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Software Used to Predict Crime Can Now Be Scoured for Bias

March 24, 2017 Predictive policing, or the idea that software can foresee where crime will take place, is being adopted across the country—despite being riddled with issues. These algorithms have been shown to disproportionately target minorities, and private companies won’t reveal how their software reached those conclusions. In an attempt to stand out...

Software Used to Predict Crime Can Now Be Scoured for Bias

March 23, 2017 Predictive policing, or the idea that software can foresee where crime will take place, is being adopted across the country—despite being riddled with issues. These algorithms have been shown to disproportionately target minorities, and private companies won’t reveal how their software reached those conclusions. In an attempt to stand out...

A DNA Computer Has a Trillion Siblings and Replicates Itself to Make a Decision

March 14, 2017 Think of a computer. You’re probably imagining a smartphone or laptop, or even one of Google or Amazon’s huge server buildings if you’re in the know about the physical internet. Those modern computers serve us well, but in the future, the word “computer” may conjure images of something much more......

The Most Striking Thing About the WikiLeaks CIA Data Dump Is How Little Most People Cared

March 13, 2017 On March 7, the US awoke to a fresh cache of internal CIA documents posted on WikiLeaks. They detail the spy organization’s playbook for cracking digital communications. WikiLeaks claims to have large portions of the CIA’s hacking arsenal in a series called Vault 7 (though the first information dump didn’t...

Google Will Always Answer Your Questions, But You Shouldn’t Always Let It

March 9, 2017 When you punch a common question into the search bar on Google, you’re presented now with an answer emphasized above all the others. Often, it contains enough detail to satisfy your curiosity on the spot, with no need to click further. It’s what the search company calls a “featured snippet,”...

Amazon Broke the Internet Because Its System Couldn’t Handle a Typo

March 4, 2017 Tuesday’s internet outages were quickly discovered to be caused by outages of Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3), cloud servers built to hold enormous portions of the web. The root of those outages was uncovered by Amazon yesterday: An employee made a typo while trying to remove a “small number” of...

Microsoft’s AI is Learning to Write Code by Itself, Not Steal It

March 1, 2017 What if instead of searching through menus within programs like Microsoft Excel, our computers could understand the problem we’re trying to solve and write the software to solve it? It’s a hyper-futuristic idea, but one that has recently seen progress from Microsoft Research and the University of Cambridge. In a...

Alphabet’s Hate-Fighting AI Doesn’t Understand Hate Yet

February 27, 2017 Yesterday, Google and its sister Alphabet company Jigsaw announced Perspective, a tool that uses machine learning to police the internet against hate speech. The company heralded the tech as a nascent but powerful weapon in combatting online vitriol, and opened the software so websites could use it on their own...

Amazon Argues That Alexa Is Protected By the First Amendment in a Murder Trial

February 24, 2017 There are certain pieces of data that Amazon will hand over to the police: A user’s personal information and purchase history seem to be fair game. But when it comes to Alexa, the company’s popular virtual personal assistant, the company is keeping its lip zipped. Amazon is contesting a search...

Automation Is Coming For You Too

February 23, 2017 We all think we’re less likely to be affected by misfortune than other people. This is such a phenomena that psychologists have a name for it: Unrealistic comparative optimism. Whether it’s saving a few bucks by not paying for the rental car insurance or putting off that visit to the...