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Facebook Begin To Censor Controversial Health Cures and Misinformation

Facebook announced Tuesday that it has changed its algorithm to curb the circulation of “misleading health content,” following reports that the platform is riddled with phony cancer cures.

In a blog post, Facebook product manager Travis Yeh, said: “In order to help people get accurate health information and the support they need, it’s imperative that we minimize health content that is sensational or misleading. 

Facebook’s update does not explicitly mention what it is doing about groups dedicating to promoting “exaggerated or sensational health claims.” Most of the announcement focuses on down-ranking posts in the News Feed and predicts some pages will be affected.

The announcement comes after the social media company has been singled out for failing to stop the spread of damaging health messages, such as the Anti-vaxx conspiracy that urges parents not to vaccinate their children.

“For the first update, we consider if a post about health exaggerates or misleads — for example, making a sensational claim about a miracle cure,” wrote Facebook product manager Travis Yeh.

“For the second update, we consider if a post promotes a product or service based on a health-related claim — for example, promoting a medication or pill claiming to help you lose weight.”

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The Cannabis Industry Is Changing

In examining the current state of the cannabis market, it is clear the use of artificial intelligence technology is not a passing trend but a real opportunity to provide solutions to a pressing market need.

Imagine that you have a day-by-day record of how your plants are reacting to all the different inputs (environmental conditions, nutrient feed, pH, CO2, light spectrum, etc.) and your software is now making millions of calculations to draw insights on what is making a difference to your output. The output may be yield, energy consumption, labor cost, etc., but it may also be modeling what will happen if you change your way of growing.

The access to a vast amount of data, allows growers to optimize for environmental changes and variables and can even change the strain of the product. Growers can even adapt to what CBD or THC levels that they want and change the genetic makeup to consistently produce the types of strains that sell best.

The Medical Cannabis market alone offers more than 30,000 different Marijuana strains, each used to treat a different set of symptoms and concerns. This creates a big confusion both at the buyer side and the dispatcher end. With so many strains available, the purchaser is often at a loss as to which one is best for their specific needs or condition. Artificial Intelligence is useful in using existing data from studies and peer-reviewed journals to match symptoms and ailments to one of the strains available.

Cannabis in everyday items

Innovators are taking up the gauntlet to cultivate this versatile plant for a medley of biodegradable materials including plastic polymersbuilding productsfabricswoodbiofuelpaper and even car components.

It’s not new. The fiber from industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) has been used for thousands of years to make paper, rope, cloth and fuel.

Hemp is a weed, so it grows prolifically with little water and no pesticides. It takes up relatively little space, produces more pulp per acre than trees, and is biodegradable. Hemp crops even give back by returning nutrients to the soil and sequestering carbon dioxide.

Morris Beegle, co-founder and president of WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives) is a staunch advocate of industrial hemp.

Beegle set up his hemp company in 2012 and then launched the NoCo Hemp Expo, which has grown to be the largest in the world.

With a merchandising company called TreeFreeHemp, Beegle produces a vast array of custom products including paper, business cards, flyers, posters, CD and DVD sleeves and more. Drawing from his background in the music industry, he even produces boutique, custom-made guitars, using hemp for the body, straps, picks and volume knobs.

Currently, there are less than a million acres of hemp growing across the planet. Beegle sees this starting to grow exponentially over the next five to 20 years. “I don’t think there’s any way to stop it now.”

The silly CBD products

Sellers around the world are careful not to claim any specific medical benefits for the CBD products because of a lack of clinical evidence, so they are instead marketed as food supplements.

The new CBD products include; CBD water, to cooking or massage oils, pills, chewing gum, transdermal patches, pessaries, gin, beer and lube. The crown for silliest CBD product of the year, however, belongs indisputably to the CBD-infused pillowcases sold by one hopeful firm of US fabric-makers. 

There is now no denying the medicinal value of CBD and THC – not even by several European governments, which for years maintained that lie even as it rubberstamped the cultivation and export of the world’s largest medicinal cannabis crop.

In many cases, the CBD industry is taking consumers for a ride. Lab tests have analysed high-street offerings and found that more than half of the most popular CBD oils sold do not contain the level of CBD promised on the label. And a look at the label of those products shows that many are sold at such low concentrations that even the guesstimated doses, measured in drops, cannot deliver more than a scant few milligrammes of the active ingredient – whereas medical trials use many times more.

Scientists and politicians are, thankfully, catching up with hundreds of years of folk wisdom: it’s not news to anyone who regularly smokes a spliff that cannabis is relaxing, or that it can help you sleep far more soundly than a glass of red wine, or improve your mood. The interplay between THC, CBD, and the hundreds of other active compounds in the cannabis plant could one day be isolated, identified, tested and proven to offer symptomatic help or even a cure for dozens of life-threatening conditions. But decades of pointless prohibition based on specious moral arguments have prevented proper medical research that could have benefited millions.

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Invasion of AI: How Will This Technology Change the World? (Part 2)

In this article we will take a closer look at how AI is being used to detect photoshopped images and also the virtual worlds, that might become the internet of the future. One of the more crazy things AI might be used for is accident prevention and even predicting the future.

