AI – police wants it to stop violent crime before it happens

 

Police in the UK want to predict serious violent crime using artificial intelligence, New Scientist can reveal. The idea is that individuals flagged by the system will be offered interventions, such as counselling, to avert potential criminal behaviour.

However, one of the world’s leading data science institutes has expressed serious concerns about the project after seeing a redacted version of the proposals.

The system, called the National Data Analytics Solution (NDAS), uses a combination of AI and statistics to try to assess the risk of someone committing or becoming a victim of gun or knife crime, as well as the likelihood of someone falling victim to modern slavery.

West Midlands Police is leading the project and has until the end of March 2019 to produce a prototype.

Read article on NewScientist.

 

Prion Seeds Distribute throughout the Eyes of Patients

The findings are the latest to suggest that these universally fatal, if rare, diseases can be spread through the eyes.

We can get sick from prions in a few ways. Sometimes, people are born with mutations passed down in their family that increase the risk of developing a prion disease, including a form of CJD. Most commonly, as with people who have sCJD, the prions show up spontaneously, with the normally harmless prion protein changing into a misfolded form that makes nearby proteins misfold, too. But what’s especially terrifying about prions is that they can also be infectious, capable of spreading from person to person, or even animal to person.

It can take years, even decades, for the symptoms of a prion disease (such as dementia or muscle weakness) to show up, but once they do, it’s usually only a matter of months before death.

Full article here.

 

 

A sociologist becomes a geneticist and changes his mind

 

 

 

Conley describes his early academic work as “lefty sociology.” His Ph.D. thesis was on the black-white wealth gap and he dedicated his early career to studying the transmission of health and wealth between parents and children.

At N.Y.U., Conley kept getting into disagreements with geneticists, arguing that their methods were dangerously naïve. It seemed to him implausible that studying only twins — the gold standard of genetics research — was enough to teach us the difference between nature and nurture. But over time, he decided that it wasn’t enough to just argue.

Conley is an academic, and even within that tortured group he is something of a masochist. At that time he was a tenured professor, the kind of gig most people see as the endgame of an academic career, and yet he decided to go back and grind out another Ph.D., this time in genetics. He went into his program believing that our social environment is largely the cause of our outcomes, and that biology is usually the dependent variable.

By the end of his time, he says, the causal arrow in his mind had pretty much flipped the other way: “I tried to show for a range of outcomes that the genetic models were overstating the impact of genetics because of their crazy assumptions.” He sighs. “But I ended up showing that they’re right.”

Read full article on the New York Times.

 

Memory – Can you choose what to forget?

WE ALL have memories we would rather forget – and it is possible, if you try hard enough.

It is easy to think of memories as something you can actively strengthen, whereas forgetting is a passive process. But we have started to discover it can be intentional too.

Perhaps the easiest way to forget something is simply to try to suppress a memory. Jeremy Manning at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, has found that just telling people to “push thoughts out of their head” is enough to make them forget lists of words they have learned to associate with particular cues. “We don’t know how, but people seem to know how to do it.”

The truth about memory is far more elaborate than we previously thought. Here’s your guide to how it really works
This seems especially paradoxical because we also know that rehearsing memories helps to strengthen them. Suppression has been linked to decreased activity in the hippocampus, so we may be unknowingly reducing our hippocampal activity by focusing on the present, says Justin Hulbert at Bard College, New York.

