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Saturday, December 31, 2022

Universities, Rich in Data, Struggle to Capture Its Value

Needs more automatic matching to actual uses, needs, outcomes. 

Universities, Rich in Data, Struggle to Capture Its Value     By UCLA

December 29, 2022

Merging together data from various sources is a major challenge, respondents said.

Universities are struggling to make sense of their vast administrative datasets, according to researchers Christine L. Borgman at UCLA and Amy Brand at MIT.

The two surveyed senior officials focused on university data governance and management to identify a shortage of coordination and expertise. Respondents cited issues about commercial control of internal systems, local capacity for data-informed planning, a lack of databases of record, and few coordinated information management strategies and administrators with data-science backgrounds.

"We unexpectedly found a pervasive void of infrastructure thinking and a relatively limited set of data-informed planning successes," said Brand.

The researchers's study, published in Science, suggests universities could expand infrastructure investments to enhance access, integration, and intelligence, as well as fortify their data management capacity.

From UCLA   View Full Article   

Can we Make Traffic a Thing of the Past (and greatly improve supply chains)

Traffic Management outlook. 

Making Traffic a Thing of the Past  By Logan Kugler

Communications of the ACM, January 2023, Vol. 66 No. 1, Pages 19-20  10.1145/3570519

Americans wasted a whopping 3.4 billion hours in 2021 thanks to traffic, according to research from connected car analytics company INRIX, which also noted that this equates to 36 hours lost per person. The numbers are clear: Even with drops in traffic thanks to new travel patterns in the wake of the pandemic, we still lose an entire workweek each year to traffic.

Soon enough, artificial intelligence (AI) may be able to alleviate—or fully solve—the problem.

Today, researchers and companies are working to develop AI-powered systems that tackle the problem of traffic from a number of angles.

For instance, Intelligent Traffic Control of Tel Aviv, Israel, has developed a solution that collects data from traffic cams, then regulates traffic signals to optimally route vehicles. Paradigm Traffic Systems of Texas offers a range of traffic management products to manage intersections and freeways.

However, a team of researchers at the U.K.'s Aston University has taken things one step further. Their AI traffic regulation system does not just use data from existing traffic cams to manage vehicle flow at a specific intersection; it has learned, from a traffic simulation, how to optimally regulate traffic in real time at real-world intersections—even in traffic situations it has never seen before.

These capabilities are all made possible thanks to advancements in a number of different AI fields, including computer vision, machine learning, and deep learning.

At its core, AI looks to automate some of the steps of the human decision-making process in traffic management, such as detecting vehicles or identifying problematic traffic patterns.

Many of today's AI traffic management solutions focus on the detection and classification of traffic, says Maria Chli, a researcher at Aston University who works on AI for traffic management. That means learning to recognize different types of road users, such as distinct types of vehicles and pedestrians, by processing data from magnetic loops buried in road surfaces, traffic cameras, and LiDAR systems. These detection and classification systems are often coupled with simulation technologies so they can quickly and easily use what they capture to model that information in order to teach traffic management systems how to identify traffic patterns, detect incidents, and monitor a variety of road conditions.

"These types of technologies work on top of the existing tech stack of cars, roads, and traffic lights, but seek to make the optimal interventions that reduce car waiting times, emissions, and energy consumption," says George Vogiatzis, a computer vision researcher at Aston University who also works on AI traffic management systems.

If they work as intended, AI-powered traffic management systems could save humanity billions of hours every year, and significant amounts of fuel.  ... ' 

To the Highest Bidder: A Military Database of Fingerprints, Iris Scans

 Disconcerting direction.

To the Highest Bidder: A Military Database of Fingerprints, Iris Scans

By The New York Times, December 30, 2022

SEEK II purchased by German researchers on eBay

The Defense Logistics Agency says the SEEK II never should have made it to the open market.

Credit: Andreas Meichsner / The New York Times

German security researcher Matthias Marx successfully bid on eBay for a Secure Electronic Enrollment Kit, or SEEK II, which contained the names, nationalities, photographs, fingerprints, and iris scans of 2,632 people, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq. Many were known terrorists and wanted individuals but others appeared to be people who had worked with the U.S. government or had been stopped at checkpoints.

Over the past year, Marx and other researchers at the Chaos Computer Club, a European hacker association, bought six biometric capture devices on eBay, most for less than 200 Euro (USD214). Of the six, two of the SEEK II devices had sensitive data on them. The second SEEK II, with location metadata showing it was last used in Jordan in 2013, appeared to contain the fingerprints and iris scans of U.S. service members.

"It was disturbing that they didn't even try to protect the data," Marx said, referring to the U.S. military. "They didn't care about the risk, or they ignored the risk."

From The New York Times

View Full Article – May Require Paid Subscription  

Robot Guides Lung Needle More accurately

Healthcare robotics advances

Robot Guides Lung Needle More accurately

New Scientist, Jeremy Hsu,  December 9, 2022

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill) have developed a flexible needle that can be steered by a robot into the lungs, allowing for safer, more accurate biopsies, drug delivery, cancer treatment, and other procedures. In tests involving the lungs of living pigs, three-dimensional X-rays were used to identify a target in the lungs. The researchers also developed algorithms that can identify the best path for the needle to reach the target while avoiding airways and other obstacles; the algorithms recalculate the route if issues arise. The researchers observed targeting errors of 3.4 millimeters on average for the autonomous flexible needle, versus an average of 14.7 millimeters for human physicians performing traditional bronchoscopies. ... ' 

Attackers Bypass Coinbase, MetaMask 2FA via TeamViewer

Interesting connection with TeamViewer,   Security in Meta?

 Attackers Bypass Coinbase, MetaMask 2FA via TeamViewer


Bill Toulas, November 21, 2022

Anti-phishing company PIXM found scammers are waging a phishing campaign to pilfer cryptocurrency by accessing the Coinbase, MetaMask, Crypto.com, and KuCoin exchanges through the circumvention of two-factor authentication (2FA) safeguards. The attackers exploit the Microsoft Azure Web Apps service to host a network of phishing websites that entice victims to enter. When victims visit one of the phishing sites, a scammer-controlled customer support chat window leads them through a defrauding process. The attack involves a fake form followed by a prompt, then progresses to a prompt requesting the 2FA code for accessing the account. The hackers persuade victims to download and install a "TeamViewer" remote access app to bypass authentication.  ... 

Friday, December 30, 2022

The Year in Physics from Quanta Mag

Physics, like AI,  is increasingly important to understand and apply ... 

The Year in Physics

In a year filled with sweet new observations in astronomy and tantalizing breakthroughs in condensed matter physics, the brand-new space telescope takes the cake.

Myriam Wares for Quanta Magazine  By Natalie Wolchover, Senior Editor, December 22, 2022


The year began right as the James Webb Space Telescope was unfurling its sunshield — the giant, nail-bitingly thin and delicate blanket that, once open, would plunge the observatory into frigid shade and open up its view of the infrared universe. Within hours of the ball dropping here in New York City, the sunshield could have caught on a snag, ruining the new telescope and tossing billions of dollars and decades of work into the void. Instead, the sunshield opened perfectly, getting the new year in physics off to an excellent start.

JWST soon started to glimpse gorgeous new faces of the cosmos. On July 11, President Biden unveiled the telescope’s first public image — a panoramic view of thousands of galaxies various distances away in space and time. Four more instantly iconic images were released the next day. Since then, the telescope’s data has been distributed among hundreds of astronomers and cosmologists, and cosmic discoveries and papers are pouring forth.

Astronomy is swimming in fresh data of all kinds. In May, for instance, the Event Horizon Telescope released the first-ever photo of the supermassive black hole in the heart of our galaxy — one of several recent observations that are helping astrophysicists figure out how galaxies operate. Other telescopes are mapping the locations of millions of galaxies, an effort that recently yielded surprising evidence of an asymmetry in galaxy distribution.

Breakthroughs are coming fast in condensed matter physics, too. An experiment published in September all but proved the origin of high-temperature superconductivity, which could help in the field’s perennial quest for an even warmer version of the phenomenon that could work at room temperature. That’s also a goal of research on two-dimensional materials. This year, a kind of flat crystal that once helped lubricate skis has emerged as a powerful platform for exotic, potentially useful quantum phenomena.

