By BeauHD from Slashdot's rule-breaking department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from South China Morning Post: Traffic police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen have always had a reputation for strict enforcement of those flouting road rules in the metropolis of 12 million people. Now with the help of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology, jaywalkers will not only be publicly named and shamed, they will be notified of their wrongdoing via instant messaging -- along with the fine. Intellifusion, a Shenzhen-based AI firm that provides technology to the city's police to display the faces of jaywalkers on large LED screens at intersections, is now talking with local mobile phone carriers and social media platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo to develop a system where offenders will receive personal text messages as soon as they violate the rules, according to Wang Jun, the company's director of marketing solutions. For the current system installed in Shenzhen, Intellifusion installed cameras with 7 million pixels of resolution to capture photos of pedestrians crossing the road against traffic lights. Facial recognition technology identifies the individual from a database and displays a photo of the jaywalking offense, the family name of the offender and part of their government identification number on large LED screens above the pavement. In the 10 months to February this year, as many as 13,930 jaywalking offenders were recorded and displayed on the LED screen at one busy intersection in Futian district, the Shenzhen traffic police announced last month. Taking it a step further, in March the traffic police launched a webpage which displays photos, names and partial ID numbers of jaywalkers. These measures have effectively reduced the number of repeat offenders, according to Wang. The next step -- informing the errant pedestrians by text or Weibo instant messaging -- could have the added benefit of eliminating the cost of erecting large LED screens across the cities, he said.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's law-and-order department
After failing to meet an expectation that it would prioritize public safety as it tested its self-driving technology, Uber has been ordered to take its self-driving cars off Arizona roads (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source). "The incident that took place on March 18 is an unquestionable failure to comply with this expectation," Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona wrote in a letter sent to Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's chief executive. "Arizona must take action now." The New York Times reports: Uber had already suspended all testing of its cars in Arizona, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Toronto. "We proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities immediately following the tragic incident last week. We continue to help investigators in any way we can, and we'll keep a dialogue open with the governor's office to address any concerns they have," said Matt Kallman, an Uber spokesman. The rebuke from the governor is a reversal from what has been an open-arms policy by the state, heralding its lack of regulation as an asset to lure autonomous vehicle testing -- and tech jobs. Waymo, the self-driving car company spun out from Google, and General Motors-owned Cruise are also testing cars in the state. Mr. Ducey said he was troubled by a video released from the Tempe Police Department that seemed to show that neither the Uber safety driver nor the autonomous vehicle detected the presence of a pedestrian in the road in the moments before the crash.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tag-team department
An anonymous reader writes: The Guardian reports of a recent paper, published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, that helps explain how wind and solar energy can power most of the United States: "The authors analyzed 36 years of hourly weather data (1980-2015) in the U.S. They calculated the available wind and solar power over this time period and also included the electrical demand in the U.S. and its variation throughout the year. With this information, the researchers considered two scenarios. In scenario 1, they imagined wind and solar installations that would be sufficient to supply 100% of the U.S. electrical needs. In the second scenario, the installations would be over-designed; capable of providing 150% of the total U.S. electrical need. But the authors recognize that just because a solar panel or a wind turbine can provide all our energy, it doesn't mean that will happen in reality. It goes back to the prior discussion that sometimes the wind just doesn't blow, and sometimes the sun isn't shining. With these two scenarios, the authors then considered different mixes of power, from all solar to all wind. They also included the effect of aggregation area, that is, what sized regions are used to generate power. Is your power coming from wind and solar in your neighborhood, your city, your state or your region?
