A Device to Detect ‘Aggression’ in Schools Often Misfires

This story was co-published with ProPublica. Ariella Russcol specializes in drama at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, New York, and the senior’s performance on this April afternoon didn’t disappoint. While the library is normally the quietest room in the school, her ear-piercing screams sounded more like a horror movie than study hall. But they weren’t enough to set off a small microphone in the ceiling that was supposed to detect aggression. A few days later, at the Staples Pathways Academy in Westport, Connecticut, junior Sami D’Anna inadvertently triggered the same device with a less spooky sound—a coughing fit from a lingering chest cold. As she hacked and rasped, a message popped up on its web interface: …

Women May Soon Start Using AI to Tell Good Eggs From Bad

Millennials are increasingly making time in their busy schedules to put their eggs on ice. More effective flash-freezing technologies, micro-optimized ad targeting, and a growing willingness among companies to follow Silicon Valley’s lead of including fertility treatments in benefit packages have made the practice more attractive to would-be parents. At last count, more than 65,000 so-called social egg freezers in the US are doing so each year, despite the costs, physical toll, and the uncertain odds. Egg freezing doesn’t guarantee a child-bearing future; recent data from one of Europe’s largest IVF clinics indicates that while most eggs survive the thawing process, only about a third of them result in successful pregnancies. To give patients a sense of what their chances …

Why Chinese Companies Plug a US Test for Facial Recognition

Last year, Chinese police arrested a man at a pop concert after he was flagged as a criminal suspect by a facial recognition system installed at the venue. The software that called the cops was developed by Shanghai startup Yitu Tech. It was marketed with a stamp of approval from the US government. Yitu is a top performer on a testing program run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that’s vital to the fast-growing facial recognition industry. More than 60 companies took part in the most recent rounds of testing. The rankings are dominated by entrants from Russia and China, where governments are bullish about facial recognition and relatively unconcerned about privacy. “It’s considered the industry standard and …

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