Discus Systems PLC - IT Support Company in Birmingham West midlands
0800 880 3360

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 14th Aug 2018

Image result for zoombiesThere are zombies on the internet - odd, undead lumps of code that roam endlessly seeking and finding fresh victims to infect that help keep the whole ugly horde staggering on, and on.

Most of these shambling data revenants are computer viruses and the most long-lived of all are worms.

"Most of those worms are self-spreading - that's why we still see them moving around," said Candid Wueest, principal threat researcher at Symantec, who has hunted viruses for years.

Typically, he said, when these malicious programs infected a machine, they kicked off a routine that scanned the entire net looking for other computers vulnerable in the same way as their current host.

When they found one, they installed a copy that also started scanning.

"All it takes is a few machines to get them moving around again," he added.

The living dud

One of the most active zombie viruses is Conficker, which first struck in November 2008. At its height, the worm is believed to have infected up to 15 million Windows PCs.

The French navy, UK warships, Greater Manchester Police and many others were all caught out by Conficker, which targeted the Windows XP operating system.

The malware caused so much trouble that Microsoft put up a bounty of $250,000 (£193,000) for any information that would lead to the capture of Conficker's creators.

That bounty was still live and, Microsoft told the BBC, remained unclaimed to this day.

Dr Paul Vixie, from Farsight Security, was part of the Conficker Working Group, set up when the malware was at its feverish peak.

There are millions of viruses in circulation - but most have only a short life

The group had managed to stem the tide of infection, said Dr Vixie, because of the way the virus worked.

One of the ways it spread was by it checking one of a handful of net domains for instructions or updates every day.

And the first two variants of Conficker picked one domain from a list of 250 randomly generated names.

But some clever software reverse engineering worked out how the daily domains were generated.

In 2008, Dr Vixie helped to run the net's Domain Name System so was able to co-ordinate a global effort to register every day's possible domains before the malware's creators did the same.

And data sent from infected machines was then "sinkholed" almost neutering Conficker's ability to spread.

"We got it from 11 million down to one million," said Dr Vixie. "That sounds like progress but one million is still a pretty big number."

hat zombie virus was still wandering around, said Dr Vixie.

Statistics gathered by Symantec suggest there were 1.2 million Conficker infections in 2016 and 840,000 in 2017.

India suffered the highest number of infections last year.

"The population is gradually reducing in size because eventually computers wear out or they get upgraded or replaced," Dr Vixie said.

And that is just as well because the concerted efforts to directly combat Conficker are all but at an end.

Dr Vixie and some others still block a few of the domains its variants seeks out but only to sample the traffic they send to get an idea of the viral load Conficker places on the net.

The good news was that Conficker had never been "weaponised", said Dr Vixie.

His theory is that Conficker escaped too early and was too successful for its creators to risk making it more malicious.

Data of the dead

But Conficker was not alone in persisting long after its initial outburst, said Mr Wueest, from Symantec.

Its network of sensors across the net regularly catches a wide range of malware that has lasted for much longer than anyone expected.

Symantec regularly sees the SillyFDC virus from 2007, Virut from 2006 and even a file infector called Sality that dates from 2003.

"We do see Dos viruses now and then," he said. The disk operating system (Dos) is more than 36 years old and dates from the early days of the desktop PC. Even older versions ran on mainframes.

"Our guess is that sometimes it is researchers that have found an old disk and its gets run and gets detected," said Mr Wueest.

Net-connected cameras are helping attackers mount large-scale attacks such as Mirai

There were many others, said Martin Lee, technical, lead for security research at Cisco.

"Malware samples can be long-lived in that they are continued to be observed 'in the wild' many months or years after they were first encountered," he said.

One regularly caught in the spam traps by Cisco is another worm, called MyDoom, that appeared in 2004.

"It's often the most commonly detected malware we get in our traps," said Mr Lee.

But many viruses lived on in another fashion, he said, because of the way the cyber-crime underground treated code.

"Malware is rarely static," he said, "computer code from older malware families can be shared, or stolen, and used in the development of new malware."

One prime example of this, said Mr Lee, was the Zeus banking Trojan, whose source code was leaked in 2011.

That code had proved so useful that it was still turning up seven years later, he said.

The trend of zombie malware was likely to continue if more modern viruses were any guide, said Mr Lee.

Mirai first appeared in 2016 but is proving hard to eradicate.

"It has features suggesting that it will be exceptionally long lived," Mr Lee said.

