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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Microsoft Edge to include VPN

Wondered about this recently why not?  How secure can it be? MS has big storage assets.  Why not leverage further data for better security?

Microsoft Edge to include built-in VPN

The catch is it only covers 1GB of data usage per month.

By Igor Bonifacic  in Engadget

Microsoft has consistently tried to get more people to use Edge. Some of the ways it has pursued that goal have been less well-received than others, but its latest effort to do so could make for a useful addition to the software. In a support page spotted by The Verge, the company revealed it’s adding a free built-in VPN service dubbed Edge Secure Network to its web browser. 

The company says the tool will encrypt your internet connection. You can use that functionality to protect your data from your internet service provider. As with most VPNs, you can also use Edge Secure Network to mask your location, making it possible to access services that might otherwise be blocked in the country where you live or are visiting. ...'

Digital Twins in the Warehouse

 Intro below.   We did something very  very early on using a number of simulated alternatives, as quite valuable.   Here seems to be taken to a new level.

How digital twins are transforming warehouse performance  in VentureBeat

The global Industry 4.0 market was worth $116 billion in 2021 and is predicted to rise to $337 billion by 2028. Many technologies are contributing to the incredible growth of Industry 4.0, but a standout among them is digital twin solutions. Specifically, digital twins are now being deployed to greatly improve warehouse automation operations with the end goal of increasing efficiency and reducing downtime. 

Digital twins can deliver virtual representations of a physical environment — proving extremely helpful to the warehouse industry. With a digital twin, new improvements and efficiencies can be tested virtually, without downtime or rearrangement of physical assets.

Warehouse operations are rapidly growing in complexity. Inventory is more diverse, as the massive expansion of ecommerce has brought an increase in the proliferation of SKUs. Logistics solutions are strained, as customers now expect lightning-fast fulfillment. Technology is more complex, as innovative new automation systems come to market, and managers must analyze the new systems to introduce those that bring the greatest benefit to their warehouse operations.

To win against competitors, smart companies are now building digital twins of their warehouse operations and using them to handle operational complexities and performance improvements.   .... ' 

Global Driverless

No driver Taxi, but an in-taxi supervisor?

Baidu and Pony.ai become first robotaxi services to operate without safety drivers in Beijing

A supervisor must still be present in the vehicle, however,   in TheVerge By Emma Roth 

Baidu and Pony.ai have been given permission to operate their autonomous vehicles without safety drivers in Beijing, a first for robotaxi services in China (via CNBC). Although both companies now no longer need a staff member in the driver’s seat, they’ll still need a supervisor present somewhere in the vehicle.

Baidu and Pony.ai can’t operate throughout the entire city of Beijing just yet — they’re limited to a 60 square kilometer (23.1 square mile) area in Yizhuang, Beijing, the home of about 300,000 residents. While Baidu can deploy just 10 autonomous vehicles in the area, CNBC says Pony.ai can only operate four. Both companies have plans to expand the number of vehicles on the road (with Baidu shooting for 30), but it’s unclear how soon that will happen.  .... ' 

Hands Free VR

 Note haptics (touch) enabled/

Physical Sensations in VR Go Hands-Free

IEEE Spectrum, Michelle Hampson, April 11, 2022

A new virtual reality (VR) haptics system developed by researchers at the Chofu, Japan-based University of Electro-Communications (UEC) eliminates hand-based hardware by manipulating the forearm instead of the hand to generate physical sensations. The lightweight system features an external sensor camera that tracks the user's finger movements, and applies haptics sensations to the top, bottom, or sides of the forearm to match those movements. "We were surprised that even with this new haptic presentation method, we were able to obtain a high comfort level without any training time," said UEC's Taha Moriyama. Users described the feeling of the new system as "symbolic" of moving a VR object, rather than feeling like they were truly grasping one.  ... ' 

Ukraine Sounds Alarm on Chinese Drones

China Drones in play? 

 Ukraine Sounds Alarm on Chinese Drones, Opening Skies to U.S. Startups

The Wall Street Journal,  Heather Somerville,   April 22, 2022

Hundreds of small drones from U.S. startups are searching for survivors and Russian hideouts in Ukraine, after Ukrainian government officials cited Chinese drones as a security risk. The Ukraine officials have called for limits on the deployment of drones made by China's SZ DJI Technology, saying technical glitches may have been intentionally inserted into the drones to undermine the country's defense. Since last month, Seattle-based BRINC Drones has contributed 10 drones to Ukraine and sold roughly 50 more to bolster Ukrainian defense, as well as for search-and-rescue and intelligence-gathering missions. Skydio's Adam Bry said his company gave dozens of drones to Ukraine's Ministry of Defense, and sold hundreds more to Ukraine-supporting government and non-government entities.... ' 

Health Record Relationships using KESER

Health record relationships.  KESER Knowledge Extraction.

 VA, ORNL, Harvard Develop Novel Method to Identify Complex Medical Relationships

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 28, 2022

A team of researchers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital has developed a novel technique to identify complex medical relationships from electronic health records. The KESER (Knowledge Extraction via Sparse Embedding Regression) method combines data from the VA and Boston-based non-profit hospital and physicians network Partners Healthcare, and facilitates automated feature selection to support phenotype identification algorithms and knowledge discovery. KESER converts data into a structured format, builds a low-dimensional-vector model of each medical code, selects features to attribute importance, and charts attributed relationships into a network. The researchers processed vast medical datasets, built a co-occurrence matrix of 100,000-plus healthcare codes, and automated data pre-processing .... '

AI Strips out Noise

Note AI methods in use for noice removal. 

Deep Learning, Supervised Learning. Other applications in noise reduction?

AI Strips Out City Noise to Improve Earthquake Monitoring Systems

New Scientist, Chris Stokel-Walker, April 13, 2022

Stanford University's Gregory Baroza and colleagues used a deep learning algorithm to eliminate city noise from earthquake monitors, in an attempt to fine-tune the ability to locate where tremors originate. The researchers trained the artificial intelligence on 80,000 samples of urban noise and 33,751 samples of earthquake signals to distinguish between the two. Running audio through the neural network enhanced the signal-to-noise ratio by an average of 15 decibels, triple the average of previous denoising methods. Rice University's Maarten de Hoop said one shortcoming of the approach was the network's training via supervised learning using human-labeled data sampled from one area; he said this makes the technique less likely to be effective when presented with noise from somewhere else. ... '

Preservation of Video, Documents in NFTs

An interesting use of NFT to preserve video and interviews

First Holocaust Museum in Metaverse to Display NFTs from Survivors

The Jerusalem Post (Israel), April 29, 2022

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) created by Holocaust survivors are on display in the first Holocaust museum in the metaverse, established by the Chasdei Naomi organization in Israel. Visual projects, including video testimonies and interviews between survivors and online media creators, are recorded and posted to the metaverse as NFTs on the blockchain. A Chasdei Naomi representative said the project creates "a personal and intergenerational connection between those who are on the side of the NFT works and the survivors themselves.” Another representative said, "The issue of preserving the memory of the Holocaust must adapt itself to the technological age so that it is not forgotten."

Monitoring And Machine Learning of Animal Viruses

Note broad monitoring, machine learning and testing used.

Which Animal Viruses Could Infect People? Computers Are Racing to Find Out

The New York Times, Carl Zimmer, April 27, 2022

Researchers are using machine learning models to predict which animal viruses can infect human cells. In March, Georgetown University's Colin Carlson and his colleagues established the VIRION open access database, which incorporates data about 9,521 viruses and their 3,692 animal hosts. Carlson and colleagues also developed a model to identify the animals most likely to harbor relatives of SARS-CoV-2. In 2020, the model identified over 300 species of bats most likely to harbor betacoronaviruses; since then, 47 of those species have been found to harbor betacoronaviruses. Said Rocky Mountain Laboratories' Emmie de Wit, "What we really want to know is not necessarily which viruses can infect humans, but which viruses can cause an outbreak."   .... ' 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Social Tracking Animals with Deep Learning

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology  EPFL   Deep Learning Tracking 

Time to get social: tracking animals with deep learning

Researchers at EPFL have made strides in computer-aided animal tracking by expanding their software, DeepLabCut, to offer high-performance tracking of multiple animals in videos.

The ability to capture the behavior of animals is critical for neuroscience, ecology, and many other fields. Cameras are ideal for capturing fine-grained behavior, but developing computer vision techniques to extract the animal’s behavior is challenging even though this seems effortless for our own visual system.

One of the key aspects of quantifying animal behavior is “pose estimation”, which refers to the ability of a computer to identify the pose (position and orientation of different body parts) of an animal. In a lab setting, it’s possible to assist pose estimation by placing markers on the animal’s body like in motion-capture techniques used in movies (think Gollum in the Lord of the Rings). But as one can imagine, getting animals to wear specialized equipment is not the easiest task, and downright impossible and unethical in the wild.

