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How AI performance management startup Predera is helping enterprises deploy machine learning and automation at scale


How AI performance management startup Predera is helping enterprises deploy machine learning and automation at scaleSan Jose-based Predera’s unified end-to-end automation engine provides intervention alerts, human-in-loop feedback, and autonomous workflow management capabilities to reduce the cost of maintenance of AI models.


Reservations Management | French (m/f) - (Lisboa)

Sou uma empresa: Lovelystay
We are a fast growing short-term renting management company focus on offering a friendly and quality service. We look for talented people who have a passion for customer satisfaction and high end service. Reporting to the Operations Manager, the candidate objectives are: Main Responsibilities: * Welcome our guests and assure their well being through their stay; * Management of our online reservations; * Payment management; * Answer customer inquiries by email, messaging and/or telephone; * Improve overall customer service; * Follow the company standards and engage with clients in order to create long-term customer loyalty; * Reporting responsibilities; * Cashier management.
Requisitos : * Written and spoken fluency in English and French languages is mandatory; * Other languages are a plus; * Strong communication skills (mainly written; * Autonomous person, capable of acting quickly and solve challenges; * Total schedule flexibility; * Organized and can handle stress; * Tourism or Hotel Management training is a plus.

Laurel Bowden of VC firm 83North on the European deep tech and startup ecosystems

London and Tel Aviv based VC firm 83North has closed out its fifth fund at $300 million, as we reported earlier. It last raised a $250 million fund in 2017 and expects to continue the same investment mix, while tracking developments in emerging areas like healthcare AI and autonomous vehicles. In a conversation with general […]

Waymo is creating 3D maps of Los Angeles to better understand traffic congestion

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle company under Alphabet, has started creating 3D maps in some heavily trafficked sections of Los Angeles to better understand congestion there and determine if its self-driving vehicles would be a good fit in the city. For now, Waymo is bringing just three of its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Los Angeles […]

Waymo cars will start mapping streets in Los Angeles

Waymo might just expand its self-driving car service to southern California... eventually. The Alphabet company's cars will start mapping some Los Angeles streets this week to explore the possibility of fitting autonomous vehicles into the city's "d...
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Highway Driving Assist Market to Exceed $10.7 billion by 2027

(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 05, 2019 ) The report "Highway Driving Assist Market by Vehicle Type (PC, BEV, HEV, PHEV, FCEV), Component (Radar, Camera, Ultrasonic Sensor, Software Module), Autonomous Level (Level 2, Level 3 & Above), Function (ACC, LKA, LCA, CAA) and Region - Global Forecast to 2027"...

Data Pipeline Automation: Dynamic Intelligence, Not Static Code Gen


Join us for this free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research. The webinar features GigaOm analyst Andrew Brust and special guest, Sean Knapp from Ascend, a new company focused on autonomous data pipelines.

In this 1-hour webinar, you will discover:

  • How data pipeline orchestration and multi-cloud strategies intersect
  • Why data lineage and data transformation serve and benefit dynamic data movement
  • That scaling and integrating today’s cloud and on-premises data technologies requires a mix of automation and data engineering expertise

Why Attend:

Data pipelines are a reality for most organizations. While we work hard to bring compute to the data, to virtualize and to federate, sometimes data has to move to an optimized platform. While schema-on-read has its advantages for exploratory analytics, pipeline-driven schema-on-write is a reality for production data warehouses, data lakes and other BI repositories.

But data pipelines can be operationally brittle, and automation approaches to date have led to a generation of unsophisticated code and triggers whose management and maintenance, especially at-scale, is no easier than the manually-crafted stuff.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With advances in machine learning and the industry’s decades of experience with pipeline development and orchestration, we can take pipeline automation into the realm of intelligent systems. The implications are significant, leading to data-driven agility while eliminating denial of data pipelines’ utility and necessity.

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Global Autonomous Ships Market Professional Survey 2019 by Manufacturers, Regions, Countries, Types and Applications, Forecast to 2024

The Autonomous Ships market was valued at XX Million US$ in 2018 and is projected to reach XX Million US$ by 2024, at a CAGR of XX% during the forecast period. In this study, 2018 has been considered as the base year and 2019 to 2024 as the forecast period to estimate the market size for Autonomous Ships. Global Autonomous Ships industry market professional research 2014-2024, is a report which provides the details about industry overview, industry chain, market size (sales, revenue, and growth rate), gross margin, major manufacturers, development trends and forecast. ...

Order / Buy a copy of this report @

Complete report details with Table of Contents and more @

US blacklists 28 Chinese companies and government agencies over Uighur repression


Xinjiang Police College and video surveillance company Hikvision among those blacklisted for implications in human rights violations

The US Commerce Department said on Monday it was putting 28 Chinese public security bureaus and companies – including video surveillance company Hikvision – on a US trade blacklist over Beijing’s treatment of Uighur Muslims and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities.

Those added to the so-called “Entity List” include the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region People’s Government Public Security Bureau, 19 subordinate government agencies and eight commercial firms, according to a Commerce Department filing. The companies include Zhejiang Dahua Technology, IFLYTEK Co, Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co and Yixin Science and Technology Co.

Continue reading...

adruino coding

i need code for an adruino project using different pieces of related harware to build an autonomous vehicle. simple enough project but time constraints lead to me using this forum. if interested contact... (Budget: $30 - $250 AUD, Jobs: Arduino, C Programming, Electrical Engineering, Electronics, Microcontroller)

Technology Helping Driverless Cars: Remote Control

Even the best driverless cars today have problems with tough driving conditions like recognizing uneven terrain or navigating difficult weather. One startup is developing technology to serve as a missing link: controlling the car by remote control. Phantom Auto is hoping its technology could help autonomous cars reach market later this year.

Laurel Bowden of VC firm 83North on the European deep tech and startup ecosystems

London and Tel Aviv based VC firm 83North has closed out its fifth fund at $300 million, as we reported earlier. It last raised a $250 million fund in 2017 and expects to continue the same investment mix, while tracking developments in emerging areas like healthcare AI and autonomous vehicles. In a conversation with general […]

Waymo is creating 3D maps of Los Angeles to better understand traffic congestion

Waymo, the autonomous vehicle company under Alphabet, has started creating 3D maps in some heavily trafficked sections of Los Angeles to better understand congestion there and determine if its self-driving vehicles would be a good fit in the city. For now, Waymo is bringing just three of its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Los Angeles […]

Byton 2.0 At Frankfurt Auto Show — Are We There Yet?

I’m still bullish on Byton, but with caution about the direction the company is taking. Although similar to the original target of delivering autonomous electric vehicles (EV) globally, the last round of investments gives more food for thought

Hong Kong leader says economy taking a hit from protests


HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam says the city’s economy is being battered by months of increasingly violent protests. Lam, the Beijing-backed chief executive of the semi-autonomous region, told reporters Tuesday that tourism arrivals were down by half. She said economic data for the last quarter were also likely to be […]

Kuassi Mensah: Java Development with Autonomous Transaction Processing Dedicated (ATP-D)

The Oracle Autonomous Transaction Processing Dedicated (read more


Front Desk - Receptionist - Technical Support Specialist

Do you enjoy developing relationships with your clients? Our customer has an immediate opening for a FULL TIME temp to hire Front Desk / Software Support Specialist for their Boardman, Ohio office. The successful candidate will be a bright, energetic individual with both Medical and Technical experience, who will answer, resolve, and log customer calls, identify issues, and provide suggestions and long-term resolutions. Work closely with assigned mentor and team leader to develop and improve customer service skills, develop ability to use provided support tools, learn effective troubleshooting techniques, and increase product knowledge.

Essential Responsibilities:

• Answer and process customer calls effectively and efficiently. Providing technical software support to end users and resellers via phone, email, faxes and/or onsite.
• Manage first level software problems that can be resolved in five minutes or less
• Recognize and escalate more difficult problems to Level 2 Support
• Utilize available tools to increase efficiency and accuracy. Perform trouble shooting, diagnostics, and customization.
• Document all customer related conversations, step by step actions taken, and result and resolutions obtained throughout each call
• Demonstrate applied knowledge of Support tools by utilizing them to find
• answers to customer issues and efficiently document all customer contact
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• High school diploma or general education degree (GED); or three to five years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience

Other Career Path:

• Level 2 Support, Level 1 Training Specialist, Project Coordinator

Waymo’s autonomous cars arrive in LA – but don’t expect a ride

Waymo’s autonomous cars are exploring Los Angeles, with Alphabet’s self-driving business weighing the possibilities in one of the most stressful driving environments in the US. The company – a spin-off of Google’s driverless project – confirmed its fleet is spreading to LA this week, though no customer rides are planned at this stage. “Our cars will be in town exploring … Continue reading

Latest Tech Trends, Their Problems, And How to Solve Them


Few IT professionals are unaware of the rapid emergence of 5G, Internet of Things or IoT, edge-fog-cloud or core computing, microservices, and artificial intelligence known as machine learning or AI/ML.  These new technologies hold enormous promise for transforming IT and the customer experience with the problems that they solve.  It’s important to realize that like all technologies, they introduce new processes and subsequently new problems.  Most are aware of the promise, but few are aware of the new problems and how to solve them.

5G is a great example.  It delivers 10 to 100 times more throughput than 4G LTE and up to 90% lower latencies.  Users can expect throughput between 1 and 10Gbps with latencies at approximately 1 ms.  This enables large files such as 4K or 8K videos to be downloaded or uploaded in seconds not minutes.  5G will deliver mobile broadband and can potentially make traditional broadband obsolete just as mobile telephony has essentially eliminated the vast majority of landlines. 

5G mobile networking technology makes industrial IoT more scalable, simpler, and much more economically feasible.  Whereas 4G is limited to approximately 400 devices per Km2, 5G increases that number of devices supported per Km2 to approximately 1,000,000 or a 250,000% increase. The performance, latency, and scalability are why 5G is being called transformational.  But there are significant issues introduced by 5G.  A key one is the database application infrastructure.

Analysts frequently cite the non-trivial multi-billion dollar investment required to roll-out 5G.  That investment is primarily focused on the antennas and fiber optic cables to the antennas.  This is because 5G is based on a completely different technology than 4G.  It utilizes millimeter waves instead of microwaves.  Millimeter waves are limited to 300 meters between antennas.  The 4G microwaves can be as far as 16 Km apart.  That is a major difference and therefore demands many more antennas and optical cables to those antennas to make 5G work effectively.  It also means it will take considerable time before rural areas are covered by 5G and even then, it will be a degraded 5G. 

The 5G infrastructure investment not being addressed is the database application infrastructure.  The database is a foundational technology for analytics.  IT Pros simply assume it will be there for their applications and microservices. Everything today is interconnected. The database application infrastructure is generally architected for the volume and performance coming from the network.  That volume and performance is going up by an order of magnitude.  What happens when the database application infrastructure is not upgraded to match?  The actual user performance improves marginally or not at all.  It can in fact degrade as volumes overwhelm the database applications not prepared for them.  Both consumers and business users become frustrated.  5G devices cost approximately 30% more than 4G – mostly because those devices need both a 5G and 4G modem (different non-compatible technologies).  The 5G network costs approximately 25% more than 4G.  It is understandable that anyone would be frustrated when they are spending considerably more and seeing limited improvement, no improvement, or negative improvement.  The database application infrastructure becomes the bottleneck.  When consumers and business users become frustrated, they go somewhere else, another website, another supplier, or another partner.  Business will be lost.

Fortunately, there is still time as the 5G rollout is just starting with momentum building in 2020 with complete implementations not expected until 2022, at the earliest.  However, IT organizations need to start planning their application infrastructure upgrades to match the 5G rollout or may end up suffering the consequences.

IoT is another technology that promises to be transformative.  It pushes intelligence to the edge of the network enabling automation that was previously unthinkable.  Smarter homes, smarter cars, smarter grids, smarter healthcare, smarter fitness, smarter water management, and more.  IoT has the potential to radically increase efficiencies and reduce waste.  Most of the implementations to date have been in consumer homes and offices.  These implementations rely on the WiFi in the building they reside. 

The industrial implementations have been not as successful…yet.  Per Gartner, 65 to 85% of Industrial IoT to date have been stuck in pilot mode with 28% of those for more than 2 years.  There are three key reasons for this.  The first are the limitations of 4G of 400 devices per Km2.  This limitation will be fixed as 5G rolls out.  The second is the same issue as 5G, database application infrastructure not suited for the volume and performance required by industrial IoT.  And the third is latency from the IoT edge devices to the analytics, either in the on-premises data center (core), or cloud.  Speed of light latency is a major limiting factor for real-time analytics and real-time actionable information.  This has led to the very rapid rise of edge-fog-cloud or core computing.

Moving analytic processing out to the edge or fog significantly reduces distance latency between where the data is being collected and where it is being analyzed.  This is crucial for applications such as autonomous vehicles.  The application must make decisions in milliseconds not seconds.  It may have to decide whether a shadow in the road is actually a shadow, a reflection, a person, or a dangerous hazard to be avoided.  The application must make that decision immediately and cannot wait.  By pushing the application closer to the data collection, it can make that decision in the timely manner that’s required.  Smart grids, smart cities, smart water management, smart traffic management, are all examples requiring fog (near the edge) or edge computing analytics.  This solves the problem of distance latency; however, it does not resolve analytical latency.  Edge and fog computing typically lack the resources to provide ultra-fast database analytics.  This has led to the deployment of microservices

Microservices have become very popular over the past 24 months.   They tightly couple a database application with its database that has been extremely streamlined to do only the few things the microservice requires.  The database may be a neutered relational, time series, key value, JSON, XML, object, and more.  The database application and its database are inextricably linked.  The combined microservice is then pushed down to the edge or fog compute device and its storage.  Microservices have no access to any other microservices data or database.  If it needs access to another microservice data element, it’s going to be difficult and manually labor-intensive. Each of the microservices must be reworked to grant that access, or the data must be copied and moved via an extract transfer and load (ETL) process, or the data must be duplicated in ongoing manner.  Each of these options are laborious, albeit manageable, for a handful of microservices.  But what about hundreds or thousands of microservices, which is where it’s headed?  This sprawl becomes unmanageable and ultimately, unsustainable, even with AI/ML.

AI/ML is clearly a hot tech trend today.  It’s showing up everywhere in many applications.  This is because standard CPU processing power is now powerful enough to run AI / machine learning algorithms.  AI/ML is showing up typically in one of two different variations.  The first has a defined specific purpose.  It is utilized by the vendor to automate a manual task requiring some expertise.  An example of this is in enterprise storage.  The AI/ML is tasked with placing data based on performance, latency, and data protection policies and parameters determined by the administrator.  It then matches that to the hardware configuration.  If performance should fall outside of the desired parameters AI/ML looks to correct the situation without human intervention.  It learns from experience and automatically makes changes to accomplish the required performance and latency.   The second AI/ML is a tool kit that enables IT pros to create their own algorithms. 

