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Memory Can Be Improved With Deep Brain Stimulation

Have you ever thought about how many moments you have lived in your life and have you forgotten? How many things do you overlook every day? Have you ever wondered why? The truth is that our memory is very fragile and needs to be “recharged”.

One study published in Nature Communications showed a new scientific approach that can help our memory (and hence brain activity) with deep brain stimulation.

The impression of easy measurability of memory is not so well founded. Understanding how information can be processed by the nervous system and can be stored in the memory is a very complex process. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have decided to apply targeted stimulation to the lateral temporal cortex by enhancing memory through a neural device.

Brain stimulation: new discoveries

US researchers have found that information is remembered or forgotten based on the neural events that occur during

Have you ever thought about how many moments you have lived in your life and have you forgotten? How many things do you overlook every day? Have you ever wondered why? The truth is that our memory is very fragile and needs to be “recharged”.

One study published in Nature Communications showed a new scientific approach that can help our memory (and hence brain activity) with deep brain stimulation.

The impression of easy measurability of memory is not so well founded. Understanding how information can be processed by the nervous system and can be stored in the memory is a very complex process. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have decided to apply targeted stimulation to the lateral temporal cortex by enhancing memory through a neural device.

Brain stimulation: new discoveries

US researchers have found that information is remembered or forgotten based on the neural events that occur during the coding phase, which is the first stage that characterizes memory functioning and allows an event to be recorded as a pattern, image or concept.

A very promising tool for the modulation of neural activity seems to be precisely the direct stimulation of the lateral temporal cortex, thanks to the use of the electric current that is applied through electrodes implanted directly in the brain parenchyma.

The analysis of memory in real time

From Ebbinghaus to today, there have been countless studies on memory. Suffice it to mention Craik and Lockhart, according to whom it was necessary to analyze the mechanisms that allow us to remember information. In fact, they distinguished between a superficial encoding of information (based on the physical characteristics of the stimulus) and a deep codification (based on meaning).

The University of Pennsylvania study, on the other hand, carefully assessed the use of the lateral temporal cortex and stimulated it during the mnemonic activity. Specifically, the researchers used multivariate classifiers, distinct for each subject to decode neural activity during the coding phase and to understand the patterns of brain activity associated with the next phase of forgetfulness.

In short, the researchers analyzed brain activity in real time during the delivery of electrical impulses and produced customized models for each of the 25 patients undergoing the study. In this way, they could observe when the memory would fail and intervene with stimulation.

The study found that the stimulation of the left lateral temporal cortex increases the probability of recall of 15%. The subjects stimulated in the lateral temporal cortex were also more inclined to remember elements on which no stimulation had been performed.

Reliable results at the service of medicine

The results demonstrate that stimulating neural populations outside the MTL (short-term memory) reliably improves memory results.

Using a new method to apply stimulation, specific models have been developed for the neural activity of each patient, used to classify brain states related to memory. Stimulation was activated to intervene directly at times when memory was thought to be more scarce.

By demonstrating that the lateral temporal cortex is the primary objective for modulating the encoding phase of memory, we have gone beyond the previous work that attempted to influence episodic memory by stimulating the hippocampus and MTL. Therefore, the study could have significant consequences on the development of new therapies for the treatment of memory dysfunctions.

The criticisms

Direct brain stimulation is already regularly active in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and the onset of epileptic seizures and has recently been explored as therapy in psychiatry.

The substantial difference compared to the past lies in the “closed circuit” system patented by US researchers, able to indicate when the brain is in a state of poor learning and to send electrical impulses to stimulate the brain area.

However, there have already been criticisms of this study which, although considered valid for the innovative methodological approach, is considered by some to be too invasive.

The hypothesis of such a traumatic approach, even in an experimental key, in the treatment of dementia is to be considered absolutely out of the question, at least until the results will be of these content.

A small reflection

Let us dwell on one thing: how much today we train our memory or do it in a different way than our parents. Reminding us is another US study published in the Memory journal, which underlines the emergence of the phenomenon of “cognitive offloading”, that is the tendency to use the Internet as a support for memory.

