Smart glasses

Vision for future – Smart Glasses

by Erik, Franz and Michelle

Structure:

  1. what they are for and how they work
  2. pro’s and con’s
  3. smart glasses today
  4. dystopia or utopia?
  5. conclusion
  1. What they are for and how they work

Smart glasses provide life monitoring services. They have got a reality technology to assist you with your everyday home and business life. Ok that sounds good but how do they work? They work with a combination of display, sensors, accelerometers, software and internet connectivity. Also there is a touchpad or voice control added in the glasses. You can use it with a handset or both, too.

2. Pro’s and con’s

What is true about the dystopian view on smart glasses?

If you wear smart glasses there is like with usual glasses a higher risk to get a headache or eye strain. So it is not really healthy to wear them for a longer time and they can have a really bad impact on your eyes if you have an eye disease or your vision is not full developed yet.

There is also a problem in practice, the distraction, because you cannot see what is in front of you or what happens around you if you are focusing on what the smart glasses shows you. On this way blind spots are created and you might risk your safety for example by failing to see a car or something else. This problem can cause bad accidents.

Another point at risk is the privacy because of the potential of being recorded. People with smart glasses can make recordings (also secret ones) of persons who actually do not want to be recorded and this would be an intervention in their private living.

However, these arguments against smart glasses are not really new. Recordings are also made through other devices. Paying attention on your environment especially in “dangerous” situations would prevent the risk of distraction. Usual glasses and smartphone or computer displays can also be unhealthy. So these arguments are also not really convincingly. Smart glasses instead a futuristic technology with indeed benefits.

Smart glasses – technical masterpiece!

Smart glasses are a true “hands-free-experience”. You can handle them easily because Smart glasses are completely controlled by your voice. You do not need your hands and fingers to use them so you have more flexibility. This almost illusionary invention is kind of a masterpiece because it has also a lot of gadgets. This device does most of the things your smartphone can do. Smart glasses are taking technology on a new level and are making your life easier especially if you are on the move and need a view on the environment. In a world where nearly everything gets faster and faster and where time is money the principle of multi-tasking is more and more important and also for that smart glasses are created. Moreover you can every time communicate with others so you do not need to take an extra device and because smart glasses are always on you stay connected.

3. Smart glasses today

In the last few years there has been an increase in so called smart glasses which has been highly supported by many large companies. Even though there are some changes that still remain the capabilities and the price are evolving for the better.

In the near future smart glasses are going to support factory workers and technicians in their task and work life as well as everybody’s daily life.

All in all this future investment is going to make workforce efficient and life less difficult.

The previously released prototypes have to be designed more simply and more conveniently before they can be sellers for everyone on the market.

First of all the graphic processors have to be small, lightweight and power efficient in order to conquer with the comfortable and convenient glasses nowadays.

Chips like NVIDIA Tegra x1 or intel m7 are required for accelerating real world tracking and fluid rendering.

Unfortunately the eye-tracking function and voice and gesture recognition end in massive battery and heat problems which have to be avoided.

For a full AR (Augmented Reality) experiences there has to be a high-resolution front-camera and cloud-hosted services. In conclusion the visual impression of videos and information will be reformed and overwhelming.

But these innovations require a high security standard to ensure that private information is not misplaced. Therefor regulatory regimes are needed but yet not exist.

For these reasons the market entrance has to be carefully reconsidered and tested, which takes time and leads to a slow progress.

4. Utopia or dystopia?

Smart devices will surely change our future life, although there are many technologies nowadays that have already had a big impact on our present life.

With smart glasses factory employees are able to perform more convincing and to organize their duties and tasks more efficiently.

With the help of a smart device as compact as a smart glass one is going to have the freedom to organization ones daily life and take actions in their own hand.

Living in an utopia means living in a world where life is easy, simple and ideal. Consequently there are no problems, difficulties and issues. Everybody can live their effect life without any harm.

Having access to an aid like a smart glass would make one step forward into pursuing once individual dream lifestyle.

