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First Facial Recognition Framework Released for Engineers and Policy Makers to Build Transparency

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While the market for facial recognition tools and services is expected to more than double in value to $7bn by 2024, there have been repeated calls by politicians and civil rights agencies safeguard against potential misuse of the technology. Biometric monitoring and susceptibility to unfair bias are primary concerns, along with the lack of industry standards that are a barrier to companies and governments deploying the technology’s potential benefits.

To help organizations tackle this challenge, the World Economic Forum released the first framework for the safe and trustworthy use of facial recognition technology. The Framework for Responsible Limits on Facial Recognition was built by the Forum, industry actors, policy makers, civil society representatives and academics. It is meant to be deployed and tested as a tool to mitigate risks from potential unethical practices of the technology.

“Although the progress in facial recognition technology has been considerable over the past few years, ethical concerns have surfaced regarding its limitations,” said Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the World Economic Forum. “Our ambition is to empower citizens and representatives as they navigate the different trade-offs they will face along the way.”

This is the first framework to go beyond general principles and to operationalize use cases for two distinct audiences: engineering teams and policy makers. Members of the working group have played two complementary roles:

The first are contributors: industry representatives (Groupe ADP, Amazon Web Services, IDEMIA, IN Groupe,Microsoft and SNCF,); policy makers (members of the French Parliament, OPECST,); academics; civil society organizations; and AFNOR Certification. The second are observers: the French Data Protection Authority (Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des libertés – CNIL) and the French Digital Council (Conseil National du Numérique).

“I support the idea of a bill at the French Parliament to enable this kind of experiment, which is essential to inform the public debate on facial recognition technology, said Didier Baichere, French MP. “More specifically, this bill aims to define the scope, objectives, stakeholders, and territories where such an experiment could be conducted as well as the requirements for an informed and inclusive public consultation to promote public knowledge of the opportunities and the limits of facial recognition technology.”

“Recent scientific progress, both in artificial intelligence and in computer vision more specifically, has enabled, in just a few years, a significant breakthrough in areas related to facial recognition,” said Jean-Luc Dugelay, computer vision researcher at EURECOM Sophia Antipolis. “For that reason, I believe that it is essential to accompany these advances in science with a global policy reflection on the appropriate use of this technology; through a multistakeholder collaboration that involves academics, engineers, technology providers, and users, policy-makers, lawyers and citizens.”

“The need for shared landmarks for artificial intelligence in general, and its application for facial recognition in particular is primordial.” Considers Olivier Peyrat, Chief Executive Officer of AFNOR group. “I consider positive all collective initiatives aimed at promoting transparency, the sharing of the same language, precise and unequivocal, as well as the definition of measures of confidence. The challenge is to create conditions accepted by public actors, private actors and citizens, to make possible the development and the implementation of these new technologies in a serene environment.”

This framework is structured around four steps:

Define what constitutes the responsible use of facial recognition through the drafting of a set of principles for action. These principles focus on privacy, bias mitigation, the proportional use of the technology, accountability, consent, right to accessibility, children’s rights and alternative options.

Design best practices, to support product teams in the development of systems that are “responsible by design”, focusing on four main dimensions: justify the use of facial recognition, design a data plan that matches end-user characteristics, mitigate the risks of biases, and inform end-users.

Assess to what extent the system designed is responsible, through an assessment questionnaire that describes what rules should be respected for each use case to comply with the principles for action

Validate compliance with the principle for action through the design of an audit framework by a trusted third party (AFNOR Certification for the policy pilot).

France joined the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in January 2019. The framework was co-designed by a fellow from the French government in residence at the Centre.

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What is a web application and how to build it?

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Web applications are so popular that an ordinary user does not always notice the difference between a website and a web application. These programs interact with a mobile browser and therefore are gradually replacing desktop solutions from the niche of education, media, and entertainment. Companies order web applications for businesses, e-commerce, and startups. In this article, we will discuss why you should order a web application from web development companies in Washington DC.

What is a web application?

A web application is a program with a two-tier client-server architecture. The client interacts with the user interface (UI/UX) through web browser pages. All data is stored on the server, the exchange takes place over the network using HTTP/HTTPS protocols.

The web application works as a cross-platform program regardless of the operating system in the mobile version (Android or iOS) and desktop (Mac OS, Windows, Linux). Running the program does not load the device, and only a browser on the Internet is needed to work.

When creating web applications, programmers create a complex architecture that the user interacts with after authentication. JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS programming technologies are used, as well as frameworks or code written manually.

