Tom Simonite
Tom Simonite
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When AI Sees a Man, It Thinks 'Official.' A Woman? 'Smile'

When AI Sees a Man, It Thinks 'Official.' A Woman? 'Smile'

women by their appearance. Turns out, computers do too. When US and European researchers fed pictures of congressmembers to ’s cloud image recognition service, the service applied three times as many annotations related to physical appearance to photos of women as it did to men. The top labels applied to men were “official” and “businessperson”; for women they were “smile” and “chin.”“It results in women receiving a lower status stereotype: that women are there to look pretty and men are business leaders,” says Carsten Schwemmer, a postdoctoral researcher at GESIS Leibniz Institute for the...

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Tom Simonite
Nov 19
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The Tech Antitrust Problem No One Is Talking About

The Tech Antitrust Problem No One Is Talking About

building political pressure for antitrust scrutiny of major tech companies, this month Congress and the US government delivered. The House Antitrust Subcommittee released a report accusing of monopolistic behavior. The Department of Justice against Google alleging the company prevents consumers from sampling other search engines.The new fervor for tech antitrust has so far overlooked an equally obvious target: US broadband providers. “If you want to talk about a history of using gatekeeper power to harm competitors, there are few better examples,” says Gigi Sohn, a fellow at the Georgetown...

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Tom Simonite
Oct 29
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How an Algorithm Blocked Kidney Transplants to Black Patients

How an Algorithm Blocked Kidney Transplants to Black Patients

the US suffer more from chronic diseases and receive inferior health care relative to white people. Racially skewed math can make the problem worse. Doctors often make life-changing decisions about patient care based on that interpret test results or weight risks, like whether to perform a particular procedure. Some of those formulas factor in a person’s race, meaning patients’ skin color can affect access to care.A of patients in the Boston area is one of the first to document the harm that can cause. It examined the effect on care of a widely used but controversial formula for estimating...

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Tom Simonite
Oct 26
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Give These Apps Some Notes and They'll Write Emails for You

Give These Apps Some Notes and They'll Write Emails for You

waste any keystrokes when responding to a message about the automated email writer he’s building. He tapped out “Yes 45m” and clicked a button marked “Generate email.” His app, Compose.ai, drafted a courteous three-sentence reply with a link to schedule a 45-minute call. Shuffett checked it over and clicked Send. is one of several automated writing tools built on striking new text-generation technology known as GPT-3, , an artificial intelligence research institute. after people marveled at how it could fluently crank out , , , and fanfic. and showed that GPT-3 can also spout nonsense and...

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Tom Simonite
Oct 18
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Behind Anduril’s Effort to Create an Operating System for War

Behind Anduril’s Effort to Create an Operating System for War

a member of the US Air Force donned a headset and scanned a 3D map of a desert landscape. He saw a speeding object that algorithms warned was likely a cruise missile. The airman considered the data, then used a hand controller to send out an order.This was no video game: The command led to a real projectile taking down a mock cruise missile over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The episode was a demonstration of the future of war as seen by Anduril, the defense company cofounded by , the politically contentious cofounder of Oculus, the VR company .Anduril is for supplying...

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Tom Simonite
Oct 8
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AI Can Help Patients—but Only If Doctors Understand It

AI Can Help Patients—but Only If Doctors Understand It

didn’t know much about when Duke University Hospital installed software to raise an alarm when a person was at risk of developing sepsis, a complication of infection that is the number one killer in US hospitals. The software, called Sepsis Watch, passed alerts from an algorithm Duke researchers had tuned with 32 million data points from past patients to the hospital’s team of rapid response nurses, co-led by Sarro.But when nurses relayed those warnings to doctors, they sometimes encountered indifference or even suspicion. When docs questioned why the AI thought a patient needed extra...

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Tom Simonite
Oct 2
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CryptoHarlem’s Founder Warns Against ‘Digital Stop and Frisk'

CryptoHarlem’s Founder Warns Against ‘Digital Stop and Frisk'

people braved the risk of coronavirus infection to protest police brutality in Black neighborhoods, but physical violence isn’t the only way law enforcement can harm marginalized and minority communities: Hacker Matt Mitchell wants us to pay attention to digital policing, too. He argues that marginalized communities have become a test bed for powerful and troubling new surveillance tools that could become more widespread. In 2013, Mitchell founded a series of free security workshops in his New York City neighborhood called as a way to work through the pain of watching the divisive trial...

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Tom Simonite
Sep 23
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Big Tech Companies Want to Help Get You Back in the Office

Big Tech Companies Want to Help Get You Back in the Office

Matt Warren Bruinooge’s senior year at Brown are different from his previous college life. One is that he logs on to a website from tech giant twice a week to schedule nasal swabs.Brown is one of the first customers of a pandemic safety service from Alphabet subsidiary Verily Life Sciences called , or Healthy at School at colleges. It offers a website and software for surveying workers or students for symptoms, scheduling coronavirus tests, and managing the results.The site Bruinooge uses to schedule his tests has similar styling to Google’s office suite. When a test comes back negative, he...

