- Home-made 3D-Printed Drones — if only they used computer-vision to sequence DNA, they’d be the perfect storm of O’Reilly memes :-)
- Hacking Pacemakers For Death — IOActive researcher Barnaby Jack has reverse-engineered a pacemaker transmitter to make it possible to deliver deadly electric shocks to pacemakers within 30 feet and rewrite their firmware.
- Google N-Gram Viewer Updated — now with more books, better OCR, parts of speech, and complex queries. e.g., the declining ratio of sex to drugs. Awesome work by Friend of O’Reilly, Jon Orwant.
- Deanonymizing Mobility Traces: Using Social Networks as a Side-Channel — a set of location traces can be deanonymized given an easily obtained social network graph. [...] Our experiments [on standard datasets] show that 80% of users are identiﬁed precisely, while only 8% are identiﬁed incorrectly, with the remainder mapped to a small set of users. (via Network World)
ENTRIES TAGGED "privacy"
3D Printed Drones, When Pacemakers Attack, N-Gram Updated, and Deanonymizing Datasets
Medical Data Commons, Verizon Sell You, Doctor Watson, and Weedkilling Drones
- Let’s Pool Our Medical Data (TED) — John Wilbanks (of Science Commons fame) gives a strong talk for creating an open, massive, mine-able database of data about health and genomics from many sources. Money quote: Facebook would never make a change to something as important as an advertising with a sample size as small as a Phase 3 clinical trial.
- Verizon Sells App Use, Browsing Habits, Location (CNet) — Verizon Wireless has begun selling information about its customers’ geographical locations, app usage, and Web browsing activities, a move that raises privacy questions and could brush up against federal wiretapping law. To Verizon, even when you do pay for it, you’re still the product. Carriers: they’re like graverobbing organ harvesters but without the strict ethical standards.
- IBM Watson About to Launch in Medicine (Fast Company) — This fall, after six months of teaching their treatment guidelines to Watson, the doctors at Sloan-Kettering will begin testing the IBM machine on real patients. [...] On the screen, a colorful globe spins. In a few seconds, Watson offers three possible courses of chemotherapy, charted as bars with varying levels of confidence–one choice above 90% and two above 80%. “Watson doesn’t give you the answer,” Kris says. “It gives you a range of answers.” Then it’s up to [the doctor] to make the call. (via Reddit)
- Robot Kills Weeds With 98% Accuracy — During tests, this automated system gathered over a million images as it moved through the fields. Its Computer Vision System was able to detect and segment individual plants – even those that were touching each other – with 98% accuracy.
The biggest threat that a data-driven world presents is an ethical one.
News App, Data Wrangler, Responsive Previews, and Accountable Algorithms
- cir.ca — news app for iPhone, which lets you track updates and further news on a given story. (via Andy Baio)
- DataWrangler (Stanford) — an interactive tool for data cleaning and transformation. Spend less time formatting and more time analyzing your data. From the Stanford Visualization Group.
- Responsivator — see how websites look at different screen sizes.
- Accountable Algorithms (Ed Felten) — When we talk about making an algorithmic public process open, we mean two separate things. First, we want transparency: the public knows what the algorithm is. Second, we want the execution of the algorithm to be accountable: the public can check to make sure that the algorithm was executed correctly in a particular case. Transparency is addressed by traditional open government principles; but accountability is different.
How transparency, real-time feedback, and lessons from the police can improve health outcomes.
Further reading and discussion on the civil rights implications of big data.
In the age of big data, Deven McGraw emphasizes trust, education and transparency in assuring health privacy.
In a world of big, open data, "privacy by design" will become even more important.
UK Copyright Modernisation, Lessons from Cisco's Evil, Automation, and Kinect Tool
- HM Government Consultation on Modernising Copyright (PDF) — from all appearances, the UK Govt is prepared to be progressive and tech-savvy in considering updates to copyright law. Proof of the pudding is in the eating (i.e., wait and see whether the process is coopted by maximalists) but an optimistic start.
- Cisco Provides a Lesson (Eric Raymond) — This is why anyone who makes excuses for closed source in network-facing software is not just a fool deluded by shiny marketing but a malignant idiot whose complicity with what those vendors do will injure his neighbors as well as himself. [...] If you don’t own it, it will surely own you.
- Automate or Perish (Technology Review) — As the MIT economist David Autor has argued, the job market is being “hollowed out.” [...] Any work that is repetitive or fairly well structured is open to full or partial automation. Being human confers less and less of an advantage these days.
- Kinectable Pipe (Github) — command-line tool that writes skeleton data (as reported by Kinect) to stdout as text. Because Kinect programming is a pain in the neck, and by trivializing the device’s output into a simple text format, it becomes infinitely easier to digest in the scripting language of your choice.