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Tech Team

We’re still waiting for street smart AI [Wired] 

Like humans, as AI gets older it learns and becomes more intelligent. Recently a team at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence had its AI programme, Aristo, excel on a standardised 8th grade science test. Don’t get too excited though, Aristo isn’t about to head off to college just yet. AI can master a set of narrow tasks, like answering certain questions on a test – but it still doesn’t have common sense. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) is still trying to create an AI system that has the common sense of an 18-month-old child. So it seems that book smart AI has a ways to go before graduating to street smart.  

Nerds want to save the Amazon, too [Financial Times]

What if, once again, the solution came from technology? Concerned about the fires attacking the rainforest – AI researchers, big data experts and biochemists are working together to find ways to protect the Amazon. One of their focus is to use big data and satellites to support farmers in their activities and to prevent the expansion of agricultural fields into the protected rainforest. Satellites are used to identify some specific weeds to be later targeted by a hyper-precise drone weeding force. This is a more down-to-earth exercise from the unique industry that is spending billions of euros on space conquests.  

Stadium Weeds Out Disruptive Fans With Facial Recognition [The Wall Street Journal] 

No more old, printed “wanted” style photos of football fans who have been blacklisted for misbehaving during games in Denmark. The Danish football club Brondby has installed security cameras and software that allows it to quickly spot the 50 to 100 banned fans (among 25.000) who shouldn’t be in the stadium due to previous misdeeds. The software uses machine learning to spot guests whose faces match the photos uploaded by the club’s staff. The Danish Data Protection Agency is aware and provided certain conditions for handling fan images: the stadium must clearly indicate to guests that it is processing biometric data and the system is disconnected from the internet. This is definitely an interesting (and maybe ‘safe’) use of controversial facial recognition. 

Going beyond Facebook friends [Financial Times]  

Facebook has recently launched its ‘Dating’ service – hailed by the company as a more sophisticated way to woo a future love interest rather than just swiping left or right on an app. Obviously, privacy issues have been raised – the service can pull data from users’ main Facebook accounts which could attract both marketers and hackers. And not only is privacy an issue, but competition too. Facebook currently allows some dating services access to limited user data – while its own service has full access. Some lament the app further decreases human interaction, leading us to “marriage by algorithm” but with online dating being the norm for years now, this seems like the least of our worries.

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In case you haven’t had enough… 

Me, myself and A.I. — should robots look like us? [Financial Times] 

How the Algorithms Running Your Life Are Biased [Bloomberg] 

8chan Tells Congress It’s ‘Voluntarily’ Offline. What’s Next for the Message Board Favored by Mass Shooters [Fortune]