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Stolen guitar recovered after 45 years using facial recognition technology

Randy Bachman lost his most beloved Gretsch in 1976. The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive guitarist had bought the 1957 Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins guitar when he was just 18 years old, with money saved up from doing odd jobs around town. — Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/10/23/stolen-guitar-recovered-after-45-years-using-facial-recognition-technology.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stolen-guitar-recovered-after-45-years-using-facial-recognition-technology
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Thom Dunn

All the tech that went into turning Columbus, Ohio into a ‘Smart City’

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The U.S. Department of Transportation launched a Smart City Challenge in 2015, which asked mid-sized cities across the country to come up with ideas for novel smart transportation systems that would use data and tech to improve mobility. Out of 78 applicants, Columbus, Ohio emerged as the winner.

In 2016, the city of just under a million residents was then awarded a $50 million grant to turn its proposal into a reality. $40 million came from the DOT, and $10 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. 

In mid-June, the program ended, but Columbus said the city would continue to work as a “collaborative innovation lab,” using city funds to integrate technology to address societal problems. But what does that mean in reality? 

Columbus’s ‘Smart City’ looks nothing like the rapidly developing prototype Toyota is developing, Woven City, at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, but it’s not supposed to. 

“We really focus on not just demonstrating technology for technology’s sake, but to look at the challenges we are facing in our city around mobility and transportation and use our award to focus on some of those challenges,” Mandy Bishop, Smart Columbus program manager, told TechCrunch. 

Those challenges involve lack of accessibility to mobility options, areas underserved by public transit, parking challenges, and terrible drivers with high collision rates. As you might expect, a lot of startups are involved in solving those challenges; Here’s who’s involved and what they bring to the table. 

The Pivot app, built by Etch

Etch is a Columbus-based geospatial solutions startup. Founded in 2018, the company cut its teeth with Smart Columbus, creating a multi-modal transport app that helps users plan trips throughout central Ohio using buses, ride hailing, carpool, micromobility or personal vehicle. 

“The mobility problem in Columbus is access to mobility and people not understanding or knowing what options are available to them,” Darlene Magold, CEO and co-founder of Etch, told TechCrunch. “Part of our mission was to show the community what was available and give them options to sort those options based on cost or other information.”

The app is based on open source tools like OpenStreetMap and OpenTripPlanner. Etch uses the former to get up-to-date crowdsourced information from the community about what’s happening in a given area, similar to Waze. The latter is used to find itineraries for different forms of mobility.

“Because we are open source, the integration with Uber, Lyft and other mobility providers really gives users a lot of options so they can actually see what mobility options are available, other than their own vehicle if they have one. It takes away that anxiety of traveling and using that mixed mode of travel, knowing in real time where the bus is or where to find a scooter, and  like using Uber or renting a bike or scooter.”

$1.25 million of the total federal funds went to the Pivot app, which has 3,849 downloads to date, and the city will continue to fund the development and use of Pivot.

Smart Columbus Operating System, made by Pillar Technology

Columbus hired local smart embedded software company Pillar Technology, which was acquired by Accenture in 2018, to further develop the existing Smart Columbus operating system. The $15.9 million open source platform that hosts the city’s mobility data, including over 2,000 datasets and 209 visualizations, launched in April 2019. 

“The program will continue through at least January 2022 as Columbus works to develop mobility and transportation use cases and further define the value and use of the operating system,” said Bishop.

The Smart Columbus OS invites others to add their data to the set while also calling for crowdsourced solutions to problems like how to bring down crash rates or how to optimize city parking. 

Park Columbus, made with ParkMobile

ParkMobile is an Atlanta-based provider of smart parking solutions. For Smart Columbus, the startup created Park Columbus, an event parking management app, to help free up traffic and pollution from cars circling around looking for parking. Users can find, reserve and pay for parking all on the app. 

Smart Columbus’s event parking management program built enhancements within ParkMobile’s existing offering, according to a spokesperson for the city. The $1.3 million project had over 30,000 downloads from October 2020 to March 2021. The city will continue to fund the app which will also display on-street parking via predictive analytic technology. 

