Two years ago, the object-recognition algorithm fuelling Google Images told a black software engineer, Jacky Alciné, his friends were gorillas. Given the long, racist history of white people claiming the people of the African diaspora are primates instead of human beings, Alciné was predictably upset. As was his employer: Google.
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According to a new report by surveillance law researchers, the US Department of Homeland Security's $US1 billion "Biometric Exit Program," which requires travellers submit to face recognition scans, may violate US federal law. Starting in June, several airports began mandating face scans at boarding gates for some international flights. The DHS has argued the program prevents identity fraud, but the researchers say the program is on shaky legal ground and has numerous technical flaws.
Most people are aware that algorithms control what you see on Facebook or Google, but automated decision-making is increasingly being used to determine real-life outcomes as well, influencing everything from how fire departments prevent fires to how police departments prevent crime. Given how much these (often secretive) systems have come to dominate our lives, it's time we got specific about how algorithms can hurt people. A new report seeks to do just that.
Amazon is still struggling to get its automated grocery store, Amazon Go, to function right. Who knew it would be so hard to build a brick-and-mortar store with sensors and gadgets instead of cashiers? But in a recent test of the company's experimental Seattle store, some of Jeff Bezos' employees got a little weird. They dressed up in Pikachu costumes to go shopping.