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New Tech Uses WiFi Blasts to Read a Subject’s Concealed Emotions from a Distance

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What is any person’s natural defense to surveillance, and the feelings of being robbed of privacy and sanctity that accompany it? Silence, and taking measures to protect privacy.

A “poker face” may mean nothing if some new technology produced at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) actually works. A team of researchers say they created a system that can accurately read a person’s concealed emotions from a distance.

From sadness, to excitement, anger to happiness, they say its “EQ-Radio” is accurate 87% of the time at detecting people’s concealed emotions.

Personally it sounds far fetched that it would successfully read a person’s emotions without being directly linked to a person’s pulse and body like a lie detector.

However, the researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are using regular WiFi signals that they bounce off a person to track their heart rates and reveal other info about the body that can apparently determine emotion. No skin touching censors, as used in lie detectors, are involved with the device.

According to Big Think:

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“One of the challenges the team faced was filtering out extraneous “noise” such as breath sounds to clearly detect the heart rate. Bear in mind that it’s not audio that EQ-Radio has to analyze, but instead data that reflects the speed of the WiFi bounceback. So “noise” refers to irrelevant data, not the actual sound of, say, your breath. That they’re able to measure heart rate with about a .3% margin of error is remarkable. That’s as good as an ECG monitor.

The EQ-Radio software is based on previous work the lab has done using WiFi to detect human movement. The goal of the earlier work was to use WiFi in smart homes that could do things like control heat and lighting based on your location, and detect if an elderly person has fallen. (It’s also seen as having potential use for animation motion-capture in films.)”

If a device created by MIT can bounce WiFi frequencies off a person and analyze their concealed emotion, why wouldn’t this technology be used in conjunction with surveillance cameras?

Imagine the CCTV-type surveillance cameras all around you in the city becoming a complex of surveillance devices: a camera, a microphone, biometric sensors and software, and even a device that bounces WiFi-type waves off people to analyze their feelings.

A surveillance grid could be put in place to spot a person who is severely anxious in a crowd, and the state (or some private entity) could decide to investigate them based on their anxious heartbeat.

What if employers put emotion sensing devices and surveillance cameras around their building to analyze who has anxiety and who doesn’t? It’s a veritable hell for the introvert.

The article from Big Think admits the applications of this technology could get scary. They noted it could be used for:

“Far more accurate test screenings and focus groups for ad agencies and film studios. Smart homes that can adjust lighting and environmental controls to match, or help you out of, your mood. Smart hotels that could continually customize a guest’s environment according to mood. Non-invasive healthcare and psychiatric monitoring, with office or home-installed systems. Directed advertising based on an assessment of a target’s mood. Interrogations.

When EQ-Radio moves beyond its current laboratory setting, there’ll be obvious privacy concerns: Do you have the right to keep your feelings to yourself?

If you’re in a public place — say, a hospital or theater — where an EQ-Radio system is in operation, will a signed release from you be required before your emotional state can be tracked? Would you have to give a police department permission to monitor your feelings during an investigation, or could you refuse as you can a polygraph test? Could an authoritarian government “read” its citizenry at will? Will this become a standard tool to anti-terrorism authorities?”

It’s important that people actively try to think about where the future is headed. It’s not really in human nature to plan for the future with tons of foresight, in my opinion: it’s not easy to theorize about how the future will be, but with the way technology is advancing, we should really be creatively thinking about it.

We can either influence our future to be a beautiful oasis functioning in a way we like, or it can be an exquisitely complicated technocracy.


Image credit: Alert Watch, Eclipse Surveillance, Tim’s Computer Fix, Icon Finder, I1

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Bizarre

The Notorious ‘Gateway to Hell’ May Finally Be Sealed, Turkmenistan’s President Says

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The Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan has long been host to what has been dubbed the “Gateway to Hell” – a massive hole in the ground that has been smoldering for about five decades.

However, the country’s government is now moving to finally extinguish the blazing natural Darvaza gas crater which lies in the center of the huge Karakum desert.

This isn’t the first time that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has spoken of extinguishing the so-called portal to the underworld. In 2010, the strongman leader also ordered that experts investigate how best to put out the flames, which have been raging since a mishandled Soviet drilling expedition in 1971.

To prevent a disaster resulting from the spread of dangerous fumes, Soviet authorities decided it would be best to burn off the gas by setting it alight.

As a result, the 229-foot (70 meter) wide and 65-foot (20-meter) deep crater has been ablaze ever since, drawing tourists to the former Soviet country.

In 2018, the government officially renamed the pit the “Shining of Karakum.”

