Tech News Feed

Best Medical Alerts of 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2022-09-25 18:00
Picking a device that could potentially save your life is a tough decision. Our guide breaks down which medical alert device you should buy and why.

Almost Half of Industrial Robots Are In China

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 17:21
According to a new report from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), China now has almost half of all the world's robot installations and that it is increasing its lead rapidly. Engineering.com reports: The IFR, which exists to "promote research, development, use and international co-operation in the entire field of robotics," has been reporting that China has been the world leader in implementing industrial robots for the last 8 years. We have not been paying attention. In 3 years, China has almost doubled the number of industrial robot installations. With its 243,000 robot installations in 2020, China has almost half of all the industrial robots in the world, according to the Wall Street Journal. A majority of new industrial robots are used in electronics manufacture (for circuit boards, consumer electronics, etc.) and in automobile assembly, particularly in the surging production of electric vehicles (EVs).One must wonder why China, a country with so much cheap manual labor available, would opt for expensive robots with their special demands for tech support. China may have a giant population (1.4 billion people), but its workforce is actually decreasing, says the IFR, due to an increasing segment of its population aging and a growing competition for service jobs. China also expects a leveling off of its rural-to-urban migration. China's government is determined not to let a declining workforce cause a drop in manufacturing, and as only a centralized, authoritarian government can, it has made robotizing a national priority and has mobilized its forces. China's latest five-year plan for the robotics industry, released in December 2021 by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), aims for nothing less than making China a world leader in robot technology and industrial automation. And it appears to be working. China went from 10 robots per ten thousand employees 10 years ago to 246 robots per ten thousand employees in 2020, the ninth best ranking in the world. To keep the robots state of the art and operational, China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security introduced 18 new occupational titles in June, including "robotics engineering technician."

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iPhone 15 'Ultra' could replace next year's Pro Max model

Engadget - Sun, 2022-09-25 17:17

Next year’s iPhone could introduce a change to Apple’s naming convention. According to Bloombergreporter Mark Gurman, the company could call its largest and most expensive device in 2023 the iPhone 15 Ultra instead of the iPhone 15 Pro Max as you would expect given its recent track record. The shift would reportedly coincide with the most significant redesign of the iPhone since Apple released the iPhone 12 in 2020. Gurman expects the iPhone 15 to feature USB-C, among other “bigger changes.”

Apple’s smartphone line has seen a couple of branding tweaks over the years. In the early days of the iPhone, when the company released a substantial update every two years, iterative models carried an “S” designation. Since 2019 and the diversification of the line to include separate mainstream and premium variants, the company has employed “Pro” and “Pro Max” designations to market its most advanced phones. Moreover, earlier this year saw the return of the Plus branding, which Apple had not used since 2017. Dropping Pro Max in favor of Ultra would make a lot of sense since the Apple Watch line now includes an Ultra model.

The iPhone 15 rumor mill has already produced a few interesting predictions. Gurman previously reported that Apple was testing USB-C iPhones ahead of the European Union implementing a law requiring all new smartphones made after 2024 to feature the port. More recently, display analyst Ross Young said the entire iPhone 15 line would feature the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island display cutout.

Looking to the more immediate future, Gurman also wrote today that Apple might not hold another event this fall. He says the company plans to announce new Mac mini, MacBook Pro and iPad Pro models before the end of the year. However, as those will be primarily iterative updates to existing devices, Gurman suggests Apple is “more likely” to share the existence of those products with the world through a series of press releases.