The 1st is an application of AI/ML.  It obviously cannot be utilized outside the tasks it was designed to do. The 2nd is a series of tools that require considerable knowledge, skill, and expertise to be able to utilize.  It is not an application.  It merely enables applications to be developed that take advantage of the AI/ML engine.  This requires a very steep learning curve.

Oracle is the first vendor to solve each and every one of these tech trend problems. The Oracle Exadata X8M and Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) X8 are uniquely suited to solve the 5G and IoT application database infrastructure problem, the edge-fog-core microservices problem, and the AI/ML usability problem. 

It starts with the co-engineering.  The compute, memory, storage, interconnect, networking, operating system, hypervisor, middleware, and the Oracle 19c Database are all co-engineered together.  Few vendors have complete engineering teams for every layer of the software and hardware stacks to do the same thing.  And those who do, have shown zero inclination to take on the intensive co-engineering required.  Oracle Exadata alone has 60 exclusive database features not found in any other database system including others running the same Oracle Database. Take for example Automatic Indexing.  It occurs multiple orders of magnitude faster than the most skilled database administrator (DBA) and delivers noticeably superior performance.  Another example is data ingest.  Extensive parallelism is built-into every Exadata providing unmatched data ingest.  And keep in mind, the Oracle Autonomous Database is utilizing the exact same Exadata Database Machine.  The results of that co-engineering deliver unprecedented Database application latency reduction, response time reduction, and performance increases.  This enables the application Database infrastructure to match and be prepared for the volume and performance of 5G and IoT.

The ODA X8 is ideal for edge or fog computing coming in at approximately 36% lower total cost of ownership (TCO) over 3 years than commodity white box servers running databases.  It’s designed to be a plug and play Oracle Database turnkey appliance.  It runs the Database application too.  Nothing is simpler and no white box server can match its performance.

The Oracle Exadata X8M is even better for the core or fog computing where it’s performance, scalability, availability and capability are simply unmatched by any other database system.  It too is architected to be exceedingly simple to implement, operate, and manage. 

The combination of the two working in conjunction in the edge-fog-core makes the application database latency problems go away.  They even solve the microservices problems.  Each Oracle Exadata X8M and ODA X8 provide pluggable databases (PDBs).  Each PDB is its own unique database working off the same stored data in the container database (CDB).  Each PDB can be the same or different type of Oracle Database including OLTP, data warehousing, time series, object, JSON, key value, graphical, spatial, XML, even document database mining.  The PDBs are working on virtual copies of the data.  There is no data duplication.  There are no ETLs.  There is no data movement.  There are no data islands.  There are no runaway database licenses and database hardware sprawl.  Data does not go stale before it can be analyzed.  Any data that needs to be accessed by a particular or multiple PDBs can be easily configured to do so.  Edge-fog-core computing is solved.  If the core needs to be in a public cloud, Oracle solves that problem as well with the Oracle Autonomous Database providing the same capabilities of Exadata and more.

That leaves the AI/ML usability problem.  Oracle solves that one too.  Both Oracle Engineered systems and the Oracle Autonomous Database have AI/ML engineered inside from the onset.  Not just a tool-kit on the side.  Oracle AI/ML comes with pre-built, documented, and production-hardened algorithms in the Oracle Autonomous Database cloud service.  DBAs do not have to be data scientists to develop AI/ML applications.  They can simply utilize the extensive Oracle library of AI/ML algorithms in Classification, Clustering, Time Series, Anomaly Detection, SQL Analytics, Regression, Attribute Importance, Association Rules, Feature Extraction, Text Mining Support, R Packages, Statistical Functions, Predictive Queries, and Exportable ML Models.  It’s as simple as selecting the algorithms to be used and using them.  That’s it.  No algorithms to create, test, document, QA, patch, and more.

Taking advantage of AI/ML is as simple as implementing Oracle Exadata X8M, ODA X8, or the Oracle Autonomous Database.   Oracle solves the AI/ML usability problem.

The latest tech trends of 5G, Industrial IoT, edge-fog-core or cloud computing, microservices, and AI/ML have the potential to truly be transformative for IT organizations of all stripes.  But they bring their own set of problems.  Fortunately, for organizations of all sizes, Oracle solves those problems.


KAI Flies Unmanned Light Helicopter

Korea's NI-600VT is based on the Rotorway A600 with a KAI-developed autonomous systems.
September 26, 2019, 3:43 AM

Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) conducted the first flight of its NI-600VT unmanned helicopter on September 24 at the company’s Goheung Aerospace Center. The “NI” in the designation stands for night intruder. In the first test flight, KAI tested its hovering and horizontal movement functions to validate flight control performance.

Based on the 600-kg (1,323-pound) RotorWay A600 Talon kit-built light helicopter, the NI-600VT can carry a payload of 281 kg (620 pounds) on the power of its RH 600T 168-hp turbocharged engine, and its 17-gallon fuel tank provides an endurance of 1.7 hours. KAI spent two years self-funding and developing the automatic flight controls and avionics, as well as enhancing the flight control computer, sensors, and datalink.

KAI plans to complete the first phase of development by the end of 2019, by validating the NI-600VT’s takeoff and landing abilities, before embarking on phase-two trials. The Korean company said it is also developing a fixed-wing, long-endurance UAV and is expanding the fleet line-up with future combat UCAVs and unmanned aerial loitering munitions to meet future market requirements.

The first flight of the NIU-600VT follows shortly after that of Korean Air’s unmanned MD500 helicopter, known as the KUS-VH, which began flight testing on August 2.


Today's Featured Jobs from MassHire - 10/08/19

Something new every day...
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Here are today's job postings from MassHire in Hyannis:

If you are interested in one of these positions send your resume to and indicate the job that interests you. 

Job #1 IT Director – Mid Cape

Full Time:  Coordinates the integration of the Agency’s computerized data system. Bachelor’s degree preferred. Minimum 8 years prior information technology experience. Strong telecommunications skills. Expert knowledge of computer hardware and software. Strong knowledge of database development and management and ability to maintain computer network. Ability to troubleshoot and diagnose information technology issues. Valid driver’s license in the state of Massachusetts required. Successful completion of all state and Agency mandated trainings required upon hire.  Competitive salary plus benefits.

Job #2 – Bookkeeping Assistant – Lower Cape

Full Time: Provide high-quality bookkeeping services to current clients by assisting with entry-level tasks. Our goal for this role is to help develop the individual into a skilled bookkeeper so that he/she may take ownership of some clients and operate autonomously. There is ample opportunity for the individual to grow with this company. Manage day-to-day financial operations of clients (i.e. enter and pay bills, receive payments and make deposits, other tasks as needed). Monthly reconciliations of all bank accounts and credit cards.
Light admin work including creating files for clients records and scanning/filing these records. Pulling reports for clients especially Profit and Loss statements as well as balance sheets. Review financial reporting with clients directly (once trained). Year-end clean-up of company books. Minimum one year of experience with Quickbooks preferred. Associates degree in related field or minimum of two years of relevant work experience. Proficient in Microsoft Office products. Discretion and confidentiality are crucial. Great interpersonal skills. Salary commensurate with experience.  Flexible schedule possible.


Technology Trends for the Future of Government


Forward-looking government officials know that, in a digital society, “Policy is the technology and technology is the policy.” Any government service delivered at scale is underpinned by a host of technologies. If the success of these business projects is compromised by poor implementation of technology, then the political objectives are compromised too.

Implementing a digital government strategy is a journey that will span multiple budget cycles and political administrations

Public-sector leaders expect government CIOs to find ways that technology can reduce costs, create efficiencies, and improve outcomes for citizens and businesses. They also expect CIOs to consider the social, technological, economic, environmental and political trends that impact the constituents they serve.

Gartner's top strategic technology trends for government

Gartner’s list of strategic government technology trends is designed to help CIOs establish the rationale, timing and priority of technology investments. These trends in information and technology were selected in response to pressing public-policy goals and business needs of government organizations in jurisdictions around the globe.

“Now more than ever, technology priorities must be established in the context of business trends such as digital equity, ethics and privacy, and the need for institutional agility,” says Rick Howard, Vice President Analyst, Gartner. “CIOs can use these trends to engage stakeholders, demystify concepts, and promote discussion about their value to citizens and society.”

Implementing a digital government strategy is a journey that will span multiple budget cycles and political administrations, Howard notes.


“The technology trends presented here do not represent what government CIOs are spending most of their time or budget on today,” Howard says. “Rather, it is Gartner’s list of strategic technology trends that are, should be or soon will be critical areas of focus for government CIOs as they transform public services.”

These top trends — which cover the next 12 to 18 months — will vary in importance depending on the tier of government (national, regional or local), region and business context. It is for this reason that they are not ranked in numeric order.

Adaptive security

From ransomware targeting cities such as Baltimore, MD, to attacks on critical infrastructure assets in Ukraine and on parliaments (as in Australia), governments in all geographies and at all levels are under attack, driving the need for new security approaches.

An adaptive security approach treats risk, trust and security as a continuous and adaptive process that anticipates and mitigates constantly evolving cyberthreats. It acknowledges there is no perfect protection and security needs to be adaptive, everywhere, all the time.

Citizen digital identity

Digital identity — the ability to prove an individual’s identity via any government digital channel — is critical for inclusion and access to government services, yet many governments have been slow to adopt them. Government CIOs must provision digital identities that uphold both security imperatives and citizen expectations.

Multichannel citizen engagement

Governments that meet citizens via their preferred channels, for example, in person, by phone, via mobile device (over 50% of government website traffic now comes from mobile devices), smart speakers, chatbots or augmented reality, will meet citizen expectations and achieve program outcomes.

Agile by design

Digital government is not a “set and forget” investment. CIOs must create a nimble and responsive environment by adopting an agile-by-design approach, a set of principles and practices used to develop more agile systems and solutions that impact both the current and target states of the business, information and technical architecture.

Digital product management

In the 2019 Gartner CIO Survey, over two-thirds of government CIOs said they already have, or are planning to implement, digital product management (DPM). Often replacing a “waterfall” project management approach, which has a poor track record of success, DPM involves developing, delivering, monitoring, refining and retiring “products” or offerings for business users or citizens. It causes organizations to think differently and delivers tangible results more quickly and sustainably.

Anything as a service (XaaS)

XaaS covers the full range of IT services delivered in the cloud on a subscription basis. The 2019 Gartner CIO Survey also found that 39% of government organizations plan to spend the greatest amount of new or additional funding on cloud services. The XaaS model offers an alternative to legacy infrastructure modernization, provides scalability and reduces time to deliver digital government at scale.

Shared services 2.0

Many government organizations have tried to drive IT efficiencies through centralization or sharing of services, often with poor results. Shared services 2.0 shifts the focus from cost savings to delivering high-value business capabilities such as such as enterprisewide security, identity management, platforms or business analytics.

Digitally empowered workforce

A digitally enabled work environment is linked to employee satisfaction, retention and engagement — but government currently lags other industries in this area. A workforce of self-managing teams needs the training, technology and autonomy to work on digital transformation initiatives.

Analytics everywhere

Gartner refers to the pervasive use of analytics at all stages of business activity and service delivery as analytics everywhere. It shifts government agencies from the dashboard reporting of lagging indicators to autonomous processes that help people make better decisions in real time.

Augmented intelligence

Gartner recommends that government CIOs reframe artificial intelligence as “augmented intelligence,” a human-centered partnership model of people and artificial intelligence working together to enhance cognitive performance.

Roles: CIO

The post Technology Trends for the Future of Government appeared first on Smarter With Gartner.


Hyundai Turut Kembangkan Teknologi Autonomous

 Cache – Kendaraan tanpa pengemudi atau autonomous jadi salah satu teknologi kendaraan yang banyak dikembangkan berbagai pabrikan mobil. Tidak ingin ketinggalan, pabrikan mobil asal Korea Selatan, Hyundai turut mengembangkannya. Untuk mewujudkan teknologi tersebut, Hyundai bekerja sama dengan Aptiv, perusahaan teknologi asal Irlandia. Untuk pengembangan teknologi autonomous tersebut, kedua perusahaan dikatakan menggelontorkan investasi sebesar 4 juta […] | | |

   10 000 USD

Prix: 10 000 USD
Trafic : --
Langue : Anglais

U.S. Blacklists Chinese Tech Firms Over Treatment Of Uighurs

The Commerce Department has issued a list of 28 state security bureaus and tech companies in China that it says are being used to suppress the country's Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities – a move that blocks them from doing business with U.S. firms. The revised Entity List that came out late Monday adds several security bureaus with jurisdiction in China's western Xinjiang region, where the Uighurs are concentrated, as well as firms such as Hikvision and Dahua Technology, which are leading providers of video surveillance equipment. The filing says the entities "have been determined by the U.S. Government to be acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States," and have been engaged in "China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the [Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region]." In a statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. "will not

Heirs Of Hyderabad's Last King Can Claim Millions Held In U.K. Account, Court Rules

A London court has finally put to rest one of the many disputes between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan. It goes back 71 years, to just after the partition of British colonial India into two independent states, India and Pakistan. At the time, the region was dotted with princely fiefdoms ruled by Hindu maharajahs and Muslim nizam — autonomous royals who lived in ornate palaces and amassed huge fortunes in cash and jewels. The largest of these princely states was Hyderabad, situated in the heart of the newly created India. Hyderabad's ruler, Osman Ali Khan, the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad, declined to join India, prompting his kingdom's invasion and annexation. But before that happened, the nizam deposited just over 1 million pounds in the London account of Pakistan's high commissioner to Britain. The nizam's family contends that the money was put there for safekeeping, but Pakistan says it was to pay for weapons to defend Hyderabad from the Indian army. The cash was caught in


Man Behind Slogan Promoting French Preservation

"The great replacement has become a household word. I take responsibility for it. I believe in its relevance."

THOUGH the writer had already lived in his castle for a quarter of a century, it was only three years ago that he finally restored it to its original purpose as a fortress.

The writer, Renaud Camus, rebuilt the top 10 feet of the 14th-century tower, giving him an even more commanding view of his surroundings: the village of 40 souls below; the Pyrenees, faintly visible some 100 miles south despite the midsummer haze; and, in every direction, the peaceful, rolling hills of the “eternal France” that he describes as under assault from what he calls hordes of immigrants.

