Posted by & filed under 3D, Agile Development, Systems Development.

Mi’kmaq-designed software that blends 3D modelling, laser scanning and environmental data is being developed to help communities in the Atlantic region prepare for the potential catastrophic results of climate change.  

The online application, developed by 3D Wave Design, a Nova Scotia-based 3D animation and communications company, allows users to simulate conditions like storm surge, inland flooding and wildfires, using real environmental, meteorological and laser scanning data.

The simulations play out over 3D representations of real communities and use accurate geographic measurements, which could help communities plan for the worst.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: March 3rd, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/mikmaq-software-climate-change-floods-wildfire-3d-models-1.5482571

Discussion

  1. How could you use software like this to start a business, perhaps a consulting company?
  2. ” The simulations play out over 3D representations of real communities and use accurate geographic measurements, which could help communities plan for the worst. ” Why is this so important?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Future of Work.

Kursat Ceylan, co-developer of WeWALK

When Kursat Ceylan, who is blind, was trying to find his way to a hotel, he used an app on his phone for directions, but also had to hold his cane and pull his luggage.

He ended up walking into a pole, cutting his forehead.

This inspired him to develop, along with a partner, Wewalk – a cane equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), that detects objects above chest level and pairs with apps including Google Maps and Amazon’s Alexa, so the user can ask questions.

Jean Marc Feghali, who helped to develop the product, also has an eye condition. In his case his vision is severely impaired when the light is not good.

While the smart cane itself only integrates with basic AI functions right now, the aim is for Wewalk, to use information gathered from the gyroscope, accelerometer and compass installed inside the cane. It will used that data to understand more about how visually impaired people use the product and behave in general to create a far more sophisticated product using machine learning (an advanced form of AI).

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 3rd, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51632840

Discussion

  1. Given what the “Wewalk” can do, how else could you apply this same technology?
  2. ” Currently, AI used in everyday life consists of either automating or optimising things that humans can do – whether that is detecting fraud by analysing millions of transactions, sifting through CVs to select the right candidates for a job, or using facial recognition to enable people to get through some form of security. ” In the context of the Future of Work, how does this change what you might do in the future?

Posted by & filed under Robotics.

Automata robot

You hear EVA before you see it. A whirring and whizzing noise greets you as you enter the offices of Automata, a start-up robotics company based in London.

To one side a robotic arm is going through an intricate set of moves: six joints twisting and turning in a sequence which, in the real world, would place a label on a parcel.

That’s EVA, and it has being doing those moves non-stop for months to test its reliability.

Around the office and workshop there are more than a dozen other EVA units, some being dismantled by the engineers, others awaiting testing.

It must be very eerie at night as EVA continues its work, simulating attaching labels, while surrounded by its silent clones.

Source: BBC Technology of Business

Date: February 25th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51442445

Discussion

  1. ” EVA was developed from cheap reliable parts. It uses the same motors that power the electric windows in cars, while the computer chips are similar to those used in the consumer electronics business. This is allowing them to sell EVA at £8,000. ” The developers talk about their ” the intention to democratise robotics, to make automation accessible and affordable to as many people as needed it.” How does an $8,000 robot that can place stickers on packages “democratize” anything?
  2. Since the dawn of man using tools to accomplish tasks, each new tool has (usually) led to some form of democratization. What does it mean to “democratise robotics”?

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Privacy.

I’ve been a customer since 1999, and rely on it for everything from grass seed to birthday gifts.

There are Echo speakers dotted throughout my home, Ring cameras inside and out, a Fire TV set-top box in the living room and an ageing Kindle e-reader by my bedside.

I submitted a data subject access request, asking Amazon to disclose everything it knows about me

Scanning through the hundreds of files I received in response, the level of detail is, in some cases, mind-bending.

One database contains transcriptions of all 31,082 interactions my family has had with the virtual assistant Alexa. Audio clips of the recordings are also provided.

The 48 requests to play Let It Go, flag my daughter’s infatuation with Disney’s Frozen.

Other late-night music requests to the bedroom Echo, might provide a clue to a more adult activity.

Source: BBC Technology

Date: Feb 25th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/extra/CLQYZENMBI/amazon-data

Discussion

  1. Why is, that even after reading that Amazon has collected “transcriptions of all 31,082 interactions my family has had with the virtual assistant Alexa. Audio clips of the recordings are also provided”, that almost no one will change their behavior despite concerns about their own privacy?
  2. Is it right that Amazon can collect this level of data from what you do at Amazon.com?

