AI Knows Too Much About Your Face

In worrying computer news: Clearview AI, a facial recognition company used by Met Police, has been fined £7.5m by the information watchdog and ordered to delete billions of Facebook photos after breaking data protection laws.

It’s a bit creepy that they went through out Facebook pages looking at old photos. That’s what you’re meant to do when you fancy someone and try really hard not to accidentally click “Like”.

They harvested images from social media accounts without the owner's knowledge or permission and used them to train its computer algorithms to recognise faces.

I’m personally not worried because most Facebook pictures of me are when the OH has wanted to take one, and she edits out of the ones where she doesn’t like how she looks but leaves the ones in of me looking like I’m mid-yawn-and-tricky-poo.

Its database has more than 20 billion faces and its service is used to identify people and track their movements. People say why are you worried if you don’t do anything wrong? Well, I do things wrong. Lots of things, and I don’t want this company finding me.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that all of these law enforcement agencies had been offered the technology on a “free trial” basis. That is the part of the story that feels like it doesn’t help. You can’t claim you did nothing wrong because you were offered the service on a free basis. “No, I’m not guilty because that hit-man was doing a first hit free promotional offer.”

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Will Robots Replace Doctors?

New research has found that robotic surgery can lead to quicker patient recoveries and cut down on complications.

Is anyone shocked? Machines are precise. I can sit and watch videos of Jaffa Cakes being made by machine for hours. Robots also have the advantage that they don’t need sleep or several afternoons off to play golf like a human doctor. It’s the future.

In a first-of-its kind clinical trial led by scientists at University College London and the University of Sheffield, researchers divided 338 bladder cancer patients to receive either normal or robotic surgery. All patients had their bladder removed and a section of the bowel taken to make a new bladder.

There’s a chance that there was a third group who had that last stage done by someone who is good at balloon animals.

When they looked at the results they found those who had normal surgery needed 10 days recovery time in hospital, compared to just eight days for the robotically assisted patients.

It makes sense. The cuts are smaller as you don’t need to get a whole hand in there. Robots don’t need to cut a hole so they can see in there too.

These aren’t automated. There’s a surgeon controlling the machine, and it’s a high-tech machine too. It’s not the one where you try to hook a stuffed toy out of the case at the seaside.

Currently, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that open surgery should be the first stop for highly complex surgeries, but the researchers said they hope the study would encourage greater use of robotics.

One day all surgery will all be done by machine, unless it’s a trendy hospital in Hackney that boasts it’s artisanal hand-performed surgery.

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A Quick Look At Beergate

We have all had some regrets after a beer and a curry and often it can leave a mark, but not like it is doing with the Labour Party.

Previously the excuse was that Keir Starmer had some curry and beers during a break with people who were working on the local election, which was allowed. But a memo has come out that shows it was pre-planned.

What? Someone planned to have breaks in a workday? How is that possible? Planning that food will be eaten by people in a day, what is he, Machiavelli?!

If planning a break is criminal then every theatre is going down.

In the plan the order of events looks like nothing else was planned afterwards, so could you call that a break? If you have your break at the end of the day did you day simply end earlier. These are philosophical questions up there with working out how noisy trees are when we’re not there.

There’s quite a difference between that and someone laughing at a fake press briefing about a party or someone sneaking a suitcase full on wine into Downing Street.

At least I hope there is. If your break from work includes a suitcase of wine you may have a problem.

It’s great to see people who have spent ages defending Boris Johnson from the pointlessness of such accusations suddenly do a 180. They were saying things like, “Was it a party? Just because there was a birthday and a birthday cake? If the presence of a birthday cake means it’s a party then the bakery aisle in Asda must be arrested. It’s nothing.”

They have all flipped to, “A curry and beer? The debauchery?!”

It’s another story where everyone has picked their side and they’re making the facts bend to fit their beliefs. It’s heading towards the big question, if fined should Keir resign. Boris has already had a fine and not resigned, so should Keir do any differently? Maybe they should agree go at the same time. But if every there was a man you wouldn’t tryst to “go on the count of three” with you, it’s the PM.



Would A 50:50 Parliament Fix Sleaze?

There has been more fallout of the political scandal that we should called “Tractorgate” but we can’t because that’s actually just a normal gate.

Oliver Dowden said the Conservatives promise that half of their MPs will be women in the wake of the Neil Parish porn scandal.

Firstly, you can’t promise that because there’s a little thing called an election to worry about. You can have 50:50 representation at the candidate level but if they could control who wins each seat they wouldn’t be worrying about how they come across in the bad headlines of late.

It’s a strange reason to aim for a 50:50 parliament. We should want it to be made up of 50% women and 50% men because you think having more women is a good thing, not because you’re saying men are inherently porn-watching problems. If that’s your claim a 50:50 parliament will still have half of them watching The Hub. They’re going to need a better router.

As a man myself I’d like to point out we aren’t all sat around watching adult material. I am a few paragraphs into the story now and I haven’t looked at porn more than one or twice.

The same sentiment is also forgetting the women of this land who like a nice blue movie. They should be represented in Government too.

This is following the scandal of Neil Parish, the Tory chairman of the Commons environment committee, who claimed he accidentally watched porn while trying to look at tractors. It would have been more believable if he said he was searching for a garden hoe.

Everyone has been getting in on the story. Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, told the BBC: “I always thought that if we get more women, then things will get better.” I’m now searching for a German word that describes someone managing to prove themselves wrong as they say a thing.



Should We Have The Right To Sleep At Work?

A new survey has found that half of millennials would love to have a nap at work.

That’s the kind of result that could make you worried if you see a millennial is your pilot.

In the poll the 25 to 39-year-olds said an office kip would boost their physical and mental well-being. They’re not wrong. It’s only the fact that we’re stuck in our ways that makes us think it’s a bad idea. The same survey says that only one in ten over-40s like the idea. Why? We’re the age group that needs to snooze more.

For many people there is a stage in the afternoon when you start to flag. If we could take a nap and then return to work with a fresh mind we could get more done.

Instead we plough on with a brain that’s only half working and that’s how ideas like The Masked Singer are created.

Other surveys have shown that younger workers are more likely to be in favour of working from home instead of going back to the office. I think we can work out why. It’s harder for your boss to catch you sleeping when you’re doing it at home.

I know you still have to have Zoom meetings but if you record some video of you sitting at your laptop awake and then use that video as your Zoom backdrop you’re all set.

If you want a job where you can sleep all afternoon why not try working in a call centre? From the amount of time you have to spend on hold I presume they’re getting their forty winks most of the day.

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