• Amazon workers are listening to some of your conversations with Alexa - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/613303/amazon-workers-are-listening-to-some-of-your-conversations-with-al

    Comment ça opt-out ?
    Mais c’est contraire au RGPD ça....

    Amazon workers are listening to some of your conversations with Alexa

    Amazon employs thousands of people listen to voice recordings captured by Echo speakers in an effort to improve the software, according to Bloomberg.

    The process: The Alexa voice review team includes both contractors and full-time Amazon staff working in offices around the world, including Boston, India, Romania, and Costa Rica. Each reviewer is expected to check about 1,000 audio files in each shift, two of the workers told Bloomberg. The recordings are transcribed, annotated, and fed back in hopes of improving Alexa, the software that powers Echo devices.

    Privacy invasion: Sometimes the reviewers come across clips they find upsetting, or even potentially criminal. Amazon’s spokesperson responded thus: “We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order [to] improve the customer experience.”

    Users can opt out of having their recordings used for development purposes, but Amazon doesn’t explicitly tell Echo customers that humans might be listening to them.

    Controversy: While over 100 million people around the world own Alexa devices, many people choose not to, because they fear exactly this scenario: that Amazon could be listening in. This revelation today at least partly confirms the validity of their concerns.

    #Amazon #Vie_privée #Ecoute

  • Debris from India’s anti-satellite test could put the space station at risk, says NASA - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/613256/debris-from-indias-anti-satellite-test-could-put-the-space-station

    The blast destroyed a satellite but also created 400 pieces of debris, threatening the safety of astronauts on the International Space Station, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

    The controversial launch: Last week India announced it had shot down one of its own satellites, thus joining the group of four “space powers” (including Russia, China, and the US). It seems to have been an attempt at a show of strength ahead of an upcoming election this month.

    The impact: Unfortunately, by breaking up the satellite, India added significantly to the growing problem of space junk. Bridenstine said that the 400 pieces of debris included about 60 trackable pieces that are at least 10 centimeters in size, the New York Times reported. It’s also put people in danger, he said. The satellite itself was destroyed at the fairly low altitude of 180 miles (300 kilometers) but 24 of the pieces of debris have reached a point higher than the ISS, which orbits at an altitude of 254 miles (408 km).

    Strong words: “That is a terrible, terrible thing, to create an event that sends debris at an apogee that goes above the International Space Station,” Bridenstone said in a recorded meeting with NASA staff yesterday. “That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight. It’s unacceptable and NASA needs to be very clear about what its impact to us is.”

    #Espace #Militarisation #Communs #Débris

  • India says it has just shot down a satellite in space - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/613228/india-says-it-has-just-shot-down-a-satellite-in-space

    C’en est fini de la démilitarisation de l’espace.

    Je suis en train de finir la trilogie de SF par Liu Cisun, et comme toujours, la SF nous montre comment cela peut nous conduire au pire.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the successful test in a live television broadcast to the nation, saying it now made India a space power, Reuters reports.

    Bullseye: “Some time ago, our scientists, shot down a live satellite 300 kilometers away in space, in low Earth orbit,” Modi said in an hour-long statement that was broadcast on all national TV stations. Ajay Lele, at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, told Reuters that it was likely the satellite was destroyed using a missile that carried no warhead.

    Exclusive club: India is only the fourth country to have successfully shot down a satellite. The US, Russia, and China have all done so in the past. The US and Russia both did so in the 1980s, and China conducted its first successful test in 2007.

    Debris threat: China’s 2007 test was condemned as irresponsible when it happened as it created a massive cloud of debris of almost 3000 pieces that were big enough to be tracked by NASA. Many thousands more were too small to see. Even small pieces of debris can be hazardous for other satellites or the International Space Station. We do not yet know what has happened to the remnants of India’s satellite.

    Security fears: The satellite test comes as India is gearing up for an election and is approaching the period during which the government is not allowed to make any policy statements designed to swing votes. Issues of national security are exempt, however, and this week’s display of strength comes against the backdrop of rising tensions with neighboring Pakistan.

    #Guerre #Espace #Militarisme #Communs

  • Facebook says it has removed 1.5 million copies of the New Zealand terror attack video - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/613133/facebook-says-it-has-removed-15-million-copies-of-the-new-zealand-

    The sheer scale of efforts by Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to take down clips of the video shows how hard it is to stop people from spreading horrific content.

    The news: Facebook has said that in the first 24 hours after the attack it removed 1.5 million versions of the video filmed by the gunman who killed over 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Of those, 1.2 million were blocked while they were uploading, so they never made it onto the site. YouTube and Twitter are yet to release figures.

    The gunman live-streamed the shooting over 17 minutes on Facebook, and it was quickly re-posted by people both on that platform and others. There are almost certainly still versions of the video available online, despite the efforts to remove them.

    What next: There are growing calls for social-media companies to change their policies after the outrage—but it’s not always clear exactly what that means in practice. Bloomberg reports that New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is seeking talks with Facebook over live-streaming but hasn’t set out any specific demands.

