When the coronavirus pandemic shut down travel around the world, some natural, historical and cultural sites saw it as a call to redouble their efforts to embrace extended reality, both to let people tour these destinations from afar, and to develop meaningful new ways for travelers to experience them on-site, in hopes of luring them back after the health emergency eased.
In early June, border officials “quietly deployed” the mobile app CBP One at the U.S.-Mexico border to “streamline the processing” of asylum seekers. While the app will reduce manual data entry and speed up the process, it also relies on controversial facial recognition technologies and stores sensitive information on asylum seekers prior to their entry to the U.S. The issue here is not the use of artificial intelligence per se, but what it means in relation to the Biden administration’s pre-election promise of civil rights in technology, including AI bias and data privacy.
In the 1970s, when transgender residents in Great Britain tried to correct their gender in government IDs, they encountered a new computerized system programmed to trigger “compatibility check failures.” Mar Hicks, a historian who studies how gender and sexuality bring hidden technological dynamics to light, documents how this “failure” mode had been deliberately programmed so that trans people would not be allowed to exist, except on rare, case-by-case bases.
Like most parents, Sourav’s would like to see him “settled”. In India, however, this is a loaded concept. Being happy, healthy and financially secure are all important, but making a good marriage is the cornerstone of “settling down”. Indeed, 26-year-old Sourav, an IT professional in one of India’s metro cities, would make a wonderful husband to a man of his choice. That is the problem.
The part that artificial intelligence plays in climate change has come under scrutiny, including from tech workers themselves who joined the global climate strike last year. Much can be done by developing tools to quantify the carbon cost of machine learning models and by switching to a sustainable artificial intelligence infrastructure.
As government-run health care buckles under India’s second COVID wave, residents are turning to social media to try to locate life-saving care.
India’s COVID-19 curve resembles a vertical line right now. An already fragile health infrastructure is on its knees, the government has shown itself to be incapable. There are no hospital beds to be had, no medicines, no oxygen, no emergency care; even the dead have to endure 20-hour queues for last rites. A nine-day streak of 300,000-plus new cases daily has ended with fresh infections crossing the 400,000 mark on May 1. More than 3,000 COVID-related deaths have been recorded daily for three consecutive days. Still, the worst, experts say, is yet to come.
With the Perseverance safely on Mars, now collecting rock and soil samples from the surface, it’s now time to plan the next stage of the mission: the return of the samples to Earth. The Mars Sample Return mission will be an unprecedented one in the history of space exploration, marrying decades of scientific knowledge and with cutting-edge technology. It will comprise separate, coordinated robotic missions requiring NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to combine their expertise.
Some have dubbed this the era of “smart agriculture”—with farms around the world scaling up their use of the Internet, IoT, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence to increase yields and sustainability. Yet with so much digital technology, naturally, also comes heightened potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. There’s no scaling back smart agriculture either. By the end of this decade we will need the extra food it produces.
The pandemic may have put a temporary damper on our fuel needs, but forecasts from the International Energy Agency indicate that demand for transport fuel is expected to continue to rise through 2040, and maybe even beyond. Even though the share of renewables is likely to increase, the consumption of fossil fuels is predicted to rise as well.
Space is a long way to go to learn about human tissues, yet researchers have their gazes trained at the stars. Earlier this year, a team of researchers from the University of Zurich (UZH) sent 250 test tubes of carefully prepped human stem cells to the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS). They wanted to study how the near-weightless, microgravitational environment of the ISS affects these building-block cells in the hope of understanding some of their secrets.
They say you always remember your first kill, but I struggle to do so. It might have been sniping Guiseppe “Don” Guillani from the hill across his mansion. Or perhaps it was garroting the delivery man and taking his place to infiltrate the Don’s domain.
Either way, it was in Hitman: Silent Assassin (2002) when I first stepped into the classic black suit of Agent 47, traveling the world, invading the worlds of the rich and famous, and picking them off silently. What is it about this game that brings me — a card-carrying pacifist — such glee?
Holi, a holiday known around the world as a festival of colors, is an important event in the Hindu calendar of north India. It signifies the end of winter and the arrival of spring, and is filled with revelry, camaraderie, food, drink — usually lots of it — and color. But the physical nature of the festivities can give tacit approval to unwanted attention that may easily cross over into assault and sexual violence.
Last month, a site on the dark web claimed to have 8.2 terabytes of user data from the Indian mobile payments startup MobiKwik, one of the largest operators in the country that over 120 million people use for everything from buying eggs to paying rent. The data breach included phone numbers, email addresses, signatures, transaction logs, partial payment card numbers, scrambled passwords, and personal identification documents of around 100 million MobiKwik users, all available in a searchable database. The asking price for the data in its entirety was 1.5 bitcoin, or about $88,000.
What defines a real sport? Is it the physicality of straining muscles and pouring sweat, or the adrenaline-pumping high of competition? Perhaps it’s the discipline of following rules or a system of rankings and leagues and competitions. By any of these measures, competitive gaming — also known as esports — should easily qualify as a sport. Yet opinions remain divided.