Smart Mobility Hubs, built by Orange Barrel Media

The Smart Mobility Hubs are interactive digital kiosks designed by Orange Barrel Media, a company that builds media displays to integrate into urban landscapes. The hubs bring the city’s transportation options together at a single location, like a physical manifestation of the Pivot app, which can actually also be accessed via the kiosks. The kiosks, which took another $1.3 million chunk out of the total federal grant pool, also have free WiFI and listings of restaurants, shops and activities. 

Orange Barrel’s media displays can vary from something community oriented like its kiosks to advertising to art. According to Smart Columbus, the kiosks, placed at six key locations, had over 65,000 interactions from July 2020 to March 2021, but the city hopes that number will drastically increase in the post-pandemic era. The hubs also include the city’s bike share program, CoGo, which offers both pedal and e-bikes, bike racks, designated dockless scooter share and bike share parking, rideshare pickup and drop off zones, car sharing parking and EV charging stations.

Connected vehicle environment, in partnership with Siemens

Ohio has some of the worst drivers in the nation. This year, the state highway patrol released details about distracted driving in the state, and found 70,000 crashes attributed to distracted driving since 2016, with more than 2,000 involving serious injuries or fatalities. In 2019, an insurance agency rated Columbus the fourth worst driving in the country.

This might explain why the city wanted to experiment with connected vehicles. From October 2020 to March 2021, Columbus partnered with Siemens who provided both onboard and roadside units in creating a Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) environment. Connected vehicles would “talk” to each other and to 85 intersections, seven of which have the highest crash rates in central Ohio. The project cost about $11.3 million. 

“We were looking at 11 different applications including red light signal warning, school zone notifications, intersection collision warning, freight signal priority and transit signal priority, using the connected vehicle technology,” said Bishop. 

“We deployed about 1,100 vehicles in a region that has about a million residents, so we did not anticipate seeing a decreased crash rate, but we did see drivers using the signals coming from the connected vehicle environment to not run traffic signals, so we’re really seeing improvements in driver behavior, which ultimately we would anticipate long term to effectively improve safety.”

Linden LEAP, made by Easy Mile

Smart Columbus’s autonomous shuttle service, the Linden LEAP, cost about $2.3 million and ran from February 2020 until March 2021, with some breaks in between. Initially, two shuttles hitting four stops operated in the Linden neighborhood to provide transportation to underserved communities. That only lasted about two weeks before a passenger was somehow thrust from their seat when the vehicle, going no more than 25 miles per hour, stopped short. Then the pandemic happened, and it was a human shuttle service no longer. From July until the end of the program, the Linden LEAP pivoted to deliver 3,598 food pantry boxes or almost 130,000 meals. 

The city will not continue to pay for the autonomous shuttle service now that federal funding has ended. 

“The city is not historically a transit operator, so we’re really staying close to how CoTa looks to incorporate connected and autonomous and electric technology into their fleets moving forward,” said Bishop. “Our anticipation is that the next demonstrations would be private sector led or ultimately led by our transit authority.”

French startup Easy Mile ran the Level 3 autonomous technology behind the shuttle, according to a spokesperson for the company. The Society of Automobile Engineers describes Level 3 as still requiring a human operator in the driver’s seat. 

Columbus’s dalliance with autonomy initially began in late 2018 when Smart Columbus partnered with DriveOhio and May Mobility to launch the Smart Circuit, the city’s OG self-driving shuttle. The shuttle ran a 1.5 mile route circling the Scioto Mile downtown, giving out over 16,000 free rides to certain cultural landmarks until September 2019. 

Smart Circuit only cost about $500,000, but the city spent another $400,000 on general development for the entire autonomous shuttle program.

Prenatal Trip Assistance, built by Kaizen Health

Kaizen Health, a woman-owned technology firm, built its initial application after being dissatisfied with transportation options available to people undergoing health treatments. The Chicago-based company applied its model of streamlining the experience of ordering non-emergency, multimodal medical transportation for pregnant women and families.  

The program got $1.3 million in Smart Columbus funds from June 2019 to January 2021, but only had about 143 participants due to the pandemic, but that includes over 800 medical care trips and over 300 pharmacy, grocery or other service-related trips. In a state that averaged 6.9 deaths for every 1,000 babies the year this program began, it’s a good thing the participating Medicaid managed care organizations are now modernizing how they deliver non-emergency transportation services, including access to such a mobile application.

