New Technology Brings Facebook Photos to Life

Facebook along with engineers and technologists are creating a new way to present the user interface on the network. Introducing a new software that animates still photos on your timeline.

Siggraph Asia presents a new technology for facial animation. There is a fascinating twist to this new technology in relation to older software models. The difference is, older models require videos of captured frames from the individual in the still photo. The new model created by Siggraph, works from the still photo without video. To accomplish this, this new software uses a completely different algorithm. The software tracks facial expressions of the captured individual without the need of a 3D camera.

What is most fascinating about this is bringing your Facebook feed to life. With the installation of this software, users can bring any image to life – photos of friends, family, celebrities, etc. You can use your Facebook like buttons to control still images. For example, if you love a photo the person in the photo will animate emotions of love. If you respond angry, the person in the photo will animate emotions of anger.

Facebook and the engineers are considering whether or not they should allow this software to become a public usage. As this new software could cause controversial issues. For an example, someone could use this technology to turn still photos into videos of people saying inappropriate or impolite things.

Diaz, Jesus. “This Magical Software Makes Facebook Profile Pictures Come Alive.”Co.Design, Co.Design, 30 Nov. 2017, www.fastcodesign.com/90152755/this-magical-software-can-make-facebook-photos-come-alive.

U.S. approves digital pill that tracks when you take it

U.S. senators appriced this new digital pill that has sensors that indicate when you take the pill.This pill was developed for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, containing a tracking device and was Proteus Digital Health. This will make sure that patients are swallowing their pills on time.

How does this pill work?

“The system works by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch, which then transmits the information to a mobile application so that patients can track the ingestion of the medication on their smartphone.”

This sensor is the size of a grain of salt and is activated when it is wet from stomach juices.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-otsuka-holdings-fda/u-s-approves-digital-pill-that-tracks-when-patients-take-it-idUSKBN1DE039

Is Cyber Monday cancelling Black Friday?

Every year after Thanksgiving Day, stores and providers all over the country have extremely crazy deals on their products on a day known as Black Friday. People tend to head to stores and malls early in the morning and wait for stores to open. This day is very scary as you can see people fighting each other over products and also trampling people to get into stores. Retailers tend to say that this the busiest day of the year. A few years back, an online shopping version of the same thing was created formerly known as Cyber Monday. As years passed, CM has grown and grown and people are not coming out for BF as much as they did in the past. This year alone, CM has made Monday, November 27th, 2017, the first $2 billion dollar online sales day in the history of the country and also proved that 72% of shoppers shopped on CM instead of BF. Even news reporters that were forced to work BF in the early morning were seen standing outside of malls at 5-6am by themselves when in history there used to be thousands of people lined up outside of malls by that time.

Do you think Cyber Monday will eventually be the demise of Black Friday?

Do you think online shopping will eventually contribute to the end of in-store retail?

To read more than this topic please see the links below…

https://www.recode.net/2017/11/28/16710490/cyber-monday-2017-2-billion-mobile-online-shopping-record

https://www.retaildive.com/news/study-cyber-monday-now-more-popular-than-black-friday/505661/

A New Way You Can Use Your Smartphone

Recently, a group of researchers from University of Houston announced a new way to use your smartphone. They came up with a set of instructions people can use to turn their phone into a microscope. The type of microscope the phone could become would allow people to look at aspects of cells and tissues that could not be seen otherwise.

One way the researchers claim this new feature could be useful is to people traveling/ backpacking around the world. The backpackers could use the microscope to look at rivers/streams for dangerous pathogens before using them for drinking water, etc.

Along with this, the scientists who created the instructions on how to complete the task of adding the microscope feature to the phone want it to be accessible to everyday people, not just scientists. They claim that all of the necessary parts for the microscope can be constructed using a 3D printer, which is a growing technology in the IT world.

Overall, this could be a cool new way for people to utilize their smartphones to analyze cells and help detect pathogens or bacteria on everyday surfaces, etc. It is yet another way to open up the minds of individuals to a new wave of technology.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171128120142.htm

