Category Archives: surveillance

Tencent wants you to pay with your palm. What could go wrong?

That’s where Tencent is stepping in. The new tech is undoubtedly appealing as the company competes with Alipay for dominance. And as China continues to grapple with ongoing zero-covid policies that mean people still wear masks and avoid physical contact, allowing people to pay by waving their hands up to a few inches from the camera seems preferable to facial or fingerprint recognition. So by offering users small cash incentives in exchange for their participation and data, Tencent is one step closer to spreading the use of palm-print recognition through everyday life—and on a truly massive scale.

America May Not Be Ready for the Looming Tsunami of Deepfakes

Americans may not be ready for this tsunami wave of deepfakes. In our recent research, subjects struggled to distinguish between deepfakes and authentic videos. When we randomly assigned a set of deepfake and authentic videos to more than 2,000 individuals and asked them to pick the deepfake, our test subjects were wrong over one-third of the time. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the social media savviness of American youth, middle school students outperformed adults, including the educators who might be responsible for helping them learn key skills to avoid online misinformation. Even computer science students at a top U.S. engineering university were susceptible: They were unable to sort out deepfakes from authentic videos more than 20 percent of the time.

Amazon’s Roomba Deal Is Really About Mapping Your Home

A smart home, you see, isn’t actually terribly smart. It only knows that your Philips Hue lightbulbs and connected television are in your sitting room because you’ve told it as much. It certainly doesn’t know where exactly the devices are within that room. The more it knows about a given space, the more tightly it can choreograph the way they interact with you.

What Nietzsche can teach us about embracing risk and failure in an age of technological comforts

Safety through technology is certainly not a bad thing. But the need for safety can become pathological. Friedrich Nietzsche’s basic premise is that failure is an option. It is woven tightly into a life worth living. It is time for a personal inventory: Which of our devices and practices enable a life that experiences the world in ways and places not always engineered for our comfort?

How Might Artificial Intelligence Affect the Risk of Nuclear War?

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling previously infeasible capabilities, potentially destabilizing the delicate balances that have forestalled nuclear war since 1945. Will these developments upset the nuclear strategic balance, and, if so, for better or for worse? To start to address this question, RAND researchers held a series of workshops that were attended by prominent experts on AI and nuclear security. The workshops examined the impact of advanced computing on nuclear security through 2040. The culmination of those workshops, this Perspective — one of a series that examines critical security challenges in 2040 — places the intersection of AI and nuclear war in historical context and characterizes the range of expert opinions. It then describes the types of anticipated concerns and benefits through two illustrative examples: AI for detection and for tracking and targeting and AI as a trusted adviser in escalation decisions. In view of the capabilities that AI may be expected to enable and how adversaries may perceive them, AI has the potential to exacerbate emerging challenges to nuclear strategic stability by the year 2040 even with only modest rates of technical progress. Thus, it is important to understand how this might happen and to assure that it does not.

More than half the world’s millennials fear a nuclear attack this decade

The International Committee of the Red Cross, a worldwide humanitarian organization, surveyed 16,000 millennials — adults between the ages of 20 and 35 — in 16 countries and territories last year: Afghanistan, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States.

Data from wearable devices are changing disease surveillance and medical research

The ability to examine lots of human bodies as they go about their daily lives is also changing how clinical studies of new drugs are done. According to iqvia, a research firm, 10% of late-stage clinical trials in 2020 used connected devices to monitor people, up from 3% in 2016. A catalogue by the Digital Medicine Society, an American organisation, lists more than 300 examples of digital biomarkers that are used in trials.

This bird-shaped monitor drops dead when your indoor air is bad

Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, where the air can be 5 to 10 times more polluted than the worst outdoor air. Bad indoor air, including high levels of CO2, has been linked with fatigue, headaches, and even respiratory diseases, all of which could be alleviated by airing out your home. That’s why two designers created Canairi: a minimalist monitor that nudges you to open the window without using blinking lights, warning sounds, or phone notifications. And no, there’s no app; just simple, intuitive design.

Risk, Uncertainty and Innovation

The past several decades have seen the introduction of a number of disruptive technologies into warfare, including some whose effects are so extensive that they can be considered their own domains, such as cyber– and cognitive warfare. Meanwhile, new technologies continue to emerge, ones which, as a recent article in NATO Review notes, “are already beginning to turn speculative fiction into reality.”