The bug infects networked devices unlikely to be running anti-virus software. Some cannot be upgraded to run any kind of decent protection.

As the net grows and starts to incorporate more of those dumber devices, Mirai, like Conficker will probably never be eradicated.

"With the source code of the malware leaked, and a simple method of propagation using default usernames and passwords to compromise devices, it is something that will be with us for years," Mr Lee said.

Source: bbc.co.uk
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 14th Aug 2018

The intent is to build bots small enough to crawl through a garden hose

DARPA wants to build an army of teeny tiny robots

The intent is to build bots small enough to crawl through a garden hose

Disaster recovery robots are becoming the new governmental must-have, with firms like Boston Dynamics developing bots that can inspect unstable terrain, work in toxic environments and generally go where humans can't.

Not content to let private firms reap all the glory, the US government is getting in on the action through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which develops new technologies for the military.

In the past these technologies have included human exoskeletons, jetpacks and various smart missiles. Going a few steps down on the size scale, though, DARPA's new project is called SHRIMP: SHort-Range Independent Microrobotic Platforms.

Aiming to spur development of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) - another area in which the Agency had a founding role - the robots are said to be small enough to make their way through tiny spaces, like the inside of a drainpipe or garden hose.

Ronald Polcawich, a programme manager in the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO), said: "Whether in a natural disaster scenario, a search and rescue mission, a hazardous environment or other critical relief situation, robots have the potential to provide much needed aide and support.

"However, there are a number of environments that are inaccessible for larger robotic platforms. Smaller robotics systems could provide significant aid, but shrinking down these platforms requires significant advancement of the underlying technology."

Power is the most significant challenge with such small robots, with untethered models commonly running out of power after only a minute or two. Overcoming ‘SWaP' (size, weight and power) constraints is the goal behind SHRIMP.

DARPA has $32 million to invest in grant funding, and teams must build components or entire robots that can compete in a series of Olympic-style tests. For actuators and power sources these include the high jump, long jump, weightlifting and shotput (expected result: >10cm for a 1g load).

Teams that develop full robots will have their own events, including the steeplechase and biathlon.

Proposals are due by the 26th September, and the contests could take place in Q1 next year.

Source: v3.co.uk
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 13th Aug 2018

Over a million homes in the UK could benefit from Vodafone’s new full fibre broadband service following a trial in Milton Keynes. The new services are made possible by Vodafone’s partnership with CityFibre, which has built the full fibre network.

50 customer homes in Milton Keynes will be the first to test Vodafone Gigafast Broadband, its new Gigabit full fibre home broadband service, before it is made widely available across the city. Vodafone Gigafast Broadband runs over fibre optic cables at every stage of the connection, instead of using old copper-based wires. This means customers will enjoy a faster and more reliable broadband service.

Greg Mesch, Chief Executive at CityFibre said:

“Bringing the first Gigabit homes online in Milton Keynes is a great moment for full fibre in the UK and shows just how quickly this powerful partnership between Vodafone and CityFibre can bring towns and cities transformative digital connectivity. Our rollout is gathering pace, with the first homes live within four months of breaking ground in Milton Keynes and more to follow quickly in Peterborough and Aberdeen.

“These networks are future-proof, capable of delivering Gigabit speeds today but potentially up to 40 Gigabits per second in the near future. Milton Keynes is the first to benefit but not the last: CityFibre intends to bring this technology to at least five million homes and businesses by 2025, with Gigabit towns and cities becoming a reality across the UK.”

Source: cw-chamber.co.uk
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 13th Aug 2018

Business secretary Greg Clark says Sutherland spaceport will be competing for share of 2,000 satellite launches a year by 2030

Image result for satellite launch

The UK's first spaceport in Sutherland, northern Scotland will be competing for a slice of the global market for satellite launches from the early 2020s, business secretary Greg Clark has claimed. 

Visiting the site where the spaceport will be built, he added that it could generate as many as 400 jobs in the local economy, while stimulating the satellite and space business across the UK.

It comes after the government provided £31.5 million in funding to support the Sutherland spaceport in July, which forms part of the government's Industrial Strategy. The Sutherland spaceport will be developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The government claims that the commercial market for launches could be worth £3.8 billion to the UK economy over the next decade, and will support a burgeoning space sector.