It has become so simple to type the keys of a smartphone to get information about anything that maybe we are no longer interested in remembering on their own. The other side of the coin is that we can be able to expand our capabilities with new technologies. Just like with the University of Pennsylvania study: a new frontier of science for the development of medicine on memory disorders.

Should Robots Be Given a Legal Status?

Should robots be given legal status? This is the question that currently occupies the AI experts, and for a good reason, a paragraph well buried in a report of the European Parliament published in January 2017, suggests that it is necessary to assign “electronic personalities” to certain robots.

“The creation, over time, of a legal personality specific to robots, so that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots can be considered as electronic persons responsible for repairing any damage caused to a third party; it would be conceivable to consider as an electronic person any robot that makes autonomous decisions or that interacts independently with third parties.”

Translation, this recommendation suggests that autonomous robots should be held accountable, especially in the event that these machines damage the safety of people or dam

Should robots be given legal status? This is the question that currently occupies the AI experts, and for a good reason, a paragraph well buried in a report of the European Parliament published in January 2017, suggests that it is necessary to assign “electronic personalities” to certain robots.

“The creation, over time, of a legal personality specific to robots, so that at least the most sophisticated autonomous robots can be considered as electronic persons responsible for repairing any damage caused to a third party; it would be conceivable to consider as an electronic person any robot that makes autonomous decisions or that interacts independently with third parties.”

Translation, this recommendation suggests that autonomous robots should be held accountable, especially in the event that these machines damage the safety of people or damage property.

The parties to this proposal, including builders, claim that this change is common sense. Legal status will not give robots the right to marry or to enjoy the same rights as humans. Far from it, it will equalize the AI with companies, which they already enjoy the status of “legal person,” and are treated as such in courts around the world.

But these arguments do not convince the opponents of this proposal. In a letter to the European Commission, 156 experts in artificial intelligence from 14 European countries, computer scientists, law professors and CEOs warned Brussels of the danger of implementing this proposal. According to them, assigning a legal status to robots would be “inappropriate” and pose “legal and ethical” problems.

On the side of the legislative authorities, Mady Delvaux, Vice-President of the Judicial Committee of the European Parliament and Luxembourg Socialist MEP, said that although she is not sure whether granting a legal personality is a good idea, it is increasingly convinced that the current legislation is limited and is unable to deal with the complex problems that concern the responsibility of autonomous machines. For this reason, she thinks that all options need to be explored.

A position categorically rejected by AI experts in their petition and for whom this proposal is almost heresy.

Noel Sharkey, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the University of Sheffield, also agrees that for builders, this proposal is a way to get rid of responsibility for the actions of their machines and the damage they do could cause.

Robots with intelligence similar to humans and capable of making decisions are still far from existing. Today, robots do better than humans in certain specific tasks, even limited applications, such as image recognition, or play the game of Go.

But these applications, although advanced, remain limited to a single domain. Playing Go, or categorizing images, is all that these machines can do, unlike humans who can both understand the language, learn to perform a variety of games, and recognize images.

Despite this reality, exaggerated media reports of advances in robotics have infiltrated public debate. As a result, lawmakers could be pushed to adopt premature regulations, alert the signatories of the letter.

Roughly, the experts accuse proponents of this proposal intentionally overestimating artificial intelligence capabilities to fool an easily impressionable audience: “From a technical point of view, this project has many biases based on an overstatement of the actual capabilities of the most advanced robots, a superficial understanding of their unpredictability and their self-learning abilities and a distorted perception of the robot by science fiction as well as recent announcements of a sensationalist press,” they say.

According to some researchers, no robot has been able to convey such incorrect notions about robotics as the robot Sophia: a humanoid robot that made its first appearance in March 2016, then was granted Saudi citizenship, a title of the United Nations and inaugurated the Security Conference in Munich this year.

“I’m not against the idea of a robot for the show,” said Sharkey, who co-wrote the letter and also co-founded the Foundation of Responsible Robotics. “But when they start training at the UN and giving the nations a misconception about what robotics can do and the state of the AI right now, it’s very, very dangerous.”

