Author Archives: Alevtyna Chernykh

Net neutrality breach

We are living in the world, where the rights of a human are valued at highest level. Freedom has always been a very controversial issue and discrimination has been persecuted for ages. Such ideas had impacted the state of our modern life, where everybody is willing to have the equal rights and the people struggle to get it at most. Today, in the time of massive digitalization, such notion does not only come along with the real life, but also is expected to cover the virtual reality, hence, the Internet. Therefore, as the Internet grows and boundaries of it are unimaginable, certain restrictions had to be made in order to control the flow of the data. Nevertheless, the right to access the data is crucial and should stay untouched.

In fact, the notion of net neutrality had been introduced in early 2000th by Tim Wu, as the main principle of the Internet operations through which “Internet service providers treat all data transmitted and accessed on the Internet equally, regardless of its size, type or origin”, says Smithsonian.com. This means that any breach to the net neutrality concept is an issue, where your Internet Service Providers restrict certain content providers from getting the equal access to their data.

According to Fortune.com, in 2015, the USA Federal Communications Commission had signed the regulation upon which “the Internet providers cannot block or slow down your access to any (legal) online content”. For example, the service provider cannot slow down your connection, when you are visiting the competitor website or different business are not allowed to pay the service provider to speed up the transfer of data, when visiting their Internet page.

In fact, the notion of net neutrality, soon, might become the issue of the past. Recently, in USA the question of net neutrality has arose again, as the current chairman of US FCC Ajit Pai is going to review and, in fact, upend the decision of the equal access on December, 14.

The principle of work of the Internet is that it allows to create the content and provides an equal access to it (until the access is limited by the providers, itself). However, if the Internet service providers would have enough rights to control the data flow and Internet traffic, it might create the imbalance. In fact, it would influence the market, where the competition would not be open and not equal. According to Fortune.com, the major content providers (like CBS in USA) might win from such change, as the service providers would be more interested to get the content from the most reliable sources.  Though, the major Internet stores, like Amazon, Ebay might lose, due to slowing down the traffic while visiting their websites, as the additional fee to enter it might be introduced. As a result, the minor content providers – small online stores, minor Internet magazines, would suffer at most due to inability to pay enough to have the faster traffic transmission. This would create a situation, where the rights of various small and local businesses that operate on the Internet would be discriminated, because of their size and low power in the market.

Why it matters to us?

For now, this issue has arisen in USA. However, we have already witnessed various countries restricting the data flow on the Internet and most of them are actively implemented today. In result, this might mean that this subject might come along the European countries, where the net neutrality seems to be valued a lot right now. Therefore, as this issue impacts the businesses, as well, it might also become the first step to the breach of the individuals’ right for freedom of speech, as social media is having one of the largest traffic and data flow on the Internet. Internet Service Providers would hunt for them at most, which would lead to introduction of additional fees, while using the social media to express the voice of individual.

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Meet Sophia, your new friend

She talks, she smiles, she communicates with you. She is almost alive and might be a human, soon. Or isn’t she?

We live in the times, when technology is developing in the fastest way than we ever observed through the history. It is hard to realize, but more than half of our daily routines are already somehow improved by technology advancements. In fact, robots and artificial intelligence are already easing our lives. Moreover, it is time to face that the further changes are inevitable and sooner or later such technologies might become an integral part of our society.

The latest change has occurred to be an explosion in social media and almost every news source, when a new robot was introduced by Hanson Robotics. Her or its name is Sophia and she already has shocked everyone, who has ever heard about her. According to Hanson Robotics website, this newly emerged robot is created to assist people in daily life like help the children study, entertain people, provide companionship and serve people in general.

But what is so special about her?

It seems to be the most advanced robot that is created to have human-like appearance and have several features of the human character and abilities.

However, she is not a human. Sophia is a robot, powered by AI. While being extremely similar to people and having so close to us expressions and mimics, Sophia is still having hundreds of cords, wires and is operating due to specific program. In fact, this program makes her so special. According to Quartz Media, Sophia’s software is composed of three main pillars:

  • Research platform – to research and cumulate the context and semantics of the dialogues
  • Speech-reciting robot – due to this software, Sophia is able to match her facial expressions to the context of the words that she is saying
  • Robotic chatbot – sometimes Sophia’s speech is run by pre-written responses, chosen due to analysis of the speech of the people that she is talking to

In fact, Sophia is built in such a way to use a machine learning to educate herself and to become a more consistent companion in the dialogue.

The other factor that makes Sophia outstand from other AI based creatures is that Sophia operates due to decentralized AI, specifically SingularityNET. According to Forbes, “Until recently, the contemporary AI industry had been built around a centralized distribution paradigm where machine learning solutions are delivered as a part of cloud-based APIs and software packages deployed on remote servers of AI providers”. This means that the data and information provided to the machine learning had been stored and created straightly at the providers of this information. However, now, as well as Sophia, the information can be cumulated from various sources, which would allow AI to be trained in decentralized way, like a blockchain.

