Los Angeles, CA - Four men - Sohiel Omar Kabir, Ralph Deleon, Miguel Alejandro Santana and Arifeen David Gojali - were charged with material support for terrorism in Riverside County, Nov. 19. The government alleges the men were planning to join the resistance to the U.S./NATO occupation of Afghanistan.
According to the indictment, evidence against the men includes postings and ‘likes’ on Facebook. The criminal complaint against the men also cites a Facebook discussion between two of the defendants, where they allegedly discuss plans of the Afghan resistance to negotiate with the U.S.
Much of the ‘evidence’ presented in the indictment is constitutionally protected speech, where the defendants express their views on the resistance to the occupation of Afghanistan. An entire section of the complaint is devoted to “social media.”
Building machines with a conscience is a big job, and one that will require the coordinated efforts of philosophers, computer scientists, legislators, and lawyers. And, as Colin Allen, a pioneer in machine ethics put it, “We don’t want to get to the point where we should have had this discussion twenty years ago.” As machines become faster, more intelligent, and more powerful, the need to endow them with a sense of morality becomes more and more urgent.
“Ethical subroutines” may sound like science fiction, but once upon a time, so did self-driving cars.
“The Pentagon wants to make perfectly clear that every time one of its flying robots releases its lethal payload, it’s the result of a decision made by an accountable human being in a lawful chain of command. Human rights groups and nervous citizens fear that technological advances in autonomy will slowly lead to the day when robots make that critical decision for themselves. But according to a new policy directive issued by a top Pentagon official, there shall be no SkyNet, thank you very much.”—Pentagon: A Human Will Always Decide When a Robot Kills You | Danger Room | Wired.com
“In many ways, algorithms remain outside our grasp, and they are designed to be. This is not to say that we should not aspire to illuminate their workings and impact. We should. But we may also need to prepare ourselves for more and more encounters with the unexpected and ineffable associations they will sometimes draw for us, the fundamental uncertainty about who we are speaking to or hearing, and the palpable but opaque undercurrents that move quietly beneath knowledge when it is managed by algorithms.”—
“Something far more concerning than marching bands, balloons, cheerleaders and clowns was at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Confidential personal information is what some paradegoers found among confetti tossed during the world’s most famous parade. That information included social security numbers and banking information for police employees, some of whom are undercover officers.”—Confidential Police Docs Found in Macy’s Parade Confetti Spark Investigation [Exclusive] - WPIX
“Last winter, Dan Harmon, who was then the executive producer of the television sitcom Community, shared that he tried, “many times a season” to put star Alison Brie “in a situation, wardrobe-wise, that I know is going to end up as an animated GIF file!””—Rhizome | GIFABILITY
Two porn companies are courting web surfers to upload photos they find online to the companies’ free facial-recognition, face-matching database services.
With SexFaceFinder.com and Naughty America’s “Face” anyone can upload an image and have the services match it with images and faces in image databases.
SexFaceFinder positions its service as a way for users to find a performer that looks like s specific person.
Or to find performers that look like the user’s favorite type of model, in an effort to engage the user with a service that closes the marketing gap between a user and their fantasy.
Another company, Naughty America, openly solicits users to upload images of girls found on Instagram and other internet destinations in an effort to find the photo’s subjects in porn - or find celebrity look-alikes, girlfriend and ex-girlfriend look-alikes, or similar/specific porn performers.
Naughty America’s facial recognition matching openly asks users to try photos of girls they find on Instagram and other social media websites.