When's the Best Time To Charge Your EV? Not at Night, Stanford Study Finds

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 16:20
The vast majority of electric vehicle owners charge their cars at home in the evening or overnight. We're doing it wrong, according to a new Stanford study. From the report: In March, the research team published a paper on a model they created for charging demand that can be applied to an array of populations and other factors. In the new study, published Sept. 22 in Nature Energy, they applied their model to the whole of the Western United States and examined the stress the region's electric grid will come under by 2035 from growing EV ownership. In a little over a decade, they found, rapid EV growth alone could increase peak electricity demand by up to 25%, assuming a continued dominance of residential, nighttime charging. To limit the high costs of all that new capacity for generating and storing electricity, the researchers say, drivers should move to daytime charging at work or public charging stations, which would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This finding has policy and investment implications for the region and its utilities, especially since California moved in late August to ban sales of gasoline-powered cars and light trucks starting in 2035. [...] Current time-of-use rates encourage consumers to switch electricity use to nighttime whenever possible, like running the dishwasher and charging EVs. This rate structure reflects the time before significant solar and wind power supplies when demand threatened to exceed supply during the day, especially late afternoons in the summer. Today, California has excess electricity during late mornings and early afternoons, thanks mainly to its solar capacity. If most EVs were to charge during these times, then the cheap power would be used instead of wasted. Alternatively, if most EVs continue to charge at night, then the state will need to build more generators -- likely powered by natural gas -- or expensive energy storage on a large scale. Electricity going first to a huge battery and then to an EV battery loses power from the extra stop. At the local level, if a third of homes in a neighborhood have EVs and most of the owners continue to set charging to start at 11 p.m. or whenever electricity rates drop, the local grid could become unstable. Another issue with electricity pricing design is charging commercial and industrial customers big fees based on their peak electricity use. This can disincentivize employers from installing chargers, especially once half or more of their employees have EVs. The research team compared several scenarios of charging infrastructure availability, along with several different residential time-of-use rates and commercial demand charges. Some rate changes made the situation at the grid level worse, while others improved it. Nevertheless, a scenario of having charging infrastructure that encourages more daytime charging and less home charging provided the biggest benefits, the study found. "The findings from this paper have two profound implications: the first is that the price signals are not aligned with what would be best for the grid -- and for ratepayers. The second is that it calls for considering investments in a charging infrastructure for where people work," said Ines Azevedo, one of the co-senior authors of the study. "We need to move quickly toward decarbonizing the transportation sector, which accounts for the bulk of emissions in California," Azevedo continued. "This work provides insight on how to get there. Let's ensure that we pursue policies and investment strategies that allow us to do so in a way that is sustainable."

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Rihanna to Perform in 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2022-09-25 16:05
Announcement comes just days after Apple Music was announced as the show's new sponsor.

Neal Stephenson's Lamina1 Drops White Paper On Building the Open Metaverse

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 15:19
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Neal Stephenson's Lamina1 blockchain technology startup dropped a white paper today on building the open metaverse. It's quite the manifesto. In the document, the company said its mission is to deliver a Layer 1 blockchain, interoperating tools and decentralized services optimized for the open metaverse -- providing communities with infrastructure, not gatekeepers to build a more immersive internet. The effort includes some new original content: Under active early-stage development, Neal Stephenson's THEEE METAVERSE promises a richly-imagined interactive virtual world with an unforgettable origin story, the paper said. Built on the Lamina1 chain, creators will come to experience Neal's vision and stay to develop their own. Stay tuned for more details, the paper said. [...] In the paper, Stephenson said, "Inexorable economic forces drive investors to pay artists as little as possible while steering their creative output in the directions that involve the least financial risk." The aim is to correct the sins of the past. The paper said that Web2 introduced a period of rapid innovation and unprecedented access to entertainment, information and goods on a global scale. Streamlined tools and usability brought creators and innovators to the web en masse to build digital storefronts, engage and transact with their customers. Owning and controlling that growing ecosystem of content and personal data became a primary, lucrative initiative for major corporations. Consumer behavior, recorded on centralized company servers, offered constant, privileged insight into how to monetize human emotion and attention, Lamina1 said. At its best, Web3 envisions a better world through the thoughtful redesigning of our online lives, instituting stronger advocacy for our interests, our freedom and our rights, the company said. Much as Web2 flourished with the maturity of tools and services that offered creators and consumers ease of use, the open metaverse will benefit from open protocols for payments and data, and a set of interoperating decentralized services to support virtual worlds. Lamina1 will be the rallying point for an ecosystem of open source tools, open standards and enabling technologies conceived and co-developed with a vibrant community of creators. [...] Lamina1 said it approaches the open metaverse with a multi-pronged approach: Layer 1 blockchain, metaverse-as-a-Service (MaaS), community economic participation and incentives and original content. Lamina1 said it uses a high-speed Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, customized to support the needs of content creators -- providing provenance for creatorship and enabling attributive and behavioral characteristics of an object to be minted, customized and composed on-chain. "We chose to start with Avalanche, a robust generalized blockchain that delivers the industry's most scalable and environmentally-efficient chain for managing digital assets to date. This starting point provides Lamina1 with a flexible architecture and an extendable platform to support our goals in data storage, interoperability, integration incentives, carbon-negative operation, messaging, privacy, high-scale payments and identity," the white paper said. Lamina1 said its metaverse services work will explore creating a metaverse browser and it will align itself with the Metaverse Standards Forum. To enlist community support, the company isn't aligning with Big Tech. "We march waving the pirate flag at the front of the cultural movement, asking both creators and consumers to join the fight for greater agency and ownership -- the fight for an economy that is imagined, produced and owned by its creators," Lamina1 said. "It's going to be hard, and it's going to take heart, but the upside of providing a maker direct access to their market is staggering." The paper added, "At Lamina1, we believe two things will power expansion and growth in the metaverse -- a straightforward and principled approach to serving a diverse, open and self-sustaining community of makers, and a powerful ecosystem of content and experiences that will drive fans and funding directly to the platform."

