Business Alerts by Chrissie Cluney

  • Are we heading towards a visual minority report?

Two researchers, Xiaolin Wu of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and Xi Zhang of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, have been exploring the technology of face recognition to identify criminals. They have claimed to have developed a system that, when shown a series of faces it has never encountered before, can pick out the ones belonging to convicted criminals.

Their work raises an ethical question of what the software should be used to recognize. The researchers exploited machine learning. They asked the face recognition software to guess whether a person in an ID-style picture was a criminal or not, and then feeding it the correct answer. It learned to tell the difference, eventually achieving an accuracy of up to 90 percent.

Other face recognition experts have been questioning their methodology because one issue is that the criminal images came from a Chinese database of ID photos. The non-criminal images were Internet profile pictures belonging to Chinese citizens. This means the system could have picked up on differences between the two sources rather than in people’s faces.

“The fact that the data comes from two different places is a fundamental flaw. Any differences will be picked up,” said Jonathan Frankle from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Researchers do not always have control over how their work is used. This means that anyone can scrutinize the face recognition software’s validity, but it doesn’t have to be that way. “What would scare me more would be if a private company did this and sold it to a police department. There’s nothing to stop that from happening,” says Frankle.

  • ADMA says, ‘Digital Marketing is the key to marketing’

Digital channels, smart mobility and new marketing and advertising technologies are redefining what is expected of marketing leaders in today’s changing world, according to the ADMA report.

This report written by Oracle Marketing Cloud and the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and titled ‘The CMO of Tomorrow’, looked at how different organizations are meeting the challenges. It also explains the impediments that marketers are facing in today’s digital market and how their investments are likely to change in the year ahead.

“The research has highlighted the disconnect between what senior management define as success; which is revenue vis-à-vis the campaign-specific metrics that many marketers still measure themselves on,” said Mohan Joshi, Senior Director, Oracle Marketing Cloud.

The report, which launched recently after the survey that involved over 450 senior marketing executives from across the Asia-Pacific region, found that executives in the Indian market were more likely to have more experience. The report concluded that there were more senior executives in their organizations.

India was the only country where mobility was rated highly as a strength and not the major weakness. “Indian companies are much more likely to manage their digital advertising internally. Indeed, more organizations reported managing it internally than those using a hybrid or fully outsourced model combined,” the report said.

 

  • OLED screens made from fabric

Korean researchers from KAIST and Kolon Glotech have created a OLED screen made from fabric. It is new OLED technology that allows the displays to work on a textile substrate resulting in a screen that is much more flexible than competing technologies.

OLEDs are self-illuminating displays, which can be formed into thin, flexible screens based on the plastic boards used in producing them. The material is a limiting factor, but so are the displays themselves because OLEDs are not known for their durability and are easily torn.

KAIST and Kolon Glotech have high hopes for the future of fabric-based displays. “Textile OLEDs which are more flexible than plastic and have high device reliability are expected to contribute to the development of comfortable wearable displays,” said Choi Kyung-chul, professor, KAIST.

What’s the life span of this new technology? The fabric OLEDs that were developed had a lifespan greater than 1,000 hours. However if they remained idle, they could last more than 3,500 hours. This doesn’t compare favorably to the displays that are produced in the United States, but it is a huge step in creating wearable displays. In the future, additional research should further refine the tech until we can truly wear displays woven into our clothes.

  • Diversity in tech talent is vital

 

Over the last few years, the subject of diversity in tech has gotten a good deal of attention, but discussions are still happening.

“What I worry about is people are going to lose interest because the narrative is going to be that it’s just too hard or that nobody’s making progress,” said Danielle Brown, chief diversity officer, Intel.

Despite this there are many reasons why diversity in tech matters, but one of the most striking is economic opportunity. The White House stresses the point that there are a half million open jobs in IT, which is an industry that generally pays well. A recent report from consulting firm Accenture projected that if more serious measures aren’t taken, women alone will be missing out on possibly $299 billion by 2025.

In 2014, the American Institute for Economic Research found that when it comes to skilled jobs in tech, Asian, black and Hispanic workers make less than their white counterparts.

“The concern becomes if you’re just hiring them in and the environment is so negative that they then just turn around and leave, you really haven’t made any gains,” Elizabeth Ames, vice president of strategic marketing and alliances for the Anita Borg Institute, which is an organization focused on the advancement of women in technology.

After hiring a woman, keeping them in the company is difficult. Retention is tricky because it’s tied into culture causing it to be not just whether the pay is equal, but whether the environment is conducive to career growth and how far a company will go to help employees stay.