Full article on newscientist

 

SMART, CONNECTED, TACTLESS AND NOT REALLY RESERVED OBJECTS


WHAT

They said: ” The one who won a golden coin won a golden coin, but lost a hand. ” (Implied: the one hand which hangs on the coin and which is thus no more usable). We could also say: ” These objects that you bought, are you possessing them, or are they possessing you? ” Strangely enough, this philosophical interrogation seems nowaday to be a concrete one …

WHY

We all know that our invaluable personal data, those whom we agree to share with big companies which deal in it, are then used to categorize the human race, study it, analyze it, and finally plan, anticipate and influence the decision-making of any kind of person. This new transparency man has been highlighted by Olivier Ertzscheid in his article ” The man is a document as the others: from the World Wide Web to the world wide life.»1

HOW

What we have to understand is that this collateral damage is inseparable with technical progress. And this stands for several reasons. The first one is simply that a useful tool is a tool which meets a need, and that a tool which you’re going to use is a tool which is not going to need lot of time or energy from you to be used. In other words, an “intelligent” tool is a tool which has to know you better than yourself. To know your needs and to understand how you express them. Simply, if we try to meet your needs in a precise way and before you waste time and energy to formulate them in a high level language it is necessary to know you precisely. This condition is not negociable. Thus it is required there to amass an impressive quantity of information on what you are.

The other point is that in a general way intelligence is something collective. We notice it in all kind of domains: Isaac Newton said ” If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. “2 speaking about his predecessors and, doing so, quoting Bernard of Chartres. Eric Raymond, co-creator of the “Open source” term, also leans on this idea to express the superiority of the Open source system on the Proprietary software one in his essay ” The Cathedral and the Bazaar “3. Finally, we also know from now on that a mass of chess players of varied quality manages to compete in a party with very strong players.4 In conclusion, if machines can surpass man, it is because man has only limited exchanges with his congeners, when machines can benefit from the experience of all almost without any limit. Thus, the more the machine is effective the more it has to have access to a wide source of data (which means of experiences).

Then we have to go with this issue: a tool helps you, but to improve itself, it has to steal information on you. Then: who’s possessing who? Could this be a symbiosis?

WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH IT

The issue here is that even if there is symbiosis, this knowledge of the man is problematic. As long as the technologies are there to help man, everything is ok. But what if they were used to destroy him? …

But nowadays, with the proliferation of connected objects, the issue is no more the simple trust, but the direct security of devices: what if the rat was hacked? It is moreover for that reason that the doll toy Cayla was removed from the market in Germany: this one recorded the voices of children and transmitted them to the servers of the manufacturer. The authorities worried that the information could be intercepted in hostile purposes.5

After all that, what do you think? Do you possess your objects or do they possess you? Or maybe other people possess you through your own objects?

GO FURTHER

NOTES

1■ Olivier Ertzscheid, « L’homme est un document comme les autres : du world wide web au world wide life », Hermès, La Revue- Cognition, communication, politique, CNRS-Editions, 2009, pp.33-40

2■ Wikipedia

3■ Eric S. Raymond, “The Cathedral & the Bazaar”, 2010

4■ Par exemple : The world vs Arkadij Naiditsch

5■ 01net magazine, 17/03/08

Back on top of the article

Medicinal cannabis will be available next month!

Doctors in the UK will be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients from 1 November, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

Javid had decided to relax the rules about the circumstances in which cannabis products can be given to patients, after considering expert advice from a specially commissioned review.

The new regulations apply to England, Wales and Scotland, and follow several high-profile cases, including that of  Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, children with epilepsy whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oïl.

Full article on NewScientist.

Gut n Brain – new ultra quick connexion

 

A recent study of enterochromaffin cells, a subset of enteroendocrine cells, also found that gut signals are transmitted at epithelial-neural synapses through release of the neurotransmitter serotonin (4). Together, these findings overturn a decades-old dogma that enteroendocrine cells signal exclusively through hormones.

Article on ScienceMag.

Google knows better your language than you!