5. Conclusion

Sine there are many problems left to solve it takes time to enforce smart glasses on the market.

Keeping personal information private is a worldwide human right.

cIn consequence these issues have to be dissolved by launching a new and larger security system.

Nevertheless the smart glasses are a huge opportunity in the digital revolution which cannot be missed.

Even though there is a lot of criticism and doughts towards new technologies it is necessary to support and secure the research and developments to combat the human challenges at our time.

Smarthomes


Smart Homes – a smart idea?

by Jakob and ?

“There is nothing more important than a good, safe and secure home”, but how safe is a home where an AI listen all the time, no matter what time of day? Smart speakers are supposed to be useful friends and helpers, which should make your life easier. And often they do. But in order to deliver better and more accurate results, the algorithm needs data. A lot of data. To do this, the AI analyses the requests and language habits of its owners. As soon as the speech software thinks it can hear one of the key words, it records the voice. Some claim that the smart home devices falsify these and pretend to have heard one of the key words. No matter whether the consent of the respective person is present or not. No matter whether the software notices a „false alarm“, such as a misunderstood word or a radio sound, afterwards or not: the recording is saved.
The question that should now be posed to users: Is the relief in everyday life worthwhile, even if you sacrifice large parts of your privacy for it?

Everyone knows the situation: you come home in the evening and the shutters are not closed, the heating is not on or the light is off. From this situation you can already derive the greatest advantages of Smart Homes. They can make everyday life easier. Doors and windows can be opened remotely, intelligent motion detectors turn on the light as soon as you approach the apartment, smart heating systems allow fitters remote access when maintenance is due, or a fault needs to be rectified. If there is a storm, doors, windows and the awning close. The smart devices are automatically interconnected and do not require the presence of the occupant.

Smart terminals increase security. Light, shutters, awnings, television and music are randomly switched on and off and thus simulate a permanent presence of the occupant to the outside world. This is supported by smart smoke detectors and cameras and can therefore guarantee optimum security as part of the overall package.

But the many advantages also have their costs. On the one hand, the systems are not yet standardized and mature. Many smart home devices are not compatible with each other due to different radio waves and can offer insufficient protection to hackers who can gain access to the smart homes. In addition, the price can skyrocket to astronomical heights, as numerous terminal devices and a control centre are required for an optimal smart home.

When buying a smart home, the most important point is often forgotten; without enough encryption, the smart home offers numerous possibilities for external access by third parties. Data storage is opaque and usually cannot be monitored and viewed by the user. In addition, it is controversial whether other organisations or the manufacturers of smart homes cannot listen in on certain situations in everyday life or whether the data can be used by the police as useful information in the event of a crime. In addition, it is questionable to what extent burglars are stopped by electronic barriers, the smart home serves only as a useful support, mechanical barriers are nevertheless indispensable.

But even 61 percent of Germans already have other smart devices connected to the Internet in addition to computers or mobile phones, but only 49 percent of them are concerned about protecting their devices from attacks.

An example where a smart home was hacked happened in the USA:
An American couple bought two smart home devices, one security camera with a speaker and one thermostat, for 700$ to bring them more security and comfort. But instead of it a hacker terrorized them by playing vulgar music on the security camera and raising the temperature in the house to 32 degrees. The problem was that the man had used the password for the Smart Home on various other websites and so the hacker could hack into his Smart Home with the same password.

We agree that we will only buy smart home devices once they are mature and secure, as they can give a deep insight into a person’s privacy, as they are usually placed in the very centre of their life, such as the living room or bedroom. The biggest problem is that we don’t know what companies do with this data and how well it is protected. If these problems are solved in the future, we’ll be happy to think about experiencing the benefits of smart homes for ourselves.

Deepfakes


Starting World War III from Home

by Cornelius and Jacob

Imagine watching the news and seeing Trump declare war on Russia, China and North Korea. With the help of artificial intelligence that is not as farfetched as it sounds. You might even believe it with Trump insulting world leaders on a daily basis. Manipulating videos to make politicians say whatever you like them to is easy for everyone with a bit of practice and artificial intelligence. The technology is called DeepFake.