AI tool automatically spots Photoshopped faces

Photoshop has long been one of the primary sources of manipulated photos and imagery, so in an attempt to counter the fake news epidemic, Adobe has also started developing tools that can both detect when an image has been manipulated, and reverse the changes to reveal the original. Last year its engineers created an AI tool that detects edited media created by splicing, cloning, and removing objects.

“While we are proud of the impact that Photoshop and Adobe’s other creative tools have made on the world, we also recognize the ethical implications of our technology,” Adobe said in a company blog post. “Fake content is a serious and increasingly pressing issue.”

This is far from the first time Adobe has come up with ways to try and counter misuse of its products. Already built into Photoshop are image recognition tools that prevent scans or photos of certain bank notes from being opened at all, although it’s far from foolproof.

“The idea of a magic universal ‘undo’ button to revert image edits is still far from reality,” Adobe researcher Richard Zhang

To create the software, engineers trained a neural network on a database of paired faces, containing images both before and after they’d been edited using Liquify.

The resulting algorithm is impressively effective. When asked to spot a sample of edited faces, human volunteers got the right answer 53 percent of the time, while the algorithm was correct 99 percent of the time.

Since it’s limited to just faces tweaked by this Photoshop tool, don’t expect this research to form any significant barrier against the forces of evil lawlessly tweaking faces left and right out there. But this is just one of many small starts in the growing field of digital forensics.

“We live in a world where it’s becoming harder to trust the digital information we consume,” said Adobe’s Richard Zhang, who worked on the project, “and I look forward to further exploring this area of research.”

Virtual worlds

A virtual world is a computer-based online community environment that is designed and shared by individuals so that they can interact in a custom-built, simulated world. These worlds are still being created, but you can already buy such things as expensive houses and other virtual products.

Why buy virtual land for real money? Because when you are in VR with your friends in VR too; playing, building, learning, socializing and just plain having fun you forget that its not physically real! Modern virtual reality is “good enough” providing enough data to the eyes, ears and brain to simulate reality and immerse you into completely new world.

One of these worlds is called Decantraland, but it’s far from the only one. Most of the giant tech companies are all working on virtual worlds. Facebook have shown they can use this technology in several ways, not just in the virtual world. In order for virtual worlds to become a success, they have to very realistic and the new software developed by Facebook will help to achieve that. By combining products like Alexa or other personal assistants with this technology Facebook hopes to get info from the real world that eventually will be used graphically in these virtual worlds. So expect personal assistant to advertised as personal helpers too, making it easier to find a lost book or your keys by being better at monitoring your actions and the environment.

These virtual worlds will start out as simple rooms for chatting in console/PC games and through social media, but they will quickly evolve to be the way we go online. The internet as we know it today has made the world smaller and made it easier to connect with people around the world, but virtual worlds will make it even easier. The technology has the potential to change many aspects of our lives, such as traveling, where these worlds would be able to instantly send us to anywhere in the world. That could impact the travel industry and how tourism works. Another aspect where this technology could have a huge impact is in education and not just in the technological advanced countries. It would benefit the poor and very uneducated in ways that could change entire nations or even continents.

One of the more “out there” ideas for this technology is to create virtual worlds, where we humans can upload our minds in order to live forever.

AI can predict the future

Scientists often say, that nothing happens by coincidence. Everything can be measured and analysed, which is what AI systems actually do when it is predicting the future. The AI systems might not be able to look far out in the future or determine our fates when we are born (not yet), but they can determine if people are in danger of a premature death. They can see workplace accidents before they happen, determine a users actions on social media, when people are going to take sick days off work, chances of mental health issues or what product you will buy next.

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Invasion of AI: How Will This Technology Change the World? (Part 1)

We live in a world that is beyond our control, and life is in a constant flux of change. So we have a decision to make: keep trying to control a storm that is not going to go away or start learning how to live within the rain. Although the Glenn Pemberton quote isn’t referring to the modern day struggle with new technologies, it defines the issues surrounding AI.

Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute asked several hundred machine-learning experts to predict AI capabilities, over the coming decades.

Notable dates included AI writing essays that could pass for being written by a human by 2026, truck drivers being made redundant by 2027, AI surpassing human capabilities in retail by 2031, writing a best-seller by 2049, and doing a surgeon’s work by 2053. They estimated there was a relatively high chance that AI beats humans at all tasks within 45 years and automates all human jobs within 120 years.

In this series of articles we’ll show how artificial intelligence impacts our lives in both positive and negative ways.

What is artificial intelligence?

AI systems will typically demonstrate at least some of the following behaviors associated with human intelligence: planning, learning, reasoning, problem solving, knowledge representation, perception, motion, and manipulation and, to a lesser extent, social intelligence and creativity.

AI is often used today to recommend what you should buy next online, to understand what you say to virtual assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, to recognise who and what is in a photo, to spot spam, or detect credit card fraud and much more.

