Tuesday November 21, 2017
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Brain-to-text Technology? Facebook is studying ways for people to communicate by thought and touch

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Regina Dugan, vice president of engineering of Building 8 at Facebook, speaks on stage during the second day of the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, April 19, 2017. VOA

Facebook on Wednesday pulled aside the curtain on a secretive unit headed by a former chief of the Pentagon’s research arm, disclosing that the social media company is studying ways for people to communicate by thought and touch.

Facebook launched the research shop, called Building 8, last year to conduct long-term work that might lead to hardware products. In charge of the unit is Regina Dugan, who led a similar group at Alphabet’s Google and was previously director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

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Dugan told software developers at Facebook’s annual F8 conference that the company was modeling Building 8 after DARPA, a government office founded in the 1950s that gave the world the internet and the miniaturized GPS receivers used in consumer devices.

Any hardware rollouts are years away, Dugan said in a speech. Potential products could, if successful, be a way for Facebook to diversify beyond its heavy reliance on advertising revenue.

One example of Building 8’s work so far, Dugan said, was an attempt to improve technology that allows people to type words using their minds.

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“It sounds impossible, but it’s closer than you may realize,” Dugan said.

Using brain implants, people can already type eight words a minute, she said. Facebook’s goal, working with researchers at several U.S. universities, is to make the system non-invasive, as well as fast enough so that people can type 100 words a minute just by thinking.

Possible uses include helping disabled people and “the ability to text your friend without taking out your phone,” she said.

Another Building 8 project, she said, was trying to advance the ability to communicate through touch only, an idea with roots in Braille, a writing system for the blind and visually impaired.

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A video played at the conference showed two Facebook employees talking to each other through touch. As one employee, Frances, wore an electronic device on her arm, the other, Freddy, used a computer program to send pressure changes to her arm.

“If you ask Frances what she feels,” Dugan said, “she’ll tell you that she has learned to feel the acoustic shape of a word on her arm.”

In December, Facebook signed a deal with 17 universities including Harvard and Princeton to allow swifter collaboration on projects with Dugan’s team. (VOA)

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Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter Join The Trust Project to Help Users Combat Fake News

In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan "The Trust Project"

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To Combat Fake News
To Combat Fake News Facebook, Twitter , Google have joined 'The Trust Project'. PIxabay.

San Francisco, Nov 19: In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan “The Trust Project”.

“The Trust Project” is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics.

Starting from Friday, an icon will appear next to articles in Facebook News Feed.

When you click on the icon, you can read information on the organisations’ ethics and other standards, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work.

“Leading media companies representing dozens of news sites have begun to display ‘Trust Indicators’. These indicators, created by leaders from more than 75 news organisations also show what type of information people are reading a” news, opinion, analysis or advertising,” the university said in a statement.

Each indicator is signalled in the article and site code, providing the first standardised technical language for platforms to learn more from news sites about the quality and expertise behind journalists’ work.

“Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter have all agreed to use the indicators and are investigating and piloting ideas about how to best to use them to surface and display quality journalism,” the university said.

German press agency DPA, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, the Independent Journal Review, Mic, Italy’s La Republica and La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and The Washington Post are among the companies starting to go live with “Trust Indicators” this month.

The Institute for Non-profit News has developed a WordPress plug-in to facilitate broader implementation by qualified publishers.

“An increasingly sceptical public wants to know the expertise, enterprise and ethics behind a news story. The Trust Indicators put tools into people’s hands, giving them the means to assess whether news comes from a credible source they can depend on,” Lehrman explained.

The eight core indicators are: Best Practices; Author Expertise; Type of Work; Citations and References; Methods; Locally Sourced; Diverse Voices and Actionable Feedback.

New organisations like the BBC and Hearst Television have collaborated in defining the “Trust Indicator” editorial and technical standards, and in developing the processes for implementing these.

“Quality journalism has never been more important,” said Richard Gingras, vice president of news products at Google.

“We hope to use the Type of Work indicator to improve the accuracy of article labels in Google News, and indicators such as Best Practices and Author Info in our Knowledge Panels.”

“The Trust Indicators will provide a new level of accessibility and insight into the news that people on Facebook see day in and day out,” said Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products at Facebook.

A growing number of news outlets are expected to display the indicators over the next six months, with a second phase of news partners beginning implementation work soon. (IANS)

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Send Your own Nudes to Facebook to Stop Revenge Porn

Facebook is testing a new method to stop revenge porn that requires you to send your own nudes to yourself via the social network's Messenger app

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Send your own nudes
Send your own nudes via messenger app to yourself.Pixabay.

