Can we trust tech giants with our faces? Google, Amazon and Microsoft can’t agree on how to protect us

Google

“A top Google executive recently sent a shot across the bow of its competitors regarding face surveillance. Kent Walker, the company’s general counsel and senior vice president of global affairs, made it clear that Google — unlike Amazon and Microsoft — will not sell a face recognition product until the technology’s potential for abuse is addressed.

Amazon

Amazon’s statements and actions provide a stark contrast with Google’s approach. While Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos acknowledged his company’s products might be put to “bad uses,” he said the solution was to wait for society’s eventual “immune response” to take care of the problems. This is a shocking abdication of responsibility, not to mention a convenient blindness to the “response” that Rekognition has already engendered.

Microsoft

In a blog post, Microsoft President Brad Smith correctly identifies the threats the technology poses to privacy, free speech and other human rights, observing that today’s technology makes a surveillance state possible.

But then, after outlining those grave threats to democracy, Smith proposes relying on inadequate safeguards that have failed in the past with technologies far less dangerous than face surveillance. He expresses excessive faith in notifying people of face surveillance systems — but what good is that in a world where face recognition is so widespread that nobody can opt out?”

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/2581992002

Microsoft, Google Use Artificial Intelligence to Fight Hackers

  • “Machine learning is a very powerful technique for security—it’s dynamic, while rules-based systems are very rigid,” says Dawn Song, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Artificial Intelligence Research Lab. “It’s a very manual intensive process to change them, whereas machine learning is automated, dynamic and you can retrain it easily.”
  • “We will see an improved ability to identify threats earlier in the attack cycle and thereby reduce the total amount of damage and more quickly restore systems to a desirable state,” says Amazon Chief Information Security Officer Stephen Schmidt.
  • A Microsoft system designed to protect customers from fake logins had a 2.8 percent rate of false positives
  • To do a better job of figuring out who is legit and who isn’t, Microsoft technology learns from the data of each company using it, customizing security to that client’s typical online behavior and history. Since rolling out the service, the company has managed to bring down the false positive rate to .001 percent. “

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timeinc.net/fortune/2019/01/05/microsoft-google-artificial-intelligence

A New York City lawmaker is taking on companies that mine your face -FastCompany

[Photo: Randallbritten/Wikimedia Commons]

  • “Amazon has lately courted controversy with its Rekognition service, a facial scanning software used by law enforcement agencies like ICE, as well as many of its other cloud customers. Facebook is well known for its facial recognition algorithm, allowing the company to identify users and target ads at them accordingly.
  • Last month, Microsoft’s president called for rules around face recognition, while Google said it would not yet sell facial recognition services for the time being, given the ongoing privacy and ethical concerns.
  • In March, the same month that the Times described MSG’s technology, the ACLU asked 20 of America’s top retailers if they used facial recognition on their customers.
  • All but two of the companies refused to confirm or deny. One company, Ahold Delhaize–a brand that owns supermarkets Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Giant, and Hannaford–responded they did not use face recognition, while the hardware company Lowes said it does use face recognition technology to identify shoplifters.
  • “Since there is no regulation, since there is not even the most basic standards of transparency, we don’t know how widespread the use of facial recognition technology is in New York City or elsewhere in the country–we just don’t know,” he says. ‘Businesses are under no obligation to report on the use of facial recognition technology. I think that is part of the purpose of the bill: to shed light on a world of biometric technology that has historically been hidden from public view.'”

https://www.fastcompany.com/90281673/nyc-face-recognition-law-ritchie-torres

AI Weekly: 2018 in machine learning – Khari Johnson

  • “On the AI assistant front, we saw Alexa and Cortana begin to work together.
  • We documented how this fall Google, Facebook, and Amazon simultaneously fought major scandals while at the same time entering full pitch mode for smart displays, and we looked at the need for trust in AI assistant adoption.
  • One of my favorites from Kyle Wiggers is about the danger that too much focus on apocalyptic AGI scenarios of the future will distract from pressing problems we face now.
  • My favorite from former AI staff writer Blair Hanley Frank analyzed the way tech companies market AI solutions and proclaimed that Sensei, Watson, and Einstein must die.”

https://www.google.com/amp/s/venturebeat.com/2018/12/28/ai-weekly-2018-in-machine-learning/amp/

Microsoft Partners With Fintech Startup ZestFinance To Bring Transparency To AI-Powered Financial Models

  • “Microsoft said Wednesday that it is entering a strategic partnership with financial technology startup ZestFinance to make it easier for its financial services customers to adopt AI and machine learning tools.
  • The answer we get with deep learning might be accurate, but in the case of credit applications, that isn’t enough.”
  • What Zest does is to take that technique SHAP (“SHapley Additive exPlanation”) and apply it to financial underwriting so financial institutions can understand why the machine learning model said yes to one credit application and no to another. “Our version is designed to satisfy the regulatory and risk management requirements in financial services,” Merrill says.”

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2018/12/19/microsoft-partners-with-fintech-startup-zestfinance-to-bring-transparency-to-ai-powered-financial-models/amp/

ai eCommerce News Sept 4th

Image credit: eweek.com

Alexa-Cortana Deal to Boost AI and Voice-Enabled Commerce Markets

“The Aug. 30 announcement by Microsoft and Amazon that they will enable their respective virtual assistant technologies, Cortana and Alexa, to talk to one another, is being regarded by industry experts as the first crack in the wall that separates today’s leading virtual assistant technologies.” 


“‘Alexa enables a set of defined skills for specific use cases and Cortana is designed to be a voice interaction interface’ for finding and retrieving information. Together, Cortana and Alexa will push the boundaries of what voice-enabled AI can do beyond what each platform can do alone.”

“Russian retailer Lamoda’s use of Dynamic Yield resulted in a $15 million uplift in gross profit, a staggering 35-times return on their investment in the platform. The company built over 160 unique audience segments, and delivered unique experiences to each in the form of segment-specific coupons and personalized category pages.”

“Perhaps not surprisingly, Rajan believes deep learning still has much more to offer the ad industry. For example, it could figure out long-term cause and effect relationships between what you see or do online today and what you click on or buy next week. ‘Being able to model the timeline of user interest is something that the deep models are able to do a lot better,’ she says.”