Is Technology Coming To Our Rescue?

facial-recognition

Technology is quickly outpacing our ability to keep up. Taking all of it into account, technology is keeping us more connected and informed and less anonymous.

How about a satellite-imaging company that has launched a fleet of miniaturized satellites to ‘map’ the entire globe, everyday?  Or 33 satellites, about the size of a loaf of bread, now circling the globe? It’s the largest fleet of satellites doing Earth imaging in history, and the goal is to have 133 satellites operational. The company has already begun sharing its data with organizations such as Amnesty International, which used the company’s imagery to track refugee camps in Syria.

The Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project used Planet’s images to locate illegal mining and deforestation in Peru. Care to know what else they can ‘see?’

How about computers that can tell what you’re thinking? This is the next phase of human-computer interaction.

Monitoring people’s brain activity in real time and recognizing specific thoughts (of “tree” versus “dog” or of a particular pizza topping).  This technology will widen its use even more in the coming years.

Facial Recognition Technologies Are Spreading Rapidly. Sources for these ‘faces’ are also spreading rapidly. Photos have long been used for identification and security purposes. However, indications are that advances in facial recognition are fast outpacing the attendant privacy concerns.

Although there are myriads of hidden cameras placed strategically on every major street and within buildings, there is seemingly little public comfort that it’s all necessary and that there are adequate measures to minimize the risk of abuse.

Is facial recognition out of control?  A prominent case study was recently presented by reporters for the Baltimoresun.com.

It involved a five-year-old program in Maryland that lets police compare images of unidentified criminal suspects with millions of motor vehicle records — using highly advanced facial recognition software.

According to state and federal data, Maryland is one of at least five states that are giving the FBI access to driver’s licenses, local police mug shots and other corrections records. A dozen other states provide driver’s license photographs only. Other states have laws prohibiting the use of facial recognition. Police have used the Maryland Image Repository System with little fanfare since 2011.

This program has attracted increased scrutiny since the American Civil Liberties Union in California released documents showing the system was used to monitor protesters during the unrest and rioting in Baltimore last year.  That followed other recent disclosures about law enforcement in Baltimore adopting clandestine technologies, including cellphone tracking and aerial surveillance.

Do You Know About “Deep Learning” neural network programs? These use algorithms with many layers… Lower-level calculations feed into higher ones…. Like? Like our brains!!

Google has an ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Deep Learning system. It defeated the world’s best ‘Go’ player [Go is apparently a popular strategy board game, after trouncing the European GO champion.

How? By calculating a number of potential moves that exceeds the number of atoms in the universe and choosing the best. WOW! Where did the inventors get such an idea? From the human brain!

Our brains makes connections between neurons, with lower-level data from many neurons feeding into ‘higher’ groups of neurons, repeated over many layers. The calculations are then fed to a higher layer of the program and so on…. apparently just like our brains do.

Three scientists have created the world’s smallest machines. They are comprised of linked-up molecules… that are ‘contraptions’ that can do work. One is a tiny lift — artificial muscles and a mini motor. They are 1000 times thinner than a strand of hair. Care to imagine where this can take us?

Another device can read your emotions by bouncing wireless signals off your body. It claims an 87% accuracy rating. Oh, and it’s smaller than a Wi-Fi router. There’s also a transmission system that can send your passwords through your BODY instead of by Wi-Fi.

There’s a fabric that can be woven into clothing, which will harvest and store energy from both the Sun and your body movements, to power wearable devices. How about liquid clothing…. that ‘heals’ itself, when torn?

These are only a few of the new inventions we’ll be seeing in the future. Our grandchildren will wonder how we old-folks got along without them! You mean you had to charge a battery?

Guess Who Else Will Find This Valuable?

 

 

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