Mobility assistance for people with cognitive disabilities, in partnership with Wayfinder

The tech partner for the final project was Wayfinder, a navigation app that was acquired by Vodafone in 2019. The Mobility Assistance for People with Cognitive Disabilities (MAPCD) study worked with Wayfinder to create a highly detailed, turn-by-turn navigation app specifically built for those who have cognitive disabilities, making it safer for those people to be more independent. 

The pilot cost nearly $500,000 and lasted from April 2019 to April 2020. Thirty-one participants used the app to get more comfortable using public transport. According to a spokesperson for the city, Columbus is working with potential partners to find a way to sustain the program. 

Looking towards the future

One of the focuses of Smart Columbus was also electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure. The money from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and AEP Ohio, the state’s utility provider, helped incentivize and encourage multi-unit dwellings, workplaces and public sites to install charging stations. Smart Columbus exceeded its goal of 900 EV charging stations, as well as its goal for 1.8% of new car sales to be electric, reaching 2.34% in November, 2019.

“In the future I think something that’s here to stay is really ensuring that we’re solving resident challenges in a way that makes sense for our community,” said Bishop.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/28/all-the-tech-that-went-into-turning-columbus-ohio-into-a-smart-city/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Rebecca Bellan

The Eyes Have It: Scientists Can Spot Deepfakes with a New AI Tool

Deepfake portraits with cornea analysis results underneathShu Hu/Yuezan Li/Siwei Lyu, University of Buffalo

Thanks to a new AI tool created by computer scientists at the University of Buffalo, we can now spot portrait-style deepfakes with 94% accuracy. How does the tool do this? By analyzing the patterns of light reflection seen on each of the photographed person’s corneas, which should look the same, not different.

Corneas have a mirror-like surface that should have a similar reflection shape on them caused by the lighting of the room or area they’re in. In real photos, the eyes will always have a near-identical reflection pattern. However, deepfake images—which are created by generative adversarial networks (GANs)—usually fail to accurately synthesize the resemblance and instead generate unique and inconsistent reflections on each cornea, sometimes even with mismatched locations.

The AI tool, then, maps out the face, scans the eyes, and analyzes the reflection in each eye. It then generates a similarity metric score that determines the likelihood of the image being an actual deepfake. The lower the score, the higher the possibility an image is a deepfake. The tool proved effective when scanning deepfakes on This Person Does Not Exist, a website filled with images of fake people using the StyleGAN2 architecture. 

However, the scientists that created the tool did note it has some limitations, the primary of which is that it relies on there being a reflected light source visible in both eyes. If someone is winking or blinking, it likely won’t work; nor will it if the subject is partially turned and not looking directly at the camera, as it’s only proved successful on portrait images. Additionally, anyone proficient enough in Photoshop may be able to edit out these inconsistencies, which would likely render the AI tool useless.

Despite these limitations, the tool still marks a big step forward for this type of technology. It won’t bust sophisticated deepfakes any time soon, but it can spot simpler ones and lay the foundation for more powerful detection technology in the future to go alongside our current capabilities to detect audio and video deepfakes.

via The Next Web

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/74051/the-eyes-have-it-scientists-can-spot-deepfakes-with-a-new-ai-tool/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

How to use AI to manage your brand’s social media campaigns

Our pandemic-plagued 2020 didn’t just change our daily routines and patterns. It also accelerated new trends that have been ramping up for years. For example, our time spent consuming digital content skyrocketed last year. Most U.S. adults engage with almost 8 hours of digital media every day, a 15 percent increase over 2019.  — Read the rest

Source: https://boingboing.net/2021/02/27/how-to-use-ai-to-manage-your-brands-social-media-campaigns.html
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Google AI classifies baking recipes and explains its predictions

One goal of AI researchers is to figure out how to make machine learning models more interpretable so researchers can understand why they make their predictions. Google says this is an improvement from taking the predictions of a deep neural network at face value without understanding what contributed to the model output. Researchers have shown how to build an explainable … Continue reading

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/google-ai-classifies-baking-recipes-and-explains-its-predictions-08654182/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Shane McGlaun