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NieR: Automata's spinoff anime arrives this January

Engadget - Sun, 2022-09-25 15:18

NieR: Automata’s anime spinoff will arrive early next year. The adaptation, now titled NieR: Automata Version 1.1a, will debut in January 2023. NieR creator Yoko Taro shared the release window during Aniplex Online Fest over the weekend (via Gizmodo), revealing at the same time that the story of the anime would differ from its source material. The two will at least share the same premise. NieR: Automata opens with a ruined Earth and a proxy war involving human-made androids. "Nier: Automata was a story we created to be a game, so copying it as-is wouldn’t make an interesting story for an anime," Taro said during the panel.

A-1 Pictures, best known for its work on series like Erased, From the New World and Your Lie in April, is producing the project, with Ryouji Masuyama co-writing the script alongside Taro. Masuyama’s previous credits include Gurren Lagann and Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. "I'm the one going around and breaking things for [A-1 Pictures], so if anyone is dissatisfied [with the anime's story], it's likely to be my fault," Taro warned fans. Given that NieR: Automata features multiple endings, it’s probably for the best the anime won’t hew too closely to the game.

The panel didn’t mention details about distribution outside of Japan. However, since Sony owns both Aniplex and Crunchyroll, there’s a good chance simulcast rights will go to the streaming service. It will be interesting to see if the anime brings renewed interest to NieR: Automata, much like the recent release of Edgerunners on Netflix did for Cyberpunk 2077. Commercially, Automata performed better than publisher Square Enix expected, but the company has yet to announce a proper sequel – though we did get a mobile spinoff and remaster of the original NieR last year.

TikTok To Ban All Political Fundraising On Its Platform

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 14:18
TikTok says it plans to ban all fundraising activity soon -- only six weeks before the November midterm elections. The Verge reports: In a blog post, TikTok's president of global business solutions, Blake Chandlee, said the company would immediately turn off all advertising and monetization features, like gifting and tipping, for politicians and parties on the platform. Additionally, accounts belonging to governments, politicians, and political parties will have to apply for verification. Over the next few weeks, TikTok expects to roll out a sweeping ban on campaign fundraising altogether. The ban will prohibit politicians and parties from using the platform to direct viewers to their campaign websites to make donations. TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza told The Verge on Tuesday that the company plans to enforce these new rules "through a combination of technology and human moderation." "We will work with governments, politicians, and political parties to verify their account either when they submit a verification request, or if we identify an account we believe belongs to a government, politician, or political party, we will confirm the authenticity of the account and begin the verification process."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Brussels Tests Cultural Visits To Treat Anxiety

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 13:17
Psychiatrists in Brussels can now prescribe free visits to cultural venues to people suffering from depression, stress or anxiety. The Guardian reports: Delphine Houba, a Brussels deputy mayor in charge of culture, believes the project is the first of its kind in Europe. The first objective is to reinforce access to culture after the pressured days of lockdown, she told the Observer. "I want everybody back in our cultural institutions... but we know that, even before Covid, for some people it [was] not easy to open the door of a museum, they don't feel at ease, they don't think that it's for them. And I really want to show that cultural venues are for everybody." The second goal, she said, is to give doctors "a new tool in the healing process." The young socialist politician was inspired by a similar project in Canada, where doctors have been issuing prescriptions to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts since 2018. In Brussels, the pilot project is running for six months, involving five museums that are directly under the control of city authorities. These include the city's history museum, a centre for contemporary art, and the fashion and lace museum. Patients may also discover the sewer museum, which allows them to stroll 10 meters underground along the banks of the Senne, the hidden river of Brussels, largely paved over in the 19th century. Or they could explore the collection of outfits belonging to the Manneken Pis, the statue of a peeing boy that has become a symbol of Belgium's self-deprecating humor "Anything could have therapeutic value if it helps people get a good feeling and get in touch with themselves," said Dr Johan Newell, a psychiatrist at Brugmann University Hospital, which is taking part in the pilot scheme. He expects museum prescriptions would suit people suffering from depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, psychosis and bipolar disorder. "I think almost anyone could benefit from it," he said. "It would probably be more adapted for people who are already a little bit further on in the recovery process," rather than those who are severely ill, he said. Museum prescriptions, Newell stressed, were a voluntary addition to medication, psychotherapy, individual or group therapy, as well as exercise, healthy eating and other forms of relaxation. "It's just one extra tool that could help people get out of the house: to resocialize, reconnect with society." Newell suggests that the pilot could eventually be expanded to include other museums, cinemas, hospitals and groups of patients.

