Facial recognition technology: too risky for prime time

The problem with facial recognition technology

Following IBM’s retreat from the facial recognition business, Amazon has announced that it will defer sales of the technology to police forces for one year, while the deficiencies of the technology are reviewed and potentially rectified. The black and brown communities have been aware of the inaccuracies of the technology for a number of years, as the tech is often used in those communities (housing projects in Brooklyn, for instance). CNET

dis-rup-shun: For those who feel that “the system” has long been biased against them, automating that bias is a reason for despair. The fact that researchers have proven that facial recognition is less accurate on types of people who were not test cases in building the technology, and yet it has still been installed in many public areas, is a small deal for some, and a very large deal for others. Automating law enforcement is a tricky issue, as police have found with body cameras.

Sony unveils the Playstation 5

In a flashy online presentation, Sony unveiled the Playstation 5. The presentation was more about the games that will eventually be available on the console, and less about the device, but the graphics look brilliant. The device comes with a disc drive or without, suggesting that Sony has eliminated some moving parts in an effort to squeeze a little price out of the device. The device is powered by an eight-core AMD Zen 2 processor and available will be a wireless headset with 3D audio support, an HD camera, a special remote (enhanced media player?) and a DualSense charging station to charge controllers. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: This device is cool, and the images are near movie quality. Sony will be bringing back the Grand Turismo car racing game, with much more beautiful car renderings than ever, making this device a lot less expensive than buying a classic sports car.

Is BMR the key to weight loss?

Calculating your basil metabolic rate, essentially your resting calorie burn rate, is the critical measure for weight loss, says this researcher on CNET. A number of calculators are available to compute your BMR and plan exercise and weight loss accordingly.

dis-rup-shun: For those who need to manage their weight closely, exercise and food trackers, such as MyFitnessPal, are critical in the journey. The free version provides most of what you need, and the premium version, aside from not showing ads, provides a number of helpful metrics.

Automation of basic tasks may be next surge in productivity

Basic tasks, performed by people, like reviewing the online files of thousands of applicants for a clinical trial can be easily automated with some basic software. These moves can reduce the time required to perform dozens of tasks, as determined by pharma company, Takeda. Robotic process automation software (RPA) has been available for some time, and does not require AI, but simply runs on commands to perform repetitive tasks. RPA not only increases efficiency, but potentially replaces administrative workers. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Recessions lead to change and increases in efficiency. Our current recession will likely, at a minimum, increase personal efficiencies by keeping many people working at home, potentially forever. Automating ordinary administrative tasks will, on a macro level, perhaps reduce the number of clerical office jobs, but increase the demand for software development and support staff. The labor economy continues, with every recession, to further bifurcate, with higher demand for knowledge workers, and less intelligence needed for repetitive tasks like preparing fast food.

Connected diaper: you knew it was coming

Sleep and pee tracking via an app

There is truly an app for that, and this product, Lumi by Pampers, reports to an app both how long baby slept, as well as if baby is dry, wet or really wet. CNN

dis-rup-shun: It was only a matter of time before the connected diaper debuted — following smart underwear released several years ago. Despite the convenience of a diapering app, successful parenting is usually related to learning to be flexible. This may be an example of too much data not being helpful and, of course, your child becomes another data set to be ‘safeguarded’ by Pampers and their cloud provider. Truthfully, this technology may be better served for senior’s diapers, such as Depends.

Anthem and K Health app improves doctor experience

Finally, Anthem offers an app to help text with doctors, get pricing and information about care, and generally make healthcare more convenient. Visits to primary care physicians have plummeted over 18% by health care insurance holders over the past several years. Healthcaredive

dis-rup-shun: The traditional healthcare industry has, so far, missed the boat on convenience, transparency and competition. Neighborhood walk-in clinics and in-store clinics at drugstores are punishing primary care physicians whose services, thanks to higher deductibles and the escalating prices of treatments, have been pushed to “treatment of last resort.” Technologies to demystify and simplify doctor visits will be critical, but will continue to be resisted by traditional practitioners who never learned the basics of marketing.