One day this issue will be a thing of the past, but for now we must strive to fill the gap and showcase everyone’s abilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INFORMATION GATHERED

 

1Concerns as face recognition tech used to ‘identify’ criminals

Let’s face it: tech is throwing up many new ethical challenges

Maikid/Getty

 

By Timothy Revell

 

What can your face say about you? Face recognition technology can pick up on things like your age, gender and maybe even your mood. Now, two researchers say it could even tell whether you’re a criminal.

 

They are claiming to have developed a system that, when shown a series of faces it has never encountered before, can pick out the ones belonging to convicted criminals.

 

But other researchers have criticised the results, and say the work raises ethical questions over what face recognition technology can and should be used to detect.

It’s clearly an “emotionally charged” subject, says Xiaolin Wu at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who co-authored the study. He and his colleague Xi Zhang at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, had set out to disprove the idea that there could be a link between someone’s face and criminality – “so we were very surprised by the result”, says Wu.

 

The researchers exploited machine learning, asking face recognition software to guess whether a person in an ID-style picture was a criminal or not, and then feeding it the correct answer. It learned to tell the difference, eventually achieving an accuracy of up to 90 per cent, they say.

However, other face recognition experts question their methodology. One issue is that the criminal images came from a Chinese database of ID photos, whereas the non-criminal images were internet profile pictures belonging to Chinese citizens, meaning the system could have picked up on differences between the two sources rather than in people’s faces.

 

Wu and Zhang tried to counteract this by standardising the images, for example making them the same size and turning them greyscale. But Jonathan Frankle from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that’s not enough. “The fact that the data comes from two different places is a fundamental flaw. Any differences will be picked up,” he says.

 

It’s not a problem to ask a controversial question, says Francois Chollet, a deep learning researcher at Google, but the science has to be well founded. “It is not ethical to make a bad science argument,” he says.

 

Mike Cook at Falmouth University, UK, says that this kind of research risks turning machine learning into the “phrenology of the 21st century”, like deducing a person’s traits from the bumps on their head. Seemingly impartial computer programs give an air of legitimacy to inaccurate or controversial interpretations. “Suddenly, the conclusions drawn by an algorithm have been cleaned up and made to look scientific,” he says.

 

Same biases

 

In fact, these systems are not objective and are often subject to the same biases as humans. “[They] are tools that are forged by being hammered with our own beliefs and observations,” says Cook.

 

That’s not to say computers can’t make accurate observations about a person’s face, sometimes even better than humans. Face recognition software can already easily pick up things like the shape of a person’s nose or whether they are smiling.

 

Researchers at the University of Rochester, New York, even claim to have developed an algorithm that can differentiate between the faces of Chinese, Japanese and Korean people with an accuracy of 75 per cent – significantly better than humans.

 

But even where the science is sound, ethical questions arise over how these algorithms should be applied to real-world situations. Detecting someone’s ethnicity, for example, could be used to better target services, but it could also be used to discriminate.

 

Last year, Microsoft released a web app that used machine learning to gauge someone’s age from their picture. It was intended as a “fun app”, but then some UK newspapers used the system on images of refugees in an attempt to detect adults taking advantage of concessions given to children, forcing Microsoft to respond that it was never meant to offer a definitive assessment of age.

 

And when considering more complex or abstract characteristics than nose shape or age, it’s important to know the limits of what the technology can tell us. Alexander Todorov at Princeton University says you simply can’t glean someone’s general personality or behaviour from a snapshot of their face. It’s “super easy” to tell if a person is sleep-deprived based on paler skin and droopy eyes, he says – and this could even be used to prevent someone engaging in a task that requires alertness, such as operating dangerous machinery. “But if it is used to predict what the person is like in general, this is wrong.”

 

Researchers do not always have control over how their work is used. Making findings public, as Wu and Zhang have done, means that anyone can scrutinise their validity, but it doesn’t have to be that way. “What would scare me more would be if a private company did this and sold it to a police department. There’s nothing to stop that from happening,” says Frankle.

 

Earlier this year, Frankle and his colleagues found that the majority of US police departments using face recognition do little to ensure that the software is accurate. As the technology becomes more widely used, so does the urgency of weighing up the ethics of its use.

 

Computer scientists are gaining increasing power over people’s lives, says Chollet, but they don’t have the ethical education to support that role. “This is something we have to fix.

 

Reference: arxiv.org/abs/1611.04135

 

2.) http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/digital-technology-is-the-key-to-marketing-says-adma-report-350582.html

 

Digital technology is the key to marketing, says ADMA report

 

  30 Nov 2016 , 17:39

Author

Digital channels, smart mobility and new marketing and advertising technologies are redefining what is expected of marketing leaders in today’s changing world, a new report has said. The report, by Oracle Marketing Cloud and the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and titled ‘The CMO of Tomorrow’, looked at how organisations are meeting the challenges and impediments faced in today’s digital market and how their investments are likely to change in the year ahead.