Particle physicists, who seek new fundamental ingredients of the universe, have been less lucky. They’ve continued to unravel features of particles we already know of — including the proton, the subject of a wonderful visual project we published this fall. But theorists have few if any concrete clues about how to go beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, the stiflingly comprehensive set of equations for the quantum world that’s been the theory to beat for half a century. Hope is a virtue, though, and at least one possible crack in the Standard Model did open up this year. Let’s start the 2022 greatest-hits list there.   .... ' 

Russia Is Jamming More GPS Satellite Signals

Use of Jamming versus Sat Signals, GPS

Russia Is Jamming More GPS Satellite Signals Around Moscow

By New Scientist, December 27, 2022

Map of GPS Interference near Moscow for 26 December 2022.

Credit: GPSJam

Russia has accelerated its jamming of global positioning system (GPS) satellites around Moscow, apparently to deter long-range strikes by Ukrainian drones, according to the GPSJam monitoring website.

The ramp-up followed drone strikes on two Russian airbases earlier this month, says Dana Goward at the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, Alexandria, VA. Russia has jammed satellite navigation following drone strikes before, and it has various military mobile jamming systems that broadcast radio noise to disrupt weak signals. Operators directly pilot short-range drones, making GPS use unnecessary. However, long-range strikes generally need GPS to navigate, so jamming would thwart remotely orchestrated strikes.

Jamming won’t protect against all drones, however. Shahad-136 drones, for example, which Russia has used against Ukraine, are equipped with navigation units that allow them to pass through areas of jamming.

From New Scientist   View Full Article

AI is Making Movies Now

Cheaper and more efficient, but better? 

AI Is Here, and It's Making Movies. Is Hollywood Ready?

By Los Angeles Times, December 29, 2022

'Vubbing' software can visually alter an actor's image to sync with foreign dialogue.

The movie industry could be revolutionized with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) software. Technology developed by Flawless, an AI filmmaking company, uses a neural network to recreate filmed scenes of an actor's face to match newly recorded dialogue. "You can't tell what's real and what's not," says Flawless co-founder Scott Mann.

Elsewhere, technology from Papercup produces synthetic human voices for dubs and voiceovers, and Digital Domain uses machine learning to recreate actors in scenes where stunt doubles are needed.

Such software is raising ethical concerns, particularly about consent. "What actors thought they were agreeing to isn't literally what is created," says Associate Professor Scott Stroud of the University of Texas at Austin.

Mann cites the benefits of AI, including breaking down language barriers, eliminating the need for reshoots, and even allowing for product changes in films to generate revenue from new sponsorships.

From Los Angeles Times

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World Ahead: 2023

Always interesting, from Irving Wladawsky-Berger, intro below:

A collection of observations, news and resources on the changing nature of innovation, technology, leadership, and other subjects.

Home, Archives, Subscribe

« The History and Current State of Human Progress | Main

December 22, 2022

The World Ahead 2023: Grappling with an Unpredictable World

A few weeks ago, The Economist published “The World Ahead 2023”, its 37th annual year-end issue that examines the trends and events that will likely shape the coming year. Two years ago, “The World in 2021” said that we should expect unusual uncertainty in the coming year, given the interactions between the still flourishing covid-19 pandemic, an uneven economic recovery and fractious geopolitics. Last year, “The World Ahead 2022” said that 2022 would be a year of adjusting to new realities in areas like work and travel being reshaped by the pandemic, and as deeper trends like the rise of China and accelerating climate change reasserted themselves.

“After two years in which the pandemic was the force shaping the immediate future, the main driver now is the war in Ukraine,” said Tom Sandage, editor of the annual World Ahead annual issues. “In the coming months the world will have to grapple with unpredictability around the conflict’s impact on geopolitics and security; the struggle to control inflation; chaos in energy markets; and China’s uncertain post-pandemic path. To complicate matters further, all these things are tightly coupled, like an interlocking series of gear wheels.”

Here are the top ten major trends for 2023:  ...   (much more) ... 

AI Is Now Essential National Infrastructure

AI is essential 

AI Is Now Essential National Infrastructure, By Wired December 29, 2022

Illustration in comic-book style shows researchers in a lab working in virtual reality.

In 2023, more countries will accelerate the building of nationwide digital architectures, allowing them to deliver more AI-powered responsive services.

For governments to fully deliver on the promise of artificial intelligence (AI), they will need to invest.

Soon, a comprehensive digital infrastructure—which includes national computing power, a distributed cloud, and an interoperable set of applications and machine-readable legislation—will be as important to a country as roads, rail, and public water supply.

Opinion from From Wired

View Full Article  

IISc Scientists Build Energy-Efficient Computing Platforms

More energy Efficient Computing

IISc Scientists Build Energy-Efficient Computing Platforms to Beat Power Deficit

TechCircle, December 2, 2022

An energy-efficient computing platform developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) uses memristors based on metal-organic complexes to reduce the number of necessary components in a circuit. IISc's Sreetosh Goswami said, "We have now discovered a molecular circuit element that can capture complex logic functions within itself, facilitating in-memory computations in a smaller number of time steps and using much fewer elements than usual." Performing computation and storage at the same physical location helps reduce computing energy needs. A circuit potentially could be adapted for multiple functions via small chemical modifications, such as adding or swapping ions in the complexes. Compared to a traditional complementary metal-oxide semiconductor circuit, the researchers said the new platform was 47 times more energy-efficient, 93 times faster, and took up only 9% of its physical footprint. ... '

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Helicopter on Mars

 Evan Ackerman talks the remarkable success of the Mars helicopter Perseverance. Nicely done NASA.  The idea of a detachable drone shows its power of application,  A means of managing opportunistic data gathering in very unordered spaces.

Mars Helicopter Just Keeps on Going 

Maybe NASA’s little Martian flyer should be the one called Perseverance   By Evan ACKERMAN

The original mission of the Mars Helicopter (named Ingenuity) was to successfully complete a single 30-second long flight on Mars. That happened back in April. After several more successful flights, Ingenuity’s 30-day mission came to an end, but the helicopter was doing so well that NASA decided to keep it flying. Several months later, JPL promised that Ingenuity would “complete flight operations no later than the end of August,” but as of late November, the little helicopter has completed 17 flights with no sign of slowing down. ... ' 

Tech Shame?

Interesting Observation

Gen Z Overwhelmed by 'Tech Shame' at Work

Fortune, Chloe Berger, December 15, 2022

An HP survey of 10,000 office workers worldwide found Generation Z employees are most likely to feel technological frustration at work, with 20% of younger respondents feeling judged for having technology issues, versus one in 25 older-generation workers. The survey also found Gen Z employees to be 10 times more likely to feel shame when encountering such issues than those older than 40. HP's Debbie Irish said this "tech shame" might be related to an inability to afford better gear or Wi-Fi as senior co-workers can. Irish also said Gen Z employees "have less face-to-face time in the office than any other generation, and have limited access to senior employees, mentors, and even their bosses."   ... '

You Are Not Expected to Understand This

The value and emergence of Code: 

"You Are Not Expected to Understand This": How 26 Lines of Code Changed the World Audible Logo Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

Torie Bosch - editor (Author), Ellen Ullman - introduction (Author), & 3 more

In this audiobook, Mack Sanderson and Emily Schwing reveal the stories behind the computer coding that touches all aspects of life—for better or worse

Few of us give much thought to computer code or how it comes to be. The very word “code” makes it sound immutable or even inevitable. “You Are Not Expected to Understand This” demonstrates that, far from being preordained, computer code is the result of very human decisions, ones we all live with when we use social media, take photos, drive our cars, and engage in a host of other activities.

Everything from law enforcement to space exploration relies on code written by people who, at the time, made choices and assumptions that would have long-lasting, profound implications for society. Torie Bosch brings together many of today’s leading technology experts to provide new perspectives on the code that shapes our lives. Contributors discuss a host of topics, such as how university databases were programmed long ago to accept only two genders, what the person who programmed the very first pop-up ad was thinking at the time, the first computer worm, the Bitcoin white paper, and perhaps the most famous seven words in Unix history: “You are not expected to understand this.”