Up in his castle, the France that Mr. Camus imagines has made him one of the most influential thinkers on the far right in his own country and elsewhere. In his writings, he describes an ongoing “invasion” of France by immigrants bent on “conquest” of its white, European population. To him, the immigrants are “colonizing” France by giving birth to more children and making its cities, towns — and even villages — unlivable.

Others have espoused similar ideas. But Mr. Camus’s portrayal of demographic change — le “grand remplacement,” or the supposed “great replacement” of France’s original population by newer arrivals, mostly from Africa — has become an extremist talking point, cited by mass killers in distant parts of the world.

“It’s a slogan that dramatizes the situation, talking of great replacement the same way we speak of the great barbarian invasions,” said Rudy Reichstadt, an expert on political extremism at the Fondation Jean-Jaurès research institute in Paris. “Now, if you go to a horse race betting bar and talk politics, and you mention the great replacement, people will understand what you mean.”

The idea of the great replacement has directly influenced French politicians and thinkers. Interpreted and repackaged across the internet, it has resonated widely beyond France, including in white supremacist circles.

The men held in two recent mass shootings — at a Walmart in El Paso and at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand — both referred to the “great replacement” and the need to defend white populations against invading outsiders.

While decrying the killings, Mr. Camus said he had no regrets about coming up with the term.

“The great replacement has become a household word,” he said. “I take responsibility for it. I believe in its relevance.”

Stroking his white beard, Mr. Camus, who is not related to the 20th-century writer Albert Camus, sat in his expansive study — half the top floor of his castle filled with books and a handful of African masks. In contrast to the harsh words he chooses to describe France’s immigrants, he spoke softly, and sometimes with the mannerisms of another era. He and his partner of two decades, Pierre, addressed each other as “vous,” though they said they sometimes slipped into the informal “tu.”

Ensconced in his castle in southern France, in a village an hour’s drive across country roads from the nearest train station, Mr. Camus, 73, is perhaps an unlikely source of inspiration for the world’s far right and white supremacists. Until a few years ago, Mr. Camus was known, mainly by other French writers, as a novelist and a pioneering writer of gay literature. An early book about his sexual experiences, called “Tricks,” remains his most translated work.

Growing up in a conservative rural town in central France, Mr. Camus went to Paris in the 1960s and found a niche in the capital’s literary and artistic scene. He befriended Roland Barthes, who wrote the preface for “Tricks.” As a member of the Socialist Party, he became active in politics on the left.

Still, Mr. Camus longed to return to the countryside. He sold his Paris apartment and, in 1992, used the money to buy and restore the castle in Plieux, fulfilling a lifelong fantasy.

A few years after moving to Plieux, he had what he calls an epiphany that would shape his political views. While visiting a 1,000-year-old village in southern France, he said he saw a group of veiled women milling around a fountain.

“And in the ancient windows — beautiful, paired gothic windows — veiled women would appear all of a sudden,” he said. “It was really the population of eternal France that was changing.”

THAT led to the formation in 2002 of his own political party, l’In-nocence, which calls for an end to all immigration and promotes sending immigrants and their children back to their countries of origin.

But it was a decade later, when he publicly began using the term “great replacement” and wrote a book with the same title, that his influence in France began to be felt.

The great replacement, he wrote, indicates the “replacement of a people, the indigenous French people, by one or others; of its culture by the loss of its cultural identity through multiculturalism.”

He says he sees no contradiction between his earlier life as a gay writer on the left and his current role as an ideological beacon for the right, including violent extremists. He contends he has always told “the hard truths.”

Previous generations of European immigrants had been drawn by “love” for France, he wrote. But the newer arrivals since the 1970s — mostly from France’s former colonies in the Maghreb and in sub-Saharan Africa — didn’t come “as friends.” Instead, he declared, they came as conquerors, filled with hatred and a desire to punish France.

He singled out Muslims for “not wanting to integrate” into French society.

According to government data, immigrants now make up about 10 percent of France’s population, many of them nonwhite, up from about 7 percent in the 1970s, or 5 percent in 1946, the year of Mr. Camus’s birth — a steady rise, though far from the overwhelming one described by Mr. Camus…

Mr. Camus’s ideas — and his subsequent call to support Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader of the National Rally party — turned him into a pariah in France’s literary and media circles.

His longtime publishers dropped him, forcing him to publish on his own. “The Great Replacement” was never translated into English. Invitations from mainstream news shows dried up. Lifelong friendships came to an end.

But even as Mr. Camus became toxic, his phrase gained traction, first on French farright websites, like “Observatoire de Grand Remplacement.” Politicians on the right and far right, including Ms. Le Pen, used the term.

Then “great replacement” slipped into the right-wing mainstream. While Mr. Camus’s books went largely unsold, best-selling writers, like Eric Zemmour, have expounded on the idea.

Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the far right at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, said that the author of “The Great Replacement” viewed the world from the perspective of a novelist and aesthete without recognition of realworld consequences.

“He should become aware that in our universe, where everything happens in real time, what you say from the position of an aesthete or a writer, can instantly be transformed into a gun and bullets,” said the expert, who is not related to Renaud Camus.

Isolated in his castle, Mr. Camus grew even more removed from the actual France he purported to describe — one filled, he believes, with people of Arab and African descent burning with hatred for France and plotting its conquest. In fact, he acknowledged that his understanding of such people was based mainly on Twitter and Facebook.

He said he almost never read newspapers or watched television.

“Distance is very, very necessary for observation,” he said.


My Book Defending Free Speech Has Been Pulled

James Flynn

I recently completed a book defending free speech. Emerald Press scheduled it for publication but then decided not to proceed. Here’s what it said about the book in Emerald’s September 2019 catalogue:

In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor
Author James R. Flynn, University of Otago, New Zealand

Synopsis: The good university is one that teaches students the intellectual skills they need to be intelligently critical—of their own beliefs and of the narratives presented by politicians and the media. Freedom to debate is essential to the development of critical thought, but on university campuses today free speech is restricted for fear of causing offence. In Defense of Free Speech surveys the underlying factors that circumscribe the ideas tolerated in our institutions of learning. James Flynn critically examines the way universities censor their teaching, how student activism tends to censor the opposing side and how academics censor themselves, and suggests that few, if any, universities can truly be seen as ‘good.’ In an age marred by fake news and social and political polarization, In Defense of Free Speech makes an impassioned argument for a return to critical thought.

I was notified of Emerald’s decision not to proceed by Tony Roche, Emerald’s publishing director, in an email on 10th June:

"I am contacting you in regard to your manuscript In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor. Emerald believes that its publication, in particular in the United Kingdom, would raise serious concerns. By the nature of its subject matter, the work addresses sensitive topics of race, religion, and gender. The challenging manner in which you handle these topics as author, particularly at the beginning of the work, whilst no doubt editorially powerful, increase the sensitivity and the risk of reaction and legal challenge. As a result, we have taken external legal advice on the contents of the manuscript and summarize our concerns below.

There are two main causes of concern for Emerald. Firstly, the work could be seen to incite racial hatred and stir up religious hatred under United Kingdom law. Clearly you have no intention of promoting racism but intent can be irrelevant. For example, one test is merely whether it is “likely” that racial hatred could be stirred up as a result of the work. This is a particular difficulty given modern means of digital media expression. The potential for circulation of the more controversial passages of the manuscript online, without the wider intellectual context of the work as a whole and to a very broad audience—in a manner beyond our control—represents a material legal risk for Emerald.

Secondly, there are many instances in the manuscript where the actions, conversations and behavior of identifiable individuals at specific named colleges are discussed in detail and at length in relation to controversial events. Given the sensitivity of the issues involved, there is both the potential for serious harm to Emerald’s reputation and the significant possibility of legal action. Substantial changes to the content and nature of the manuscript would need to be made, or Emerald would need to accept a high level of risk both reputational and legal. The practical costs and difficulty of managing any reputational or legal problems that did arise are of further concern to Emerald.

For the reasons outlined above, it is with regret that Emerald has taken the decision not to publish your manuscript. We have not taken this decision lightly, but following senior level discussions within the organization, and with the additional benefit of specialist legal advice. I realize that this decision will come as a disappointment to you and hope that you will be able to find an alternative publisher with whom to take the work to publication."

If the book is sober and responsible, and if Emerald’s letter is correct, that poses a question: Does Britain have free speech? The above letter inspired me to change the title from “In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor” to “A Banned Book: Free speech and universities.” I hope that some publishers will contact me (, so they can decide whether the book is worthy of publication and whether it runs afoul of any of the U.K.’s laws. If a journalist gets in touch, I can also send them the text for their eyes only. Let me give an outline of its contents.

The benefits of free speech

First, I give a general defense of free speech and criticize Jason Stanley and Jeremy Waldron insofar as their views differ from my own. I then use the case of Charles Murray being denied a platform at Middlebury College to show what students and staff miss out on when they refuse to hear or read those who offend them:

[My] dividends from reading Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, and Charles Murray: a plausible case that genetic differences between the major races are unlikely to confer an advantage or a handicap for desirable personal traits; a far better understanding of black America; a method that sheds light on personal development and leaves room for personal autonomy; an understanding of how differently males and females respond to formal education; a case that genetic differences between the genders seem cognitively trivial; a somewhat better understanding of the Chinese both at home and in America; a case for affirmative action that does not depend on racial bias; and most of all, a better understanding of the dynamics of a truly humane and egalitarian society.

This is the sad fate that the mob at Middlebury wanted to save me from. If I had not read these “discredited” scholars, I would still have a half-educated mind full of passion about race and gender and class and not much else.

A history of oppression

I then chart the history of the sins of universities against free speech with an emphasis on the McCarthy era (when conservatives barred or fired those they considered suspect), through the transitional period of Vietnam, to the present (when many on the “left” do much the same, particularly student protest groups). I detail the use of speech codes, and trigger warnings, and departments that have a party line (“Walden codes”) to discipline, expel, fire, and, above all, to defend indoctrination rather than education.

I include among the latter some African American studies departments that will not assign books or papers by conservative thinkers, some women’s studies departments that reject incontrovertible social science that runs counter to the official feminist ideology, and some (almost all) education departments that define their purpose as sending out “missionaries” to convert schools to their vision of an egalitarian society. I also provide a history of America’s schoolteachers, tracing how the low status of their profession has made the schools susceptible to adopting a missionary role.

Finally, I criticize the failure of universities to provide their students with the critical intelligence they need to be autonomous human beings and good citizens, despite the fact that they all state this as their chief objective.

Is this book worth reading?

Well, it will not be read unless it is published. To discuss a point made in Emerald’s letter, every reference to a person is documented by citations of published material or material in the public domain. At present, I can only cite the testimony of distinguished scholars. Some of the following were referees who sent their opinions to Emerald and some read it to give me an informal assessment.

This book is an education in itself…It is a brilliant and courageous book.
—Thomas Bouchard

That’s shocking [the rejection] even by the standards of contemporary restrictions on free speech, and especially ironic given the subject of your book.
—Steven Pinker

It is ironic that a book critical of restrictions on free speech should itself be rejected by a publisher who is worried about the book falling afoul of UK laws on incitement to racial hatred.  In fact this is doubly ironic, given that the book is by Jim Flynn, after whom the “Flynn effect” is named, because the Flynn effect is all about the difference that culture and environment — rather than genes — makes to IQ scores. The draft I have seen has the potential to be an important and controversial work that will be very widely discussed.
—Peter Singer

I must admit I was shocked. Well, anyway, they have given you material for another chapter!
—John C. Loehlin

This is in-[expletive]-credible…Your book should not be considered even close to the fringes of politically correct discourse. If publishers are scared of your book, the censorship problem is a few orders of magnitude worse than I realized.
—Charles Murray


Discussing why free speech should extend to questions of race and gender necessarily involves presenting views (such as those of Jensen, Murray, and Lynn), if only for purposes of rebuttal, which upset those who believe that racial and sexual equality is self-evident. If upsetting students or staff or the public is a reason for banning speech, all such discussion is at an end. I end the book by quoting from George Orwell’s original preface to Animal Farm, which was itself rejected by Faber and Faber for being too critical of Stalin: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

James R. Flynn is an intelligence researcher who gave his name to the Flynn Effect. He is Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.


As Fundraising Shoots Up, Lawsuits Threaten Southern Poverty Law Center
The embattled far-left Southern Poverty Law Center flew past the half-billion-dollar mark in assets for the first time, ending the last tax year with $518.3 million in assets—after raking in $122.9 million that year, according to a newly disclosed IRS filing.

To provide a sense of scale, $518.3 million is more in assets than either the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Inc. ($452.8 million) or Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. ($446.3 million) had at the end of 2017.

Critics say the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a public-interest law firm whose founder, Morris Dees, and president, Richard Cohen, were ousted earlier this year amid accusations of racial discrimination and employee abuse, unfairly tars conservatives as racist as a matter of policy, treats all opposition to illegal or legal immigration, open borders, and multiculturalism as hate, and all political expression of those views as hate speech.

The SPLC, critics also say, deliberately lumps together all sorts of groups on America’s political right in order to intimidate and “de-platform” non-leftists. Conservative, libertarian, anti-tax, immigration reductionist, and other groups are all viewed as legitimate targets for vilification.

The group has its defenders in the media who take its work seriously. For example, in Rolling Stone, Amelia McDonell-Parry wrote that “the SPLC has developed a reputation for being an authority on extremist hate groups, monitoring and exposing their activities to the public, media and law enforcement.”

The Center appears to have brought in donor dollars by blaming something it calls the “Trump Effect” for thousands of cases of alleged “prejudice,” “bullying,” and “hate crimes” in the nation’s schools. Within weeks of President Donald Trump’s election, the group released the results “of a new survey, answered by more than 10,000 teachers across the country detailing the negative effect the election has had on school climates.”

The SPLC called on the president-elect “to immediately and forcefully publicly denounce racism and bigotry and to call on Americans to stop all acts of hate” even though there was little evidence from across the country that Trump supporters had done anything wrong. To the contrary, media reports at the time were bursting with stories of Trump supporters and Make America Great Again hat-wearers being violently set upon by angry liberals and progressives.

As part of its mission, the SPLC brings civil rights lawsuits that attack school choice, tracks so-called hate groups, publishes newsletters, and provides educational materials and grant money to teachers in hopes of reaching young minds.

Among the conservative groups that the SPLC has labeled “hate groups” are the Center for Security Policy, David Horowitz Freedom Center, Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, and Christians and Jews United for Israel. SPLC official Mark Potok has said, “I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, completely destroy them.”

Some groups resist the label. In June 2018, the SPLC paid more than $3 million as part of a legal settlement to former Muslim extremist Maajid Nawaz for wrongfully placing him and his London-based counter-extremism group, Quilliam, on an anti-Muslim hate list.

