Google’s new app blunders by calling black people ‘gorillas’

3 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple iTunes, Google Photos marred by glitches.

In the past month, Google launched its Photos product, while Apple rolled out its music streaming service Monday to more than 100 countries around the world.

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — Google is apologizing after reports surfaced that an automatic image-recognition feature in its Photos application was identifying images of some black people as “gorillas.” A New York man posted a picture of himself and a female friend on Twitter earlier this week, showing that the Google image software had tagged both of them as “gorillas,” which is sometimes used as a racial slur.Google apologised and went to work fixing the problem earlier in the week after the offensive blunder was pointed out in a Twitter message from @JackyAlcine. It kind of says it all that when you search “Google Photos” in use Google’s own search engine, the first auto-complete suggestion adds “gorillas.” Google Photos was launched at the company’s annual I/O conference at the end of May. Google engineer Yonatan Zunger put the blame for the labelling on the artificial intelligence software designed to let machines learn how to recognise places, people and objects in pictures.

It’s a new, private online hub for all your photos, with software has many nice touches, like organizing photos, building collages and making them easy to share with people you choose. Google and Facebook are among Silicon Valley technology giants investing heavily in artificial intelligence to get machines to think more like the way people do. “There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labelling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future,” the Google representative said of the photo gaffe.

Unfortunately, this week Jacky Alciné, an African-American programmer, noticed that the feature kept auto-tagging pictures of him and his girlfriend as “gorillas.” Alciné posted the result to Twitter, and as it was going viral, Google quickly apologized. When users start a search, Google suggests categories developed from machine learning, the science of training computers to perform human tasks such as labelling. According to Google’s chief social architect Yonatan Zunger, the company was aware of the tagging issue with facial recognition of skin tones in different kinds of lighting, telling The Verge: “We used to have a problem with people (of all races) being tagged as dogs.” The company’s big move into music streaming Monday came after weeks of negative publicity over negotiations with artists and labels. In fact, one of the other aspects in the latest update is a fix for a text messaging glitch that used a specific string of characters to turn iPhones into unusable bricks, an Apple Watch bug that stopped apps from being reinstalled and a GPS glitch that prevented third-party apps from sharing location data.

Google launched a YouTube Kids app earlier this year that aims to exclude adult content using a combination of automatic filters, user feedback and manual reviews. Many users have reported problems with their music libraries, with songs and playlists being moved around, and many artists, albums and songs being mislabelled.

But the “gorillas” tag shines a harsh light on the system’s shortcomings. “We need to fundamentally change machine learning systems to feed in more context so they can understand cultural sensitivities that are important to humans,” said Babak Hodjat, chief scientist at Sentient Technologies, an artificial-intelligence startup. The issue seems affect people who have or previously used iTunes Match, the company’s product that allowed people to access their library through the cloud. He said machine-learning systems don’t understand the difference between mistaking a chimp for a gorilla, which may be okay, and mislabeling a human as a gorilla, which is offensive.

Though Apple Communities iTunes shows a thread of users with problems, Apple itself has yet to confirm there is an issue and what might be causing the problem. Google’s system may not have “seen” enough pictures of gorillas to learn the differences — and wouldn’t understand the significance of such a mistake, he said. Google said that as more images are loaded into Google Photos and more people correct mistaken tags, its algorithms will get better at categorising photos. That service initially had lots of speech recognition errors, but as more people have used the service, Google’s machines have got better at understanding speech.

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Windows 10 downloads surge to nearly 27 million

8 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft open sources iOS Bridge tool that enables Candy Crush on Windows 10.

Windows 10 brings with it a brand new browser called Microsoft Edge (though Internet Explorer is still hanging around like an awkward kid in the background).Several elements of the privacy policy have raised alarm bells, made largely of head-shaped tinfoil, and Microsoft is now reassuring people that everything is OK really.JUST WHEN YOU thought Microsoft’s groovy, open attitude couldn’t get any more, well, open, the company has announced that it is to open source the tool for porting iOS apps to Windows.