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'Oxenfree II: Lost Signals' is delayed until 2023

Engadget - Sun, 2022-09-25 12:49

Night School Studio has delayed the release of Oxenfree II: Lost Signals. The sequel to 2016’s Oxenfree won’t arrive until next year, the developer announced on Saturday. “To make Oxenfree II truly special and add more localizations, we’re moving our release window to 2023,” the studio posted on Twitter. News of the delay came shortly after Netflix announced subscribers could download the original game for free.

The streaming giant acquired Night School Studio in 2021. Given Netflix’s global audience, taking more time to localize the game in more languages makes a lot of sense. To that point, the new “Netflix Edition” features subtitle support in more than 30 languages. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals will be available on Steam, PlayStation 4, PS5 and Nintendo Switch when it arrives next year.

An update on OXENFREE II: Lost Signals pic.twitter.com/bEcwrvHUR9

— Night School Studio (@nightschoolers) September 24, 2022

California First State To Ban Natural Gas Heaters and Furnaces

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 12:16
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: A new proposal passed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) cements the state as the first to ban natural gas heaters and furnaces. The decision, which was passed unanimously, aims to phase out sales of the space heater and water heater appliances by 2030. The commitment is part of a broader range of environmental efforts passed by the board this week to meet the federal 70 parts per billion, 8-hour ozone standard over the next 15 years. Residential and commercial buildings in California account for approximately five percent of the state's total nitrogen oxide emissions due to natural gas combustion, according to the originally proposed plan (PDF), released in August 2022. In addition, space and water heating make up nearly 90 percent of all building-related natural gas demand. When burned, natural gas does emit less carbon dioxide than oil or coal. However, natural gas leaks pose health risks to homeowners, as they contain varying levels of volatile chemicals linked with cancer. The new regulations will rely on adoption of heat pump technologies, which are being sold to electrify new and existing homes. Although the proposal does not include gas stoves, several cities and towns in the state currently ban or discourage use of gas stoves in new buildings. California's Public Utilities Commission also eliminated subsidies for new natural gas hookups last week, marking the first state to do so. The move will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower utility bills for consumers. "While this strategy will clean the air for all Californians, it will also lead to reduced emissions in the many low-income and disadvantaged communities that experience greater levels of persistent air pollution," said CARB Chair Liane Randolph in a statement. "California needs more federal action to clean up harmful diesel pollution from primarily federally controlled sources, from locomotives and ocean-going vessels to aircraft, which are all concentrated in communities that continue to bear the brunt of poor air quality. We simply cannot provide clean air to Californians without the federal government doing its part."

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Bengals vs. Jets Livestream: How to Watch NFL Week 3 From Anywhere in the US - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2022-09-25 11:55
Looking to watch the Cincinnati Bengals against New York Jets? Here's everything you need to watch Sunday's 1 p.m. ET game that airs on CBS.

Apple Pay Later may not arrive until next year due to 'technical and engineering' setbacks

Engadget - Sun, 2022-09-25 11:48

Apple Pay Later may not arrive until next spring, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. As you may recall, Apple announced the buy now, pay later feature at WWDC 2022 and said, at the time, that it would arrive alongside iOS 16. Well, the latest version of the company’s mobile operating is here and Apple Pay Later is nowhere to be found.

A footnote on Apple’s website states the feature will arrive “in a future update.” As Gurman notes, other previously announced iOS 16 features that aren’t available yet are listed as coming “later this year.” Gurman believes the discrepancy is due to the fact Apple doesn’t know when Pay Later will be ready, and the feature may not arrive until iOS 16.4 ships in 2023. “I’m hearing there have been fairly significant technical and engineering challenges in rolling out the service, leading to delays,” he notes.