He added, “This is very dangerous for lawmakers as well. They see it and believe it because they are not engineers and there is no reason for them not to believe it. ”

Granting legal personality to robots other problems of an ethical and legal point of view: for example, the robot could then claim to human rights such as the right to dignity, the freedom to integrity, the right to remuneration or the right to citizenship.

Experts also insist that this legal status of robots cannot be compared to the model of the legal person because unlike a society, a robot has no physical person behind him to represent and direct it.

In their letter, the 156 AI experts argue that current EU civil laws are sufficient to address liability issues.

Delvaux for his part said that the idea of an electronic personality is not to give robots human rights, but to ensure that a robot is and will remain a machine with a human being in control. The project is still under discussion in Brussels:” Maybe, in the end, we will conclude that this is not such a good idea,” said Delvaux.

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Traditional IT Roles

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are lightening the workloads of help desk, IT security, and other typical IT tasks. Alongside the obvious benefits for companies, this trend is raising considerable concern about the long-term impact on jobs.

And the concern is not groundless. According to a recent report by Tata Consulting Services, in 12 of the 13 major vertical industries, IT is the segment that makes more use of AI, with over 46% of the IT teams of large companies that integrate artificial intelligence into their applications.

This does not mean that artificial intelligence will replace IT professionals, but that their daily activities will evolve together with AI and may require new skills.

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) experience

This is already happening at the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the multi

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are lightening the workloads of help desk, IT security, and other typical IT tasks. Alongside the obvious benefits for companies, this trend is raising considerable concern about the long-term impact on jobs.

And the concern is not groundless. According to a recent report by Tata Consulting Services, in 12 of the 13 major vertical industries, IT is the segment that makes more use of AI, with over 46% of the IT teams of large companies that integrate artificial intelligence into their applications.

This does not mean that artificial intelligence will replace IT professionals, but that their daily activities will evolve together with AI and may require new skills.

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) experience

This is already happening at the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the multinational chain that includes the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels.

Two years ago, when Scot Whigham was appointed the director of IHG’s global IT support service, his team consisted of 35 first and second-level technical support staff. The team helped hotel employees and company staff solve problems with reservations and other back-end systems, as well as general hardware and software problems.

The staff had difficulty keeping up with the needs of society and managing emergencies. Then, at the beginning of 2016, the company undertook a major transformation to offer better self-service and scalable options as needed. Artificial intelligence was part of our transformation strategy.

IHG has implemented IPSoft Amelia, an AI-enabled service desk agent that can conduct intelligent conversations, answer questions, perform support tasks, and above all learn from experience.

The company has not fired personnel. On the contrary, it has increased staff from 35 to 115 people. However, without the platform, IHG would have to hire an additional 120 operators to meet demand.

IHG’s experience is an example of the future impact of AI on IT work, where productivity is improved, new career opportunities open up and, above all, some tasks and roles emerge that may no longer be performed by human beings in future.

Training

Unlike most chatbots, Amelia is not merely based on a list of questions and answers. With Amelia managing this “zero-level” support, humans can concentrate on more difficult problems and unusual situations. Some employees have also started to change roles: instead of answering calls, they are monitoring and training Amelia.

For employees to become familiar with the new technology, IHG used the training offered by IPSoft and other vendors, including IBM.

The opportunities offered by the AI are growing

For IT professionals, artificial intelligence technologies present significant opportunities. The ability to implement AI technology and integrate it with other tools and services to achieve maximum business value opens up new career paths. But even at a basic level, AI frees IT professionals from repetitive tasks by allowing them to devote themselves to something of higher value.

Artificial intelligence is particularly useful in heavy and repeatable tasks. On large quantities, for example, human beings get tired and do not get satisfactory results in pattern recognition. Any repetitive task, even if it seems creative, if it is based on pattern, could be done by the AI.

Nintex, for example, is adding third-party AI components, such as Microsoft’s sentiment analysis service, to its workflow automation offer. This allows companies that are not necessarily artificial intelligence experts to add these capabilities to a wide range of routine tasks.

