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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Examining AI Liability

 Good overview of the topic and related liability issues, we looked at this in early AI and analytical applications. Now especially applicable in automated vehicles.

Who Is Liable when AI Kills?

We need to change rules and institutions while still promoting innovation to protect people from faulty AI       By George Maliha, Ravi B. Parikh on June 29, 2022    in SCIAM

Who is responsible when AI harms someone?

A California jury may soon have to decide. In December 2019, a person driving a Tesla with an artificial intelligence driving system killed two people in Gardena in an accident. The Tesla driver faces several years in prison. In light of this and other incidents, both the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating Tesla crashes, and NHTSA has recently broadened its probe to explore how drivers interact with Tesla systems. On the state front, California is considering curtailing the use of Tesla autonomous driving features.

Our current liability system—our system to determine responsibility and payment for injuries—is completely unprepared for AI. Liability rules were designed for a time when humans caused the majority of mistakes or injuries. Thus, most liability frameworks place punishments on the end-user doctor, driver or other human who caused an injury. But with AI, errors may occur without any human input at all. The liability system needs to adjust accordingly. Bad liability policy will harm patients, consumers and AI developers.   .... ' 


Soft Robot Made of Magnetic Slime

More small and soft robotics.  Healthcare?  Note possible use. 

Researchers in Hong Kong create 'soft robot' made of magnetic slime

Researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong have created a "soft robot" made of slime containing magnetic particles, which can be manipulated using external magnets.

The magnetic particles are toxic, but have theoretically been made safe to enter the human body after being covered in a layer of silicone compound - although further safety testing will be needed in the future.

The team in Hong Kong hope the slime will one day be used to collect objects which have been accidentally swallowed.

In Library: 

Studying Very Large Genomic Datasets

 Note addressing very large datasets, likely AI applications.  

Scientists Develop Algorithms to Study Genomic Data

UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, June 28, 2022

A multi-institutional team of researchers led by the University of California, Los Angeles' Sriram Sankararaman has developed algorithms that can analyze genomic data up to 1,800 times faster than previous methods, enabling the potential analysis of information from 1 million people in a single day. The researchers designed the SCalable pOPulation structure inferencE (SCOPE) technique to accelerate and scale the inference of genetic variability within a population to reveal patterns that direct conclusions or avoid false associations in research. SCOPE reduces the volume of computational resources needed to process large datasets, and lowers the cost of running calculations. In one experiment, the researchers used just 250 gigabytes (GB) of memory for computation, rather than the approximately 2,000 GB required by a previous research tool.

NIST Tracks Software for Investigations

Broader than just software related aspects it seems,  digital files in any criminal  investigation,  will this lead to privacy objections? 

NIST Update to Software Reference Library Will Aid Criminal Investigations  

NIST, June 27, 2022

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) updated its National Software Reference Library (NSRL) to make it easier to search through data on electronic equipment seized in police raids during criminal investigations. In the database's first major update in 20 years, the number and type of records in the database were broadened to reflect the growing diversity of digital files that law enforcement might find on a device. NIST also has revised the records' format to make the NSRL more searchable. The SQLite format makes it easier for users to create tailored filters to screen files for desired content. Said NIST's Doug White, “The update should make it easier for police to separate the wheat from the chaff." 

Kellogg is Splitting into 3 Companies:

 Quite unexpected, a major CPG.    Can we expect more?  

Kellogg is splitting into 3 companies: Here’s what each one will focus on

The cereal giant will become three distinct companies in a deal that is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.  Kellogg is splitting into 3 companies: Here’s what each one will focus on   By Michael Grothaus  in Fastcompany

Three companies are better than one for one of America’s most well-known brands.  Kellogg Company, the breakfast cereal juggernaut, has announced that it will split itself into three separate companies after the Kellogg board of directors approved the plan.

All three new companies will be publicly traded, and Kellogg says the split companies will be “better positioned to unlock their full standalone potential.” Announcing the news, Kellogg CEO Steve Cahillane said, “These businesses all have significant standalone potential, and an enhanced focus will enable them to better direct their resources toward their distinct strategic priorities.  In turn, each business is expected to create more value for all stakeholders, and each is well positioned to build a new era of innovation and growth.”

The three companies have not been given names yet, but Kellogg has detailed what each company will focus on:

“Global Snacking Co.”: This is the temporary name given to the company that will make and distribute some of Kellogg’s most iconic snacks and international cereals. Snack brands include Pringles, Cheez-It, Pop-Tarts, Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats, and Nutri-Grain. International cereals include Special K, Tresor / Krave, Crunchy Nut, and Coco-Pops. Kellogg says this company will be worth about $11.4 billion in net sales based on 2021 numbers.

“North America Cereal Co.”: This company will make and distribute some of the top brands people think about when they think of “Kellogg’s.” It will focus on ready-to-eat cereals in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Cereal brands under this company’s banner will include Kellogg’s, Frosted Flakes, Special K, Froot Loops, Mini-Wheats, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Kashi, and Bear Naked. It will be worth about $2.4 billion in net sales based on 2021 numbers.

“Plant Co.”: This final company can be considered the newest one when it comes to brands. That’s because it will make and distribute Kellogg’s plant-based foods. Its main brand will be the MorningStar Farms line of food and will focus on the United States, Canadian, and Caribbean markets. It will be worth about $340 million in net sales based on 2021 numbers.  ....

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

TikTok a Dangerous Risk?

 Following up on this.   My guess it would be very hard now to get significant number of folks to delete it.

Is TikTok Seriously Dangerous—Do You Need To Delete It?

Zak Doffman, Contributor, I cover security and surveillance and co-host 'Straight Talking Cyber'

Follow this author to improve your content experience. 

Jul 11, 2020,05:07am EDT    in Forbes

FRANCE-CHINA-TIKTOK-INTERNET-APP

Reports on Friday that Amazon had asked employees to delete TikTok from their phones spread like wildfire—TikTok’s security woes have been the viral story of the month. Amazon quickly retracted the news—an internal memo had been released in error—but the implication that TikTok, an app installed by hundreds of millions, might be tapping into emails had resonated. That’s where we now find ourselves.

And while Amazon walked back from any ban, Wells Fargo has asked some employees to delete the app, citing “concerns about TikTok’s privacy and security controls and practices.” You’ll remember that the U.S. military has already banned TikTok from government-issued phones—and there is pressure to widen that significantly, all of which pales compared to India’s blanket ban and threats that Australia and—devastatingly for TikTok—the U.S. might follow suit.

I have reported on TikTok security concerns for more than a year—but we are now in uncharted territory. Whereas we have seen regulatory concerns and fines for data privacy violations and security vulnerabilities in the past, we have now seen TikTok caught up in the much wider U.S.-led backlash against Chinese tech. The question I’m now asked more than any other, unsurprisingly, is whether TikTok is seriously that dangerous and whether users should seriously delete the app.  ... .' 

Towards a Quantum Circuit

Considerable step?

Huge Step Forward in Quantum Computing Announced: The First-Ever Quantum Circuit

By ScienceAlert, June 23, 2022

The final quantum chip contained 10 quantum dots, each made up of a small number of phosphorus atoms.

Australian scientists have created the world's first-ever quantum computer circuit – one that contains all the essential components found on a classical computer chip but at the quantum scale.

The landmark discovery, published in Nature today, was nine years in the making. 

"This is the most exciting discovery of my career," senior author and quantum physicist Michelle Simmons, founder of Silicon Quantum Computing and director of the Center of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology at UNSW told ScienceAlert.

Not only did Simmons and her team create what's essentially a functional quantum processor, they also successfully tested it by modeling a small molecule in which each atom has multiple quantum states – something a traditional computer would struggle to achieve.  .... ' 

Robotic Lightning Bugs

Small robotics again. 

Robotic Lightning Bugs Take Flight

MIT News, Adam Zewe, June 21, 2022

Fireflies inspired researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and China's Ningxia University to build flying, light-emitting robots that facilitate motion tracking and communication. The researchers designed soft actuators to control the robots' wings, and embedded electroluminescent particles within the actuators, which emit colored light when exposed to the robots’ electrical field. The team used this light and three smartphone cameras with a computer program to track the robots' position and attitude to within 2 millimeters of cutting-edge infrared motion capture systems. "This is a major step toward flying these robots in outdoor environments where we don’t have a well-tuned, state-of-the-art motion tracking system," said MIT's Kevin Chen.  ... ' 

Testing Autonomous Trucks for Supply Chain in US

 Look for this on US roads during tests.    Ultimately a supply chain improvement.    How much further will this expand?  Safety implications?