Although a federal judge recently dismissed a racketeering lawsuit brought by the nonpartisan Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) against SPLC leaders for blacklisting it as a “hate group,” other lawsuits appear to be in the making.

Liberty Counsel and 60 other organizations are considering filing defamation lawsuits against the SPLC, according to PJMedia.

In a lawsuit already filed, a federal judge in Missouri refused in July to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought against the SPLC by Craig Nelsen a former heroin addict, who created the Robinson Jeffers Boxing Club (RJBC), a 13-week residency “life treatment” program for men with opioid addictions or other serious problems.

Nelsen said the program was “designed to address the specific challenges unique to white males in the United States, [but that] the program was open to, and would benefit, men in distress of any race.” True to form, the SPLC claimed Nelsen was a neo-Nazi, anti-immigrant, and racist, and that his club was for whites only.

Conservatives—and more than a few leftists—have long complained that the SPLC perennially hypes and exaggerates incidents involving racism in America in order to promote its radical agenda and raise a mountain of money.

JoAnn Wypijewski wrote in The Nation magazine that “No one has been more assiduous in inflating the profile of [hate] groups” than the center’s founder, Morris Dees.

The SPLC “spends most of its time—and money—on a relentless fundraising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate,” Ken Silverstein wrote in Harper’s magazine.

The $518.3-million figure for SPLC assets for the year ended Oct. 31, 2018, was up $41.3 million from $477 million the year before.

The Montgomery, Alabama-based SPLC also beefed up its workforce, reporting having 360 employees and 514 volunteers, compared to 302 employees and 197 volunteers the year before. As a result of the workforce expansion, the group paid out $29.2 million in salaries and benefits, compared to $23.9 million the year before, according to a Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (IRS Form 990) signed by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s secretary-treasurer, Teenie Hutchison on Jan. 31, 2019.

The SPLC acknowledges in the IRS filing that it “has ownership in several foreign corporations,” indirectly owns “several passive foreign investment companies,” and has financial dealings in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven in the Caribbean.

The SPLC famously ignited controversy when it labeled a conservative group, Family Research Council, a “hate group” because it opposes homosexuality on religious grounds. Liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank called it “absurd” for the SPLC to place FRC, which he called “a mainstream conservative thinktank,” “in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church.”

But gay rights activist Floyd Lee Corkins acknowledged he acted based on the dubious hate group report, shooting up FRC national headquarters in 2012, nonfatally wounding building manager Leo Johnson before he was subdued. Corkins said he wanted to kill as many FRC employees as possible, after which he planned to rub Chick-fil-A sandwiches in their faces as they died. Chick-fil-A became a target of LGBT protests in 2012 when its CEO, Dan T. Cathy, acknowledged he was “guilty as charged” of supporting anti-gay-marriage initiatives.

The SPLC has tried to spread its radical views to the education sector through its Teaching Tolerance program, which critics say is a means of ideologically indoctrinating students.

In late 2017, the group started handing out money as part of its Educator Grants program “to support projects that promote affirming school climates and educate youth to thrive in a diverse democracy.” The grants “support social justice work at the classroom, school and district level.”

“Teachers and administrators know best how to come up with innovative ways to teach their students to fight bigotry and hate,” Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance said. “We want to help them turn those ideas into projects that will have a big impact on the way students see themselves and how they view and treat others.”

“Our hope is to build, over time, a network of educators who are enthusiastic about learning from each other and who will share their experiences fighting injustice in their schools with the broader Teaching Tolerance community,” Costello says. “Instead of allowing prejudice and hate to fester in the minds of our young people, we want to cultivate future generations with greater empathy, kindness and understanding for one another.”

On its IRS form, the Center disclosed having given more than $600,000 in grants.

What are educators doing with the money?

Grant recipient Amy Dickerson worked with her students in New Orleans on what should replace Confederate statues.

“We started the project with reflecting on our own identity and generating adjectives to describe ourselves,” Dickerson said. “Students studied the artist Nick Cave, who creates wearable pieces of art called Soundsuits that express his identity and views on social justice.”

In Boston, a grant was used to “empower” “black and brown girls” to “practice self-love, self-advocacy and sisterhood.” Ayanna Pressley, the first black woman elected to the Boston City Council, addressed the crowd. Pressley, a far-left Democrat, is now a U.S. representative from Massachusetts who is a member of the radical so-called Squad headed up by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist from New York.

Teaching Tolerance embraced the Global Climate Strike protest event Sept. 20.

“From the civil rights movement to recent youth-led movements to stop gun violence, we have asked educators to learn from young people’s activism and to instill students with an understanding of their power and value.”

Educators were encouraged to “introduce students to young people around the world who have truly been at the forefront of the fight for environmental justice—and made a difference in the face of apathy. Perhaps most famously, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg has helped inspire global action and conversation through her activism.”

Educators “should consider introducing students to the diverse coalition of young people calling for climate justice.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center did not respond to a request for comment.


Australia: Abortion is decriminalised in New South Wales after weeks of contentious debate and heated protests

This is a storm in a teacup.  Abortion has been decriminalized in NSW for years -- ever since the Heatherbrae case. The 1971 case of R v Wald ruled that abortions do not contravene the laws in certain circumstances.

That case involved a criminal trial of five people – most of whom were health care professionals. The five defendants were involved in performing an abortion at the Heatherbrae clinic in Bondi. All were charged under section 83 of the Crimes Act.

The trial judge found that an abortion is lawful if there is an ‘economic, social or medical ground or reason’ upon which the doctor could honestly and reasonably believe that an abortion could avoid a ‘serious danger to the pregnant woman’s life or her physical or mental health.’

All five defendants were ultimately found ‘not guilty’ on that basis – and the ruling opened the doors to women seeking to terminate a pregnancy for reasons such as financial disadvantage or instability, or fears of social stigma and judgment – factors which may negatively affect a woman’s mental wellbeing.

The judgment also affirmed that abortions do not need to be performed in hospitals – paving the way for women’s health clinics around the state.

NSW parliament has passed laws decriminalising abortion following a marathon debate and weeks of protest. There was applause in the lower house on Thursday as the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 passed its final hurdle.

It comes after the controversial bill passed the upper house 26 votes to 14 on Wednesday night following nearly 40 hours of discussion - making it the third longest debate in the state's house of review.

The bill, presented to parliament in August by Independent MP Alex Greenwich, takes abortion out of the criminal code and allows terminations up to 22 weeks.

'Thank you to all members for the role you have played in this historic reform ... we can feel proud that part of our legacy will be the decriminalisation of abortion in NSW,' the Member for Sydney said. 

An amendment passed in the upper house recognised doctors performing abortions after 22 weeks could seek advice from a multi-disciplinary team or hospital advisory committee.

'With the passing of this bill, our parliament affirms that we trust women,' Labor MP and bill co-sponsor Jo Haylen said just before the final vote. 'We trust women to make decisions about their own lives and about their own bodies.'

The legislation was opposed by religious groups, anti-abortion activists and several MPs who raised concerns about late-term and sex-selective abortions, conscientious objection and the way the bill was introduced. 

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, and former prime minister Tony Abbott were both outspoken in their opposition of the bill.

Joyce described it as the 'slavery debate of our time,' while Abbott accused the NSW government of putting forward 'the most radical abortion laws in this country.'

Liberal and Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote on the bill.

Tensions in the government reached a climax last week when Liberal MPs Tanya Davies, Mathew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato said they would move a leadership spill motion against Premier Gladys Berejiklian over her handling of the bill.

The rebel MPs, who ultimately withdrew the motion, said it had been made clear that 'at an absolute minimum' four key amendments were required to ensure continued Liberal Party membership.

Ms Davies on Thursday supported amendments made to the bill, saying they created more safeguards and brought the bill to a better place.  

Abortions after 22 weeks are allowed with the approval of two 'specialist medical practitioners.'

All terminations after 22 weeks will now have to be performed in a public hospital.

'Many of us within the Parliament, and also outside in our communities, had concerns with the original bill ... concessions, amendments, changes to the original bill were moved through both houses of Parliament and that is a good thing,' she said.

The legislation that passed on Thursday is more conservative than the initial bill that Greenwich introduced after changes were made following opposition.

Labor MP Penny Sharpe, who is one of 15 co-sponsors of the bill, on Wednesday night said the vote was 119 years in the making.

'The current law has meant women and doctors have a threat of 10 years in jail for making this decision and that not okay,' she told parliament. 'This is a massive step forward for women in this state.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here



Northeast Syria: Boys, Men Held in Inhumane Conditions


(Beirut) – A Kurdish-led armed group backed by the United States-led coalition against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) is detaining thousands of Syrian and foreign men and boys in severely overcrowded informal detention centers in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. The heightened possibility of a Turkish invasion of northeast Syria underscores the urgent need for countries to immediately ensure that their imprisoned citizens can return home for rehabilitation, reintegration, and appropriate prosecution in line with international standards.

On October 7, 2019, US President Donald Trump announced a pullout of US troops from northeast Syria, an area controlled by the Kurdish-led armed group, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which had been a key member of the international coalition against ISIS. The group is detaining thousands of Syrian and foreign men and boys in severely overcrowded schools and other buildings in northeast Syria.

“Thousands of people, including children, are stuck in what amounts to shockingly overcrowded prisons on suspicion of being ISIS, but no one is accepting responsibility for them,” said Letta Tayler, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Any authority that effectively controls these informal prisons is legally bound to urgently improve conditions and ensure that each and every detainee is held lawfully.”

The SDF says it is holding 12,000 prisoners, including 4,000 foreigners, in 7 detention centers in northeast Syria. Human Rights Watch spoke to two witnesses, including a former prisoner, who described harrowing conditions and severe overcrowding in the detention centers. The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration controlling northern Syria says it lacks the resources to detain the prisoners properly and that their own countries should bring them home for investigation and potential prosecution. Most countries have failed to do so.

Human Rights Watch interviewed a journalist who said he had visited one of the detention facilities and reviewed his video footage published in The Times of London on September 30. The footage showed cells with dozens of men in orange jumpsuits packed together tightly, their bodies touching, and an equally crowded medical block in a detention center holding boys. The journalist said the detainees included British, French, Belgian, and US citizens, and that they were held in “terrible, terrible conditions.” CBS news published similar images on September 17. Human Rights Watch was not able to verify the images independently.

According to The Times, the people pictured were captured during the battle of Baghouz, which ended in February, and held on suspicion of being ISIS members.

Another person who visited one of the detention centers showed Human Rights Watch two recent photos that also showed severe overcrowding as well as male prisoners who appeared to be children sharing cells with men.

The journalist, Anthony Loyd, said he saw more than 450 detainees in the hospital block of one detention center, including children as young as 12. Many patients were not receiving adequate care and some had died of their injuries in the detention center, he said.

“Several prisoners had multiple amputations and I saw one with his intestines hanging out beneath a bloody dressing. The situation was pretty bleak,” Loyd said. “There were children there.”

The SDF is detaining many boys, some as young as 12, in informal detention centers, but others, particularly younger boys, are held with their parents in camps for suspected ISIS family members or in centers for children apprehended without their parents. One 16-year-old, who spoke with Human Rights Watch in June at a center for unaccompanied boys, said that the SDF and US forces appeared to decide at random which boys to imprison and which to send to the camps or centers.

“One American twice put me in a line to go to jail. But another American cursed him and said, ‘Why are you putting him back? The boy is small,’” the boy said.

The evidence and images reviewed by Human Rights Watch strongly suggest that conditions are unfit to hold detainees and fail to meet basic international standards.

Countries that have refused to allow the return of their nationals held in informal detention centers, or in squalid northeast Syrian camps holding more than 100,000 women and children related to ISIS suspects, nearly half of them foreigners, cite national security concerns and insufficient evidence for prosecution as justification for leaving them there.

Local authorities claim they do not have the necessary infrastructure to prosecute foreign ISIS suspects in line with international due process standards. They have nevertheless set up courts that have tried thousands of Syrian ISIS suspects in flawed proceedings. But neither the Syrian government nor the international community – including the Autonomous Administration’s own international partners – recognize the courts, raising doubts about the enforceability of the rulings.

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the “Mandela Rules”) require that “[a]ll accommodation provided for the use of prisoners … shall meet all requirements of health, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.” The rules state that “sanitary installations shall be adequate to enable every prisoner to comply with the needs of nature when necessary and in a clean and decent manner” and that “[a]dequate bathing and shower installations shall be provided.”

The Autonomous Administration should stop detaining children solely for suspected ISIS membership. Children who have been associated with armed groups should be treated primarily as victims who need rehabilitation assistance and help reintegrating into society. Children who may have committed other violent offenses should be treated in accordance with international juvenile justice standards and detained only as a last resort. Child suspects should be held separately from adults, unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so.

In addition to immediately ensuring that citizens trapped in northeast Syria can return to countries that guarantee due process, countries including members of the International Coalition against ISIS should also press and provide support to detaining authorities to end the inhumane conditions for those who cannot be promptly taken home or be involuntarily resettled without risk of torture or ill-treatment, including citizens of Iraq. The detaining authorities should ensure that anyone it is holding has been detained according to law, including prompt judicial review of each detainee to ensure the legality and necessity of detention, and that no one is held in inhumane or degrading conditions.

Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, anyone detained on suspicion for committing criminal offenses should be taken promptly before a judge or an equivalent authority to order their release. Anyone so detained is entitled to a trial within a reasonable time or release. The UN Human Rights Committee, which interprets the covenant, has said that the right to a judicial review of detention continues at all times, including in emergency situations.

Pending repatriation or third-country resettlement of non-Syrian prisoners to countries where they are not at risk of torture, ill-treatment, or unfair trials, the US-led coalition and countries with nationals held in northeast Syria should provide financial and technical support to the detaining authorities. The funding should be used to ensure that the authorities house all detainees in official prisons that are built to accommodate detainees and meet basic international standards including standards regarding juvenile justice.

“That those detained are ISIS suspects is no excuse for home countries to look the other way,” Tayler said. “If conditions in these prisons don’t improve, then home countries’ fears of radicalization and ISIS resurgence could become a reality.”


The Skydio 2 is here — and it costs less than $1,000


Skydio this month finally revealed the Skydio 2, an upgrade to its original Skydio drone, but with a lower price point. The original Skydio R1 drone shocked crowds with its ultra-smart sensor capability, able to fly autonomously through complex environments thanks to sensors on all sides of the drone. But perhaps its biggest downfall was […]

The post The Skydio 2 is here — and it costs less than $1,000 appeared first on The Drone Girl.