This compelling book tells the human stories behind programming, enabling those of us who don’t think much about code to recognize its importance, and those who work with it every day to better understand the long-term effects of the decisions they make.

With an introduction by Ellen Ullman and contributions by Mahsa Alimardani, Elena Botella, Meredith Broussard, David Cassel, Arthur Daemmrich, Charles Duan, Quinn DuPont, Claire L. Evans, Hany Farid, James Grimmelmann, Katie Hafner, Susan C. Herring, Syeda Gulshan Ferdous Jana, Lowen Liu, John MacCormick, Brian McCullough, Charlton McIlwain, Lily Hay Newman, Margaret O’Mara, Will Oremus, Nick Partridge, Benjamin Pope, Joy Lisi Rankin, Afsaneh Rigot, Ellen R. Stofan, Lee Vinsel, Josephine Wolff, and Ethan Zuckerman.  ... '  

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Aces Flight After Software Update

 Fixing code on the fly ...

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity Aces Flight After Software Update

in Space.com

Tereza Pultarova, November 26, 2022

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Mars helicopter Ingenuity has flown its shortest-ever flight following a software update. The 18-second flight involved Ingenuity hovering over Mars' surface before landing 16 feet (5 meters) from its takeoff point. The flight tested a new software system transmitted to the helicopter from Earth to improve its ability to navigate the rugged terrain the Perseverance rover is traversing in Jezero Crater. The Ingenuity team said the software will use the vehicle's downward-facing camera to identify risky objects, steering the helicopter to avoid them and to find the safest visible landing site....'

IBM Condor will pass 1000 Qubits

New advances, how much more valuable?


The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023


IBM’S CONDOR, THE world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

Nevertheless, IBM has steadily increased its qubit numbers. In 2016, it put the first quantum computer in the cloud anyone to experiment with—a device with 5 qubits, each a superconducting circuit cooled to near absolute zero. In 2019, the company created the 27-qubit Falcon; in 2020, the 65-qubit Hummingbird; in 2021, the 127-qubit Eagle, the first quantum processor with more than 100 qubits; and in 2022, the 433-qubit Osprey.  ... ' 

Designing with DNA

Like the idea, examining the approach further.

Designing with DNA    By Duke University, December 28, 2022

An open-source software program developed by researchers at Duke and other universities lets users take drawings or digital models of rounded shapes and turn them into 3-D structures made of DNA.

While researchers have been experimenting with DNA as a construction material since the 1980s, designing structures with curved surfaces like those found in nature has been tricky. Duke Ph.D. student Dan Fu is part of a team that developed software called DNAxiS, which relies on a previously described way to build with DNA by coiling a long DNA double helix into concentric rings that stack on each other. DNAxiS lets users design shapes automatically, using algorithms to determine where to place short DNA "staples" to join the longer DNA rings together and hold the shape in place.

"If there are too few, or if they're in the wrong position, the structure won't form correctly," Fu says. "Before our software, the curvature of the shapes made this an especially difficult problem."

From Duke University

View Full Article   

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Will a Spot Robot Make LA Safer?

No, and it won't even get the chance to.  See SF's attempt to do something similar. 

See Spot Spy? New Generation of Police Robots Faces Backlash

Los Angeles Times, Libor Jan; Gregory Yee,  December 21, 2022

Critics are eyeing the deployment of more sophisticated robots by U.S. police forces with suspicion, fearing their use for surveillance and potential threat to privacy and safety. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department intends to purchase a Spot robot from manufacturer Boston Dynamics to reportedly gather information in a "narrow set" of hazardous circumstances. This provoked opposition, as did recent attempts by San Francisco police to deploy weaponized robots in certain scenarios. The University of South Carolina's Geoff Alpert said the core issue is not whether police should use robots, but how police overseers should craft policies to guide their use. The University of California, Davis' Elizabeth Joh said local officials' "piecemeal efforts" to rein in police use of robots have mostly failed to keep pace with the technology's evolution, citing "increasing reliance by police on machine-made decisions."

Full Article  

Banning Your Enemies

 Intriguing play, enemies, or some lesser or even arbitrary qualification?  Note is different than making a mistaken identification.   Is a safety based ban OK? 

Madison Square Garden Uses Facial Recognition to Ban Its Owner's Enemies

The New York Times,  Kashmir Hill; Corey Kilgannon, December 23, 2022

MSG Entertainment has put lawyers who represent people suing it on an “exclusion list,” using facial-recognition technology to keep them out of Madison Square Garden and other venues it owns in New York City. A city law introduced last year requires commercial establishments to notify customers when biometric technologies are in use. Signs at MSG venues inform patrons that the technology is in place “to ensure the safety of everyone.” High-tech surveillance by government is already common in the city. Its Police Department, for example, uses facial recognition and drones. But MSG's use of technology crosses a line, say critics. Said the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Adam Schwartz, “It raises the question of what's going to come next. Will companies use facial recognition to keep out all the people who have picketed the business or criticized them online with a negative Yelp review?"

Full article.

On the End of Programming

 Many, like myself started our career in coding. This should increase security by standardizing safer coding approaches.  Or will it?  

The End of Programming  (Opinion)  By Matt Welsh

Communications of the ACM, January 2023, Vol. 66 No. 1, Pages 34-35   10.1145/3570220

I came of age in the 1980s, programming personal computers such as the Commodore VIC-20 and Apple ][e at home. Going on to study computer science (CS) in college and ultimately getting a Ph.D. at Berkeley, the bulk of my professional training was rooted in what I will call "classical" CS: programming, algorithms, data structures, systems, programming languages. In Classical Computer Science, the ultimate goal is to reduce an idea to a program written by a human—source code in a language like Java or C++ or Python. Every idea in Classical CS—no matter how complex or sophisticated, from a database join algorithm to the mind-bogglingly obtuse Paxos consensus protocol—can be expressed as a human-readable, human-comprehendible program.

When I was in college in the early 1990s, we were still in the depths of the AI Winter, and AI as a field was likewise dominated by classical algorithms. My first research job at Cornell University was working with Dan Huttenlocher, a leader in the field of computer vision (and now Dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing). In Huttenlocher's Ph.D.-level computer vision course in 1995 or so, we never once discussed anything resembling deep learning or neural networks—it was all classical algorithms like Canny edge detection, optical flow, and Hausdorff distances. Deep learning was in its infancy, not yet considered mainstream AI, let alone mainstream CS.

Of course, this was 30 years ago, and a lot has changed since then, but one thing that has not really changed is that CS is taught as a discipline with data structures, algorithms, and programming at its core. I am going to be amazed if in 30 years, or even 10 years, we are still approaching CS in this way. Indeed, I think CS as a field is in for a pretty major upheaval few of us are really prepared for.

Programming will be obsolete. I believe the conventional idea of "writing a program" is headed for extinction, and indeed, for all but very specialized applications, most software, as we know it, will be replaced by AI systems that are trained rather than programmed. In situations where one needs a "simple" program (after all, not everything should require a model of hundreds of billions of parameters running on a cluster of GPUs), those programs will, themselves, be generated by an AI rather than coded by hand.

I do not think this idea is crazy. No doubt the earliest pioneers of computer science, emerging from the (relatively) primitive cave of electrical engineering, stridently believed that all future computer scientists would need to command a deep understanding of semiconductors, binary arithmetic, and microprocessor design to understand software. Fast-forward to today, and I am willing to bet good money that 99% of people who are writing software have almost no clue how a CPU actually works, let alone the physics underlying transistor design. By extension, I believe the computer scientists of the future will be so far removed from the classic definitions of "software" that they would be hard-pressed to reverse a linked list or implement Quicksort. (I am not sure I remember how to implement Quicksort myself.)

