NPR Technology


The Amazon Dating App Is Fake, But The Fears Are Real

NPR Technology

Amazon Dating doesn't really exist -- yet. But a mock-up of what Amazon Dating might look like fooled some this week, and got others talking.


After Iowa Debacle, Left's Tech Experts Say Dems Need A Strategic Shakeup

NPR Technology

After the messy reporting of the Iowa caucus results, some who build tech for progressive causes say the approach to software development in this space needs rethinking. After the messy reporting of the Iowa caucus results, some who build tech for progressive causes say the approach to software development in this space needs rethinking. Democrats could avoid another tech meltdown like the one that afflicted the Iowa caucuses with a better strategy for building the tools they need, progressive technology specialists say. The origins of the Iowa debacle are in a boom-and-bust cycle that places technology in competition with other priorities as time-crunched campaigns grapple with how best to spend as they hurtle toward an election. "The easy way to spend money, that's reliable, is on advertising," says Evan Henshaw-Plath, a technologist who has built applications for progressive causes and was an early employee at Twitter.


When Bias Is Coded Into Our Technology

NPR Technology

Facial recognition systems from large tech companies often incorrectly classify black women as male -- including the likes of Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and Sojourner Truth. That's according to Joy Buolamwini, whose research caught wide attention in 2018 with "AI, Ain't I a Woman?" a spoken-word piece based on her findings at MIT Media Lab. The video, along with the accompanying research paper written with Timnit Gebru of Microsoft Research, prompted many tech companies to reassess their facial recognition data sets and algorithms for darker and more female-looking faces. "Coded Bias," a documentary directed by Shalini Kantayya which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in late January, interweaves Buolamwini's journey of creating the Algorithmic Justice League, an advocacy organization, with other examples of facial recognition software being rolled out around the world -- on the streets of London, in housing projects in Brooklyn and broadly across China. Jennifer 8. Lee, a journalist and documentary producer, caught up with Joy Buolamwini and Shalini Kantayya in Park City, Utah after the premiere of Coded Bias.


Interior Department Grounds All Of Its Drones, Citing Cybersecurity, Other Concerns

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The Interior Department is grounding its fleet of drones -- including Chinese-made models such as this specialized "government edition" Mavic Pro, made by DJI. The Interior Department is grounding its fleet of drones -- including Chinese-made models such as this specialized "government edition" Mavic Pro, made by DJI. The Interior Department has grounded its fleet of more than 800 drones, citing potential cybersecurity risks and the need to support U.S. drone production – suggesting the move is aimed at least in part at China, a leading drone producer. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed an order on Wednesday grounding the drones, formalizing a "pause" he ordered nearly three months ago. "We've had only 12 drone flights since that time for emergency operations related to fires and floods," DOI Spokesperson Carol Danko said.


Space Walk Underway For Final Fix Of International Space Station Device

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In this image take from NASA video, astronauts Christina Koch, left, moves away as Jessica Meir, right, exits a hatch as they prepare to install batteries for the International Space Station's solar power grid during a space walk, Monday, Jan. 20. In this image take from NASA video, astronauts Christina Koch, left, moves away as Jessica Meir, right, exits a hatch as they prepare to install batteries for the International Space Station's solar power grid during a space walk, Monday, Jan. 20. Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station began their fourth and final space walk early Saturday to finish a series of repairs aimed at extending the functioning of a cosmic ray detector attached to the spacecraft. The planned six-and-a-half-hour foray outside the space capsule began shortly after 7:00 a.m. ET and was being shown in a live video feed from NASA.


As Esports Take Off, High School Leagues Get In The Game

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Assistant Principal Miles Carey oversees a Rocket League practice at Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, Va. Assistant Principal Miles Carey oversees a Rocket League practice at Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, Va. Nowadays, if you're a teenager who's good at video games there's a lot more to be had than just a pot of virtual gold. Today, more than 170 colleges and universities participate. Naturally, high schools have followed suit.


Iran Conflict Could Shift To Cyberspace, Experts Warn

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Experts say Iran may retaliate for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, its top military leader, with cyber attacks on American companies. Experts say Iran may retaliate for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, its top military leader, with cyber attacks on American companies. Cybersecurity researchers and U.S. government officials said hackers linked to Iran are probing American companies for vulnerabilities. The warnings suggest that the next phase of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran, following the Jan. 3 killing of a top Iranian general in an American drone strike, is likely to play out in cyberspace. The Iranian regime is accused of being behind some high-profile online operations against American targets in recent years.


'PigeonBot' Brings Robots Closer To Bird-Like Flight

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A team of Stanford University researchers designed the PigeonBot. A team of Stanford University researchers designed the PigeonBot. For decades, scientists have been trying to create machines that mimic the way birds fly. A team from Stanford University has gotten one big step closer. They created the PigeonBot -- a winged robot that they say approximates the graceful complexities of bird flight better than any other robot to date.


Study: Tinder, Grindr And Other Apps Share Sensitive Personal Data With Advertisers

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Dating apps, including Tinder, give sensitive information about users to marketing companies, according to a Norwegian study released Tuesday. Dating apps, including Tinder, give sensitive information about users to marketing companies, according to a Norwegian study released Tuesday. A group of civil rights and consumer groups is urging federal and state regulators to examine a number of mobile apps, including popular dating apps Grindr, Tinder and OKCupid for allegedly sharing personal information with advertising companies. The push by the privacy rights coalition follows a report published on Tuesday by the Norwegian Consumer Council found that 10 apps collect sensitive information including a user's exact location, sexual orientation, religious and political beliefs, drug use and other information and then transmits the personal data to at least 135 different third-party companies. The data harvesting, according to the Norwegian government agency, appears to violate the European Union's rules intended to protect people's online data, known as the General Data Protection Regulation.


Troll Watch: AI Ethics

NPR Technology

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with The Washington Post's Drew Harwell about the ethical concerns posed by new AI technology.