The UK already has a significant satellite manufacturing sector, which includes the presence of multinationals such as Airbus and Thales Alenia Space, as well as British Aerospace, Clyde Space, Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, and Surrey Satellite Technology. Other companies in the broader space sector include Moog-ISP, Orbex and Reaction Engines.

Indeed, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy claims that the UK builds more small satellites than any other country in Europe - with Glasgow a leading centre.

"From our market leadership in small satellite construction to our world leading universities, Scotland and the UK comes from a position of strength in the global space sector which will be turbo-boosted by the first new spaceport and our Industrial Strategy," said Clark.

He continued: "However, I want to make sure that this giant leap for the UK will also deliver on the ground. That's why I'm here today to discuss benefits in local jobs, uplifting tourism and businesses, helping to bring prosperity to all."

Clark believes there is a gap in the market that the Sutherland spaceport can exploit. Currently, small satellite launches piggyback on larger missions, but this is increasingly incapable of meeting growing demand.

"The international space sector is set to grow very significantly in the coming years. We want to ensure our businesses are ready to benefit from the opportunities this will create… We'll be working to develop supply chain opportunities locally and across our region.

"We will also use the spaceport's presence to attract and encourage further business activity and investment here in the longer term," said HIE project director Roy Kirk.

Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex, added: "With Sutherland, we will have continental Europe's first spaceport. Britain already has a very strong satellite manufacturing capability and soon, with Orbex, there will be British rockets taking those satellites into orbit. This end-to-end capability is unique in Europe and will create a virtuous circle."

Orbex, he continued, is planning to build a rocket factory and Spaceflight Mission Control facility in Scotland. It is currently testing its Prime rocket and has secured £30 million in funding. "We have signed up our first customer for 20 satellite launches," he added.

Source: v3.co.uk
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 13th Aug 2018

If you want to see what the highway of the future might look like, then you only need to drive down to Georgia.

On an 18-mile segment of Interstate 85 — stretching from the city of LaGrange to the Alabama border, 67 miles from Atlanta — a consortium of government agencies, global companies, and academic researchers, along with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation are working together to build a smart roadway. Using a variety of technologies ranging from electricity-generating surfaces to pollution-reducing ditches, it’s a real-world laboratory that’s paving the way to the roads of tomorrow.

It’s also aimed at demonstrating how a smart transportation corridor can not only be environmentally friendly, but generate revenue as well.

smart cities series content module fg

Cities across the globe are installing technology to gather data in the hopes of saving money, becoming cleaner, reducing traffic, and improving urban life. In Digital Trends’ Smart Cities series, we’ll examine how smart cities deal with everything from energy management, to disaster preparedness, to public safety, and what it all means for you.

That tantalizing possibility — making money off public roads — has attracted a lot attention to what is known as “The Ray,” the stretch of I-85 that includes the right-of-way land along the highway, the highway itself, and the Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point. Officially the Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, the segment is named after the man who founded Interface Inc., a carpet manufacturer, and the namesake foundation that’s involved in the project. Anderson, who died in 2011, was recognized during his tenure at Interface for his efforts to make his company environmentally sustainable, and projects that promote a sustainable society is one of the nonprofit’s goals.

Like urban environments, highways present an interesting opportunity — and a significant challenge — for new technology solutions. Roadways impinge on natural habitats in 15 percent of the country, for example, and the cars and trucks that travel on them produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually.
And, there’s a lot of pavement out there: Over 164,000 miles of highway crisscross the United States. That’s enough concrete and tarmac to go around the world 6.5 times.

So far, most of those are roads do only one thing: carry vehicles. The Ray wants to show they can do much more.


Perhaps the most ambitious idea is to turn all that pavement baking in the sun into a giant solar power source. At the West Point Visitor Information Center, the Ray is starting with Wattway, approximately 538 square feet of solar panels laid down on the road’s surface. Durable enough to withstand the traffic from tens of thousands of vehicles a year, the photovoltaic pavers are thin and skid-resistant, and can be installed over existing pavement, so there’s no need to tear up roads.

The Ray Solar Road

The Ray

“The next project is to see if it’s feasible to put solar panels in the shoulder of the road,” Costas Simoglou, director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Energy Technology, told Digital Trends. Simoglou is interested in putting the panels on the side of the highway not because of durability concerns, but they would get more sun exposure.

Wattway was developed by the French transportation company Colas. The technology took over five years of research and development, working in conjunction with the French National Solar Energy Institute. Wattway currently provides electricity to the visitor center, but it could do much more.

