Should the LAPD test drones? Police Commission is set for final vote on controversial proposal

Los Angeles Times

In the two months since the Los Angeles Police Department revealed that it wants to try flying drones, the unmanned aircraft have been the source of an often heated back-and-forth. Advocates say the drones could help protect officers and others by using nonhuman eyes to collect crucial information during high-risk situations. Skeptics worry that use of the devices will steadily expand and include inappropriate -- or illegal -- surveillance. The LAPD's harshest critics want the drone program scrapped before it even takes off. On Tuesday, the civilian board that oversees the LAPD will vote on whether to allow the department to test drones during a one-year pilot program.

Give Saudi women a license not just to drive, but to run their own lives

Los Angeles Times

It'll be close, but it looks like women will be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia with some time to spare before the automobile industry converts entirely to self-driving cars. A royal decree announced Tuesday that women would finally be allowed behind the wheel, heralding a preposterously overdue end to the most high-profile and infamous of the repressive kingdom's restrictions on women. Even a woman in prison requires a male guardian to agree to her release, according to the monitoring group Human Rights Watch, which described the guardianship system as the most significant impediment to women's rights in Saudi Arabia -- and even a barrier to the government's own plans to improve the economy. The abolition of the male guardianship system should be the next announcement we hear from the Saudi government.

Banksy donates funds from anti-arms artwork sale

BBC News

The artwork, Civilian Drone Strike, was on display at the Stop the Arms Fair art exhibition in east London. The exhibition was held alongside the world's largest arms fair, the Defence and Security Equipment International - both exhibitions closed on Friday. The money raised from the Banksy sale will be split between one of the exhibition's organisers, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), and the human rights group Reprieve. During last week's Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) fair, Mr Smith said it was "shameful that the government is welcoming despots and dictatorships to the UK to buy weapons".

During Trump's present, it's hard to write the future, says science fiction writer John Scalzi

Los Angeles Times

Here is a very real and true thing: 2017 is making it really hard to be a science fiction writer. To be sure, these times -- by which I mean the Trump era to date, let's go ahead and avoid cutesy winking allusions -- are making it hard for lots of writers, not just the ones who write science fiction. But as a science fiction writer, things are even more complicated. The thing is, science fiction has its setting in the future, but the people writing it and reading it live now, and the stories they're writing and reading reflect the hopes and fears of whatever age the story is written in.

FaceApp removes 'Ethnicity Filters' after racism storm

Daily Mail

When asked to make his picture'hot' the app lightened his skin and changed the shape of his nose The app's creators claim it will'transform your face using Artificial Intelligence', allowing selfie-takers to transform their photos Earlier this year people accused the popular photo editing app Meitu of being racist. Earlier this year people accused the popular photo editing app Meitu of giving users'yellow face'. Earlier this year people accused the popular photo editing app Meitu of giving users'yellow face'. Twitter user Vaughan posted a picture of Kanye West with a filter applied, along with the caption: 'So Meitu's pretty racist'

Biased algorithms are everywhere, and no one seems to care


This week a group of researchers, together with the American Civil Liberties Union, launched an effort to identify and highlight algorithmic bias. "It's still early days for understanding algorithmic bias," Crawford and Whittaker said in an e-mail. A key challenge, these and other researchers say, is that crucial stakeholders, including the companies that develop and apply machine learning systems and government regulators, show little interest in monitoring and limiting algorithmic bias. Financial and technology companies use all sorts of mathematical models and aren't transparent about how they operate.

Inside Google's Internet Justice League and Its AI-Powered War on Trolls


The 28-year-old journalist and author of The Internet of Garbage, a book on spam and online harassment, had been watching Bernie Sanders boosters attacking feminists and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now a small subsidiary of Google named Jigsaw is about to release an entirely new type of response: a set of tools called Conversation AI. Jigsaw is applying artificial intelligence to solve the very human problem of making people be nicer on the Internet. If it can find a path through that free-speech paradox, Jigsaw will have pulled off an unlikely coup: applying artificial intelligence to solve the very human problem of making people be nicer on the Internet.

Racist artificial intelligence? Maybe not, if computers explain their 'thinking'


Growing concerns about how artificial intelligence (AI) makes decisions has inspired U.S. researchers to make computers explain their "thinking." "In fact, it can get much worse where if the AI agents are part of a loop where they're making decisions, even the future data, the biases get reinforced," he added. Researchers hope that, by seeing the thought process of the computers, they can make sure AI doesn't pick up any gender or racial biases that humans have. But Singh says understanding the decision process is critical for future use, particularly in cases where AI is making decisions, like approving loan applications, for example.

Banned In China: Why Live Streaming Video Has Been Censored

International Business Times

A recent ban affecting three of China's biggest online platforms aimed at "cleaning up the air in cyberspace" is just the latest government crackdown on user-generated content, and especially live streaming. This edict, issued by China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) in June, affects video on the social media platform Sina Weibo, as well as video platforms Ifeng and AcFun. In 2014, for example, one of China's biggest online video platforms LETV began removing its app that allowed TV users to access online video, reportedly due to SAPPRFT requirements. China's largest social media network, Sina Weibo, launched an app named Yi Zhibo in 2016 that allows live streaming of games, talent shows and news.

If you weren't raised in the Internet age, you may need to worry about workplace age discrimination

Los Angeles Times

Although people of both genders struggle with age discrimination, research has shown women begin to experience age discrimination in hiring practices before they reach 50, whereas men don't experience it until several years later. Just as technology is causing barriers inside the workplace for older employees, online applications and search engines could be hurting older workers looking for jobs. Many applications have required fields asking for date of birth and high school graduation, something many older employees choose to leave off their resumes. Furthermore, McCann said, some search engines allow people to filter their search based on high school graduation date, thereby allowing employers and employees to screen people and positions out of the running.