Until a few years ago only companies with many skills and resources could afford artificial intelligence technologies. Today it’s not like that anymore; artificial intelligence is within everyone’s reach, you just need to know where to look. 2018 will be the year when artificial intelligence can be exploited by any company that has vision, motivation, and strategy to use it.

According to Gartner, by 2019 more than 10 percent of IT customer service employees will write scripts for interactions with bots, and by 2020, 20 percent of companies will dedicate part of their workforce to monitoring neural networks.

Some companies will also benefit from a broader use of artificial intelligence, which may require specific training.

PayPal uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to ” add efficiency to everything from risk management to customer life cycle management. But today there is a lack of talent in artificial intelligence compared to the question.

A new economy based on AI

For most companies, it is preferable to use Google, Microsoft, IBM and other vendors to develop their own translation, chat, or image recognition engines.

Companies also need to consider whether artificial intelligence can be applied to their core business. A manufacturing company, for example, can use AI to derive useful insights for the creation of its products. Today, AI technologies offer opportunities for companies, business models, products and services that once did not exist.

Prepare for the age of AI

In companies that take advantage of new technologies, artificial intelligence can free IT professionals from routine activities. This means that they can engage in higher value activities, which may also require additional training.

According to the TCS report, 80 percent of the executives surveyed are currently investing in AI, and nearly 100 percent expect to do so by 2020.

Experts suggest to IT professionals who want to secure a brilliant career of expanding their preparation including business and communication skills, focusing on growth areas such as cybersecurity or developing greater expertise in their industry.

In cybersecurity, in the next few years there will be about two million jobs that will remain vacant. But artificial intelligence will become an important component of information security, since it is a technology that can support cybersecurity professionals.

According to McKinsey, the AI could help create 20 to 50 million new jobs globally, both as internal IT staff to companies as external consultants or outsourced.

Cloud and automation are the real threats

Some traditional IT jobs could disappear, according to experts, but not because of artificial intelligence – not for the time being, at least.

Automation, outsourcing and cloud technologies will have a much wider impact on the short term. Consider CRM systems. Companies used to develop CRM internally or with on-premise software. When they moved to Salesforce, all the internal support and administration tasks related to the CRM disappeared.

Many companies still operate legacy systems, systems that work and companies have invested heavily. But at some point these systems will collapse under their own weight. Either the company goes bankrupt, or decides to start over with a new infrastructure. And the cost for developing and starting something new has decreased substantially: it’s just a matter of time before it is forced to update itself.

With all the news about recent advances in speech recognition, linguistic translation, image processing, pattern recognition, and of course, in self-driving cars, many people predict a cataclysm based on artificial intelligence, a scenario in which human beings will become obsolete.

Manual, repetitive and routine activities will be automated. And when all these things are automated, it’s important to be ready where we can add value.

Control Privacy: The Key Between Social Networks And Users

If you use social networking services such as Facebook, you should know that many of the habits and small details of personal and daily life is information that is stored somewhere.

Everything we publish about family, friends, education, politics, travel habits, taste in clothes, connection with a specific type of device, is the raw material that can be analyzed by a third party to determine some future behavior of ours.

Therefore, privacy concerns and controls applied to the information shared by users must be handled with great care. Users may notice that Facebook continually updates its policies and settings related to privacy. However, sometimes the information contained in the profiles of users has not been handled in the best way by Facebook.

In recent days, the most prominent data breach scandal that has the most popular social network in

If you use social networking services such as Facebook, you should know that many of the habits and small details of personal and daily life is information that is stored somewhere.

Everything we publish about family, friends, education, politics, travel habits, taste in clothes, connection with a specific type of device, is the raw material that can be analyzed by a third party to determine some future behavior of ours.

Therefore, privacy concerns and controls applied to the information shared by users must be handled with great care. Users may notice that Facebook continually updates its policies and settings related to privacy. However, sometimes the information contained in the profiles of users has not been handled in the best way by Facebook.