Types of web applications

The appearance of a web application depends on the distribution of logic between the client and the server. The program is created for specific business tasks. For example, Infoshell is ordered to develop the following types of web services:

  1. Portal Web App (portals of increased complexity).

Multifunctional project for effective optimization of business processes.

Tasks:

  • improve the quality of customer service;
  • improve the performance of employees;
  • improve communication between departments of the company;
  • ensure the mobility of employees;
  • make it easier to work with documents;
  • give the opportunity to hold PR events of any complexity.
  1. Custom-designed systems.

CRM is a powerful tool for automating work with customers, effectively solving the problems of control, and planning for business development.

Tasks:

  • maintain the integrity of the client base;
  • provide sales analytics;
  • increase sales;
  • optimize the work of staff;
  • reduce paperwork.
  1. ERP system is developed for large enterprises, it opens up new business opportunities.

Tasks:

  • standardize reporting forms and information systems;
  • improve communication between departments;
  • synchronize processes;
  • establish integration with partners.
  1. E-commerce systems (E-commerce, Marketplaces).

E-commerce provides services/products to customers through the web. Clients receive and process orders, and manage the status of applications.

Tasks:

  • receive detailed information about the requests of individual consumers;
  • promote a new product on the market;
  • reduce transaction costs;
  • shorten the path of the product to the consumer.

Benefits of web app development

Web apps are dynamically progressing, which allows you to develop custom mobile applications and complex web services. These programs are easy to develop and cost-effective due to these advantages:

  1. Cross-platform compatibility. There is no need to develop a separate platform. The program is available in a smartphone or computer browser (Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera), on any operating system.
  1. Network security. Programs process requests through the secure HTTPS data transfer protocol. The entry point is protected by a centralized configuration. User data is stored on a cloud server, protected from loss even if the hard drive is damaged.
  1. Do not use client software. It is installed regardless of the characteristics of the hardware. Installation is not expensive, and the update is downloaded automatically on the server. The client interface is updated automatically the next time the page is loaded.
  1. Reduced costs. There is no requirement to develop a platform for Android and iOS. Functionally, it is not inferior in performance to its desktop counterparts.
  1. Scalability. A large amount of data is processed by hardware resources without rewriting the code, as well as changing the architecture.

Stages of developing web applications

Let’s consider the necessary stages of web application development.

  1. Creation of UI/UX design.

An intuitive interface of the working model of the program is created without programming steps.

Experts pay attention to:

  • screen transitions,
  • image graphics,
  • branding elements,
  • buttons and forms.

Visual elements are created in the design of a web application to include the user registration process, login, search/placement/order of goods, navigation, profile creation, and making payments.

  1. Backend development.

The key stage of creating the internal part determines the entire operation of the web application. At this stage, a structure invisible to the client is created – a database, a server, and business logic. Developers use the following programming languages ​​for server operations: PHP, Python, Java, and C#. In the internal development of server applications, frameworks are used: Node.js, Laravel, Flask, Ruby on Rails, and others.

During internal development developers perform:

  • servicing external interface requests,
  • authorization with client authentication at login,
  • creating, reading, and updating data.
  1. Front-end development.

The external interface part is created in the following programming languages HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and AJAX. The most popular framework Angular, React JS, and Vue JS are also applied – these coded modules save development time.

At this stage, developers test the responsiveness and usability of the interface on different types of devices so that the user experience is consistent. The speed of work should not depend on the size or resolution of the screen.

  1. Software testing.

Experts conduct testing of all important software operations. Most common tests:

  • Usability testing of the interface (quantitative + qualitative research). Experts check connectivity, database connectivity, links between pages, and overall user experience.
  • Performance check – data transfer rate, rendering, user input processing. The work is checked under heavy load, as well as at different Internet speeds.
  • Interface Testing (UI Testing) – the convenience of the user interface is determined, as well as the work of the server with the internal part of the system.
  • Compatibility – the product is tested on different browsers and devices.
  • Security – check for weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
  1. Hosting and deploying a web application.

After purchasing a domain and choosing cloud storage, the hosting provider runs a web application on the server for users to access in a browser. Deployment requires:

  • source code repository;
  • webserver with SSH deployment key setup;
  • SSH access to the server.

Conclusion

A web application is a site with interactive elements. They allow users to interact: click buttons, fill out forms, request a price, and make purchases. Email clients, social networks, search engines, online stores, and project management programs are all examples of such applications. If you are thinking about web application development, Inoxoft is a great choice. The company turns web applications into powerful tools to meet customers’ requirements and fulfill end-user expectations.

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Why should M-Learning be the preferred method of training?

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Technology continues to progress in leaps and bounds, affecting every aspect of daily life. Mobile devices are the assets that will do everything and hold all the essential information for you, from choosing to stay connected to browsing information at a glance to managing tasks.