Additional energy generated by Wattway could not only feed electricity back into the grid, but also power everything from street lights to traffic signals. It could be a source of electricity anywhere there’s pavement and people: shopping centers, airports, even bike paths. Solar panels on the road could also power needed vehicle-to-infrastructure communications for the forthcoming generation of self-driving cars.


Then, there’s the electric car charging stations. At the visitor center, there are charging stations for electric vehicles, sponsored by Kia Motors, which has a manufacturing plant in West Point. The stations are currently powered by pole-mounted photovolaic solar panels, and owners can power up their electric cars free of charge.

“But solar could be a new revenue source for the state,” Simoglou said. “There are already 25,000 electric vehicles in Georgia. So the state could eventually sell electricity” rather then charging gasoline tax.


Roughly 700,000 people make a pit stop at the West Point visitor center every year. So, it’s not just an ideal proving ground for new technologies, it’s also a great way to show drivers the benefits these new smart systems have to offer them.

One of the most successful projects, for example, is the WheelWright system. People drive their cars slowly past the system’s wheel sensors, which take thousands of pictures of the tires in a few seconds. WheelWright, a British company, will then either spit out a paper report or text the driver with information on the tire pressure and tread wear on the car. The goal is to alert drivers when their tires are under inflated, which can reduce fuel efficiency and traction, or need to be replaced.

The technology has other possible applications, such as the thousands of truck weigh stations across the United States. Today, most commercial truck drivers do a visual — and not terribly accurate — inspection of tires and tread wear. The WheelWright system could do it more accurately and more quickly.


Highways comprise more than just pavement, of course. Other parts of The Ray project are working to leverage the land alongside the road.

Instead of conventional ditches, for example, The Ray is utilizing so-called “bioswales.” Rather than simply facilitating rain runoff, bioswales are shallow drainage ditches that are filled with vegetation that is known to capture particulate pollutants, such as rubber, lead, and oil that can wash off the road. The plants, often switchgrass, are all native to Georgia, and some bioswales include compost to slow water movement and reduce the threat of sudden flooding in a rainstorm.

“We would love to have this carbon-free highway — zero waste, zero carbon, zero deaths.”

Other smart agriculture road work includes planting wheat farms along and around the highway. The project has been using intermediate wheatgrass, which have 10-foot deep roots that help prevent soil erosion, help retain clean water, and trap carbon. The perennial is currently in the midst of a three-year study along the side of The Ray.

The Ray just received state approval to install a 2-megawatt solar array in another right of way, said Simoglou of the Georgia Center of Innovation. The new solar array will be installed at an exit ramp near the city of LaGrange. Future solar array plans include using the panels strategically to also act as noise dampening walls — all of it covered by a pollinator meadow ground cover.


Besides sustainability, smart infrastructure must be safe, as well. It’s estimated that $277 billion is lost every year in the U.S. due to car and truck accidents, according to the entities behind the projct.

“We would love to have this carbon-free highway,” said Harriet Anderson Langford, president of The Ray. “So that’s zero waste, zero carbon, zero deaths.”

The Ray

Smart roads could include speed warning systems, for example. One technology is speed control pulsing. The system, developed by Innovia, involves embedding light studs in the road. The studs flash in sequence to warn drivers of trouble ahead — yellow to reduce speeds and red for congestion or traffic stoppage ahead.

The lights can also be used to encourage safe following distances, alerting drivers when they get too close or tailgate cars in front. A line of red studs along the dotted white lane dividers could also tell drivers there’s a vehicle approaching from behind and that it’s unsafe to change lanes. The smart dots could even be used to deliver lane departure warnings and alerts about black ice. It means any car, not just newer connected cars, could benefit from early alerts to help them avoid accidents.


So far, the costs associated with The Ray project are relatively small. The organization’s executive director, Allie Kelly, says The Ray spends about $1 million a year. The money comes from the Georgia Department of Transportation, private corporate partnerships, and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation endowment.

For government departments like the DOT it’s a chance to test new smart infrastructure technologies. For the private firms involved, it’s an invaluable real world testing bed to improve their technologies. (Colas, for example, believes it will now be able to bring the cost of its solar pavers down to the equivalent of roof top solar panels.)

For The Ray, it’s a way to spread the ideas and solutions for a smart road infrastructure to other states and communities. There’s now a constant flow of new visitors to the Georgia site, from Florida and Missouri state reps to researchers from the asphalt industry and academic institutions.

