Author Archives: Puhach Anhelina

Amazon has obliged drivers in the US to agree to collect data from cameras in vans – otherwise, they will not be able to deliver packages

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The company installed the cameras in February 2021, explaining that they were needed for safety.

Drivers of Amazon’s delivery service in the US must now sign a “biometric consent” form in order to continue working for the company [1], The Verge writes on March 24.

It involves agreeing to collect data from cameras installed in delivery vans. Drivers must agree to the use of “certain technology, including cameras” as a “condition of delivering packages for Amazon,” [2] according to Vice.

The drivers in question are those who rent Amazon vans under the Partner Service Delivery programme. According to Vice, about 75,000 drivers could be affected.

What kind of data the company will collect depends on what kind of equipment is installed in the vans, The Verge suggests. But the agreement implies a wide range of data to be collected. This includes cameras using facial recognition to confirm driver identity and connect to an account, according to Vice.

Among those collected, for example, is data on the van’s movement, including speed, acceleration, braking, turns and distance travelled, “potential traffic offences” such as speeding or unbuckling a seatbelt. As well as “potentially dangerous driving behaviour” – when the driver is distracted from the road or falling asleep.

The company says it installs the cameras for “safety” and “to improve delivery”. But some drivers have already refused to sign the agreement.

  • Amazon installed [3] artificial intelligence cameras in vans rented by drivers participating in the Partner Service Delivery programme in February. They have built-in software that can detect 16 different safety issues, including if drivers are distracted, speeding, braking sharply and more.
  • In early March, senators from five US states wrote to Amazon [4] saying that the use of surveillance cameras in delivery vans “raises important privacy and worker oversight issues that Amazon must respond to”.
  • In September 2020, human rights activists had already spoken out about the hard work at Amazon – for example, the company has an electronic employee monitoring system, there are cameras in warehouses and drivers’ locations are constantly recorded.

Sources:

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/24/22347945/amazon-delivery-drivers-ai-surveillance-cameras-vans-consent-form

[2] https://www.vice.com/en/article/dy8n3j/amazon-delivery-drivers-forced-to-sign-biometric-consent-form-or-lose-job

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/03/amazon-using-ai-equipped-cameras-in-delivery-vans.html

[4] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/03/senators-question-amazon-about-cameras-monitoring-delivery-drivers.html

#technews #transport #amazon #ai #privacy #security

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Say hello to Mesh!

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A preview version of the virtual reality platform for effective communication and collaboration was freshly introduced by Microsoft [1]. Let’s look behind the scenes as the future of collaborative telecommuting is coming!

The very concept was originally introduced by Microsoft at the Ignite 2021 conference. It consists in the users interaction with each other and with digital 3D models in a single virtual space, that is superimposed on the real world.

The virtual space can be connected to using a wide range of devices. The platform supports most VR headsets, tablets, smartphones, PCs, and, besides, Microsoft’s mixed-reality headset called the HoloLens 2.

The company claims that Mesh feels like “you’re really in the same room with someone and sharing content.” People in Mesh will be represented by virtual avatars from the social network AltspaceVR, which Microsoft acquired back in 2017. But eventually, the company wants to arrive at holoportation (virtual 3D teleportation in real-time), where people will be able to appear in a virtual environment as themselves.

According to The Verge editor Tom Warren, who participated in an hour-long demonstration of the technology, it’s similar to working through Microsoft Teams. A Microsoft representative appeared right in front of the reporter’s desk and started handing him virtual jellyfish and sharks, whose shape and colour could be changed.

According to Warren, it turned out to be “much more exciting” than the Zoom calls he participates in every day.

The platform provides community demonstrations, screenings, and shared experience in addition to traditional online meetings. For example, in this way you can hold a speech in front of an audience of listeners, said James Cameron during the Microsoft demonstration.

Mesh is not just a tool for virtual meetings, but a full-fledged platform based on the Azure cloud, which will be opened to third-party developers.

Who could benefit from Mesh you may ask, Microsoft anticipates a high demand among architects, developers, designers, and other professionals who really need to collaborate in a single space but have some troubles with that due to the pandemic. Mesh will also allow you to play Pokemon Go, which has also been affected by the pandemic.

The good news tells us the platform will be available on multiple devices from HoloLens 2 to smartphones. A preview version of Mesh is available for Microsoft’s headset since March 2, along with a preview version of the AltspaceVR social network. The company also plans to incorporate Mesh into its Teams and Dynamics 365 products.