One area where technology has had a significant impact is in the field of education. Organizations have continued to expand their workforce globally over the last decade to attract the best skills. If these employees had to travel from one location to another, it would cost a fortune to provide them with the best-in-class training courses. It also consumes a significant amount of productive time for employees. To overcome this challenge, organizations have come up with e-learning programs that one can take up from anywhere with no location constraint.

With further advancements in technology, smartphones have started to replace the desktop. The same happened with the learning programs as well, and the learning management systems were developed in such a way that the course content could be accessed from any kind of device. The organizations now develop courses that can easily be downloaded on your mobile phones, thus making it easy for the learner to access them anywhere, anytime.

Since the term “mobile learning” was coined, its popularity has increased. In a post-pandemic world, the importance of mobile learning has grown exponentially. Even before the pandemic, training evoked the feeling of a confined space with a trainer giving instructions. However, virtual training is now the standard method of instruction, where organizations, hiring managers, and employees can interact and benefit from m-learning.

Though there are plenty of advantages to learning through mobile learning, listed below are some of the important factors for leveraging it.

Make use of mobile apps.

Although the use of mobile apps is increasing. It was not recommended for formal training since developing a user-friendly app takes time and effort. It could also be used to create online tests or performance assistance tools in situations where design and aesthetic appeal are affected.

Microlearning

The courses delivered through mobile apps are made into smaller chunks of topics that are easier to grasp and learn without breaking the continuity. These bite-sized micro lessons are easy to access for brushing up or referring to the context.

Multi-Device Support

The content developed supports multiple devices. This means that the user can log in from various devices like desktops, laptops, mobiles, tablets, etc. The content is curated in a way that optimizes itself based on the device, so you get a seamless experience from all the devices.

Employee Education

Your staff will be able to study the training content at their own pace with a corporate LMS. You will be able to remove the interruptions related to traditional learning. You can reduce worker training costs through m-learning options. This is because you will spend far less time and expense than if you brought in specialized teachers to give conventional seminars. You will also have an improved understanding of the individual’s progress with incorporated reporting and monitoring tools.

Flexibility

With handheld devices becoming a part of our lives, m-learning provides the flexibility of accessing the course material from anywhere without turning the pages of those bulky books. Also, searching for the required information is much easier with the search option. Instead of making lengthy notes, you can easily learn through interactive multimedia options provided through m-learning.

Turnaround time and knowledge exchange:

Because of the accessibility of mobile phones, a learner can instantly turn to their peer group when a question is raised and get it resolved. Mobile learning facilitates collaboration, sharing of ideas, suggestions, and conversation. All of this will increase employee and trainer involvement and communication.

Collaboration

While going through the chapters, you might come up with many doubts that used to remain unanswered while studying through traditional methods. You even tend to lose interest in the subject if the doubts keep piling up. In the case of m-learning, you get the option of collaborative learning, where you can be a part of online communities. These social communities help you resolve your queries and doubts and share knowledge, making the topics more interesting and engaging.

Gamification

It is difficult for humans to focus for long periods of time. Normally, we take small breaks to freshen up, either by playing games or by watching videos. These modes are great stress-busters. Imagine if lessons could be delivered in the form of videos and assessments in the form of games; learning any new concept, no matter how complex, would be enjoyable. M-learning does the same, making the program more engaging and interactive.

Gamifying the m-learning process engages learners. The more invested and involved they are, the better they will learn and benefit the organization. Gamification keeps learners engaged and can result in high success rates. They encourage healthy challenges and provide bonuses and points to trainees and students. When you want to start something different and interesting, gamification is a great option.

High Completion Rate

With all the benefits mentioned above, it is easy to get involved in learning any new topic. It keeps the learners engaged and motivates them to complete the program by breaking the monotony of reading long paragraphs from the book. With this kind of learning, knowledge retention is also for a longer period, and the learner ends up getting better grades in their evaluations.

Conclusion

Reading lengthy paragraphs and articles to learn a concept is not one looks forward to. The advancement of technology and mobile phones has done a good thing for the world. It keeps humans more linked to one another. Mobile learning tends to increase commitment and motivation, resulting in a high return on investment in training. As a result, there are multiple reasons to use m-learning to boost employee interaction. The m-learning programs are designed to overcome this by fitting in only the required content on the screen without scrolling up and down making learning responsive.

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Robochop makes garden trimming a snip

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by Andrew Dunne

Automation and computer-aided designs are seeding the future of home gardens. With the onset of designer gardens as a service and rose-pruning robots, weekends spent toiling in the garden will be more productive and personalised.