AI coding assistants such as CoPilot are only scratching the surface of what I am describing. It seems totally obvious to me that of course all programs in the future will ultimately be written by AIs, with humans relegated to, at best, a supervisory role. Anyone who doubts this prediction need only look at the very rapid progress being made in other aspects of AI content generation, such as image generation. The difference in quality and complexity between DALL-E v1 and DALL-E v2—announced only 15 months later—is staggering. If I have learned anything over the last few years working in AI, it is that it is very easy to underestimate the power of increasingly large AI models. Things that seemed like science fiction only a few months ago are rapidly becoming reality.  ... ( considerable piece, more at the link above)   ... ' 

Police Tap COVID-19 Tech to Expand Global Surveillance

Tracking of many kinds interacting. 

Police Tap COVID-19 Tech to Expand Global Surveillance

By Associated Press, December 27, 2022

A worshiper in the Old City of Jerusalem holds a mobile phone showing a message saying he's been tracked by Israeli intelligence.

Police forces worldwide are tapping technologies developed for coronavirus contact tracing for mass surveillance.

China, for example, requires citizens to install cellphone applications to move about freely in most cities as part of its COVID policy. The apps use telecommunications data and polymerase chain reaction test results to generate individual quick response codes that change hue based on a person's health status, but evidence suggests these and other health codes have been used to suppress dissent.

"What COVID did was accelerate state use of these tools and that data and normalize it, so it fit a narrative about there being a public benefit," says John Scott-Railton, a researcher at Canada-based Internet watchdog Citizen Lab. "Now the question is, are we going to be capable of having a reckoning around the use of this data, or is this the new normal?"

From Associated Press

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Virtual Clothes Could Help Solve Fashion's Waste Problem

I Worked more on cleansing clothes rather than creating them.  Note Blockchain use.  Phygital.  Hmmm.  

Virtual Clothes Could Help Solve Fashion's Waste Problem

By CNN, December 23, 2022

On Phygital fashions.

Lablaco wants to use digital tools to revolutionize the fashion industry.The fashion industry is tapping digital technologies to cut waste and modernize.

Italian fashion platform Lablaco is using blockchain to digitize fashion houses and brands' collections in the "phygital" market, when customers purchase both a physical fashion item and its digital twin.

Lablaco's model keeps phygital items paired after sale so if a physical item is resold, the digital version goes to the new owner's digital wallet.

Blockchain's transparency assures the new owner of the apparel's authenticity, while its creator can track its aftersales journey.

Lablaco's Eliana Kuo said digital spaces could serve as a testbed for physical clothing by using sales data to inform real-world marketing.

From CNN

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OpenAI ChatGPT Imitating Academic Work

Using and detecting. 

OpenAI's ChatGPT Raises Alarm Over Student Cheating

By Financial Times, December 27, 2022

There is widespread concern that students will use OpenAI's ChatGPT to cheat on assignments.

OpenAI's ChatGPT artificial intelligence software could be used by students to cheat on written assignments, university representatives say. The large language model can produce text that imitates academic work and can reply to questions by predicting the next plausible word in a sequence. However, ChatGPT often generates incorrect answers and fake references.

Developers at Turnitin, whose software is used by thousands of schools worldwide to identify plagiarism, are working on a tool that would help educators assess work featuring "traces" of AI-assisted writing. Research has found that students' use of online tools does not translate into better grades.

"Students are not going to be getting automatic As by submitting AI-generated content," says Kay Firth-Butterfield, head of artificial intelligence at the World Economic Forum. "It is more of a workhorse than Einstein."

From Financial Times

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On Speculative Execution

 Out of order, and dynamic. 

What Is Speculative Execution?

By Joel Hruska on June 10, 2022

With a new Apple security flaw in the news, it’s a good time to revisit the question of what speculative execution is and how it works. This topic received a great deal of discussion a few years ago when Spectre and Meltdown were frequently in the news and new side-channel attacks were popping up every few months.

Speculative execution is a technique used to increase the performance of all modern microprocessors to one degree or another, including chips built or designed by AMD, ARM, IBM, and Intel. The modern CPU cores that don’t use speculative execution are all intended for ultra-low power environments or minimal processing tasks. Various security flaws like Spectre, Meltdown, Foreshadow, and MDS all targeted speculative execution a few years ago, typically on Intel CPUs.

What Is Speculative Execution?

Speculative execution is one of three components of out-of-order execution, also known as dynamic execution. Along with multiple branch prediction (used to predict the instructions most likely to be needed in the near future) and dataflow analysis (used to align instructions for optimal execution, as opposed to executing them in the order they came in), speculative execution delivered a dramatic performance improvement over previous Intel processors when first introduced in the mid-1990s. Because these techniques worked so well, they were quickly adopted by AMD, which used out-of-order processing beginning with the K5.

ARM’s focus on low-power mobile processors initially kept it out of the OOoE playing field, but the company adopted out-of-order execution when it built the Cortex A9 and has continued to expand its use of the technique with later, more powerful Cortex-branded CPUs.

Here’s how it works. Modern CPUs are all pipelined, which means they’re capable of executing multiple instructions in parallel, as shown in the diagram below.  .... ' 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

McD's Automation Plans

More on McD's automation efforts,  apparently the automation of everything but the food preparation.  Following closely.  

McD’s gets decidedly mixed reactions to its robot servers in RetailWire

Dec 27, 2022   by Tom Ryan

McDonald’s last week opened its first partially automated restaurant, with machines handling everything from taking orders to delivering the food. The opening sparked both positive and negative responses on social media.

McDonald’s said in a December blog post about the pilot in Fort Worth, “The features — inside and outside — are geared toward customers who are planning to dine at home or on the go.”

Inside, a delivery pick-up room enables couriers to retrieve orders “quickly and conveniently.” Customers can place their orders at kiosks and obtain them at a pick-up shelf. No seating is available.

Outside the restaurant are several parking spaces dedicated to curbside order pick-up, as well as designated parking spaces for delivery drivers. A separate “Order Ahead Lane” enables those who order early enough through the McDonald’s app to skip the traditional Drive Thru line and receive their orders via a conveyor belt.

Humans still prepare the food. Keith Vanecek, the franchisee operating the test restaurant, said, “The technology in this restaurant not only allows us to serve our customers in new, innovative ways, it gives our restaurant team the ability to concentrate more on order speed and accuracy, which makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone.”

While “considerably smaller” than a traditional McDonald’s restaurant, a McDonald’s spokesperson told The Guardian that staffing is comparable to that of a typical location. ... '

Donald Knuth's Christmas 2022 Lecture on Trees

A person I fondly connected with via this books back in the 70s, always interesting:    Donald Knuth's 2022 'Christmas Tree' Lecture at Stanford  Is About Trees  ... '    Also on Youtubehttps://youtu.be/zg6YRqT4Duo  

Microsoft Research Looks Back at Progress in AI

 Microsoft talks about some of its efforts. 

Research @ Microsoft 2022: A look back at a year of accelerating progress in AI

Published December 19, 2022

2022 has seen remarkable progress in foundational technologies that have helped to advance human knowledge and create new possibilities to address some of society’s most challenging problems. Significant advances in AI have also enabled Microsoft to bring new capabilities to customers through our products and services, including GitHub Copilot, an AI pair programmer capable of turning natural language prompts into code, and a preview of Microsoft Designer, a graphic design app that supports the creation of social media posts, invitations, posters, and one-of-a-kind images.

These offerings provide an early glimpse of how new AI capabilities, such as large language models, can enable people to interact with machines in increasingly powerful ways. They build on a significant, long-term commitment to fundamental research in computing and across the sciences, and the research community at Microsoft plays an integral role in advancing the state of the art in AI, while working closely with engineering teams and other partners to transform that progress into tangible benefits.

In 2022, Microsoft Research established AI4Science, a global organization applying the latest advances in AI and machine learning toward fundamentally transforming science; added to and expanded the capabilities of the company’s family of foundation models; worked to make these models and technologies more adaptable, collaborative, and efficient; further developed approaches to ensure that AI is used responsibly and in alignment with human needs; and pursued different approaches to AI, such as causal machine learning and reinforcement learning.

We shared our advances across AI and many other disciplines during our second annual Microsoft Research Summit, where members of our research community gathered virtually with their counterparts across industry and academia to discuss how emerging technologies are being explored and deployed to bring the greatest possible benefits to humanity.  