“All this smart stuff can be overwhelming, especially for town managers” trying to balance budgets, Simoglou said. So The Ray is out to shown them not only how smart roads can be sustainable, but also be a sustainable business.

Source: digitaltrends.com
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 8th Aug 2018

A Ford factory worker wearing a robotic exosuitImage copyrightFORD

Image captionThe EksoVests are designed to assist workers lifting or interacting with objects overhead

Carmaker Ford is in the process of giving mechanical "exosuits" to 75 workers at 15 of its factories globally, following successful trials of the technology.

The devices, called EksoVests, wrap around the upper body and assist when lifting or reaching overhead.

It is hoped the suits will lower injuries from repetitive motion.

One industry watcher said it was a significant increase in the use of exosuits in the workplace.

Ekso Bionics is the company behind the devices, which were first used at two of Ford's assembly plants in the US.

Now the auto giant is bringing the technology to several more locations across seven countries: the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Romania, China and Thailand.

Improving overheads

Ford and Ekso say workers' physical activity is comparable to a person lifting a bag of flour or a watermelon above their head 4,600 times a day.

To help reduce the strain, the exosuits provide support to workers' arms as they reach up to perform manual tasks on car bodies and parts suspended above their heads, for example to screw bolts into place with power tools.

The devices also help with lifting larger under-body components into place - including skid plates and bumpers.

They are not powered or controlled by an onboard computer, but instead offer passive mechanical assistance to the wearer.

EksoVests fit workers between 5ft 2in and 6ft 4in tall (1.57m to 1.93m) and offer lift assistance for loads of between 5lb and 15lb per arm (2.3kg to 6.8kg).

A Ford factory on the underside a red carImage copyrightFORD

Image captionThe exosuits are being used in factories in seven different countries around the world

"I don't want the EksoVest to ever leave," said Nick Gotts, an EksoVest user who works at Ford's Flat Rock plant in Michigan, one of the first facilities to incorporate the technology.

"Any job that's overhead, I wouldn't work without it."

Ford's rollout of the technology was the largest adoption of exosuits by a company yet, said long-time industry analyst Dan Kara, at The Robot Report.

"Everything that I've heard behind the scenes says that it's all very positive," he told the BBC.

"These [exosuits] are acting like an intermediary between a human doing something and a full-on robotic solution."

Mr Kara emphasised that the benefits, including reduced worker injuries and higher employee satisfaction, were easy to measure, which has encouraged manufacturing companies and others to push forward with the technology.

In a press release, Ford noted that the 2018 injury incident rate was currently one of the lowest on record.

Source: bbc.co.uk
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 7th Aug 2018
  • Google is rolling out the latest version of the Android operating system to Pixel and Essential Phone users.
  • This is Android 9.0, dubbed Android "Pie" by Google.
  • Monday's update includes only a few of the features that Google announced earlier this year. 
  • The rest of the features will come in the fall.
  • It's unclear when phones that aren't made by Google or Essential will get the update. Google says some will get it in the fall — but it's not yet clear when, exactly, it'll come to Samsung's popular Android phones.

Google is rolling out the latest version of its Android operating system — Android 9.0, officially codenamed "Pie" — on Monday, but only a few of the headlining features that Google announced back at Google I/O are included in the update. 

The version of Android Pie that's rolling out on Monday includes Google's personalization features, powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Those features include Adaptive Battery, which uses AI to learn which apps you use at what time of the day, and prioritizes battery towards those apps. 

There's also Adaptive Brightness, which learns how you adjust your brightness settings in different lighting situations and automatically changes the display's brightness. android p adaptive brightnessYouTube/Google

You'll also find App Actions in there, which predicts what you'll want to do based on what you're doing on your phone at any given time. If you're getting ready to commute, App Actions will suggest navigation with Google Maps, or perhaps that you start an audiobook. 

There are new swiping gestures in Android Pie, essentially introducing a whole new way to use Android phones, that are also included in Monday's rollout. It's only an option, and you can turn it off if you prefer the old fashioned way of navigating around your Android phone. 

What's not included in Monday's Android Pie rollout

In a strange twist, the version of Android Pie that's rolling out on Monday won't include some of the "Digital Wellbeing" features that Google announced at Google I/O, including a newDashboard feature that Google says "helps you understand how you're spending time on your device."