How Net Neutrality Will Affect Education

The impact that net neutrality has in the world today is only spoken in terms of what will happen to households and individuals that are paying for internet access, but there is much more to focus on when speaking of this issue. Institutions and individuals alike will have to face the reality of the unrestricted control of the content that we can access on the web if the House and the Senate decide to vote for the repeal of neutrality on December 15th. The main focus of this issue is the cost that will be associated with the access of the sites and content that have become an integral part of classrooms in the 21st century. If these already complex and costly networks of internet have increased cost, not only will students suffer, but so will institutions. Restrictions on bandwidth, browsing, and a number of other limitations will limit the availability and use of these technologies within classrooms. If students and professors alike have to alter their classes and habits because of the greed of the FCC, how would that reflect on the United States ideal of always improving and looking for better solutions to our problems? Perhaps the greatest affect seen by institutions would be in the numerous efforts put forth with regards to research that is done in these institutions. If universities have to limit one of the greatest financial contributors to the institution because of these laws, how would that reflect on the numerous calls to reduce state spending on these efforts? Net neutrality has effects outside of how much Netflix you can watch or how many times a day you can check your email. These efforts could set back the great work that is being done in universities for no other reason other than for the increased profitability of these already overblown telecommunication companies.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/leadership_360/2017/11/how_losing_net_neutrality_will_change_teaching_and_learning.html

57 Million Uber Accounts Hacked in 2016, not told until now.

This week, we found out that Uber was hacked in 2016, and lost driver’s license numbers, phone numbers, and emails. They did NOT lose social security numbers though or credit card information as we know now.

The worst part about this is Uber did exactly what they aren’t supposed to do, they didn’t tell anyone about the hack, and they paid two hackers $100,000 each as ransom.

Mundane information may not seem like a big deal, but it can help hackers steal identities, and cat-phish people into different situations.

If you think there is weird activity on your credit card, it is recommended to look into it and maybe even freeze your credit card. It’s worth looking into, as 57 million people got hacked, it could be you.

http://fortune.com/2017/11/22/uber-hack-were-you-impacted/

Drones being built to combat insect-carried diseases

Since sterile male mosquitos cannot mate cannot impregnate women mosquitos, new technology drones are trying to transport these types of mosquitos to stop the reproduction of them.”

Adam Klaptocz, co-founder of WebRobotics said “Mosquitoes carry many diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Zika virus. It makes them one of the biggest animal killers worldwide.”

Trying to kill off mosquitos and others bugs can be very dangerous depending on the method. But, instead of using poison, releasing sterile insects in the past has been an effect method for population control of a variety of species.

Often the sterile insects are released from backpacks carried by the scientists, but it is difficult to spread them over a wide area. Mosquitos cannot simply be dumped in one location since they are so wide-spread.

So, this is how drones will now play a role by covering large distances and regions.

The first trial will being in 2018. Do you think this will work?

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42066518

Iranian charged with Game of Thrones hack

Behzad Mesri is charged with hacking into several of Game of Throne’s HBO computer networks. This man has a past of working with Iran’s military and documents show he joined a campaign to damange U.S. websites. He stole lots of data including scripts and plot summaries for unaired programming.

“Mr Mesri claimed to have stolen about 1.5TB of data and began an extortion campaign that included an email to HBO employees that read: “Hi to All losers” Yes it’s true! HBO is hacked!”

Press conferences have been scheduled and it is still up in the air if Behzad Mesri will or will not plead guilty.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42065652

Startup offers anonymous harassment reporting tool

Vive president of film studio 21st Century Fox, Claire Schmidt, is stepping down from her position to launch her new startup, AllVoices, a website that to help employees anonymously report harassment, bias, and discrimination directly to their CEO or company board.

Employees will answer questions that are aimed at identifying the problem and encourage bystanders to report bad behavior. Right now, many victims feel as though their reports are not anonymous and that human resources department is only to benefit the company.

Before working at 21st Century Fox, Schmidt worked for Thorn, a nonprofit that works with tech companies and law enforcement to combat online child sex trafficking. Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer whose blog post about sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace opened a floodgate for stories of harassment in tech, will serve as an adviser.

I think this is a great way for employees to feel safe within their company and report incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination as well as for companies to be educated about the things that go on within their company. Hopefully, this will help a lot of people who are going through these issues to get help and resolve the problem.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/15/technology/allvoices-sexual-harassment-reporting-tool/index.html

The new way of getting dressed

Amazon has released a new gadget that helps you get dressed called the Echo Look. Not only can the device tell you the weather and play music, it has a voice-controlled camera for taking photos of you and works with an app to help you with your outfits. After taking your picture in multiple outfits, it uses a stye check tool to compare them based on algorithms of machine learning technology and human opinion to decide which one is best.

Amazon has fashion specialist that train the software to consider fit, style, color, season, and current trends. It can also suggest similar style and brands to buy. Retail experts say that Echo Look’s success will depend on the whether the value of the device is greater than asking a friend or other human for fashion advice.

I think that it is really cool that we can make technology like this, however I think we are solving a problem that doesn’t exist. I don’t really think people need a $200 device to tell them fashion advice.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/13/technology/future-of-fashion-tech/index.html