Nevertheless, the event that made Sophia so popular and unpopular at the same time is that she is the first robot, who received the citizenship. The country that was ready to adapt such changes is Saudi Arabia. As a result, this event has caused a lot of noise around Sophia. According to The Verge, many people complained about the rights that might be further given to the robots, especially in such countries where even the rights of a human are at the critical debate. Moreover, it has caused a huge discussion upon the ethical issues and the technological advancements of the near future.

In fact, this has become the first step to introduce completely new technologies to the society and to allow such technologies to live and act among people and with people.

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Now Amazon lets strangers inside your home

Have your ever thought, how convenient it might be to have your package delivered inside your house or apartment when you are not at home, or get your friends to access your place to feed your cat, when you forgot to give them a key? Well, Amazon had already been thinking about such opportunity for a while.

In fact, the world of IoT is not sleeping and is in the process of creation of new things to make your life easier. On October 25th, 2017, Amazon has launched a new service to comfort its customers at most – the Amazon Key to allow an in-home delivery.

The idea behind that is to allow the Amazon courier to deliver the packages, you have ordered, to your place and leave it behind your front door, even if you are out of your place. Amazon has gone much further than just the smart key, as it provides a whole kit of services, like cloud camera, smart lock and application. For now, the service is available only for Amazon Prime users and it costs around 250$.

So, how does it work?

You order from Amazon and on the day of delivery you are notified that your package is about to arrive. Then, it is just up to you to authorize a carrier to enter your house or not. And, if you’ve decided to let a stranger to come in, the smart lock will open the door. Though, to ensure full security of your belongings, you get the chance to watch the stranger-carrier through the camera installed in front of your door, which starts working when there is motion detected.

Besides, you are also able to allow your entrusted people to enter your place by the same way – authorizing them through the application.

Isn’t it great?! Isn’t it a good solution to manage your tasks at home, while being not at home?

Unfortunately, according to Recode, only 5% of Americans and 4% of Prime Amazon users would definitely add this new tech to their homes, while 60% would not take this step.

But, why there is such a negative reaction to this new and so convenient tool? The answer is easy – security! There rises a tough question – do you trust people to enter your house, even if they are watched? The reason for such attitude is that the security is based only on one small camera that is supposed to record every motion that is going on inside your house.

Therefore, according to The Verge,  the cloud cam would be able to learn what are the normal in-house motions, like your dog, cat or your child and in future, it would easily distinguish some foreign to your house triggers in order to produce various alerts (the camera is also installed with microphone and speakers).

In result, it is up to you – to step on the side of safety or the side of convenience.

Though, there is always a question of security as we are entering a new way of living, by allowing technology to make a great change in the things that we are so used to. But, maybe, it is worth giving up some old norms, patterns and habits and open new doors to the other era.

 

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DAA – a new path to cyber security

Today the modern world has entered a completely other level of threats, where the security should be catching up as fast as possible. As we got the access of the boundless abilities of cyber world, we have endangered ourselves to the attacks that are coming from the virtual. In fact, today, the physical security is not enough and it is a crucial moment to think thoroughly about cyber security.

The number of newly registered cyberattacks is growing yearly. Moreover, the cyber hackers become very inventive to overcome the security of the user of the device. The breaches become more difficult to identify and to solve. More and more global companies become the victims of unsolicited breaks into the system. Therefore, usually, the breaches occur, because of the ill-considered and irresponsible actions of the user.

In result, this issue has become very important even to the ordinary person, due to transmission of everyday processes (like paying in store, opening a car, checking the mail) to internet.

“As we see in the news every day, cybersecurity breaches continue to grow in size and frequency, and the world is in desperate need of the next generation of online identity authentication,” said Wendell Brown, CEO and chairman of Averon for eSecurityPlanet.

In order to secure the everyday life of the human, the San Francisco based startup Averon has entered a new realm of security, where the protection is built on already existing data, stored in the smartphone.

The Averon security is based upon the DAA concept, which is the Direct Autonomous Authentication – a new mobile identity verification standard. The startup provides its customers with a turnkey API, which does not need the installation and user’s involvement, as it is automatic and functions on the background. Moreover, it allows a seamless and frictionless functioning, which is the most secure way to the instant authentication of the user.

Why it is so unique?

The Direct Autonomous Authentication, used at Averon services, is created by the mobile network signal and SIM/eSIM chips, which are an integral part of every mobile phone functioning.  “Averon offers a uniquely superior solution that authenticates users while relying on zero personally identifiable data”

Averon service receives a real-time signaling from carrier data pockets (already stored at the device by network provider) to authenticate users. In fact, then, there is created a one-time cryptokey to enter any service a user wants.

The Averon, provides the ability to secure not only the mobile device, but also other functions, the mobile phone is somehow connected to – online banking, smart vehicles, e-commerce, smart locks and IoT (a secure access to digital locks on any devices), online accounts, sensitive data.

The interesting fact is that, Averon’s DAA goes beyond the 2-factor verification, where the user needs to enter a password or a received from SMS one-time code, but, in fact, the DAA constantly secures the device and authenticates the user, and works on beyond the device – at the carrier level.

