John Daniell

Net Providers to Begin Sending ‘Pirate’ Emails

BBC, 1/11/2017

A group of UK Internet service providers are attempting to crack down on piracy by sending emails to users of peer-to-peer services who have been flagged for piracy. The emails inform users about legitimate ways of acquiring content. Some argue that this is “too little, too late”, and that monitoring P2P traffic is not sufficient since many pirates now use direct downloads and streaming, which are not monitored.

UA-Developed Avatar Is Helping to Screen New Arrivals at Bucharest Airport

UANews, 1/9/2017

Romanian border police are using a system designed by the University of Arizona called AVATAR (Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time), to screen international travelers at a Bucharest airport. The system is intended to measure body language, verbal responses, and physiological conditions before providing a summary for human personnel. Results from testing in Bucharest could influence whether and how the AVATAR system is implemented in the future.

It’s No Christmas No. 1, but AI-Generated Song Brings Festive Cheer to Researchers

The Guardian, 11/29/2016

Researchers at the University of Toronto are working on a program that analyzes an image and then produces music based on the contents of that image. In an early demonstration of the capabilities of the AI, it produced a holiday-themed song based on a picture of a Christmas tree. This demonstrates that computers have the potential to create music could be in many ways similar to what humans would produce when given the same theme.

Big Data Analytics — Nostradamus of the 21st Century

Griffith University, 11/30/2016

Researchers at Griffith University successfully predicted the winner of the 2016 presidential election, including the outcomes in 49 out of 50 states, using data collected from social media interactions. The prediction ran contrary to general expectations based on polling, suggesting that more accurate election predictions can be obtained by analyzing social media interactions — which requires large-scale data analytics.

Miniature WiFi Device Developed by Stanford Engineers Supplies Missing Link for the Internet of Things

Stanford News, 11/16/2016

HitchHike, a proposed low-energy wireless radio from a research team at Stanford, seeks to provide a power-efficient method of communication between Internet of Things devices and a wireless network. The device could be driven by a small battery for a decade or more, and even has the potential to harvest energy from radio waves, allowing it to possibly be powered without a battery. This kind of innovation would make IoT development much more feasible — meaning many more of the devices around us could soon be communicating and collecting data.

UK Surveillance Law Marks a “Worse Than Scary” Shift

CNET, 11/29/2016

The Investigatory Powers Act, recently passed in the UK, will require telecom companies to store records of phone calls and websites visited for up to a year, and give authorities access to the latter without a warrant. It also legalizes bulk data collection by the British government. Groups like the Open Rights Group and Privacy International are openly critical of this law, calling it draconian.

Paralyzed ALS Patient Operates Speech Computer With Her Mind

UMC Utrecht, 11/13/2016

A patient suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) at UMC Utrecht, a hospital in the Netherlands, recently received a brain implant that allows them to remotely operate a speech computer with their mind. The patient can use this computer to communicate with their friends and family at home. If initial trials prove successful, the implants could see larger, international trials which lead to the development of even more advanced implants.

AI Predicts Outcomes of Human Rights Trials

University College London/UCL News, 10/24/2016

Artificial intelligence has recently been used to predict (past) judicial decisions in the European Court of Human Rights to a surprising degree of accuracy. This method could potentially be used to automatically identify cases that are likely to involve human rights violations, and is also an interesting example of how artificial intelligence can quantify and even predict human behavior based on pattern recognition.