I’m not arguing that holograms that are in the not-too-distant future are extremely convenient. Virtual conferences indeed can become a tool even more effective than offline ones, due to augmented reality tools. However, it is also true that the availability of Mesh is still far from being a mass product. The previous Microsoft Mesh was not that successful, so they shut it down [2]. Later it was replaced by already tolerable OneDrive, the same probably will be this time – they show sketches of the technology, but it does not seem that in the next few years it will be possible to seriously use it.

What do you think of that perspective? We would make an interesting dialogue if you could elaborate on that in the comments!

[1] https://www.theverge.com/22308883/microsoft-mesh-virtual-reality-augmented-reality-hololens-vr-headsets-features

[2] https://www.zdnet.com/pictures/screen-shots-microsofts-live-mesh/

Whoops! Sounds like AI has a real gender problem

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There is a global economic gender gap in the AI workforce, which needs to be addressed as soon as possible if the industry doesn’t want to suffer soon – says one of the last WEF’s (World Economic Forum) articles.


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Almost 80% of professionals with AI skills are male. Besides, a gender gap even three times larger than in other industries.

It’s no secret that demand for AI skills is increasing in demand second by second, while the industry might miss out on opportunities to innovate if it excludes half the population from the development process. Imagine you, how only a few women will then be able to participate in the economy as a whole! Still we all aware of the importance of diversity in all her manifestations, which mainly improves innovation, and technology itself.

“In an era when human skills are increasingly important and complementary to technology, the world cannot afford to deprive itself of women’s talent in sectors in which talent is already scarce”

In addition, the research found that women working in AI are less likely to be positioned in senior roles. The data demonstrate that women are generally work in the use and application of AI, with common positions including data analytics, research, and teaching, whereas men tend to work in the development of the technology itself as software engineers, heads of engineering or IT, or as chief executives. In short, women are “growing but not gaining”. Male AI professionals will continue to outnumber women, even as both genders continue to gain AI skills. At the current pace, WEF estimates it will take 202 years to close the gap women face in the workplace. That figure is based on differences in earnings, workforce participation and the number of women in top jobs.

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Solution!

Remember, there is always a way out, we should just make a step forward! To break the cycle of gender imbalance, it is critical to ensure that women at all stages of their careers are being inspired to actively take part in the development and use of new technologies and it concerns not only the case with AI.

“Industries must proactively hardwire gender parity in the future of work through effective training, reskilling and upskilling interventions and tangible job transition pathways, which will be key to narrowing these emerging gender gaps and reversing the trends we are seeing today. It’s in their long-term interest because diverse businesses perform better”

Not less important is the understanding of the ways that gender gaps manifest across different industries, occupations, and skills. Research and data can illuminate the persistent challenges faced by women while making decisions concerning employment.

References:

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/12/artificial-intelligence-ai-gender-gap-workplace/

http://time.com/5481899/world-economic-forum-gender-gap/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/women/women-ai-automation-lose-jobs-gender-gap-report-2018-world-economic-forum-a8688571.html

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/concerns-over-huge-gender-gap-in-artificial-intelligence-workforce-1.3740900

https://futurism.com/lunar-lander-spaceil-spacex-delay

 

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Only the laziest will burn the meal

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The minute I heard about this marvel, the decision to write an article regarding The June came to me by itself. It left me dazzled by a broad range of features that I can only hope will become standard in toaster ovens in the future. These functions all together make this “smart” toaster oven worth your look. At least, considering the ability to cook things ranging from eggs to popcorn there! June doesn’t act like a simple oven, it acts like Alton Brown, in the flesh, is in your kitchen, translating overwhelming instructions into quick, digestible steps for you so that you can concentrate on doing other important things.


So let’s move on to the deepened acquaintance of this classy looking appliance. Just to be clear, it’s designed by former Google, GoPro and Apple employees. The June oven has an Apple product vibe, which makes sense because June partnered with Quantum Computers, the manufacturer of Apple’s laptops and Watch. Both the oven and its interface are stunning. You can confirm that just by looking at the product!