In recent days, the most prominent data breach scandal that has the most popular social network in the world in distress. The firm Cambridge Analytics, used the data, without direct consent of users, to influence the United States elections during 2016.

In 2014, there were 270 thousand people who were invited to take an online test by an application called “thisisyourdigitallife” developed by a researcher at the University of Cambridge. During the use of the application, users – knowingly or not – gave their consent for the collection of information about their friends, which enabled the application to access data from 50 million additional profiles.

Given this background, it is clear that users should remember that they are the product of this service. Despite this, they have the possibility to restrict the information they want to share to third parties knowing that this consent is also part of their responsibility, so some practices can be useful to help protect your data:

1. Review Frequently what are the applications that use the Facebook account to log in to a website, game or application of a third party. Since these services can continue to access personal data if we do not interrupt their connection to the profile.

2. It is advisable to check the privacy settings of the Facebook account regularly. If you are concerned about what details the applications can see the user and their Facebook friends, this is a good time to verify the privacy settings and minimize the information that is shared publicly.

3. Read carefully (and in a very rigorous way) the privacy policies of the services where the user subscribes or what are the applications installed using their Facebook account. When registering for a new application you should always read the terms of the service and pay special attention to the privacy policy and check if the data contained in the profile could be shared with others.

4. Periodically delete the navigation data. Each browser has its own mechanism to eliminate the data generated during navigation. It is also advisable to enable and use the navigation in incognito mode.

5. Avoid using applications from unknown companies. In the case of the “thisisyourdigitallife” application, the fine print said that the information would be collected for academic, non-commercial use.

Therefore, the protection of our “online” life is also part of our responsibility as users, and that is why we should not forget at any time the huge amount of information that is shared with the outside world through social networks.

A Smartphone Case That is Able to Measure Blood Pressure

There was a time when cell phones were already considered the mark of technology simply by making calls, later by sending text messages, then by accessing the internet. Already these days they can measure your heart rate simply by placing your finger on the fingerprint reader, the same one you use to unlock your phone. But what else can they do?

Even though Samsung has recently patented the same function, a still-developing smartphone case that promises to measure your blood pressure through a sensor where you should press with your finger, instead of using heavy wristbands for the wrist or arm.

In partnership with the University of California, San Francisco, Samsung will introduce an application that will enable user blood pressure measurement with a new and improved sensor on the back of your smartphone.

There are a vast variety of applicatio

There was a time when cell phones were already considered the mark of technology simply by making calls, later by sending text messages, then by accessing the internet. Already these days they can measure your heart rate simply by placing your finger on the fingerprint reader, the same one you use to unlock your phone. But what else can they do?

Even though Samsung has recently patented the same function, a still-developing smartphone case that promises to measure your blood pressure through a sensor where you should press with your finger, instead of using heavy wristbands for the wrist or arm.

In partnership with the University of California, San Francisco, Samsung will introduce an application that will enable user blood pressure measurement with a new and improved sensor on the back of your smartphone.

There are a vast variety of applications in the Play Store that use the camera or the LEDs for lighting promising an accurate reading of blood pressure, but these usually show an always low result, as if the user had a health problem. But measuring this new sensor from Samsung promises to raise that level to a plateau above.

This developing case also uses a sensor, working in conjunction with an application that indicates how strong a person has to finger the sensor so that accurate blood pressure can be measured. The developers tested the prototype with 30 people and found that they learned faster how to use this prototype compared to a specific blood pressure meter.

The results when compared with other examples of blood pressure meters that are the same as the case – sensors that only require a finger to measure – are in agreement, however when compared to specific meters the results vary. So much work remains to be done in order to refine this measurement. The patent was made and licensed to the company Digitouch Health, and it is likely that we will have news reports on the improvement of this technology soon.

But what do you think of this possibility of measuring our blood pressure with the help of a smartphone case? Would you trust the result?

River Cleaning Can be Done Through a Video Game

The idea came from a non-profit organization called Urban Rivers and is in the process of raising funds through crowdfunding.

While the NGO awaits the results of the campaign to expand the project, there is a prototype undergoing experimentation on the Chicago River, one of the major US channels located in the urban perimeter.