A feature called App Timer, which lets you set a time limit on specific apps, is also coming out later this fall. 

android p digital wellbeingGoogle

And Wind Down is coming in the fall, too. It'll switch on the Night Light mode that limits your screen's blue light, fade the screen to grayscale (a sort of black and white), and even turn on Do Not Disturb mode before bedtime. Do Not Disturb is also getting smarter, which will mute visual interruptions on your screen in addition to sounds and vibrations. 

Most of you probably won't get the update today...unless you have these three phones

Google's latest Android update is only rolling out to the company's own Pixel smartphones — that is, the original Pixel phone, as well as the newer Pixel 2. Those with the Essential Phone are also getting the Android Pie update, according to Essential, which could make it the first non-Google smartphone that gets an Android update on day one of the rollout.

It should be noted that both the Pixel 2 and the Essential Phone, while sporting solid, modern hardware, are also relatively smaller players in the market for Android devices.

Those with Android phones by companies like Samsung, LG, HTC, and pretty much any company that's not Google or Essential aren't getting the update on Monday. It's unclear when those users will get the update. If the past is anything to go by, it'll be months before non-Google smartphone users get the Android Pie update, if at all. 

Google did say that devices that participated in the Android Beta program — including Sony, Xiami, HMD Global (Nokia), Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus — will receive the update this fall. 

Still, on day one, Android 9.0 won't have some of its most-hyped features, and it may not come to your phone or most others for months. It's a little bit of a weird situation.

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 6th Aug 2018


Aron ChaseImage copyright ARON CHASE

Image caption Aron Chase was given five tips on how to succeed in the world of AI science

A teenager from London has been given some extra homework for the school holidays by the co-founder of Artificial Intelligence firm DeepMind.

Aron Chase, 17, tweeted Shane Legg looking for five top tips on how to succeed in the burgeoning field of AI.

Dr Legg replied with some very specific advice, including brushing up on linear algebra.

Some AI scientists command six-figure salaries because of the current shortage of experts in the field.

Skip Twitter post by @aron65900682


@ShaneLegg Hey Shane I’m currently 17 from London England and am very passionate about AI, also learning about in-depth human needs. What would be the 5 pieces of advice and tips you would give to a young person like me?

10:48 PM - Jul 29, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post by @aron65900682

In response to the tweet, the Deepmind chief scientist and co-founder said Aron needed to learn:

  • linear algebra well (eg matrix maths)
  • calculus to an OK level (not advanced stuff)
  • probability theory and stats to a good level
  • theoretical computer science basics
  • to code well in Python and ok in C++

DeepMind, a sister company to Google, is considered by many to be at the cutting-edge of AI research. Algorithms developed at the London-based firm have accomplished a variety of tasks, including beating humans at the complex game of Go, and detecting cancers.

According to the New York Times, its AI scientists are paid an average of $345,000 (£265,000) a year, something not confirmed by the firm itself.

There is currently a shortage of AI experts, as tech firms around the globe vie to snap up talent.

According to research from start-up Element AI, there are around 22,000 PhD researchers working on AI topics around the world, of which about 3,000 were currently looking for work. It also found that there was a subset of 5,000 people at the heart of AI research, who are publishing papers on the topic.

The big question is - will Mr Chase be using the advice?

"Oh yes, for sure. I will definitely follow it and aim to learn all of it by this time next year," he told the BBC.

Mr Chase is currently studying ICT (Information and Communication Technology) at a sixth-form college but said he would consider a university course specialising in AI or, even better, an apprenticeship at an AI firm.

"Elon Musk has said that college degrees aren't as good as getting hands-on experience," he told the BBC.

So will he be tweeting Mr Musk, who has expressed concerns that AI technology could destroy humans in the future, looking for a job?

"Oh yeah, that would be awesome," he said.

Source: bbc.co.uk
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 6th Aug 2018


Shubnum KhanImage copyrightSHUBNUM KHAN

Image captionShubnum Khan has shared a cautionary tale as the face behind a stock image

If she is not welcoming immigrants to Canada and Uruguay, Shubnum Khan is selling carpets in New York City, leading treks in Cambodia or looking for love in France.

Her face has been on a McDonald's advert in China and one for sedation dentistry in Virginia.

But the truth is, the South African author and artist has done none of these things.

It all started in 2012 when a friend in Canada posted a picture to Shubnum's Facebook page. It was an advert promoting immigration in a Canadian newspaper.

"This looks like you," the friend posted, and others responded saying it was definitely her.

"I didn't mind being in immigration ads but I was very confused," she tells the BBC from her home in Durban, South Africa.

