Artificial intelligence makes our life easier and more comfortable. But he, rather, uses of them are a threat to our rights and freedoms. Back in the 1970-ies, when even the word "Internet" had not yet been invented, radical philosopher Herbert Marcuse predicted the emergence of certain new technologies, can change the world. On the one hand, they open new prospects for freedom, but will create new forms of exclusion and will give the government and corporations new mechanisms of control over people. But today his prophecy seem to have been carried out.
Walking around without being constantly identified by AI could soon be a thing of the past, legal experts have warned. The use of facial recognition software could signal the end of civil liberties if the law doesn't change as quickly as advancements in technology, they say. Software already being trialled around the world could soon be adopted by companies and governments to constantly track you wherever you go. Shop owners are already using facial recognition to track shoplifters and could soon be sharing information across a broad network of databases, potentially globally. Previous research has found that the technology isn't always accurate, mistakenly identifying women and individuals with darker shades of skin as the wrong people.
Facial recognition can log you into your iPhone, track criminals through crowds and identify loyal customers in stores. The technology -- which is imperfect but improving rapidly -- is based on algorithms that learn how to recognize human faces and the hundreds of ways in which each one is unique. To do this well, the algorithms must be fed hundreds of thousands of images of a diverse array of faces. Increasingly, those photos are coming from the internet, where they're swept up by the millions without the knowledge of the people who posted them, categorized by age, gender, skin tone and dozens of other metrics, and shared with researchers at universities and companies. As the algorithms get more advanced -- meaning they are better able to identify women and people of color, a task they have historically struggled with -- legal experts and civil rights advocates are sounding the alarm on researchers' use of photos of ordinary people.
If you shop at Westfield, you've probably been scanned and recorded by dozens of hidden cameras built into the centres' digital advertising billboards. The semi-camouflaged cameras can determine not only your age and gender but your mood, cueing up tailored advertisements within seconds, thanks to facial detection technology. Westfield's Smartscreen network was developed by the French software firm Quividi back in 2015. Their discreet cameras capture blurry images of shoppers and apply statistical analysis to identify audience demographics. And once the billboards have your attention they hit record, sharing your reaction with advertisers.
Slate Plus members get extended, ad-free versions of our podcasts--and much more. Sign up today and try it free for two weeks. Copy this link and add it in your podcast app. For detailed instructions, see our Slate Plus podcasts page. Listen to Amicus via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts.
For the ongoing series, Code Word, we're exploring if -- and how -- technology can protect individuals against sexual assault and harassment, and how it can help and support survivors. You walk through the door and set your bags on the floor. You pose for a selfie with your hotel room in the background, uploading it to Instagram with seemingly random hashtags. For your followers, the photo is a means of documenting your travels. For investigators, you've just taken a crime scene photo that might one day help them to track down victims of human trafficking.
While you're enjoying your day off from work and honoring the life of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., we've been looking for the best deals from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and more. Sales today include ways to save on amazing tech products like the Apple iPad, Beats by Dre headphones, and more. We also found great deals on mattresses from across the internet, including Casper, Mattress Firm, and Nectar. What's the best deal we found today? Well, there are a few to recommend.
Now, if the cops try to force you to unlock your iPhone with your face, the law might actually be on your side. Previously, other courts have ruled that the police could make suspects unlock their phones with Touch ID, even though legally they couldn't force that same suspect to give up their passcode. Digital rights experts hope that a ruling in California, however, is a step toward changing that precedent. SEE ALSO: So how worried should we be about Apple's Face ID? Recently, California magistrate Judge Kanis Westmore denied a request for a warrant to compel suspects to unlock their phones using Face ID and Touch ID. In a written opinion (via Apple Insider) from Jan. 10, she said she made her decision in part because forcing someone to give up a passcode -- whether alphanumeric or biometric -- would violate their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The challenges of making the technology industry a more welcoming place for women are numerous, especially in the booming field of artificial intelligence. To get a sense of just how monumental a task the tech community faces, look no further than the marquee gathering for AI's top scientists. Preparations for this year's event drew controversy not only because there weren't enough female speakers or study authors. The biggest debate was over the conference's name. The annual Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems, formerly known as NIPS, had become a punchline symbol about just how bad the gender imbalance is for artificial intelligence.
China now has seminars to teach other countries how to censor free speech as its'techno-dystopia' spreads, a worrying report has found. Governments worldwide are stepping up use of online tools to suppress dissent and tighten their grip on power, a human rights watchdog study found. Chinese officials have held sessions on controlling information with 36 of the 65 countries assessed, and provided telecom and surveillance equipment to a number of foreign governments, researchers said. India led the world in the number of internet shutdowns, with over 100 reported incidents in 2018 so far, claiming that the moves were needed to halt the flow of disinformation and incitement to violence. Many governments, including Saudi Arabia, are employing'troll armies' to manipulate social media and in many cases drown out the voices of dissidents.