New data analysis competitions

Kaggle is hosting several image-based competitions:

Privacy

  • Surveillance Used To Give Poor Students Extra Financial Assistance Discreetly. Is That OK?.

    The University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), in the eastern province of Anhui, collects data from the charge cards of students who frequently eat in the school cafeteria -- usually the cheapest option, thanks to government subsidies -- but spend very little on each meal. The school's student affairs department uses the information for "invisible subsidies," or allowances delivered without drawing attention -- what it calls "a more dignified way for poor students to receive stipends."

  • Initial reports commented on the possibility that Roomba's were learning the outline of your home to sell the data after. This news article, for example, said:

    The maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum, iRobot, has found itself embroiled in a privacy row after its chief executive suggested it may begin selling floor plans of customers’ homes, derived from the movement data of their autonomous servants.

    “There’s an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared,” said Colin Angle, iRobot’s boss.

    However, Roomba's CEO dismissed these interpretations:

    First things first, iRobot will never sell your data. Our mission is to help you keep a cleaner home and, in time, to help the smart home and the devices in it work better.

    I have the feeling that the cat has been let out of the bag. Anyway, I don't think this will be the wake-up call that will make people stop having a mind-boggling number of spy-like devices at home in the near future.

  • China’s “Minority Report” Style Plans Will Use AI to Predict Who Will Commit Crimes.

    Authorities in China are exploring predictive analytics, facial recognition, and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to help prevent crime in advance. Based on behavior patterns, authorities will notify local police about potential offenders.

    Cloud Walk, a company headquartered in Guangzhou, has been training its facial recognition and big data rating systems to track movements based on risk levels. Those who are frequent visitors to weapons shops or transportation hubs are likely to be flagged in the system, and even places like hardware stores have been deemed “high risk” by authorities.

  • The soft tyranny of the rating system.

    In his darkly comic 2010 novel Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart imagines a Yelpified America in which people are judged not by the content of their character but by their streamed credit scores and crowdsourced “hotness” points. Social relations of even the most intimate variety are governed by online rating systems.

    A sanitized if more insidious version of Shteyngart’s big-data dystopia is taking shape in China today. At its core is the government’s “Social Credit System,” a centrally managed data-analysis program that, using facial-recognition software, mobile apps, and other digital tools, collects exhaustive information on people’s behavior and, running the data through an evaluative algorithm, assigns each person a “social trustworthiness” score. If you run a red light or fail to pick up your dog’s poop, your score goes down. If you shovel snow off a sidewalk or exhibit good posture in riding your bicycle, your score goes up. People with high scores get a variety of benefits, from better seats on trains to easier credit at banks. People with low scores suffer various financial and social penalties.

Tech

  • Beijing Wants A.I. to Be Made in China by 2030.

    If Beijing has its way, the future of artificial intelligence will be made in China.

    The country laid out a development plan on Thursday to become the world leader in A.I. by 2030, aiming to surpass its rivals technologically and build a domestic industry worth almost $150 billion.

    Released by the State Council, the policy is a statement of intent from the top rungs of China’s government: The world’s second-largest economy will be investing heavily to ensure its companies, government and military leap to the front of the pack in a technology many think will one day form the basis of computing.

  • Open data for tax justice – designing a new CbCR database.

    Tax justice advocates, global campaigners and open data specialists came together this week from across the world to work with Open Knowledge International on the first stages of creating a pilot country-by-country reporting database. Such a database may enable anyone to understand the activities of multinational corporations and uncover potential tax avoidance schemes.


Data Links is a periodic blog post published on Sundays (specific time may vary) which contains interesting links about data science, machine learning and related topics. You can subscribe to it using the general blog RSS feed or this one, which only contains these articles, if you are not interested in other things I might publish.

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