Economical Agriculture Sprayer-THEA 160 Hexacopter


Today I would like to introduce an economical agriculture sprayer – THEA 160, which will meet the needs of efficient and accurate operation.

THEA 160 is a battery-powered agriculture hexacopter, compared with the THEA 130, the pesticide tank capacity and spray width of THEA 160 have been greatly improved to meet the operational needs of users in different industries. THEA 160 pesticide tank is 16L, the spray width is 5-7 meters, the operation efficiency of THEA 160 is about 1.82-3.3acre per flight.

(Note: The working efficiency in one hour may be different due to the different proficiency of operators and the different distribution speed of pesticide on the ground.)

THEA 160 adopts the Cutting-edge industry materials, features high temperature resistance, corrosion resistance and longer service life; the fold-able design makes it convenient for transportation; supports expansion function like mist sprayer, seeding module etc. The THEA 160 is equipped with a microwave fixed-height radar, which can realize terrain following function, and can be applied in variety of environments and terrains, like fields, crops, forests and orchards etc. In addition, THEA 160 agriculture sprayer can achieve full-autonomous flight, AB point flight, Continue to fly at breakpoints and other functions.


Multiple Configurations-Meet the complex farmland environment operation requirements

In the actual plant protection operation, every sprayer operator will encounter problems like  irregular shape of the field, the terrain is uneven, there are obstacles in the field, or the take-off and landing area is not suitable etc. The THEA 160 can display the real-time data to monitor the flight status and ensure a safe flight. Thea 160 can also provide terrain following and autonomous obstacle avoidance functions to ensure the safety of the drone. In addition, the THEA 160 also retains a variety of manual modes, which allows pilot to switch at any time during the operation to adapt to complex operating environments.



Radar, FPV camera and searchlight- Safer and more autonomous operation

THEA 160 is equipped with a millimeter-wave obstacle-avoidance radar, when performing autonomous flight, the radar can detect the obstacles in front and automatically stop at a set distance to ensure safe operation.

In addition, the THEA 160 is also equipped with an FPV camera and a searchlight. The FPV camera can transmit the image in front of the drone to the remote controller in real time. When the THEA 160 is stopped due to the obstacle, it can be remoted to avoid the obstacle referring to the image and the staff doesn’t need to go to the scene, and the searchlight can be used for illumination in low light situations, that makes the operation more safe.

Good penetration, Efficient operation

THEA 160 has a simple structure, small volume and low consumption, uniform and stable in the wind field. It is good to spray pesticides on the surface of the whole crop to better exert its effects! The down-wind-pressure field is uniform, stable and penetrable, which can spray the pesticide to the crop surface and display a better pesticide effect .


Classical Series , Full-featured

THEA 160 and THEA 130 are two important products of the THEA series agriculture sprayers. Both of them fully consider the actual operation requirements in terms of functions, and maintain the same pace to meet the increasingly diverse operational needs of the industry users:

1. Support "GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou satellite navigation System" to improve flight reliability.

2. Real-time monitor the battery capacity, support low-voltage voice alarm

3. Real-time monitor the amount of pesticides. When there is no pesticide in the tank, the ground station supports voice alarm.

4. Microwave fixed-height radar, support terrain following flight

5.Android mobile phone ground station, easy to use

6.PC ground station, full voice broadcast

7. Real-time data display, monitor the flight status

8. Support route planning, automatic flight operation

9. Support AB point flight

10. Support one-button take-off and landing, greatly improve the safety

11. Provide high pressure ceramic nozzle, adjustable spray speed and even spraying

12. Support breakpoints and continue spraying, support automatic return while without pesticides or at low voltage.

13. Support irregular land planning

14. Support set obstacle points, plan routes to avoid obstacle areas

15. Support setting alternate landing sites to facilitate large-scale land operations

16. Support mist sprayer, seeding module, multi-purpose drone, controllable cost, and low investment.


THEA 130 and THEA 160 Agriculture Sprayer are now released! The pesticide tank is 10L and 16L respectively. The maximum working efficiency per flight is15 mu and 20 mu respectively, and the functions of autonomous flight, fixed height and imitating flight are carried out. Both of them fully consider the needs of the actual operation, can meet the

complex farmland environment operation requirements. Welcome plant protection users to consult and buy! Welcome to consult and purchase!

For Purchase and details please contact:


6S 30000mAh Li-ion Battery


T12 Radio Controller

T12 is an integrated remote controller supports data, video transmission and remote control. The working frequency of T12 is 2.4G, transmission power is 100mw. T12 adopts FHSS tecnology, the video and data transmission distance is about 10km. The remote controller has an built-in 4000mAh battery, the working time is about 25hours. T12 is waterproof and dustproof, and features high expansibility, supports multiple interface like S.BUS,PPM,PWM and serial port. 

Learn More

High Efficiency and Cost Saving

THEA 160 is an economical practical spraying hexacopter, which features high temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, stable and reliable operation. The foldable design can save more space. The THEA 160 agriculture sprayer is equipped with a 16L pesticide tank, and the operation efficiency is about 1.82-3.3acre per flight.
THEA 160 Agriculture Sprayer equipped with a new released flight control system which can realize the functions like autonomous operation, one-button take-off and landing, terrain following and fixed height flight, the microwave radar can predict the distance between the aircraft and the crop, so THEA 160 can fly at a constant distance to ensure even spraying. THEA 160 can be applied in variety of environments and terrains, like fields, crops, forests and orchards. 

Learn More

High Efficiency and Cost Saving

THEA 130 is an economical practical spraying drone, which adopts a new released flight controller system. The flight control system has the comprehensive flight status monitoring alarm function and perfect emergency protection mechanisms, that greatly guarantee the safe operation of the system, combined with the new spraying system and intelligent operation planning system, the agricultural plant protection efficiency is also significantly improved.
The THEA 130 agriculture sprayer is equipped with a 10L pesticide tank, and the operation efficiency of THEA 130 is about 1.65-2.5acre per flight. THEA 130 can be applied in variety of environments and terrains, like fields, crops, forests and orchards. 

Learn More

High-Precision Landing System for Drones

The High-Precision Landing System has good stability, strong anti-interference ability, and compatible with a variety of flight controllers, such as Pixhawk, PX4, DJI A3/N3 etc. The drone equipped with this system can realize the autonomous take-off and landing in a very small range. The landing accuracy is controlled within 10cm. The system is widely used in logistics, rescue and inspection. The use of this system makes it possible for UAV to realize unattended operation.

Learn More

High-Precision Landing System for Drones

Foxtech 22.2V 6S 30000mAh Li-ion Battery has 3C continuous discharge current, which is designed for long flight time drones like 160S, and GAIA 160S equipped with this battery can fly about 3 hours.

Learn More


Magephone System for UAV


Megaphone System for Drones

This megaphone can be installed on multirotors and fixedwings FPV platforms, which can be used in many fileds like traffic dispersion, police negotiation, search and rescue etc.
The megaphone features lightweight, small size and simple structure, so it is easy to install the magaphone on the drone. Equipped with the megaphone system, the drone also can fly with low resistance in the air. The megaphone supports real-time broadcasting. And the sound strength is about 125db(max.), 100m away is about 65-78db. And the audio transmission distance is about 5km.

Learn More

THEA 160 Agriculture Sprayer

THEA 160 is an economical practical spraying hexacopter, which features high temperature resistance, corrosion resistance, stable and reliable operation. The foldable design can save more space. The THEA 160 agriculture sprayer is equipped with a 16L pesticide tank, and the operation efficiency is about 1.82-3.3acre/take off.
THEA 160 Agriculture Sprayer equipped with a new released flight control system which can realize the functions like autonomous operation, one-key take-off and landing, terrain following and fixed height flight, the microwave radar can predict the distance between the aircraft and the crop, so THEA 160 can fly at a constant distance to ensure even spraying. THEA 160 can be applied in variety of environments and terrains, like fields, crops, forests and orchards. 

Learn More

D04 Multi-link Signal Relay

The D04 is a multi-link signal relay system that can simultaneously transmit up to two independent S-BUS data and one serial port data, it can transmit max. 32 CH RC signal.
D04 Multi-link Signal Relay solves the problem of short transmission distance of the remote controller and datalink. D04 is intergrated with microhard module(P900) and the grount unit is intergrated with wireless network module, so users can connect to D04 ground unit by wireless network or USB data cable. The wireless network can reach a stable coverage of 30~50M without interference. The maximum communication distance of D04 is up to 30KM.

Learn More


FOXTECH GS01 Handheld Ground Station/TF02 Single Point Ranging LiDAR/Foxtech Group 5% OFF Coupon

TF 02 Single Point Ranging LiDAR
 Main Features

The TF02 lidar features high stability, high precision, high sensitivity and high-speed distance measurement, also features low power consumption. This TF02 lidar can achieve a 22-meter-long optimal range,and it is operable under 100kLux ambient light.

  • Weight: 52g
  • Range: 0.4m-22m
  • Receiving Angle: 3°
  • Distance Resolution: 1cm
  • Power: ≤1W
  • Voltage: 5V
  • Refresh Rate: 100Hz
  • Accuracy: <2%(5m~22m)
GS01 Handheld Ground Station
 Main Features

GS01 is a handheld ground station which features small size, light weight, simple operation and portability. GS01 Ground Station integrated transmitter, receiver and Windows, Android systems that gives you full control over the drone, allowing you to easily program autonomous flight. The control distance of GS01 is more than 15km, real-time transmission through the 840MHz-930MHZ network. GS01 also support 3G Network, so you also can use hotspot with your cellphone.

Foxtech Group 5% OFF Cupon
 Main Features

Welcome to join Foxtech Group. We offer 5% OFF cupons every wednesday in this group, and only the first 10 users could enjoy this discount. What are you waiting for, come and join us!

Copyright 2018 Foxtech All Rights Reserved.


Software Developer - Ontario Institute for Cancer Research - Toronto, ON

The main areas covered by GSI are: Software developers in GSI are enthusiastic and autonomous, responsible for full stack development and deployment.
From Ontario Institute for Cancer Research - Fri, 09 Aug 2019 22:50:13 GMT - View all Toronto, ON jobs

Fugue Adopts Open Policy Agent (OPA) for its Policy-as-Code Framework for Cloud Security


Adopting the CNCF’s open policy engine and language enables Fugue to provide customers with an open, non-proprietary solution for cloud infrastructure governance Frederick, Md. – October 8, 2019 – Fugue, the company delivering autonomous cloud infrastructure security and compliance, announced today its support for Open Policy Agent (OPA), an open source general-purpose policy engine and..

The post Fugue Adopts Open Policy Agent (OPA) for its Policy-as-Code Framework for Cloud Security appeared first on Security Boulevard.


Meet the robot racing drone that could beat human pilots by 2023 - CNET

Teams start competing Tuesday in the Drone Racing League's new battle of autonomous drones. Here's an exclusive first look at the AI-powered flying machine.

Hong Kong Plunges Deeper into Crisis as Protests Break Out for the Third Consecutive Day


Anti-communist crowds marched through Hong Kong Sunday to decry the government’s emergency powers and press their demands for political freedom. Many wore masks in open defiance of a government ban on facial coverings meant as a deterrent to protesters, whose four-month-old democratic rebellion has thrown the semi-autonomous enclave into crisis and caused consternation among China’s top leadership.

The post Hong Kong Plunges Deeper into Crisis as Protests Break Out for the Third Consecutive Day appeared first on Worthy Christian News.


Contracts Manager - AWD Recruitment Limited - Deeside

Working as the Building & Construction Contracts Manager you will join an expanding business within an autonomous role, where you can put your experience to… £38,000 - £42,000 a year
From AWD Recruitment Limited - Mon, 07 Oct 2019 10:45:46 GMT - View all Deeside jobs

Rotterdam is building the most automated port in the world

Rotterdam is betting big on self-driving ships, smart containers and autonomous cranes. Everyone's happy, apart from dockers

Data Pipeline Automation: Dynamic Intelligence, Not Static Code Gen


Join us for this free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research. The webinar features GigaOm analyst Andrew Brust and special guest, Sean Knapp from Ascend, a new company focused on autonomous data pipelines.

In this 1-hour webinar, you will discover:

  • How data pipeline orchestration and multi-cloud strategies intersect
  • Why data lineage and data transformation serve and benefit dynamic data movement
  • That scaling and integrating today’s cloud and on-premises data technologies requires a mix of automation and data engineering expertise

Why Attend:

Data pipelines are a reality for most organizations. While we work hard to bring compute to the data, to virtualize and to federate, sometimes data has to move to an optimized platform. While schema-on-read has its advantages for exploratory analytics, pipeline-driven schema-on-write is a reality for production data warehouses, data lakes and other BI repositories.

But data pipelines can be operationally brittle, and automation approaches to date have led to a generation of unsophisticated code and triggers whose management and maintenance, especially at-scale, is no easier than the manually-crafted stuff.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With advances in machine learning and the industry’s decades of experience with pipeline development and orchestration, we can take pipeline automation into the realm of intelligent systems. The implications are significant, leading to data-driven agility while eliminating denial of data pipelines’ utility and necessity.

Request Free!


U.S. Blacklists Chinese Tech Firms Over Treatment Of Uighurs

The Commerce Department has issued a list of 28 state security bureaus and tech companies in China that it says are being used to suppress the country's Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities – a move that blocks them from doing business with U.S. firms. The revised Entity List that came out late Monday adds several security bureaus with jurisdiction in China's western Xinjiang region, where the Uighurs are concentrated, as well as firms such as Hikvision and Dahua Technology, which are leading providers of video surveillance equipment. The filing says the entities "have been determined by the U.S. Government to be acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States," and have been engaged in "China's campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the [Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region]." In a statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. "will not

Cognitive! - Entering a New Era of Business Models Between Converging Technologies and Data


by Matthias Reinwarth

Digitalization or more precisely the "digital transformation" has led us to the "digital enterprise". It strives to deliver on its promise to leverage previously unused data and the information it contains for the benefit of the enterprise and its business. And although these two terms can certainly be described as buzzwords, they have found their way into our way of thinking and into all kinds of publications, so that they will probably continue to exist in the future. 

Thought leaders, analysts, software and service providers and finally practically everyone in between have been proclaiming the "cognitive enterprise" for several months now. This concept - and the mindset associated with it - promises to use the information of the already digital company to achieve productivity, profitability and high innovation for the company.  And they aim at creating and evolving next-generation business models between converging technologies and data.​  

So what is special about this cognitive enterprise“? Defining it usually starts with the idea of applying cognitive concepts and technologies to data in practically all relevant areas of a corporation. Data includes: Open data, public data, subscribed data, enterprise-proprietary data, pre-processed data, structured and unstructured data or simply Big Data). And the technologies involved include the likes of Artificial Intelligence (AI), more specifically Machine Learning (ML), Blockchain, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), the Internet of Things (IoT), ubiquitous communication with 5G, and individualized 3D printing​.  

