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L.A. Fire Department used drones for the first time during Skirball fire

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Fire Department dispatched drones for the first time while battling a wildfire this month as firefighters took on the Skirball fire in Bel-Air. Fire officials demonstrated the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles for reporters on Thursday, sending two drones buzzing near blackened hills around Linda Flora Drive. "They provide real-time situational awareness from a bird's-eye perspective to the incident commander so they can see what's going on at their emergency and then change their tactics accordingly to mitigate the hazards," said Capt. Firefighters used two DJI Matrice 100 drones during the Skirball fire, Scott said. One had a high-definition camera used to survey the burn area, and the other had an infrared camera to assess hot spots.


Why You Really, Really Care About Robots Getting 'Human' Rights

#artificialintelligence

In Estonia, where the digital state was invented, the government is hard at work on the legal status of robots. The question is: do artificial intelligences deserve "human" rights? This may seem like a particularly lame way for EU bureaucrats to kill some time and spend taxpayer cash, slightly ahead of counting angels on pins, and just behind dictating rules around who can make cheese, or what wines qualify as "Burgundy." But it's actually something that matters. Because in a time when AI is advancing and commerce will move largely to AI-driven voice-powered systems, you will soon be in command of intelligent systems.


UN Panel Agrees to Move Ahead With Debate on 'Killer Robots'

U.S. News

A U.N. panel agreed Friday to move ahead with talks to define and possibly set limits on weapons that can kill without human involvement, as human rights groups said governments are moving too slowly to keep up with advances in artificial intelligence that could put computers in control one day.


This country just became the first to give a robot citizenship

USATODAY

Sophia is a robot that also happens to be one the newest citizens of Saudi Arabia. The unprecedented move has left some human rights activists upset. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Sophia is a robot that also happens to be one the newest citizens of Saudi Arabia. The unprecedented move has left some human rights activists upset.


The LAPD will use drones—and people are pissed

Mashable

Los Angeles' Blade Runner-esque future of a world watched by robots is here. On Tuesday, a civilian oversight panel gave the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) the OK to begin a year-long drone trial, primarily for reconnaissance in "tactical missions" conducted by SWAT. The decision came after a contentious meeting and protest by privacy advocates who oppose the use of drones by law enforcement. As the third largest police force in the nation behind New York and Chicago, the trial makes the LAPD the largest police force in the nation to use drones. The Chicago PD and New York PD confirmed in official statements to Mashable that neither police force deploys drones.


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.


Civilian oversight panel hears guidelines for LAPD use of drones

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Police Department released formal guidelines on its proposal to fly drones during a one-year pilot program, spurring questions and concerns among members of a civilian oversight panel and the public at a contentious meeting Tuesday. "Our challenge is to create a policy that strikes a balance, that promotes public safety, the safety of our officers and does not infringe on individual privacy rights," Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told the Los Angeles Police Commission at the packed meeting. Before outlining the guidelines, Girmala reviewed initial feedback from the community on the proposed drone initiative. An assistant chief, the police chief and two police commissioners would also be notified.


Robots are really good at learning things like racism and bigotry

#artificialintelligence

The real danger is in something called confirmation bias: when you come up with an answer first and then begin the process of only looking for information that supports that conclusion. Take the following example: if the number of women seeking truck driving jobs is less than men, on a job-seeking website, a pattern emerges. That pattern can be interpreted in many ways, but in truth it only means one specific factual thing: there are less women on that website looking for truck driver jobs than men. If you tell an AI to find evidence that triangles are good at being circles it probably will, that doesn't make it science.


AI robots are sexist and racist, experts warn

#artificialintelligence

He said the deep learning algorithms which drive AI software are "not transparent", making it difficult to to redress the problem. Currently approximately 9 per cent of the engineering workforce in the UK is female, with women making up only 20 per cent of those taking A Level physics. "We have a problem," Professor Sharkey told Today. Professor Sharkey said researchers at Boston University had demonstrated the inherent bias in AI algorithms by training a machine to analyse text collected from Google News.


Artificial intelligence may exceed human capacity

#artificialintelligence

At some point in time after singularity occurs, one of these self-aware machines will surely raise its claw (or virtual hand) and say; "hey, what about equal pay for equal work?" Only a century ago women were demanding the right to vote. Less than a century ago most white Americans didn't think African and Chinese Americans should be paid wages equal to whites. Many women are still fighting for equal pay for equal work, and Silicon Valley is a notoriously hostile workplace for women.