Sweden's Einride to Test Autonomous Trucks on U.S. Roads

The Wall Street Journal

Liz Young, June 23, 2022

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has granted permission to Sweden's autonomous-truck startup Einride AB to test self-driving freight vehicles on U.S. roadways in partnership with GE Appliances. The remotely operated electric vehicles will move along a one-mile stretch of road between two GE Appliances warehouses in Tennessee. Called Pods, the vehicles have no cabs for onboard drivers and can fit about 10 pallets (around 57,000 pounds) of freight. The remote operators can monitor multiple vehicles simultaneously. The two-week pilot program, slated for the third quarter, will see the Pods running on public roads with cars and trucks.   .... '

AI Translates Math Problems into Code

 Useful Direction.  

AI Translates Math Problems into Code to Make Them Easier to Solve

New Scientist, Alex Wilkins, June 6, 2022

Google's Yuhuai Wu and colleagues used the Codex neural network of artificial intelligence (AI) research company OpenAI to translate mathematical problems from plain English into formal code. Codex correctly translated 25% of 12,500 secondary-school math competition problems into a format compatible with a formal proof-solver program called Isabelle. Wu said the system's inability to understand certain mathematical concepts was responsible for many of the unsuccessful translations. The team then tested the process by applying Codex to problems pre-formalized by humans. The network produced its own formal versions, and the researchers used the MiniF2F AI to solve both versions; the auto-formalized versions raised MiniF2F's success rate from 29% to 35%, suggesting Codex's formalization was superior to that of humans.... '

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

AI Guided Robotics Sort Recyclables

Previously mentioned,  more detail:

AI-GUIDED ROBOTS ARE READY TO SORT YOUR RECYCLABLES  in Spectrum IEEE

Computer-vision systems use shapes, colors, and even labels to identify materials at superhuman speeds

The Amp Cortex, a highspeed robotic sorting system guided by artificial intelligence, identifies materials by category on a conveyor belt. To date, systems in operation have recognized more than 50 billion objects in various permutations.

AMP ROBOTICS

IT’S TUESDAY NIGHT. In front of your house sits a large blue bin, full of newspaper, cardboard, bottles, cans, foil take-out trays, and empty yogurt containers. You may feel virtuous, thinking you’re doing your part to reduce waste. But after you rinse out that yogurt container and toss it into the bin, you probably don’t think much about it ever again.

The truth about recycling in many parts of the United States and much of Europe is sobering. Tomorrow morning, the contents of the recycling bin will be dumped into a truck and taken to the recycling facility to be sorted. Most of the material will head off for processing and eventual use in new products. But a lot of it will end up in a landfill.

So how much of the material that goes into the typical bin avoids a trip to landfill? For countries that do curbside recycling, the number—called the recovery rate—appears to average around 70 to 90 percent, though widespread data isn’t available. That doesn’t seem bad. But in some municipalities, it can go as low as 40 percent.

What’s worse, only a small quantity of all recyclables makes it into the bins—just 32 percent in the United States and 10 to 15 percent globally. That’s a lot of material made from finite resources that needlessly goes to waste.

We have to do better than that. Right now, the recycling industry is facing a financial crisis, thanks to falling prices for sorted recyclables as well as policy, enacted by China in 2018, which restricts the import of many materials destined for recycling and shuts out most recyclables originating in the United States.

There is a way to do better. Using computer vision, machine learning, and robots to identify and sort recycled material, we can improve the accuracy of automatic sorting machines, reduce the need for human intervention, and boost overall recovery rates.

My company, Amp Robotics, based in Louisville, Colo., is developing hardware and software that relies on image analysis to sort recyclables with far higher accuracy and recovery rates than are typical for conventional systems. Other companies are similarly working to apply AI and robotics to recycling, including Bulk Handling Systems, Machinex, and Tomra. To date, the technology has been installed in hundreds of sorting facilities around the world. Expanding its use will prevent waste and help the environment by keeping recyclables out of landfills and making them easier to reprocess and reuse.

Looking at the Current stats of Remote Work

 Good look at US remote work stats.

92 million US workers now have the opportunity to work remotely: survey

58 percent can work from home at least part-time, 35 percent full-time

By Thomas Ricker@Trixxy in theVerge

58 percent of US workers now have the option to work where they want at least one day a week, while 35 percent can work remotely up to five days a week, according to a new survey conducted by management consulting company McKinsey. The report concludes that flexible work arrangements implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are here to stay.

“After more than two years of observing remote work and predicting that flexible working would endure after the acute phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, we view these data as a confirmation that there has been a major shift in the working world and in society itself,” reads the report.

The survey found that when given the choice, 87 percent of workers embrace the opportunity to work remotely and spend an average of three days a week at home. That means 92 million American workers have the opportunity to work remotely and 80 million are currently doing so at least part time, when the survey data is extrapolated to the entire US population. 41 percent of those surveyed say they don’t have any option to work remotely.  .... ' 

Lego-Like AI Chips

Note integration of sensor elements. 

Engineers Build LEGO-Like AI Chip    By MIT News,June 21, 2022

An international team led by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed an artificial intelligence chip that is stackable and reconfigurable, similar to LEGO bricks.

The chip features alternating layers of sensing and processing elements and uses light-emitting diodes instead of physical wires to enable communication between layers.  Said MIT's Jihoon Kang, "You can add as many computing layers and sensors as you want, such as for light, pressure, and even smell."

The new design pairs image sensors with the team's previously developed artificial synapse arrays, known as "memristors."

The chip was configured to perform basic image-recognition tasks and classified clear images correctly.

After swapping out the chip's processing layer with a better "denoising" processor, it was able to identify blurry images accurately. Said MIT's Min-Kyu Song, "We showed stackability, replaceability, and the ability to insert a new function into the chip."

From MIT News

View Full Article   


Monday, June 27, 2022

Unlocking Metaverse, with Games

 Thinking Games and more.Whats the best experience?

Unlocking the Metaverse: New Opportunities in Games Infrastructure  in Future.com

James Gwertzman

You install that new Parkour game that everyone’s talking about, and instantly your avatar gains a new set of skills. After a few minutes in the tutorial level, running up walls and vaulting over obstacles, you’re ready for a bigger challenge. You teleport yourself into one of your favorite games, Grand Theft Auto: Metaverse, following a course set up by another player, and you’re soon rolling across car hoods, and jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Wait a minute… what’s that glow coming from under that mailbox? A mega-evolved Charizard! You pull up a Pok√© Ball from your inventory, capture it, and continue on your way…

Infrastructure for the Metaverse

This gameplay scenario couldn’t happen today, but in my view, it will in our future. I believe the concepts of composability—recycling, reusing, and recombining basic building blocks—and interoperability—having components of one game work within another—are coming to games, and they will revolutionize how games are built and played.

Game developers will build faster because they won’t have to start from scratch each time. Able to try new things and take new risks, they’ll build more creatively. And there will be more of them, since the barrier to entry will be lower. The very nature of what it means to be a game will expand to include these new “meta experiences,” like the aforementioned example, that play out across and within other games.

Any discussion of “meta experiences,” of course, also invites discourse around another much-talked-about idea: the metaverse. Indeed, many see the metaverse as an elaborate game, but its potential is much higher. Ultimately, the metaverse represents the whole of how we humans interact and communicate with each other online in the future to come. And in my view, it’s game creators, building on top of game technologies and following game production processes, that will be the key to unlocking the potential of the metaverse.   .... ' 

Navigating Inflation

From McKinsey, fairly obvious, but more detail:


Some consumers may consider pressing the brakes on their road trips this summer as gas prices continue to skyrocket. In the United States, gas prices jumped nearly 50 percent year-over-year, driving up energy prices 34.6 percent. The war in Ukraine and supply chain effects have only exacerbated price pressures. ... ' 


Complexity of a Knot

Saw this measure come up in addressing complexity.

 How Complex Is a Knot? New Proof Reveals Ranking System That Works.

“Ribbon concordance” will let mathematicians compare knots by linking them across four-dimensional space.

Leila Sloman

Back in 1981, Cameron Gordon introduced a new way to relate two knots — mathematical constructs modeled after the knots that appear in a single thread or string. In his paper, he conjectured that this new relationship could be used to arrange groups of knots according to how complicated they are.

This winter, Ian Agol, a mathematician at the University of California, Berkeley, posted a six-page paper that proved Gordon’s conjecture, giving mathematicians a new way to order knots by complexity. “What was really surprising about this paper is, one, that it’s super short,” said Arunima Ray, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics. “And secondly, that it’s using some tools that are, let’s say, unusual to this particular question.”

Abstractions navigates promising ideas in science and mathematics. Journey with us and join the conversation.