For this reason, Professors Alexander Mathis and Mackenzie Mathis at EPFL have been pioneering “markerless” tracking for animals. Their software relies on deep-learning to “teach” computers to perform pose estimation without the need for physical or virtual markers.

Their teams have been developing DeepLabCut, an open-source, deep-learning “animal pose estimation package” that can perform markerless motion capture of animals. In 2018 they released DeepLabCut, and the software has gained significant traction in life sciences: over 350,00 downloads of the software and nearly 1400 citations. Then, in 2020, the Mathis teams released DeepLabCut-Live!, a real-time low-latency version of DeepLabCut that allows researchers to rapidly give feedback to animals they are studying.

Now, the scientists have expanded DeepLabCut to address another challenge in pose estimation: tracking social animals, even closely interacting ones; e.g., parenting mice or schooling fish. The challenges here are obvious: the individual animals can be so similar looking that they confuse the computer, they can obscure each other, and there can be many “keypoints” that researchers wish to track, making it computationally difficult to process efficiently.

To tackle this challenge, they first created four datasets of varying difficulty for benchmarking multi-animal pose estimation networks. The datasets, collected with colleagues at MIT and Harvard University, consist of three mice in an open field, home-cage parenting in mice, pairs of marmosets housed in a large enclosure, and fourteen fish in a flow tank. With these datasets in hand, the researchers were able to develop novel methods to deal with the difficulties of real-world tracking. ..... 

Biometric Security

 Considering uses and misuses

New Approaches to Biometric Security

By Jake Widman, Commissioned by CACM Staff, April 28, 2022

Businesses and organizations of all sorts need to restrict access—to systems, devices, accounts, places, and more—to only those people who should have it. The most common method for accomplishing this is to require each user have a password, sometimes backed up with a code they get on their phone or by answers to questions about something personal, like their first car

An increasingly common alternative is biometric security: identifying someone by some physiological feature of their body. Every body is unique, and one's body is always available, while passwords and security questions can be forgotten. Fingerprints and facial recognition have become mainstream forms of biometric security (although both of these methods have downsides, which create demand for other physiological approaches).

New biometric security methods place a priority on contactless identification (such as facial recognition), propelled by the pandemic and the public's increased reluctance to touch shared surfaces. According to a study by Canadian-Indian market research firm Precedence Research, the contactless biometrics technology market was valued at $6.95 billion worldwide in 2021, and is expected to reach over $37.10 billion by 2030. Another market research organization, UAE-based Fact.MR, sees an even larger market for biometric security solutions growing from $17.1 billion this year to $78.6 billion in 2032.

Current downsides

The use of fingerprints for identification may date back to Babylonian times, when it was used as a form of signature on clay tablets. Modern Americans use their fingerprints for everything from getting a driver's license to unlocking their smartphones. However, fingerprint sensors are far from foolproof, as it is vulnerable to measures as simple as using adhesive tape to lift a fingerprint from a surface and using it to fool security into unlocking.

Facial recognition dates to the 1960s, when a researcher at the Rand Corporation used a digital tablet to mark coordinates of facial features on a grid. By 2017, smartphone manufacturers were offering facial recognition as a way for users to unlock their phones.

However, "The pandemic taught us that face recognition does not work with masks on, and certain ethnic groups have more difficulty being accurately identified than others," says Chris Jahnke, senior vice president for Global Business Development at EyeLock, a company that provides iris-based authentication. "To get around masks these days, some companies are using only what is available to be seen—the area around the eyes—and this greatly reduces their accuracy because they are taking fewer data points into consideration."

Facial recognition also raises privacy issues. For one thing, it can be used to track people in public, as well as just unlocking their phones. Users feel proprietary about their appearance, too, and worry about data breaches: the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2021 started using facial recognition-based security to allow taxpayers access to their accounts, but taxpayers reportedly found the process frustrating and intrusive, so the IRS discontinued its use of facial recognition software. .... ' 

Products with Digital ID

Standardizing Digital Product ID

Will customers know everything about products with digital ID?

Apr 21, 2022,  by Matthew Stern  in Retailwire

A recent article in Fast Company forecasts a world in which products can tell customers anything and everything about themselves using a digital ID, readable via QR code or NFC tag that contains information about everywhere the product has been and lasts as long as the product does.

The technology is being developed as customers appear more conscious about the provenance of the products they buy.

Assigning digital IDs to products in every category, from jackets to t-shirts to furniture, could lead to the birth of new customer services and business models, according to Natasha Franck, founder and CEO of connected product company EON, as cited in the Fast Company article. In categories like fashion, Ms. Franck sees digital IDs allowing retailers to drive easy re-ordering, styling, care, repair and resale, monetizing at each step in a given product’s lifecycle.

Similar technology is already being deployed in grocery. Recently, global grocery chain Carrefour became the first grocer to utilize blockchain to provide additional information on its organic products in-store via QR code. Scanning a QR code brings customers information about the origin of the product and the pathway it has taken, its level of quality and its organic certification.

Questions remain about how much customers would actually utilize or benefit from this granular degree of information. While many U.S. enterprises have taken steps to improve their sustainable and ethical production profile — and have promoted themselves accordingly — there are examples of companies thriving while doing the exact opposite.

For instance, despite its notorious lack of supply chain transparency and sustainability initiatives, Chinese marketplace Shein remains at the top of the fast-fashion world according to High Snobiety. The warehouse-direct marketplace has generated $15.7 billion in sales and is pursuing a $100 billion valuation.  .... '

NOKIA Leaving Russian Market

Late to this.  We will at least have some measures about how global sanctions work and further change global business.

Ukraine War Update: Nokia to fully exit the Russian market  via SeekingAlpha

Apr. 12, 2022 3:55 PM ETNOK   By: Yoel Minkoff, SA News Editor305 Comments

Here are the latest headlines in the Russia-Ukraine crisis:

Nokia to completely exit the Russian market

Finnish telecom giant Nokia (NOK) announced plans Tuesday to completely exit the Russian market. NOK, which previously took such steps as suspending deliveries and moving R&D operations out of Russia, said a complete cessation of business there shouldn't impact the firm's previously announced 2022 outlook.

Putin says talks are at a 'dead end'

Vladimir Putin said peace talks with Ukraine are "at a dead end" and that Russia's military operation is going according to plan, Bloomberg reported. Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said talks continue and Russia is trying to put pressure on peace negotiations.

Ukraine war will curb trade, growth - WTO

In the latest grim economic outlook to emerge, the Geneva-based trade body pointed to multiple uncertainties in its forecast over the next two years because Russian and Ukrainian exports of items like food, oil and fertilizers are under threat from the war.

Chemical weapons?

As Russia prepares for a significant new offensive in eastern Ukraine, allegations have surfaced that Ukrainians in the besieged city of Mariupol came under a Russian chemical weapons attack on Monday. The Azov battalion claimed a Russian drone dropped a "poisonous substance of unknown origin" on troops and civilians, while Ukrainian lawmaker Ivanna Klympush said people were suffering from respiratory failure and neurological problems. No independent evidence of the attack has yet emerged, though Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. will "continue to monitor the situation closely." .... ' 

Drone Spotting With Fly Eyes

Biomimicry example

AIs Spot Drones with Help from Fly Eye

Scientific American, Monique Brouillette, April 20, 2022

Researchers at the University of South Australia, defense firm Midspar Systems, and Australia's Flinders University have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm for visual drone detection. The researchers reverse-engineered the visual system of the hoverfly—whose compound eyes can separate relevant information from noise—to develop a tool that filters out noisy data. They fed the algorithm spectrograms based on acoustic data from outdoors as drones flew by. The algorithm was able to amplify data related to the frequencies emitted by drones, while reducing background noise from other sources. The researchers found that it could identify drones up to 50% farther away than conventional AI systems..... ' 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Intro to Decision Trees

Good general piece from KDNuggets,  in Basics of Decision Trees

Decision Tree Algorithm, Explained

All you need to know about decision trees and how to build and optimize decision tree classifier.

By Nagesh Singh Chauhan, Data Science Enthusiast on February 9, 2022 in Machine Learning


Classification is a two-step process, learning step and prediction step, in machine learning. In the learning step, the model is developed based on given training data. In the prediction step, the model is used to predict the response for given data. Decision Tree is one of the easiest and popular classification algorithms to understand and interpret.

Decision Tree Algorithm

Decision Tree algorithm belongs to the family of supervised learning algorithms. Unlike other supervised learning algorithms, the decision tree algorithm can be used for solving regression and classification problems too.

The goal of using a Decision Tree is to create a training model that can use to predict the class or value of the target variable by learning simple decision rules inferred from prior data(training data).