“Walking home tonight from dinner with a friend in the East Village, NY, I was passing south along Pitt Street, one block north of Delancey, when I heard the throaty rumble of a low-flying plane getting louder overhead. I didn’t pay it much attention but it was loud enough for me to clock it. Up ahead, I saw three guys emerge from one of the projects on the east side of Pitt St. As I got closer to them, they paused. The plane was passing right above us, heading north along the east river Manhattan shoreline, and I suddenly saw what could only be described as a wide, flat green laser beam start sweeping the street from the plane. It passed over the three guys up ahead, and then me. It was like a giant laser bar-code scanner passing across every contour of the street - for a brief second like suddenly being in a bad light show at a 1990s rave. The three guys ahead of me stopped in their tracks, dumbfounded. I caught up with them and we all looked at each other, then back up to the sky, and then saw this fat triangle of green light beaming down from the plane as it headed north. I talked to them, and none of us could work out what it was, but we had all seen the same thing. I continued walking south towards Grand Street, where I live, and just as I was entering my building I heard the plane come back, this time flying south. I stopped and watched it’s green beam cover ground just a little further west of where I’d been walking. As I write this I can still hear the plane making passes overhead - it’s engines have quite a distinct sound.”—As related by a friend, November 19th, 2012. This appears to be LIDAR scanning of New York in operation. This was first proposed in 2010, and reported by Fast Company and the New York Times. Green LIDAR in particular is used for marine environments - it seems likely that the current scan is in response to recent flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy. The technical term for this process is EEARL, but I haven’t yet been able to establish who is doing the scanning.
“Impermium provides social content cleaning for web sites and social networks, defending them against social spam, fake registrations, racist and inappropriate language, and other forms of abuse. Our system combines advanced technology and broad, Internet scale threat information to provide cost-effective, real-time protection for more than a 300,000 sites across the globe.”—About Impermium | Impermium
Information Age Prayer is a site that charges you a monthly fee to say prayers for you. A typical charge is $4.95 per month to say three prayers specified by you each day.
"We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying," the company states. "Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen."
“Through a history of colonialism and proselytisation through Christian missionaries. Most Igbos became Christian. Some of them in the 1970s, 1980s, were proselytized – from the United States, actually – by what in the American setting would be often called Jews for Jesus, what in Nigeria they still call Messianic. Now, having practiced Messianic Judaism for many years, which is all of the customs and the practices of Judaism – Sabbath, prayer on Saturdays, wearing of the tallit, the prayer shawl – but they also believed in Jesus, which for normative Judaism, regular Judaism, just doesn’t fit. And after some years of questioning – because Nigerians are really religious people, they take religion seriously, they go to bed thinking about it – some of them started to say, ‘this doesn’t compute. If we’re supposed to believe in one God, then this theology of a son of God in addition to God doesn’t make sense.’ And then the Internet arose and they were exposed for the first time to world global Judaism.”
The world’s first “Internet Jews”
“They had exposure to Hebrew language, to how Jewish ritual is practiced throughout the world. The Internet arrived in Nigeria at the same time that many of these Igbos were breaking away from Messianic Judaism, as they thought of it, and were able to learn and had this great access to whatever is out on the Internet. And everything is out on the Internet! Including Rabbinic Judaism.”
Liveblogging. It’s one of those tortured-English phrases that conjures up images of awards shows, Apple launch events, and Justin Bieber. Whenever something like this is added to the dictionary (kind of how “sexting” was, a couple months back) it’s a little amusing — seeing a slice of our somewhat-frivolous, hyper-connected world given some legitimacy by the “old guard,” as it were.
What is not amusing, however, is watching the Israel Defense Forces liveblog its current operation in Gaza. (And we’re not just saying that because the IDF doesn’t seem to own a decent liveblogging platform.) In addition to updates on the IDF blog, interested parties can follow the action on Twitter, thus ensuring that the news will come straight from the government’s mouth, without the pesky interference of the fourth estate.
“We started drive farming in November 2011. The reason was simple, the supply of the 3TB hard drives used in our Storage Pods had dried up – or more correctly was under water. The tragic flooding in Thailand began in August 2011 and by early-October had submerged houses, schools and factories. Over 800 people died and many more were homeless and hungry, with over 1 million people thrown out of work. As the water receded, the human cost of the flooding was obvious and the economic impact was slowly coming into focus. In late-October, it was estimated that up to 50% of the worldwide hard drive manufacturing capacity was lost or damaged. The impact of the lost capacity was immediate as hard drive prices nearly tripled overnight.”—Backblaze Blog » Farming hard drives: how Backblaze weathered the Thailand drive crisis
A council is to replace all 14,000 of its street lights with smart alternatives, with bulbs that are able to be controlled using an iPad and will alert engineers when they are broken or are coming to the end of their life.
Engineers will be able to pull out an iPad and change the brightness of a street light, operating much in the same way as the Hue consumer lighting system from Philips.