"I couldn't understand why my face was in a paper all the way on that side of the world."

That is when another friend stepped in and said: "Hey, didn't we do a photo shoot a few years ago, remember?"

'We didn't read the small print'

Two years earlier, a 24-year-old Shubnum and some university friends had gone to a free photo shoot she had heard about called the 100 Faces Shoot.

The photographer promised 100 people professional portraits in exchange for being snapped.

"I thought the picture would be used for his portfolio, or an art project," recalls the now 33-year-old author. "People remember hearing mention of an art project."

"It's very quick - you sign a piece of paper, you go in, the photographer says smile for a picture. It is quick but I definitely was not told it would be for a stock picture."

Skip Twitter post by @ShubnumKhan

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Shubnum Khan✔@ShubnumKhan

So today I'm going to tell you the story of How I Ended Up with my Face On a McDonald's Advert in China - A Cautionary Tale. Six or so years ago, a friend in Canada posted a pic on my FB wall to say she found an advert of me promoting immigration in a Canadian newspaper.

11:56 AM - Jul 28, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post by @ShubnumKhan

Presentational white space

"Initially I thought it was really funny," Shubnum says of her finding various versions of the stock image. "But over time, there were so many photos and I never got any money for this."

She contacted the photographer who confirmed she had signed away the rights to the photos and that they were now stock images that he sells.

"We signed a release form at the start," Shubnum recalled in a recent tweet, "We didn't read the small print. I know. It was stupid."

'It was so dishonest'

Someone told Shubnum about how to do a Google reverse image search, which allows you to find images that are similar to the one you search with.

"I've definitely seen more than 50 [versions]," she says. "It's a famous face without anyone really knowing me."

Many of the adverts seemed innocent enough to her, but then she came across the fake testimonials.

Skip Twitter post 2 by @ShubnumKhan

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Shubnum Khan✔@ShubnumKhan

Replying to @ShubnumKhan

And then suddenly all this facial work has you getting attention and you're Dina M, with a baby and post pregnancy melasma until Dermolyte comes to the rescue and gives you photoshopped finished skin.

11:56 AM - Jul 28, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post 2 by @ShubnumKhan

Presentational white space

Skip Twitter post 3 by @ShubnumKhan

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Shubnum Khan✔@ShubnumKhan

Replying to @ShubnumKhan

I can also take on new identities. The most shocking of these are adverts to teach & care for kids - so who is actually with the kids? When I asked the photographer abt this, he says I signed away rights to 'distortion of character including false names'.

11:56 AM - Jul 28, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post 3 by @ShubnumKhan

Presentational white space

"The testimonials are the most shocking for me," she says. "I thought I understood how stock images work, you know, like having a picture of a house to illustrate a house.

"But it was so dishonest, I never knew you could use stock images with false testimonials and fake names."

The ones that bothered her the most were where her blemishes were edited out for an after-photo promoting a beauty product and when her name was changed with a fake history of post-pregnancy melasma.

Skip Twitter post 4 by @ShubnumKhan

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Shubnum Khan✔@ShubnumKhan

Replying to @ShubnumKhan

Also, I love my ethnicity varies according to whim. I'm Seng Bonny leading Cambodian tours, Phoebe Lopez from San Francisco, Kelsi from San Francisco, Chandra from California, Christine from LaTrobe Uni, Dina M etc.

11:56 AM - Jul 28, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post 4 by @ShubnumKhan

Presentational white space

By 2013, it was getting too much so she contacted the photographer again to appeal for his help.

"I actually had to work up the courage to ask him because I thought he'd say no," she recalls of the exchange. "I said I knew we signed this thing, but I didn't realise that my photo would go like that.

"He explained he was sorry I felt hard done by but it was all legal and explained to us beforehand," Shubnum tweeted. "But he agreed to take it down from his site since I complained as an author I could be recognised."

Shubnum is adamant she was never told that the photographs taken when she was a university student would be used as stock images.

She adds: "No-one told me that it would be a stock image, no-one told me my name would be distorted. If someone had told me that, I wouldn't have signed it."

Skip Twitter post 5 by @ShubnumKhan

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Shubnum Khan✔@ShubnumKhan

Replying to @ShubnumKhan

I've also looked for love online on a French dating website. This roughly translates to: 'I’m here, do not click too hard I’m fragile. Here I am looking prince charming of my dreams, who comes on his white horse to steal my heart...'