In Decision Trees, for predicting a class label for a record we start from the root of the tree. We compare the values of the root attribute with the record’s attribute. On the basis of comparison, we follow the branch corresponding to that value and jump to the next node.

Types of Decision Trees

Types of decision trees are based on the type of target variable we have. It can be of two types:  .... See the complete docatthe link.  

These Solar Cells Produce Electricity at Night

 Sign us up

These Solar Cells Produce Electricity at Night Researchers used radiative cooling to generate enough to power LEDs or charge a cellphone PRACHI PATEL11 APR 2022   In IEEE Spectrum

By taking advantage of the temperature difference between a solar panel and ambient air, engineers have made solar cells that can produce electricity at night.

Compared to the 100 to 200 watts per square meter that solar cells produce when the sun is shining, the nighttime production is a trickle at 50 mW/m2. “But it is already financially interesting for low-power-density applications like LED lights, charging a cellphone, or trying to power small sensors,” says Shanhui Fan, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University who published the work along with coauthors in Applied Physics Letters.

Fan and his colleagues harnessed the concept of radiative cooling, the phenomenon by which materials radiate heat into the sky at night after absorbing solar energy all day and that others have tapped before to make cooling paint and energy-efficient air-conditioning. Because of this effect, the temperature of a standard solar cell pointing at the sky at night falls below ambient air temperature. This generates a heat flow from the ambient air to the solar cell. “That heat flow can be harvested to generate power,” Fan says.

To do that, the researchers integrated a photovoltaic cell with a commercial thermoelectric generator (TEG) module, which converts temperature difference into electrical power. The TEG sits underneath the solar cell, and an aluminum sheet between the two conducts heat from the solar cell to the TEG. The other side of the TEG connects via a heat sink to ambient air .... ' 

AI Gets Profits from Catastrophe?

 Colonialism? No more than any kind of automation at any level.

How the A.I. industry profits from catastrophe

After COVID and economic collapse, low-paying algorithm-training jobs are becoming a way of life for many.    by Karen Hao  

This story is part two of MIT Technology Review’s series on AI colonialism, the idea that artificial intelligence is creating a new colonial world order. It was supported by the MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program and the Pulitzer Center. Read the full series here.

It was meant to be a temporary side job—a way to earn some extra money. Oskarina Fuentes Anaya signed up for Appen, an AI data-labeling platform, when she was still in college studying to land a well-paid position in the oil industry.

But then the economy tanked in Venezuela. Inflation skyrocketed, and a stable job, once guaranteed, was no longer an option. Her side gig was now full time; the temporary now the foreseeable future.

Today Fuentes lives in Colombia, one of millions of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who have left their country in search of better opportunities. But she’s trapped at home—both by a chronic illness that developed after delayed access to health care and by opaque algorithms that dictate when she works and how much she earns.

Despite threats from Appen to retaliate against her, she chose to go on the record as a named source. She wants people to understand what her life is like to be a critical part of the global AI development pipeline yet for the beneficiaries of her work to also mistreat her and make her invisible. She wants the people who do this work to be seen.

Appen is among dozens of companies that offer data-labeling services for the AI industry. If you’ve bought groceries on Instacart or looked up an employer on Glassdoor, you’ve benefited from such labeling behind the scenes. Most profit-maximizing algorithms, which underpin e-commerce sites, voice assistants, and self-driving cars, are based on deep learning, an AI technique that relies on scores of labeled examples to expand its capabilities. 

The insatiable demand has created a need for a broad base of cheap labor to manually tag videos, sort photos, and transcribe audio. The market value of sourcing and coordinating that “ghost work,” as it was memorably dubbed by anthropologist Mary Gray and computational social scientist Siddharth Suri, is projected to reach $13.7 billion by 2030. .... ' 

Baking Security into Chips

 A former Alma Mater of mine is putting a security brain into Chips: 


In Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Featured, News, Research & InnovationMarch 10, 2022  from the U of F


The epiphany that emerged from UF engineering professors Swarup Bhunia and Sandip Ray was such a game-changing proposal that IEEE Spectrum, the flagship news magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, insisted that they coauthor an October 2017 feature article to unveil the concept to their two million print and online subscribers.

With the rapid proliferation of all things ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) — the realm of smart or automated objects and devices that are interconnected or exchange data via the Internet — a necessary, cost-effective microchip security solution has followed. The answer posed by Dr. Bhunia, Ph.D., director of Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World and Semmoto Endowed Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), and Dr. Ray, Ph.D., Endowed IoT Term Professor in ECE, seemed an impossibility, or at least a misnomer: ‘patchable hardware.’ But the breakthrough may actually be what the industry was waiting for.

“Hardware, microchips, are not patchable,” Dr. Bhunia said. “Once they’re designed, you can’t fix their security problems.” He and Dr. Ray observed that industrial chip security protocol was ad hoc and reactive — finding a problem, then fixing it in the next iteration, with no protection against potential unknown attacks. In time, industry experts realized that was an expensive proposition. “Any time you get a security attack, what do you do? There is no other recourse but a product recall, which will cost billions of dollars. Industry has done it that way forever.”

But the two conceived a novel approach six years prior, when Dr. Ray was with the Intel Corporation. The initial thrust of their research, which found its inspiration by mimicking the self-regulating function of the human brain, recently found its way into a research program for the Department of Defense (DoD), called Automatic Implementation of Secure Silicon (AISS). With $2.4 million in funding from industry research partner and prime contractor Northrop Grumman, the UF co-investigators successfully capped their four-year chip design research work with a revolutionized microchip security, making it part of the intuitive, patchable hardware.


“This is a paradigm change, not in fabrication or in the production process, but the design architecture; the chip itself handles all the security aspects,” Dr. Bhunia said. “Our investigation in the DARPA/DoD grant has two related, critical aspects. First, it explores the concept of ‘security brain’ — a plug-and-play module that can be inserted into modern microchips to account for all their security needs. It acts as a central agent responsible for track-and-trace-control of all security-critical activities. Second, this security brain is patchable, meaning it can be upgraded when needed to meet evolving security requirements.”  .... ' 

Mobility as a Standard: MaaS

 Reviewing this as a set of IEEE Standards worth examining


About  (Outline)

Image of a futuristic carThe automotive ecosystem is in transformation, driven by technology evolution, new business opportunities, and policy initiatives. Future cars will have electric and other power trains. Moreover, vehicles will be connected, automated, and smart due to computerization and software-embedded intelligence. There is a shift from individually owned vehicles toward interconnected shared mobility solutions , used as an if-and-when needed service [Mobility as a Service (MaaS)]. Drivers will be operators and eventually passengers. Autonomous vehicles will open up many more currently unknown opportunities for end-to-end MaaS.

While vehicle manufacturers drive the evolution of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) toward fully automated cars, the ICT sector’s aspiration is to leapfrog autonomous driving. Stakeholders from both industries in the converging mobility ecosystem face challenges that cannot be solved by a single company or by a closed circle of a few companies. Close cooperation across a variety of disciplines and a diversity of stakeholders is needed to align technology evolution paths, to jointly evolve value networks and markets, and in general to build trust in autonomous systems. In particular, standards-related activities help to reduce complexity and thus reduce risks and cost, facilitate economies of scale, enable interoperable building blocks of the end-to-end system, and help ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

A broad, open, cross-industry dialogue is needed to exchange views, to debate, and to agree upon common challenges and coordinated activities needed, including:

Technology enablers for autonomous vehicles—Trade-offs

Data driven engineering and testing

Vehicle platforms and platform business

Infrastructure for autonomous vehicles

Hitting the safety spot despite security risks and AI-black box embedded functionality

IEEE SA organized two standards-related industry workshops, on 13 December 2018 and on 2-3 December 2019. Both workshops took place in Munich. The first workshop was hosted by the IBM Watson IoT Center, the second by Rohde & Schwarz. Due to the Pandemic, the next events 23 January 2021 / 12 February 2021 on Cybersecurity were changed to virtual formats. The next event is going to be a Web debate about the stumbling points on the way to autonomous drive.

To evolve the workshop format and further its relevance and impact, it is key to:

Broaden the base to build agendas more systematically bottom up according to stakeholder needs, and

Grow international participation by globalizing the workshop that is changing venue worldwide.

This Industry Connection activity aims to provide the organizational framework needed for both, to expand volunteer engagement from the entire ecosystem and to globalize participation from all over the world, in particular from Asia and the Americas.

The overall purpose of the event is multifold:

Inform about relevant leading-edge technologies

Inform about ongoing standardization projects

Inform about standards-related initiatives

Identify limitations and shortcomings of existing (standardized) technologies

Identify research challenges

Identify standardization needs

Identify stakeholders with a vested interest to engage in a standards initiative  .... '/

US and allies warn of Russian hacking threat to critical infrastructure

Infratructure counts, keep it safe

US and allies warn of Russian hacking threat to critical infrastructure   By Sergiu Gatlan

Today, Five Eyes cybersecurity authorities warned critical infrastructure network defenders of an increased risk that Russia-backed hacking groups could target organizations within and outside Ukraine's borders.