Gardening is proven to be healthful and joyful, but as more of us discover the joys of working in the garden for the first time, some basic knowledge about plants, landscaping and soil is required to get started. What, where and when should you plant, for instance?

These were some of the core questions co-founder of the start-up Draw Me A Garden (DMAG), Florent De Salaberry, realised were standing in the way of more people digging in to the subject.

IKEA-like

‘Many people want to garden, but lots of us just don’t have the expertise or confidence to begin,’ said the French tech entrepreneur.

DMAG is an app and website service which offers tailored 3D-plans for garden design. It helps budding gardeners to transform any plot into a beautiful, sustainable garden with ease.

The inspiration behind the company’s name comes from the children’s book ‘Le Petit Prince’ in which the prince requests the narrator to ‘draw me a sheep’ to start a conversation and build a relationship.

De Salaberry says “Draw Me A Garden” uses digital tools in a similar way to help people build a relationship with nature in their gardens.

The DMAG service helps customers envisage their dream garden by providing creative ideas, planting tips and, most important of all, delivering all the plants to their door.

Giving customers ownership of their creations is what distinguishes DMAG from traditional landscaping, argues De Salaberry. ‘We know that if you just pay people to landscape your garden, not only is that really expensive but it’s also hard to feel pride in it,’ he said.

‘DMAG is about making gardening easy and affordable, and providing the resources to enable customers to be at the heart of their own projects.’

Garden varieties

Customers locate their garden online via a satellite map. Next, they list any pre-existing features such as a terrace or a child’s play area, then select a preferred garden style, such as for example English cottage garden or Mediterranean.

Behind the scenes, DMAG’s algorithm whirrs away using these inputs together with local knowledge (soil type, elevation, sun direction) to map out the perfect garden design. Customers can visualise the design using 3D mapping tools on the DMAG website.

A qualified landscaper supports the design process and the customer receives a number of planning options to mull over.

Green thumbs

Results come back almost instantaneously. ‘The idea was always to enable customers to do this wherever or whenever they wanted and it takes just a few seconds to get the first design back,’ said De Salaberry.

Once further small refinements are made, a 3D view is rendered, and customers can sit back and wait for all plants and growing instructions to be delivered.

A typical delivery might consist of between 200 – 300 plants. These come with biodegradable cardboard scaffolds cut to the exact garden size and instructions to help the gardeners plant them out.

So far, the DMAG team have supplied to gardeners of all kinds in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, with average expenditure of around €1 500.

De Salaberry likens his turnkey garden concept to how IKEA has revolutionised kitchen design.

As they look to scale-up this work in new EU countries and the US, they hope many more people will soon be asking them to start their gardening journey and “draw me a garden.”

Glade runner

If DMAG can help gardeners create the ideal future garden space, then the TrimBot2020 might be the answer to help maintain it.

The brainchild of computer vision and robotics’ expert, Professor Bob Fisher of the University of Edinburgh, TrimBot2020 is one of the first robot gardening devices that promises to do more than simply mow the lawn.

Based on a modified commercially available robot lawnmower, the autonomous vehicle prunes roses, trims hedges and shapes topiary, all while auto-navigating garden terrain.

To achieve this, the robot uses a ring of cameras to draw a 3D map of the garden, some robotic snippers and hefty dose of computer processing power.

‘There are ten cameras which work together to build up a 3D model of the garden, just like our eyes do,’ said Fisher.

Together, these cameras help the robot gain a 360-degree view of the complex terrain of the garden. The robot also matches what it sees to a hand drawn map supplied by the users.

Upon command, the TrimBot springs into life by rolling up to the bush and scanning it to build up a computer-vision model of that particular plant.

‘Once it has an idea of where all the stems are, its robotic arm comes out with the cutter and it starts snipping away,’ said Fisher.

Robochop

For the TrimBot team, the commercial target market is horticultural businesses responsible for maintaining parks, gardens, and recreational areas.

In such cases, they believe the robot can take on pruning duties while the human gardener does something more challenging.

While the commercial future of TrimBot is yet to be determined, the real benefits may yet come through incorporating the technology into the “brains” of next-generation of garden robots.

‘Outdoor robotics is notoriously hard,’ said Fisher. Typical challenges include constant lighting changes, the many different shades of green and variations in the terrain.

Current robot lawnmowers usually require users to mark out an exact area to mow and to position a robot in the right place to start. TrimBot’s technology should enable robots of tomorrow to work that out themselves. 

‘With the TrimBot project we’ve really demonstrated what might be possible in the future,’ said Fisher.

The research in this article was funded by the EU. This article was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine.  

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