As of now, mainly concepts from AI and machine learning are grouped together as "cognitive", although a uniform understanding of the underlying concepts is often still lacking. They have already proven to do the “heavy lifting” either on behalf of humans, or autonomously. They increasingly understand, they reason, and they interact, e.g. by engaging in meaningful conversations and thus delivering genuine value without human intervention. 

Automation, analytics and decision-making, customer support and communication are key target areas, because many tasks in today’s organizations are in fact repetitive, time-consuming, dull and inefficient. Focus (ideally) lies on relieving and empowering the workforce, when the task can be executed by e.g. bots or through Robotic Process Automation. Every organization is supposed to agree that their staff is better than bots and can perform tasks much more meaningful. So, these measures are intended to benefit both the employee and the company. 

But this is only the starting point. A cognitive enterprise will be interactive in many ways, not only by interacting with its customers, but also with other systems, processes, devices, cloud services and peer organizations. As one result it will be adaptive, as it is designed to be learning from data, even in an unattended manner. The key goal is to foster agility and continuous innovation through cognitive technologies by embracing and institutionalizing a culture that perpetually changes the way an organization works and creates value.  

Beyond the fact that journalists, marketing departments and even analysts tend to outdo each other in the creation and propagation of hype terms, where exactly is the difference between a cognitive and a digital enterprise?  Do we need yet another term, notably for the use of machine learning as an apparently digital technology?  

I don't think so. We are witnessing the evolution, advancement, and ultimately the application of exactly these very digital technologies that lay the foundation of a comprehensive digital transformation. However, the added value of the label "cognitive" is negligible.   

But regardless of how you, me or the buzzword industry really decide to call it in the end, much more relevant are the implications and challenges of this consistent implementation of digital transformation. In my opinion two aspects must not be underestimated: 

First, this transformation is either approached in its entirety, or it is better not to do it at all, there is nothing in between. If you start doing this, it's not enough to quickly look for a few candidates for a bit of Robot Process Automation. There will be no successful, "slightly cognitive” companies. This will be a waste of the actual potential of a comprehensive redesign of corporate processes and is worth little more than a placebo. Rather, it is necessary to model internal knowledge, to gain and to interconnect data.  Jobs and tasks will change, become obsolete and will be replaced by new and more demanding ones (otherwise they could be executed by a bot again). 

Second: The importance of managing constant organizational change and restructuring is often overlooked. After all, the transformation to a Digital/Cognitive Enterprise is by far not entirely about AI, Robotic Process Automation or technology. Rather, focus has to be put on the individual as well, i.e. each member of the entire workforce (both internal and external). Established processes have to be managed, adjusted or even reengineered and this also applies to processes affecting partners, suppliers and thus any kind of cooperation or interaction.  

One of the most important departments in this future will be the human resources department and specifically talent management. Getting people on board and retaining them sustainably will be a key challenge. In particular, this means providing them with ongoing training and enabling them to perform qualitatively demanding tasks in a highly volatile environment. And it is precisely such an extremely responsible task that will certainly not be automated even in the long term...


Practical AI 59: Flying high with AI drone racing at AlphaPilot


Chris and Daniel talk with Keith Lynn, AlphaPilot Program Manager at Lockheed Martin. AlphaPilot is an open innovation challenge, developing artificial intelligence for high-speed racing drones, created through a partnership between Lockheed Martin and The Drone Racing League (DRL).

AlphaPilot challenged university teams from around the world to design AI capable of flying a drone without any human intervention or navigational pre-programming. Autonomous drones will race head-to-head through complex, three-dimensional tracks in DRL’s new Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing (AIRR) Circuit. The winning team could win up to $2 million in prizes.

Keith shares the incredible story of how AlphaPilot got started, just prior to its debut race in Orlando, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports.

Discuss on Changelog News



Notes and Links




開場:22:50 開演:23:00

ASMRとは ニコニコ大百科の記事はこちら Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response の略。 人が聴覚や視覚への刺激によって感じる、心地良い、頭がゾワゾワするといった反応・感覚。 ASMRを一言で説明できる…

General Motors falls to its lowest since June after reportedly making a second offer to striking workers (GM)


FILE PHOTO: General Motors assembly workers picket outside the General Motors Bowling Green plant during the United Auto Workers (UAW) national strike in Bowling Green, Kentucky, U.S., September 17, 2019.  REUTERS/Bryan Woolston/File Photo

  • General Motors stock sank as much as 2.9% Tuesday after the company reportedly made a second offer to striking workers.
  • The automaker sent the proposal Monday after members of the United Auto Workers union rejected a first offer over the weekend, the Detroit Free Press reported. Details of the second offer are confidential and GM hadn't received a response from the union as of Monday night.
  • Negotiations between GM and UAW took "a turn for the worse" over the weekend, union vice president Terry Dittes said in a letter to members.
  • Watch GM trade live here.

General Motors stock tumbled as much as 2.9% Tuesday after reportedly making a second offer to striking members of the United Auto Workers union.

The automaker sent a second offer to UAW Monday morning after the union rejected a first offer over the weekend, the Detroit Free Press reported. The details of the new proposal are confidential, and GM was still waiting for the union's response as of Monday evening, two sources familiar with the matter told DFP.

The strike entered its fourth week Monday, and has already wiped out more than $4 billion from GM's market cap.

"These negotiations have taken a turn for the worse," UAW vice president Terry Dittes said in a Sunday letter to members. "We, in this union, could not be more disappointed with General Motors."

Read more: The General Motors strike is getting more expensive. It has likely cost the automaker more than $1 billion already.

Roughly 46,000 workers began the strike on September 16. The automaker's stock has fallen roughly 9% since then and now trades at its lowest levels since early June.

The union's leadership is asking for entry-level pay raises, improved health care, and a faster process for short-term workers to earn higher salaries. The requests arrive as GM looks to produce more electric and autonomous vehicles, a change that would endanger the job security of many striking workers.

A continued demonstration would further hit GM's third-quarter earnings, as the company can only make up for so much lost production. The automaker is scheduled to announce its latest quarterly figures October 29, and is likely to answer many questions regarding the strike during the related analyst call.

General Motors traded at $33.97 as of 12:50 p.m. ET Tuesday, up roughly 0.1% year-to-date. Shares have fallen 7.6% since the strike began on September 16.

The company has 16 "buy" ratings, six "hold" ratings, and no "sell" ratings from analysts, with a consensus price target of $47.78, according to Bloomberg data.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

Third-quarter earnings season is on the horizon. These are the 7 companies best positioned to impress with their reports.

Domino's Pizza tanks as slowing sales growth drags third-quarter figures below expectations

eBay is ramping up its sales efforts to take aim at Amazon's giant advertising business


Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 7 lesser-known benefits of Amazon Prime


The NBA is in hot water after Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey supported the Hong Kong protests. Here are other times Western brands caved to China after offending the Communist Party.


xi jinping rub hands

  • China's Communist Party is very sensitive to any content seen to jeopardize its grip on power, and regularly censors social media posts and movie scenes.
  • Many foreign companies have incurred its wrath for reasons including — according to the government — misconstruing Chinese politics and insulting Chinese citizens.
  • The Chinese market is very valuable as people there are spending more and more on international goods and travel.
  • Here's a list of eight foreign companies — from Versace to Marriott Internationals to the NBA — who have groveled to China after offending it.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The NBA is at the centre of a storm in China after Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rocketstweeted his support for the Hong Kong protests, offending Chinese NBA fans, companies, and the country's government, and leading to a days long dispute.

The league this week has found out what many other Western brands have discovered in recent years: China is a tricky country to do business in.

The ruling Communist Party is extremely sensitive to any content seen to jeopardize its grip on power, and regularly censors social media posts, movie scenes, and news coverage that may be used to criticize the government.

It has also attacked multiple foreign brands and companies for — in its opinion — getting involved in Chinese politics, misconstruing the country's borders, and aggravating Chinese citizens.

Many brands have kowtowed to the Chinese government over these issues, which isn't surprising given the clout of Chinese consumers in global retail.

Despite a slowing economy, mainland Chinese consumers spent 170 billion yuan ($23 billion) 0n luxury goods in 2018, according to Bain & Company, with the number set to grow.

Scroll down to see how eight companies incurred China's wrath — and how they kowtowed to the Communist Party.

The NBA and Houston Rockets — which scrambled to distance themselves from a tweet from the Rockets' general manager supporting the Hong Kong protests.

Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey sparked controversy in the US and China after he tweeted a graphic supporting the Hong Kong protesters in early October.

The Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly criticized the Hong Kong demonstrations, and have prevented its social media platforms and news outlets to report on them extensively.

Though Morey quickly deleted his tweet and said his political views did not represent those of the Rockets or the NBA, the Chinese Consulate in Houston criticized the tweet, and China's state broadcaster said it will stop showing NBA games.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta immediately distanced the team and its shareholders from Morey's statement, insisting that the team has "no political position."

Basketball is immensely popular in China, with nearly 500 million people watching NBA games on livestreaming platform Tencent Video last season.

The NBA also issued a statement saying Morey's tweet "deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has since defended Morey's freedom to express his political views, but noted that the league will not regulate or adjudicate players, employees and team owners' political opinions.

Read more: China says it will stop broadcasting NBA games after Commissioner Adam Silver defended Daryl Morey's freedom to support Hong Kong protests

Swarovski — for describing Hong Kong as a country on its website amid anti-China protests.

Jewelry company Swarovski apologized in August for describing Hong Kong as a country on its website amid anti-China protests in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a Chinese city, but operates under a separate constitution and independent judiciary. Hong Kongers have been protesting over Chinese encroachment into the semi-autonomous city.

In a statement on Facebook, the company apologized for its "misleading communication on China's National Sovereignty."

"Swarovski has always firmly respected China's National Sovereignty and territorial integrity, providing the Chinese market with unified worldwide services and products," it said.

Versace — for making a T-shirt that listed Hong Kong as its own country.

In August 2018, photos of a Versace T-shirt that described Hong Kong as its own country went viral on Chinese social media, prompting fury from patriotic citizens.

The shirt featured a list of cities and the countries they belong to, as such: "Paris — FRANCE," "New York — USA," and "Beijing — CHINA." But Hong Kong's entry said: "Hong Kong — HONG KONG."

Yang Mi, a Chinese actress and singer, stepped down as a brand ambassador amid the controversy, saying: "Disclaimer: At any time, China's territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable, and even more inseparable!"

Versace later tweeted an impassioned apology from chief creative officer Donatella Versace, published in both English and Chinese.

"I am deeply sorry for the unfortunate recent error that was made by our company," Versace said.

"Never have I wanted to disrespect China's national sovereignty and this is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused."

Coach — for listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as individual countries.

In August, Coach also apologized for selling a shirt in May 2018 that identified Hong Kong and Taiwan as countries separate from China.

Taiwan has been self-governing since it split with mainland China in 1949. However, Beijing has repeatedly insisted that the island is part of China, and has in recent months increased pressure on foreign countries and companies to do the same.

In an August statement, Coach described the T-shirt design as a "serious inaccuracy," and said it "immediately pulled those products from all channels globally."

"We are fully aware of the severity of this error and deeply regret it," it added. "Coach is dedicated to long-term development in China, and we respect the feelings of the Chinese people."

Chinese model Liu Wen terminated her contract with Coach at the same time, saying in a statement on Weibo: "I am sorry for the damage caused to the public for my poor choice of brand. I love my motherland and I resolutely safeguard national sovereignty."

Dolce & Gabbana — for running an ad campaign that seemed to mock Chinese people, and for a series of apparently leaked text messages showing its founder being racist against China.

The Italian fashion house angered Chinese people in November 2018 after it published ads depicting a Chinese model struggling to eat Italian food with chopsticks, and after a woman published screenshots allegedly of co-founder Stefano Gabbana making racist comments about Asians after she criticized the campaign.

Dolce & Gabbana canceled a highly-anticipated Shanghai fashion show in response, telling Insider at the time: "What happened today was very unfortunate not only for us, but also for all the people who worked day and night to bring this event to life."

Read more: Dolce & Gabbana cancels Shanghai show after ad campaign and founder's Instagram DMs mocked Chinese culture

The company also claimed that Gabbana's Instagram account was hacked, but didn't explicitly say whether he sent the messages.

It apologized for "impact and harm these untrue remarks have had on China and the Chinese people," referring to the alleged messages from the account associated with Gabbana.

The apologies didn't seem to work though. Online stores pulled Dolce & Gabbana products from their sites last year, and the company is still suffering from weak sales in China, Bloomberg reported in March.

Calvin Klein — for apparently identifying Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as individual countries on its US website.

In an August statement on Weibo, the American clothing brand apologized "deeply" for "causing misunderstanding with the language/country classification options" on its website.

"We also reiterate that Calvin Klein completely respects and honors the integrity of China's sovereignty and territory," it added.

Macau, like Hong Kong, is a semi-autonomous city that belongs to China.

Audi — for using a map of China that left off Taiwan, South Tibet, and a part of Xinjiang.

At its annual press conference in March 2017, the German car company showed a map of China that excluded Taiwan, South Tibet, and Xinjiang.

You can see a photo of the presentation here.

Tibet and Xinjiang are Chinese-administered regions, but have distinctly different cultures from the rest of mainland China. The Tibetan and Uighur ethnic minorities are ruled with an iron fist as Beijing suspects them of being separatists and national-security threats.

Audi apologized the next day, saying that it used "an incorrect geographical map" that "hurt the feelings of Chinese people," according to the state-run Global Times tabloid.

"This was a serious mistake for which Audi wants to sincerely apologize," the statement continued. "This is also a profound lesson that Audi will learn from."

Marriott hotels — for listing Hong Kong and Macau — specially-administered Chinese territories — and Taiwan as separate countries in a questionnaire emailed to customers.

In January 2018, the hotel chain listed Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Tibet as countries in a questionnaire emailed to customers.

Shanghai's Cyberspace Administration responded by investigating Marriott International over a potential breach of cybersecurity and advertising laws, and ordering it to take down its website and app for a week.

In response, Marriott International's CEO issued a public apology saying the company "respects and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China ... We recognize the severity of the situation and sincerely apologize."

Read more: Every company that's given into China's 'Orwellian' demands over Taiwan

Qantas, Air France, Air Canada, British Airways, and many other airlines — for listing Taiwan as its own country.

Last April, China's Civil Aviation Administration wrote to at least 36 foreign airlines demanding they change their references to Taiwan to a Chinese territory.