The warning comes from cybersecurity agencies in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in a joint cybersecurity advisory with info on Russian state-backed hacking operations and Russian-aligned cybercrime groups.

"Critical infrastructure organizations should maintain a heightened state of alert against Russian cyber threats. Stay vigilant and follow the mitigations from our joint advisory to harden your IT and OT networks now," the NSA warned today.

Recommended actions to protect networks against attacks

The Five Eyes cybersecurity agencies recommends measures critical infrastructure orgs should take to harden their defenses and protect their information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) networks against Russian state-sponsored and criminal cyber threats, including ransomware, destructive malware, DDoS attacks, and cyber espionage.

Defenders are advised to immediately prioritize patching actively exploited vulnerabilities, enforce multifactor authentication, secure and monitor remote desktop protocol (RDP), and provide end-user awareness and training.

Today's joint advisory builds upon a similar one issued in January https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/us-govt-warns-of-russian-hackers-targeting-critical-infrastructure/ by the FBI, CISA, and NSA, exposing Russian hacking groups (including APT29, APT28, and the Sandworm Team) who have targeted organizations from US critical infrastructure sectors.

At the time, the US agencies urged critical infrastructure orgs to prepare for attacks orchestrated by Russian-backed hacking groups and advised US critical infrastructure defenders to focus on detecting malicious activity by enforcing robust log collection/retention to detect potential Russian-linked APT activity. .... ' 

3D-Printing Approach Melds Solids, Liquids

 Some interesting applications emerge.

3D-Printing Approach Melds Solids, Liquids

CU Boulder Today. Daniel Strain, April 18, 2022

University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) engineers have created three-dimensional (3D) printing technology that combines solid and liquid components. The researchers designed computer models to explore the physics of printing different materials contiguously, and CU Boulder's Robert MacCurdy said choosing a liquid that is denser than a solid can prevent mixing. In doing so, the team established a set of rules to help keep the droplets of solid materials from mixing into the liquid materials. Said MacCurdy, “If you have a printer that can use multiple kinds of materials, you can combine them in new ways and create a much broader range of mechanical properties.”  ... .' 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Reviewing Google Project Zero

Good thing to review, what its done and aims to do.  Below just an intro, links through ...

Project Zero

News and updates from the Project Zero team at Google

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The More You Know, The More You Know You Don’t Know

A Year in Review of 0-days Used In-the-Wild in 2021

Posted by Maddie Stone, Google Project Zero

This is our third annual year in review of 0-days exploited in-the-wild [2020, 2019]. Each year we’ve looked back at all of the detected and disclosed in-the-wild 0-days as a group and synthesized what we think the trends and takeaways are. The goal of this report is not to detail each individual exploit, but instead to analyze the exploits from the year as a group, looking for trends, gaps, lessons learned, successes, etc. If you’re interested in the analysis of individual exploits, please check out our root cause analysis repository.

We perform and share this analysis in order to make 0-day hard. We want it to be more costly, more resource intensive, and overall more difficult for attackers to use 0-day capabilities. 2021 highlighted just how important it is to stay relentless in our pursuit to make it harder for attackers to exploit users with 0-days. We heard over and over and over about how governments were targeting journalists, minoritized populations, politicians, human rights defenders, and even security researchers around the world. The decisions we make in the security and tech communities can have real impacts on society and our fellow humans’ lives.

We’ll provide our evidence and process for our conclusions in the body of this post, and then wrap it all up with our thoughts on next steps and hopes for 2022 in the conclusion. If digging into the bits and bytes is not your thing, then feel free to just check-out the Executive Summary and Conclusion.

Executive Summary

2021 included the detection and disclosure of 58 in-the-wild 0-days, the most ever recorded since Project Zero began tracking in mid-2014. That’s more than double the previous maximum of 28 detected in 2015 and especially stark when you consider that there were only 25 detected in 2020. We’ve tracked publicly known in-the-wild 0-day exploits in this spreadsheet since mid-2014.

While we often talk about the number of 0-day exploits used in-the-wild, what we’re actually discussing is the number of 0-day exploits detected and disclosed as in-the-wild. And that leads into our first conclusion: we believe the large uptick in in-the-wild 0-days in 2021 is due to increased detection and disclosure of these 0-days, rather than simply increased usage of 0-day exploits.  ... ' 

Driverless Big Rigs Cruising Around Houston

Forwarded to me.   Be safe!

Driverless big rigs cruising around Houston

 | The Texas A&M program behind the new technology  in Khou

Texas A&M and its one-of-a-kind testing facility are helping to make sure the future of the industry is safe.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The future of trucking is taking shape in Texas right now as self-driving big rigs are being tested on highways.

The technology is being developed at Texas A&M University.

Trucking in Texas is big business and it's only getting bigger. The truck drivers will look much different in the years to come as the Lone Star State is at the epicenter of self-driving semis.  ... ' 

Can the US Avoid a Recession?

Good points here.  Ultimate influence of COVID, Ukraine?

Can the U.S. Avoid a Recession?  in Knowledge@Wharton

Many economists are warning of a recession, while Wall Street bulls are saying those fears are overblown. Wharton experts weigh in on what’s ahead for the U.S. economy.

Is the U.S. headed for a recession? Opinion is divided on that question, with many economists warning of a recession and Wall Street bulls saying those fears are overblown. The familiar precursors of a recession have arrived: an inverted yield curve and rising interest rates on the back of high inflation (8.5% in March), with COVID uncertainty and disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine thrown in.

The yield curve inverted on March 29 for the first time since 2019. That happens when short-term treasury bills attract higher interest rates than longer-term treasuries — a sign that investors are losing confidence in the economy. Meanwhile, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell brought down the other shoe on speculation of higher doses of rate increases when he signaled a 50-point increase in May (earlier increases have typically been in 25-point bursts). He also wanted to move “a little more quickly” with shrinking the Fed’s asset portfolio in an effort to tame inflation.

The most widely accepted definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of declining GDP. According to a forecast by The Conference Board, U.S. real GDP growth will slow to 1.5% in the first quarter of 2022, down sharply from 6.9% growth in the last quarter of 2021. The White House is confident of strong GDP growth in 2022 despite inflation risks, and the International Monetary Fund shares that optimism with an estimate of 3.7% GDP growth this year for the U.S.

All Eyes on the Fed

The Fed has the wherewithal to stave off a recession, according to Wharton’s Susan Wachter, professor of real estate and finance, and Nikolai Roussanov, finance professor. “The main cause that would trigger a recession now is a spike in interest rates,” Wachter said. “The Fed’s actions so far and expected over through the end of the year will not in themselves trigger a recession.”  ... '

Amazon Releases 51-Language Dataset for Understanding

Impressive release of key knowledge for language understanding.   The breadth of languages is good too. 

Amazon Releases 51-Language Dataset for Language Understanding  by 7wData, April 26, 2022

Imagine that all people around the world could use voice AI systems such as Alexa in their native tongues.

One promising approach to realizing this vision is massively multilingual natural-language understanding (MMNLU), a paradigm in which a single machine learning model can parse and understand inputs from many typologically diverse languages. By learning a shared data representation that spans languages, the model can transfer knowledge from languages with abundant training data to those in which training data is scarce.

Today we are pleased to make three announcements related to MMNLU.

First, we are releasing a new dataset called MASSIVE, which is composed of one million labeled utterances spanning 51 languages, along with open-source code that provides examples of how to perform massively multilingual NLU modeling and allows practitioners to re-create the baseline results presented in our paper..

Second, we are launching a new competition using the MASSIVE dataset called Massively Multilingual NLU 2022 (MMNLU-22).

And third, we will cohost a workshop at EMNLP 2022 in Abu Dhabi and online, also called Massively Multilingual NLU 2022, which will highlight the results from the competition and include presentations from invited speakers and oral and poster sessions from submitted papers on multilingual natural-language processing (NLP).

“We are very excited to share this large multilingual dataset with the worldwide language research community,” says Prem Natarajan, vice president of Alexa AI Natural Understanding. “We hope that this dataset will enable researchers across the world to drive new advances in multilingual language understanding that expand the availability and reach of conversational-AI technologies.”

MASSIVE is a parallel dataset, meaning that every utterance is given in all 51 languages. This enables models to learn shared representations of utterances with the same intents, regardless of language, facilitating cross-linguistic training on natural-language-understanding (NLU) tasks. It also allows for adaptation to other NLP tasks such as machine translation, multilingual paraphrasing, new linguistic analyses of imperative morphologies, and more.   ... ' 

Retailers in a Cookieless World

 Have received several inquiries up this alley.