Plenary sessions at the event focused on the transformational impact of deep learning on the way we practice science, research that empowers medical practitioners and reduces inequities in healthcare, and emerging foundations for planet-scale computing. Further tracks and sessions over three days provided deeper dives into the future of the cloud; efficient large-scale AI; amplifying human productivity and creativity; delivering precision healthcare; building user trust through privacy, identity, and responsible AI; and enabling a resilient and sustainable world.


Microsoft Climate Research Initiative (MCRI) 

In June, the Microsoft Climate Research Initiative (MCRI) announced its first phase of collaborations among multidisciplinary researchers working together to accelerate cutting-edge research and transformative innovation in climate science and technology.


New Future of Work Report 2022 

In May, researchers across Microsoft published the New Future of Work Report 2022, which summarizes important recent research developments related to hybrid work. It highlights themes that have emerged in the findings of the past year and resurfaces older research that has become newly relevant.

In this blog post, we look back at some of the key achievements and notable work in AI and highlight other advances across our diverse, multidisciplinary, and global organization.

Advancing AI foundations and accelerating progress

Over the past year, the research community at Microsoft made significant contributions to the rapidly evolving landscape of powerful large-scale AI models. Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Turing team unveiled a new Turing Universal Language Representation model capable of performing both English and multilingual understanding tasks. In computer vision, advancements for the Project Florence-VL (Florence-Vision and Language) team spanned still imagery and video: its GIT model was the first to surpass human performance on the image captioning benchmark TextCaps; LAVENDER showed strong performance in video question answering, text-to-video retrieval, and video captioning; and GLIP and GLIPv2 combined localization and vision-language understanding. The group also introduced NUWA-Infinity, a model capable of converting text, images, and video into high-resolution images or long-duration video. Meanwhile, the Visual Computing Group scaled up its Transformer-based general-purpose computer vision architecture, Swin Transformer, achieving applicability across more vision tasks than ever before.   .... ' 

Japan Prepares for Defense

 In the near past you never heard much about Japan's defense forces (SDF),  investment was relatively low,  but with potential nearby threats,  that is changing,  RAND writes about it in come detail. 

Japan's Upcoming Defense Efforts


F-2 Fighters from the 8th Air Wing of Japan Air Self-Defense Force hold a joint military drill with the United States off Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, Japan, November 5, 2022, photo by Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan/Reuters  ... ' 

Photo by Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan/Reuters    by Jeffrey W. Hornung, December 13, 2022  RAND

On December 16th, the Japanese government looks set to release three important documents: a new National Security Strategy and two defense documents that lay out spending priorities over the next ten years and five years. Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio recently ordered his finance and defense ministers to increase Japan's defense budget to 2 percent of GDP in the next five years. This is historic given Japan's tendency over the past four decades to artificially limit spending to only 1 percent. The government has outlined seven key areas of focus for defense spending with further clarity on priorities expected when the new documents are released. In preparation for the release of these documents, here are six areas that could be candidates not only to receive a greater prioritization of resources, but also greater scrutiny.

How Will the Defense Increase Be Resourced?

The first area is how much the defense budget will actually grow? That may seem strange, given that the government is intent on increasing the budget, but the details matter because the government is not attaining that increase through new spending alone. Some of it will come from inclusion of existing budgets for things like the Japan Coast Guard and public infrastructure under the notion that the entire government is responsible for national defense. This inclusion may help the government achieve its goal, despite it being a bit of smoke-and-mirrors to enable the government to claim a 2 percent success. Nevertheless, the overall spending on defense will increase, and substantially. For that portion that is pure increase, however, how will it be resourced? An advisory council to the prime minister cautioned to not lean heavily on issuing debt, given that Japan's debt stands at more than twice the size of the economy. The question then is what combination will the increase take? If debt is an option, how much? If tax increases are likely, how much of that burden will be shared by income taxes versus corporate taxes? And will any other existing budgets experience reductions to help pay for the higher defense expenditures?

How Independent Will Japan's Counter-Strike Capabilities Be?

Although nothing is official, it appears Japan has already decided on acquiring long-range strike capability.

Without a doubt, the item that has received the most attention has been the public debates regarding Japan's possible acquisition of long-range strike capabilities. In the parlance of Japan—where even language can denote “offensive” militaristic intentions—this has been called “counter-strike” capabilities. While it is common to overlook the fact that Japan already boasts a robust missile portfolio on its air and maritime platforms, as well as ground-launched, anti-ship cruise missiles, it does not have a ground-launched variant meant for targeting enemy targets inside their territory. Nor does it have the supporting infrastructure to target, mission plan, or conduct battle damage assessment to conduct precision strikes against ground targets. Although nothing is official, it appears Japan has already decided on acquiring this capability, with media reporting Japan's interest in the U.S.-made Tomahawk. Yet, if part of the logic for acquiring this is to have an independent deterrent capability, then the focus will turn to whether it invests in the critical supporting infrastructure as well. With the exception of a recent Yomiuri article citing an interest in fielding a 50-unit satellite constellation, there has not been a large focus on Japan acquiring its own sensors and satellites to identify targets and engage in battle assessments. The defense buildup plan should provide insights into what Japan is planning to do in this critical area.

What Will Be Japan's Plans for Munitions?

Assuming Japan does move forward with counter-strike capabilities, there are two associated issues that may be of interest. One is the level of munition stockpiles. For the investment in strike to move beyond purely symbolic “deterrent” importance to a capability with real deterrent value, Japan may need to invest in a lot of these missiles. Yet, Japan's track record is not good. Despite no public records of current munition stockpiles, media reports and private discussions with officials reveal that Japan has not historically done well at stockpiling large numbers of munitions, either air- or ship-launched variants. Recent MOD budgets have dedicated resources to “securing continuous operations,” under which standoff munitions are included. The August 2022 defense budget request also includes ammunition for continuous operations and securing manufacturing systems of some types of ammunition. This could be an indication that Japan is serious, but Japan's missile plans appear very ambitious and historical experience shows this has never been an area of much follow-through. Importantly, often underexamined is the fact that many of Japan's munition depots are old. If Japan is increasing its munition stocks, including a new counter-strike capability, resources will also be needed to build new depots or upgrade older ones. Relying on U.S. depots is not a sustainable long-term option as the United States is also building up its munitions and will need a place to store them. Critically, Japan's depots may also need to be better situated near the site where launchers are deployed, something that plagues the SDF in some prefectures.

What Are Japan's Long-Term Plans for Air and Sea Lift?

Despite being an archipelagic country, Japan has not historically invested heavily in air and sea lift. Not considering the SDF's helicopters or MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, and assuming that the SDF utilizes its limited number of KC-767s and KC-130Hs solely in refueling roles (as opposed to transport roles), the SDF's airlift capacity by the end of the decade will be comprised of approximately 30 C-130Hs and C-2s. When we consider likely attrition through combat and aircraft grounded for repairs, it is difficult to accept that 30 aircraft will be adequate during a conflict. Unfortunately, the SDF will not be able to rely on sealift for relief, as the situation there is even worse, with heavy sealift capabilities consisting of three Ōsumi-class LSTs. Given these small numbers, the SDF's capacity to transport personnel, munitions, and larger capabilities could be restrained. The last 10-year spending plan showed no hint at addressing these shortfalls; neither does the recent defense budget request, with the exception of a couple of watercraft over the coming years. It can be expected that reinforcing key SDF garrisons in the Southwest Island chain will require significant lift capabilities. The United States does not have the capacity to assist in this area, given that a conflict will place heavy demands on existing U.S. lift capabilities. Given this state of affairs, what will the MOD envision for long-term lift?  ... ' 

Merlin AI Launches First ChatGPT iOS and Android Mobile App

MerlinAI and IOS For a ChatGPT  

Merlin AI Launches First ChatGPT iOS and Android Mobile App

ERIC HAL SCHWARTZ on December 23, 2022 

Mobile app developer Dogtown Media has introduced what it claims is the first iOS and Android app using OpenAI’s ChatGPT.  The free Merlin AI app offers a way to interact with the ChatGPT AI, without navigating to the website. However, OpenAI hasn’t yet offered an API for ChatGPT. Unless OpenAI gave Dogtown Media special access to an otherwise unavailable API, the app either acts as a messenger between the user and ChatGPT’s online home, or the app uses GPT-3 or GPT-3.5 API and the marketing is just capitalizing on ChatGPT’s popularity. We’ve reached out to Dogtown for clarification on the matter.