 

 

Google announced this summer an interesting update on Google Docs during the Google Cloud Next ’18 conference: from now on you will benefit from not only a spell-checker, but also a grammatical one! 1

The operation of the device is simple: when a possible grammatical mistake is detected, the portion of sentence is highlighted in blue. By right-clicking it, you can then accept one of the displayed proposals, or to refuse them all. You can also write your whole text and then correct all the faults using the “Tools” menu.2

We have to highlight there that if the result is as high as the expectations, it will be a huge progress in the field of natural language processing. Indeed, to build a spell-checker is not very complicated in itself: you just have to use a dictionary for that. If the program knows in which language you write (and computers manage to detect the dominant language of a document from its first written words), it loads the corresponding dictionary and compares all the words with this dictionary to know if what you write is correct or not. Well, OK, in practice, it is a little more complicated: it is necessary to be interested in the formal rules of agreement, but as these rules are formal, computers are rather good doing this job nowadays, as you can check by yourself using any office equipment.

But there, that goes farther: the detection of faults of structures in sentences requires that the machine has a good understanding of the language. Bye the bye, that’s the reason why Grammar Suggestions will use machine learning to progress. You can moreover volunteer to teach the program by making a request for Google and by using a beta version on Google Docs.3

At the end, when Grammar Suggestions will have grown up a little bit, it will write better than us…

Go further / usefull links

Notes

1■ Article taken from the Journal du geek, “Google Docs se dote d’un correcteur grammatical basé sur l’intelligence artificielle“, 18/07/25.

2■ Article from the G Suite Updates blog (Google), « New grammar suggestions in Google Docs launching to Early Adopter Program », 18/07/24.

3■ Take part in the tests

 

 

Expenditures and testosterone

The results of a study1 led by Gideon Nave, professor in Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, showed that the testosterone’s rate influenced men purchases2.

The initial hypothesis, which has been confirmed by the results of the study, is that the male slumbering in us tries on one hand to attract the eye of the females in the vicinity (like the bird who shows his most beautiful plumage to be spotted by potential sexual partners) and on the other hand to discourage his potential rivals, which are the other males circulating in the surroundings … You know, like dogs which raise the leg to urinate as high as possible, just to persuade the others that they are very big and thus very sturdy!

Well, the idea is that with man, the brands of the products which he raises can play this role.

The idea of the study is rather direct: products of the same quality but with different brands of which the prestige is different were proposed to a group of 243 men from 18 to 55 years old, half of them having beforehand received a dose of testosterone, the others a dose of placebo. And, guess what, the men who took a dose of testosterone were more sensitive to the brand than the others!

Well, then of course, the experiment is finer than that (the prestigious level of the brands was estimated before the experiment by a poll, the saliva of the participants has been checked to see if other hormones did not influence the tests, they were forbidden to have a contact with a woman just before the examination etc.).

It is a remarkable result, isn’t it? In any case, it helps us to understand the advertisings for fragrances or cars which, rather than to speak to us of the product, prefer to show us images which make raise our testosterone’s rate!

Notes

1■ Nature Communications, n°9, Article n°2433, “Single-dose testosterone administration increases men’s preference for status goods“, publié le 3 juillet 2018

2■”Testostérone rimerait avec achat premium“, article taken from Stratégies, 4th July 2018

 

DeepFake special FX are more and more frightening

It’s been a while since we know how to reproduce somebody’s voice with a speech synthesis software1, in order to make him say things he didn’t say… But now on we can also create or modify videos in that way (in real time), so we can see the guy telling things or doing things… he never told or did! And it’s impressive how the result is realistic for the human eye. In the domain of Deep Video Portraits, Michael Zollhöfer is very implicated in the current innovations, as he is, for example, a member of the HeadOn project.

We found a number of videos on this rather disturbing topic… Thus we share them with you:

Deepfake Videos Are Getting too Good :

‘HeadOn’, An AI That Transfers Torso, Head Motion, Face Expression And Eye Gaze :

Generate a new video of a completely different person’s body performing those actions :

FRENCH / Les « deepfakes », savant mélange de « deep learning » et de « fake news » :

Bonus / Age manipulation by video transformation (high level!) by Rousselos Aravantinos:

Notes (FR)

1■ Article du journal « Le Monde » du 02/04/2017 « L’appli qui imite les voix »