Why does facial recognition discriminate?

Facial recognition technologies already in place in travel (airports and customs) applications do not work well on black females. Black men, white women and white men are more accurately detected. French company Idemia has sold its system to law enforcement in France, United States and Australia and readily acknowledges problems identifying blacks and black females in particular. The reasons for the deficiencies are unknown, but could be related to the fact that models used in development of the technology are generally white males. Wired

dis-rup-shun: We expect technology to remove human bias that results in unequal treatment and make our society a better place to live. The idea that software developers, mostly caucasian or Asian, are able to inadvertently build-in racial bias raises new concerns, especially when law enforcement increasingly relies on new technologies. Racial and gender neutrality impartiality must be a part of technology acceptance testing.

VC investment in drones is on the rise

Analysts Teal Group forecast the consumer drone market to triple over the next 10 years, while the commercial markets, including agriculture, construction, insurance, energy, communications and delivery systems, will increase 600 percent to $9.5 billion by 2028. Forbes

dis-rup-shun: While package delivery via drone has been discussed at length, expect the first commercial drone sightings to be of your home insurance agent inspecting your roof and property before renewal or responding to a claim. Construction companies will also utilize drones to scope infrastructure repairs on tall buildings, bridges, and power poles.

Ikea’s robotic furniture makes arranging easy

Ikea launches line of robotic furniture

Ikea’s upcoming furniture line features wheels that, with a push of a button, reconfigure your rooms to convert sitting or work areas into sleeping areas. With the accelerating migration of populations to cities, real estate is becoming costlier and space, accordingly, more efficient.  engadget

dis-rup-shun: Ikea’s line is not yet ‘smart,’ and does not yet boast of AI, but that will inevitably follow so that one can reconfigure their apartment as they are approaching in their Uber, or so the apartment can ready itself as the usual time, or, of course, so that Ikea can collect more data on sleep habits and inform you if you are sleeping well.

11 Great applications for facial recognition technologies 

CBInsights shows the growth of patents for facial recognition technologies, and lists 11 use cases, including law enforcement, accessing and starting a car, banking authentication, virtual makeup sampling, workplace security and worker alertness, insurance quotes, personalizing food orders, healthcare access and diagnosis, hotel check-ins, shoplifting prevention, travel check-in.

dis-rup-shun: If you use facial recognition on your phone or your PC, you have experienced the ease-of-use and effectiveness of the technology, and if you have “enjoyed” long hotel or rental car check-in lines on your latest business trip, you will be willing to risk a compromise of privacy for some convenience.  After all, you do that every time you surf the Internet — why not share your photo with Google, Amazon, Avis and Hilton?

China launches rocket from a ship at sea

China’s National Space Administration successfully launched a rocket from a cargo ship. The March 11 rocket carried five satellites — two which will be part of a global, space delivered Internet network. China is the third country behind Russia and USA to launch a rocket from a ship, though the first country to do so without cooperating with other countries. engadget

dis-rup-shun: Independence is the name of the game for China as the U.S. tries to force China to change its trade practices. As the U.S. shames China’s Huawei, China will be showing off its technology and flexing its strengths very publicly. The race is on for space, and thousands of new satellites and space objects will be cluttering the skies to provide networking services and military defense outposts. It is the Wild West in space and those who get there first will own platforms for both revenue and national defense, worth billions.

Amazon drones use AI to avoid power lines

Amazon is developing a drone called Prime Air, designed to deliver light loads, under 5 pounds, at high speeds. Challenges that must be overcome are identifying hard-to-see dangers such as power lines or clotheslines, and the craft must land and liftoff in tight spots. engadget

dis-rup-shun: Many obstacles remain for commercial drone deployment, but Amazon will not have to rely on others when regulators open the skies. FedEx and UPS cannot rest on their logistics network laurels, as Amazon plans to fly right over them.