Robot operated by game unites fun and ecological awareness

As soon as the plan comes out of the paper with collective funding, it will be possible for anyone on the Internet to control the robot in charge of garbage in the river, using only computer commands.

Urban Rivers has already christened the serious game as “Trashbot Game,” something in Portuguese as “garbage robot game.”

By bringing together fun and eco-consciousness into one initiative, Nick Rivers, co-founder of Urban Rivers, expects the game to

The idea came from a non-profit organization called Urban Rivers and is in the process of raising funds through crowdfunding.

While the NGO awaits the results of the campaign to expand the project, there is a prototype undergoing experimentation on the Chicago River, one of the major US channels located in the urban perimeter.

Robot operated by game unites fun and ecological awareness

As soon as the plan comes out of the paper with collective funding, it will be possible for anyone on the Internet to control the robot in charge of garbage in the river, using only computer commands.

Urban Rivers has already christened the serious game as “Trashbot Game,” something in Portuguese as “garbage robot game.”

By bringing together fun and eco-consciousness into one initiative, Nick Rivers, co-founder of Urban Rivers, expects the game to ostracize as soon as possible:

The robot is an intelligent alternative to river cleaning

In addition to the attention-grabbing interactivity, the robot is viewed by the NGO as a smart alternative to the traditional cleaning method using kayaks.

According to the organizers of the project, the seasonal cleaning using kayaks allows the garbage to reappear when the cleaning crew is not operating, while the robot could be prepared to operate continuously.

It is expected that by April some machines are already working on cleaning the rivers.

Robots Can Attack Customers With Pornography And Steal Some Bitcoins

As insane as it may sound, research has shown that robots serving customers in various stores around the world can act in a “criminal” way. In case, Pepper robots can be hacked to display pornography on your tablet while talking to a customer. Worse? To conclude the session of nothing puritanical images and audios that echo through the store, the robot still requires an amount of Bitcoin.

IOActive’s research team, led by Lucas Apa and Cesar Cerrudo, developed ransomware that could compromise SoftBank Robotics’ NAO robots, according to Motherboard.

According to

As insane as it may sound, research has shown that robots serving customers in various stores around the world can act in a “criminal” way. In case, Pepper robots can be hacked to display pornography on your tablet while talking to a customer. Worse? To conclude the session of nothing puritanical images and audios that echo through the store, the robot still requires an amount of Bitcoin.

IOActive’s research team, led by Lucas Apa and Cesar Cerrudo, developed ransomware that could compromise SoftBank Robotics’ NAO robots, according to Motherboard.

According to research, the main ones affected by this type of ransomware are the stores that use robots for customer service. But even so, the researchers believe that a small portion of customers may be scared to the point of paying the robot some money to end the shame session.

The consequences of this would be more like preventing the robots from continuing to work, so they do not need to encrypt the information, they just have to invade the robot and prevent it from working, so the business starts to lose money automatically.

If you do not know, the Pepper robot has a tablet attached to the chest. In this tablet, a store may, for example, include demo videos or include a customer support system. The ransomware developed by IOActive has the ability to use this tablet to make the robot a malicious agent.

It is believed that, currently, about 10,000 Pepper robots are already operating around the world, especially in the United States. There, the core businesses that use the NAO robots involve the Sprint communications company and Pizza Hut. Each Pepper Robot costs about $9,000 plus service fees.

The danger is not for today

Research shows that the fear of being blackmailed by robots is something that can happen in the future. “In the special case of sex robots, where privacy and intimacy are a primary concern of the user, lack of discretion in contacting technical support, organizing customer service, can encourage users to pay a ransom for the return of a robot dealing with the emotional consequences,” the research says.

What does that mean? In a society with more and more robots, our bond with machines will become more and more common. We can get to the time when hackers will take advantage of this feeling to kidnap robots, steal private data and demand payments as the release.

Incidentally, security and robots are something that is not yet very well established. A vulnerability in NAO (humanoid) robots, also exploited by IOActive previously, has already shown that these machines can become devices for spying.