In The News: IOS 14, Facial Recognition Controversies, and Library Drones
As more and more businesses find ways to resume their normal operations during the current state of the world, technological innovations will play an important role going forward. For instance, drone delivery company Wing will start delivering books to over 600 students in Virginia this week. Some companies like Apple are trying to keep up with the ever-changing market demands by announcing their new IOS 14 software this week. Moreover, as things continue to escalate across the country regarding the BLM movement, the ACLU believes that facial recognition could be algorithmically designed to discriminate against specific people.
Apple Unveils the New IOS 14 at This Year’s WWDC
Apple’s newest iteration of their IOS operating system tries to expand in the company’s recent efforts to make their devices and software more accessible to everyone.
IOS 14 brings tons of new accessibility features such as headphones accommodations that will allow users to adjust the audio frequencies streamed through their AirPods Pro. Their new Sound Recognition software makes it easier for people with auditive disabilities to be aware of sound-based alerts, alarms and notifications. Not only does this feature react to phone-related notifications and alerts, but it also can detect alarms like sirens, smoke alarms, and household noises like doorbell chimes, car horns, appliance beeps and running water.
Facetime Group Calls will also now accommodate people using sign language. IOS 14 software can recognize when a user is using sign language and will make that person’s window stand out above the rest.
America’s First Wrongful Arrest Involving Facial Recognition?
When Robert Williams, an African-American man from Michigan, was pulling up to his house, a police vehicle drove up to him and two officers leaped out and placed Williams under arrest.
The arrest was made under charges of stealing multiple watches from a local store. However, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has recently discovered that the officers were indeed wrong and led astray by a computer algorithm. This technology has been used before in places that range from concerts to airports, but organizations like the ACLU are concerned about possible algorithmic discrimination.
Shanon Banner, a spokeswoman for the Michigan state police, explained that this technology is not intended to be used as a means of positive identification, only as an investigative lead: “This document is not a positive identification. It is an investigative lead only and is not probable cause to arrest. Further investigation is needed to develop probable cause to arrest.’
Virginia Uses Drones to Deliver Books To Children
The current state of the world has closed schools and public spaces across the United States, but Kelly Passek, a librarian in Virginia, found a way to keep kids reading, free of charge!
Ms. Passek is part of a pilot project called Wing, a drone delivery service for household goods back in Virginia. Wing became the first drone delivery company allowed to operate as an airline in the US and has been delivering packages weighing up to 3 pounds since 2019.
Wing, in collaboration with other members of the community, has launched this project hoping to make educational resources more accessible to children affected by the COVID19 pandemic as well as to those children in isolated areas around Virginia. Starting this week, the company will start delivering books to students in Virginia, making it immediately available to around 600 students.