It’s interesting to learn Apple is encountering technical challenges implementing a Pay Later service. Based on Gurman’s previous reporting, the company has been working on such a feature for more than a year. It even went out of its way to create a subsidiary called Apple Financing to conduct credit checks and customer approvals. All those moves suggest the company sees financial services as a significant part of its future. 

Bills vs. Dolphins Livestream: How to Watch NFL Week 3 From Anywhere in the US - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2022-09-25 11:35
Looking to watch the Miami Dolphins take on the Buffalo Bills? Here's everything you need to watch Sunday's 1 p.m. ET game that airs on CBS.

James Earl Jones Signs Off on Using Recordings to Recreate Darth Vader's Voice with AI

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 11:15
James Earl Jones is stepping away from the role of Darth Vader after nearly 40 years. According to Vanity Fair, he has signed off on using archival voice recordings to recreate the iconic voice with artificial intelligence. From a report: "He had mentioned he was looking into winding down this particular character," Matthew Wood, a Lucasfilm veteran of 32 years, told the outlet. "So how do we move forward?" The company has enlisted the assistance of Respeecher, a Ukrainian startup that uses AI technology to craft new conversations from revitalized old voice recordings. Respeecher's relationship with Lucasfilm began with the Disney+ series "The Book of Boba Fett," for which they recreated the voice of young Luke Skywalker. The two also teamed for the voice performance of Darth Vader on the series "Obi-Wan Kenobi," which debuted on Disney's streamer this summer. Bogdan Belyaev, the 29-year-old speech artist, was tasked with delivering the new recordings to Lucasfilm, but tragedy struck on Feb. 24 when Russia invaded the country. As air raid sirens powered through the city of Lviv, Belyaev hurried to finish the project and send his work back to Skywalker Sound in Northern California. "If everything went bad, we would never make these conversions delivered to Skywalker Sound," he says. Following the debut of "Obi-Wan Kenobi," Jones' family informed Wood that they were pleased with the result of the synthesis between the actor's voice and Respeecher's technical work. Jones is credited for "guiding the performance" of Darth Vader in the Disney+ series, with Wood describing the actor as a "benevolent godfather."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hitting the Books: How Southeast Asia's largest bank uses AI to fight financial fraud

Engadget - Sun, 2022-09-25 11:00

Yes, robots are coming to take our jobs. That's a good thing, we should be happy they are because those jobs they're taking kinda suck. Do you really want to go back to the days of manually monitoring, flagging and investigating the world's daily bank transfers in search of financial fraud and money laundering schemes? DBS Bank, Singapore's largest financial institution, certainly doesn't. The company has spent years developing a cutting-edge machine learning system that heavily automates the minutia-stricken process of "transaction surveillance," freeing up human analysts to perform higher level work while operating in delicate balance with the antique financial regulations that bound the industry. It's fascinating stuff. Working with AI by Thomas H. Davenport and Steven M. Miller is filled with similar case studies from myriad tech industries, looking at commonplace human-AI collaboration and providing insight into the potential implications of these interactions. 

Working with AI coverMIT Press

Excerpted from Working with AI: Real Stories of Human-Machine Collaboration by Thomas H. Davenport and Steven M. Miller. Reprinted with permission from The MIT Press. Copyright 2022.

DBS Bank: AI-Driven Transaction Surveillance

Since the passage of the Bank Secrecy Act, also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, in the US in 1970, banks around the world have been held accountable by governments for preventing money laundering, suspicious cross-border flows of large amounts of money, and other types of financial crime. DBS Bank, the largest bank in Singapore and in Southeast Asia, has long had a focus on anti-money laundering (AML) and financial crime detection and prevention. According to a DBS executive for compliance, “We want to make sure that we have tight internal controls within the bank so the perpetrators, money launderers, and sanctions evaders do not penetrate into the financial system, either through our bank, through our national system, or internationally.”

The Limitations of Rule-Based Systems for Surveillance Monitoring

As at other large banks, the area of DBS that focuses on these issues, called “transaction surveillance,” has taken advantage of AI for many years to do this type of work. The people in this function evaluate alerts raised by a rule-based system. The rules assess transaction data from many different systems across the bank, including those for consumers, wealth management, institutional banking, and their payments. These transactions all flow through the rule-based system for screening, and the rules flag transactions that match conditions associated with an individual or entity doing suspicious transactions with the bank—those involving a potential money laundering event, or another type of financial fraud. Rule-based systems—in the past known as “expert systems” — are one of the oldest forms of AI, but they are still widely used in banking and insurance, as well as in other industries.