Will retailers be ready when the third-party cookies crumble?

@lelia_milaya via Twenty20


Apr 13, 2022  by Tom Ryan

Eighty-one percent of companies are reliant on third-party cookies while 85 percent of consumers want brands to use only first-party data, according to Twilio’s “State of Customer Engagement Report.”

The global survey of 3,450 business leaders and 4,500 consumers further found that more than half (55 percent) of companies are not fully prepared for a cookieless world. Forty-two percent predict the impending changes will lead to lower return on investment on their marketing spend.

Google plans to start blocking cookies in Chrome, the dominant browser, by the end of 2023. Firefox and Safari are already doing so.

In a new study, McKinsey identified three strategies that can help companies prepare for the impending demise of third-party cookies as well as new opt-in requirements that restrict mobile-device identifiers for ad targeting.

Use their own consumer touchpoints to collect first-party data;

Create partnerships to leverage second-party data;

Experiment with contextual advertising, which displays ads based on the content a user is viewing, and explore the evolution of interest-based advertising, which targets consumers based on their recent top categories of interest.

McKinsey added, “Advertisers will also need to rethink how they approach measurement and attribution — the process of assessing the contribution of the advertising channels that lead customers to their website or app — given that Google’s cookie ban, Apple’s app-tracking-transparency policy, and evolving privacy-protection regulation will render some existing measurement and attribution methods obsolete.”

Capgemini wrote in a recent blog entry, “Solutions that help marketers to strengthen first party data, match and analyze first party data from any source, and expand overlaps for greater accuracy and scale while being agnostic of cloud and identity provider will empower data enrichment and identity resolution.”  ....' 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

MITSloan Podcast on AI

Informed of,  following

Me, Myself, and AI

A Podcast on Artificial Intelligence in Business

Why do only 10% of companies succeed with AI? In this series from MIT SMR and BCG, we talk to leaders achieving big wins with AI in their companies and learn how they did it. This season, leaders from companies like Stanley Black & Decker, LinkedIn, Levi Strauss & Co., Warner Music, and others will share the keys to their AI success.

Me, Myself, and AI

Subscribe for updates

Also available on:  Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Amazon Music | Castbox | iHeartRadio | TuneIn

John Deere Does Autonomy

 Impressive regarding autonomous applications.  I recall the NavCon Satellite based work.

John Deere is slowly becoming one of the world’s most important AI companies

Nothing runs (autonomously) like a Deere  

Artificial Intelligence - The Next Web by Tristan Greene / April 22, 2022 at 02:35PM//keep unread//hide

John Deere has been in business for nearly 200 years. For those in the agriculture industry, the company that makes green tractors is as well-known as Santa Claus, McDonald’s, or John Wayne.

Heck, even city folk who’ve never seen a tractor that wasn’t on a television screen know John Deere. The company’s so popular even celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and George Clooney have been known to rock a Deere hat.

What most outsiders don’t know is that John Deere’s not so much a farming vehicle manufacturer these days as it is an agricultural technology company. And, judging by how things are going in 2022, we’re predicting it’ll be a full-on artificial intelligence company within the next 15 years.

John Deere’s been heavily-invested in robotics and autonomy for decades. Back in the late 1990s, the company acquired GPS startup NavCon in hopes of building satellite-directed guidance systems for tractors.

Within a few years, JD was able to develop a system that was accurate to a few centimeters — previous GPS systems could be off by as much as several meters. The company then partnered with none other than NASA to create the world’s first internet-based GPS tracking system.

In other words: the path to modern autonomous vehicles was sowed and tilled by John Deer tractors and NASA decades ago. Automation is par for the course at John Deere. The company has numerous tractors, vehicles, and other smart equipment that offer features ranging from hands-free driver assistance to autonomous weed identification and eradication.

But the recent shift to autonomy has the company positioned to be an important fixture in the AI technology sector. I spoke to John Deere’s VP of autonomy and automation, Jorge Heraud, to find out exactly what we could expect from the first name in self-driving tractors in the future.  ... ' 

Improving Two Factor Authorization

 Any improvement is useful.

Improving Security of Two-Factor Authentication Systems

Texas A&M Engineering News, Stephanie Jones, April 14, 2022

An international team of researchers led by Texas A&M University's Nitesh Saxena created new techniques to enhance the security of push notification-based two-factor authentication systems. Saxena said the REPLICATE method better defends against concurrent login attacks. "If a user receives two notifications, the notification that corresponds to the browser's session of the attacker will differ," said Saxena, so "the user should be able to detect that something is amiss and not accept the wrong notification." REPLICATE requires users to approve login attempts by replicating a randomized interaction presenting on the browser session over on the login notification. This will block a concurrency attack, because the validating interaction will diverge from the interaction the attacker must perform. .... '

Univever Boosts Availability

 Was our biggest competitor ....

Unilever’s Newest Way to Boost On-Shelf Availability,   Lisa Johnston,  Senior Editor

The tool recommends whether to continue manufacturing products and accounts for such factors as profitability, consumer purchase habits, and retailer benefit.

Unilever shared insight into how it’s leveraging machine learning and advanced analytics as part of its SKU rationalization process.

While long a tool in the CPG toolbox, SKU rationalization accelerated during the pandemic’s unprecedented consumer demand and ensuing supply chain crisis. Many consumer goods companies used the period as an opportunity to cut back poor performers in order to simplify production, optimize on-shelf availability (OSA), and bolster their retail partnerships.

In a company blog post, Unilever said the company is leveraging a new data-driven tool that uses advanced analytics to provide a more holistic and granular assessment of its portfolio. Segmenting the data by brand, customer, category, and channel, the tool recommends whether to continue manufacturing products and accounts for such factors as profitability, consumer purchase habits, and retailer benefit.

[See also: Unilever and Ahold Partner on Consumer Behavior With Visual Learning End Caps]  

It’s said to offers both total and cross-market views of rationalization opportunities; as a result, the Unilever market teams receive greater visibility into top-performing products, as well as insight into where there may be opportunities to invest. The teams can also better track overall portfolio performance, and the No. 4 publicly owned consumer goods company expects the technology to provide additional cost savings within the discontinuation process, as well as optimize both in-store and e-commerce OSA. 

Learn More on CPG Innovation

Like the many consumer goods companies turning to artificial intelligence and machine learning, Unilever emphasizes the role of its employees in the process, pointing to the required “human touch."

Morgan Vawter, global VP at Unilever’s data center of excellence, said the technology helps the company make faster and better decisions by marrying the perspectives of its retailers, consumers, and business.

“This is supported by clear targets from our leadership and by robust end-to-end governance,” she added. “The tool gives us visibility of each SKU delisting execution, so we have full traceability of every step to realizing its value.”

Monday, April 25, 2022

Musk Takes Twitter

Worth a look to think of implications, who guarantees freedom of speech? 

A complete timeline of the Elon Musk-Twitter saga   from TechCrunch

It’s been a wild month of news for the social network that we collectively love to hate. In early April, Elon Musk took a bite out of Twitter, coming away with 9.2% of the company and plans to exercise his influence over the company through its board. After that he backed out of his planned board seat, Musk teed up an even more outrageous plan: He’d buy the company outright and take it private.  ....  '

Elon Musk says he wants to improve Twitter by "making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans" (The Verge)

AI Ushers in next-gen Prior Authorization in Healthcare

Had yet to see this specific kind of application

AI ushers in next-gen prior authorization in healthcare in McKinsey

Healthcare payers recognize prior authorization as a core administrative process that’s ripe for improvement with artificial intelligence.

Healthcare payers recognize that prior authorization (PA) is ripe for improvement. AI-enabled PA design may deliver substantial financial, user-experience, and care benefits.


Artificial intelligence—the simulation of human intelligence by machines—is rapidly becoming a key enabler for businesses to deliver consistent, high-quality, and efficient outcomes. Healthcare organizations across the value chain are making significant strides in embedding AI capabilities in areas such as diagnostics, medical imaging, and lifestyle management.1

One healthcare process that could potentially be improved through the application of AI is prior authorization (PA). PA is a core administrative process in which payers require providers to obtain preapproval to administer a service or a medication as a condition of coverage. The goal of PA is to ensure members receive the most appropriate care for their medical needs in alignment with the latest medical evidence and guidelines. PA can prevent wholly inappropriate service utilization or, more commonly, ensure that first-line treatments are attempted before escalating to more invasive or risky therapies.  .... ' 

Regulation of US Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Been following commercial drone use here for some time.  We see that the US has today rolled out a 'whole-of-government plan' for unmanned aircraft systems  (UAS) in the US   to 'counter threats to the US posed by drones'.  But they say there are no current,  specific threats.      Have yet to see the specifics of such regulations and how they influence the commercial use of drones.   Also no indication of how levels of the autonomy of such devices may be included, including 'AI' integration.  All this aimed at US security.    More to follow as I get more specific information.   - FAD 

Newly Powered LiDAR System

Note mention of piezoelectric method for powering Lidar.    Could be a big step.