Dozens of airlines adhered to this demand for fear of being punished in the country and losing access to the booming travel market.

They include QantasAir FranceAir CanadaBritish Airways, and Malaysia Airlines.

Some didn't, though: United Airlines listed Taiwan as a location that uses the Taiwanese currency, rather than a Chinese company; and Japan Airlines and ANA only introduced the "Taiwan, China" descriptor on Chinese-language sites.

China's punishments have extended into the video gaming world, too. In October Blizzard Entertainment banned a professional eSports player from a tournament and his job for a year after he voiced support for the Hong Kong protests.

US video game company Blizzard Entertainment fined professional eSports player Blitzchung his prize money and banned him for a year after he appeared in a gas mask — an ubiquitous sight in Hong Kong's tear gas-heavy — and shouted: "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!"

Blizzard has since deleted footage of the interview from its official channels.

Read more: California-based game company Blizzard bans pro esports player and confiscates his prize money after he voices support for Hong Kong protester

A big reason why these brands have been so quick to apologize to China is because of citizens' patriotism and sensitivity to geopolitical issues.

As Marie Tulloch, a senior client services manager at Emerging Communications UK — a company focused on marketing to the Chinese market — told The Daily Beast:

"The Western view has always been the prominent view, and designers and marketing people aren't used to having to culture check their content."

"In other countries, especially China, there is so much national sentiment and pride, anything that threatens or demeans that becomes a big issue for consumers.

"The current internet generation is more vocal than their predecessors and are more willing to voice opinions if they don't like something."


Autonomous Parking of Vehicle Fleet in Tight Environments. (arXiv:1910.02349v1 [eess.SY])


Authors: Xu Shen, Xiaojing Zhang, Francesco Borrelli

The problem of autonomous parking of vehicle fleets is addressed in this paper. We present a system-level modeling and control framework which allows investigating different vehicle parking strategies while taking into account path planning and collision avoidance. The proposed approach decouples the problem into a centralized parking spot allocation and path generation, and a decentralized collision avoidance control. This paper presents the hierarchical framework and algorithmic details. Extensive simulations are used to assess several allocation strategies in terms of total fleet parking time and queue length. In particular, we describe how Braess's paradox can be observed for parking vehicle fleets.


High-Resolution Traffic Sensing with Autonomous Vehicles. (arXiv:1910.02376v1 [eess.SP])


Authors: Wei Ma, Sean Qian

The last decades have witnessed the breakthrough of autonomous vehicles (AVs), and the perception capabilities of AVs have been dramatically improved. Various sensors installed on AVs, including, but are not limited to, LiDAR, radar, camera and stereovision, will be collecting massive data and perceiving the surrounding traffic states continuously. In fact, a fleet of AVs can serve as floating (or probe) sensors, which can be utilized to infer traffic information while cruising around the roadway networks. In contrast, conventional traffic sensing methods rely on fixed traffic sensors such as loop detectors, cameras and microwave vehicle detectors. Due to the high cost of conventional traffic sensors, traffic state data are usually obtained in a low-frequency and sparse manner. In view of this, this paper leverages rich data collected through AVs to propose the high-resolution traffic sensing framework. The proposed framework estimates the fundamental traffic state variables, namely, flow, density and speed in high spatio-temporal resolution, and it is developed under different levels of AV perception capabilities and low AV market penetration rate. The Next Generation Simulation (NGSIM) data is adopted to examine the accuracy and robustness of the proposed framework. Experimental results show that the proposed estimation framework achieves high accuracy even with low AV market penetration rate. Sensitivity analysis regarding AV penetration rate, sensor configuration, and perception accuracy will also be studied. This study will help policymakers and private sectors (e.g Uber, Waymo) to understand the values of AVs, especially the values of massive data collected by AVs, in traffic operation and management.


Risk-Aware Reasoning for Autonomous Vehicles. (arXiv:1910.02461v1 [cs.AI])


Authors: Majid Khonji, Jorge Dias, Lakmal Seneviratne

A significant barrier to deploying autonomous vehicles (AVs) on a massive scale is safety assurance. Several technical challenges arise due to the uncertain environment in which AVs operate such as road and weather conditions, errors in perception and sensory data, and also model inaccuracy. In this paper, we propose a system architecture for risk-aware AVs capable of reasoning about uncertainty and deliberately bounding the risk of collision below a given threshold. We discuss key challenges in the area, highlight recent research developments, and propose future research directions in three subsystems. First, a perception subsystem that detects objects within a scene while quantifying the uncertainty that arises from different sensing and communication modalities. Second, an intention recognition subsystem that predicts the driving-style and the intention of agent vehicles (and pedestrians). Third, a planning subsystem that takes into account the uncertainty, from perception and intention recognition subsystems, and propagates all the way to control policies that explicitly bound the risk of collision. We believe that such a white-box approach is crucial for future adoption of AVs on a large scale.


Reactive Synthesis with Maximum Realizability of Linear Temporal Logic Specifications. (arXiv:1910.02561v1 [cs.FL])


Authors: Rayna Dimitrova, Mahsa Ghasemi, Ufuk Topcu

A challenging problem for autonomous systems is to synthesize a reactive controller that conforms to a set of given correctness properties. Linear temporal logic (LTL) provides a formal language to specify the desired behavioral properties of systems. In applications in which the specifications originate from various aspects of the system design, or consist of a large set of formulas, the overall system specification may be unrealizable. Driven by this fact, we develop an optimization variant of synthesis from LTL formulas, where the goal is to design a controller that satisfies a set of hard specifications and minimally violates a set of soft specifications. To that end, we introduce a value function that, by exploiting the LTL semantics, quantifies the level of violation of properties. Inspired by the idea of bounded synthesis, we fix a bound on the implementation size and search for an implementation that is optimal with respect to the said value function. We propose a novel maximum satisfiability encoding of the search for an optimal implementation (within the given bound on the implementation size). We iteratively increase the bound on the implementation size until a termination criterion, such as a threshold over the value function, is met.


Arbitrary Pattern Formation by Opaque Fat Robots with Lights. (arXiv:1910.02706v1 [cs.DC])


Authors: Kaustav Bose, Ranendu Adhikary, Manash Kumar Kundu, Buddhadeb Sau

Arbitrary Pattern Formation is a widely studied problem in autonomous robot systems. The problem asks to design a distributed algorithm that moves a team of autonomous, anonymous and identical mobile robots to form any arbitrary pattern given as input. The majority of the existing literature investigates this problem for robots with unobstructed visibility. In a few recent works, the problem has been studied in the obstructed visibility model, where the view of a robot can be obstructed by the presence of other robots. However, in these works, the robots have been modelled as dimensionless points in the plane. In this paper, we have considered the problem in the more realistic setting where the robots have a physical extent. In particular, the robots are modelled as opaque disks. Furthermore, the robots operate under a fully asynchronous scheduler. They do not have access to any global coordinate system, but agree on the direction and orientation of one coordinate axis. Each robot is equipped with an externally visible light which can assume a constant number of predefined colors. In this setting, we have given a complete characterization of initial configurations from where any arbitrary pattern can be formed by a deterministic distributed algorithm.


View Planning and Navigation Algorithms for Autonomous Bridge Inspection with UAVs. (arXiv:1910.02786v1 [cs.RO])


Authors: Kevin Yu, Prajwal Shanthakumar, Jonah Orevillo, Eric Bianchi, Matthew Hebdon, Pratap Tokekar

We study the problem of infrastructure inspection using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in box girder bridge environments. We consider a scenario where the UAV needs to fully inspect box girder bridges and localize along the bridge surface when standard methods like GPS and optical flow are denied. Our method for overcoming the difficulties of box girder bridges consist of creating local navigation routines, a supervisor, and a planner. The local navigation routines use two 2D Lidars for girder and column flight. For switching between local navigation routines we implement a supervisor which dictates when the UAV is able to switch between local navigation routines. Lastly, we implement a planner to calculate the path along that box girder bridge that will minimize the flight time of the UAV. With local navigation routines, a supervisor, and a planner we construct a system that can fully and autonomously inspect box girder bridges when standard methods are unavailable.


Self-Paced Contextual Reinforcement Learning. (arXiv:1910.02826v1 [cs.LG])


Authors: Pascal Klink, Hany Abdulsamad, Boris Belousov, Jan Peters

Generalization and adaptation of learned skills to novel situations is a core requirement for intelligent autonomous robots. Although contextual reinforcement learning provides a principled framework for learning and generalization of behaviors across related tasks, it generally relies on uninformed sampling of environments from an unknown, uncontrolled context distribution, thus missing the benefits of structured, sequential learning. We introduce a novel relative entropy reinforcement learning algorithm that gives the agent the freedom to control the intermediate task distribution, allowing for its gradual progression towards the target context distribution. Empirical evaluation shows that the proposed curriculum learning scheme drastically improves sample efficiency and enables learning in scenarios with both broad and sharp target context distributions in which classical approaches perform sub-optimally.


Scaled Autonomy: Enabling Human Operators to Control Robot Fleets. (arXiv:1910.02910v1 [cs.RO])


Authors: Gokul Swamy, Siddharth Reddy, Sergey Levine, Anca D. Dragan

Autonomous robots often encounter challenging situations where their control policies fail and an expert human operator must briefly intervene, e.g., through teleoperation. In settings where multiple robots act in separate environments, a single human operator can manage a fleet of robots by identifying and teleoperating one robot at any given time. The key challenge is that users have limited attention: as the number of robots increases, users lose the ability to decide which robot requires teleoperation the most. Our goal is to automate this decision, thereby enabling users to supervise more robots than their attention would normally allow for. Our insight is that we can model the user's choice of which robot to control as an approximately optimal decision that maximizes the user's utility function. We learn a model of the user's preferences from observations of the user's choices in easy settings with a few robots, and use it in challenging settings with more robots to automatically identify which robot the user would most likely choose to control, if they were able to evaluate the states of all robots at all times. We run simulation experiments and a user study with twelve participants that show our method can be used to assist users in performing a navigation task and manipulator reaching task.


Learning How to Autonomously Race a Car: a Predictive Control Approach. (arXiv:1901.08184v3 [cs.SY] UPDATED)


Authors: Ugo Rosolia, Francesco Borrelli

In this paper we present a Learning Model Predictive Controller (LMPC) for autonomous racing. We model the autonomous racing problem as a minimum time iterative control task, where an iteration corresponds to a lap. In the proposed approach at each lap the race time does not increase compared to the previous lap. The system trajectory and input sequence of each lap are stored and used to systematically update the controller for the next lap. The first contribution of the paper is to propose a LMPC strategy which reduces the computational burden associated with existing LMPC strategies. In particular, we show how to construct a safe set and an approximation to the value function, using a subset of the stored data. The second contribution is to present a system identification strategy for the autonomous racing iterative control task. We use data from previous iterations and the vehicle's kinematics equations to build an affine time-varying prediction model. The effectiveness of the proposed strategy is demonstrated by experimental results on the Berkeley Autonomous Race Car (BARC) platform.


RAPID: Early Classification of Explosive Transients using Deep Learning. (arXiv:1904.00014v2 [astro-ph.IM] UPDATED)


Authors: Daniel Muthukrishna, Gautham Narayan, Kaisey S. Mandel, Rahul Biswas, Renée Hložek

We present RAPID (Real-time Automated Photometric IDentification), a novel time-series classification tool capable of automatically identifying transients from within a day of the initial alert, to the full lifetime of a light curve. Using a deep recurrent neural network with Gated Recurrent Units (GRUs), we present the first method specifically designed to provide early classifications of astronomical time-series data, typing 12 different transient classes. Our classifier can process light curves with any phase coverage, and it does not rely on deriving computationally expensive features from the data, making RAPID well-suited for processing the millions of alerts that ongoing and upcoming wide-field surveys such as the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will produce. The classification accuracy improves over the lifetime of the transient as more photometric data becomes available, and across the 12 transient classes, we obtain an average area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.95 and 0.98 at early and late epochs, respectively. We demonstrate RAPID's ability to effectively provide early classifications of observed transients from the ZTF data stream. We have made RAPID available as an open-source software package ( for machine learning-based alert-brokers to use for the autonomous and quick classification of several thousand light curves within a few seconds.


Cross-chain Deals and Adversarial Commerce. (arXiv:1905.09743v4 [cs.DC] UPDATED)


Authors: Maurice Herlihy, Barbara Liskov, Liuba Shrira

Modern distributed data management systems face a new challenge: how can autonomous, mutually-distrusting parties cooperate safely and effectively? Addressing this challenge brings up questions familiar from classical distributed systems: how to combine multiple steps into a single atomic action, how to recover from failures, and how to synchronize concurrent access to data. Nevertheless, each of these issues requires rethinking when participants are autonomous and potentially adversarial.

We propose the notion of a *cross-chain deal*, a new way to structure complex distributed computations that manage assets in an adversarial setting. Deals are inspired by classical atomic transactions, but are necessarily different, in important ways, to accommodate the decentralized and untrusting nature of the exchange. We describe novel safety and liveness properties, along with two alternative protocols for implementing cross-chain deals in a system of independent blockchain ledgers. One protocol, based on synchronous communication, is fully decentralized, while the other, based on semi-synchronous communication, requires a globally shared ledger.


GraphRQI: Classifying Driver Behaviors Using Graph Spectrums. (arXiv:1910.00049v2 [cs.RO] UPDATED)


Authors: Rohan Chandra, Uttaran Bhattacharya, Trisha Mittal, Xiaoyu Li, Aniket Bera, Dinesh Manocha

We present a novel algorithm (GraphRQI) to identify driver behaviors from road-agent trajectories. Our approach assumes that the road-agents exhibit a range of driving traits, such as aggressive or conservative driving. Moreover, these traits affect the trajectories of nearby road-agents as well as the interactions between road-agents. We represent these inter-agent interactions using unweighted and undirected traffic graphs. Our algorithm classifies the driver behavior using a supervised learning algorithm by reducing the computation to the spectral analysis of the traffic graph. Moreover, we present a novel eigenvalue algorithm to compute the spectrum efficiently. We provide theoretical guarantees for the running time complexity of our eigenvalue algorithm and show that it is faster than previous methods by 2 times. We evaluate the classification accuracy of our approach on traffic videos and autonomous driving datasets corresponding to urban traffic. In practice, GraphRQI achieves an accuracy improvement of up to 25% over prior driver behavior classification algorithms. We also use our classification algorithm to predict the future trajectories of road-agents.