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's few-and-far-between department
hackingbear writes from a report via Quartz: According to Chinese venture capitalist and former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, the list of countries well-positioned to embrace a future powered by artificial intelligence is exceedingly short: United States and China. "The countries that are not in good shape are the countries that have perhaps a large population, but no AI, no technologies, no Google, no Tencent, no Baidu, no Alibaba, no Facebook, no Amazon," Lee says. "These people will basically be data points to countries whose software is dominant in their country. If a country in Africa uses largely Facebook and Google, they will be providing their data to help Facebook and Google make more money, but their jobs will still be replaced nevertheless." Originally, China's low labor costs might have helped the country modernize, Lee says, but as AI-driven automation takes hold in manufacturing, other countries that want to follow China's blueprint for economic growth probably wouldn't be able to rely on cheap labor alone.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's reuse-recycle department
Elon Musk says his Boring Company will sell "interlocking bricks" made from the rock that its tunnel-creating machines excavate from the ground. In other words, think Lego, he says, except giant, heavy, and made of Earth. The Verge reports: Musk says that the Boring Company will sell "kits" of bricks, starting with one that makes it easy to build things from "ancient Egypt," like replicas of the pyramids, the Sphinx, or the Temple of Horus. The bricks will be "lifesize," though it's not clear what that actually means. And they'll be bored through the middle, to save some weight, but still rated to withstand California's earthquakes. (As is typical, Musk announced the idea in freewheeling fashion on Twitter.) t's unclear when these bricks, or the kits, will be available or how much they'll cost. The Boring Company is currently only digging short, preliminary tunnels in California and Maryland, so there's presumably not enough to start selling any of this upturned rock just yet. But the small company has big plans for tunnels around the country meant to facilitate debatably futuristic modes of transportation, so there will be plenty of newly removed earth if even half of those ever come to fruition.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's explain-like-I'm-five department
dryriver writes: There are occasions where multiple big tech manufacturers all announce the exact same innovation at the same time -- e.g. 4K UHD TVs. Everybody in broadcasting and audiovisual content creation knew that 4K/8K UHD and high dynamic range (HDR) were coming years in advance, and that all the big TV and screen manufacturers were preparing 4K UHD HDR product lines because FHD was beginning to bore consumers. It came as no surprise when everybody had a 4K UHD product announcement and demo ready at the same time. Something very unusual happened this year at GDC 2018 however. Multiple graphics and GPU companies, like Microsoft, Nvidia, and AMD, as well as other game developers and game engine makers, all announced that real-time ray tracing is coming to their mass-market products, and by extension, to computer games, VR content and other realtime 3D applications.
Why is this odd? Because for many years any mention of 30+ FPS real-time ray tracing was thought to be utterly impossible with today's hardware technology. It was deemed far too computationally intensive for today's GPU technology and far too expensive for anything mass market. Gamers weren't screaming for the technology. Technologists didn't think it was doable at this point in time. Raster 3D graphics -- what we have in DirectX, OpenGL and game consoles today -- was very, very profitable and could easily have evolved further the way it has for another 7 to 8 years. And suddenly there it was: everybody announced at the same time that real-time ray tracing is not only technically possible, but also coming to your home gaming PC much sooner than anybody thought. Working tech demos were shown. What happened? How did real-time ray tracing, which only a few 3D graphics nerds and researchers in the field talked about until recently, suddenly become so technically possible, economically feasible, and so guaranteed-to-be-profitable that everybody announced this year that they are doing it?Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's finger-pointing department
Last week, a user found that Facebook had a record of the date, time, duration, and recipient of calls he had made from the past few years. A couple days later, Ars Technica published an account of several others -- all Android users -- who found similar records. Now, Slate Magazine is reporting that Facebook has acknowledged that it was collecting and storing these logs, "attributing it to an opt-in feature for those using Messenger or Facebook Lite on an Android device." The company did however deny that it was collecting call or text history without a user's permission. From the report: "This helps you find and stay connected with the people you care about, and provides you with a better experience across Facebook," the company said in a post Sunday. "People have to expressly agree to use this feature. We introduced this feature for Android users a couple of years ago. Contact importers are fairly common among social apps and services as a way to more easily find the people you want to connect with."
