• I know I have been posting a lot of links to articles talking about surveillance in China, but this is one of the most important topics right now, and it's not a regional phenomenon. Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance.

    For 40-year-old Mao Ya, the facial recognition camera that allows access to her apartment house is simply a useful convenience.

    “If I am carrying shopping bags in both hands, I just have to look ahead and the door swings open,” she said. “And my 5-year-old daughter can just look up at the camera and get in. It’s good for kids because they often lose their keys.”

    But for the police, the cameras that replaced the residents’ old entry cards serve quite a different purpose.

    Now they can see who’s coming and going, and by combining artificial intelligence with a huge national bank of photos, the system in this pilot project should enable police to identify what one police report, shared with The Washington Post, called the “bad guys” who once might have slipped by.

  • See what I told you? The List of Places That Scan Your Face Is Growing. Via Bruce Schneier.

    The burger chain CaliBurger on Tuesday began testing a facial recognition kiosk in its Pasadena, California, branch that can recognize customers who set up loyalty accounts. The kiosk allows select customers to access their accounts without any passcodes or card swipes and displays their order histories once the facial scan confirms their identities. “Our goal for 2018 is to replace credit card swipes with face-based payments. Facial recognition is part of our broader strategy,” CEO John Miller told the Verge.

  • Chinese Internet Users Start To Rebel Against Lack Of Online Privacy.

    We recently reported how China continues to turn the online world into the ultimate surveillance system, which hardly comes as a surprise, since China has been relentlessly moving in this direction for years. What is rather more surprising is that Chinese citizens are beginning to push back, at least in certain areas. For example, The New York Times reports on an "outcry" provoked by a division of the Alibaba behemoth when it assumed that its users wouldn't worry too much if they were enrolled automatically in one of China's commercially-run tracking systems.


  • Physical adversarial attacks.These psychedelic stickers blow AI minds.

    Machine learning systems are very capable, but they aren’t exactly smart. They lack common sense. Taking advantage of that fact, researchers have created a wonderful attack on image recognition systems that uses specially printed stickers that are so interesting to the AI that it completely fails to see anything else.

  • Japanese scientists just used AI to read minds and it's amazing. Link to the actual PDF. Please take into account that the input for this system is fMRI data, which is costly to obtain.

    Here, we present a novel image reconstruction method, in which the pixel values of an image are optimized to make its DNN features similar to those decoded from human brain activity at multiple layers. We found that the generated images resembled the stimulus images (both natural images and artificial shapes) and the subjective visual content during imagery.

  • Artificial intelligence can ‘evolve’ to solve problems.

    Many great ideas in artificial intelligence languish in textbooks for decades because we don’t have the computational power to apply them. That’s what happened with neural networks, a technique inspired by our brains’ wiring that has recently succeeded in translating languages and driving cars. Now, another old idea—improving neural networks not through teaching, but through evolution—is revealing its potential. Five new papers from Uber in San Francisco, California, demonstrate the power of so-called neuroevolution to play video games, solve mazes, and even make a simulated robot walk.


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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