weymouth and his colleagues created an umbrella-like robot with eight 3D-printed plastic ribs covered by a rubber skirt. It flexes outwards to suck in water and contracts to expel it, providing thrust.


Are you being overcharged by clever AI? Watchdog looks at whether algorithms hurt competition

ZDNet

To stop algorithms from charging unfair prices when we shop online, the UK's competition watchdog is launching a new investigation into the ways that AI systems might harm consumers – an issue that has so far lacked in-depth research and analysis, says the organization, and yet affects most of us in our everyday lives. While a lot of attention has focused on algorithmic harms in general, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggested that little work has been done in the specific area of consumer and competition harms, and reported that almost no research on the topic exists in the UK. There is particularly little insight into the ways that automated systems tailor costs, shopping options or rankings to each individual's online behavior, often leading to consumers paying higher prices than they should. For this reason, the CMA has asked academics and industry to submit evidence about the potential misdeeds caused by the misuse of algorithms, and is launching a program called "Analyzing Algorithms", which could even help identify specific firms that are violating consumers' rights, so that cases can be taken forward if needed. Kate Brand, director of data science at CMA, said: "We want to receive as much information as possible from stakeholders in academia, the competition community, firms, civil society and third sector organizations in order to understand where the harm is occurring and what the most effective regulatory approach is to protect consumers in the future."