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Wild cockatoos excel in intelligence tests, countering theory living with humans makes birds smarter

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A longheld theory that animals raised in captivity perform better in cognitive testing may need to be rethought. A new study organized by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna found evidence that wild animals perform just as well at intelligence tests as their lab-raised counterparts. To test the theory, researchers compared two groups of Goffin's cockatoos, a species often found in the tropical jungles of Singapore, Indonesia, and Puerto Rico. The team compared a lab-raised'colony' of 11 cockatoos at their lab in Vienna to eight wild cockatoos recently taken into captivity at a field laboratory in Indonesia. The researchers compared the performance of both groups in a series of simple problem solving tests and found the wild cockatoos were just as clever as the lab-raised ones.


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

ZDNet

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.


Singapore to establish AI framework for 'fairness' credit scoring metrics

ZDNet

Singapore has kicked off efforts to develop a framework to ensure the "responsible" adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics in credit risk scoring and customer marketing. Two teams comprising banks and industry players have been tasked to establish metrics that can assist financial institutions in ensuring the "fairness" of their AI and data analytics tools in these instances. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said a whitepaper detailing the metrics would be published by year-end along with an open source code to enable financial institutions to adopt the metrics. These organisations then would be able to integrate the open source code into their own IT systems to assess the fairness of their AI applications, the industry regulator said in a statement Friday. It added that the open source code would be deployed on the online global marketplace and sandbox, API Exchange (APIX), which enabled fintech and FSI companies to integrate and test applications via a cloud-based platform.


ACLU sues Clearview AI over alleged privacy violations

Engadget

Clearview AI is about to deal with more pushback beyond corporate objections and occasional bans. The American Civil Liberties Union has sued Clearview AI for allegedly violating Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act with its combination of facial recognition and internet data scraping. The ACLU claimed that the real-time identification technology infringed privacy rights by collecting faceprints from state residents without notifying them or obtaining consent. This facial data harvesting is bad for everyone, but it's particularly harmful to "Latinas and survivors," according to Mujeres Latinas en Acción's Linda Xóchitl Tortolero. She argued that it enables stalkers, abusers, "predatory companies" and immigration agents to illegally track and target people.


Ease restrictions on U.S. blood donations

Science

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.


Core progress in AI has stalled in some fields

Science

Artificial intelligence (AI) just seems to get smarter and smarter. The surge reflects faster chips, more data, and better algorithms. But some of the improvement comes from tweaks rather than the core innovations their inventors claim--and some of the gains may not exist at all. Researchers have evaluated 81 pruning algorithms, programs that make neural networks, a type of AI, more efficient by trimming unneeded connections. All claimed superiority in slightly different ways.


New tools aim to tame pandemic paper tsunami

Science

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.


CVS Health tests self-driving vehicle prescription delivery

Associated Press

CVS Health will try delivering prescriptions with self-driving vehicles in a test that begins next month. The drugstore chain said Thursday that it will partner with the Silicon Valley robotics company Nuro to deliver medicines and other products to customers near a Houston-area store. A CVS spokesman said the prescriptions will routinely be delivered within an hour of being ordered. Customers will have to confirm their identity in order to unlock their delivery after the vehicle arrives. Nuro has previously started partnerships to test the delivery of pizzas for Domino's or groceries for Kroger, also in the Houston area.


Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi smart speaker review: The case of the missing midrange

PCWorld

My thoughts about the Belkin SoundForm Elite Hi-Fi Smart Speaker Wireless Charging can be distilled in a single word: boring. Listening to a $300 speaker should be exciting. Belkin doesn't have a track record of building great audio equipment, but its partner on this project--the French audiophile company Devialet--most certainly does. The Devialet Phantom blew my mind when I reviewed it five years ago. So, I had high hopes when I learned Belkin had enlisted that company's expertise to develop something more mainstream.


Windows 10 May 2020 Update review: Microsoft boosts Linux and Your Phone, but Cortana slips hard

PCWorld

Update, 05/27/2020: Microsoft launched the May 2020 update on May 27, through manual download first, or you can just wait for Microsoft to push it to your PC. Our review of Microsoft's Windows 10 20H1 update--also known as version 2004, or the Windows 10 May 2020 Update--shows an OS focused primarily on building out existing features, rather than launching new ones. Some scaffolding is still apparent in tweaks to Your Phone, and especially Cortana. Microsoft has further polished Task Manager, Settings, and Game Bar, however, and isn't afraid to serve niche audiences with upgrades to the Windows Subsystem for Linux and the related Terminal app. As in the past, we've based our review on the Insider builds of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, beginning with the major features and working through to its minor additions.