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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 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.

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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 Wants Regulation For Facial Recognition Technology To Start in 2019

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology

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

Given the potential for abuse of the fast advancing facial recognition technology, governments across the world need to start adopting laws to regulate this technology in 2019, Microsoft President Brad Smith has said.

“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” warned Smith in a blog post on Thursday.

“The time for action has arrived,” he said, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology.

Speaking of the benefits of the technology, the Microsoft President mentioned that police in New Delhi recently trialled facial recognition technology and identified almost 3,000 missing children in four days.

Similarly, historians in the US have used the technology to identify the portraits of unknown soldiers in Civil War photographs taken in the 1860s.

Researchers successfully used facial recognition software to diagnose a rare, genetic disease in Africans, Asians and Latin Americans.

And in October, the National Australia Bank designed a proof of concept to enable customers to withdraw money from an Automatic Teller Machine using facial recognition and a PIN.

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Regulation for facial recognition technology must start in 2019: Microsoft. Pixabay

But at the same time, the potential for abuse of this technology is huge, Smith said, adding that certain uses of this technology could lead to biased decisions and discrimination.

Moreover, the widespread use of this technology can lead to new intrusions into people’s privacy, he said.

“The use of facial recognition technology by a government for mass surveillance can encroach on democratic freedoms,” Smith added.

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“While we believe that new laws and regulations are indispensable, we also recognise that they are not a substitute for the responsibility that needs to be exercised by tech companies,” he said.

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology.

The company, Smith said, would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of 2019. (IANS)