At first glance, the Merlin AI app is a very straight recreation of ChatGPT with a simple blank area to type requests. One notable difference is that the response comes all at once in a block rather than simulating a very fast typer the way ChatGPT performs on the website. The conversational element is there too as the AI responds in the context of the ongoing discussion and the entire conversation is visible in the app. Dogtown envisions Merlin AI’s mobile ChatGPT as a potential replacement for Google search, using conversation instead of links to other pages with answers.

“Until now, no native mobile app for OpenAI’s ChatGPT has existed. Merlin AI, powered by ChatGPT, has the capability to disrupt the global economic order in record time, changing how we interface with each other in business and our personal lives,” Dogtown Media CEO Marc Fischer said in a statement. “People across the globe can now download the most pivotal natural language ChatBot App ever made and jump into the AI conversation.” ... ' 

On a Trip to Infinity

Math in Netflix

"The most intrusive animation is a train that twice interrupts the mathematician Moon Duchin, who is reflecting on what it would mean for a mathematical object like infinity to 'exist.'"

"The second appearance of the train blocks her entirely from view and rumbles over her thoughts, as though the underlying ideas aren’t interesting enough on their own. As a mathematician, I may be biased, but I think that they are. Is the universe as infinite as we might imagine it to be?"

Writes Dan Rockmore, in "'A Trip to Infinity' and the Delicate Art of the Math Documentary/One of the most captivating concepts in mathematics is now on Netflix" (The New Yorker) .... '

2D Material May Enable Ultra-Sharp Cellphone Photos in Low Light

Most interesting, worked on a project that needed to get low light images for input to modeling.

2D Material May Enable Ultra-Sharp Cellphone Photos in Low Light

Pennsylvania State University News,   Jamie Oberdick, December 9, 2022

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) have developed a pixel sensor using a novel two-dimensional material that could allow mobile phones to take ultra-sharp phones with low-energy in-sensor image processing. The sensor uses a molybdenum disulfide semiconductor featuring strong signal conversion, charge-to-voltage conversion, and data transmission capabilities. The researchers arranged the sensors into a nine-square-millimeter array comprised of 900 pixels, each of which take up around 100 micrometers. Penn State's Darsith Jayachandran said, "They are much more sensitive to light than current CMOS sensors, so they do not require any additional circuitry or energy use. So, each pixel requires much less energy to operate, and this would mean a better cellphone camera that uses a lot less battery." ... ' 

Monday, December 26, 2022

Big Ideas in Tech

 Nicely done,  Big Ideas in Tech for 2023: An a16z Omnibus     by Andreessen 

AI, machine & deep learning  bio + health  consumer  crypto & web3  ecommerce  enterprise & SaaS  fintech  gaming, social, and new media  mobile (& messaging)  online communities  big ideas  trends 2023

Table of contents:

Big ideas in consumer tech

Big ideas in bio + health

Big ideas in fintech

Big ideas in games

Big ideas in American Dynamism

Big ideas in enterprise

Big ideas in crypto  ... ' 

Netflix Password Sharing may Be illegal, says UK government: BBC

In the BBC on password sharing.    Illegal vs allowed?  Copyright law involved?   Intellectual Property. 

Netflix password sharing may be illegal, says UK government  By Tom Gerken, BBC Technology reporter   Sharing passwords for online streaming services such as Netflix is against the law, according to a government agency. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) said on Tuesday the practice broke copyright law.

It is common in the UK for people who do not live together to share their streaming service passwords, despite this typically being against terms of service agreements.  Netflix has never indicated it would take any legal action in such cases.

The IPO has since removed the reference to password sharing in its guidance on the government website. However, a spokesperson confirmed the legal position on password sharing had not changed - and nor has the IPO's guidance.

It said password sharing was both a criminal and civil matter. "There are a range of provisions in criminal and civil law which may be applicable in the case of password sharing where the intent is to allow a user to access copyright-protected works without payment," it said.

"These provisions may include breach of contractual terms, fraud or secondary copyright infringement, depending on the circumstances. "Where these provisions are provided in civil law, it would be up to the service provider to take action through the courts if required."

There is no evidence to suggest any of the major streaming video operators in the UK would do this.  Netflix said it wanted to "make it easy" for people borrowing others' accounts to set up their own, to transfer their profile into a new account, as well as to create "sub-accounts" for people to pay extra for family or friends. It said it would start rolling out these features "more broadly" in early 2023. The BBC has also approached streaming service operators Amazon and Disney for comment.

Scale of the problem

Research firm Digital i estimates around a quarter of UK Netflix subscribers - around four million - are sharing their passwords. Product manager Matt Ross told the BBC account sharing "presents a major challenge" to Netflix and other streaming services.

"Following on from the addition of the ad-supported tier, there is clearly an opportunity for Netflix to generate significant additional revenue by cracking down on account sharing and converting those who do into subscribers in their own right," he said. .... ' 

Scientists Use Quantum Computing to Create Glass that Cuts the Need for AC by a Third

Model testing.   

Scientists Use Quantum Computing to Create Glass that Cuts the Need for AC by a Third

By Popular Science, December 1, 2022

A sample of the glass coating, which you can see through. 

Machine learning and quantum computing were used to test models within fractions of a second, parsing through virtually ever possible mixture and material combination to find the best one.

Two researchers at the University of Notre Dame in collaboration with South Korea's Kyung Hee University recently utilized quantum computing to help develop a new transparent window coating capable of blocking solar heat.

In findings published in ACS Energy Levels, Tengfei Luo, Notre Dame's Dorini Family Professor of Energy Studies, and postdoctoral associate, Seongmin Kim, worked together to devise their transparent radiative cooler (TRC) layer, which only permits external visible light that doesn't raise indoor temperatures, thus cutting buildings' cooling costs by as much as a third of current rates.

According to the International Energy Agency, air conditioning and electric fans comprise 20 percent of buildings' energy costs around the world—roughly 10 percent of human electricity consumption.

From Popular Science

View Full Article    

Reading Existential Physics

Just started reading ...  good intro .... 

Understanding physics and its practical application is becoming important.  Book about how quantum effects are being applied in computing and cryptography. 

Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions Audible Logo Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

By Sabine Hossenfelder (Author), Gina Daniels (Narrator), Penguin Audio (Publisher)

A contrarian scientist wrestles with the big questions that modern physics raises, and what physics says about the human condition.

Not only can we not currently explain the origin of the universe, it is questionable we will ever be able to explain it. The notion that there are universes within particles, or that particles are conscious, is ascientific, as is the hypothesis that our universe is a computer simulation. On the other hand, the idea that the universe itself is conscious is difficult to rule out entirely. 

According to Sabine Hossenfelder, it is not a coincidence that quantum entanglement and vacuum energy have become the go-to explanations of alternative healers, or that people believe their deceased grandmother is still alive because of quantum mechanics. Science and religion have the same roots, and they still tackle some of the same questions: Where do we come from? Where do we go to? How much can we know? The area of science that is closest to answering these questions is physics. Over the last century, physicists have learned a lot about which spiritual ideas are still compatible with the laws of nature. Not always, though, have they stayed on the scientific side of the debate. 

In this lively, thought-provoking book, Hossenfelder takes on the biggest questions in physics: Does the past still exist? Do particles think? Was the universe made for us? Has physics ruled out free will? Will we ever have a theory of everything? She lays out how far physicists are on the way to answering these questions, where the current limits are, and what questions might well remain unanswerable forever. Her book offers a no-nonsense yet entertaining take on some of the toughest riddles in existence, and will give the listener a solid grasp on what we know—and what we don’t know.

* This audiobook includes a downloadable PDF with key visual figures included in the book. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Sabine Hossenfelder (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Pilotless Cargo Carrying Planes

 With Drones everywhere, inevitable.   Emerging Market

The cargo hauling aircraft with no pilots on board

Published  4 days ago

A scaled-down version of the Black Swan at an airfield in Bulgaria

By Michael Dempsey  Reporter  in the BBC

Svilen Rangelov sports an impressive beard. It's eight years' worth of growth he says.   The beard dates back to when he and his younger brother, an aerospace engineer by training, formed Dronamics as Europe's answer to the emerging market for cargo drones.