LiDAR System Promises 3D Vision for Cameras, Cars, Bots

IEEE Spectrum, Mark Harris, April 21, 2022

New Lidar System Promises 3D Vision for Cameras, Cars, and Bots Piezoelectric effect harnessed for cheaper lidar  .... 

Stanford University researchers, working with a colleague at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, have developed a novel light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system that taps the piezoelectric effect to capture three-dimensional data at potentially vastly less cost than current systems. The researchers coated thin-film lithium niobate with transparent electrodes in order to excite the crystal, generating an acoustic standing wave that modulates the intensity of laser light passing through it. They were able to execute a modulated time-of-flight calculation that captured distance data to objects in the scene, using less than a watt of power. Coupling the opto-acoustic modulator with a standard four-megapixel digital camera yielded a relatively high-resolution depth map of several metal targets, locating them to within a few centimeters.

Robotics in Nursing Homes

Saw related work being outlined in Japan.

Can Robots Save Nursing Homes?

The New York Times, John Leland, April 24, 2022

As more nursing home and assisted living facility staff leave the profession, some facilities are turning to robots to fill in the gaps. A $2-million contribution from the Minnesota Department of Human Services could enable 16 robots programmed by University of Minnesota Duluth’s Arshia Khan to be deployed to eight nursing homes later this year, if approved by the university's institutional review board. NAO robots will lead residents in yoga, tai chi, and strength-training classes, while Pepper robots will socialize with and entertain residents. Concerns about nursing homes' use of robots include a decline in human-to-human contact, whether families should have access to monitoring data, and how robots are presented in terms of gender and ethnicity.  ... ' 

A First IBM Mainframe for AI

 Have not tested this, nor checked completely what a 'mainframe AI'device means fully, but here is the claim:

The first IBM mainframe for AI arrives

The next-generation IBM z16 comes with an IBM Telum processor for real-time AI insights.

Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor  on April 6, 2022 | Topic: Computing   in ZDnet

Mainframes and AI? Isn't that something like a Model-T Ford with a Tesla motor? Actually, no. Mainframes are as relevant in 2022 as they were in the 1960s. IBM's new IBM z16, with its integrated on-chip Telum AI accelerator, is ready to analyze real-time transactions, at scale. This makes it perfect for mainframe mission-critical workloads such as healthcare and financial transactions. 

This 21st century Big Iron AI accelerator is built onto its core Telum processor. With this new dual-processor 5.2 GHz chip and its 16 cores, it can perform 300 billion deep-learning inferences per day with one-millisecond latency. Can you say fast? IBM can. 


Anthony Saporito, a senior technical staff member for IBM Z hardware development, said "One of the Telum design's key innovations is we built an AI accelerator right onto the silicon of the chip and we directly connected all of the cores and built an ecosystem up the stack. Through the hardware design, firmware, the operating systems, and the software, deep learning is built into all of the transactions." 

According to Patrick Moorhead, Moor Insights & Strategy's chief analyst, "The AI accelerator is a game-changer. The z16 with z/OS has a 20x response time with 19x higher throughput when inferencing compared to a comparable x86 cloud server with 60ms average network latency."

The new model z16 also includes a so-called quantum-safe system to protect organizations from near-future threats that might crack today's encrypted files. This is done with the z16's support of the Crypto Express8S adapter. Built around a CCA cryptographic coprocessor and a  PKCS #11 cryptographic coprocessor, it enables users to develop quantum-safe cryptography. It also works with classical cryptography. If you want your data and transactions to be safe both today and tomorrow, this deserves your attention. 

For today, even if you're not doing anything with AI nor do you fear quantum-computing cryptography code breakers, it's still a great machine for working with the hybrid cloud. Today's mainframe business records speak for themselves. For example, according to a recent IBM commissioned study by Celent  "Operationalizing Fraud Prevention on IBM Z," IBM zSystems run 70% of global transactions on a value basis. 

"IBM is the gold standard for highly secured transaction processing. Now with IBM z16 innovations, our clients can increase decision velocity with inferencing right where their mission-critical data lives," said Ric Lewis, SVP, IBM Systems.

In particular, IBM thinks its financial customers should give serious thought to shifting up to its new model to deal with fraud.  According to a new IBM and Morning Consult study "2022 IBM Global Financial Fraud Impact Report," credit card fraud is the most common type of fraud. And people believe that banks and payment networks should be most responsible for preventing fraud. That's easier said than done. But by running deep-learning models at scale in real-time, fraud detection models can be much more efficient at spotting fraud even in high-volume transactions.  ... ' 

Bitcoin as Reserve Currency

Implications of this?

Cryptoverse: 10 billion reasons bitcoin could become a reserve currency   By Lisa Pauline Mattackal and Medha Singh

April 12 (Reuters) - A crypto platform's pledge to amass $10 billion worth of bitcoin to back its own "stablecoin" is firing up the market. It's part of a wider movement to crown bitcoin as the reserve currency of a new age.

Seoul-based Terraform Labs has so far built up nearly 40,000 bitcoin worth $1.7 billion in a series of purchases via a non-profit affiliate, Luna Foundation Guard, according to publicly available blockchain data.  .... ' 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Salvaging Scarce Chips

 Had to read this several times before I understood it.    But apparently they are compatible for use. 

Chip-Starved Firms Are Scavenging Silicon From Washing Machines

April 22, 2022  in Bloomberg

A major industrial conglomerate has resorted to buying washing machines and tearing out the semiconductors inside for use in its own chip modules, according to the CEO of a company central to the chipmaking supply chain.

ASML Holding NV Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink remarked on the situation, without naming the conglomerate, during his company’s earnings call Wednesday. The beleaguered firm relayed its struggle to him only the prior week, he said, signaling that chip shortages are going to persist for the foreseeable future, at least for some sectors.

“The demand we are currently seeing comes from so many places in the industry,” Wennink said, pointing to the wider adoption of Internet of Things applications. “It’s so widespread. We have significantly underestimated the width of the demand. That, I don’t think, is going to go away.”  .... ' 

Siemens: How to Deliver Products to Market Faster by Integrating Electrical, Mechanical, PLM, and MBSE.

Former colleague now VP at Siemens sends along a Webinar alert

Via Suzanne Kopcha,   Vice President Strategy at Siemens Digital Industries Software

Register for our holistic engineering #webinar on April 26. We’ll cover how to deliver products to market faster by integrating electrical, mechanical, PLM, and MBSE.

April 26, 2022, 07:00 AM EDT,  April 26, 2022, 01:00 PM EDT

E/E Systems & E/E Architecture Design Complexity | Siemens Capital

Signup:   Capital’s role within the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio

April 26, 2022, 07:00 AM EDT, April 26, 2022, 01:00 PM EDT

Siemens Xcelerator as a Service

Through our webinar, learn how to drive enterprise-level productivity and innovation by digitalizing your approach to Electrical and Electronic (E/E) systems development. By armoring up with a solution like Capital and its integrations (Teamcenter, NX, Polarion), engineers can capitalize on three key elements (systems, software, and electrical) to sift through E/E architecture design complexity and manage their product lifecycle end-to-end. Gain a new holistic engineering approach to electrical product complexity and development while discovering how to improve design reuse, data quality, machine reliability, and process traceability.

Teamcenter: integrating electrical computer aided design with product lifecycle management

For holistic product development that drives greater efficiency and productivity, consider integrating the Capital and Teamcenter software systems. Through this integration, engineers gain an embedded active workspace where departments can cross-collaborate on the holistic engineering of E/E systems. For example, a blended Capital-Teamcenter software provides electrical engineers with easy access to enterprise data, direct visibility into tasks and extended design information to ensure processes are followed. They are also provided with requirements integration, product configuration integrations, BOM design and publication options, lifecycle management procedures and much more.

NX: integrating electrical computer aided design with mechanical computer aided design

Reduce wire harness delivery time by breaking down siloes between electrical computer aided design and mechanical computer aided design. Our Capital and NX software integration drives a holistic design approach between disciplines. While mechanical engineers design physical wire harnesses in NX, electrical engineers concurrently develop E/E systems in Capital. Through this connected engineering process, organizations increase visibility into the holistic design process, reduce the number of design change approvals and ensure greater precision between mechanical and electrical functions.

