European Parliament Considers Legal Status of Robots

January 12th, 2017

Via: Guardian:

The European parliament has urged the drafting of a set of regulations to govern the use and creation of robots and artificial intelligence, including a form of “electronic personhood” to ensure rights and responsibilities for the most capable AI.

In a 17-2 vote, with two abstentions, the parliament’s legal affairs committee passed the report, which outlines one possible framework for regulation.

“A growing number of areas of our daily lives are increasingly affected by robotics,” said the report’s author, Luxembourgish MEP Mady Delvaux. “In order to address this reality and to ensure that robots are and will remain in the service of humans, we urgently need to create a robust European legal framework”.

The proposed legal status for robots would be analogous to corporate personhood, which allows firms to take part in legal cases both as the plaintiff and respondent. “It is similar to what we now have for companies, but it is not for tomorrow,” said Delvaux. “What we need now is to create a legal framework for the robots that are currently on the market or will become available over the next 10 to 15 years.”


China Has Wealth of Data on What Individuals Are Doing at a Micro Level

January 11th, 2017

Most of what sounds grim about this situation in China is the same in the U.S.

Via: CBC:

Living in China, it’s safe to assume pretty much everything about you is known — or easily can be known — by the government. Where you go, who you’re with, which restaurants you like, when and why you see your doctor.

Big Brother doesn’t even need to be watching with his own eyes.

There is an entire network — the internet inside China’s Great Firewall — designed to gather the information. And there’s an industry of private and state-owned high-tech enterprises serving it.

“You could go so far as to make the argument that social media and digital technology are actually supporting the regime,” says Ronald Deibert, the director of The Citizen Lab, a group of researchers at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. They study how information technology affects human and personal rights around the world.


L.A. Coliving: PodShare

January 11th, 2017

This looks like someone turned a Kafkaesque Japanese capsule hotel inside out and dressed it up with some hip millennial bullshit.

Are young people sleepwalking into living like upper class bums and thinking that it’s somehow a cool thing?

Children, gather around: This is bum living with running water and wi-fi.

I have nothing against people for living like bums. I’ve done it. It can be a good tactical move. What I’m curious about is how, between the early 2000s and now, living like a bum became something for cool kids to do?

Well paying jobs are gone and not coming back. It’s getting more expensive to survive. Collapse. Etc.

Have we moved beyond calling it what it is?

I was talking about this PodShare thing with my wife, and how I found it inexplicable that young people could possibly like this. She theorized that it might have something to do with Facebook. They’re so used to disgorging such ridiculous amounts of personal information over social media that living in a place with no privacy, and Bob farting in the next bunk over, might seem normal to them.

I don’t know.

Anyway, behold…

Via: Kirsten Dirksen:


Hand-Powered Ultralow-Cost Paper Centrifuge

January 11th, 2017

Via: Nature:

In a global-health context, commercial centrifuges are expensive, bulky and electricity-powered, and thus constitute a critical bottleneck in the development of decentralized, battery-free point-of-care diagnostic devices. Here, we report an ultralow-cost (20?cents), lightweight (2?g), human-powered paper centrifuge (which we name ‘paperfuge’) designed on the basis of a theoretical model inspired by the fundamental mechanics of an ancient whirligig (or buzzer toy; 3,300 bc). The paperfuge achieves speeds of 125,000?r.p.m. (and equivalent centrifugal forces of 30,000?g), with theoretical limits predicting 1,000,000?r.p.m. We demonstrate that the paperfuge can separate pure plasma from whole blood in less than 1.5?min, and isolate malaria parasites in 15?min. We also show that paperfuge-like centrifugal microfluidic devices can be made of polydimethylsiloxane, plastic and 3D-printed polymeric materials. Ultracheap, power-free centrifuges should open up opportunities for point-of-care diagnostics in resource-poor settings and for applications in science education and field ecology.


Taiwan Scrambles Jets, Navy as China Aircraft Carrier Enters Taiwan Strait

January 11th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

Taiwan scrambled jets and navy ships on Wednesday as a group of Chinese warships, led by its sole aircraft carrier, sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the latest sign of heightened tension between Beijing and the self-ruled island.