He agreed with his brother Konstantin that they would shave their beards only after the first flight of the drone they've been building in their native Bulgaria.

At the time he established Dronamics big tech giants like Amazon were experimenting with drone deliveries to domestic addresses. But Mr Rangelov never believed in the concept of personal goods delivered by the drone.

The practical difficulties of flying a drone right up to someone's front door were obvious to Mr Rangelov. "We couldn't buy into the concept of small drones. We took a different approach."

This take on drone delivery will bear fruit when the prototype cargo aircraft takes to the air.  ... ' 

Imagining the AI Cockpit

Something we also imagined for running a large enterprise, rather than just a vehicle.  Show all the most useful data and forward simulations.  

Driving the Future: What Is an AI Cockpit?

Intelligent interiors are transforming transportation.

July 20, 2020 by Katie Burke

From Knight Rider’s KITT to Ironman’s JARVIS, intelligent copilots have been a staple of forward-looking pop culture.

Advancements in AI and high-performance processors are turning these sci-fi concepts into reality. But what, exactly, is an AI cockpit, and how will it change the way we move?

AI is enabling a range of new software-defined, in-vehicle capabilities across the transportation industry. With centralized, high-performance compute, automakers can now build vehicles that become smarter over time.

A vehicle’s cockpit typically requires a collection of electronic control units and switches to perform basic functions, such as powering entertainment or adjusting temperature. Consolidating these components with an AI platform such as NVIDIA DRIVE AGX simplifies the architecture while creating more compute headroom to add new features. In addition, NVIDIA DRIVE IX provides an open and extensible software framework for a software-defined cockpit experience.

Mercedes-Benz released the first such intelligent cockpit, the MBUX AI system, powered by NVIDIA technology, in 2018. The system is currently in more than 20 Mercedes-Benz models, with the second generation debuting in the upcoming S-Class.  ... ' 

Huawei’s 5G RAN Portfolio Beats Ericsson, Nokia and Others

Following,  much more at the link 

Huawei’s 5G RAN portfolio beats Ericsson, Nokia and others, report says  By Sue Marek Jun 25, 2019  in FierceWireless

Chinese vendor Huawei may effectively be banned from buying 5G components from U.S. companies, but that hasn’t stopped the firm from releasing what one analyst firm considers to be the top 5G RAN portfolio in the industry.

In its first competitive assessment of the 5G radio access network (RAN) market, GlobalData ranked Huawei No. 1 over Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE. The analyst firm evaluated the vendors and their RAN products based upon criteria such as baseband capacity, installation ease, radio unit product line, and technology evolution.  ... '

Friday, December 23, 2022

Dr Mark van Rijmenam, Newsletter

 I get the following future newsletter

 Newsletter Logo,  The f(x) = e^x

 This is my weekly newsletter, with a dose of insights into the exponential future.  in Linkedin

 Weekly newsletter, 6,557 subscribers

 Subscribed    The media metaverse and cloned voices

 Published on December 1, 2022     By Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Strategic futurist and Founder of the Digital Futures Institute - ensuring a thriving digital future for business and society | Global keynote speaker for Fortune 500 | 4x Author - latest: Step into the Metaverse

290 articles    The f(x) = e^x      Issue #194

Good Day! This is my weekly newsletter, with a dose of insights into the future. The topic of this newsletter is the exponential times we live in, hence the title of f(x) = e^x, which is the (natural) exponential function.

You can visit TheDigitalSpeaker.com to book me as a keynote speaker for your next event or hire me as your CEO's future tech coach. I have also published my Trend Prediction for 2022.

My latest article:

The metaverse will revolutionize the media and entertainment industry, offering novel, magical experiences and new revenue opportunities. The immersive internet will enable media and entertainment companies to provide unique, interactive experiences that bring media consumption to another level. It will enable immersive VR or AR content and the use of metaverse technologies such as NFTs to develop new business models.

The future of media and entertainment is exciting, and we are in for a wild ride. Before the end of this decade, we can expect 3D, hyper-realistic virtual and augmented experiences that will blow us away. Before that, the metaverse will enable Massive Interactive Live Events, bring augmented and virtual reality into our living room and create new engagement opportunities using NFTs. The potential is huge, and media & entertainment organisations should step into the metaverse today. Read more here.   .... '  ... 

On How Not to Win a Tech Ware

Thoughtful points, more at the link


How Not to Win a Tech War      By Moshe Y. Vardi

Communications of the ACM, January 2023, Vol. 66 No. 1, Page 7   10.1145/3571077

CACM Senior Editor Moshe Y. Vardi

A paradox: for the U.S. to compete with China, the U.S. is using Chinese talent. But let's start from the beginning. In May 2022, I predicted a "tech war" between the U.S. and China. "If computing technology is viewed as strategic technology," I wrote, "then we may have to say goodbye to the research world in which we openly collaborated and openly published." The tech war has come faster than I personally would have predicted.

In early August 2022, the U.S. authorized USD280B in taxpayer money to subsidize American computer-chip companies and invest in technology research for the sake of "keeping America strong and innovative." Following that, in early October 2022, the U.S. imposed limits on semi-conductor exports to China, aimed at limiting China's ability to make advanced semiconductors. The White House issued sweeping restrictions on selling semiconductors and chip-making equipment to China, in an attempt to curb the country's access to critical technologies.

Critics have questioned both legs of this strategy. On one hand, an investment of USD52B is considered relatively small, considering that a single major Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer—TSMC—announced in 2022 new capital investments of more than USD40B. On the other hand, China has been a major market for the U.S. tech industry, and the growing separation between American and Chinese tech markets will also hurt U.S. companies.

But tech wars are ultimately won by innovation, which requires both financial and human capital. The U.S. benefited tremendously by being a magnet for worldwide talent. According to the 2021 Taulbee Surveyb of the Computing Research Association, approximately 65% of doctoral students in computing in North America are international students. My estimate is that this pool of international students is dominated by Chinese students. My own research program has been greatly enriched by my Chinese students. This means the technological competition with China is aided, to a significant degree, by Chinese students. Hence, the opening sentence of this column.

But while American universities are still eager to attract Chinese talent, several U.S. actions imply otherwise. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice launched the "China Initiative," reflecting the strategic priority of the U.S. in "countering Chinese national security threats." Yet several prosecution cases under the China Initiative have ended in acquittals. Chinese-origin and Chinese-descent scientists and students studying and working in the U.S. bore and continue to bear the brunt of the suspicion. A September 2022c report by the Asian-American Scholars Forum (AASF) pointed out that feeling the pressure of potential federal investigations since the launch of the China Initiative, Chinese-origin scientists in the U.S. now face higher incentives to leave the U.S. and lower incentives to apply for federal grants. Furthermore, it has recently been reportedd that the number of new Chinese students at U.S. colleges has plummeted from pre-pandemic levels.

A week after the AASF report was published, the U.S. National Academies issued a report entitled "Protecting U.S. Technological Advantage." The main point of that report is that maintaining U.S. global leadership in science and technology requires a greater focus on strengthening innovation, and not solely on restricting access to specific technologies, calling on the U.S. to strive to maximize the amount of work that can be appropriately performed in an open research environment.

The National Academies' report also called on the U.S. to develop policies and programs aimed at developing domestic research talent. But the domestic doctoral talent pipeline has been shriveling for decades. In the mid-1990s, David Goodstein, a CalTech physicist, wrote in a blog: "The best American students have proved their superior abilities by reading the handwriting on the wall and going into other lines of work instead of choosing graduate school … The humming machinery kept right on going, fed by ore imported from across the oceans … Foreign graduate students have, temporarily at least, rescued our way of life."  ... ' 

'Jetson' Robots in Hospitals

What exactly is the Jetson Style?   How will people react? 


Jetsons-Style Robots Invading Chicago-Area Hospitals

By Chicago Tribune, December 21, 2022

Hospital staffers hold elevator doors for a Moxi robot.