11:56 AM - Jul 28, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post 5 by @ShubnumKhan

Presentational white space

Cautionary tale

Of the 100 people who were photographed alongside Shubnum in 2010, a number have searched the internet for their own photo as a stock image.

The friends that accompanied her on that day have not found any, but Shubnum says she has heard from others who did.

Even though the photographer has obliged and removed her stock images, Shubnum has continued to find her face crop up on ads that had already bought her image.

Not as many as before, she is relieved to report, but the last one she saw was on a promotion to sell villas a few months ago.

Since her story went viral on Twitter, people have contacted her to share their own stock image discoveries, with some even saying her (fake) testimonial inspired them.

Skip Twitter post 6 by @ShubnumKhan

Shubnum Khan✔@ShubnumKhan

Okay, I'm laughing (broke but laughing).


Hey @ShubnumKhan you had made me buy some Management course material to prepare for my Management degree. It was you testimonial that I read, few years back. Just to let you know, I am a good Management professional now, well placed and earning well. Just thankyou anyways.

10:49 AM - Jul 29, 2018

Twitter Ads info and privacy


End of Twitter post 6 by @ShubnumKhan

Shubnum insists she does not blame the photographer who took her stock image and is not considering legal action.

It's a great party story, Shubnum says, but now she just wants to share her story as a cautionary tale.

"I can easily see how we were all used," she said. "I feel quite stupid and I don't want other people making the same mistakes.

"Don't sign up for free photo shoots, read what you sign and also don't believe most of the things you read on the internet," she tweeted.

"Just read the small print, obviously. Be aware," Shubnum warns. "Don't get caught up by the camera. Think about what you're doing and who is benefitting - know what you're getting into."

She adds: "You think it's a small thing but you sign away your face. Basically, I gave away my face for free."

Source: bbc.co.uk
corner spacer corner

Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 31st Jul 2018

Image result for social media

UK exam boards have set up dedicated teams to monitor social media as part of moves to clamp down on cheating.

A "huge amount" of time and effort is spent looking for signs and indications of malpractice in exams online, the heads of exam boards have said.

The comments came as the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) - which represents the boards - announced an independent inquiry into exam cheating.

The exam boards insisted that malpractice was "extremely rare".

Official figures released in January showed that last year, 2,715 penalties were issued to candidates (0.01%), along with 895 to school staff and 120 to schools and colleges.

Sanctions issued to candidates were overwhelmingly for possession of a mobile phone in an exam, the JCQ said.

The new inquiry into cheating, which will be led by Sir John Dunford, chairman of schools partnership Whole Education and former general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, will begin in September and report back in the spring of next year.

"The integrity of the exam system is of vital importance to everyone involved, but especially to the young people taking exams on whose grades their futures depend," said Sir John.

"We will seek evidence from a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that all views are represented and I hope that the recommendations of the commission will play a significant part in reducing malpractice at all levels."

'Technology change'

Exam chiefs insisted that the inquiry is not a response to any particular issue, but is part of ongoing work to prevent malpractice.

Mark Bedlow, of the OCR exam board, said: "Malpractice that is deliberate is still extremely rare.

"But we are seeing the occasional story pop up and it is getting profile and we are also seeing students increasingly use technology in different ways."

He added that a lot of work is already done to combat cheating, but more can be done to look at issues such as the role of social media, and to understand the reasons for it.

"There's all this technology change that's going on. We spend a huge amount of effort and time monitoring social media, to look for signs and indicators of malpractice."

He added that the board has people examining social media platforms throughout the year.

Alex Scharaschkin, of the AQA exam board, said awarding bodies are conscious of the fact that there are different ways in which information can be shared.

Derek Richardson, from educational publisher Pearson, said: "The vast majority of students do exams under the right conditions and they want confidence that other candidates are doing exams under the same conditions."

The announcement comes as teenagers across the UK prepare to learn their National, Higher, GCSE and A-level results.


Source: bbc.co.uk
corner spacer corner

Veeam Specialist Microsoft Small Business Specialists Birmingham Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Birmingham Siemens Solution 1 Reseller Birmingham Sonicwall Specialists Birmingham Business Link Approved Birmingham Fujitsu Primergy Certified Partner Birmingham Facebook Follow us on Twitter ESET NOD32 VMWare
IT Support
IT Services
IT Solutions
Get Support Now
© 2018 Discus Systems plc. All rights reserved. Content Management by Verve Digital