At DBS and most other banks across the world, rule-based financial transaction surveillance systems of this sort generate a large number of alerts every day. The primary shortcoming of rule-based surveillance systems is that most — up to 98 percent — of the alerts generated are false positives. Some aspect of the transaction triggers a rule that leads the transaction to be flagged on the alert list. However, after follow-up investigation by a human analyst, it turns out that the alerted transaction is actually not suspicious.

The transaction surveillance analysts have to follow up on every alert, looking at all the relevant transaction information. They must also consider the profiles of the individuals involved in the transaction, their past financial behaviors, whatever they have declared in “know your customer” and customer due diligence documents, and anything else the bank might know about them. Following up on alerts is a time-intensive process.

If the analyst confirms that a transaction is justifiably suspicious or verified as fraud, the bank has a legal obligation to issue a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to the appropriate authorities. This is a high-stakes decision, so it is important for the analyst to get it right: if incorrect, law-abiding bank customers could be incorrectly notified that they are being investigated for financial crimes. On the other side, if a “bad actor” is not detected and reported, it could lead to problems related to money laundering and other financial crimes.

For now at least, rule-based systems can’t be eliminated because the national regulatory authorities in most countries still require them. But DBS executives realized there are many additional sources of internal and external information available to them that, if used correctly, could be applied to automatically evaluate each alert from the rule-based system. This could be done using ML, which can deal with more complex patterns and make more accurate predictions than rule-based systems.

Using the New Generation of AI Capabilities to Enhance Surveillance

A few years ago, DBS started a project to apply the new generation of AI/ML capabilities in combination with the existing rule-based screening system. The combination would enable the bank to prioritize all the alerts generated by the rule-based system according to a numerically calculated probability score indicating the level of suspicion. The ML system was trained to recognize suspicious and fraudulent situations from recent and historical data and outcomes. At the time of our interviews, the new ML-based filtering system had been in use for just over one year. The system reviews all the alerts generated by the rule-based system, assigns each alert a risk score, and categorizes each alert into higher-, medium-, and lower-risk categories. This type of “post-processing” of the rule-based alerts enables the analyst to decipher which ones to prioritize immediately (those in the higher- and medium-risk categories) and which ones can wait (those in the lowest-risk category). An important capability of this ML system is that it has an explainer that shows the analyst the evidence used in making the automated assessment of the probability that the transaction is suspicious. The explanation and guided navigation given by the AI/ML model helps the analyst make the right risk decision.

DBS also developed other new capabilities to support the investigation of alerted transactions, including a Network Link Analytics system for detecting suspicious relationships and transactions across multiple parties. Financial transactions can be represented as a network graph showing the people or accounts involved as nodes in the network and any interactions as the links between the nodes. This network graph of relationships can be used to identify and further assess suspicious patterns of financial inflows and outflows.

In parallel, DBS has also replaced a labor-intensive approach to investigation workflow with a new platform that automates for the analyst much of the support for surveillance-related investigation and case management. Called CRUISE, it integrates the outputs of the rule-based engine, the ML filter model, and the Network Link Analytics system.

Additionally, the CRUISE system provides the analyst with easy and integrated access to the relevant data from across the bank needed to follow up on the transactions the analyst is investigating. Within this CRUISE environment, the bank also captures all the feedback related to the analyst’s work on the case, and this feedback helps to further improve DBS’s systems and processes.

Impact on the Analyst

Of course, these developments make analysts much more efficient in reviewing alerts. A few years ago, it was not uncommon for a DBS transaction surveillance analyst to spend two or more hours looking into an alert. This time included the front-end preparation time to fetch data from multiple systems and to manually collate relevant past transactions, and the actual analysis time to evaluate the evidence, look for patterns, and make the final judgment as to whether or not the alert appeared to be a bona fide suspicious transaction.

After the implementation of multiple tools, including CRUISE, Network Link Analytics, and the ML-based filter model, analysts are able to resolve about one-third more cases in the same amount of time. Also, for the high-risk cases that are identified using these tools, DBS is able to catch the “bad actors” faster than before. 

Commenting on how this differs from traditional surveillance approaches, the DBS head of transaction surveillance shared the following:

Today at DBS, our machines are able to gather the necessary support data from various sources across the bank and present it on the screen of our analyst. Now the analyst can easily see the relevant supporting information for each alert and make the right decision without searching through sixty different systems to get the supporting data. The machines now do this for the analyst much faster than a human can. It makes the life of the analysts easier and their decisions a lot sharper.