 

The report, launched recently after the survey that involved over 450 senior marketing executives from across the Asia-Pacific region, found that executives in the Indian market were more likely to have more experience and, by extension, be more senior in their organisations. “The research has highlighted the disconnect between what senior management define as success; which is revenue vis-à-vis the campaign-specific metrics that many marketers still measure themselves on,” said Mohan Joshi, Senior Director, Oracle Marketing Cloud.

 

India was the only geography where mobility was rated highly as a strength and not the major weakness. There was also more confidence from Indian executives about their companies’ proficiency across a range of disciplines. “Indian companies are much more likely to manage their digital advertising internally. Indeed, more organisations reported managing it internally than those using a hybrid or fully outsourced model combined,” the report said.

 

Tags: ADMA, data, digital, India, marketing, Mohan Joshi, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Research, technology, The CMO of Tomorrow

 

3.) http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/researchers-develop-textile-oled/

 

Researchers successfully make an OLED screen out of fabric

By Garrett Hulfish — November 28, 2016 3:24 PM

 

We are still far from having truly wearable displays, but thanks to Korean researchers, that future isn’t as far off as we thought. The researchers have created the first OLEDs that are truly wearable.

According to Business Korea, two research teams from KAIST and Kolon Glotech have put their heads together and created an OLED technology that allows the displays to work on a textile substrate. The result is a screen that is much more flexible than competing technologies.

 

More: Other flexible displays have been developed in the past

 

Flexible, foldable, and wearable displays have been developed with OLED before. Because OLEDs are self-illuminating displays, they can be formed into thin, flexible screens based on the plastic boards used in producing them. This material is a limiting factor, but so are the displays themselves. OLEDs are not known for their durability and are easily torn.

 

Simply putting displays on a piece of fabric is difficult. Typical fabrics are too rough and expand based on temperature. The technology is still too fragile. The researchers’ solution was to create something new. They put together a fabric that resembles a glass panel, yet retains the flexible nature of fabrics. The OLEDs were then fixed to this glass-like material.

 

KAIST and Kolon Glotech have high hopes for the future of fabric-based displays. “Textile OLEDs which are more flexible than plastic and have high device reliability are expected to contribute to the development of comfortable wearable displays,” said KAIST professor Choi Kyung-chul.

 

The fabric OLEDs that were developed had a lifespan greater than 1,000 hours. If they remained idle, they could last more than 3,500 hours. This doesn’t compare favorably to the displays we are used to, but it is a huge step in creating wearable displays. Hopefully, additional research will further refine the tech until we can truly wear displays woven into our clothes.

 

4.) https://www.cnet.com/news/diversifying-tech-talent-heres-the-biggest-challenge/

 

The biggest challenge to diversifying tech talent

 

As the effort ages amid slow, but steady, progress, it needs to find ways to keep its momentum.

 

The biggest challenge to diversifying tech talent.

 

Tech Industry

 

In five years, what will the push for diversity in tech look like?

 

Though the conversation seems louder than ever before, this issue is one the industry will be confronting for some time to come. The challenge is how to achieve meaningful progress and keep people caring after years of incremental change.

 

“People shouldn’t have the expectation that next year it’s going to be parity,” said Elizabeth Ames, vice president of strategic marketing and alliances for the Anita Borg Institute, an organization focused on the advancement of women in technology.

 

Over the last few years, the subject of diversity in tech has gotten a good deal of attention — and not always in the rosiest light. Sometimes, it’s been a high-profile conflict, as when former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao lost her sexual discrimination lawsuit against VC firm Kleiner Perkins in March 2015. Other times, it’s been jokes about the difference between the lines for the men’s and women’s restrooms at tech events. Then there was the Department of Labor’s lawsuit against Palantir in September for discriminating against Asian job applicants.

 

There are myriad reasons why it all matters, but one of the most striking is economic opportunity.

 

The White House regularly hammers the point that there are a half million open jobs in IT, an industry that generally pays well. A recent report from consulting firm Accenture projected that if more serious measures aren’t taken, women alone will be missing out on possibly $299 billion by 2025. In 2014, the American Institute for Economic Research found that when it comes to skilled jobs in tech, Asian, black and Hispanic workers make less than their white counterparts.

High stakes, low action. But doom and gloom can be dangerous.