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Tom Simonite
Sep 3
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Photoshop Will Help ID Images That Have Been … Photoshopped

Photoshop Will Help ID Images That Have Been … Photoshopped

is so successful that the brand is a synonym for digital fakery. Later this year it will become a standard bearer for a proposed antidote: technology that tags images with data about their origins to help news publishers, social networks, and consumers avoid getting duped.Adobe started working on its Content Authenticity Initiative last year with partners including and The New York Times. Last week, it released a laying out an open standard for tagging images, video, and other media with cryptographically signed data such as locations, time stamps, and who captured or edited it.Adobe says...

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Tom Simonite
Aug 13
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Did a Person Write This Headline, or a Machine?

Did a Person Write This Headline, or a Machine?

pays programmers handsomely to tap the right keys in the right order, but earlier this month entrepreneur Sharif Shameem tested an alternative way to write code. First he wrote a short description of a simple app to add items to a to-do list and check them off once completed. Then he submitted it to an system called GPT-3 that has digested large swaths of the web, including coding tutorials. Seconds later, the system spat out functioning code. “I got chills down my spine,” says Shameem. “I was like, ‘Woah something is different.’”GPT-3, created by research lab , is provoking chills across...

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Tom Simonite
Jul 22
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OpenAI’s Text Generator Is Going Commercial

OpenAI’s Text Generator Is Going Commercial

intelligence research institute said it had made software so good at generating text—including fake news articles—that it was . That line in the sand was soon erased when two recent master’s grads and OpenAI released the original, saying awareness of the risks had grown and it hadn’t seen evidence of misuse.Now the lab is back with a more powerful text generator and a new pitch: Pay us to put it to work in your business. Thursday, OpenAI launched a cloud service that a handful of companies are already using to improve search or provide feedback on answers to math problems. It’s a test of a...

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Tom Simonite
Jun 11
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This Bot Hunts Software Bugs for the Pentagon

This Bot Hunts Software Bugs for the Pentagon

David Haynes, a security engineer at internet infrastructure company , found himself gazing at a strange image. “It was pure gibberish,” he says. “A whole bunch of gray and black pixels, made by a machine.” He declined to share the image, saying it would be a security risk.Haynes’ caution was understandable. The image was created by a tool called Mayhem that probes software to find unknown , made by a startup spun out of Carnegie Mellon University called ForAllSecure. Haynes had been testing it on Cloudware software that resizes images to speed up websites, and fed it several sample photos....

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Tom Simonite
Jun 1
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When AI Can’t Replace a Worker, It Watches Them Instead

When AI Can’t Replace a Worker, It Watches Them Instead

This story is part of a collection of pieces on , from video conferencing to using productivity apps for off-label purposes to Silicon Valley culture.When Tony Huffman stepped away from the production line at the Denso auto part factory in Battle Creek, Michigan, to talk with WIRED earlier this month, the workers he supervised were still being watched—but not by a human.A camera over each station captured workers’ movements as they assembled parts for auto heat-management systems. The video was piped into machine-learning software made by a startup called Drishti, which watched workers’...

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Tom Simonite
Mar 5
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The AI Text Generator That's Too Dangerous to Make Public

The AI Text Generator That's Too Dangerous to Make Public

man Elon Musk joined with influential startup backer to put artificial intelligence on a . They cofounded a research institute called OpenAI to make new AI discoveries and give them away for the common good. Now, the institute’s researchers are sufficiently worried by something they built that they won’t release it to the public.The AI system that gave its creators pause was designed to learn the patterns of language. It does that very well—scoring better on some reading-comprehension tests than any other automated system. But when OpenAI’s researchers configured the system to generate...

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Tom Simonite
Feb 16
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Google and Microsoft Warn That AI May Do Dumb Things

Google and Microsoft Warn That AI May Do Dumb Things

Pichai brought good tidings to investors on parent company Alphabet’s earnings call last week. Alphabet $39.3 billion in revenue last quarter, up 22 percent from a year earlier. Pichai gave some of the credit to Google’s machine learning technology, saying it had figured out how to match ads more closely to what consumers wanted.One thing Pichai didn’t mention: Alphabet is now cautioning investors that the same AI technology could create ethical and legal troubles for the company’s business. The warning appeared for the first time in the “Risk Factors” segment of Alphabet’s annual report,...

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Tom Simonite
Feb 13
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Trump’s Plan to Keep America First in AI

Trump’s Plan to Keep America First in AI

the world in . Decades of federal research funding, industrial and academic research, and streams of foreign talent have put America at the forefront of the current AI boom.Yet as AI aspirations have sprouted around the globe, the US government has lacked a high-level strategy to guide American investment and prepare for the technology’s effects.More than a dozen countries have launched AI strategies in recent years, including , , , and South Korea. Their plans include items like new research programs, AI-enhanced public services, and smarter weaponry.The US will join that list Monday, when...

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Tom Simonite
Feb 11
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