The Download April 19, 2022: Neo-colonial AI, and aging clocks

This is today’s version of the download,Our weekly newsletter provides daily updates on what’s going on in the world of technology.

South Africa’s private surveillance machine is accelerating digital apartheid

Johannesburg, once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, was a huge megacity that is now giving birth to a unique South African surveillance model. Over the past five years, the city has hosted a centralized, integrated, fully privatized collective oversight operation. Vumacam, the company that builds the nationwide CCTV network, already has 6,600 cameras and counters, of which more than 5,000 are concentrated in Johannesburg. The video footage he takes feeds into security rooms across the country, which then uses all sorts of AI tools, such as license plate identification, to trace population movements and individuals. These tools have been enthusiastically adopted by the local security industry, which is struggling with the pressures of a high-crime environment.

Civil rights activists worry that the new surveillance is encouraging digital apartheid and exposing people’s democratic freedoms, but a growing group of experts say the stakes are still high. They argue that the impact of artificial intelligence is repeating the pattern of colonial history, and here in South Africa, where colonial heritage is abundant, the arbitrary deployment of AI surveillance provides only a case study of how a technology that promised society would bring it into the future. . Is threatening to send them back to the past. Read the full story.

-Karen Hao and Heidi Swart

This is the first part of our series on AI colonialism, which looks at how technology is impoverishing communities and countries that have no say in its development. Episodes 2-4 are coming to an end, and you can read Karen Hao’s introductory essay here.

How can we fix the problem of AI inequality?

The economy is being transformed by digital technologies, especially artificial intelligence, and the way we live and work is changing rapidly. But this transformation raises a difficult conundrum: these technologies have not done much to grow the economy, and income inequality is getting worse. Productivity growth, which economists see as essential to improving living standards, has been largely sluggish in many countries since at least the mid-2000s.

Why have these technologies failed to generate more economic growth? Why don’t they promote more widespread prosperity? To find the answer, some leading economists and policy experts are identifying how we discover and use AI and automation and how we can make better choices. Read the full story.

– David Rottman

Older watches aim to predict how long you will live

Age is much more than the number of birthdays you watch. Stress, sleep and diet all affect how our organs cope with the wear and tear of daily life, which can make your age faster or slower than those born on the same day. This means that your biological age can be quite different from your chronological age – how many years you have lived.

Your biological age is a better reflection of your physical health and your own mortality than your chronological age. But it’s not nearly as easy to calculate, which is why scientists have developed tools over the last decade called aging clocks that evaluate markers in your body to reveal your biological age and predict how many healthy years you have left. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. But it is unclear whether they are accurate or credible enough to make such a claim. Read the full story.

-Jessica Hemzello

Elderly watches emerged as the clear winner for the 2022 Tech Review’s 20th Progressive Tech. Over 10,000 readers voted — If you’re one of them, thank you!

Quote of the day

“It’s like packing a bikini for Siberia, using chopsticks to eat steak, teaching an eagle how to swim.”

– An anonymous Shanghai resident details the frustration of living in the city’s extremely zero-covid lockdown while cases for The Guardian continue to rise.

Must read

I used the internet to find out some of the most fun / important / scary / compelling stories about technology today.

1 Russian troops are attacking a 300-mile front in Ukraine
It aims to gain full control of the Donbass region in the east of the country. (NYT)
, Putin’s desire to defeat Donbass is symbolic(BBC) + The State Department has condemned the Russian airstrikes as a “campaign of terror.” (WP)
, Mariupol’s siege seems to be coming to an end. (FT)

2 Crypto hackers are stealing large sums of money ever
And it’s primarily for weak, poorly managed open-source code. (TR)
, Bitcoin mining has wreaked havoc in Plattsburgh, New York(TR)
, Cash keeping case. (TR)

3 Democracy also uses controversial spyware
The NSO has paved the way for this type of surveillance which has become terribly common. (New Yorker 2)
, The UK Prime Minister’s Office has been the victim of an alleged NSO spyware attack. (The Guardian)
, The hacker-for-hire industry is now too big to fail. (TR)

4 Facebook’s investment in Nigerian internet infrastructure comes at a price
Yes, you guessed it. User data. (The Guardian)
, He is accused of failing to control misinformation in Africa. (The Guardian)

5 Intel claims that its AI can read students’ emotions
Plot spoiler: It can’t. Either way, not exactly. (Protocol)
, Emotion AI researchers say excessive claims tarnish their work(TR)

6 How serious is Elon Musk really about owning Twitter?
And should we worry? (Atlantic 2)
, Twitter’s board is working hard to avoid situations where it buys 100% of the company. (Bloomberg 2)
, Twitter’s edit button can show how the tweet originally appeared. (TechCrunch)

The food in 7 Metawors is not very good
Because – shocking – you really can’t eat it! (Inside)
, Here’s how Metawors died with pride. (Polygon)

Former ૉ 8 General Workers Union is using TikTok to push for representation
Instead of listening to her concerns, the company fired her. But it does not go away peacefully. (NYT)
, Amazon’s warehouse in New Jersey is the latest to get union votes. (WP)

9 Online white supremacist communities are preying on teenagers
Anti-racist material has also been used as a weapon to combat it. (Atlantic 2)

10 Here’s how you should do texting
Sorry, grammar sticker! (WP)

We can still have good things

A place for relaxation, pleasure and distraction in these strange times. (Any ideas? Drop me a line orTweet them to me,

+ This video of Peter Mayhew (Chevbeka) speaking English on the Star Wars set to help Harrison Ford respond to his line is hilarious.
+ Do I have respect for this unpleasant looking Eat It Cake?
+ Another world clone, Redactal, forces you to guess the redacted words from Wikipedia articles.
+ TheTerrible mapsA Twitter account may not be terribly useful, but it’s funny.
+ This profile of crowd chef David Rugerio is absolutely mind blowing.
+ Read the sweet story of Molly and David meeting in the epidemic while he was defending.
+ Comedian Munya’s assessment of how he is in the UK is the second time the sun has risen.

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