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Archive for the ‘surveillance’ category: Page 6

Nov 17, 2021

The US Army Built Engineless Helicopters in the ‘50s. Here is Why It Didn’t End Well

Posted by in categories: surveillance, transportation

Five prototypes were tested before the project was shelved.

In what might seem counter-intuitive at first, the U.S. Army supported the development of a helicopter that had no engine. One can even visit the Army’s Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker in Alabama to catch a glimpse of this design by the American Helicopter Company that is fondly called Jet Jeep.

The Jet Jeep was thought of many decades ago as the solution for a light observation needed by the Army. The U.S. Army was looking for a flight-capable option for light surveillance and by that, it meant enough to carry one or two people at the most. This is quite like the problem jet pack makers are trying to solve these days. But this was way back in the 1950s and helicopters and aircraft were largely the way flying worked.

Continue reading “The US Army Built Engineless Helicopters in the ‘50s. Here is Why It Didn’t End Well” »

Nov 14, 2021

Peter Thiel: Artificial General Intelligence Isn’t Happening

Posted by in categories: computing, surveillance

There’s no road to computers that think like people that wouldn’t take us through 24/7 computer surveillance first. Thiel says. Is that what we want?

Nov 8, 2021

Locking Guests Inside Disneyland Shows China’s Extreme Covid Tactics

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, surveillance

Quarantining people in Disneyland.


While thousands of visitors to Shanghai Disneyland on Sunday were queuing for roller coasters and watching fireworks above the fairytale castle, staff quietly sealed the amusement park. People in Hazmat suits streamed in through the gates, preparing to test everyone for Covid-19 before they could leave for the day.

Continue reading “Locking Guests Inside Disneyland Shows China’s Extreme Covid Tactics” »

Nov 6, 2021

Artificial intelligence is getting better at writing, and universities should worry about plagiarism

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, climatology, robotics/AI, surveillance

The dramatic rise of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlit concerns about the role of technology in exam surveillance — and also in student cheating.

Some universities have reported more cheating during the pandemic, and such concerns are unfolding in a climate where technologies that allow for the automation of writing continue to improve.

Over the past two years, the ability of artificial intelligence to generate writing has leapt forward significantly, particularly with the development of what’s known as the language generator GPT-3. With this, companies such as Google, Microsoft, and NVIDIA can now produce “human-like” text.

Nov 5, 2021

Invasive surveillance: Are regulators ready to deal with Facebook’s ‘metaverse’?

Posted by in categories: surveillance, virtual reality

With VR data they’ve got data about 100 per cent of your experience — how you saw it, where you looked. The next generation of Facebook’s VR headset is going to have eye tracking.

This is probably the most invasive surveillance technology we’re going to bring into our homes in the next decade.

Facebook’s pivot was met with plenty of scepticism, with critics saying the timing points to a cynical rebrand designed to distance the company from Facebook’s rolling scandals. Others have argued the metaverse already exists as a graveyard strewn with ideas like Google Glass smart glasses, which have failed to catch on. But with Zuckerberg pledging to invest at least $US10 billion this year on metaverse development and proposing to hire 10,000 workers across the European Union over the next five years, there is a looming question for policymakers about how this ambition can or should be regulated.

Continue reading “Invasive surveillance: Are regulators ready to deal with Facebook’s ‘metaverse’?” »

Oct 19, 2021

China Isn’t the AI Juggernaut the West Fears

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, surveillance

The nation excels in computer vision and facial recognition, but practical applications are limited to surveillance. The U.S. has much broader expertise.

Oct 12, 2021

Another Global Pandemic Is Spreading —Among Pigs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health, surveillance

In the United States, animal health authorities are now on high alert. The US Department of Agriculture has pledged an emergency appropriation of $500 million to ramp up surveillance and keep the disease from crossing borders. African swine fever is so feared internationally that, if it were found in the US, pork exports—worth more than $7 billion a year—would immediately shut down.

“Long-distance transboundary spread of highly contagious and pathogenic diseases is a worse-case scenario,” Michael Ward, an epidemiologist and chair of veterinary public health at the University of Sydney, told WIRED by email. “In agriculture, it’s the analogue of Covid-19.”

As with the Covid pandemic at its start, there is no vaccine—but also as with Covid, there is the glimmer of hope for one, thanks to basic science that has been laying down findings for years without receiving much attention. Two weeks ago, a multinational team led by scientists at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service announced that they had achieved a vaccine candidate, based on a weakened version of the virus with a key gene deleted, and demonstrated its effectiveness in a field trial, in pigs, in Vietnam.

Oct 7, 2021

Coronavirus report warned of impact on UK four years before pandemic

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, government, health, surveillance

Exclusive: Report from planning exercise in 2016 alerted government of need to stockpile PPE and set up contact tracing system.

Sep 15, 2021

Saliva test for COVID-19 outperforms commercial swab tests

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, surveillance

In the early days of the pandemic, with commercial COVID tests in short supply, Rockefeller University’s Robert B. Darnell developed an in-house assay to identify positive cases within the Rockefeller community. It turned out to be easier and safer to administer than the tests available at the time, and it has been used tens of thousands of times over the past nine months to identify and isolate infected individuals working on the university’s campus.

Now, a new study in PLOS ONE confirms that Darnell’s test performs as well, if not better, than FDA-authorized nasal and oral swab tests. In a direct head-to-head comparison of 162 individuals who received both Rockefeller’s “DRUL” test and a conventional swab test, DRUL caught all of the cases that the swabs identified as positive—plus four positive cases that the swabs missed entirely.

“This research confirms that the test we developed is sensitive and safe,” says Darnell, the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-Oncology. “It is inexpensive, has provided excellent surveillance within the Rockefeller community, and has the potential to improve safety in communities as the pandemic drags on.”

Sep 11, 2021

Starlink satellite drops out of orbit, fears of crashing into the UK

Posted by in categories: internet, space, surveillance

The UK Space Agency tweeted: “We are monitoring its re-entry together with @DefenceHQ, and there is no expectation the re-entry will cause any damage. Due to the varying input data, natural forces and associated observation error, there are always high levels of uncertainty when performing re-entry predictions on any satellite”.

“Today, a Starlink-1855 satellite re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere. There is a chance it will re-enter over the UK, and you might be able to spot the satellite as it burns up. Starlink has a fantastic track record or orchestrating safe and reliable re-entries. We do not expect the return of the satellite to cause any damage. Still the UK Space Agency and the Ministry of Defence continually monitor and assess the re-entries of satellite and debris and any risk to British territories through our joined Space Surveillance and Tracking capabilities”.

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