Tech Policy – Facial Recognition

This is how you kick facial recognition out of your town

Bans on the technology have mostly focused on law enforcement, but there’s a growing movement to get it out of school, parks, and private businesses too. In San Francisco, a cop can’t use facial recognition technology on a person arrested. But a landlord can use it on a tenant, and a school district can use it on students. 

This is where we find ourselves, smack in the middle of an era when cameras on the corner can automatically recognize passersby, whether they like it or not. The question of who should be able to use this technology, and who shouldn’t, remains largely unanswered in the US. So far, American backlash against facial recognition has been directed mainly at law enforcement. San Francisco and Oakland, as well as Somerville, Massachusetts, have all banned police from using the technology in the past year because the algorithms aren’t accurate for people of color and women. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has even called for a moratorium on police use.

Private companies and property owners have had no such  . . . . full article at MIT Technology Review

Workforce Matters in Manufacturing

Here are the top stories on manufacturing from 2019. The changing workforce led coverage of manufacturing.

The Landscape of Industrial Manufacturing and Warehouse Robots; Prepping the Workforce for Smart Automation ; Rise of the Augmented Worker ; Manufacturers Turn to Automation to Combat Labor Shortages ; Retiring Knowledge Workers May Get Replaced with Technology ; Industrial 5G: Impact on Factory Automation ; The Industry 4.0 Blueprint Is Being Rewritten by Startups 

10 tech companies transforming retail for 2020 and beyond

From robots that do inventory to stores with no employees – policy makers need to keep an eye on some of these innovations

According to the Commerce Department online only accounts for about 12% of sales, leaving the rest to be made up by physical stores. Technology is bringing some big changes to retail in the coming years. And policy makers need to keep an eye on some of these innovations.

Do we want stores with no employees? AiFI a Calif. startup is using artificial intelligence to fully automate the retail experience. Being able to walk into a market, pick up what you want and leave – while AI tracks you and everything you leave with, charging your credit card post-departure – may provide great convenience, but what about consumer privacy and what about the loss of retail jobs ? Bossa Nova is a robotics company that provides stores like Wal-Mart with a robot that roams the aisles checking inventory. San Diego’s Brain Corp provides robotic janitors for retail spaces. Other companies, like Pixvana are embracing workers and developing software to help in their job training, while RocketFuel another new company is working on ways to enhance the security of consumer online payments.

link to an article about this in Design News

How to think about 3D printing in 2020

One of the most consequential aspects of 3D printing is the capability to produce objects that cannot be manufactured using any other existing technology. At a fundamental level, 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, can consolidate parts in a single assembly. . . . At a higher level, the technology allows the creation of “previously unimagined complex shapes. That creates unprecedented design opportunities, but to take full advantage of them, design engineers need to retool their thought process. “You have a world of designers who have been trained in and grown up with existing technologies like injection molding. Because of this, people unintentionally bias their design toward legacy processes and away from technologies like 3D printing,” said Paul Benning, Chief Technologist for HP Printing & Digital Manufacturing. full article . . . .

Amazon Wants to “Upskill” Workers into Tech Professionals

Amazon plans on spending $700 million to retrain 100,000 members of its U.S. workforce over the next six years, according to the company. 

This initiative, dubbed “Upskilling 2025,” will focus on several different types of employees. For example, the Amazon Technical Academy will attempt to move “non-technical Amazon employees” to software engineering roles. Meanwhile, those employees with some technical background will have the opportunity to participate in Machine Learning University, which will (theoretically) impart them with the skills needed for machine-learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) roles.  more . . . .