The appliance constitutes an Internet-connected toaster oven that acts as a convection oven, toaster, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, and finally…warming drawer! So you don’t need a lot of electronic devices in the kitchen, freeing up countertop and cabinet space. As you might have guessed, it’s aimed at busy folks who like homemade meals but don’t want to be chained to the kitchen. June is a helpful kitchen assistant that lets you go do your things without the risk of burning the house down. Maybe it doesn’t save you time, but at least offers peace of mind.

“In a short amount of time, it’s proved itself a reliable performer that I can use in more ways than I ever expected I could.”

The happy customer : )

You can operate the June from the touchscreen on the front, that is pretty beautiful and responsive, not worrying if your fingers are a bit greasy or wet from meal prep. Another way is to manage it from the June app (iOS and Android compatible), on which I would like to dwell on. For beginners to pair the June app with the toaster, it’s necessary to enter a security code generated by the app on the touchscreen of the toaster. The possibilities that open of using it impress. Let’s just watch together:

  • You are offered a lot of interesting updated recipes as well as step-by-step video instructions for meal prep
  • You can preheat the oven even when you’re far from it
  • You watch the temperature rise as the oven preheats
  • You get a notification when the June is ready to cook
  • There is countdown based on the time you set for your bake
  • Finishing a bake results in two notifications
  • It automatically turns off the heat after the food is done and keeps it warm

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The app is very attractively laid out, but that’s not all. Most importantly, there’s the heat and fog resistant camera inside the oven that can identify up to 65 foods you put inside as well as offer a predetermined cook time to ensure the ideal meal. But the absolute best thing about this camera is that you can watch what you’re cooking as it cooks (and others can, too) simply clicking on “live video”. Enjoy how your meat caramelizes, cookies harden, or chocolate chips melt… You’ll definitely open the app more often than any other ones on your phone. The next logical step of the “live video” feature, of course, is to share the video with someone. It’s pretty hilarious, isn’t it?

At the same time, I have to be critical to this innovation, drawing on a range of not so pleasant comments. The first claim is for June’s price, that is higher than for the regular oven. Excuse me, but you’re buying nothing but benefits! The next one:

“Cleaning is a pain. With all the slick shiny metal surfaces, it is hard to keep the thing clean. When you use it a lot, like any oven, it builds up a stubborn layer of splatter that does not want to come off. To the top of that, the camera became to work worse…”

The pessimistic customer : (

Come on, any kitchen electronic devices become dirty with time. But unlike them, the June will remind you to clean it.

For the next complaints, I have no counterarguments.

“The app is beautiful but sometimes glitchy.”

 

“Kitchen gadgets often try to reimagine a single task. As the result, they poorly combine multiple tasks.”

 

“June isn’t going to replace your instant pot or rice cooker. The instant pot is insurmountable.”

What do you think? Whether the disadvantages really overweigh the advantages?

To my mind, the June Intelligent Oven is a beautiful piece of hardware that eliminates the excuses for making meals at home. I think smart devices such as these are our future. Maybe it’s crazy to imagine a world where all your smart appliances can talk to one another. For example, if the June oven could check my smart fridge for which ingredients I have and suggest something to make, then my smart fridge could automatically place an order to Amazon Fresh to restock anything that is missing. That would really be the ideal. For now, the June oven is a promising glimpse of that future, but it isn’t quite there yet.


Links:

  1. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/12/how-a-toaster-oven-helped-me-learn-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-internet-of-things/?comments=1
  2. https://techcrunch.com/2016/11/15/the-june-oven-makes-the-art-of-cooking-a-science/
  3. https://techcrunch.com/2016/03/25/june-oven-cooks-up-22-5-million-in-series-a-delays-ship-date-to-add-improvements/
  4. https://techcrunch.com/video/junes-second-gen-oven-starts-at-599/
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykarcz/2018/12/01/90-days-later-the-june-oven-rules-my-kitchen/#6794a8659129

 

Lets build an experience instead of another chatbot!

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"Research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level."

– Harvard Business Review

If you need to make an insurance claim, you use an online form for that. In the case of opening new accounts, you simply fill in the form, then benefit from the quick mail response. Maybe you would like to take out a loan? Oh, it should be a piece of cake to speak with a chatbot briefly and learn everything about everything. Do you recognize yourself in the lines above?