Progress on the question was slow until 2019, when Ian Zemke, a mathematician at Princeton University, showed how to apply powerful new methods to the problem that weren’t around in the 1980s. Agol learned about the conjecture a little over a year ago, and he started working on it in earnest late last fall.

“That was nice, other people were kind of thinking about this problem,” said Gordon, who is a professor at the University of Texas, Austin. “And then, somewhat out of the blue, along comes Ian Agol with his beautifully short, beautifully elegant proof.”

Gordon’s conjecture is one of many in knot theory that attempt to organize the infinitely tangled universe of knots. At the heart of this project is the observation that you can drastically alter a knot’s appearance by twisting the strands or sliding them around. (To prevent mathematicians from simply unraveling the string and retying it however they like, the ends of the string are merged to form a closed loop, like a rubber band.) Given drawings of knots, knot theorists try to figure out which ones are truly distinct, and which are different depictions of the same object.  .... ' 

Scrubbing Social Media

 Can see this happening. It also means that that hiring companies can enforce their belief in that is right.   Especially among those whose beliefs differ strongly.  Dangerous.

How Students Are Scrubbing Their Social Media Profiles   By Inside Higher Ed, June 23, 2022

Many current college students have had social media accounts since they were young teens, regularly posting on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook without fear of repercussions.

But posts riddled with profanity or raucous party photos can come back to haunt them once they start looking for a job. According to a 2020 survey from the Harris Poll, a global market research and consulting firm, 71 percent of those who make hiring decisions in the U.S. agreed that looking at social media profiles is an effective way to screen job applicants. Among employers that use social media to vet candidates, 55 percent said they have found content that caused them to turn down an applicant.

Now a new company called Filtari is partnering with institutions to help students clean up their social media profiles before they start the job-search process. Filtari works by using artificial intelligence to scan and identify written posts and photos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook that an employer might deem inappropriate or harmful.

From Inside Higher Ed

View Full Article   

EV and Related Topics from IEEE

Brought to my attention, with particular attention to solar aspects. 

Solar-Charged Electric Vehicles: A Comprehensive Analysis of Grid, Driver, and Environmental Benefits

Publisher: IEEE

Abstract:

To date, solar-powered electric vehicles (EVs) have often been considered as niche projects or with small vehicle rooftop panels that can slightly extend the electric driving range. This article proposes a large-scale solar EV concept with low-cost, flexible, and thin-film solar cells integrated onto the steel of all upward-facing vehicle body panels as a viable solution to help mitigate EV charging and range concerns and the high cost and solar power intermittency of individual residential rooftop solar installations. Only by considering the full range of benefits, namely to the grid, driver, and environment, the value of solar-charged EVs can truly be appreciated. This article models the effect of panel tilt and partial shading on the solar energy capture of 150 drivers to analyze grid, driver, and environmental benefits in Los Angeles (LA) and Detroit over the course of a full year. The simulations predict net annual vehicle energy use reductions of 21.5% in LA and 17.5% in Detroit for average cloud conditions, compared to a nonsolar EV.

Published in: IEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification ( Volume: 7, Issue: 2, June 2021)

Page(s): 579 - 603  Date of Publication: 21 May 2020 

ISSN Information:   INSPEC Accession Number: 20968310

DOI: 10.1109/TTE.2020.2996363     Publisher: IEEE   .... 

Ready for Retail Metaverse Investments?

 Likely, but to what degree, with what hardware requirements?  

Is the metaverse opportunity getting any clearer?        by Tom Ryan  in Retailwire

Annual global spending related to the metaverse could reach $5 trillion by 2030, according to McKinsey. Of that, the e-commerce impact is expected to be between $2 trillion and $2.6 trillion.

Eric Hazan, senior partner at McKinsey, said in a blog entry, “Consumers are open to adopting new technologies; companies are investing heavily in the development of metaverse infrastructure; and brands experimenting in the metaverse are getting positive feedback from consumers.”

The report included surveys of more than 3,400 consumers and 450 senior leaders globally.

Among consumers, 59 percent prefer at least one activity in using today’s early version of the metaverse versus the physical alternative. Among the 59 percent, they’re most excited about connecting with people virtually, 44 percent; followed by exploring digital worlds, 28 percent. Scoring much lower were many hyped parts of the metaverse, including purchasing and trading NFTs, customizing avatars, and purchasing real and virtual products.

About 79 percent of consumers active within the metaverse have made a purchase, mainly to enhance their online experience.

Among the executives surveyed, 95 percent believe the metaverse will have a positive impact on their industry, with about a third thinking it can bring significant change.

McKinsey predicts the metaverse will encompass five types of daily activities: gaming, socializing, fitness, commerce and remote learning.

Commerce examples cited included Sotheby’s proprietary marketplace for curated NFT art, virtual-only fashion company Fabricant and immersive retail experiences being explored by start-ups like Obsess and AnamXR. McKinsey writes, “A primary question is whether the metaverse can be a channel for selling real products at scale, and emerging technology enabling thousands of people to simultaneously interact may help.”

Mr. Hazan cited similarities to the transition to Web 2.0 in 2004 that was sparked by social networks and user-generated content. He said, “Back then, people were busy imagining utopian visions of consumer control and the democratization of the internet. There’s a lot of excitement about the potential this technology holds, but the computing power isn’t there yet to make the metaverse of people’s imaginations feasible. That said, billions of dollars are flowing into every corner of metaverse infrastructure to help get it there.”  .... ' 

Scientists emulate Quantum Nature

 Deeper yet Biomimicry, even to quantum?

ACM TECHNEWS  

Scientists Emulate Nature in Quantum Leap Towards Future Computers

By UNSW Sydney Newsroom (Australia), June 24, 2022

Scientists at Australia's University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW) have constructed an atomic-scale silicon quantum processor to model the behavior of an organic molecule.

UNSW's Michelle Simmons said the researchers assembled a quantum integrated circuit using a chain of 10 quantum dots to simulate the location of atoms in a chain of polyacetylene.

Simmons said they addressed theoretical physicist Richard Feynman's challenge to emulate nature by building matter at the same length scale in "mimicking the polyacetylene molecule by putting atoms in silicon with the exact distances that represent the single and double carbon-carbon bonds."

The team modeled two distinct strands of the polymer chains and measured electric current passing through them, which matched theoretical predictions.

From UNSW Sydney Newsroom (Australia)

View Full Article

Sunday, June 26, 2022

On the Dangers of Crytocurrencies and Uselessness of Blockchain

 Bruce Schneier writes a cautional opinion piece,  I don't agree entirely regarding blockchain.   But the caution is good ... . below the intro, click for the whole thing and further expert comments.

On the Dangers of Cryptocurrencies and the Uselessness of Blockchain

Earlier this month, I and others wrote a letter to Congress, basically saying that cryptocurrencies are an complete and total disaster, and urging them to regulate the space. Nothing in that letter is out of the ordinary, and is in line with what I wrote about blockchain in 2019. In response, Matthew Green has written—not really a rebuttal—but a “a general response to some of the more common spurious objections…people make to public blockchain systems.” In it, he makes several broad points:   .....

On the Physics of Thought

 Closer to understanding of the thinking process.

ACM TECHNEWS

How the Brain Prepares to Think

By Texas Advanced Computing Center,  June 23, 2022

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center's Jose Rizo-Rey and colleagues used the Texas Advanced Computing Center's Frontera supercomputer to probe the physics of thought activation in the brain.

The researchers have generated all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to explore the nature of the primed state of synaptic vesicles, indicating specialized proteins are "spring-loaded" and awaiting calcium ions to induce fusion.

The models only simulate the first few microseconds of the fusion process, but Rizo-Rey posits that fusion should occur in that time.   Rizo-Rey said, "If I see how it's starting, the lipids starting to mix, then I'll ask for 5 million hours [the maximum time available] on Frontera" to record the spring-loaded proteins' trigger and the fusion/transmission process.

From Texas Advanced Computing Center  ...    

Said University of Texas professor Jose Rizo-Rey, "This country was very successful because of basic research. Translation is important, but if you don't have the basic science, you have nothing to translate." ... 


Petabit Data Speed

 New Speed of data transmission.

Researchers in Japan Set a Record for Petabit Data Transmission per Second 

From Interesting Engineering

Ameya Paleja, June 2, 2022

Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) set a new world record of 1.02 petabit data transmission per second over 31.68 miles (51 km). The researchers used wavelength division multiplexing to transmit data through a standard 0.125-mm diameter multi-core fiber, enabling more data to be transmitted simultaneously through the same cable. The researchers also included the C, L, and S-bands during their test transmission, and employed custom amplifiers for the bands to transmit across 801 wavelengths.  .... 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Researchers Build An Unsupervised Machine Learning Algorithm

 Not understanding it, considerable detail linked to.  