 

How to read diversity reports

 

One step Silicon Valley has taken is to start releasing diversity reports. In 2013, then-Pinterest coder Tracy Chou challenged tech companies to start reporting their demographics.

 

While diversity reports are often released in the name of transparency, that doesn’t mean they’re easy reads, especially when the most obvious takeaway is something like 1 percentage point of change from year to year.

 

There are a few key metrics Ames looks for as signals of progress. The first is the breakdown for new hires. That’s where companies making good efforts in the recruitment and hiring process display change.

 

“What I worry about is people are going to lose interest because the narrative is going to be that it’s just too hard or that nobody’s making progress.”

Danielle Brown, Intel’s chief diversity officer

 

The second metric is retention.

 

“The concern becomes if you’re just hiring them in and the environment is so negative that they then just turn around and leave, you really haven’t made any gains,” Ames said.

 

Finally, there’s the percentage of women and minorities in leadership positions. Are they moving up? Beyond the basic idea of whether they’re being given the chance for advancement, women and minorities in leadership positions tend to attract others. They’re a sign that it’s possible to get ahead at a given company, Ames said.

 

What does 1 percent mean?

 

The change isn’t much to look at.

 

“Whenever I look at these numbers that go up from 16 percent to 17 percent, or 13 percent to 14 percent, what that tells me is they’re not really serious,” said Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe.

 

One percent change can look like no change at all. And it’s often accompanied by head-hanging from companies as they acknowledge there’s still work to do.

The repetition can be demoralizing.

 

“Especially for those who are advocates for diversity and care deeply about it, the feeling is that tech companies and leaders simply don’t care about solving the problem,” Chou said.

 

But there are times when 1 percent is a big difference. For a company like Intel, it represents about 100,000 people.

 

“We’ve increased the representation of women in our workforce by 2 percent in a year,” Intel Chief Diversity Officer Danielle Brown said. “But 2 percent is really significant when you’ve got a huge installed base workforce and you’re not not a startup doubling in size every year.”

 

Beating the perception game

 

Either way, it’s not an inspiring rally cry.

 

“What I worry about is people are going to lose interest because the narrative is going to be that it’s just too hard or that nobody’s making progress,” Brown said.

Will there come a point when tech company leaders throw up their hands and say women and minorities must not want to work in tech?

 

“That’s always the danger because that could be an excuse,” said Catherine Ashcraft, senior research scientist with the National Center for Women and Information Technology. The key to beating this, she said, is strategic planning.

That means having funding, support from the top levels of the company and the ability to measure progress toward goals and adjust as necessary.

 

For instance, Intel started tracking its diversity numbers a decade ago. But Brown said nothing changed until the company set a goal and CEO Brian Krzanich pledged $300 million to the cause, regularly looked at the reports and supported the effort.

 

Upon realizing that its percentage of women fell a full percentage point and that increases among minorities were slim, Microsoft announced in November that it will tie its diversity goals to executives’ compensation.

 

During Klawe’s 10 years at Harvey Mudd, the school has raised the number of women and minorities in computer science. Harvey Mudd is about half women, 20 percent Hispanic and 10 percent black. This year’s computer science graduating class was more than 50 percent women.

 

In education, people like Klawe and Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant are trying to equip students with both the skills and the confidence to survive in companies that are works in progress.

 

“It’s about how do we build even more complex solutions that really get to the root cause of so many of these issues,” Bryant said.

 

The long play

 

Change isn’t just about getting people in. It’s also about keeping them.

“You’re going to have a very expensive zero-sum game if people are leaving out the backdoor,” Brown said.

 

Retention is tricky because it’s so tied into culture — it’s not just whether the pay is equal, but whether the environment is conducive to career growth and how far a company will go to help employees stay.

 

Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer, gave an example of an initiative that started as a request from a new mom and increased the retention of new parents by 30 percent. As many Accenture employees travel for work, the woman asked about the company paying to ship breast milk home. Shook initially agreed.

 

But was pump, dump and ship really the best way to help a mom with a baby?

“I didn’t feel good about enabling what she asked for, but not really getting to the root cause,” Shook said.

 

Instead, Accenture instituted a policy where all new parents, including in cases of adoption, don’t have to travel for a year — no strings or stigma attached.

Part of what this speaks to is focusing on the right initiatives. The Harvard Business Review ran a story recently about why mandatory diversity training often doesn’t work. A measure designed to stave off lawsuits won’t create a healthier working environment.

 

Along those lines, when figuring out how to get minorities into leadership positions, it’s not about sticking them in a leadership class.

“We don’t need to fix [them]. They’re fine,” Ames said, “We need to be looking at the systems and the processes that often embody a certain amount of bias.”

 

 

 

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