Polarion: integrating electrical computer aided design with model-based systems engineering

Take control of your electrical and IT/applications infrastructure with Capital-Polarion integration. While Capital provides the foundation for developing E/E architecture, Polarion is a model-based system engineering tool where engineers develop their own IT applications to manage the product development process. When Capital and Polarion are synchronized, engineers gain a holistic approach to creating digital applications that manage the E/E development and overall engineering process. The Capital-Polarion integration uses an active, embedded workspace, helping designers immediately locate requirements, tasks and other fundamental work items.  ...

Age of the Unreasonable Consumer?

Been thinking more and more unreasonable of late.   Whats driving it? 

How to Win in the Age of Unreasonable Consumer

Mukesh Gupta  in CustomerThink

I recently stumbled onto a video of Adam Morgan (Co-founder of eatbigfish and the co-author of a brilliant book – A Beautiful Constraint) shares his perspectives on how we live in an age of unreasonable consumers and what do we need to think about in order to succeed in this world where we are surrounded by unreasonable consumers.

The first question that comes to mind when I listen to Adam present is to question if we really have become unreasonable consumers?

I believe the answer is absolutely. We now expect to have clean, transport whenever and wherever we want to arrive and be hassle free.

We expect products we order to arrive same or next day and for them to cost cheaper than ever.

We want to binge watch an entire season of a TV series during a weekend.

We expect to order multiple items online and simply return what we dont like. We dont even want to go to a store to try out a new dress or a shoe or an eye wear. We want it to come to us in the comfort of our home.

And this is just the start. Every single area of our lives, we are getting more and more unreasonable, not because we want to but because we are trained to be, by brands which elevate their game and as a result make consumers more unreasonable.

This also makes consumers much more intolerant of bad experiences. Add to this is the fact that they can easily and most certainly have the ability to express their opinions (negative one’s much more than the positive one’s) to their followers or connections.  .... '

Security Tool Based on Surveillance Footage

 Have been thinking for sometime, how do you balance security and privacy in a world of quickly advancing and automated surveillance?  

Security tool guarantees privacy in surveillance footage  in MIT News

“Privid” could help officials gather secure public health data or enable transportation departments to monitor the density and flow of pedestrians, without learning personal information about people.

Rachel Gordon | MIT CSAIL,  March 28, 2022

Surveillance cameras have an identity problem, fueled by an inherent tension between utility and privacy. As these powerful little devices have cropped up seemingly everywhere, the use of machine learning tools has automated video content analysis at a massive scale — but with increasing mass surveillance, there are currently no legally enforceable rules to limit privacy invasions. 

Security cameras can do a lot — they’ve become smarter and supremely more competent than their ghosts of grainy pictures past, the ofttimes “hero tool” in crime media. (“See that little blurry blue blob in the right hand corner of that densely populated corner — we got him!”) Now, video surveillance can help health officials measure the fraction of people wearing masks, enable transportation departments to monitor the density and flow of vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians, and provide businesses with a better understanding of shopping behaviors. But why has privacy remained a weak afterthought? 

The status quo is to retrofit video with blurred faces or black boxes. Not only does this prevent analysts from asking some genuine queries (e.g., Are people wearing masks?), it also doesn’t always work; the system may miss some faces and leave them unblurred for the world to see. Dissatisfied with this status quo, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), in collaboration with other institutions, came up with a system to better guarantee privacy in video footage from surveillance cameras. Called “Privid,” the system lets analysts submit video data queries, and adds a little bit of noise (extra data) to the end result to ensure that an individual can’t be identified. The system builds on a formal definition of privacy — “differential privacy” — which allows access to aggregate statistics about private data without revealing personally identifiable information.

Typically, analysts would just have access to the entire video to do whatever they want with it, but Privid makes sure the video isn’t a free buffet. Honest analysts can get access to the information they need, but that access is restrictive enough that malicious analysts can't do too much with it. To enable this, rather than running the code over the entire video in one shot, Privid breaks the video into small pieces and runs processing code over each chunk. Instead of getting results back from each piece, the segments are aggregated, and that additional noise is added. (There’s also information on the error bound you're going to get on your result — maybe a 2 percent error margin, given the extra noisy data added). 

For example, the code might output the number of people observed in each video chunk, and the aggregation might be the “sum,” to count the total number of people wearing face coverings, or the “average” to estimate the density of crowds. 

Privid allows analysts to use their own deep neural networks that are commonplace for video analytics today. This gives analysts the flexibility to ask questions that the designers of Privid did not anticipate. Across a variety of videos and queries, Privid was accurate within 79 to 99 percent of a non-private system.

“We’re at a stage right now where cameras are practically ubiquitous. If there's a camera on every street corner, every place you go, and if someone could actually process all of those videos in aggregate, you can imagine that entity building a very precise timeline of when and where a person has gone,” says MIT CSAIL PhD student ​​Frank Cangialosi, the lead author on a paper about Privid. “People are already worried about location privacy with GPS — video data in aggregate could capture not only your location history, but also moods, behaviors, and more at each location.” 

Privid introduces a new notion of “duration-based privacy,” which decouples the definition of privacy from its enforcement — with obfuscation, if your privacy goal is to protect all people, the enforcement mechanism needs to do some work to find the people to protect, which it may or may not do perfectly. With this mechanism, you don’t need to fully specify everything, and you're not hiding more information than you need to.   .... '   (more with links to supporting papers) 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Future Changing Childhood Survey

 Thought this was interesting, as we grow older.  How do the young think about technology? Other contexts of our lives?   How should e adapt a future web.  Or just let it evolve?   Future for marketing? Intro here, Click through for many samples of the survey

How Do Young People See the World Compared to the  Older Generations?  by our friend Irving Vladowsky-Berger

“There is an emerging narrative about a growing intergenerational divide worldwide,” said a recent international survey  conducted by The Changing Childhood Project.   “In the media and in popular culture, the young are often portrayed as impatient, militant, outspoken, and even entitled, in contrast to more sober temperaments among older people. The concept of intergenerational tension is not new. What may be new, however, is the speed with which our world is changing – and with it, childhood.”

The Changing Childhood Project is a collaboration between UNICEF, - the UN agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children around the world, - and Gallup, - the analytics company best known for its international opinion polls. Created to explore these intergenerational shifts, the project seeks to answer a few key questions: what is it like growing up today?; how do young people see the world differently?; and, is there an intergenerational gap?

To explore these and other questions, the project conducted phone interviews in the first half of 2021 with over 22,000 individuals in 21 countries representing diverse regional and income levels:   ..... ' 

Supply Chain Benchmarking

Important to compare to competitive uses, and changes over time and industry changes.  

Why is Supply Chain Benchmarking Important?   By Marisa Brown in APQC

Supply chain benchmarking is important because managers need to:  understand how their supply chains compare to competitors’, evaluate “as is” conditions before they can determine what to fix,  encourage innovation, compare performance across business units, and leverage data for restructuring and change.

APQC defines benchmarking as the process of comparing and measuring your organization against others, anywhere in the world, to gain information on philosophies, practices, and measures that will help your organization take action to improve its performance. Benchmarking gathers the tacit knowledge—the know-how, judgments, and enablers—that explicit knowledge often misses.

The benefits of supply chain benchmarking start with the task of collecting the necessary data and converting it into industry-standard practices and metrics. The simple—and not so simple—act of gathering key operational measures on one scorecard provides a broad snapshot of current performance. This data-gathering process can be a useful cross-functional, team-building exercise when it helps managers who are ultimately responsible for making changes better understand what needs to be done.

Benchmarking can be seen as the systematic process of searching for best practices, innovative ideas, and more productive operating methods. Strategic benchmarking helps make sure that improvement efforts and resources are directed at activities that will move the organization forward.

Comparative information that shows key performance gaps can spark change within underperforming areas and focus limited resources. Of course, any benchmarking activity is pointless if it doesn’t prompt an organization into action. Download APQC's free infographic Ensuring Supply Chain Success with Measures to begin your Supply Chain Benchmarking journey. 

How is Benchmarking Done in Supply Chain?  .... ' 

Example of Medical Drones

Using drones for crucial healthcare delivery

U.S. Drone Company Zipline Starts Delivering Medicine in Japan

Associated Press Yuri Kageyama, April 21, 2022  via ACM

U.S. drone firm Zipline is delivering medical supplies to pharmacies and hospitals in southwestern Japan via aerial drones, in partnership with the Toyota Tsusho trading company. Zipline's Keller Rinaudo is confident the technology will find acceptance in a country with a large senior populace that requires better healthcare in isolated areas. “You can totally transform the way that you react to pandemics, treat patients, and do things like home healthcare delivery," Rinaudo said. The service can help shrink medication stockpiles and waste through precise delivery. Toyota Tsusho's Sora-iina subsidiary is operating the service, managing a distribution center and flights from Fukue Port in the Goto Islands.

(full article link missing) 

Think of Ransomware as a Data Management Problem

As most things can be thought of.   Just reading work of Turing, Von Neumann et al, and their early work was all about how you effectively stored things and used them,  though its safety had not yet come up. 

