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Microsoft Announces The Launch of ‘Robot OS’ For Windows 10

With the advancements of robots, Microsoft plans to experiment into advanced development tools

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Microsoft
Microsoft's beta Android launcher has digital health feature. Pixabay

Microsoft has announced an experimental release of “Robot Operating System (ROS1)” for Windows as a next step in bringing features like Machine Learning (ML), computer vision, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud services and other Microsoft technologies to home, education, commercial and industrial robots.

The announcement comes as part of the “ROSCon 2018” that is being in Madrid, Spain where Microsoft is demonstrating a “ROBOTIS Turtlebot 3” robot that recognises and steers towards the person closest to it and runs on the “Windows 10 IoT Enterprise” solution.

“This development will bring the manageability and security of ‘Windows 10 Internet of Things (IoT) Enterprise’ solutions to the ‘ROS’ ecosystem,” Lou Amadio, Principal Software Engineer, Windows IoT, Microsoft wrote in a blog-post late on Friday.

“ROS” is a set of libraries and tools that are used to build complex robots and “Windows 10 IoT Enterprise” delivers enterprise manageability and security solutions to industry based IoT devices used in retail, manufacturing, healthcare and other industries.

Microsoft
A sign for Microsoft is seen on a building in Cambridge. VOA

The tech giant has joined the ROS Industrial Consortium –an open source project that extends the advanced capabilities of the ROS software to manufacturing — to extend and improve the productivity and return on investment of industrial robots.

“Windows has been a trusted partner of robotic and industrial systems for decades and we’re looking forward to bringing the intelligent edge to robotics by bringing more advanced features,” Amadio added.

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With the advancements of robots, Microsoft plans to experiment into advanced development tools.

“Microsoft will host the Windows builds for ‘ROS1’ and shortly ‘ROS2’, as well as provide documentation, development and deployment solutions for Windows,” wrote Amadio. (IANS)

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Microsoft Rejects Request to Install Facial Recognition Technology in Officers’ Cars and Body Cameras

AI has more cases of mistaken identity with women and minorities, multiple research projects have found

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facial recognition, microsoft
FILE - Brad Smith of Microsoft takes part in a panel discussion "Cyber, big data and new technologies. Current Internet Governance Challenges: What's Next?" at the United Nations in Geneva, Nov. 9, 2017. VOA

Microsoft recently rejected a California law enforcement agency’s request to install facial recognition technology in officers’ cars and body cameras because of human rights concerns, company President Brad Smith said Tuesday.

Microsoft concluded it would lead to innocent women and minorities being disproportionately held for questioning because the artificial intelligence has been trained on mostly white, male pictures.

AI has more cases of mistaken identity with women and minorities, multiple research projects have found.

“Anytime they pulled anyone over, they wanted to run a face scan” against a database of suspects, Smith said without naming the agency. After thinking through the uneven impact, “we said this technology is not your answer.”

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Microsoft concluded it would lead to innocent women and minorities being disproportionately held for questioning because the artificial intelligence has been trained on mostly white, male pictures. Pixabay

Prison contract accepted

Speaking at a Stanford University conference on “human-centered artificial intelligence,” Smith said Microsoft had also declined a deal to install facial recognition on cameras blanketing the capital city of an unnamed country that the nonprofit Freedom House had deemed not free. Smith said it would have suppressed freedom of assembly there.

On the other hand, Microsoft did agree to provide the technology to an American prison, after the company concluded that the environment would be limited and that it would improve safety inside the unnamed institution.

Smith explained the decisions as part of a commitment to human rights that he said was increasingly critical as rapid technological advances empower governments to conduct blanket surveillance, deploy autonomous weapons and take other steps that might prove impossible to reverse.

‘Race to the bottom’

Microsoft said in December it would be open about shortcomings in its facial recognition and asked customers to be transparent about how they intended to use it, while stopping short of ruling out sales to police.

microsoft, facial recognition
“Anytime they pulled anyone over, they wanted to run a face scan” against a database of suspects, Smith said without naming the agency. Pixabay

Smith has called for greater regulation of facial recognition and other uses of artificial intelligence, and he warned Tuesday that without that, companies amassing the most data might win the race to develop the best AI in a “race to the bottom.”

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He shared the stage with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who urged tech companies to refrain from building new tools without weighing their impact.

“Please embody the human rights approach when you are developing technology,” said Bachelet, a former president of Chile. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw declined to name the prospective customers the company turned down. (VOA)