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ACLU sues Clearview AI claiming the company's tech crosses ethical bounds


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is taking Clearview AI to court, claiming the company's facial surveillance activities violate the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) and "represent an unprecedented threat to our security and safety". The legal action, brought on by lawyers at the ACLU of Illinois and the law firm Edelson PC, is on behalf of organisations that represent survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, undocumented immigrants, and other vulnerable communities. Clearview AI, founded by Australian entrepreneur Hoan Ton-That, provides facial recognition software, marketed primarily at law enforcement. The ACLU said not stopping Clearview AI would "end privacy as we know it". "Face recognition technology offers a surveillance capability unlike any other technology in the past. It makes it dangerously easy to identify and track us at protests, AA meetings, counselling sessions, political rallies, religious gatherings, and more," the ACLU wrote in a blog post.

Ease restrictions on U.S. blood donations


Unnecessary restrictions on blood donors should be removed to maximize the blood and plasma available for use. With a vaccine for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) likely more than a year away, we must identify effective therapies for patients now. One promising approach is the use of plasma from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 (1, 2). To facilitate this strategy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently revised some of the restrictions on blood donation, including a decrease in deferral time for men who have sex with men (MSM) to 3 months (3). This is a positive change to an outdated guideline, but it does not go far enough.

New tools aim to tame pandemic paper tsunami


Science's COVID-19 coverage is supported by the Pulitzer Center. Timothy Sheahan, a virologist studying COVID-19, wishes he could keep pace with the growing torrent of new scientific papers related to the pandemic. But there have just been too many--more than 5000 papers a week. "I'm not keeping up," says Sheahan, who works at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. A loose-knit army of data scientists and software developers is pressing hard to change that.

Artificial Intelligence Arms Race Creating Multi-Billion-Dollar Opportunity


Artificial intelligence is the next big military advantage. For example, in early 2019, the U.S. announced a strategy for harnessing AI in many parts of the military including. Intelligence analysis, decision-making, vehicle autonomy, logistics, and weaponry, reports Technology Review. In fact, according to the U.S. Army, "The AI market was more than $21 billion in 2018, and it is expected to grow almost nine times larger by 2025. AI systems provide predictive analysis to interpret human inputs, determine what we most likely want, and then provide us with highly relevant information."

Between hope and hype


But also: 'AI will deepen my research and bring it a step further than it is now.' There is a wide range of opinions. Nevertheless, four out of five Dutch scientists foresee that AI will have a considerable impact on society. Two thirds also believe that AI will have a radical impact on science. The figures come from a survey that the editorial board of Research commissioned among researchers in various disciplines at Dutch knowledge institutions.

Trump Lashes Out at Spell-Check for Treating Him Unfairly

The New Yorker

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)--Accusing it of treating him "very unfairly," Donald Trump lashed out on Wednesday at the widely used spelling tool spell-check. "Almost every time I type a word, spell-check puts a red squiggly line under it," he tweeted. "It never put a red squiggly line under Obama's words." "Spell-check is rigged against conservatives," he charged. Trump accused spell-check of infringing on his First Amendment rights by interfering with what he called "freedom of spelling."

Abu Dhabi forms R&D council; Robot rental service opens in Dubai


With Dark Matter founder Faisal Abdulaziz Al Bannai appointed as its Secretary General, the ATRC will be responsible for setting the technological priorities and driving R&D, reporting to the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

'Largest drone war in the world': How airpower saved Tripoli

Al Jazeera

Air power has played an increasingly important role in the Libyan conflict. The relatively flat featureless desert terrain of the north and coast means that ground units are easily spotted, with few places to hide. The air forces of both the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) use French and Soviet-era fighter jets, antiquated and poorly maintained. While manned fighter aircraft have been used, for the most part the air war has been fought by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. With nearly 1,000 air strikes conducted by UAVs, UN Special Representative to Libya Ghassan Salame called the conflict "the largest drone war in the world".

NASA unveils new details about the high-powered instruments on Perseverance Mars rover

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA has shared new details about the sensors used on the Perseverance rover as it travels the surface of Mars in search for signs of past microbial life. The instruments, a high powered camera and an ultraviolet laser, will work in tandem to take readings of the soil to help determine its chemical and mineral makeup. The main instrument, called SHERLOC (or Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), will be mounted on the end of one of the rover's robotic arms. NASA's Persevernce rover will travel across Mars using an ultraviolet laser to determine what minerals and compounds are present in the soil, based on the way the light scatters SHERLOC will emit a quarter-sized ultraviolet laser at the ground, and scientists will measure the way the light scatters when it hits the ground to infer what kind of minerals and chemical compounds it's made of. The technique will also be used to identify the unique spectral'fingerprint' that certain organic material might give off in the hopes of tracking down potential signs of past life.

Bipartisan Senate bill aims to invest $100 billion in technology R&D


A group of bipartisan, bicameral politicians have drafted a bill that would "dramatically" increase investment in tech research and development. The Endless Frontiers Act would commit $100 billion over five years toward research in artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, robotics, automation and more. Another $10 billion would go towards creating regional technology hubs across the US. Senate Democractic Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Todd Young and Congressmen Ro Khanna and Mike Gallagher unveiled the legislation today. They say it's partly in response to the coronavirus, which they claim "magnified weakness from decades of US underinvestment in scientific research," and competition from countries like China.