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Industry & Technology

Random people as good as judicial software at predicting future arrests

Ars Technica - 1 hour 5 min ago

(credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D.)

In 2016, ProPublica caused a stir when it evaluated the performance of software that's used in criminal justice proceedings. The software, which is used to evaluate a defendant's chance of committing further crimes, turned out to produce different results when evaluating black people and caucasians.

The significance of that discrepancy is still the subject of some debate, but two Dartmouth College researchers have asked a more fundamental question: is the software any good? The answer they came up with is "not especially," as its performance could be matched by recruiting people on Mechanical Turk, or performing a simple analysis that only took two factors into account.

Software and bias

The software in question is called COMPAS, for Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions. It takes into account a wide variety of factors about defendants, and uses them to evaluate whether those individuals are likely to commit additional crimes and helps identify intervention options. COMPAS is heavily integrated into the judicial process (see this document from the California Department of Corrections for a sense of its importance). Perhaps most significantly, however, it is sometimes influential in determining sentencing, which can be based on the idea that people who are likely to commit additional crimes should be incarcerated longer.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Twitter's Anthony Noto leaves company for CEO role at SoFi - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 7 min ago
Twitter's Chief Operating Officer is logging out.

Livin Shower Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET

cNET.com - Reviews - 1 hour 8 min ago
This crowdfunded gadget brings retrofit smarts to your existing shower, so you don't have to redo your bathroom to get app-enabled shower controls.

Info Commish tells UK.gov we shouldn't let artificial ignorance make all our decisions

The Register - 1 hour 10 min ago
Reckons GDPR will help us challenge algo-driven outcomes

Algorithms should not be solely responsible for criminal sentencing, while a change in law may be required to open up public data sets involving health information.…

Snapchat makes Stories easier to share. Just not yours - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 13 min ago
Stories, which let people string together photos and videos, will be sharable outside Snapchat as part of a redesign, but only officially produced ones.

Elon Musk won't earn salary unless Tesla hits mega milestones - Roadshow

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 14 min ago
Electric carmaker's CEO will not earn any compensation unless a series of hugely ambitious valuation targets are met.

As 5G hype amps up, Verizon's growth hums along - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 16 min ago
The nation's largest wireless carrier posts decent fourth-quarter results as it shifts its focus to faster next-gen wireless tech.

Huge pay package convinces Elon Musk to stay at Tesla for 10 more years

Ars Technica - 1 hour 17 min ago

Enlarge / Elon Musk speaks during the StartmeupHK Venture Forum in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (credit: Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla has been a huge success under Elon Musk's leadership, rising in value from less than $4 billion six years ago to $59 billion today. On Tuesday, Tesla's board announced that it had convinced Musk to stay at the helm for another decade with a truly gargantuan performance-based pay package.

The pay package is tied to the value of the company's stock as well as revenue and earnings targets. If Tesla's stock never rises above $100 billion, Musk will get nothing for a decade's work as Tesla's CEO (aside from increases in the value of the stock he already has). If the stock reaches a value of $100 billion—and the company either achieves revenues of $20 billion or earnings of $1.5 billion—Musk will get 1 percent of the company's stock, an award worth $1 billion.

Things get a lot more generous from there. If the stock rises to $150 billion (and Musk reaches another revenue or profit target), Musk gets another 1 percent of the stock, which will be worth $1.5 billion. That pattern continues in $50 billion increments until Tesla's stock rises above $650 billion—at which point Musk will get a stock award worth $6.5 billion. Musk's stock awards will total $45 billion if he hits all 12 milestones.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Twitter's Anthony Noto leaves to join SoFi

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 22 min ago
The company's chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, joins social lender SoFi as chief executive.

Apple HomePod coming on Feb. 9, preorders open on Friday - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 27 min ago
Apple's smart speaker will be available for preorder from Friday Jan. 26.

Firefox update kicks graphics speed up a notch - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 30 min ago
Graphics get faster in Firefox 58. Also new: better support for when you're on the mobile web.

Facebook invents new unit of time called a flick

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 31 min ago
The flick is the smallest unit of time larger than a nanosecond.

Apple’s Siri-equipped HomePod comes to your home on February 9

Ars Technica - 1 hour 38 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple announced this morning that the wait for its HomePod smart speaker is nearly over. HomePod will be available starting February 9, with preorders beginning Friday, January 26. The home speaker that houses the company's virtual assistant Siri will initially be sold in the US, UK, and Australia, and will be available in France and Germany this spring.

The company first announced HomePod at last year's WWDC with the hopes of releasing it in December for $349, ahead of the holiday season. However, that deadline came and went and those who wanted an Apple version of Amazon's Echo and Google's Home were left waiting.

Apple's announcement doesn't detail anything we didn't already know about HomePod. The cylindrical speaker is powered by Apple's A8 chip and uses an array of six microphones to pick up your calls of "Hey, Siri" from across the room, even with music playing. It also uses real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, and echo cancellation to create a rich sound experience, and its spacial awareness feature lets it automatically adjust to produce the best sound for its location in your home.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook open-sources object detection work: Watch out, Google CAPTCHA

The Register - 1 hour 39 min ago
The bicycle's top left. I'm not an AI... you are. Stop hitting yourself

RoTM Facebook has brought us one step closer to a Skynet future made a commitment to computer vision boffinry by open-sourcing its codebase for object detection, Detectron.…

Hopping into bed with sleep tech? Not so fast - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 39 min ago
All kinds of companies are pitching products that promise a better night's rest. Whether you should snuggle up to sleep tech is a more complicated question.

The first Chinese astronaut thought he was going to die

Ars Technica - 1 hour 44 min ago

Enlarge / Astronaut Yang Liwei lies in the re-entry capsule of Shenzhou-5 Spacecraft during a training on September 27, 2003 in Beijing, China. (credit: VCG via Getty Images)

Later this year, China will mark the 15th anniversary of its first human spaceflight. On October 15, 2003, Yang Liwei launched into space on a Long March 2F rocket. After making 14 orbits around Earth, Liwei returned to the planet as China received congratulations from countries around the world. It had succeeded where only the United States and Russia had before.

At the time, the secretive Chinese government released few technical details about the spaceflight. But apparently there were some serious problems, especially during the launch of the rocket. In a new interview with Xinhua, the official Chinese news media, Yang revealed that he experienced extreme vibrations between 30 and 40km above the ground.

"I thought I was going to die," Yang said. At the time, sitting in the seat of his cramped Shenzhou spacecraft, he recalled telling himself, "Hold on! Just hold on for a bit longer."

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Elon Musk's Boring Company presents LA tunnel plan

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 54 min ago
Elon Musk's Boring Company has presented its LA transport tunnel plans for Culver City.

Photoshop's Select Subject gives you a head start on masks - CNET

cNET.com - News - 2 hours 8 min ago
The one-click masking tool, previewed in fall, is available in a new update, and it's... OK. Plus, Windows 10 users get better interface scaling.

Multi-cloud Cloudian controllers now run in AWS, Azure and Google

The Register - 2 hours 8 min ago
One namespace to rule them all

Cloudian's latest version of its object storage software can run native inside AWS, Google and Azure clouds, enabling a single object store namespace across the on-premises and major public cloud worlds.…

NHS Digital approves data off-shoring in new guidance

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 14 min ago
Healthcare providers can choose to store patient data overseas in Europe and the US.

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