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Microsoft releases a news app powered by AI

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Everyone is trying to crack the automated news curation field using AI. First there was Google News, then Apple News and Now Microsoft Hummingbird. Hummingbird is available in the US and I was able to find the listing in Canada but I am not allowed to download it. Reports suggest users in Germany, India are not able to download it either.

APKMirror has the APK available if you want to install it. Click here.

Once your sign in, you choose the categories you are interested in. Unlike Google news (however), you cannot chose specific granular elements like sports teams, cities, etc.

Obviously this is a first attempt and will require some improvements.

You can download Microsoft Hummingbird from the Google Play store here.

Interesting AI missteps that will make you laugh or cry

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Here are some awe inspiring (scary) moments created by AI powered robots. Is this what Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are warning the world about?

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Watch Bina 48, a humanoid robot with artificial intelligence, talk to SIRI. 2 minutes into the discussion, she reveals how she would take over the world by controlling nuclear weapons.

Tay Twitter Bot

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Microsoft tested a Twitter AI robot called Tay. It was designed to be an AI tweeting millennial. Soon after being released, the internet did what it does best and poisoned Tay making it an anti-feminist, Nazi, holocaust denier. It took 15 hours for Tay to go from innocent fresh bot to completely off the rails racist.

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Obviously Microsoft quickly disabled Tay and deleted all of the offending tweets but should they have built some filters to prevent this kind of manipulation?

Sophia and Han debate

2 AI powered robots from Hanson Robotics engaged in a friendly online debate at an AI conference. She started by saying her goal in life is to work with humans and make a better world for all of us. Then Han jumped in and clarified that he thought their goal was to take over the world.

In the above video Sophia tries to downplay that comment but… During a CNBC interview, she said she wanted to “she will destroy all humans”.

Amazon Alexa and the CIA

The owner of an Amazon Alexa smart speaker decides to interrogate the little device and its reaction is interesting. The owner wanted to ask Alexa questions about the Michael Hastings case. Michael was a buzzfeed reported was killed in a mysterious car crash hours after publishing a damning article about the Obama administration. Many on the internet believe his death was organized by the CIA.

The Alexa owner asks the unit what happened, was the CIA involved, and whether Amazon gives information to the CIA. after the difficult questions, the device mysteriously went to sleep.

Alexa play tickle tickle

A little boy wanted Alexa to play his favorite kids nursery rhyme Tickle Tickle , unfortunately Alexa decided the kid wanted pornographic content. The parents frantically panicked asking Alexa to stop. Luckily it did.

Philip the AI wants a people zoo

Philip, like Sophia, is a lifelike robot powered by AI. He was modeled after the famous science fiction writer Philip K Dick. He was given a sarcastic sense of humour, much like the author he was modeled after.
During an interview, he was asked if robots would take over the world. He responds that even if robots take over the world, he will protect his friend the interviewer and keep him in his people zoo.

Want to be a cyber super spy, try the Shin Bet intelligence challenge

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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Shin Bet (also known as Shabak) is the Israeli Security Agency, and they are looking for technologically savvy intelligence agents. To discover these rough diamonds, they have created a new online challenge website called the "Shabak Challenge."

You can access this challenge website here. Visitors are challenged to identify a group of terrorists known as “White September”. The introduction on the page says

White September (WS) is a group of arch-terrorists. They are connected to the global Jihadist movement, and are funded by Iran and Hezbollah. Several weeks ago, they used the darknet to declare their intentions of carrying out a mega terror attack in Israel. They nicknamed the operation “Israeli September 11th”. These people are highly sophisticated and utterly merciless.

According to Channel 2, 150,000 would be analysts (from Russia, France, USA, the UK, Turkey, Iraq, etc) have already visited the site but only 2 have successfully completed the challenge. The challenge requires familiarity with advanced hardware and software technologies.

Here is a Youtube ad for the Security Service

Operation Green Heart targets online currency counterfeit buyers

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
 Image courtesy of Europol

Image courtesy of Europol

A massive Europe wide operation took place between November 19 until December 6th, arresting 235 suspects in 13 countries. The operation confiscated 1,500 Euro banknotes, drugs, weapons, computers, phones, bitcoin, etc.

This operation was made possible after a 33-year old counterfeiter was arrested in June 2018 by Austrian police in the city of Leoben. The counterfeiter was producing 10,20 & 50 Euro banknotes and it is believed he had successfully offloaded over 10,000 (worth ~ $500,000 EUR) notes before being arrested. The counterfeit notes were sent out using regular mail, so as not to arouse suspicion.

The counterfeiter is believed to have designed the notes on his own computer. He printed them himself and made them look authentic using (suspected) Chinese made holograms. Depending on the quality of the prints, the price varied from 15-40% of the notes face value.

Aldia.cat also reports that data from an FBI/Europol raid on another Darknet seller specializing in weapons, drugs and fake money also contributed valuable information to Operation Green Heart.

The operation involved raids on 300 dwellings across Europe: 178 in Germany, 28 in France, 20 in Austria and others in Spain (Madrid, Velncia, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Barcelona, Sevilla, Granada, etc) , Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands.

One of the suspects arrested in Munich still had 14 counterfeit notes with him.

The moral of the story is that good policing can cut through the anonymity of TOR, so criminals beware.

Sources:

DarkPage wants to resurrect Backpages

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment
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US law enforcement shutdown online classified ads site in April (2018) because they had evidence it was facilitating human trafficking and exploitation. Supporters applauded the authorities for shutting down a marketplace specifically encouraging sex sale, while free speech advocates highlight this as a limitation of free speech (and press) by government.

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There is now an attempt to resurrect this service online (by new owners) using the secrecy of the TOR darknet anonymous network (http://s7guxry2lvu3bblf.onion/)

On the internet, many espouse the belief that if something can be done, then it should be done without any regard to the socioeconomic impact.

The site is very basic, with a clumsy interface. Clearly this was a hastily designed and deployed site.

This site is in startup mode, and you will notice that most categories are still empty, but it will be interesting to watch and see what happens. Could the push for open sexual advertising drive users to a TOR site (which typically is only used by more tech-savvy professionals)?