DeepMind’s latest AI can master games without being told their rules

e9a26a30-44ca-11eb-af9e-fbbada99bdf7In 2016, Alphabet’s DeepMind came out with AlphaGo, an AI which consistently beat the best human Go players. One year later, the subsidiary went on to refine its work, creating AlphaGo Zero. Where its predecessor learned to play Go by observing amate…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/deepmind-muzero-160024950.html
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An AI is livestreaming a never-ending bass solo on YouTube

ebac0200-446b-11eb-aa5f-05fe34b22d89Even the most dedicated musicians have to put down their instruments sometimes, but on YouTube, you can listen to a bass solo that keeps going and going. Dadabots, which is also behind an endless death metal stream, used a recurrent neural network (R…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/ai-infinite-bass-solo-adam-neely-dadabots-161511111.html
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Massachusetts lawmakers vote to pass a statewide police ban on facial recognition

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Massachusetts lawmakers have voted to pass a new police reform bill that will ban police departments and public agencies from using facial recognition technology across the state.

The bill was passed by both the state’s House and Senate on Tuesday, a day after senior lawmakers announced an agreement that ended months of deadlock.

The police reform bill also bans the use of chokeholds and rubber bullets, and limits the use of chemical agents like tear gas, and also allows police officers to intervene to prevent the use of excessive and unreasonable force. But the bill does not remove qualified immunity for police, a controversial measure that shields serving police from legal action for misconduct, following objections from police groups.

Lawmakers brought the bill to the state legislature in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, since charged with his murder.

Critics have for years complained that facial recognition technology is flawed, biased and disproportionately misidentifies people and communities of color. But the bill grants police an exception to run facial recognition searches against the state’s driver license database with a warrant. In granting that exception, the state will have to publish annual transparency figures on the number of searches made by officers.

The Massachusetts Senate voted 28-12 to pass, and the House voted 92-67. The bill will now be sent to Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker for his signature.

Kade Crockford, who leads the Technology for Liberty program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, praised the bill’s passing.

“No one should have to fear the government tracking and identifying their face wherever they go, or facing wrongful arrest because of biased, error-prone technology,” said Crockford. In the last year, the ACLU of Massachusetts has worked with community organizations and legislators across the state to ban face surveillance in seven municipalities, from Boston to Springfield. We commend the legislature for advancing a bill to protect all Massachusetts residents from unregulated face surveillance technology.”

In the absence of privacy legislation from the federal government, laws curtailing the use of facial recognition are popping up on a state and city level. The patchwork nature of that legislation means that state and city laws have room to experiment, creating an array of blueprints for future laws that can be replicated elsewhere.

Portland, Oregon passed a broad ban on facial recognition tech this September. The ban, one of the most aggressive in the nation, blocks city bureaus from using the technology but will also prohibit private companies from deploying facial recognition systems in public spaces. Months of clashes between protesters and aggressive law enforcement in that city raised the stakes on Portland’s ban.

Earlier bans in Oakland, San Francisco and Boston focused on forbidding their city governments from using the technology but, like Massachusetts, stopped short of limiting its use by private companies. San Francisco’s ban passed in May of last year, making the international tech hub the first major city to ban the use of facial recognition by city agencies and police departments.

At the same time that cities across the U.S. are acting to limit the creep of biometric surveillance, those same systems are spreading at the federal level. In August, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed a contract for access to a facial recognition database created by Clearview AI, a deeply controversial company that scrapes facial images from online sources, including social media sites.

While most activism against facial recognition only pertains to local issues, at least one state law has proven powerful enough to make waves on a national scale. In Illinois, the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) has ensnared major tech companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet for training facial recognition systems on Illinois residents without permission.

Updated with comment from the ACLU of Massachusetts.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/01/massachusetts-votes-to-pass-statewide-police-ban-on-facial-recognition/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Taylor Hatmaker

Facial Recognition Not Just for People – Bears and Cows, Too

Facial-Recognition-Bears-Cows-Featured.j Facial recognition is being used in many different ways. We use it to log in to our phones and computers, and the police can use it to track criminals. There are more uses for it as well, such as with animals. Facial recognition is already being used to recognize bears and cows. Facial Recognition for Grizzly Bears Bear biologist Melanie Clapham studies grizzly bears in Knight Inlet in British Columbia, Canada. She has learned to differentiate between them by using “individual characteristics,” such as an ear nick or nose… Read more14106266.gif

Source: https://tracking.feedpress.com/link/12555/14106266/facial-recognition-bears-and-cows-too
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Laura Tucker

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