technology
Knightscope’s Family of Dystopian Robot Guards Just Grew by Two

If you’ve heard of Knightscope’s security robots, it was probably due to their high-profile failures: one would-be Robocop failed to detect a staircase and killed itself by driving into a water fountain, another ran over a toddler’s foot in a shopping mall. On Wednesday, Knightscope announced two new potential fuck-ups were joining the force: the K1 and the K5 buggy. Read More >>

facebook
Why Do Facebook’s Algorithms Keep Abetting Racism? 

Call it algorithmic ignorance. Or maybe, algorithmic idiocy. On Thursday, Pro Publica uncovered that Facebook’s ad targeting system, which groups users together based on profile data, offered to sell advertising targeting a demographic of Facebook users that self-reported as “Jew Haters.” Read More >>

transport
China Wants to Ban Sales and Production of Fossil Fuel-Powered Cars

China announced plans to end sales of all fossil fuel-powered cars. Bloomberg reported over the weekend that Xin Guobin, vice-minister of the Industry and Information Technology Ministry, is finalising a timetable for ending production and sales of gas-powered cars while stepping up incentives for hybrid and electric cars, though no exact deadline has been announced. China has long pushed for electric cars (called ‘New Energy Vehicles’ in the country) introducing tax breaks for new buyers and planning 100,000 new charging stations in 2017 alone. Read More >>

privacy
Prosecutor Claims Social Media Surveillance of Black Lives Matter Members Wasn’t Surveillance

Six local Black Lives Matter members in Clarkstown, New York have filed a federal suit against the town, its chief of police, police sergeant, and its Special Investigations Unit, accusing them of racial profiling and illegal surveillance that violated their first and 14th amendment rights. In a response to a local news outlet, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe denied the charges. The SIU, he says, does not engage in the illegal surveillance BLM members have alleged. Read More >>

ai
Researchers Claim They Can Use Face Recognition to Accurately Identify Someone’s Sexuality 

Privacy experts have sounded alarms on face recognition for years. Originally, there were concerns that walking into airports and in public parks meant you were scanned and matched to secret criminal databases. Those fears have since evolved, and now face recognition is a bedrock of predictive technology. Soon, your chances of becoming a terrorist or developing a rare disease could be determined from your face. And our oncoming new-normal of ever-present face recognition technology may also be used to predict sexuality—accurately or otherwise—prompting concerns for queer people in countries where anonymity is key to survival. Read More >>

facebook
Facebook Claimed It Could Sell Ads to 10 Million More Millennials Than Actually Exist

Citing census data, an equity research analyst claims Facebook is once again inflating one of its key metrics, this time grossly over-reporting its ability to sell ads and effectively inventing millions more young Americans than actually exist. Read More >>

business
To Offset Sexism in Tech, These Female Cofounders Invented a Fake Male Partner: Keith Mann 

LA-based entrepreneurs Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer wanted to create Witchsy, an online marketplace for their feminist-centred, darkly comic fashion accessories. But along with the usual woes that come with getting a startup off the ground, they had another problem: men. Read More >>

climate change
Exxon Acknowledged Climate Change Internally But Still Spread Denialist Propaganda

A Harvard study released Tuesday analysed 40 years worth of documents from Exxon Mobil, concluding that the fossil fuel titan has, since 1979, internally acknowledged that carbon emissions are responsible for climate change, even as it has spent thousands over the years publicly denying the global consensus. As internal findings from peer-reviewed research grew more and more conclusive of human-instigated climate change, its public face insisted that climate change research was ambiguous. Read More >>

technology
Why Can’t This Soap Dispenser Identify Dark Skin?

On Wednesday, a Facebook employee in Nigeria shared footage of a minor inconvenience that he says speaks to tech’s larger diversity problem. In the video, a white man and a dark-skinned black man both try to get soap from a soap dispenser. The soap dispenses for the white man, but not the darker-skinned man. After a bit of laughter, a person can be overheard chucking, “too black!” Read More >>

uber
Uber Doesn’t Deny What’s Clearly Happening in the Front Seat of This Driver’s Car

What the fuck is going on in the front seat of this car? It may be something else or it may be exactly what it looks like. Aner Manuel, a stylist in Boston, claims he captured the video of his Uber driver being “intimate” with a woman while driving him in mid-July. Of course, this would be unsafe (yes, drivers have killed people while getting road head before), but it would also be an inexcusable violation of Uber’s rules for drivers. Read More >>

surveillance
Motorola’s New Body Cam AI Stops Just Short of Dystopian Surveillance

Unsurprisingly, the latest AI advancement in body camera technology comes no closer to increasing police accountability or officer transparency. As the public’s push for body cameras has died down, tech companies are now making their own appeal for body cameras to the police departments that buy them: offering sharper, smarter surveillance. Read More >>

facebook
Leaked Facebook Rules Reveal Why It Won’t Protect Black Children From Hate Speech

On Wednesday, ProPublica published dozens of startling training documents reportedly used by Facebook to train moderators on hate speech. As the trove of slides and quizzes reveals, Facebook uses a warped, one-sided reasoning to balance policing hate speech against users’ freedom of expression on the platform. This is perhaps best summarised by the above image from one of its training slideshows, wherein Facebook instructs moderators to protect “White Men,” but not “Female Drivers” or “Black Children.” Read More >>

research
Researchers Think They Can Use Twitter to Spot Riots Before Police

Researchers in the UK used machine learning algorithms to analyze 1.6 million tweets in London during the infamous 2011 riots, which resulted in widespread looting, property destruction and over 3,000 arrests. According to the researchers, analysing Twitter data to map out where violence occurred in London boroughs was faster and more accurate than relying on emergency calls—or even on-the-ground information gathering. Read More >>

uber
Uber Can’t Stop Tripping on Its Own Misogynistic Feet

Leaked audio from a Tuesday all-hands meeting shows that Uber, still struggling to win back the public’s goodwill since the company was accused of widespread misogyny and sexual harassment earlier this year, can’t help but continue on its path of self-destruction. Read More >>

crime
Thai Click-Fraud Farm Busted Using Wall of iPhones

Three Chinese citizens were arrested in Thailand on Sunday after a police raid uncovered a massive click-fraud operation of roughly 500 smartphones, mostly iPhones, and an estimated 350,000 SIM cards. The men reportedly admitted to using the phones to inflate the number of clicks on ads in WeChat, China’s largest messaging app. Read More >>