Ransomware: Why It’s Time to Think of it as a Data Management Problem

Enrico Signoretti. Mar 23, 2022 -- Blog in  GigaOm

Over the last couple of years, ransomware has taken center stage in data protection, but very few people realize it is only the tip of the iceberg. Everybody wants to protect their data against this new threat, but most solutions available in the market focus just on relatively quick recovery (RTO) instead of detection, protection, and recovery. In fact, recovery should be your last resort.

Protection and detection are much more difficult measures to implement than air gaps, immutable backup snapshots, and rapid restore procedures. But when well-executed these two stages of ransomware defense open up a world of new opportunities. Over time, they will help defend your data against cybersecurity threats that now are less common, or better said, less visible in the news—such as data exfiltration or manipulation. And again, when I say less visible, it is not only because the incidents are not reported, it is because often nobody knows they happened until it’s too late!

Security and Data Silos

Now that data growth is taken for granted, one of the biggest challenges most organizations face is the proliferation of data silos. Unfortunately, new hybrid, multi-cloud, and edge infrastructures are not helping this. We are seeing what we might call a “data silo sprawl”–a multitude of hard-to-manage data infrastructure repositories that proliferate in different locations and with different access and security rules. And across these silos there are often rules that don’t always follow the company’s policies because the environments are different and we don’t have complete control over them.

As I have written many times in my reports, the user must find a way to consolidate all their data in a single domain. It could be physical—backup is the easiest way in this case—or logical, and it is also possible to use a combination of physical and logical. But in the end, the goal is to get a single view of all the data.

Why is it important? First of all, once you have complete visibility, you know how much data you really have. Secondly, you can start to understand what the data is, who is creating and using it, when they use it, and so on. Of course, this is only the first step, but, among other things, you start to see usage patterns as well. This is why you need consolidation: to gain full visibility.

Epidemic Research

Simulation and Paradoxes are noted. 

Researchers Outline Bias in Epidemic Research, Offer Simulation Tool to Guide Future Work

New York University, March 31, 2022

Researchers at New York University (NYU) have identified biases in epidemic research and developed a simulation tool to improve research methodologies. The researchers examined the Grue Paradox, Simpson's Paradox, confirmation bias, and other paradoxes, fallacies, and bias in the context of epidemic research and the COVID-19 pandemic. They developed the open source Epidemic Simulation (Episimmer) platform to offer decision support. Episimmer undertakes "counterfactual" analyses, which involve measuring the impact to an ecosystem of such paradoxes, fallacies, and bias without interventions or policies to help users identify opportunities and optimizations that could be included in their COVID-19 strategies. Said NYU's Inavamsi Enaganti, "Faced with a rapidly evolving virus, inventors must experiment, iterate, and deploy both creative and effective solutions while avoiding pitfalls that plague clinical trials and related work."  .... ' 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Consumer Goods and Data

Lots of companies, like the consumer goods company I worked for, are deeply involved]

Coca-Cola, Kraft-Heinz, Unilever: CPG Companies Embracing the Data Revolution

Liz Dominguez, Managing Editor

Data across the business lifecycle

If there’s one thing CGs have learned in 2022, it’s that data has a place across the entire business lifecycle. More and more CGs are leveraging technology that gives them better access to this valuable data, including machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

According to the CGT and RIS 2021 Retail and Consumer Goods Study, the top three uses of AI/ML in the industry are supply chain planning and execution (28%), demand planning and forecasting (27%), and marketing/promotion campaign planning and execution (24%). From the supply chain to in-store experiences, businesses need to embrace data, and the tech infrastructure that keeps it flowing in order to increase market visibility, strengthen product innovation, and bolster the consumer experience. 

[Related: 2022 CPG Predictions: Mastering the Power of Data Revolution  ]

These three brands are investing heavily in the data revolution.   ... '   (examples of each)  .... '

Google Talks Ambient Computing

New and old interfaces providing ambient computing

In AI.Googleblog 

Hidden Interfaces for Ambient Computing

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Posted by Alex Olwal, Research Scientist, Google Augmented Reality and Artem Dementyev, Hardware Engineer, Google Research

As consumer electronics and internet-connected appliances are becoming more common, homes are beginning to embrace various types of connected devices that offer functionality like music control, voice assistance, and home automation. A graceful integration of devices requires adaptation to existing aesthetics and user styles rather than simply adding screens, which can easily disrupt a visual space, especially when they become monolithic surfaces or black screens when powered down or not actively used. Thus there is an increasing desire to create connected ambient computing devices and appliances that can preserve the aesthetics of everyday materials, while providing on-demand access to interaction and digital displays.

Illustration of how hidden interfaces can appear and disappear in everyday surfaces, such as a mirror or the wood paneling of a home appliance.

In “Hidden Interfaces for Ambient Computing: Enabling Interaction in Everyday Materials through High-Brightness Visuals on Low-Cost Matrix Displays”, presented at ACM CHI 2022, we describe an interface technology that is designed to be embedded underneath materials and our vision of how such technology can co-exist with everyday materials and aesthetics. This technology makes it possible to have high-brightness, low-cost displays appear from underneath materials such as textile, wood veneer, acrylic or one-way mirrors, for on-demand touch-based interaction.

For insight into how this works, you can see this video about the Hidden Interfaces project

Hidden interface prototypes demonstrate bright and expressive rendering underneath everyday materials. From left to right: thermostat under textile, a scalable clock under wood veneer, and a caller ID display and a zooming countdown under mirrored surfaces.

Parallel Rendering: Boosting PMOLED Brightness for Ambient Computing

While many of today’s consumer devices employ active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) displays, their cost and manufacturing complexity is prohibitive for ambient computing. Yet other display technologies, such as E-ink and LCD, do not have sufficient brightness to penetrate materials.

To address this gap, we explore the potential of passive-matrix OLEDs (PMOLEDs), which are based on a simple design that significantly reduces cost and complexity. However, PMOLEDs typically use scanline rendering, where active display driver circuitry sequentially activates one row at a time, a process that limits display brightness and introduces flicker.

Instead, we propose a system that uses parallel rendering, where as many rows as possible are activated simultaneously in each operation by grouping rectilinear shapes of horizontal and vertical lines. For example, a square can be shown with just two operations, in contrast to traditional scanline rendering that needs as many operations as there are rows. With fewer operations, parallel rendering can output significantly more light in each instant to boost brightness and eliminate flicker. The technique is not strictly limited to lines and rectangles even if that is where we see the most dramatic performance increase. For example, one could add additional rendering steps for antialiasing (i.e., smoothing of) non-rectilinear content.

Illustration of scanline rendering (top) and parallel rendering (bottom) operations of an unfilled rectangle. Parallel rendering achieves bright, flicker-free graphics by simultaneously activating multiple rows.

Rendering User Interfaces and Text

We show that hidden interfaces can be used to create dynamic and expressive interactions. With a set of fundamental UI elements such as buttons, switches, sliders, and cursors, each interface can provide different basic controls, such as light switches, volume controls and thermostats. We created a scalable font (i.e., a set of numbers and letters) that is designed for efficient rendering in just a few operations. While we currently exclude letters “k, z, x” with their diagonal lines, they could be supported with additional operations. The per-frame-control of font properties coupled with the high frame rate of the display enables very fluid animations — this capability greatly expands the expressivity of the rectilinear graphics far beyond what is possible on fixed 7-segment LED displays.

In this work, we demonstrate various examples, such as a scalable clock, a caller ID display, a zooming countdown timer, and a music visualizer.

Realizing Hidden Interfaces with Interactive Hardware

To implement proof-of-concept hidden interfaces, we use a PMOLED display with 128×96 resolution that has all row and column drivers routed to a connector for direct access. We use a custom printed circuit board (PCB) with fourteen 16-channel digital-to-analog converters (DACs) to directly interface those 224 lines from a Raspberry Pi 3 A+. The touch interaction is enabled by a ring-shaped PCB surrounding the display with 12 electrodes arranged in arc segments.   .... ' 

Reading Tree Heights from Sat Images

Also something we could have used in Forestry applications. 

Neural Network Can Read Tree Heights from Satellite Images

ETH Zurich (Switzerland)

St├ęphanie Hegelbach, April 20, 2022

Researchers at Switzerland's ETH Zurich leveraged an artificial neural network and satellite images to develop a high-resolution global vegetation height map for 2020 that could be used for sustainable regional development planning or to assess carbon emissions associated with deforestation. The map allows users to determine tree heights on any piece of woodland on Earth at a resolution of as little as 10x10 meters per pixel. The convolutional neural network was trained using millions of images from the European Space Agency's two Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites, along with tree height data based on space laser measurements from NASA's Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation mission. The map will be made public along with its source code. ...