Tag Archives: Fears

Top Google Glass fan fears Google is getting ready to dump his favorite headset

Robert Scoble Google Glass Doomed

Top Google Glass fan Robert Scoble is a fairly excitable personality and he’s written a fairly excitable post on his Google+ page discussing his fears that Google might be about his favorite headset the old heave-ho, much as it did to past products such as Google Wave and the Nexus Q. What set Scoble off this time was that Google CEO Larry Page took the stage to deliver a keynote at the TED conference Wednesday… and he wasn’t wearing Google Glass.

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South Korea shuns Huawei over fears that it spies on the US

We’ve long known that the US government has major security concerns about Huawei, despite the Chinese company’s insistence that it’s free of Communist Party influence. As a result, Huawei has been barred from taking on infrastructure contracts within…
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Google Glass facial-recognition service likely to stoke privacy fears

Google’s Glass wearable could soon be able to recognize faces of those around the wearer, thanks to a dedicated service for human and object recognition that could be built into third-party apps. The handiwork of Lambda Labs, the special Glass facial recognition API will integrate into software and services using Google’s Mirror API for Glass, crunching shots from the camera and spitting out the identity of people and objects it recognizes. Lambda Labs expects the system to be used for real-world social networking and person-location services, though also warns that it could eventually fall foul of impending privacy regulation.

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Lambda’s service has been in operation – though not in Glass-specific form – for some time, and is already used by around 1,000 developers, according to the company. It works by using a pre-existing “album” of known faces or objects, for instance your work colleagues, against which new captures from the camera are compared.

What the system can’t do, right now at least, is compare those around you to images not in its own album. So, you couldn’t walk into a room and have Glass flag up those you might be friends with on Google+ based on the publicly-uploaded photos they’ve shared. It’s also not a real-time process: images have to be passed over to Lambda’s engine via the Mirror API, and the results then fed back in the opposite way.

That’s going to involve a delay of around a few seconds, the company told TechCrunch. It’s a similar system to what we saw MedRef for Glass, an app intending to make calling up patient records more straightforward for doctors and hospital staff, use, and indeed Lambda Labs’ API could be integrated server-side for future versions of MedRef or apps like it.

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Despite the fact that, even with functionality like this, Glass wearers won’t be able to roam the streets having names and personal details of those around them hovering in the air like SIMS icons, the facial identification system leads Google’s headset into even murkier privacy issues. Earlier this month, a concerned US Congressional committee fired off a list of privacy-related questions to Google CEO Larry Page, demanding reassurance by June 14 that the wearable wouldn’t collect personal data without the consent of non-users, wouldn’t be unduly intrusive in ways smartphones are not currently, and how it might be updated and its functionality extended in future.

Currently, Glass lacks native face-recognition, hence the opening for third-party services like Lambda Labs’ to step in. Google’s own stance has been that it would require “strong privacy protections” be in place before it would consider adding the functionality itself; exactly what protections would be considered sufficiently “safe” for the public is unclear.

Members of Google’s Glass team touched on the potential for privacy infringement during the fireside chat about the wearable at Google I/O earlier this month. Among the factors built in to avoid any misuse of the camera is an SDK-level requirement that the camera be active if the headset is recording, Glass engineer Charles Mendis revealed; there’s also, product director Steve Lee pointed out, “a clear social gesture” involved in triggering that recording, whether it be physically pressing the button on the upper side of the eyepiece, or giving the “OK Glass, take a photo” spoken command.

Nonetheless, it’s a young segment of the industry and the rules are likely to be fluid as the “what we could do” urge for progress bumps up against “what we should do” restraint. Parallel developments in Google+ are leading Glass down the life-logging path, giving room – and the organizational tools – to store every moment that goes on around you, even if the hardware and software aren’t quite set up that way today.


Google Glass facial-recognition service likely to stoke privacy fears is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Dinosaur roots research fuels mass-extinction fears

The Dinosaur Age began in Tanzania and Zambia, following a tumultuous species shuffle in the aftermath of a mass-extinction event 252.3m years ago, new fossil discoveries have suggested. 90-percent of all life on Earth was wiped out, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports, with it taking around 10m years before the precursors of dinosaurs as we know of them began to emerge.

pre-dinosaur

One such example was silesaurs, small herbivores more akin in size to a dog than the “terrible lizards” of Jurassic Park, but actually closely related to dinosaurs. Most common among silesaur fossil remains is the Asilisaurus kongwe, study co-author Kennet Angielczyk told Discovery, but in fact it’s another of the same species that provides the most likely link with what came after them.

That animal is in face Nyasasaurus parringtoni, again similar in size to a large dog, but with an extended tail that fossils suggest was around 5-feet in length. “Nyasasaurus is either the oldest known dinosaur or the closest known relative of dinosaurs,” Angielczyk says, “but we can’t completely rule out either option because the material is rather fragmentary.”

Angielcyzk and his team gathered fossil evidence in seven trips, with the bone fragments spread across Tanzania, Zambia, and Antarctica. However, while the fossils have allowed a greater insight into how dinosaur species developed, the actual nature of the mass-extinction event itself remains unclear.

One possibility is that an extreme form of global warming caused a mass species reduction – believed to involve an 80-percent decrease in four-legged species found in the majority of the areas studied – though other possibilities include volcanic activity or a meteorite strike.

Significantly shifting geographies means that the spread of early dinosaurs is made even more complex, but researchers on the team argue that the most important aspect of the discovery might instead be a cautionary tale for humans today. Should a similarly colossal mass-extinction event take place now, evidence of species development suggests it could take anywhere from 8m years for animal life to begin to recover.


Dinosaur roots research fuels mass-extinction fears is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

SlashGear

Video: Documents Show Fears Of Super Blackout

Times-Picayune business reporter Richard Thompson discusses the news that Superdome officials were worried about a power outage several months before the Super Bowl.

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