Tagged With big data

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An Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) investigation just revealed an awfully Orwellian fact: the FBI is working with government researchers to develop advanced tattoo recognition technology. This would allow law enforcement to sort and identify people based on their tattoos to determine "affiliation to gangs, sub-cultures, religious or ritualistic beliefs, or political ideology".

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Wikipedia is a voluntary organisation dedicated to the noble goal of decentralised knowledge creation. But as the community has evolved over time, it has wandered further and further from its early egalitarian ideals, according to a new paper published in the journal Future Internet. In fact, such systems usually end up looking a lot like 20th century bureaucracies.

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Police departments, like everyone else, would like to be more effective while spending less. Given the tremendous attention to big data in recent years, and the value it has provided in fields ranging from astronomy to medicine, it should be no surprise that police departments are using data analysis to inform deployment of scarce resources. Enter the era of what is called "predictive policing."

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It's hard to figure out who the villain is in Alex Garland's sexy robot thriller Ex Machina. That's what makes the film so, well, thrilling. But as a new featurette called from the studio called "God Complex" makes painfully clear, the real villain is the one you can't see, the one that's ever-present, always watching and terribly Orwellian. It's data.

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There's probably something you do right now you wouldn't really want everyone to know about. Maybe you're letting a Fitbit gather dust while you eat Doritos and watch The Good Wife (understandable). Maybe you're in the habit of driving around at 3am when you can't sleep. Whatever you do, if you're doing it while using "internet of things" devices, those private vices may not be so private.

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My grandmother recently had a pacemaker implanted. Major surgery and its aftermath are frightening at any age, but for a 93-year-old and her family it is a particularly scary tightrope to walk. Had her recovery been filmed for a montage in a family drama, there would have been reassuring doctors and smiling nurses with encouraging words as the liveliness returned to her eyes and activity to her arms and legs — but this wasn't a movie. This was the information age. As we gathered around her hospital bed in the days after the procedure, I could tell that my grandmother was worried, and I was worried too.

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You can do some crazy stuff with satellite imagery. What kinds of crazy shit? Well, for one, a startup's spying on the shadows of half-built skyscrapers in China and then selling the data to investors who want to predict what the real estate market. That's crazy!

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On the heels of the I/O keynote on Thursday, Google cofounder Larry Page spilled his guts to Farhad Manjoo from The New York Times. "Right now we don't data-mine health care data," Page said. "If we did we'd probably save 100,000 lives next year." But is that actually a good idea?