A Chip Flaw Strips Away Hacking Protections for Millions of Devices

Wired, 2/14/2017

Dutch researchers have discovered a method of hacking commonly used microprocessors. Operating systems randomly assign the locations in memory where programs run, but this hack detects where a program is running, making bugs easier to exploit. If hackers figure out how to use this method, it could expose millions of computers to attacks — as it is impossible to fully fix with software updates alone.

New Smartwatch Software May Now Verify Your Signatures

Phys.org, 1/30/2017 (university press release)

Researchers from Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University have developed new software that will allow smartwatches to verify handwritten signatures. This software monitors the movement of the entire wrist in order to catch attempts at forgery, by identifying movements that do not match the movements of the original owner. The goal of this software is to reduce acts of forgery.

Twitter Data Could Improve Subway Operations During Big Events

University at Buffalo News Center, 1/26/2017

Research performed at the University at Buffalo has suggested that the swelling of subway usage during large events correlates closely with increases in Twitter activity. The Twitter data, which can be filtered by location and content, could potentially become a cost-effective aid to event planning and transit scheduling for crowded occasions.

Private Medical Data Is For Sale – and It’s Driving a Business Worth Billions

The Guardian, 1/10/017

Private medical data is a multi-million dollar industry that is growing rapidly, according to Adam Tanner at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science. When medical data is initially sold to big data miners, it may be referred to only by unidentifiable numbers. However, data miners can re-identify patients by cross-referencing the medical data with data collected from other sources.

For Driverless Cars, a Moral Dilemma: Who Lives or Dies?

Associated Press, 1/18/2017

Researchers at MIT are conducting a worldwide survey to determine how consumers think a self-driving car should handle morally complex situations. Their findings will tell designers how drivers will generally expect their self-driving vehicles to react, and what might need to be added so that potential buyers can better trust the new technology.

AI Spots Skin Cancer as Well as Human Doctor

Newsweek, 1/26/2017

A team of researchers at Stanford University has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that can identify early symptoms of skin cancer. The researchers trained the algorithm with a large data set of images that had already been identified as cancerous or benign. The algorithm identifies skin lesions with the same accuracy as board-certified dermatologists.

Give Robots ‘Personhood’ Status, EU Committee Argues

The Guardian, 1/12/2017

The European Parliament is considering a proposed legal framework to define the rights and responsibilities of autonomous artificial intelligences and of the companies and engineers who make them, including who is responsible for errors and who benefits from products created by AIs. The framework also suggests measures to reduce the negative economic impacts on the human labor force.

A String Quartet Concert, With an A.I. Assist

New York Times, 1/13/2017

“Sight Machine”, a performance piece by artist Trevor Paglen, uses AI to generate a live image mapping of musicians as they play. The algorithm involves movement-analysis techniques common in automated surveillance. By showing how machines see movement, Paglen hopes to highlight the distinct divide between how AIs and humans perceive things — and how that might affect computer-aided decision-making.

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.

Japanese Company Replaces Office Workers With Artificial Intelligence

The Guardian, 1/5/2017

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, an insurance firm in Japan, is replacing 34 workers with an AI system that will calculate payouts to policyholders. They are making these changes in an attempt to increase productivity within the firm. The article mentions other new uses of AI systems in Japan, including in government and politics, intended to increase productivity.