Sydney, Nov 9: Facebook is testing a new method to stop revenge porn that requires you to send your own nudes to yourself via the social network’s Messenger app.

This strategy would help Facebook to create a digital fingerprint for the picture and mark it as non-consensual explicit media.

So if a relationship goes sour, you could take proactive steps to prevent any intimate images in possession of your former love interest from being shared widely on Facebook or instagram.

Facebook is partnering with a Australian government agency to prevent such image-based abuses, the Australia Broadcasting Corp reported.

If you’re worried your intimate photos will end up on Instagram or Facebook, you can get in contact with Australi’s e-Safety Commissioner. They might then tell you to send your own nudes to yourself on Messenger.

send your own nudes to yourself
Facebook is coming up with a method to prevent revenge porn if you send your own nudes to yourself. Pixabay.

“It would be like sending yourself your image in email, but obviously this is a much safer, secure end-to-end way of sending the image without sending it through the ether,” e-Safety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant told ABC.

Once the image is sent via Messenger, Facebook would use technology to “hash” it, which means creating a digital fingerprint or link.

“They’re not storing the image, they’re storing the link and using artificial intelligence and other photo-matching technologies,” Grant said.

“So if somebody tried to upload that same image, which would have the same digital footprint or hash value, it will be prevented from being uploaded,” she explained.

Australia is one of four countries taking part in the “industry-first” pilot which uses “cutting-edge technology” to prevent the re-sharing on images on its platforms, Facebook’s Head of Global Safety Antigone Davis was quoted as saying.

“The safety and wellbeing of the Facebook community is our top priority,” Davis said. (IANS)

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Exclusive Interview: You’re never out of work, you’re constantly working ‘, says Actress Ragini Khanna

Ragini Khanna's Exclusive interview. The actress will be seen in upcoming movie Ghoomketu with Nawazuddin Siddique.

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Actress Ragini Khanna
Actress Ragini Khanna. Bubble Communications
  • Actress Ragini Khanna who got fame from TV Show ‘Sasural Genda Phool’, speaks about her experience working with Actor Nazwazzudin Siddiqui
  • Being from the family of superstar Govinda, Ragini Khanna shares her thoughts on nepotism in the industry.

‘Yes, it exists for some for many. Eventually your talent and your hard work matters’, Ragini Khanna opines about nepotism.

Q1. Why have you been away from the industry for such a long time?
I’ve honestly not been away for a very long time, I’ve been around. I was just searching for the right script and the right project to come back with. I lost health post doing a lot of television. My priority was to keep my health in checkup work which was allowed by myself. Now I’m absolutely willing to take up work because now I’m in my perfect shape and body.
Q2. Do you think going out of work is common in the industry nowadays?
You’re never out of work, you’re constantly working. It’s just about the how much visible you’re in front of the audience. In fact, I feel being too much into the audiences life is also a bit of an overdose, nowadays, everything needs to be your space. Actors are in everybody’s space. I generally believe in having a certain amount of exclusivity. As a person, I want to breathe an actor in my constant life. I don’t want an actor to be on my social media, my Facebook etc. Agreed an actor needs to be everywhere but when he has the right film or the right TV show. I could be incorrect for many people who think actors should be constantly seen, but for me, it’s more important to be rightly seen. It’s always quality over quantity.
Q3. Being from the family of Superstar Govinda, what are your views n Nepotism in the industry?
Yes, it exists for some for many. Eventually your talent and your hard work matters. Skills, crafts and your passion. For me it’s not about getting launched or making a first impression, it’s about longevity and sustaining and if ur not here for long enough then ur not good enough.
Q4. Being an actor which medium is more effort consuming, TV or Cinema?
TV is extremely physically consuming. you’re bound to lose your physical strength especially if you’re doing your daily soap. Because times constraints are too hectic. It’s extremely painful and exhausting.
Q5. Any plans to come back in the television industry? Of yes, What kind of role you would like to play?
If I get the right show, director and script, why not? I never differentiate between the mediums. For me, it was always content over the medium.
Q6.How was your experience working with one of the finest actors in Bollywood Nawazuddin Siddiqui?
My experience of working with Nawazuddin was phenomenal. He’s a very good actor and a better person to work with. He’s humble, sincere and genuine which is ideal to have all these qualities in your co-actor.
Asking about her upcoming projects, Ragini Khanna told NewsGram,’Really can’t speak much about it right now. I haven’t signed up anything. Nothing is official to speak about the project I’m considering or being considered for.’