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This week, Berdymukhamedov decried how the gas crater “negatively affects both the environment and the health of the people living nearby,” reports AFP.

“We are losing valuable natural resources for which we could get significant profits and use them for improving the well-being of our people,” he added in the televised statement, noting that officials must “find a solution to extinguish the fire.”

Turkmenistan is known to possess the fourth-largest known reserve of natural gas in the world, reports VICE, and its economy is dependent on the export of the raw resource.

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Corruption

Turns Out Schrödinger, the Father of Quantum Physics, Was a Shameless Pedophile

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Long hailed as one of the fathers of quantum physics, celebrated physicist Erwin Schrödinger is now being reevaluated after damning evidence was published that shows that the scientist was a pedophile and serial “sexual predator.”

Schrödinger, a Nobel Prize-winning Austrian-Irish scientist remembered for his 1935 thought experiment “Schrödinger’s Cat,” was exposed as a pedophile by The Irish Times in a December report detailing his unapologetic record as a serial abuser of young girls and women.

Since the report’s publication, academics and faculties across the globe have been distancing themselves from the physicist and launching petitions to remove his name from their facilities.

The physicist made foundational contributions to quantum theory and is largely responsible for the current craze for quantum computing, but his extracurricular activities have been exposed as being fundamentally exploitative and abusive toward girls and women.

According to 2012 biography Erwin Schrödinger and the Quantum Revolution by John Gribbin, which the Irish Times cited, the physicist became preoccupied with, and groomed, a 14-year-old girl named Itha Junger after becoming her math tutor. Schrödinger, who was middle-aged at the time, impregnated her when she was 17.

That year, Junger became pregnant and resorted to a horrific abortion that left her sterile, leaving the relationship in tatters.

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The physicist also kept a record of his sexual exploits, which included being “infatuated” with a 12-year-old girl named Barbara. He only relented from pursuing the child after her family members protested. He later wrote in his diaries that the child was “among the unrequited loves of his life”.

Schrödinger, Life and Thought author Walter Moore noted that the physicist’s scummy attitude towards women “was essentially that of a male supremacist.”

Students and lecturers are now rejecting the scientist. In his adopted country, Ireland, a petition has been launched to change the title of a facility at Dublin’s Trinity University that’s named after him.

 “It seems in bad taste that a modern college such as Trinity – one that holds lectures to both men and women, one that (hopefully) rejects the abuse of women, of young girls or, indeed, of anyone – would honour this man with an entire building,” the petition reads.

“We can acknowledge the great mark Schrodinger has left on science through our study, and this petition does not wish to diminish the impact his lectures or ideas had in physics.”

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Corruption

Queen Strips Prince Andrew of All Royal Titles as Child Sex Abuse Trial Looms

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Britain’s Prince Andrew has been unceremoniously stripped of his military and royal titles, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday, just one day after a Manhattan judge gave the green light to a sexual abuse lawsuit against the disgraced son of the Queen.

Andrew, 61, is now unable to use the title “His Royal Highness” in any official capacity and his other roles as the Duke of York will be distributed among the other members of the House of Buckingham.

“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, the Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” the royal family said in an official statement, reports CNN. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.”

Prince Andrew faces a civil lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre Roberts, 38, who alleges that she was forced by late financier Jeffrey Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell to have “disgusting” sex with the duke in London when she 17, a minor under U.S. law. Giuffre claims that Andrew knew at the time that she was underage.

According to her lawsuit, she feared disobeying Epstein and Maxwell due to “their powerful connections, wealth and authority.” Andrew, however, vociferously denies the claim.

The ongoing drama surrounding Andrew has already led to the Queen stripping her middle son of performing royal tasks following his humiliating 2019 interview with the BBC where he attempted to justify his friendship with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, who was recently found guilty of sex trafficking.

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At the time, the prince – a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who flew missions in the 1982 Malvinas War – was allowed to retain his military titles, which included vice admiral of the Royal Navy and colonel of the Grenadier Guards.

However, Buckingham Palace had faced strong pressure from military groups to strip the Duke of York of those titles.

“We understand that he is your son, but … please do not leave it any longer,” a group of 150 veterans wrote in an open letter to the monarch.

“All of us have served our country and are proud to have done so. For that reason, we are particularly upset and angry that Prince Andrew remains a member of the armed forces and continues to hold military titles,” the veterans added.

“Officers of the British armed forces must adhere to the very highest standards of probity, honesty and honorable conduct. These are standards which Prince Andrew has fallen well short of,” the letter said.

Andrew is likely to face a trial in Manhattan federal court later this year following the court’s Wednesday ruling.

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