ACM CAREERS

Researchers Build An Unsupervised Machine Learning Algorithm

By Marktechpost, June 21, 2022

A group of Cornell physicists and computer scientists developed an unsupervised machine learning method called X-ray diffraction temperature clustering (X-TEC). This method can automatically extract charge density wave order parameters and detect intraunit cell ordering and its fluctuations from high-volume X-ray diffraction measurements taken at various temperatures. Using X-TEC, the researchers studied the major components of a pyrochlore oxide metal, Cd2Re2O7. 

Their paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates that machine learning can generate a fair and thorough analysis of such data that combines long-range and short-range structural correlations as a function of temperature.

The researchers believe that the atomic-scale understanding of fluctuations in a complicated quantum substance will pave paths for more scientific discoveries of new phases of matter by employing extensive, information-rich diffraction data.

From Marktechpost

View Full Article   

Algorithms with Prediction

Useful thoughts, technical.   Considering the worst case. 

Algorithms with Predictions  By Michael Mitzenmacher, Sergei Vassilvitskii

Communications of the ACM, July 2022, Vol. 65 No. 7, Pages 33-35   10.1145/3528087

The theoretical study of algorithms and data structures has been bolstered by worst-case analysis, where we prove bounds on the running time, space, approximation ratio, competitive ratio, or other measure that holds even in the worst case. Worst-case analysis has proven invaluable for understanding aspects of both the complexity and practicality of algorithms, providing useful features like the ability to use algorithms as building blocks and subroutines with a clear picture of the worst-case performance. More and more, however, the limitations of worst-case analysis become apparent and create new challenges. In practice, we often do not face worst-case scenarios, and the question arises of how we can tune our algorithms to work even better on the kinds of instances we are likely to see, while ideally keeping a rigorous formal framework similar to what we have developed through worst-case analysis.

A key issue is how we can define the subset of "instances we are likely to see." Here we look at a recent trend in research that draws on machine learning to answer this question. Machine learning is fundamentally about generalizing and predicting from small sets of examples, and so we model additional information about our algorithm's input as a "prediction" about our problem instance to guide and hopefully improve our algorithm. Of course, while ML performance has made tremendous strides in a short amount of time, ML predictions can be error-prone, with unexpected results, so we must take care in how much our algorithms trust their predictors. Also, while we suggest ML-based predictors, predictions really can come from anywhere, and simple predictors may not need sophisticated machine learning techniques. For example, just as yesterday's weather may be a good predictor of today's weather, if we are given a sequence of similar problems to solve, the solution from the last instance may be a good guide for the next.

What we want, then, is merely the best of both worlds. We seek algorithms augmented with predictions that are:

Consistent: when the predictions are good, they are near-optimal on a per instance basis;

Robust: when the predictions are bad, they are near-optimal on a worst-case basis;

Smooth: the algorithm interpolates gracefully between the robust and consistent settings; and

Learnable: we can learn whatever we are trying to predict with sufficiently few examples.

Our goal is a new approach that goes beyond worst-case analysis.14 We identify the part of the problem space that a deployed algorithm is seeing and automatically tune its performance accordingly.

As a natural starting example, let us consider binary search with the addition of predictions. When looking for an element in a large sorted array, classical binary search compares the target with the middle element and then re-curses on the appropriate half (see Figure 1). Consider, however, how we find a book in a bookstore or library. If we are looking for a novel by Isaac Asimov, we start searching near the beginning of the shelf, and then look around, iteratively doubling our search radius if our initial guess was far off (see Figure 2). We can make this precise to show that there is an algorithm with running time logarithmic in the error of our initial guess (measured by how far off we are from the correct location), as opposed to being logarithmic in the number of elements in the array, which is the standard result for binary search. Since the error is no larger than the size of the array, we obtain an algorithm that is consistent (small errors allow us to find the element in constant time) and robust (large errors recover the classical O(log n) result, albeit with a larger constant factor).  ... ' 

Singapore's Robot Workforce Plugs Labor Gaps

Singapore's Robot Workforce Plugs Labor Gaps

Reuters, Travis Teo, May 31, 2022

Businesses in Singapore increasingly are resorting to robots to help address labor shortages and perform a range of jobs. Singaporean construction firm Gammon uses Boston Dynamics' four-legged "Spot" robot to scan mud and gravel to check on progress at construction sites. Meanwhile, Singapore's National Library Board has deployed at a public library two shelf-reading robots that can scan labels on 100,000 books, or about 30% of its collection, daily. The International Federation of Robotics estimated last year that Singapore has 605 robots installed per 10,000 employees in the manufacturing sector, just behind the 932 per 10,000 workers installed by top placeholder South Korea. Moreover, more than 30 metro stations in Singapore are set to have barista robots from Crown Digital preparing coffee for commuters. ... ' 

A Future for AR

 Like the proposed connection to optimization ...   visualizing the value always useful. 

Intensity Control of Projectors in Parallel—Doorway to an Augmented Reality Future

Tokyo Tech News, March 16, 2022

Scientists at Japan's Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have developed a method for interacting with dynamic objects in augmented reality (AR), while reducing latency. Dynamic projection mapping combines cameras and projectors that respectively detect and project onto target surfaces, and the researchers' technique can calculate the intensity of each pixel on a target in parallel. This reduces the need for a single large optimization calculation, significantly boosting mapping speed and shortening latency. "The presented high-speed multi-projection is expected to be a major part of important base technologies that will advance spatial AR to derive more practical uses in our daily life," explained Tokyo Tech's Yoshihiro Watanabe. .... ' 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Virtual Worlds: AI Learning in New Ways

Interesting article in Quanta Mag,   Learning is the key,   How and how accurately.  

By Exploring Virtual Worlds, AI Learns in New Ways

By Quanta Magazine, June 24, 2022

In 2009, a computer scientist then at Princeton University named Fei-Fei Li invented a data set that would change the history of artificial intelligence. Known as ImageNet, the data set included millions of labeled images that could train sophisticated machine-learning models to recognize something in a picture. The machines surpassed human recognition abilities in 2015. Soon after, Li began looking for what she called another of the "North Stars" that would give AI a different push toward true intelligence.

She found inspiration by looking back in time over 530 million years to the Cambrian explosion, when numerous land-dwelling animal species appeared for the first time. An influential theory posits that the burst of new species was driven in part by the emergence of eyes that could see the world around them for the first time. Li realized that vision in animals never occurs by itself but instead is "deeply embedded in a holistic body that needs to move, navigate, survive, manipulate and change in the rapidly changing environment," she said. "That's why it was very natural for me to pivot towards a more active vision [for AI]."

Today, Li's work focuses on AI agents that don't simply accept static images from a data set but can move around and interact with their environments in simulations of three-dimensional virtual worlds.

From Quanta Magazine

View Full Article   

Autonomous IBM Mayflower Lands

AI News, Part stunt, part test of idea of autonomous ship. 

IBM’s AI-powered Mayflower ship crosses the Atlantic  By Ryan Daws | June 6, 2022 | TechForge Media

Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Companies, Robotics,A groundbreaking AI-powered ship designed by IBM has successfully crossed the Atlantic, albeit not quite as planned.

The Mayflower – named after the ship which carried Pilgrims from Plymouth, UK to Massachusetts, US in 1620 – is a 50-foot crewless vessel that relies on AI and edge computing to navigate the often harsh and unpredictable oceans.

IBM’s Mayflower has been attempting to autonomously complete the voyage that its predecessor did over 400 years ago but has been beset by various problems.

The initial launch was planned for June 2021 but a number of technical glitches forced the vessel to return to Plymouth.

Back in April 2022, the Mayflower set off again. This time, an issue with the generator forced the boat to divert to the Azores Islands in Portugal.

The Mayflower was patched up and pressed on until late May when a problem developed with the charging circuit for the generator’s starter batteries. This time, a course for Halifax, Nova Scotia was charted.

After more than five weeks since it departed Plymouth, the modern Mayflower is now docked in Halifax. While it’s yet to reach its final destination, the Mayflower has successfully crossed the Atlantic (hiccups aside.)

While mechanically the ship leaves a lot to be desired, IBM says the autonomous systems have worked flawlessly—including the AI captain developed by MarineAI.

It’s beyond current AI systems to instruct and control robotics to carry out mechanical repairs for any number of potential failures. However, the fact that Mayflower’s onboard autonomous systems have been able to successfully navigate the ocean and report back mechanical issues is an incredible achievement.