    Supply and demand: The problem, according to Facebook’s former chief security officer, Alex Stamos, is not just virality. It’s that the biggest tech companies have much less control over whether people in free societies trade data than you might think. It also reflects a systemic issue, which is that social platforms often don’t even see themselves as arbiters of content in the first place. And perhaps a more profound question: do we really want them to be?

    #Facebook #NZ_massacre #Vidéo #Alt_right #Fascisme

  • The US threatens to stop sharing intelligence with allies if they use Huawei - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/613002/the-us-threatens-to-stop-sharing-intelligence-with-allies-if-they-

    Qui a dit la « guerre commerciale » est une continuation de la guerre sous d’autres formes ?

    The US will stop sharing intelligence with countries that use Huawei hardware in their core communication systems, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

    The threat: “If a country adopts this [Huawei equipment] and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them, we won’t be able to work alongside them,” Pompeo said during an interview with Fox Business on Thursday. “In some cases there’s risk – we won’t even be able to co-locate American resources, an American embassy, an American military outpost,” he added.

    Defiance: Britain, New Zealand, and Germany have all signaled this week that they may be willing to continue using Huawei gear as they prepare their infrastructure for the arrival of 5G. Pompeo’s remarks are a major escalation in tensions between the US and its allies over the role of Huawei.

    American concerns: It’s got a lot to do with the role of 5G and whether China could use security backdoors to exert undue control over a nation’s digital infrastructure via Huawei’s equipment. Confusingly, on the same day as Pompeo’s comments, President Donald Trump tweeted he wanted the US to win in 5G development “through competition, not by blocking out currently more advanced technologies.”

    Denials: In an interview with the BBC this week, Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei said it has never installed backdoors into its technology, and never would do so, even if required to by Chinese law.

    La backdoor de la NSA est certainement plus appropriée pour la défense de nos libertés, n’est-ce pas ?

    #Huawei #5G

  • Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is about to fire bullets into an asteroid - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612986/japans-hayabusa-2-spacecraft-is-about-to-fire-bullets-into-an-aste

    L’exploitation de l’espace, jadis un commun universel, est sur le point de démarrer... au profit de pays ou de compagnies privées.

    Some space mining is set to take place, courtesy of Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft.

    The news: Touchdown on the 3,000-foot-wide Ryugu asteroid is planned for February 22 at 8 a.m. local time in Japan. Then comes the bullets: Hayabusa 2 will fire into the asteroid to create dust and particles that the device can gather up with its sampling arm. Two shots will be fired initially; a larger projectile will be shot later this year to stir up additional material.

    A rocky start: The craft’s landing on Ryugu was supposed to happen last October, but it was discovered the surface of the asteroid was covered in larger gravel than the team had expected. To make sure the collection system would still work, the researchers performed some experiments back here on Earth—they fired a bullet into gravel using spare launchers that were made during the manufacturing of the space-bound one (see the image above).

    Why it matters: The spacecraft’s precursor, the Hayabusa, is the only spacecraft to date to have collected material from an asteroid and returned it to Earth. This newer craft will provide more detailed measurements, building on the knowledge established by the original. The Hayabusa 2 will return to Earth in late 2020 with the samples from Ryugu.

    #Espace #Communs #Minerais

  • The European Space Agency wants to mine the moon for oxygen and water - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612822/the-european-space-agency-wants-to-mine-the-moon-for-oxygen-and-wa

    The moon may look barren, but its hidden resources have multiple space agencies eyeing its potential.

    The news: This week, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced a deal with ArianeGroup, parent company of launch provider Arianespace, to study and prep a possible 2025 moon mission. The goal: mine the lunar surface for resources. They have also recruited former Google Lunar X Prize competitor PTScientists to provide the lander for the mission.

    Precious moon dust: The ESA is focusing on regolith (a.k.a. lunar soil), which contains both oxygen and water. When extracted from the soil, these resources can be used to create fuel and life-support systems in space. Other countries, like China and India, have also investigated pulling helium-3 from the moon; this substance is extremely rare on Earth, but abundant there. It could be used as safer nuclear fuel to power spacecraft.

    What’s next? Well, ESA still has to long way to go. This is step one in a long process. The initial contract lasts for a year and will decide whether or not this mission is feasible. That means looking at how the materials could be mined and stored on the moon and the technology that needs to be developed. The results of the study will likely be used to attempt to get funding for the full-fledged mission in 2025.

    Why it matters: More space agencies are looking at space mining as they plan longer-term crewed missions away from Earth. Being able to acquire fuel and oxygen after liftoff makes for lighter takeoff loads and could enable extended stays. This year, more countries and former Lunar X Prize competitors are planning moon landings, so it could also bring interest in moon mining to the forefront once again.