Posted by & filed under Facial Recognition, IT and Politics.

The federal privacy watchdog and three of his provincial counterparts will jointly investigate Canadian use of facial-recognition technology supplied by U.S. firm Clearview AI.

Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien says he will be joined in the probe by ombudsmen from British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.

The investigation follows media reports that raised concerns about whether the company is collecting and using personal information without consent.

Clearview AI’s technology allows for the collection of huge numbers of images from various sources that can help police forces and financial institutions identify people.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News

Date: February 21st, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/clearview-ai-police-use-1.5471493

Discussion

  1. What can you do (if anything) to protect your personal privacy from Clearview?
  2. What should the Canadian federal government do about this?

Posted by & filed under Career, Cyber Security, Microsoft.

After Microsoft announced a cloud data breach that resulted in the accidental exposure of 250 million customer support records last week, cloud misconfiguration issues once again burst into the cybersecurity spotlight. On the bright side, Microsoft launched a model response, illustrating how a quick and effective reaction can preserve the public’s trust and prevent a media disaster following a cloud data breach announcement.

Source: LMG Security

Date: February 21st, 2020

Link: https://www.lmgsecurity.com/3-things-we-can-all-learn-from-microsofts-cloud-data-breach/

Discussion

  1. ” Although Microsoft has features that can help identify and protect against misconfiguration errors, they were reportedly “not enabled for this database.” This gets to the crux of many cloud data breaches: while cloud providers do offer many security features, they are often not enabled by default.  ” What can we learn from this?
  2. Audit your cloud configuration – Routine cloud configuration reviews are now an essential part of a strong security program.” What new career opportunities are available from this advice?

Posted by & filed under App Economy, Risks and Controls.

Michelle Keith and dog

Michelle Keith was distressed last April when her basset hound puppy ate some of the big chocolate Easter eggs she had laying on the top of a cupboard.

Knowing that chocolate can be toxic for dogs, she knew she had to do something.

But she was reluctant to rush Dinah into an emergency clinic at a local vet and pick up a hefty fee for the visit.

Instead, she called, via a video chat service, a vet available through Pawsquad, a UK based start-up.

“I got advice that the amount of chocolate she had eaten wouldn’t be toxic, based on her weight,” says Ms Keith, who lives in Greenock, 40 minutes west of Glasgow. “I also learned about the symptoms to look out for if my dog took a turn for the worse.”

Source: BBC Business

Date: February 20th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51045958

Discussion

  1. What steps would you need to take to roll out a similar app service in the U.S. or Canada?
  2. What are some of the business risks and technology risks of a service like this?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack, Phishing.

Image purportedly used in Hamas honey trap

Dozens of Israeli soldiers have had their smartphones hacked by the Hamas militant group posing as women seeking attention, Israel’s military says.

A spokesman said the soldiers were sent fake photos of young females and lured into downloading an app without knowing it could access their handsets.

He said there was no “significant breach of information” before the scam was foiled.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Israel view each other as mortal enemies.

It is the third such attempt in recent years by Hamas to infiltrate Israeli soldiers’ phones, but was the most sophisticated yet, according to Lt Col Jonathan Conricus.

“We see that they’re of course learning and upping their game,” he said.

Source: BBC

Date: February 17th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51530311

Discussion

  1. You frequently hear that a simply phishing attack like this is “sophisticated”. What was involved in this phishing hack, do you think? Does that make it “sophisticated”?
  2. How do you stop phishing attacks like these?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security.

Federal departments or agencies have mishandled personal information belonging to 144,000 Canadians over the past two years, according to new figures tabled in the House of Commons — and not everyone who was swept up in a privacy breach was told about it.

The new figures were included in the federal government’s answer to an order paper question filed by Conservative MP Dean Allison late last month. The nearly 800-page response didn’t offer an explanation for the errors, which range in seriousness from minor hiccups to serious breaches involving sensitive personal information.

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: February 14th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/privacy-breach-canada-1.5457502

Discussion

  1. ” In one of those cases, a protected hard drive containing personal information belonging to 11,780 individuals was inadvertently made accessible to some CRA employees in January 2019. “
    How do you stop (or control for) a “protected hard drive” for being “inadvertently made accessible”?
  2. ” The Department of National Defence said most of its 170 breaches, which affected more than 2,000 people, were due to inappropriate access to…personal information”
    What steps could (and should) have been taken to make sure access was appropriate?