“It will be entirely responsible for its own navigation decisions as it progresses so it has very sophisticated software on it—AIs that we use to recognise the various obstacles and objects in the water, whether that’s other ships, boats, debris, land obstacles, or even marine life,” Robert High, VP and CTO of Edge Computing at IBM, told Edge Computing News in an interview. .... '  

Examination of Eye Biometrics

More complex and less secure than I thought.

Cybercriminals Eye Biometrics

By David Geer

Commissioned by CACM Staff, June 23, 2022

Biometric markers such as fingerprints, the irises of one's eyes, and individual's entire faces are increasingly popular for proving identity. If criminals can steal such biometric data, they can pose as users, potentially accessing your Intellectual Property, customer data, and financial assets.

"While criminal hackers can offer the stolen biometric data for sale online for huge sums, the goal is targeting specific networks to bring them down," says Jake Moore, global security adviser for ESET UK, an anti-malware company. Cybercriminals sell the data on the Dark Web, an uncharted part of the Internet where buyers and sellers reach sites via encrypted channels using TOR browsers.

Organizations go to the trouble of adding biometrics to other authentication factors such as the one-time passcodes (OTPs) that arrive on your smartphone because the data they protect is precious. A successful biometric hack combined with other compromised authentication factors almost certainly equate to massive losses for an enterprise.

"With persistent attacks comes continual entry," says Moore. Though cybercriminals often have to work to hack biometrics successfully, once they are in the system, significant disruption is likely; without the proper security procedures and continuity plans in place, it can take a long time for organizations to return to business as usual, Moore says.

You should store biometric data using encryption for data at rest, and transmit it using encryption for data in transit to mitigate the risk of compromise. Never use biometrics as your only factor of authentication.  

"As the world moves toward digitization and people and organizations widely adopt biometric systems, the risk of data breaches leaking sensitive biometric data to malicious hackers increases," says Marios Savvides, director of the CyLab Biometrics Center of Carnegie Mellon University's Security and Privacy Institute. "The criminals can then create exploits and replay attacks for the biometric data, which they can use to break into the system," Savvides concludes.

Cybercriminals utilize replay attacks, in which a video of the person with the biometric markers is replayed on an iPad in front of the biometric scanner, says Savvides. "Replay attacks can happen for any biometrics system, whether it's a system to access your computer, bank account, or critical infrastructure," Savvides says.

It is easy to understand common threats to biometric data. "Protecting biometric data is difficult. Organizations find it challenging to secure face, voice, and fingerprint data from criminal hackers who collect it at coffee shops using high-resolution cameras and high sample rate audio recorders in the smartphones in their pocket," explains Brett Seals, a senior industrial cybersecurity consultant for 1898 & co, a business consulting and services company.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera phone offers 108 megapixels (MP) resolution according to Digital Camera World, which is higher than what is available with most professional cameras. That's more than enough for cybercriminals who take videos of highly placed executives for replay to facial recognition systems. .... '

Quantum Computing for Risk Aggregation

Looking at this further, in particular the aspect of supply chain risk use. 

Quantum Computing for Risk Aggregation    in BusinessWire

Early results lay the foundation for developing new solutions to manage risk exposure. Takeaways include:

IonQ and GE are able to use a large set of data to model predictability associated with future risk across up to four variables using their quantum computers.

This research can benefit finance, manufacturing, and supply chain management  .... ' 

Alexa Has a New Voice

I note this got lots of press.    Why?  as devices take over some normal, recognizable features,  are they starting to pose as us?   Good or bad?

Alexa Has a New Voice — Your Dead Relative's

By The Washington Post

Propped atop a bedside table during this week's Amazon tech summit, an Echo Dot was asked to complete a task: "Alexa, can Grandma finish reading me 'The Wizard of Oz'?"

Alexa's typically cheery voice boomed from the kids-themed smart speaker with a panda design: "Okay!" Then, as the device began narrating a scene of the Cowardly Lion begging for courage, Alexa's robotic twang was replaced by a more human-sounding narrator.

"Instead of Alexa's voice reading the book, it's the kid's grandma's voice," Rohit Prasad, senior vice president and head scientist of Alexa artificial intelligence, excitedly explained Wednesday during a keynote speech in Las Vegas. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The demo was the first glimpse into Alexa's newest feature, which — though still in development — would allow the voice assistant to replicate people's voices from short audio clips. The goal, Prasad said, is to build greater trust with users by infusing artificial intelligence with the "human attributes of empathy and affect."

From The Washington Post

View Full Article  


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Power and Pitfalls of AI for US Intelligence.

Generalized but reasonable piece on the challenges involved.   More links in the original. 

The Power and Pitfalls of AI for U.S. Intelligence     By Wired

June 23, 2022

While artificial intelligence that can mimic humanlike sentience remains theoretical and impractical for most intelligence applications, machine learning is addressing fundamental challenges created by the volume and velocity of information that analysts  ... 

From cyber operations to disinformation, artificial intelligence extends the reach of national security threats that can target individuals and whole societies with precision, speed, and scale. As the U.S. competes to stay ahead, the intelligence community is grappling with the fits and starts of the impending revolution brought on by AI.

The U.S. intelligence community has launched initiatives to grapple with AI's implications and ethical uses, and analysts have begun to conceptualize how AI will revolutionize their discipline, yet these approaches and other practical applications of such technologies by the IC have been largely fragmented.

As experts sound the alarm that the U.S. is not prepared to defend itself against AI by its strategic rival, China, Congress has called for the IC to produce a plan for integration of such technologies into workflows to create an "AI digital ecosystem" in the 2022 Intelligence Authorization Act.

From Wired   

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Amazon Advances in Autonomous Robotic Systems

Thought they had already advanced here,   autonomy apparently a strong element, which brings labor needs into play. 

Amazon announces its first fully autonomous mobile warehouse robot

It can pick things up, put them down, and move them around

By Mitchell Clark  Jun 21, 2022, 8:49pm EDT  in TheVerge

Amazon has announced its “first fully autonomous mobile robot,” meant to move large carts throughout its warehouses. The robot is called Proteus, and Amazon says it can safely navigate around human employees, unlike some of its past robots that it kept separated in a caged area.

Amazon says Proteus robots have “advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology,” and a (strangely silent) video shows the robots shining a green light in front of themselves as they move around. When a human steps into the beam, the robot stops moving, then resumes after the person moves away.

The company has also announced several other robotic systems. One, called Cardinal, is a robotic arm that can lift and move packages weighing up to 50 pounds, which Amazon hopes to deploy in warehouses next year. The company says that its computer vision systems let it pick out and lift individual packages, even if they’re in a pile.

Amazon’s post also shows off tech that could let employees ditch the hand scanners they use to log barcodes. Instead, workers stand in front of a camera system that recognizes the packages without pausing to scan the label. There isn’t a lot of detail on how it works other than some combination of machine learning and a 120 fps camera system, but the effect is similar to what we’ve seen from the company’s Just Walk Out tech that lets it build cashierless stores. We’ve reached out to Amazon to ask exactly what the system is looking at and will let you know if we hear back.

As is often the case with new robot technology, there are potential labor concerns. Despite recent reports that Amazon could soon struggle to find workers, the company says it’s not looking to build robots instead of hiring people. A lead at Amazon’s robotics division explicitly told Forbes that “replacing people with machines is just a fallacy” that could lead to a company going out of business. However, robots could play a role in setting a pace of work that humans struggle to safely keep up with, something we’ve already seen happen at the company with automated management systems. The new scanning system especially seems like it could create unrealistic expectations about how fast workers should be moving.

For its part, Amazon claims all its new robots could actually help improve safety. Cardinal operates in places where workers would otherwise lift and twist heavy packages, a movement that can lead to injuries, and Proteus could “reduce the need for people to manually move heavy objects.” The company’s also working on a robot that would deliver containers to workers rather than having them bend or climb to reach items.

Towards Verified AI

 Considerable, complex piece. .... 

Toward Verified Artificial Intelligence   By Sanjit A. Seshia, Dorsa Sadigh, S. Shankar Sastry

Communications of the ACM, July 2022, Vol. 65 No. 7, Pages 46-55      10.1145/3503914

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term used for computational systems that attempt to mimic aspects of human intelligence, including functions we intuitively associate with intelligence, such as learning, problem solving, and thinking and acting rationally—for example, see Russell and Norvig.26 We interpret the term AI broadly to include closely related areas such as machine learning (ML). Systems that heavily use AI, henceforth referred to as AI systems, have had a significant societal impact in domains that include healthcare, transportation, finance, social networking, e-commerce, and education.