China’s Soviet-built Liaoning aircraft carrier, returning from exercises in the South China Sea, was not encroaching in Taiwan’s territorial waters but entered its air defense identification zone in the southwest, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.

As a result, Taiwan scrambled jets and navy ships to “surveil and control” the passage of the Chinese ships north through the body of water separating Taiwan and China, Taiwan defense ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi said.

Taiwan military aircraft and ships have been deployed to follow the carrier group, which is sailing up the west side of the median line of the strait, he said.


Bitcoin Slides as China’s Central Bank Launches Checks on Exchanges

January 11th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

China’s central bank launched spot checks on leading bitcoin exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai, ratcheting up pressure on potential capital outflows and knocking the price of the cryptocurrency down more than 12 percent against the dollar.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said its probe of bitcoin exchanges BTCC, Huobi and OKCoin was to look into a range of possible rule violations, including market manipulation, money laundering and unauthorized financing. It did not say if any violations had been found.

Chinese authorities have stepped up efforts to stem capital outflows and relieve pressure on the yuan.


Schumer: Intelligence Community May ‘Get Back At’ Trump for Tweet

January 11th, 2017

Via: Daily Caller:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested Tuesday night that U.S. intelligence agencies could “get back at” President-elect Donald Trump after he questioned the legitimacy of the intelligence community’s probe into Russian involvement in the hacking of Democratic party officials.

The “Intelligence” briefing on so-called “Russian hacking” was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017

Appearing on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Schumer said, “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you. So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this.”


‘Shadow Brokers’ Selling NSA Cyberweapons Targeting Windows

January 10th, 2017

Via: Cyberscoop:

A mysterious group that claims to have stolen tools once used by the NSA published material Sunday to show it is in possession of Microsoft Windows software exploits.

Screenshots of the alleged exploits in use, along with a comprehensive list of filenames and directories were all shared by the enigmatic group the “Shadow Brokers,” in a new blog post. Beyond the supplementary evidence is a set of encrypted folders, each protected by a PGP key. The encrypted folders presumably hold the actual, functioning exploits Rendition Infosec founder Jake Williams told CyberScoop.


Pentagon Successfully Tests Micro-Drone Swarm

January 10th, 2017

Via: Physorg:

The Pentagon may soon be unleashing a 21st-century version of locusts on its adversaries after officials on Monday said it had successfully tested a swarm of 103 micro-drones.

The important step in the development of new autonomous weapon systems was made possible by improvements in artificial intelligence, holding open the possibility that groups of small robots could act together under human direction.

Military strategists have high hopes for such drone swarms that would be cheap to produce and able to overwhelm opponents’ defenses with their great numbers.

The test of the world’s largest micro-drone swarm in California in October included 103 Perdix micro-drones measuring around six inches (16 centimeters) launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, the Pentagon said in a statement.

“The micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing,” it said.

“Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,” said William Roper, director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office. “Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.”


Terror Suspects Could be Forced to Wear Electronic Tags Under Radical Proposal from German Justice Minister

January 9th, 2017

Do you get it yet?

Do you see what becomes possible when they create the problem in the first place?

If you think this would just be used on “Islamic extremists,” read the statement from Heiko Maas carefully:

“The use of ankle tags should not be only available for convicted criminals after release from prison, but for those identified as a general threat as well.”

General threat.

I think the politicians—responsible for letting “the terrorists” into Germany—are a “general threat” and they should have to wear these things.

Via: Telegraph:

Suspected Islamic extremists could be forced to wear electronic tags without trial in Germany, under radical new proposals put forward by the country’s justice minister.

Heiko Maas said he wanted to extend the use of electronic ankle tags to those deemed a potential terror threat even if they have not been convicted of any crime.

The proposals come as senior ministers in Angela Merkel’s government prepare to meet on Tuesday to discuss security reforms in the wake of last month’s Christmas market terror attack in Berlin, in which 12 people died.

Anis Amri, the attacker, was able to move freely around Germany despite being identified as a terror threat because police could not secure enough evidence to arrest him.

Mr Maas called for a “preventive offensive” against the threat from Islamic extremism.

“The use of ankle tags should not be only available for convicted criminals after release from prison, but for those identified as a general threat as well,” he said.


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