    #Espace #Communs #Extractivisme

  • One day your voice will control all your #gadgets, and they will control you - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612750/one-day-your-voice-will-control-all-your-gadgets-and-they-will-con

    It’s tied to an idea that leading AI expert Kai-Fu Lee calls OMO, online-merge-of-offline. #OMO, as he describes it, refers to combining our digital and physical worlds in such a way that every object in our surrounding environment will become an interaction point for the internet—as well as a sensor that collects data about our lives. This will power what he dubs the “third wave” of AI: our algorithms, finally given a comprehensive view of all our behaviors, will be able to hyper-personalize our experiences, whether in the grocery store or the classroom.

    But this vision requires everything to be connected. It requires your #shopping cart to know what’s in your fridge so it can recommend the optimal shopping list. It requires your front door to know your online purchases and whether you’re waiting for an in-home delivery. That’s where voice interfaces come in: installing Alexa into your fridge, your door, and all your other disparate possessions neatly ties them to one software ecosystem. It’s quite the clever scheme: by selling you the powerful and seamless convenience of voice assistants, #Google and #Amazon have slowly inched their way into being the central platform for all your data and the core engine for algorithmically streamlining your life.

    #connection #internet #ia #contrôle #algorithme #voix

  • CRISPR might soon create spicy tomatoes by switching on their chili genes - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612721/the-next-feat-for-crispr-might-be-spicy-tomatoes-made-with-chili-g

    Looking for perfect heat and lots of it? Gene engineers in Brazil think they might be able to create eye-watering tomatoes.

    Hot stuff: Even though chili peppers and tomato plants diverged from a common ancestor millions of years ago, tomatoes still possess the genetic pathway needed to make capsaicinoids, the molecules that make chilis hot.

    Now, Agustin Zsögön from the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil writes in the journal Trends in Plant Science that gene-editing tools like CRISPR could turn it back on.

    Spicy biofactories: Tomatoes are much easier to grow than peppers, so making them hot could turn them into spice factories. “Capsaicinoids are very valuable compounds; they are used in [the] weapons industry for pepper spray, they are also used for anaesthetics [and] there is some research showing that they promote weight loss,” he told the Guardian.

    Strange fruit: Tomatoes are not the first food that scientists have suggested could be given an unusual new twist using CRISPR. Sweeter strawberries, non-browning mushrooms, and tastier ground-cherries have all been either attempted or mooted in the past.

    #Biotechnology #Hubris #CRISPR

  • Russian agents allegedly used Bitcoin to fund the DNC hack - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/611648/russian-agents-allegedly-used-bitcoin-to-fund-the-dnc-hack

    Among the many new details in today’s indictment (PDF) of 12 Russian intelligence officers for cyberattacks meant to interfere with the US presidential election in 2016, one in particular should stand out to techies: the defendants allegedly used Bitcoin to fund the operation.

    A web of dark money: According to the US Department of Justice’s indictment, the defendants “conspired to launder” more than $95,000 “through a web of transactions structured to capitalize on the perceived anonymity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.” They allegedly mined coins and acquired them “through a variety of means to obscure the origin of the funds,” which were used to finance cyberattacks against Democratic party officials, members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and others.

    Cat and mouse: Though the indictment says they used hundreds of different e-mail accounts with fake names to handle Bitcoin payments and cover their tracks, investigators linked messages from “several dedicated email accounts” to corresponding transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. According to the indictment, the defendants also sometimes facilitated Bitcoin payments on the same computers they used to “conduct their hacking activity.”

    The takeaway: If you weren’t convinced that cryptocurrencies are a magnet for would-be money launderers, this should help. Beyond that, though: Bitcoin is not anonymous! Using clues from outside the internet, which the Mueller team clearly had, it’s quite possible to follow the money on the blockchain and root out individuals behind the transactions (see “Criminals thought Bitcoin was a perfect hiding place, but they thought wrong”).

    #Bitcoin #Argent_sale #Cybersécurité

  • Artificial Intelligence Can Translate Languages Without a Dictionary - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/609595/artificial-intelligence-can-translate-languages-without-a-dictiona

    Parlez-vous artificial intelligence? Two new research papers detail unsupervised machine-learning methods that can do language translation without dictionaries, as reported in Science. The methods also work without parallel text, or identical text that already exists in another language.

    The papers, completed independently of one another, use similar methods. Both projects start by building bilingual dictionaries without the aid of a human to say whether they were right or not. Each takes advantage of the fact that relationships between certain words, like tree and leaves or shoes and socks, are similar across languages. This lets the AI look at clusters and connections from one language and learn about how another language works.

    When it comes to translating sentences, the new dictionaries are put to the test with some additional help from two methods called back translation and denoising. Back translation converts one sentence to the new language before translating it back. If it doesn’t match the original sentence, the AI tweaks its next attempt and tries to get closer. Denoising works similarly, but moves or takes out a word here or there to keep the AI learning useful structure instead of just copying sentences.

    #Intelligence_artificielle #Traduction_automatique