CONTRIBUTED ARTICLES

Toward Verified Artificial Intelligence

By Sanjit A. Seshia, Dorsa Sadigh, S. Shankar Sastry

Communications of the ACM, July 2022, Vol. 65 No. 7, Pages 46-55    10.1145/3503914

This growing societal-scale impact has brought with it a set of risks and concerns, including errors in AI software, cyber-attacks, and AI system safety.4 Therefore, the question of verification and validation of AI systems, and, more broadly, of achieving trustworthy AI,39 has begun to demand the attention of the research community. We define "verified AI" as the goal of designing AI systems that have strong, ideally provable, assurances of correctness with respect to mathematically specified requirements. How can we achieve this goal?

In this article, we consider the challenge of verified AI from the perspective of formal methods, a field of computer science and engineering concerned with the rigorous mathematical specification, design, and verification of systems.38 At its core, formal methods is about proof: formulating specifications that form proof obligations; designing systems to meet those obligations; and verifying, via algorithmic proof search, that the systems indeed meet their specifications. A spectrum of formal methods, from specification-driven testing and simulation to model checking and theorem proving, are routinely used in the computer-aided design of integrated circuits (ICs) and have been widely applied to find bugs in software, analyze cyber-physical systems (CPS), and find security vulnerabilities. We review the way formal methods has traditionally been applied, identify the unique challenges arising in AI systems, and present ideas and recent advances towards overcoming these challenges.   .... ' 

Bots for Data Management

Obvious, with stats, but worth considering as a first step for using  ...

How Companies Are Using Bots in Data Management  in Datanami

Data has become the lifeblood of most organizations. It provides a wealth of information about your customers, products, finances, sales, competitors and more. But managing all that data can be a challenge without the right tools. Many organizations are turning to artificial intelligence, like bots, to aid them in data management.

How Companies Are Using Bots in Data Management

The word “bot” is short for robot. It’s a form of artificial intelligence which is designed to simulate human activity. Bots can be applied in many ways to automate tasks and organize large volumes of data.

Here’s how some industries and companies are using bots as part of their data management strategy.

Insurance

Insurance companies are admin-heavy organizations, often drowning in policy applications, claim forms and compliance documentation. Manual processes mean employees could take weeks or months to process paperwork. By speeding up policy issuance and claims processing, insurance companies can reduce operational costs and improve customer service.

One insurance company decided to implement robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline document management. The Zurich Insurance Group used RPA to automate policy application and claims processes. These were the results:

The company reduced operational costs by 51%. These cost improvements saved them over $1 billion.

They released 25% of their operational team’s capacity, some of whom were redirected to work in their newly established Robotic Center of Excellence unit.

Paying claims now takes one week compared to the industry average of 50 days.

Processing policy transactions was reduced from 4-5 hours to 40-80 minutes.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry is adopting AI technology to more efficiently manage the vast amounts of data it collects and accesses. For example, every disease and medication is assigned a medical code. That’s thousands of codes that follow a patient’s journey from diagnosis and treatment to insurance claims and billing.

Bots are being used to automate many administrative processes and improve patient care. AI chatbots can help patients look up symptoms or medication side effects, speak to medical professionals and schedule medical appointments.

Voice-recognition virtual assistants can assist administrative and medical staff to retrieve patient information, medical codes and other data by simply speaking to it. Doctors and nurses can cut the amount of time they spend documenting patient interaction with speech-to-text transcription software.

Bots can also be used by patients to manage their health. By downloading a health app on their smartphone, a patient can track their health data such as blood pressure, diet, exercise and sleep patterns. Apps can also be used to remind patients with chronic conditions to take their medication on time.

Customer Service

Chatbot software has become an integral part of customer service. Customers want immediate solutions to their problems and online chatbots can provide it. As a result, consumers have embraced chatbots.

Statistics show that 67% of customers have used a chatbot in the last year and 69% prefer using chatbots because they can provide quick answers to simple queries. This means your human agents can focus on assisting customers with more complex issues.

Chatbots are a type of conversational AI and are not to be confused with Live Chat, which uses a human agent.

Chatbot software is becoming increasingly advanced, capable of handling queries from initial query through to resolution. However, chatbots are not meant to replace human agents and should offer the customer the option of speaking to a human customer support agent.  .... '

Why Robots Need to See

 Sensors are important.  

Why Robots Need to See    By Robotics Business Review,  June 10, 2022

Most autonomous-vehicle manufacturers use high-end 3D LiDARs and additional sensors to help their vehicles glean enough data to fully understand their surroundings and operate safely. Yet in April 2019, Elon Musk famously said that LiDAR is a "fool's errand," opting for vision-based perception as the underlying information-gathering technology.

While there remains significant value in traditional sensor modalities such as LiDAR, Musk was correct in saying that cameras and computer vision should serve as the foundation of any mobile robot navigation system.  ...   

From Robotics Business Review

Social Engineering Kill-Chain

Threat intelligence community by Feedly

Social Engineering Kill–Chain: Predicting, Minimizing & Disrupting Attack Verticals in Ahead

Christina Lekati  on Jun 02, 2022

It was a Friday afternoon when Bill was on his way back home from work when he received a call that made him take the next U-turn back to his office. It was one of these calls that he was dedicating all of his working hours to avoid. He was not given much detail through the phone, but it seems that Andre, someone working in the account payments department, had just fallen victim to a scam and had proceeded to a hefty payment. A scam? Bill recalled all the training videos he had put this department through. What went wrong?

"They had inside information – it was so believable!" were some of Andre's first words when he saw Bill, the head of their cyber security team. Someone had called Andre a few minutes before his shift ended, claiming to be an employee from a partner company they had recently started collaborating with for an important project. The person on the call sounded distressed and almost panicked. They claimed that one of their invoices had not yet been paid. Since the project's next phase was scheduled to start on Monday, this was their last chance to get the payment through. Alternatively, they would have to temporarily freeze the project (which would have a domino effect on the project's overall timeline and deliverables). All of this sounded entirely plausible to Andre. They were indeed collaborating on the project the caller mentioned, the timeline was accurate, and the names the caller mentioned were indeed the project owners. The caller insisted on sending the invoice via email, and Andre processed that invoice. But he was left with a strange feeling. So he went back to his database and checked the account details. Sure enough, they were different. But it was too late.

Bill immediately realized -it was a spear-phishing attack combining vishing (a scam carried over the phone) and a potential phishing email (the attachment and overall email still needed to be examined). He now had to report the incident and investigate the matter. As the investigation later showed, the caller had spoofed the phone number and made it look as if the call was indeed coming from the partner company. That was also one of the main reasons Andre trusted that the call was a legitimate one and one of the main tools that cyber attackers utilize to initiate trust with their targets.

Protecting an organization from social engineering attacks is not an easy task. Rather, it is an asymmetric game in which information, education, and strategy are paramount. Social engineering is a pretty attractive option for cybercriminals. It is a low cost, low risk, and high reward approach. While security technology has been advancing, human vulnerabilities have remained the same. The stimulus-response effect in human triggers is consistent, and exploiting these vulnerabilities is consistently successful. It is not surprising, that most of our industry’s threat landscape reports or cybersecurity insight reports (including the ones from ENISA and the World Economic Forum) have been listing social engineering attacks and human errors as one of the top 3 threats during the past few years. This is not a trend that seems to be going away. Rather, it looks like cybercriminals continuously find more ways to exploit humans within their attack kill-chains.  ..... ' 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Automating Semiconductor Research with Machine Learning

Concept new to me, as is RHEED

 Automating Semiconductor Research with Machine Learning

Tokyo University of Science (Japan), June 16, 2022

Researchers at Japan's Tokyo University of Science and National Institute for Materials Science found that machine learning techniques can be used to automate the analysis of large amounts of reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) data. RHEED is able to identify structures that form on the surface of thin films at the atomic level and observe real-time structural changes while the thin film is synthesized. The researchers found Ward's method of hierarchical clustering was best able to capture phase transitions in surface superstructures, and also that non-negative matrix factorization can automatically determine optimal deposition times for each superstructure. ....  

Stacking the Deck for Computer Security

 New idea: Safe Stack,  to analyze and classify security.  Useful at least to flag possible problems.

Stacking the Deck for Computer Security

Penn State News

WennersHerron Ashley J.,  June 17, 2022

An international team of researchers led by Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) has created a more reliable safeguard for data on the stack than a prior classification technique called Safe Stack. Penn State's Trent Jaeger said the DATAGUARD system "improves security through a more comprehensive and accurate safety analysis that proves a larger number of stack objects are safe from memory errors, while ensuring that no unsafe stack objects are mistakenly classified as safe." The system validates stack objects that are safe from spatial, type, and temporal memory errors, via static analysis and symbolic execution. Tests showed DATAGUARD spotted and removed 6.3% of objects wrongly labeled safe by the Safe Stack technique, and found 65% of objects labeled "unsafe" by Safe Stack actually were safe. .... '

Fabric Hears Your Heartbeat

 Quite interesting idea, As a former employee of a detergent company we looked at how smart clothing could be cleaned.