Let’s take a look at some of the areas already impacted by artificial intelligence.

Robots and driverless cars

The desire for robots to be able to act autonomously and understand and navigate the world around them means there is a natural overlap between robotics and AI. While AI is only one of the technologies used in robotics, use of AI is helping robots move into new areas such as self-driving carsdelivery robots, as well as helping robots to learn new skills. The Chinese company Baidu has invested in developing self-driving cars, powered by its deep learning algorithm, Baidu AutoBrain, and, following several years of tests, plans to roll out fully autonomous vehicles in 2018 and mass-produce them by 2021. General Motors recently said it would build a driverless car without a steering wheel or pedals by 2019, while Ford committed to doing so by 2021, and Waymo, the self-driving group inside Google parent Alphabet, will soon offer a driverless taxi service in Phoenix.

Fake news and Deepfakes

We already have neural networks that can create photo-realistic images or replicate someone’s voice in a pitch-perfect fashion. With that comes the potential for hugely disruptive social change, such as no longer being able to trust video or audio footage as genuine. Concerns are also starting to be raised about how such technologies are being used to misappropriate people’s image, with tools already created to convincingly splice famous actresses into adult films, fake political statements and more.

While this aspect of artificial intelligence seems scary, it also have some productive aspects to it. As scary as it is to be able to switch out other peoples faces and voices, it also makes it easier and less expensive to make movies and TV shows. And just like the face swapping apps of yesterday, this technology will also be used for fun and entertainment.

Speech and language recognition

One of the most visible manifestations of this AI war has been the rise of virtual assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, the Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana. This technology is already being used in other products, such as TV’s, Smartwathces and other wearables. In the next couple of years everybody will be using universal translators with every word recorded and fed into the giant A.I network.

With researchers pursuing a goal of 99 percent accuracy, expect speaking to computers to become the norm alongside more traditional forms of human-machine interaction.

Social Media

Internally, each of the tech giants use AI to help drive a myriad of public services such as serving search results, offering recommendations, recognizing people and things in photos, on-demand translation, spotting spam. The list is extensive.

These systems feature absurd processing power and instant analytical capabilities. They eat big data and crap hyper-targeted marketing. They take no breaks or vacation days, and spend no time screwing around on Facebook (except to ingest behavioral insights to make themselves smarter).

People’s faces are being used like cookies to help in offering targeted services that meet the preferences of a customer. Other companies are using facial recognition to detect the moods of their customers and, in turn, offer them suitable product recommendations.

With the focus on fake news and online hate speech, more and more tech giants are implementing filters and other vetting processes with the help of A.I systems. Facebook training agents to negotiate and even lie is a huge problem that just shows the big tech companies are guilty of doing the things they promise to protect people from.

Entertainment

Choosing what song to release or what movie to produce is already being decided mostly by AI systems. AI systems have already produced music, art and TV shows. While these AI made productions still can’t compete with human creativity and struggles with things such as emotions and humor, they are very close to matching us or even becoming better.

There have been examples of the AI producing art and news stories humans couldn’t recognize as made by a machine.

Much of the entertainment related AI business will get popularized through Augmented Reality devices such as future smartphones and smartglasses.

Law enforcement

There can be no doubt, artificial intelligence (AI) helps defend government and business systems from cyberattacks, but conversely, AI systems can be used to augment attacks against governments and corporations, even Small businesses and private persons.

While police forces in western countries have generally only trialed using facial-recognition systems at large events, in China the authorities are mounting a nationwide program to connect CCTV across the country to facial recognition and to use AI systems to track suspects and suspicious behavior, and are also trialing the use of facial-recognition glasses by police.

In the near future, law enforcement will get new tools to fight crime and solve so-called cold cases where DNA is the only evidence. A Belgian team of scientists are working on this right know and if their work is successful, cops around the world will be able to get much more information from a typical DNA sample. Our DNA decides how we look and AI systems can soon read a DNA sample and extract physical traits, deceases and much more.

Healthcare

AI could eventually have a dramatic impact on healthcare, helping radiologists to pick out tumors in x-rays, aiding researchers in spotting diseases and identifying molecules that could lead to more effective drugs.

AI will be a powerful tool in the world of genetic manipulation and give us a better understanding of our genes and potentially gene therapy techniques such as CRISPR.

Even mental health will we be impacted by A.I through personal advice and therapy, but also in detecting issues such as mental breakdowns or other major psychological problems.

Business

AI is also a major factor in business and almost every business is using it in some form or another. Security in banking is one area where AI will be used, but also in everything from stocks to job interviews.

Jobs

While AI won’t replace all jobs, what seems to be certain is that AI will change the nature of work, with the only question being how rapidly and how profoundly automation will alter the workplace.

There is barely a field of human endeavour that AI doesn’t have the potential to impact. As AI expert Andrew Ng puts it: “many people are doing routine, repetitive jobs. Unfortunately, technology is especially good at automating routine, repetitive work”, saying he sees a “significant risk of technological unemployment over the next few decades”.

Some experts think AI will improve the workplace and amount of human jobs.