Would AI gun dectectors protect US schools?

In a recent piece in FastCompany, Jeremy Hsu discusses the pros and cons of a system called Shielded Students, which relies on a high-tech gun detection system to prevent shooters from getting into schools.

Deportation and genetics: Fairness and probabilities

Vicky Mochama notes that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has been using genetic testing to determine where to deport certain would-be migrants to Canada

Is almond milk fake milk?

Kate Yoder of Grist reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering the matter of plant milk.  More specifically, the US dairy industry is trying to get the agency to create regulation restricting the term "milk" to the product of lactation, e.g., cow's milk.  Such a rule would ban the application of "milk" to plant-based liquids, e.g., almond milk.

Is ShotSpotter good for Toronto?

The news came in quick succession this week.  First, Toronto was considering adoption of the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system.  Then, Toronto had decided to adopt it.  As the latter article pointed out, after a spate

Technology and authenticity in The Incredibles 2: A hidden message?

I had the pleasure to see The Incredibles 2 this weekend.  It was an enjoyable movie and a worthy sequel to the original Incredibles, in spite of the 14 years it took to bring out. (Spoiler alert!)

As with the original movie, an important theme of the sequel is the relationship between technology and the self.  The first film featured a conflict between superheroes and a hyper-technological villain named Syndrome. 

The conscience of Silicon Valley

There has been much uproar lately in Silicon Valley, April Glaser writes in an interesting piece in Slate.  Employees at Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Uber, and others, have expressed disapproval of their companies' involvement with police surveillance, military technology, or refugee policy.  Their efforts have apparently had an impact on corporate decisions.

The eyes have it: Facebook to introduce a blink removal tool for online pics

An interesting piece by Sophie Werthan in Slate reports that Facebook is developing a tool to change pictures so that closed eyes appear to be open.

In technical terms, the tool employs an Artificial Intelligence technique that learns to insert realistic, open eyes where closed ones are detected in photos.  The point is to help overcome disappointment when users blink in what would otherwise be a nice picture of them.

Accommodationism and universalism in design

As often happens, a couple of postings on other web sites make for an interesting comparison.  The postings concern how disabled or non-standard people have been accommodated in the built environment.

Review: Make it new—The history of Silicon Valley design

Barry Katz, professor of Industrial and Interaction Design at California College of the Arts, has written a book that, at 200 pages, conveys a worthy and instructive history of consumer design as it has applied and evolved in the famous Silicon Valley.

Self-driving cars and technology solutionism?

In a recent Wired post, Aarian Marshall makes the point that there are several ways of accomplishing the goal of making roadways safer for the people in them.  Many jurisdictions have adopted "vision zero" plans to reduce traffic injuries.  That is, they aspire to reducing traffic fatalities to none through various safety measures.

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