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One Month, 500,000 Face Scans: How China Is Using A.I. to Profile a Minority

The Chinese government has drawn wide international condemnation for its harsh crackdown on ethnic Muslims in its western region, including holding as many as a million of them in detention camps. Now, documents and interviews show that the authorities are also using a vast, secret system of advanced facial recognition technology to track and control the Uighurs, a largely Muslim minority. It is the first known example of a government intentionally using artificial intelligence for racial profiling, experts said.The facial recognition technology, which is integrated into China’s rapidly expanding networks of surveillance cameras, looks exclusively for Uighurs based on their appearance and keeps records of their comings…

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Tech Tip: Organizing Your Unwieldy Photo Collection Is Easier Than You Think

Do you ever find yourself scrolling madly through your phone’s camera roll, looking for that one fabulous vacation shot you’re describing to a friend — and you can’t find it in the river of 4,000 photos? Or do you want to collect all the pictures of a child, scattered through the years, for a slide show but don’t have time to find them?Herding pictures into sensible albums on the phone can be tedious if you bother at all, but here’s the good news: If you’ve been using the current versions of Google Photos on your Android or Apple device or Apple’s Photos for iOS, there’s a good…

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Tech Fix: What’s Next for Smartphones? Samsung’s New Galaxy Line Offers a Few Answers

ImageThe Samsung Galaxy FoldCreditSamsungSAN FRANCISCO — It’s hard to imagine how smartphones could get much better. Most are already zippy and equipped with jumbo screens, powerful cameras and face scanners. So what else can we look forward to?It turns out, plenty. For a peek at the future of the phone, look to Samsung, the world’s largest handset maker. On Wednesday, the South Korean company showed off a family of four new Galaxy phones that incorporate new technologies and features that may start spreading to other smartphones.Of the four new devices, one will work on next-generation ultrafast 5G cellular networks, which means it can download a movie in…

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Critic’s Pick: An 1840s Road Trip, Captured on Lustrous Silver

ImageGirault de Prangey’s image of the Roman Forum, viewed from the Palatine Hill in 1842.CreditHarry Ransom Center, University of Texas at AustinCan you even remember a time before Google Image Search and Street View, before we all had instant access to far-flung sites like the Parthenon, the Dome of the Rock, a stretch of empty highway in the Australian outback? The whole inhabited world has now been pictured and cataloged, and we have so fully embraced the archive that it feels like an extension of our collective mind. In the infinite scroll of the search results page you can forget that once not every place was visible.…

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‘Businesses Will Not Be Able to Hide’: Spy Satellites May Give Edge From Above

SAN FRANCISCO — In October, the Chinese province of Guangdong — the manufacturing center on the southern coast that drives 12 percent of the country’s economy — stopped publishing a monthly report on the health of its local factories.For five consecutive months, this key economic index had shown a drop in factory production as the United States applied billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese exports. Then, amid an increasingly bitter trade war between the United States and China, the government authorities in Beijing shut the index down.A small start-up in San Francisco began rebuilding the index, lifting information from photos and infrared images of Guangdong’s factories…

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State of the Art: How Google Photos Became a Perfect Jukebox for Our Memories

The first time Google Photos made me cry, it was with a sucker punch. I had looked at my phone one morning in April, expecting more news of global woe. Instead there was an alert from Photos, letting me know that Google’s image-processing robots had created some kind of montage from my videos. I had seen such A.I.-produced clips before — Facebook’s tone-deaf year-in-review montages are a recurring blight — so I was not expecting much. Then I pressed Play and within 30 seconds, I was a crumpled, weepy wreck.The montage was of my 5-year-old daughter, Samara, whose nearly every waking moment has been thoroughly and permanently…

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Tech Fix: The Google Pixel 3 Review: Phone’s Smarts Shine Through Its A.I.-Driven Camera

Apple and Samsung typically show off glitzy hardware innovations — dual-lens cameras; bigger screens — to mesmerize millions into buying their new smartphones. Google has taken a different approach: It wants to sell people on better software.That was abundantly clear with the Pixel 3, the search giant’s latest smartphone, with software features powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. When you take a blurry photo, for example, the Pixel’s camera software can capture a series of alternate images and look for a clearer shot. When you get a call from an unknown number, you can use a screening tool to determine if it is a robocall. (I…

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Facebook’s New Gadget Is a Video-Chat Screen With a Camera That Follows You

SAN FRANCISCO — Since 2004, Facebook has said it wants to bring the world closer together. To accomplish that goal, the company has relied mostly on the web and smartphone apps.But software is no longer enough. On Monday, Facebook introduced a pair of video-calling devices — Portal and Portal Plus — to help expand its reach into people’s living rooms.Portal and Portal Plus, which have a 12-megapixel camera with high-definition video and artificial intelligence software, can be used to do video chats. The A.I.-powered camera follows users as they move, letting them converse without sitting stiffly. The devices also include Amazon’s Alexa, which people can command to…

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Stealing From a Cashierless Store (Without You, or the Cameras, Knowing It)

SAN FRANCISCO — One recent afternoon, the city’s newest grocery market was trying to figure out whether I would buy, steal or leave behind a bag of white Cheddar popcorn — and so was I.On its side: 27 cameras along the ceiling and a wealth of behavioral data.On my side: crippling indecision. Last week, San Francisco got its first completely automated cashierless store, Standard Market. Shoppers who have downloaded the store’s app can go into the 1,900-square-foot space, grab items and simply leave. There is no check-in gate, and there is no checkout swipe. Ceiling cameras identify the shopper and the items, and determine when said items…

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Tech Fix: Samsung’s Galaxy Note9: Too Much Phone for Most of Us

AdvertisementTech fixThe new $1,000 device is aimed at power users who work, play, consume and create on their phone. For others, there are plenty of cheaper options.Aug. 22, 2018ImageThe Samsung Galaxy Note9 has new features like the ability to convert the phone into a personal computer. It also has a bold new starting price: $999.99.CreditSamsungApple’s iPhone X broke the pricing barrier for smartphones with a $1,000 price tag. Now Samsung’s new Galaxy Note device, which will be released this week, is joining the $1,000 Phone Club.That raises the inevitable question: Is this new phone worth spending that much money?After a week of testing, my conclusion is you…

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