Toward a Secure and Decentralized Blockchain-based Ride-Hailing Platform for Autonomous Vehicles. (arXiv:1910.00715v2 [cs.CR] UPDATED)


Authors: Ryan Shivers, Mohammad Ashiqur Rahman, Hossain Shahriar

Ride-hailing and ride-sharing applications have recently gained in popularity as a convenient alternative to traditional modes of travel. Current research into autonomous vehicles is accelerating rapidly and will soon become a critical component of a ride-hailing platform's architecture. Implementing an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing platform proves a difficult challenge due to the centralized nature of traditional ride-hailing architectures. In a traditional ride-hailing environment the drivers operate their own personal vehicles so it follows that a fleet of autonomous vehicles would be required for a centralized ride-hailing platform to succeed. Decentralization of the ride-hailing platform would remove a road block along the way to an autonomous vehicle ride-hailing platform by allowing owners of autonomous vehicles to add their vehicle to a community driven fleet when not in use. Blockchain technology is an attractive choice for this decentralized architecture due to its immutability and fault tolerance. This paper proposes a framework for developing a decentralized ride-hailing architecture implemented on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain platform. The implementation is evaluated using a static analysis tool and performing a performance analysis under heavy network load.


Arm unveils consortium for autonomous vehicle computing

Dipti Vachani, senior vice president of automotive and embedded at Arm, announced the Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium.

Protests squeezing Hong Kong economy, tourism, leader says


Protests squeezing Hong Kong economy, tourism, leader saysHong Kong's economy is languishing after months of increasingly violent protests, the city's embattled leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday. Lam, addressing reporters after a long weekend of more turmoil, said tourism arrivals were down by half and that hotels and retailers were suffering. Hong Kong's third quarter economic data will definitely be "very bad", said Lam, the semi-autonomous territory's Beijing-backed chief executive said.



Donald Trump threatens to 'obliterate' Turkish economy if it goes too far with Syria invasion

Turks are attacking the heroic Kurds.  Trump thought he had a deal with Turkey to protect the Kurds which would allow US troops to withdraw safely

US President Donald Trump warned Turkey against going too far in Syria, after giving Ankara a green light to invade its southern neighbour.

Mr Trump said on Monday he was done with "ridiculous endless war" as he stood aside to allow a long-threatened Turkish assault on Kurdish-held Syria, effectively abandoning its allies who fought Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

The US had for months been working with Turkey to try to create a buffer zone along its border with northern Syria between the Turkish military and Kurdish forces which Ankara sees as terrorists.

But amid an outcry from the region and strong opposition at home from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, the US leader appeared to reverse himself, though without drawing any specific red lines that might protect Kurdish allies.

"If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!)," Mr Trump tweeted.

Other US officials, apparently surprised by Trump's Sunday announcement, stressed that Washington will not actively support the long-threated Turkish action, warning of destabilizing blowback to the region.

"The Department of Defense made clear to Turkey - as did the president - that we do not endorse a Turkish operation in Northern Syria," said Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman.

Turkey has repeatedly criticised the slow implementation of the buffer zone and threatened a unilateral assault, but until Monday the US had refused to stand aside.

"The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades," Mr Trump said in an earlier series of tweets.

"Turkey, Europe, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia and the Kurds will now have to figure the situation out."

US Republican and Democrats had warned such an offensive on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which lost 11,000 troops in the battle against Isil, could lead to a massacre of Kurds and send a worrying message to American allies across the world.

The US began pulling back some of its 1,000 troops from border towns  Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn on Monday, and has said it will potentially depart the country should widespread fighting break out.

The announcement, first made by the White House overnight on Sunday, appeared to take both the Kurds and US coalition forces, which had been carrying out joint patrols with Turkey on the ground, completely by surprise.

Kurdish sources say they were acting in good faith trying to establish a security mechanism with the US to placate Turkey, but now felt that Ankara had been using it as a cover for reconnaisance.

Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), tweeted: "We are not expecting the US to protect NE #Syria. But people here are owed an explanation regarding security mechanism deal, destruction of fortifications and failure of US to fulfill their commitments."

The White House statement was released after a phonecall between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday night.

Mr Erdogan had reportedly assured the US president that Ankara would take over the detention of Isil militants captured by the SDF, on the battlefield.

The Kurds have been holding thousands of Syrian and thousands more foreign Isil suspects in prisons and camps across the north of the country.

Mr Trump has repeatedly asked countries under the US-led coalition against Isil to repatriate their citizens. However, the UK, France, Germany, and other allies have so far refused.

“The United States will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer,” the White House statement said. “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years in the wake of the defeat of the territorial “Caliphate” by the United States.”

The decision is a massive blow to the Kurds, who not only helped hold back Isil but have for years been building an autonomous statelet in the northeast of Syria.

Turkey claims its planned “safe zone” is to purge the border of YPG forces, which it sees as a terrorist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency inside its territory for the past 35 years.

The proposed corridor would have an initial depth of 18 miles and a length of 300 miles and includes the Kurds’ biggest urban centres, including the city of Qamishli which has an estimated 250,000 population.

Turkey on Monday night carried out air strikes on the Iraqi side of the Iraq-Syria border crossing, in what was thought to be an attack on the YPG's supply line.

Western diplomats told the Telegraph they are working on the theory that Mr Erdogan will begin by attempting to take a smaller sliver between the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain on the border, but the Turkish president himself has previously hinted at much wider ambitions.

Mr Erdogan has said he wants to return two million of the mostly Sunni Arab Syrian refugees Turkey is hosting to the buffer zone, which some have said would amount to an ethnic repopulation.

The Kurds fear many of the Syrians that might be placed in the zone are not native to north-east Syria, and might displace the Kurdish culture and rights.

The UN said that it was "preparing for the worst", fearing an assault would send large numbers of civilians fleeing.

“This Turkish military operation in northern and eastern Syria will have a significant negative impact on our war on ISIS and will destroy everything that has been achieved from the state of stability over the past years,” the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said in a statement.

They said they would defend themselves against “Turkish aggression” and called on all sects, including Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and Assyrians to join them.

Defending its Kurdish allies would have seen the US come against its Nato partner Turkey, which Washington was keen to avoid.

President Donald Trump has since taking office attempted to disentangle the US from drawn-out wars in the Middle East.

His goal of swift withdrawals in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan have been stymied by concerns from US officials and American allies about the dangerous voids that would remain.



America’s top CEOs say they are no longer putting shareholders before everyone else

This a joke.  CEOs have NEVER put shareholders first. Their own prestige, power and income have always been their first priority and that will not change.  Shareholders just get the scraps

For the past two decades, the official stance of America’s top corporate executives has been that the interests of shareholders came before the interests of all others—workers, consumers, the cities and towns in which their companies operated, and society as a whole.

Today, that changes.

The Business Roundtable, a lobbying group composed of the nation’s leading CEOs, just announced that its members “share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders”—each of whom “is essential”—while pledging “to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities, and our country.”

With its “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation,” the Roundtable has affirmed the need for “meeting or exceeding customer expectations”; “investing in our employees,” including by “compensating them fairly and providing important benefits,” as well as offering training and education so that they can “develop new skills for a rapidly changing world”; “dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers”; “supporting the communities in which we work”; and “generating long-term value for shareholders.”

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase and the Roundtable’s chairman, says he hopes that this declaration “will help to set a new standard for corporate leadership.”

It is, without question, a huge deal.

As I’ve detailed before, through the 1980s and most of the ’90s, the Roundtable held that companies had a responsibility to “carefully weigh the interests of all stakeholders,” as the organization described it, and that “the thrust of history and law” buttressed this kind of broad assessment.

In 1997, the Roundtable switched course. Suddenly, it proclaimed that “the paramount duty of management and of boards of directors is to the corporation’s stockholders” and that “the interests of other stakeholders are relevant as a derivative of the duty to stockholders.” (The Roundtable echoed that message in 2016.)

The Roundtable’s shift to a shareholder-first posture has been widely cited as a significant marker in the evolution of corporate America—both a reflection and reinforcement of an ideology that has thrilled investors, gripped executives, and knocked out a more enlightened form of capitalism that had emerged in the era after World War II.

Yet since then—and especially over the past 5 to 10 years—serving shareholders first and foremost has come under increasing attack. An expanding chorus of critics has made the case that this predilection has contributed to a short-term mindset among far too many executives, fostering a culture of indiscriminate cost-cutting and financial engineering, and has been a central reason for the explosion in income inequality.

“I read the Roundtable’s statement as a return to common-sense principles of management and the recognition that employees need a bigger share of the pie to assure a healthy economy,” says Judy Samuelson, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program.

The pressure for business to put an end to shareholder primacy has been building from a variety of quarters. Younger workers, in particular, are looking for employers that have a loftier purpose than merely maximizing their profits. More and more, customers are paying attention to which companies seem to be doing right by their people and the environment—and punishing brands that fall short. Socially conscious investors have started putting vast sums of money into financial products that use a “sustainable, responsible, and impact” lens.

Politicians have also taken up the cause. The Accountable Capitalism Act, proposed by Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate, would require very large companies to obtain a new federal charter under which directors would have to “consider the interests of all corporate stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, the basic tenets of shareholder capitalism have been questioned by scholars such as the late Lynn Stout, a Cornell law professor and author of The Shareholder Value Myth, who cogently argued that executives and directors have wide latitude in deciding what is best for a company and don’t have any obligation—legal or otherwise—to elevate shareholders above everyone else. Journalists and think-tank types have weighed in along these lines, too.


Among them has been me. As Fortune’s Alan Murray recounts, the Roundtable began to reevaluate its views on the relationship between shareholders and other stakeholders after a “testy, off-the-record dinner” last fall that I participated in. Dimon had invited four of us—including the Washington Post‘s Steve Pearlstein, Bloomberg’s Joe Nocera, and Samuelson of the Aspen Institute—to JPMorgan headquarters to better understand why we kept insisting that corporate America had become overly obsessed with shareholder value and, as a result, was damaging society.

Dimon’s perspective—then and now—is that most big companies already take good care of their various stakeholders. “We relentlessly invest in employees, communities, and innovation,” he told me.

If that were true, of course, the new Roundtable statement would simply be codifying the current state of affairs. But with all due respect to Dimon, who deserves great credit for engaging with us and then guiding the Roundtable to recast its position, the numbers don’t back him up.

Sure, no company completely ignores all of its constituents save for its shareholders. If it did, it would soon be out of business. But as a study published last week by the Center for American Progress makes clear, things are terribly out of balance.

Wages for the majority of the American workforce have been stagnant for 40 years, while their health coverage and retirement security have eroded. At the same time, corporate profits—high by historical standards—are mainly being used to reward shareholders, including CEOs themselves. Their compensation has gone up 940% since 1978; typical worker compensation has risen 12% during that time, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

For the Roundtable’s statement to mean something—and not stand as empty rhetoric—this picture can’t be allowed to continue.

With that in mind, I asked a half-dozen colleagues who’ve been at the fore of fighting shareholder primacy what would it take for them to be convinced that CEOs across the business landscape had genuinely embraced stakeholder capitalism.

For starters, several say, companies must curtail stock buybacks, if not stop them altogether. These repurchases have become a financial narcotic, with a record volume of shares being snapped up, largely in an attempt to pump up their price.

Some, including Roundtable President Joshua Bolten, defend the practice as an efficient way to deploy capital and help the economy grow. But buybacks plainly favor shareholders (including, again, CEOs), and every dollar of profit spent on them means one less dollar that can go directly to bolster worker pay, training, R&D, and other areas.

“I would make it the primary obligation of all business corporations to ‘retain-and-reinvest’: retain profits and reinvest in the productive capabilities of employees,” says economist Bill Lazonick, who is perhaps the country’s most outspoken detractor of buybacks. “I would place constraints on ‘downsize-and-distribute’: downsizing the company’s labor force and distributing corporate cash to shareholders.”

Environmental stewardship is another proving ground. Some big companies score high marks in this arena right now. But with climate change posing an existential crisis, it’s crucial that corporations do far more.

“Why I’m passionate about ending shareholder primacy is that I truly think the future of the entire human race depends on it, and I’m not trying to exaggerate,” says Lenore Palladino, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “For corporate leaders to show they are committed to stakeholder capitalism, we need to see a commitment to the health of the environment as a business priority . . . a dramatic strategic reorientation towards reversing the current damage and reengineering businesses to be productive for the long term.”

For sustainability pioneer John Elkington, another sign that a stakeholder model hadreally taken root would be for companies to no longer speak with two voices: one from the C-suite and another via the Washington influencers representing them.

“They would resign from all trade and industry groups which lobby to slow or stall necessary systemic changes” that would enhance the simultaneous creation of economic, social, and environmental value, says Elkington, who coined the term “triple bottom line.” Then they would turn around, he adds, and “forcefully and publicly lobby for a meaningful price on carbon and for the breakup of monopolies and oligopolies.”

To give the Roundtable statement some teeth, they’d also take a fresh approach to organized labor. “Welcoming, rather than fighting, a union would be a big one,” says Andy Green, managing director of economic policy at the Center for American Progress. Research shows that nearly half of all workers not in a union want to join one. Yet many companies do all they can to keep this from happening.

Samuelson, for her part, would be impressed by companies “dampening down the intense focus on stock price in CEO pay.” More than half of CEO compensation is share-based these days, much of it tied to short-term financial measures. Instead, executives should be paid—and to a meaningful degree—on a mix of environmental, social, and governance metrics.

The University of Toronto’s Roger Martin, who has been recognized as the world’s number-one management thinker, wants to see a reversal of something that, for many of the most senior executives, is even more deep-seated.

Rather than concentrate on stock price, he says, they should expressly concentrate on serving customers or developing employees or tackling some social need through innovation. Ultimately, Martin has maintained, that’s the best means of taking care of shareholders anyway.

“For me, the key would be to view shareholder value creation as the logical consequence of other things, not something that you can directly pursue,” he says. “It is like Aristotle who pointed out that if a person sets out to be happy, the person is unlikely to end up happy. However, if the person sets out to lead a virtuous life, the person will probably end up happy. If I could only have one thing, it would be that.”

Others made additional suggestions: Companies should guarantee a living wage for all workers, including contractors. Stakeholders of different stripes (employees, sustainability experts, even everyday taxpayers) should be given seats on corporate boards. Executives should lean on business schools to stop teaching that shareholder value is the be-all and end-all of capitalism.

Much of this agenda may be dismissed as unrealistic. Certainly, none of it will be easy to achieve. And none of it is meant to imply that the Roundtable’s statement isn’t, in and of itself, a monumental step.

Words matter. The words of the Roundtable—a Who’s Who of those at the helm of the largest U.S. corporations, from Abbott to Zebra Technologies—matter a lot. In the end, though, it is the actions of Roundtable members that will matter the most.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 



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