Figure 1: Recognising Facial Features

For creating DeepFakes a Neural Network (Ai) uses images of the targeted person to analyse their mimic and facial features by putting points on special facial marks. With enough video footage or pictures, the Ai knows how that person’s mimic would look being afraid, happy or saying “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Snapchat uses such a program to create funny features like face swap.

Especially for the film industry DeepFake has valuable applications and can potentially save millions. Instead of using Photoshop frame by frame, DeepFake can be used to bring dead actors back to life or to correct mouth movements, while dubbing a movie. In the movie “Rogue One” from 2016, Disney spent millions to recreate Princess Lea, although her actor, Carrie Fisher, had aged by 34 years.[1] A few years later, fans created comparable footage for free with the help of DeepFake programs.

Despite these benefits the DeepFake technology can also be abused. DeepFake has its highest demand in the pornography industry. In Fact, 96% of all DeepFake videos contain adult content. Especially female celebrities are targeted, but also ordinary women or teenage girls find themselves having become famous in Pornography. It is impossible to guard one’s privacy. Any picture can be used to steal your face and violate your dignity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ54GDm1eL0
Figure 2: Using Deepfake on President Obama

With media basically being the fourth pillar of democracy and video as one of its most important tools the application of DeepFake becomes very dangerous. In early 2019 a Fox-News employee used DeepFake to mock President Trump’s appearance during his Oval Office address. Already in 2018, the famous comedian and Obama enactor Jordan Peele used DeepFake, making Obama address the danger of DeepFakes in politics. By having Obama insult Trump as “Dipshit” and pointing out that “our enemies can make it look like anyone can say anything at any point in time”, Jordan Peele tries to raise awareness.

New technologies like “Lyrebird” can even train an Ai to imitate a person’s voice with analyzing just a few minutes of audio. The Ai is able to fake an emotional state making the target sound concerned, elated or hateful. Just few parts of conversation like sounds created by mouth movement or breathing cannot be imitated yet.

With a few pictures and a few minutes of audio one controls the power the targeted person holds. The CEO of a British energy company was called by his boss from the German parent company and ordered to transfer 220.000 Euro to a Hungarian supplier. Because the CEO wrongly recognised his boss’s voice and his typical intonations, he obliged and made the payment.[2]

Then how do we combat the threat of DeepFakes? Pictures, videos and voice messages could be certified via blockchain. Blockchain would ensure the authenticity of media, but would consume vast amounts of energy. The Cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which also uses blockchain as a technology, consumes 66.7-Terawathours per year, as much as the Czech Republic.

Figure 3: Spotting DeepFake Altered Footage

The alternative would be to fight fire with fire. Microsoft and Facebook recently invested 10 million USD in the development of Ai that is trained to spot Ai altered DeepFake videos. Google has released 3,000 DeepFakes that shall help researchers train their Ai.[3] Since especially the government is interested in the control of DeepFake, the Pentagon also has allocated some of its budget to the fight against the misuse of DeepFake. New technologies are on the horizon and are just a few steps away of being implemented to fight DeepFakes.

The Wall Street journal calls the DeepFake fight a “cat and mouse game” with an endless chase. Although it is easy to imagine a dark painted dystopian future, we believe that the cat is faster and stronger than the mouse with its fangs an inch away from the mouse’s neck. The development of DeepFake detection Ai will be successful and return some of the authenticity media once had. Nevertheless, this reasoning is no excuse to not stay vigilant, especially right now with the upcoming presidential election in 2020. Think twice before you believe what you see!


[1] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/software/facebook-microsoft-join-hands-to-fight-deepfakes/articleshow/71005930.cms

[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/fraudsters-use-ai-to-mimic-ceos-voice-in-unusual-cybercrime-case-11567157402

[3] https://www.marketwatch.com/story/movie-watch-disney-is-up-against-great-expectations-as-rogue-one-hits-theaters-2016-12-15