SECURITY RESEARCH has pulled its teeth from the bottom of Microsoft, come up for air, and warned the terrified community that an issue with Windows update and personal patch positions could compromise enterprises. When the Windows Insider programme started last year, we broke the story that the terms and conditions gave provision for a keylogger to be used should Microsoft wish. Windows 10 hits nearly every end customer segment and sub-segment out there, but I want to focus first on enthusiasts, the sub-segment who typically uses desktops and skew to buying more expensive and beefy hardware. You may remember we were told at the Build conference this year how the version of Candy Crush Saga available for Windows Desktop was in fact a port of the iOS version, put there to “see if anyone noticed”. These digital ink annotations are officially known as “web notes” and they make most sense when you’re sharing pages with other people (though you are of course free to use them however you see fit).

This time it is a security company called Context that has the siren going off, and statements about Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and configuration. Nobody expects a new operating system to be perfect at launch and Microsoft had millions of people, including me, participating in their insider program which was planned to help Microsoft iron out a lot of the bugs in their operating system before it reached what used to be called RTM (Release To Manufacturing). The research will be shown off at the Black Hat event in Las Vegas this week – remember to stop by the Microsoft hall to win a pass to MSDN – and will see WSUS, and an up-to-you approach to SSL protection, hauled in front of a crowd and have fingers pointed at it. “It’s a simple case of a common configuration problem [PDF],” said Paul Stone, a security researcher at Context, as he introduced some of the findings from the presentation. “While Microsoft does not enforce SSL for WSUS, it presents the option and most companies will go through this extra stage to use HTTPS.

You get two tools to make your mark with—a pen and a highlighter—and you can click on either of them to bring up a small dialog showing ink colors and nib sizes. Windows Bridge, as the product is now known, will be officially available in the autumn, along with an invitation-only preview of the Android to Windows version which is now taking sign-ups. But for those that don’t it presents an opportunity for an administrator to compromise complete corporate networks in one go.” This appears to be an end user issue, and the firm said that, while Microsoft offers the choice, it is the installer that must make the security decision. Having said that, Kevin Gallo, partner director of software engineering at Microsoft, said in his blog: ” Between now and the fall, we’d love more eyes, feedback and participation on the code, so we’re doing our development ‘in the open’.” The new tools will form part of Visual Studio’s upcoming releases.

Stone warned that an ill-conceived system would mix badly with a third-party software installation program or the introduction of a tainted USB stick. If you click Exit, all your annotations are lost and you return back to browsing mode, so you want to use the save and share icons immediately to the left—the former lets you store your edited pages in OneNote, in your bookmarks, or your reading list inside Edge, and the latter brings up apps that can share your creation (such as Mail or Facebook).

I wrote intensely about Windows 8 years back, and unfortunately I was correct on nearly every account, including Windows 8 on ARM, importance on the number and quality of apps at launch, ramifications of deprioritizing the desktop, and post-launch requirements. We assume the codename stems from the idea of a bunch of pieces of bloated code that all think they know better and believe that they alone have the mandate of the people. µ The firm is continuing to pick the problem apart, and warned punters to look for innocuously suspicious signs. “We have started to download and investigate some 2,284 third-party drivers. Throughout all this, we’ve failed to mention WiFi Sense, the feature that has caused the most raised eyebrows by storing information about your WiFi hotspots and their passwords in the cloud.

If you don’t see it there, you may need to update your computer manually. (Look for Windows Update in the Control Panel.) The Get Windows 10 app will check whether your existing computer is compatible, and then put you in line for the free download. As a tablet and touch notebook OS it was quite good with the exception of limited apps in the beginning, and the target of hitting 2-in-1s and tablets meant that Microsoft wouldn’t be in that market at all if it weren’t for a good OS.