Ars Technica refuted their claim that everyone knowingly opted in. Instead, Ars Technica's Sean Gallagher claimed, that opt-in was the default setting and users were not separately alerted to it. Nor did Facebook ever say publicly that it was collecting that information. "Facebook says that the company keeps the data secure and does not sell it to third parties," Gallagher wrote. "But the post doesn't address why it would be necessary to retain not just the numbers of contacts from phone calls and SMS messages, but the date, time, and length of those calls for years."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department
Google logins on unlicensed devices will now fail at setup, and a warning message will pop up stating "Device is not certified by Google," reports Ars Technica. "This warning screen has appeared on and off in the past during a test phase, but XDA (and user reports) indicate it is now headed for a wider rollout." From the report: While the basic operating system code contained in the Android Open Source Project is free and open source, Google's apps that run on top of Android (like the Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps, etc.) and many others are not free. Google licenses these apps to device makers under a number of terms designed to give Google control over how the OS is used. Google's collection of default Android apps must all be bundled together, there are placement and default service requirements, and devices must pass an ever-growing list of compatibility requirements to ensure app compatibility. Android distributions that don't pass Google's compatibility requirements aren't allowed to be called "Android" (which is a registered trademark of Google), so they are Android forks. The most high-profile example of an Android fork is Amazon's Kindle Fire line of products, but most devices that ship in China (where Google doesn't do much business) fall under the umbrella of an "Android fork," too.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's get-with-the-times department
Netflix has been banned from competing in the Cannes Film Festival, according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter. "Theirry Fremaux, the head of Cannes, told THR last week the ban is because Netflix refuses to release its films in theaters, choosing instead to debut them on its streaming service and, in some rare cases, do day-and-date releases so the film can be seen both online and off," reports The Verge. From the report: In the case of Bong Joon-ho's Okja and Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories -- films that were entered into last year's Cannes to widespread protest from French filmmakers -- Netflix was unable to secure last-minute permits for one-week theatrical releases due to French media regulations. "Last year, when we selected these two films, I thought I could convince Netflix to release them in cinemas. I was presumptuous, they refused," Fremaux told THR. "The Netflix people loved the red carpet and would like to be present with other films. But they understand that the intransigence of their own model is now the opposite of ours." Starting with this year's Cannes, which takes place in May, films screened in competition will need to have a French theatrical release. Netflix is still allowed to show films at Cannes, Fremaux added, but its films will not be eligible for the prestigious Palme d'Or.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tools-of-the-trade department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Intercept: ICE, the federal agency tasked with Trump's program of mass deportation, uses backend Facebook data to locate and track immigrants that it is working to round up, according to a string of emails and documents obtained by The Intercept through a public records request. The hunt for one particular immigrant in New Mexico provides a rare window into how ICE agents use social media and powerful data analytics tools to find suspects. In February and March of 2017, several ICE agents were in communication with a detective from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to find information about a particular person. They were ultimately able to obtain backend Facebook data revealing a log of when the account was accessed and the IP addresses corresponding to each login. Lea Whitis, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations, the investigative arm of ICE, emailed the team a "Facebook Business Record" revealing the suspect's phone number and the locations of each login into his account during a date range. Law enforcement agents routinely use bank, telephone, and internet records for investigations, but the extent to which ICE uses social media is not well known.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Like a broken cell phone that can only text or take pictures, but not make a single call, more than 75 percent of the Earth's land areas have lost some or most of their functions, undermining the well-being of the 3.2 billion people that rely on them to produce food crops, provide clean water, control flooding and more. From a report: These once-productive lands have either become deserts, are polluted, or have been deforested and converted for unsustainable agricultural production. This is a major contributor to increased conflict and mass human migration, and left unchecked, could force as many as 700 million to migrate by 2050, according to the world's first comprehensive evidence-based assessment of land degradation, released today in MedellÃn, Colombia. Land degradation -- including deforestation, soil erosion, and salinity and pollution of fresh water systems -- is also driving species to extinction and aggravating the effects of climate change, the report concludes. It was written by more than 100 leading experts from 45 countries for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). IPBES is the 'IPCC for biodiversity,' a scientific assessment of the status of non-human life that makes up the Earth's life support system.Read Replies (0)