In the past, due to practical limitations, transaction surveillance analysts were able to collect and use only a small fraction of the data within the bank that was relevant to reviewing the alert. Today at DBS, with our new tools and processes, the analyst is able to make decisions based on instant, automatic access to nearly all the relevant data within the bank about the transaction. They see this data, nicely organized in a condensed manner on their screen, with a risk score and with the help of an explainer that guides them through the evidence that led to the output of the model.

DBS invested in a skill set “uplift” across the staff who were involved in creating and using these new surveillance systems. Among the staff benefiting from the upskilling were the transaction surveillance analysts, who had expertise in detecting financial crimes and were trained in using the new technology platform and in relevant data analytics skills. The teams helped design the new systems, beginning with the front-end work to identify risk typologies. They also provided inputs to identify the data that made most sense to use, and where automated data analytics and ML capabilities could be most helpful to them.

When asked how the systems would affect human transaction analysts in the future, the DBS compliance executive said:

Efficiency is always important, and we must always strive for higher levels of it. We want to handle the transaction-based aspects of our current and future surveillance workload with fewer people, and then reinvest the freed- up capacity into new areas of surveillance and fraud prevention. There will always be unknown and new dimensions of bad financial behavior and bad actors, and we need to invest more time and more people into these types of areas. To the extent that we can, we will do this through reinvesting the efficiency gains we achieve within our more standard transaction surveillance efforts.

The Next Phase of Transaction Surveillance

The bank’s overall aspiration is for transaction surveillance to become more integrated and more proactive. Rather than just relying on alerts generated from the rule-based engine, executives want to make use of multiple levels of integrated risk surveillance to monitor holistically from “transaction to account to customer to network to macro” levels. This combination would help the bank find more bad actors, and to do so more effectively and efficiently. The compliance executive elaborated:

It is important to note that money launderers and sanctions evaders are always finding new ways of doing things. Our people need to work with our technology and data analytics capabilities to stay ahead of these emerging threats. We want to free up the time our people have been spending on the tedious, manual aspects of reviewing alerts, and use that time to keep pace with the emerging threats.

Human analysts will continue to play an important role in AML transaction surveillance, though the way they use their time and their human expertise will continue to evolve.

The compliance executive also shared a perspective on AI: “It’s really augmented intelligence, rather than automated AI in risk surveillance. We do not think we can remove human judgment from the final decisions because there will always be a subjective element to evaluations of what is and is not suspicious in the context of money laundering and other financial crimes. We cannot eliminate this subjective element, but we can minimize the manual work that the human analyst does as part of reviewing and evaluating the alerts.”

Lessons We Learned from This Case
  • An automated system that generates large numbers of alerts most of which turn out to be false positives does not save human labor.

  • Multiple types of AI technology (in this case, rules, ML, and Network Link Analytics) can be combined to improve the capabilities of the system.

  • Companies may not reduce the number of people doing a job even when the AI system substantially improves the efficiency of doing it. Rather, employees can use the freed-up time to work on new and higher-valued tasks in their jobs.

  • Because there will always be subjective elements in the evaluation of complex business transactions, human judgment may not be eliminated from the evaluation process.

1-Day Woot Deal Saves You $340 On a 2020 iMac - CNET

CNET News - Sun, 2022-09-25 11:00
Pick up a 21.5-inch Apple desktop for just $960 today only at Woot.

Mozilla Reaffirms That Firefox Will Continue To Support Current Content Blockers

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 10:14
Martin Brinkmann writes via gHacks: From next year onward, extensions for Google Chrome and most other Chromium-based browsers, will have to rely on a new extension manifest. Manifest V3 defines the boundaries in which extensions may operate. Current Chromium extensions use Manifest V2 for the most part, even though the January 2023 deadline is looming over the heads of every extension developer. Google is using its might to push Manifest v3, and most Chromium-based browsers, including Microsoft Edge, will follow. [...] Mozilla announced early on that it will support Manifest v3 as well, but that it would continue to support important APIs that Google limited in Manifest v3. Probably the most important of them all is the WebRequest API. Used by content blockers extensively to filter certain items, it has been replaced by a less powerful option in Manifest v3. While Manifest v3 does not mean the end for content blocking on Chrome, Edge and other Chromium-based browsers, it may limit abilities under certain circumstances. Users who install a single content blocker and no other extension that relies on the same relevant API may not notice much of a change, but those who like to add custom filter lists or use multiple extensions that rely on the API, may run into artificial limits set by Google. Mozilla reaffirmed this week that its plan has not changed. In "These weeks in Firefox: issue 124," the organization confirms that it will support the WebRequst API of Manifest v2 alongside Manifest v3. Again, a reminder that Mozilla plans to continue support for the Manifest v2 blocking WebRequest API (this API powers, for example, uBlock Origin) while simultaneously supporting Manifest v3.