The answer is unequivocally yes. We are constantly connected to a network. The companies improved efficiency as well as cut their costs by shifting to the digital contact with customers. But on the other side of the coin – for many businesses the emotional bond has been violated by digital strategy and efficiency that directly affected the cost of the brand, revenue growth, and outflow. This backdrop sets the scene for incredible innovation, as it became pretty complicated for clients to differentiate the values of the brand of two different companies. It’s all about digital commoditization.

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FaceMe is a world-leading provider of Digital Humans via its Intelligent Digital Human Platform, created on the AI basis, which expands the brand opportunities to build reliable interaction with clients in the real time, based on customized content and unforgettable personalities, which build an emotional connection using the power of the human face. IBM Cloud technologies are used together with high-capacity of IBM Cloud bare metal servers in order to provide endless scalability of this technology for hundreds of simultaneous conversations. It’s such an organization that – to put it in a nutshell – enables organizations to reduce the cost to serve at the same time as enabling opportunity for growth and improving customer experience. The company now operates in New Zealand, the US, Australia, and Europe, working for global brands such as Vodafone and UBS. It’s available for customers through browsers, mobile phones or kiosks.

Результат пошуку зображень за запитом "faceme"It is estimated by analytics that within the next decade nearly 85 % of communication with customers will be implemented only via digital channels. Mobile applications, web-portals, and chatbots will become even faster and more convenient, but the companies might have a difficult time building bridges with the clients in such a competitive environment.

I’m pretty sure that our future reality will draw a lot of eyeballs. At least for the reason that Digital Humans will process question in just 100 milliseconds, during which they will converting text from a chatbot into key human qualities through both the ability to respond with speech, facial expression or gestures and also apply dynamic reaction based on customers behavior and emotion. The client, in turn, perceives almost immediate response that means that conversation flows good, and feels as comfortable as talking with the real agent.

 Emma Lavelle talks to “Vai” who was set up at New Zealand’s Auckland Airport to answer biosecurity questions from travellers in a bid to reduce the workload of biosecurity officers.

Bringing emotional connection to the digital world is as crucial in the context of business as in solving pressing issues, related to health and well-being, education, environment, and many other spheres. Take the example of psychological health. You know, the first important step is just to make patients talk. As studies have shown, 63 % of people would prefer talking about problems of their psychological health with Digital Humans. Therefore, there is a great opportunity to make a valuable contribution to society. FaceMe also works with the Centre for Digital Business to create digital reading instructors, who can help children with reading problems, for whom there is a shortage of qualified teachers. One more potential use case is a provision of consultations and emotional support for patients, recovering after heart surgeries.

Technologies of IBM and FaceMe represent a powerful combination, which intends to change the customer’s experience all over the world. Remember, there is no restriction in our ambitions and ability to make a positive contribution in the society by introducing emotional connection in the digital world.

Links:

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Flying cars are on the way!

Reading Time: 3 minutesAirbus and Audi partner for urban mobility services


Stock up on strong nerves as well as fat wallets to make use of the world’s first airborne automobiles on an industrial scale.


The idea of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) so far remains pie in the sky for someone, but it’s not for aviation giant Airbus, German car manufacturer Audi, and Italdesign design house. The trio collaborated to develop real, near-term urban mobility solutions for avoiding rush hour, unveiling a scale-model prototype of a flying drone-car called the “Pop.Up Next”. Why are we still obsessing, if there’s a chance just to fly over traffic jam that we are sick of?

“This important partnership with Audi addresses both current and future challenges for urban mobility. As a first concrete milestone in the cooperation we are developing, we will be offering multi-modal transportation solutions to the world’s most congested cities,” said Airbus CEO Tom Enders. “The world is rapidly urbanizing, and ground infrastructure alone cannot meet the demands of tomorrow. Increased congestion is pushing the cities’ transport systems to the limits, costing travellers and municipalities valuable time and money. Adding the sky as a third dimension to the urban transport networks is going to revolutionise the way we live – and Airbus is ready to shape and build that future of flight.”

airbus car drone conceptWell, the car-drone combo is made up of three separate modules, which allow customers to have a seamless and ultra-convenient travel experience. The key component is a capsule for passengers that is 2.5 meters long and 1.4 meters high. Its modular design means that it can easily unhook from its chassis with wheels and get airlifted by an accompanying drone, which is autonomous and powered by 4 rotors. The so-called cubicle can attach to a battery-powered chassis to become a two-seater electric car. Without the cubicle, the chassis can drive only 100 kilometers on a single charge, so we are faced with not a long-distance vehicle concept, unfortunately.