Fabric that Can 'Hear' Your Heartbeat Developed by MIT Scientists

By Study Finds, June 21, 2022

Fabric that can "hear" one's heartbeat via high-tech fibers has been developed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The tech could also be used on clothes worn by pregnant women to help them pick up their baby's heartbeat.

This potentially revolutionary tech could give rise to wearable hearing aids and clothes that can speak to each other. It works by first converting sounds into mechanical vibrations before they are converted again into electrical signals, similar to how the ear works. All fabrics vibrate in response to sounds, although these responses are normally far too small to be audible.

Researchers stitched a single fiber to a shirt's inner lining, just over the chest region, and found it accurately detected the heartbeat of a healthy volunteer, along with subtle variations in the heart's "lub-dub" features. They say the possibilities for the new technology are endless.

From Study Finds

View Full Article 

Japan tries—again—to revitalize its research

Followed and visited Japan during the first AI wave, was impressed, but they did seen to take a downturn.  No clear enough way to integrate their Uni efforts?   Now emerging?  Next? A Solution?

Japan tries—again—to revitalize its research    in Science

Latest effort would spend billions on a few universities, but skeptics give it long odds

Alarmed by the declining stature of its universities, Japan is planning to shower up to $2.3 billion a year on a handful of schools in hopes of boosting their prominence. The scheme was approved by the Japanese legislature on 18 May, although many details, including how to pick the favored universities, are still up in the air. But the move, under study for more than a year, has rekindled a debate among academics over how to reverse Japan’s sinking research fortunes. Several previous schemes have yielded mixed results.

The new plan “aims to provide young promising scholars with the research environment that the world’s top universities are supposed to offer, to dramatically enhance international collaborations, and to promote the brain circulation both domestically and internationally,” says Takahiro Ueyama, a science policy specialist on the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), Japan’s highest science advisory body, which was heavily involved in crafting the scheme.

But Guojun Sheng, a Chinese developmental biologist at Kumamoto University in Japan, is skeptical. “I am not very optimistic that this [plan] will do much to curb the slide in the ranking of Japanese research activities or international competitiveness,” he says. Sheng, who previously studied and worked in China, the United States, and the United Kingdom, says the new plan does not address fundamental problems at Japanese research institutes: too few women and foreign scientists, a fear of change, and lack of support for young scientists. To get better results, “Japan has to change its research culture,” he says.

Concerns over Japan’s fading scientific clout have been growing for years. The nation’s $167 billion in spending on R&D in 2020 was topped only by the United States and China, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). But research productivity “is markedly below [Group of 20 countries] average and citation impact is low,” Clarivate’s Institute for Scientific Information concluded in its 2021 annual report on G-20 research activities. An August 2021 analysis by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) showed that Japan ranked fourth in its share of papers in the top 10% by number of citations from 1997 through 1999, then dropped to fifth between 2007 and 2009 and to 10th in 2017 to 2019 (see graphic). The drop is partly the result of the spectacular rise of China, which was not even in the top 10 in the 1990s and is now at first place. But Canada, France, Italy Australia, and India surpassed Japan as well.  ... ' 

Wal-Mart to do Sam's Self Driving

 More autonomous elements of the supply chain. 

Self-Driving Truck Will Deliver Goods to 34 Sam's Club Locations

The Dallas Morning News

Alexandra Skores, June 7, 2022

Starting in July, Gatik, a California-based autonomous trucking company, will make deliveries to 34 Sam's Club locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, using autonomous 26-foot box trucks. Gatik's Richard Steiner said each truck will make an average of three runs per day, driving about 100 miles round-trip. The trucks initially will include a safety driver, but eventually will operate without such a driver. Gatik started testing the technology with Sam's Club parent company Walmart in December 2020, operating on a seven-mile loop in Bentonville, AR. Said Steiner, "It's something which is new for the space, and we're excited to be doing it first here in Texas."  .... ' 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Ethereum Mining Going Away

As I understand it, this seems like a very big deal.  Miners out of work.  Will this decrease its security? 

Ethereum Mining Is Going Away

In Bloomberg:  Olga Kharif; David Pan, June 16, 2022

Ethereum mining could end soon due to "the Merge," leaving as many as 1 million miners out of a source of income. The Merge (expected to occur in August, though it has been pushed back several times already) involves a shift from the proof-of-work model, which uses a significant amount of computing power and energy, to the proof-of-stake model to record transactions. The alternative model will slash the Ethereum network’s power consumption by about 99%, but also will put miners out of work. Following the Merge, some Ethereum miners plan to mine other coins that require graphics processing units, like Ethereum Classic or Ravencoin, or to use their equipment for rendering (an aspect of digital video production) or machine learning tasks.  .... ' 

Hybrid Work in Useful Ways

Standardizing probably the best overall solution.  Clear connections to shared work.   Have now worked with a half dozen systems. 

ACM TECHNEWS

Hybrid Work Meetings Are Hell. Tech Is Trying to Fix Them  By The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2022

Many companies are embracing hybrid work models, with some employees working at home part of the time and others working entirely from home, and technology companies are rolling out new options for hybrid meetings.

Said Microsoft Teams' Greg Baribault, "Conference rooms need to be rethought as hybrid spaces." This involves merging updated conference-room camera technology with software from video-calling platforms like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom.

Camera systems, like Logitech's Rally Bar, which works with Microsoft Teams, use artificial intelligence to show the people speaking on screen as if they were individual meeting participants, without the need for a laptop webcam.

Zoom's Smart Gallery, on supported cameras, can create individual video feeds of each participant and pan as they move.

Meanwhile, Meta's Horizon Workrooms app allows for metaverse meetings with Meta Quest 2 headsets, allowing remote participants to feel as though they are in the same room.

From The Wall Street Journal   

A Guide to Quantum Computing from LANL

Worked with LANL, seems useful looking to see how this is linked to, will post. See here:  https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3517340 

Quantum Computer Programming for Dummies  By Los Alamos National Laboratory News, June 20, 2022

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory have formulated a new beginner-level guide for quantum computer programmers.

The crowdsourced guide considers 20 quantum algorithms, then walks programmers through deploying them on IBM's 5-quantum bit IBMQX4 quantum computer and other quantum systems.

The results of each deployment is detailed, with distinctions between the simulator and the hardware runs specified.

Los Alamos’ Stephan Eidenbenz said the guide was prepared to get the Los Alamos workforce ready for quantum computing to assist those with little or no quantum computing experience; it also can help more experienced staffers in implementing a quantum algorithm on an actual quantum computer.

From Los Alamos National Laboratory News

View Full Article   

Comments on Cryptocurrency and Blockchains

Short link and comments to related topics:  

Independent of the histrionics of the #cryptocurrency market, the practical, real-world work of developing #blockchain technology will keep on going, writes @mariabustillos in @nytimes https://t.co/43g5j1NNv5

Scanned Objects by Google

We looked at common things as we constructed a 'world' to use.   This looks useful, a place to start.   For robotics and beyond.    Lots of links in the below to examples.

Scanned Objects by Google Research: A Dataset of 3D-Scanned Common Household Items

Tuesday, June 14, 2022  in Google Blog

Posted by Laura Downs and Anthony Francis, Software Engineers, Robotics at Google

Many recent advances in computer vision and robotics rely on deep learning, but training deep learning models requires a wide variety of data to generalize to new scenarios. Historically, deep learning for computer vision has relied on datasets with millions of items that were gathered by web scraping, examples of which include ImageNet, Open Images, YouTube-8M, and COCO. However, the process of creating these datasets can be labor-intensive, and can still exhibit labeling errors that can distort the perception of progress. Furthermore, this strategy does not readily generalize to arbitrary three-dimensional shapes or real-world robotic data.

Real-world robotic data collection is very useful, but difficult to scale and challenging to label (figure from BC-Z).

Simulating robots and environments using tools such as Gazebo, MuJoCo, and Unity can mitigate many of the inherent limitations in these datasets. However, simulation is only an approximation of reality — handcrafted models built from polygons and primitives often correspond poorly to real objects. Even if a scene is built directly from a 3D scan of a real environment, the movable objects in that scan will act like fixed background scenery and will not respond the way real-world objects would. Due to these challenges, there are few large libraries with high-quality models of 3D objects that can be incorporated into physical and visual simulations to provide the variety needed for deep learning.