In result, the Averon has created a fully automated security platform, where exists zero effort from the user, which might decrease the possibility of being hack, as it uses non-personal data (stored at the carrier data pockets) to identify the user.

Interactive fashion: are people ready to adopt it?

Have you ever thought that your clothes would assimilate with your body?

Just imagine, your all-natural reactions, behavior and processes are now all captivated by the shoes that you are wearing every day, some T-shirt, dress. Can you come with the idea that your favorite sweater might change a color every time you catch a flu or that you would be able to see the ignorance or anger of the person not through his facial mimics, but due to the movement of the fabrics in his or her shirt?

In the near future, it can be used not only as the protection from the outside of your body factors, but as a real part of you that compliments you, your physical processes and would be an integral part of the communication with the surrounding world.

Nowadays, such assumption is already not a fantasy, but a real fact. There are already created numerous examples of the clothes that seem to not only provide comfort, but to visualize and assist the hidden physical and mental processes of the human body.

The well-known fact is that, people have always been demonstrating their individuality through the clothes they are wearing, in order to create a specific social position in the conversation with others. In fact, the innovations in technology have provided us with the opportunity to express ourselves in a broader way.

The use of technology in fashion is now no more a tool to produce the clothes, but a new way to execute the human’s inside vision.

The newly invented fabrics and materials can correspond and show up the human’s emotions and condition. In result, a person wearing such clothes will be already unique due to the uniqueness of his or her own emotions and feelings, because the inner world of each human is already exclusive.

Therefore, as well, the high-tech clothes would be able to open a real conversation with a human body itself and due to physical factors and sensory processing the clothes would be able to interact with the body and, consequently, transform itself to satisfy the wearer.

Spider Dress

The Dutch designer Anouk Whipprecht through the combination of fashion and robotics has created a new realm of personal space. Due to the ability of biosensors to catch any evidence of a dress wearer feeling threatened, the robotic spider legs, built-in dress, create a “spider attack” position.

Social Escape Dress

As well, as Anouk Whipprecht, the designers from Urban Armor have been working on the problem of the personal space within a big city. In fact, the Social Escape Dress is equipped with GSR sensors (Galvanic Skin Response) that indicate a strong feeling of stress. As a result, the dress would emit a cloud of fog from the collar, if the wearer feels stressed and uncomfortable in any surrounding.

(NO)WHERE (NOW)HERE

By experimenting with the smart fabrics, robotics, sensory processing and eye-tracking technology, the Montreal designer Ying Gao got a chance to create the garment, which is complimenting its “user”. It is a series of two dresses, which have the ability to change the form and light up, if someone is looking at the person wearing these dresses. According to The Culture Trip: “It is normally the wearer who notices your gaze, not the clothes themselves, but this innovative creation has everyone’s head turning”.

Swarovski gemstone headpiece

The creative group “The Unseen”, headed by Lauren Bowker, has always been mixing the fashion and science. The Lauren Bowker, as the press calls her, “The Alchemist” has come with the invention of the ink that changes the color of the item it is applied on. Among a large majority of her inventions, like the hair dye that changes color, the headpiece created for Swarovski is the one that is acting in accordance with human body condition. The headpiece is constructed by the gemstones, which have been specially grown and later covered by the specific ink, created by Lauren, to become real indicators of the shift of amount of energy of the human. In fact, when the gemstones “feel” the transition of the condition of the human, they change color.  As the Dezeen has stated: “Excitement, nerves, and fear all produce different colours; and quicker shifts in emotion create more dramatic patterns.”

Bubelle emotion sensing dress

About a decade ago, Philips have been experimenting with the combination of smart electronics and fashion and, in fact, there was created one of the first garments that react to the wearer’s emotions. The dress is covered with numerous LEDs that illuminate and change colors due to the emotional condition of the human. Such changes are caught by the bottom layer of the dress, in which there have been installed the skin sensors.

Caress of the Gaze

Behnaz Farahi has developed an interactive garment. The 3D printed collar seems to become an artificial skin that due to built-in camera is able to catch the gaze of the other person and react on it by the lifelike motions. The garment is equipped with the Shape Memory Alloy actuators, which work as a muscle system for this 3D printed “skin”. The idea is to create a conversation not only “person to person”, but “person to person to clothes”.

To conclude, the technological innovation and, in fact, technological symbiosis with fashion have given us the ability to create a new way of expressing ourselves and interacting with the outer world through demonstrating our real inner processes. There, the clothes become a medium between a wearer and the surrounding. Such processes are assisting a human to enter a different level of interaction with the others, where the garment might become an equal conversational partner for people and the world.

But is it the thing that a person wants? There, step up millions of ethical questions. Would we be able to uncover our thoughts, our mood, health status, etc.? Would we be able to sacrifice the privacy of our own bodies and show up the real “I”?

 

Sources:

racked.com

dezeen.com

dazeddigital.com

businessinsider.com

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