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Tag Archives: Hi-Tech

Wie Big Tech die Pandemie «lösen» will

Nie habe es «einen wichtigeren Moment» gegeben, verkündeten Apple und Google am 10. April gleichzeitig auf ihren Websites, um «an der Lösung eines der dringendsten Probleme der Welt zu arbeiten».

Die beiden Monopolisten teilten mit, gemeinsam eine Plattform für das sogenannte Contact-Tracing zu entwickeln – eine Technologie zur Nach­verfolgung von Corona-Infektionen via Smartphone. Man werde, so die Verheissung, «die Kraft der Technologie nutzen (…), um Ländern auf der ganzen Welt zu helfen». Mit anderen Worten: Die Ingenieure aus Kalifornien treten auf ein Neues an, die Menschheit zu retten, sie vom Schlechten zu erlösen. Frei nach dem Google-Motto: Don’t be evil – sei nicht böse.

Nur wenige Wochen zuvor hatte der Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten deutlich gemacht, dass auch er auf genau das vertraute. «I want to thank Google», erklärte Donald Trump auf einer Medien­konferenz. Danken dafür, dass dort «1700 Ingenieure» eine Website für ein flächen­deckendes Covid-19-Testing entwickelten. Auch er gab sich überzeugt, dass damit allen Menschen, überall, geholfen wäre: «We cover this country and large parts of the world.»

https://www.republik.ch/2020/05/09/wie-big-tech-die-pandemie-loesen-will

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2020 in Reportages

 

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Met de hyperloop duurt Amsterdam – Eindhoven een kwartiertje

De transportrevolutie van deze eeuw begint in een weiland boven Groningen. Althans, dat is de overtuiging van Tim Houter (27). Tussen de koeien langs het Slochterdiep verheft zich binnenkort een stalen buis op palen, 2,6 kilometer lang en anderhalve meter dik. De witte constructie zal slechts drie meter boven het gras uitkomen, maar de beloften reiken sky high. Het is de testhyperloop van het Delftse bedrijf Hardt, de eerste in zijn soort ter wereld, zegt werktuigbouwkundige Houter in een videogesprek. Hij is ceo van Hardt, dat in korte tijd uitgroeide van studentenclubje tot bedrijf met twintig werknemers en miljoenen tot haar beschikking. ‘Er zijn nog een hoop Delftse mensen van het eerste uur.’

De bedrijfsmissie: het bouwen van een hyperloop. Deze futuristische reisbuis is een concept van de Canadees-Amerikaanse techgoeroe Elon Musk. Het is in feite een magneetzweeftrein, maar dan kleiner, die voortbeweegt in een vacuüm getrokken buis op palen. Zonder luchtweerstand moeten de reiscapsules een snelheid van duizend kilometer per uur gaan halen, vergelijkbaar met het vliegtuig, alleen dan met een laag energiegebruik. Qua technologie is Musks ontwerp niet eens zo vernieuwend: de hyperloop is een samenraapsel van bestaande kennis. Dat is juist het mooie ervan, stelt Houter. ‘Magnetische levitatie is bewezen, vacuümpompen doen het en in het maken van stalen buizen zijn we bedreven. Het is alleen nog zaak deze technologieën samen te voegen.’

https://www.groene.nl/artikel/niets-minder-dan-een-revolutie

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2020 in Reportages

 

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Why Estonia Was Poised to Handle How a Pandemic Would Change Everything

Panic, dismay, anger, defiance, fear, despair, doubt, and occasional portions of denial: all of these have been common notes of communication lately, from the news media to private texts. But some of the messages coming out of Estonia, a tiny country on the Baltic Sea, sound discordantly confident. Estonians seem to think they’ve got this: they are not only handling the coronavirus pandemic but also facing the world in which we will live after it’s over.

In many ways, Estonia’s response has looked indistinguishable from that of most European nations. The country has closed its borders, shuttered its schools, and banned entertainment and leisure businesses from operating. The government has pledged to cover the bulk of personal income lost because of the pandemic; it has also been criticized for lacking a coherent strategy for addressing the crisis, including not having a clear and consistent approach to testing for covid-19. Still, with a relatively high rate of infection among European nations—it’s in ninth place as of today, with two hundred and thirty-one known infections per million people—Estonia appears to have one of the lowest levels of panic. Politico is keeping track of panic levels, ranking them on a ten-point scale based on media coverage, panic buying, and other indicators. Estonia’s level of panic is ranked three out of ten (compared to seven in France, which is just above Estonia in the number of known cases per capita; and five in Denmark, whose case number is just below Estonia’s).

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/why-estonia-was-poised-to-handle-how-a-pandemic-would-change-everything

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2020 in European Union, Uncategorized

 

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Chi ha saputo usare la tecnologia per combattere l’epidemia

Come ha fatto l’epidemia a diffondersi dall’epicentro di Wuhan al resto della Cina e del mondo? Il New York Times ha avuto accesso ai dati dei cellulari degli abitanti di Wuhan relativi a dicembre e gennaio, nelle settimane che hanno preceduto le misure di isolamento e in cui le autorità nascondevano ancora le informazioni sulla comparsa di un virus sconosciuto.

Il risultato è una visualizzazione spettacolare che rivela gli spostamenti di milioni di persone verso Pechino, Shanghai, Seoul, l’Europa e l’America. I dati mostrano anche in che modo i danni avrebbero potuto essere limitati con una risposta più tempestiva.