No less interesting is the fact that passengers can summon the drone using a phone app that can also suggest the best transport solutions as well as ride-sharing demand and relative cost. The capsule can even be paired with other futuristic transport systems, like the Hyperloop.

Despite the fact that the model’s test flight went off without a fault, Airbus executive Jean Brice Dumont is prudently optimistic about when the Pop.Up system will actually become a reality.

“I think it will take more than a decade until a real significant, massive deployment of an air taxi system” is ready, he said, and “for this we need to tick a list of boxes. The vehicle is one, safety is the overarching one, infrastructure is one, acceptability is another one.”

 

However, the serious competitor Uber turned out to be even more ambitious. Last year, the transportation company revealed an artist’s impression of a sleek machine with the goal to start using for demonstration flights of the year 2020 and by 2023 for actual use. Uber’s battery-powered aircraft looks like a blend of a small plane and a helicopter with fixed wings and rotors.

So, what to expect from state-of-the-art technology?

You must agree, that anxiety comes in this case by itself. The barrier standing between you and a future of commuting through the skies is bravery. The fact that you may feel uneasy in a flying car, that was once just a stupid dream from your childhood is hardly a shocker. That’s not to say that they’re unsafe, anyway, the parachute, of course, should help. You’re still going to have to entrust your life to a vehicle. And yet, the attractiveness of freedom and faster journeys might be sufficient for many people to roll the dice.

Links:

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RIP wallets. Are implanted microchips here to stay?

Reading Time: 3 minutesAs some of you have surely noticed, old breathtaking fantastic fiction films steadily become our reality today. But, should we wave goodbye to wallets and welcome implanted microchips with open arms?


Has anybody of you encountered with inconvenience when the wallet somehow got lost in the bag or because of your goldfish memory stayed at home? Hey, we’re living in the world of cutting-edge technologies, why do we still have to lug around the rarely-used discount cards with us all the time as well as fiddle with irritating keys at the front door? It shouldn’t be our concern since technology has far surpassed the demand for any of these things.

Картинки по запросу Thousands of people in Sweden get microchip implants

Originally, the idea came to the mind of Swedes back in 2015, who seem more willing to try the technology than most other nations. It is so mainstream there that, since June 2017, people have even been able to buy train tickets with their microchips. You must admit it’s more practical to have a surgically inserted microchip than such services like Apple Pay or smart locks on your phone, which can be lost and hacked. So an increasing number of people, including approximately 3,000 Swedes, are opting for implanted microchips.

Tiny little chip implants, via X-ray.

The chip itself is the size of a grain of rice despite it could hold the key to many aspects of our life, considerably simplifying it. The microchip implanted in the hand between a thumb and a forefinger and basically functions as a digital keychain. The subcutaneous chip intended to help people do things like hold entry codes, unlock and start their car, gain access to certain vending machines or printers, log on to computers, sign into the gym, make credit card payments.

“In the past year, the chip has turned into a kind of electronic handbag and has even replaced my gym card”– says Ulrika Celsing, one of 3,000 Swedes, who have injected a microchip into her hand to try out a new way of life.

Over time, as the technology doesn’t stand still, the implant will be able to do even more. However, the question arose whether are these chip implants a step toward future where employers track their subjects’ every movement? Or are they simply an easy way to log in to accounts and open doors with a wave of a hand?

Nick Anderson, an associate professor in public health sciences at the University of California, Davis, says the privacy and security of any information stored on the chips is a conspicuous concern. The implants use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, also used in credit cards, and are “passive”, which means they hold data that can be read by other devices but cannot read information themselves. Actually, NFC chips right below the skin give corporations a fair amount of control over you — they could track where you are, how long you take for lunch every day, or how often you go to the restroom if the chip were scanned by a reader. Moreover, abandoning this kind of data collection is too much complicated when you’ve got a chip implanted in your body tissues.

Maybe we are really stuck with small keypads and overstuffed wallets. But is carrying a key or remembering a password so difficult or potentially risky? Without additional safeguards and guarantees of privacy, the microchipping quirk may quickly become a digital security nightmare.

Links:

https://futurism.com/sweden-microchip-trend

https://www.businessinsider.com/swedish-people-embed-microchips-under-skin-to-replace-id-cards-2018-5?IR=T

 

 

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