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Refugee Communities Can Be Built By Tech Industries

Mikkelsen said the initiative was a win-win as it would also benefit companies by slashing costs.

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Refugees
Congolese families sit at the Kyangwali refugee settlement camp, Uganda, March 19, 2018. A California company is testing an app in Uganda that lets refugees earn money for AI training. VOA

Companies could help refugees rebuild their lives by paying them to boost artificial intelligence (AI) using their phones and giving them digital skills, a tech nonprofit said Thursday.

REFUNITE has developed an app, LevelApp, which is being piloted in Uganda to allow people who have been uprooted by conflict to earn instant money by “training” algorithms for AI.

Wars, persecution and other violence have uprooted a record 68.5 million people, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

People forced to flee their homes lose their livelihoods and struggle to create a source of income, REFUNITE co-chief executive Chris Mikkelsen told the Trust Conference in London.

Rohingya, Myanmar, refugees
Rohingya refugees cross floodwaters at Thangkhali refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district. VOA

“This provides refugees with a foothold in the global gig economy,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s two-day event, which focuses on a host of human rights issues.

$20 a day for AI work

A refugee in Uganda currently earning $1.25 a day doing basic tasks or menial jobs could make up to $20 a day doing simple AI labeling work on their phones, Mikkelsen said.

REFUNITE says the app could be particularly beneficial for women as the work can be done from the home and is more lucrative than traditional sources of income such as crafts.

The cash could enable refugees to buy livestock, educate children and access health care, leaving them less dependant on aid and helping them recover faster, according to Mikkelsen.

Rohingya, Myanmar, refugees
Rohingya refugee women wait outside of a medical center at Jamtoli camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. VOA

The work would also allow them to build digital skills they could take with them when they returned home, REFUNITE says.

“This would give them the ability to rebuild a life … and the dignity of no longer having to rely solely on charity,” Mikkelsen told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Teaching the machines

AI is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.

It is being used in a vast array of products from driverless cars to agricultural robots that can identify and eradicate weeds and computers able to identify cancers.

Refugees
In this Aug. 27, 1994 file photo, U.S. Coast Guard crew from the cutter Staten Island are hindered by rough seas in the Florida Straits as they attempt to rescue Cuban refugees. VOA

In order to “teach” machines to mimic human intelligence, people must repeatedly label images and other data until the algorithm can detect patterns without human intervention.

REFUNITE, based in California, is testing the app in Uganda where it has launched a pilot project involving 5,000 refugees, mainly form South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. It hopes to scale up to 25,000 refugees within two years.

Also Read: Rohingyas Repatriation to Myanmar Scrapped by Bangladesh

Mikkelsen said the initiative was a win-win as it would also benefit companies by slashing costs.

Another tech company, DeepBrain Chain, has committed to paying 200 refugees for a test period of six months, he said. (VOA)

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Adobe Built an AI To Spot Photoshopped Faces

This new research is part of a broader effort across Adobe to better detect image, video, audio and document manipulations

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Adobe, AI, Photoshopped
The decision is also intended to make image forensics understandable for everyone. Pixabay

Adobe, along with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have trained Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect facial manipulation in images edited using the Photoshop software.

At a time when deepfake visual content is getting commoner and more deceptive, the decision is also intended to make image forensics understandable for everyone.

“This new research is part of a broader effort across Adobe to better detect image, video, audio and document manipulations,” the company wrote in a blog-post on Friday.

As part of the programme, the team trained a convolutional neural network (CNN) to spot changes in images made with Photoshop’s “Face Away Liquify” feature, which was intentionally designed to change facial features like eyes and mouth.

Adobe, AI, Photoshopped
Adobe, along with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have trained Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect facial manipulation in images edited using the Photoshop software. Pixabay

On testing, it was found that while human eyes were able to judge the altered face 53 per cent of the time, the the trained neural network tool achieved results as high as 99 per cent.

The tool also identified specific areas and methods of facial warping.

Adobe’s execution in detecting facial manipulation came just days after doctored videos of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and US Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the rounds on social media as well as news channels.

“This is an important step in being able to detect certain types of image editing, and the undo capability works surprisingly well. Beyond technologies like this, the best defence will be a sophisticated public who know that content can be manipulated, often to delight them, but sometimes to mislead them as well,” said Gavin Miller, Head of Research, Adobe.

Adobe’s Photoshop software was originally released in 1990. (IANS)