Moxi robots deliver medication and shuttle supplies and small pieces of equipment across three Chicago-area hospitals. ... ' 

Roughly human in shape, Moxi robots have been deployed in at least three Chicago-area hospitals amid a shortage of medical workers.

Developed by Diligent Robotics and leased by the hospitals via subscription, the robots deliver medication and transport supplies and small pieces of equipment throughout the facilities.

Nurses summon the robot by entering requests into an application on a tablet; when it arrives, they show their badge to a detector so they can open any of Moxi's three drawers to insert items before dispatching the unit on its task.

Moxi uses sensors to navigate and has a single arm to push buttons to open doors.

The concept is to have Moxi give nurses more time to care for patients, rather than having them convey items across the hospital.

From Chicago Tribune

View Full Article - May Require Free Registration  

Scientists Apply ML Method to Help Diagnose Deadly Respiratory Illness

Machine Learning for Healthcare analysis ...'

 Scientists Apply ML Method to Help Diagnose Deadly Respiratory Illness

UC San Diego Today, Emerson Dameron, December 13, 2022

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the Indian Institute of Technology, and the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) have developed a novel machine learning algorithm to help diagnose pneumonia from chest x-rays. The model features a two-way confirmation system that could complement clinicians and minimize human and computer error. Former IIIT researcher Abhibha Gupta said the three-level optimization model builds on earlier neural architecture search-based frameworks to find the best architecture from a set of candidates for detecting pneumonia. Gupta said this involves implementing the Learning By Teaching framework, which "consists of a teacher and student model that train together in an end-to-end manner to improve their learning abilities."  ... ' 

Process Allows 3D Printing of Microscale Metallic Parts

Aimed at very small parts.

Process Allows 3D Printing of Microscale Metallic Parts

California Institute of Technology

Robert Perkins, November 30, 2022

California Institute of Technology engineers have three-dimensionally (3D)-printed pure multicomponent metals at an order of magnitude smaller than previously achieved. The technique forgoes writing metals directly in favor of printing a hydrogel as a scaffold for metal-impregnated liquid precursors. Light from a low-powered ultraviolet lamp causes liquid polymers to harden, which when patterned can create desired microscopic shapes. The researchers infuse metal salts dissolved in water into the hydrogel scaffolds, then burn away the hydrogel portion to leave the metal intact. The heat causes shrinkage, enabling the researchers to 3D-print metal alloys and multicomponent metallic systems about 40 microns in size. ...'

Thursday, December 22, 2022

NIST Revises Guidelines for Digital Identification in Federal Systems

Security of ID from NIST

 NIST Revises Guidelines for Digital Identification in Federal Systems

U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology

December 16, 2022

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has drafted revised federal guidelines that support risk-informed management of Americans' digital identities. The draft publication encompasses technical requirements for establishing and authenticating digital identities of individuals, including employees of government contractors or members of the general public. They cover privacy requirements, factors for cultivating equity and usability of digital identity solutions, and supporting technologies and protocols, with risks faced by individuals accessing services and by service-providing organizations considered in parallel. Updates include a section on biometric information usage for identity proofing; more phishing-resistant authentication methods; and recommendations for sharing/exchanging user identity information between different systems. NIST's Laurie E. Locascio said the guidelines are designed to "get the right services to the right people while preventing fraud, preserving privacy, fostering equity, and delivering high-quality, usable services to all."

Microscale 3D Printer for Multi-Level Anticounterfeiting Labels

Counterfeiting often a big deal in retail.

 Microscale 3D Printer for Multi-Level Anticounterfeiting Labels

University of Hong Kong, December 13, 2022

University of Hong Kong (HKU) engineers designed a microscale three-dimensional (3D) printing method for fabricating anticounterfeiting labels that can encrypt more digital data than two-dimensional labels. HKU's Jihyuk Yang said the researchers used diphenylalanine (FF) as the encryption medium because of its piezoelectrical and optical birefringence properties. HKU's Ji Tae Kim said the methodology integrates with molecular self-assembly to "print multi-segmented 3D FF micro-pixels with programmed crystallinity for high-density data encryption. By utilizing different responses of the amorphous and crystalline segments to polarized light, a tiny single 3D pixel can encrypt a multi-digit binary code consisting of '0' and '1.'"  ... ' 

Facial Recognition Technology Scans Your Ear

 First I have seen of this approach, reasonable.

Facial Recognition Technology Scans Your Ear

UGA Today, Olivia Randall, December 8, 2022

University of Georgia (UGA) scientists have created an ear recognition system that can authenticate individuals with up to 97.25% accuracy. The researchers said ear shapes are unique to an individual, and for the most part they remain unchanged by age. UGA's Thirimachos Bourlai said the ear recognition software operates similarly to facial recognition, capturing and saving multiple ear scans for authentication. The software uses an ear recognition algorithm to assess and ascertain if the scans are suitable for automated matching. The researchers tested the software's tolerance for busy images by evaluating several models, using ear images distorted by noise factors like varying blurriness, brightness, and contrast. ... '

Cyber Sprint for Chemical

NIST Security for the Chemical Sector

Announcement of 100-Day Cyber Sprint for Chemical Sector   By Cyberscoop, October 27, 2022

The sprint comes as the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, among other agencies, are expected to soon announce voluntary cybersecurity performance goals for critical infrastructure.

The chemical industry is the next sector to take up President Biden's 100-day cybersecurity sprint, the administration announced Wednesday, an effort designed to sharpen operators' focus on the most significant risks from a digital attack such as gas leaks and other contaminations.

The sprint also aims to improve information sharing and "analytical coordination" between the public and private sector and encourage chemical manufacturers to deploy threat detection on control systems.

The sprints were first launched as a pilot with the electric sector in April 2021 and followed up with the pipeline, water and railway sectors. Biden's memorandum on improving critical infrastructure control systems codified the exercises and amounted to a rare moment for the White House to acknowledge industrial control cybersecurity.

The fact sheet released by the Biden administration noted that the chemical sector sprint would incorporate lessons learned from previous sprints.

A CISA official told Axios, which first reported the announcement, that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Chemical Sector Coordinating Council will set up new task force to implement the sprint. CISA is the sector risk management agency for the chemical sector.

From Cyberscoop

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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Miami gets Robotic Uber Eats

Might provide an interesting example of how people interact with robots providing simple services.  How much might this compete with fast food better than normal delivery services?

CNN, Catherine Thorbecke, December 15, 2022

Ride-hailing company Uber Eats has launched a robot food delivery service in Miami via a partnership with robotics firm Cartken. Cartken's website says its six-wheeled robots feature sensors and cameras to evade collisions and select routes with the fewest hazards. Uber Eats will notify customers when their food is en route, then instruct them to meet the remotely supervised robot on the sidewalk. They can unlock the vehicle with their phone and retrieve their order from a secure compartment. The food delivery option initially will be available in Miami-Dade County's Dadeland region, with further expansion in the county and additional cities planned for next year. ... ' 

Beyond Tabula Rasa: Reincarnating Reinforcement Learning

Intriguing, Agents learning from 'tabula rasa', from scratch. Makes me think of agent models we used to gather data and feed it to a process ... towards reinforcing movement towards an intelligence goal?   thinking this.  

In the Google AI Blog

 Beyond Tabula Rasa: Reincarnating Reinforcement Learning

Posted by Rishabh Agarwal, Senior Research Scientist, and Max Schwarzer, Student Researcher, Google Research, Brain Team

Reinforcement learning (RL) is an area of machine learning that focuses on training intelligent agents using related experiences so they can learn to solve decision making tasks, such as playing video games, flying stratospheric balloons, and designing hardware chips. Due to the generality of RL, the prevalent trend in RL research is to develop agents that can efficiently learn tabula rasa, that is, from scratch without using previously learned knowledge about the problem. However, in practice, tabula rasa RL systems are typically the exception rather than the norm for solving large-scale RL problems. Large-scale RL systems, such as OpenAI Five, which achieves human-level performance on Dota 2, undergo multiple design changes (e.g., algorithmic or architectural changes) during their developmental cycle. This modification process can last months and necessitates incorporating such changes without re-training from scratch, which would be prohibitively expensive.  ....