Blind Woman Sues 30 Websites over Handicap Accessibility

Have you ever considered how blind individuals navigate through the Internet? Although, it is not usually something that you just ponder on while eating your afternoon lunch, it is something to wonder about. Most commonly, they use the traditional text-to-speech software. These screen readers browse the website’s HTML to then convert it into sounds. Another example of assistive technology for the visually impaired is a refreshable braille display. The displays consist of raised dots to transport the websites text to the fingertips of the visitor.

Recently, a woman who is legally blind from Manhattan came forward claiming that there are websites which are discriminatory to the visually impaired. Maria Mendizabal is filing more than thirty individual lawsuits against companies known globally such as Nike, Barney’s, and Donna Karan. Her suit reads, “Useless websites are designed to be read by screen-reading software, blind and visually-impaired persons are unable to fully access websites, and the information, Products, and services contained thereon,” which is filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Continue reading “Blind Woman Sues 30 Websites over Handicap Accessibility”

Reinforcement Learning

By experimenting, computers are figuring out how to do things that no programmer could teach them. Availability: 1 to 2 years

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603501/10-breakthrough-technologies-2017-reinforcement-learning/

         As technology keeps advancing daily, developers, and consumers become hesitant on the topic of one of the biggest issues regarding innovation, artificial intelligence. According to the Merrin Dictionary, “Artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” This sparks much debate that relates to this theory which is the approach known as reinforcement learning. All of us know the AlphaGo computer that was developed to master the impossibly complex board game Go which beat one of the best human players in the world in a high-profile match last year, which was programmed based on this approach of reinforcement learning. Stated by Knight, “reinforcement learning may soon inject greater intelligence into much more than games. In addition to improving self-driving cars, the technology can get a robot to grasp objects it has never seen before, and it can figure out the optimal configuration for the equipment in a data center.” Continue reading “Reinforcement Learning”

Why AI won’t Destroy the Human Race

In our digital age, a vast amount of information is at our fingertips. With a few keystrokes, we can know the answer to many, MANY questions and AI is helping to make it possible. A respected Swiss scientist, Conrad Gessner, might have been the first to raise the alarm about the effects of information overload. In a landmark book, he described how the modern world overwhelmed people with data and that this overabundance was both “confusing and harmful” to the mind. The media now echo his concerns with reports on the unprecedented risks of living in an “always on” digital environment. It’s worth noting that Gessner, for his part, never once used e-mail and was completely ignorant about computers. That’s not because he was a technophobe but because he died in 1565. His warnings referred to the seemingly unmanageable flood of information unleashed by the printing press. If we let the fear of the unknown drive decision making, we would never have tamed fire. Societies would be at a standstill. The way we grow and develop is based on questioning the status-quo and yes, taking risks… calculated risks. Continue reading “Why AI won’t Destroy the Human Race”

BXV Elementary School Coding Workshops

Last Thursday, the BVX Girls Coding Club organized an afterschool activity for second to fifth graders with the hope of creating more interest in STEM subjects, particularly with girls. With seven types of workshops, the elementary schoolers were encouraged to combine both programming and engineering concepts in their workshops. For example, the LittleBits station, which simulated a circuit formed of electronic building blocks, or the Makey-Makey station, which encouraged creativity by connecting common objects to computer programs. Younger students worked with Cubetto and Dash & Dot, two robots that demonstrate how computers (in this case the robots) took commands that were written into a program (which the students accomplished through basic block based coding). Exposure to such activities left the students excited to learn more, both on their own and in their technology classes. Continue reading “BXV Elementary School Coding Workshops”

Robots Are Now The Workforce

In a recent article written by Brian Heater, he goes into detail about the recent improvements and employment of robots in factories around the country.

Although this is only the beginning, the engineers at Esko Bionics have developed usable exoskeletons that are more than capable of performing repetitive and useful tasks in many areas (such as on the battlefield and in factories).

Although the technology is not quite mainstream yet, it is continually improving and is too becoming less expensive as the materials become more readily available; this, in practice, means that our future will most likely be filled with robots taking over our laborious and dangerous jobs, leaving many unemployed.

However, on the other side, this means that there is a great market and need for more engineers and robotic enthusiasts in order to ensure that our future is safe and reliable.

It will be very interesting to see how these companies integrate robots and how they help shape our future.

International Cyber Attack Caused By Leaked NSA Report

Over the past few years, malicious software – which blocks access to computers – has been spreading at an alarming rate, targeting hospitals, telecommunications, and corporate offices worldwide. These attacks began when information of a software vulnerability originally discovered by the National Security Agency (NSA) was stolen and leaked by a criminal group known as Shadow Brokers.

Continue reading “International Cyber Attack Caused By Leaked NSA Report”

Cryptocurrency Mining on Work Computers

Image taken from: https://medium.com/@stevekrohn/cryptocurrency-markets-the-new-frontier-of-the-financial-world-7eb7e97bd1bf
Various Cryptocurrencies

Most Americans Office computers are known to be particularly slow and unreliable which you would think would push people away from downloading Cryptocurrency mining software on them. But that doesn’t stop a lot of people from doing it anyway. Within the past couple months Microsoft has detected a lot of mining software on enterprises computers. Although this might make your computer much slower and more unreliable Microsoft has not detected any damage or viruses found from downloading and using these softwares, so there really seems to be no downsides. Microsoft first detected around 200 computers running these softwares but recently they have detected over 1,800 computers running the cryptocurrency mining software. Now you might have an explanation why your work computer is running so slowly, maybe it’s mining cryptocurrency, most likely not.

Click here for more information