Questo uso della tecnologia e delle enormi quantità di dati disponibili permette di comprendere meglio cosa è accaduto, ma anche di combattere più efficacemente la propagazione del virus.

https://www.internazionale.it/opinione/pierre-haski/2020/03/24/coronavirus-tecnologia-privacy

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2020 in Asia

 

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Kleurt de code groen? Dan mag de Wenzhou’er weer naar buiten (tot ‘ie op geel of rood springt)

Met een harde pets belandt het mondkapje van Qiao Zijin op tafel. Hier kan hij het met een gerust hart afzetten. “Ik weet dat het hier veilig is.” De goedlachse koffieverkoper laat de groene code op zijn telefoon zien die zegt dat hij gezond is. Zijn vrienden hebben zo’n zelfde code op hun telefoon.

https://www.trouw.nl/buitenland/kleurt-de-code-groen-dan-mag-de-wenzhou-er-weer-naar-buiten-tot-ie-op-geel-of-rood-springt~bd867193/

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2020 in Asia

 

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Black-Boxed Politics

Artificial intelligence captures our imagination like almost no other technology: from fears about killer robots to dreams of a fully-automated, frictionless future. As numerous authors have documented, the idea of creating artificial, intelligent machines has entranced and scandalized people for millennia. Indeed, part of what makes the history of ‘artificial intelligence’ so fascinating is the mix of genuine scientific achievement with myth-making and outright deception.

A certain amount of hype and myth making can be harmless, and might even help to fuel real progress in the field. However, the fact that ‘AI systems’ are now being integrated into essential public services and other high-risk processes means that we must be especially vigilant about combatting misconceptions about AI.

At various points throughout 2019, we saw users of Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Apple’s Siri being shocked to discover that recordings of their private family conversations were being reviewed by real living humans. This was hardly surprising to anyone familiar with how these voice assistants are trained. But to the majority of customers, who do not question the presentation of these systems as 100% automated, it came as a shock that poorly paid overseas workers had access to what were often intimate and sensitive conversations. Concerns about how such systems operate are only sharpened when we see contracts between Amazon and Britain’s National Health Service for Alexa to provide medical advice and, of course, to thereby have access to patient data.

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2020 in Reportages

 

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The Biometric Threat

Around the world, governments are succumbing to the allure of biometric identification systems. To some extent, this may be inevitable, given the burden of demands and expectations placed on modern states. But no one should underestimate the risks these technologies pose.

Biometric identification systems use individuals’ unique intrinsic physical characteristics – fingerprints or handprints, facial patterns, voices, irises, vein maps, or even brain waves – to verify their identity. Governments have applied the technology to verify passports and visas, identify and track security threats, and, more recently, to ensure that public benefits are correctly distributed.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/biometric-data-verification-risks-aadhaar-by-jayati-ghosh-2020-02

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2020 in Asia

 

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Southeast Asia leaps ahead in high-tech financial services

Bank customers in Asia are swapping their wallets for smartphones, using apps for everything from buying groceries to sending money home from abroad to investing.

Need a loan? Forget filling out paperwork and waiting in line for a bank teller. Now you can apply for credit on your phone and receive an answer almost immediately, thanks to screening that uses artificial intelligence. Financial services are increasingly available anytime, anywhere.

Emerging economies, where many people still do not have access to banking services, are “leapfrogging” the traditional style of retail banking and jumping straight to digitized financial services. For a growing number of people, a visit to a brick-and-mortar bank seems old fashioned.

“I put 70% of my salary into my electronic money account,” said Bayu Wicaksono, a 23-year-old engineer living in Jakarta. Most of the things he buys he pays for with e-money from Ovo using his smartphone.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Banking-Finance/Southeast-Asia-leaps-ahead-in-high-tech-financial-services

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2019 in Asia, Economy, Uncategorized

 

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Artificial intelligence is changing every aspect of war

AS THE NAVY plane swooped low over the jungle, it dropped a bundle of devices into the canopy below. Some were microphones, listening for guerrilla footsteps or truck ignitions. Others were seismic detectors, attuned to minute vibrations in the ground. Strangest of all were the olfactory sensors, sniffing out ammonia in human urine. Tens of thousands of these electronic organs beamed their data to drones and on to computers. In minutes, warplanes would be on their way to carpet-bomb the algorithmically-ordained grid square. Operation Igloo White was the future of war—in 1970.

America’s effort to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail running from Laos into Vietnam was not a success. It cost around $1bn a year (about $7.3bn in today’s dollars)—$100,000 ($730,000 today) for every truck destroyed—and did not stop infiltration. But the allure of semi-automated war never faded. The idea of collecting data from sensors, processing them with algorithms fuelled by ever-more processing power and acting on the output more quickly than the enemy lies at the heart of military thinking across the world’s biggest powers. And today that is being supercharged by new developments in artificial intelligence (AI).

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2019/09/07/artificial-intelligence-is-changing-every-aspect-of-war

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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As face-recognition technology spreads, so do ideas for subverting it

POWERED BY advances in artificial intelligence (AI), face-recognition systems are spreading like knotweed. Facebook, a social network, uses the technology to label people in uploaded photographs. Modern smartphones can be unlocked with it. Some banks employ it to verify transactions. Supermarkets watch for under-age drinkers. Advertising billboards assess consumers’ reactions to their contents. America’s Department of Homeland Security reckons face recognition will scrutinise 97% of outbound airline passengers by 2023. Networks of face-recognition cameras are part of the police state China has built in Xinjiang, in the country’s far west. And a number of British police forces have tested the technology as a tool of mass surveillance in trials designed to spot criminals on the street.

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2019/08/15/as-face-recognition-technology-spreads-so-do-ideas-for-subverting-it

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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