In “Google Scanned Objects: A High-Quality Dataset of 3D Scanned Household Items”, presented at ICRA 2022, we describe our efforts to address this need by creating the Scanned Objects dataset, a curated collection of over 1000 3D-scanned common household items. The Scanned Objects dataset is usable in tools that read Simulation Description Format (SDF) models, including the Gazebo and PyBullet robotics simulators. Scanned Objects is hosted on Open Robotics, an open-source hosting environment for models compatible with the Gazebo simulator.  .... ' 

Monday, June 20, 2022

On Acquihires

Understandable, but the term is new to me.   Some reasonable thoughts.

The Complete Guide to Acquihires  in Future.com

Peter Blackwood, Tina Ferguson

In today’s ever-competitive environment to drive growth, identifying and hiring key talent through a structured transaction — known as an “acquihire” — has become an increasingly popular and effective way for companies to address hiring needs and accelerate product innovation and development. 

Often joining the acquiring company as a unit or existing team, employers also tend to benefit from these individuals having a relationship with their peers and a history of working together. However, hiring any new talent into your organization, let alone a group of individuals, will require thoughtful leveling and onboarding so as to ensure a successful integration. 

The challenge for most companies is figuring out whether an acquihire makes sense and, if so, how to successfully pull it off. Here’s some advice that we’ve compiled over the course of years assisting our portfolio companies in evaluating and executing on these strategic opportunities. We address several key facets to a successful acquihire transaction, including:

How to think about defining your priorities.

How to diligence the opportunity.

How to think about deal structure considerations.

How to properly integrate the newly hired individuals into your existing organization.   ... ' 

3D Printing Method to Make Robotic Materials

 Notable use of piezoelectric effect,  detecting obstacles.    See full article below.  

Engineers Create Single-Step 3D Printing Method to Make Robotic Materials

By UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, June 17, 2022

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) engineers and colleagues designed a one-step three-dimensional (3D) printing process for manufacturing robots.

Critical to the all-in-one approach is the design and printing of piezoelectric metamaterials, which can change shape and move in response to an electric field, or generate electricity in response to physical forces.

The researchers developed the metamaterials to bend, flex, twist, rotate, expand, or contract rapidly.  They constitute an internal network of sensory, moving, and structural components that can move in response to programmed commands.

UCLA’s Huachen Cui said the two-way piezoelectric effect permits the robots to “detect obstacles via echoes and ultrasound emissions, as well as respond to external stimuli through a feedback control loop that determines how the robots move, how fast they move, and toward which target they move.”

From UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

View Full Article   

IEEE Standards

 Brought to my attention, again:  

IEEE Standards association

Raising the Standards in Artificial Intelligence Systems (AIS)

At the IEEE SA our global community is developing accessible and sustainable approaches and solutions for practical application of AIS principles and frameworks.  ... ' 

AI Made Inventions

Artificial Intelligence Is Breaking Patent Law

By Nature, May 24, 2022  (note related previous article) 

Within a few years, numerous inventions could involve artificial intelligence (AI), which could create one of the biggest threats patent systems have faced. Patent law is based on the assumption that inventors are human; it currently struggles to deal with an inventor that is a machine.

Courts around the world are wrestling with this problem as patent applications naming an AI system as the inventor have been lodged in more than 100 countries. If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge. Rather than forcing old patent laws to accommodate new technology, we propose that national governments design bespoke IP law—AI-IP—that protects AI-generated inventions.  ... ' 

From Nature

View Full Article  

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Ocean Shipping Review Act

We formerly dealt with much ocean shipping, examining. 

Retailers applaud as Ocean Shipping Reform Act sails through Congress

By George Anderson in Retailwire

The House of Representatives on Monday, following an earlier vote by the Senate, approved legislation that retailers believe will help reign in ocean carriers who have used the coronavirus pandemic as a rational to jack up rates to transport goods to the U.S.

The bill, known as the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA)  , passed in a vote of 369 to 42. It seeks to improve oversight of ocean shipping practices by granting more investigative authority to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), providing greater clarity on prohibited business practices and giving the FMC the authority to order refunds.  ... ' 

Faster Computing Results Without Fear of Errors

Interesting look at how to minimize errors in computing, could be especially useful if it included security aspects.

Faster Computing Results Without Fear of Errors

MIT News  Adam Zewe, June 7, 2022

A multi-institutional team of researchers has developed PaSh, a system that can dramatically speed up certain types of computer programs while ensuring the accuracy of results. The system accelerates programs or scripts that run in the Unix shell, parsing their components into segments that can be run on multiple processors. PaSh parallelizes program components "just in time" to predict program behavior, speeding up more elements than traditional methods that attempt to parallelize in advance while still returning accurate results. The researchers tested PaSh on hundreds of scripts without breaking one; the system also ran programs an average six times faster than unparallelized scripts, and realized a nearly 34-fold maximum speed increase. ... '

Staffing.com Appeals for more Security leaders

 From Communications of the ACM

@CACMmag

HR and security leaders must deploy new strategies to attract, #hire, and retain #cybersecurity professionals. New #talent pools could help narrow the talent gap.

More:  https://bit.ly/3Orsr6N

Japan Runs Deep Sea Turbines

Also of interest and new to me. Note claim to make as much energy as a coal plant?   Quite a bit of detail in the article. 

Japan Successfully Produces Electricity With Kairyu Deep Sea Turbine    By Adrianna Nine on June 14, 2022 at 8:00 am

A deep sea turbine off the coast of eastern Japan has proven capable of producing almost as much energy as a coal plant. 

Kairyu, a massive turbine prototype produced by Japanese machinery manufacturer IHI Corp, sits at least 100 feet underwater. Its anchor line allows it to flex its position to most effectively harness energy from the Kuroshio Current—one of the strongest ocean currents in the world.  

At first glance, Kairyu looks like an underwater jet. Its middle consists of a 66-foot fuselage, each side of which has a similarly-sized turbine cylinder attached. Both turbine cylinders contain power generators, control mechanisms, and measuring systems which correspond with their respective 36-foot turbine blades. The machine sends all generated energy up a series of cables for use on the country’s power grid.

With the right technology, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) estimates the current could provide the country with 200 gigawatts, or up to 60 percent of its energy needs. This has the power (pun intended) to drastically change Japan’s environmental impact and its positioning in the global market. While Japan is ahead of most countries when it comes to solar and offshore wind power, it still relies heavily on fossil fuel imports. Should Kairyu prove effective long-term, a fleet of turbines could supplement or replace the country’s fossil fuel consumption. 

As one can imagine, this is easier said than done. Underwater installation is challenging enough as is, and ocean turbines must be placed at the convergence of multiple perfect locations in order to work. A strong current is meaningless, for example, if the turbine’s location prevents it from being connected to an energy grid. Strong currents are often found in areas with heavy shipping traffic, hence the need for Kairyu to sit deep underwater. IHI Corp will also need to keep costs competitive as solar and wind power achieve relative affordability.  .... ' 

Airless Car Tires

Useful, how soon?   A future shift in the history of automotive?  Goodyear.

Could flat tyres soon be a thing of the past?

By Russell Hotten, Business reporter, BBC News

The sight of a car limping along on a near-flat tyre, or a roadside wheel change are still common.

So is the expense of replacing tyres that have worn out prematurely, perhaps because the driver may not have been checking the pressure as regularly as they should.

Sometimes it's difficult not to feel tyres are a car's weak link. But is this about to change? Is it the end of the black rubber air-filled doughnut first used on vehicles in the 1890s - a product designed to be indestructible, and therefore not easy to recycle?

On a test track in Luxembourg, a Tesla Model 3 is twisting through tight corners, accelerating rapidly, and doing emergency stops. Standard stuff. What's remarkable, though, is the car is sitting on four airless tyres - made by Goodyear, the US manufacturer.

Special plastic spokes, support a thin, reinforced rubber tread. The spokes flex and contort as the car goes through its paces.  .... ' 

AI Nutritionists

 Seems a natural application, even of simpler analyticalmethods.  

Here Come the AI Nutritionists

The New York Times, Sandeep Ravindran, March 14, 2022

  A host of applications are using artificial intelligence to make personalized diet recommendations, based on research demonstrating that individual bodies respond differently to the same foods. The DayTwo app uses a machine learning algorithm based on research by scientists at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science to chart individual dietary regimes, in order to control blood sugar. The algorithm can identify patterns and learn from data with human assistance, analyzing information from individuals' blood sugar responses to tens of thousands of meals to recognize personal characteristics underlying certain glucose reactions. From these findings, DayTwo can forecast a specific food's effect on blood sugar, and assign scores to meals. Last year, DayTwo learned that in using the algorithm to match diet to an individual's microbiome and metabolism, it could control blood sugar more effectively than the Mediterranean diet.  ....