Our concern is that, when plugging in a USB device, some of these drivers may have vulnerabilities that could be exploited for malicious purposes,” added Stone. “Everyone is familiar with the ‘searching for Drivers’ and ‘Windows Update’ dialogue boxes on their desktops, but these seemingly innocuous windows may be hiding some serious threats.” µ As yet there’s no option to work on a page in collaboration with someone else, but no doubt Microsoft Edge will develop as time goes on (as will Windows 10). It’s not instant, but you should get an email with further instructions in the following days or weeks. (This won’t work on existing Enterprise editions of Windows; those require a special volume license.) If you have multiple computers to update, or want to skip the download queue, Microsoft offers a link you can use to create your own upgrade USB drive or DVD right away. It’s helpful for pointing out glitches on websites, highlighting passages and pictures you like, picking out items in a lengthy list and so on, but whether it’s necessary enough for people to jump over from Chrome or Firefox remains to be seen.

Windows 10 presents itself as major upgrade and improvement, a compromise between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 while also bringing new features and performance in things like DirectX 12 and an entirely new browser. The experience is more similar to Windows 7, but it still maintains all of the improvements in 8.1 and if you like the touch start menu you can still get it with a few settings changes. Microsoft is also making Windows 10 more secure than previous operating systems by forcing updates and improving their propagation through secure P2P sharing of updates between computers.

While Windows 10 is a great operating system, there are some bugs, such as some Windows Store and Edge browser issues, that Microsoft is working hard to fix. NVIDIA and Microsoft eventually alleviated this issue, but it did leave a bitter taste in some users’ mouths when it came to their first experiences with Windows 10. Microsoft has clarified that “once you upgrade within the first year for free, it’s yours forever at no additional cost.” That means it won’t require a subscription, and no features should be limited down the road.

By default, features like Wi-Fi Sense are enabled and created questions around privacy and security risks to users if exploited by those that know how. Microsoft is admittedly being held to a pretty high standard here, but that’s in part to how much the company singled out Google with the Scroogled ad campaign. Graphics card sales will likely see the biggest bump for Windows 10 once we start seeing DirectX 12 titles, which are slated to release this holiday season. When it comes to CPU and RAM, there’s little need to upgrade immediately as Windows 10 actually doesn’t put more of a load on the existing hardware. It also doesn’t help that there haven’t really been any new enthusiast product launches that were synced up exactly with Windows 10’s launch, even though we are seeing that Intel just launched their new 6th Generation Core processor line.

AMD also has new hardware with their 6th generation processors for notebooks, code-named Carrizo, which launched at earlier this June at Computex, but it isn’t really targeted at desktop enthusiasts. Ironically, there are more reasons for more mainstream consumers and businesses to upgrade their hardware and I will touch on that in other columns. “Hello Windows”, as an example, is a high value feature that works very well with Intel’s RealSense camera technology. If you counted on Windows Media Center to watch and record TV shows using a TV tuner, try MediaPortal, a free alternative that has support for various tuners. If you’re mostly looking for a way to play computer media on your TV, your best bet is to invest in a set top box like the Roku HD, and software such as Plex.

We likely won’t know the initial degree of Windows 10 success for until the holiday shopping season has come and gone and Microsoft’s biggest update, slated for October, rolls out completely. The Cortana virtual assistant works by tracking activity like email and Web searches, but in general the service doesn’t go further than what many people already willingly surrender to Google and Facebook.

If a Windows user really considers themselves an enthusiast, they are explorers who want to try new things and get under the hood as much as they can. There has also been some concern about a Windows 10 feature called Wi-Fi Sense that’s supposed to make it more convenient to join Wi-Fi networks by letting you share passwords with friends.

Over the next few weeks, I will be weighing in on different markets and Windows 10, including enterprises, small businesses, mainstream consumers, educators, and different form factors. Disclosure: My firm, Moor Insights & Strategy , like all research and analyst firms, provides or had provided research, analysis, advising, and/or consulting to many high-tech companies in the industry, including AMD, Intel, Microsoft, and NVIDIA, cited this article.

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