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Amazon Hires Unsafe Trucking Firms Twice As Often As Peers, WSJ Finds

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 09:13
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: For years, people in cars stuck behind blue delivery trucks in traffic have echoed media reports criticizing Amazon for clogging American roadways. It's well-known that the Amazon drivers steering these fleets of trucks and vans don't actually work for Amazon but are hired by companies contracted by Amazon, and Amazon has repeatedly denied liability for any dangerous driving reported, though. Because Amazon has contracts with more than 50,000 firms, just how dangerous Amazon's contracted drivers really are remains a question that is hard to track. However, The Information reported last year that horrific car crashes are part and parcel of Amazon's culture of convenience. And then more recently, The Wall Street Journal provided another window into how deadly America's favorite speedy delivery service can be. Since 2015, WSJ reported this week, "Trucking companies hauling freight for Amazon have been involved in crashes that killed more than 75 people." To arrive at this number, WSJ partnered with Jason Miller -- a Michigan State University professor who researches transportation safety -- to analyze various sources of government data from "3,512 trucking companies that were inspected by authorities three or more times while hauling trailers for Amazon since February 2020." The resulting report, WSJ said, "for the first time showed how the safety performance of Amazon's trucking contractors compared with their peers." And their results didn't appear good for Amazon. For example, a review of Department of Transportation data on unsafe driving scores of more than 1,300 Amazon trucking contractors from February 2020 to early August 2022 found that contractors who worked the most with Amazon were "more than twice as likely as all other similar companies to receive bad unsafe driving scores." WSJ also found evidence of dozens of companies that Amazon contracted that had "conditional" ratings, which is like DOT putting them on probation -- a black mark that typically alienates most firms from contracting them. One Illinois-based company contracted by Amazon "scored worse than the level DOT officials consider problematic" every month of WSJ's review period. "First and foremost, the insinuation that Amazon puts more value on meeting deadlines than on human lives is categorically false," said Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel. "Any accident involving one of our partners or community members is a tragedy, and we always work with our contractors to prevent accidents or learn from them, so they don't happen again." The safety director of Amazon's freight unit, Steve DasGupta, noted that Amazon contractors had "a rate of fatalities per vehicle mile about 7 percent lower than the industry average in 2020." The company also told said it has "suspended all contractors involved in car crashes described in WSJ's report, suspended or terminated 80 percent of contracts where WSJ found unsafe driving scores, and made changes to its screening process," reports Ars.

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OpenAI Open-Sources Whisper, a Multilingual Speech Recognition System

SlashDot - Sun, 2022-09-25 06:10
Speech recognition remains a challenging problem in AI and machine learning. In a step toward solving it, OpenAI today open-sourced Whisper, an automatic speech recognition system that the company claims enables "robust" transcription in multiple languages as well as translation from those languages into English. TechCrunch reports: Countless organizations have developed highly capable speech recognition systems, which sit at the core of software and services from tech giants like Google, Amazon and Meta. But what makes Whisper different, according to OpenAI, is that it was trained on 680,000 hours of multilingual and "multitask" data collected from the web, which lead to improved recognition of unique accents, background noise and technical jargon. "The primary intended users of [the Whisper] models are AI researchers studying robustness, generalization, capabilities, biases and constraints of the current model. However, Whisper is also potentially quite useful as an automatic speech recognition solution for developers, especially for English speech recognition," OpenAI wrote in the GitHub repo for Whisper, from where several versions of the system can be downloaded. "[The models] show strong ASR results in ~10 languages. They may exhibit additional capabilities ... if fine-tuned on certain tasks like voice activity detection, speaker classification or speaker diarization but have not been robustly evaluated in these area." Whisper has its limitations, particularly in the area of text prediction. Because the system was trained on a large amount of "noisy" data, OpenAI cautions Whisper might include words in its transcriptions that weren't actually spoken -- possibly because it's both trying to predict the next word in audio and trying to transcribe the audio itself. Moreover, Whisper doesn't perform equally well across languages, suffering from a higher error rate when it comes to speakers of languages that aren't well-represented in the training data. Despite this, OpenAI sees Whisper's transcription capabilities being used to improve existing accessibility tools.

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