algorithms

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Amazon's Algorithm May Be Costing You Money

ProPublica says its own products often get preferred rankings

(Newser) - ProPublica has a warning for Amazon shoppers, i.e. pretty much everyone who shops: The results that come up first after a search are often not the best deals. Amazon gives preference to its own products or to companies who pay for its services when it comes to picking... More »

Robots Judge Beauty Contest, Get Called Racist

Artificial intelligence was supposed to eliminate bias—but most winners were light-skinned

(Newser) - Can robots be racist? It appears that way, per results from Beauty.AI , a beauty competition designed to take prejudices out of the mix by having algorithms do the judging instead of humans. But results from the competition indicate that even 'bots have biases, the Guardian reports. Forty-four winners... More »

Algorithm Can Spot If You're Tweeting While Drinking

It even knows if you're drinking at home

(Newser) - Think last night's drunk tweets were pretty coherent? You won't fool University of Rochester researchers, who have developed a machine-learning algorithm that can tell when a tweeter is drinking. To do so, they started with humans: Researchers collected tweets associated with alcohol—think ones with words like "... More »

How to ID a Terrorist: V Signs?

Scientists say everyone's hand geometry is different and may help ID terrorists

(Newser) - Trying to ID masked terrorists appearing in propaganda or execution videos is one of counterterrorism's biggest obstacles. But a researcher at Jordan's Mutah University and his team think they've found one physical tell that could prove invaluable: the victory sign formed by making the letter "V"... More »

Meet the Man Who's Authored 100K Books

Though, technically, they were compiled by a computer

(Newser) - Reading 100,000 books in a lifetime sounds impossible. Authoring that many sounds unthinkable, but that's exactly what Philip M. Parker can proclaim he has done. The professor at business school INSEAD calls himself "the most published author in the history of the planet" and claims 200,000... More »

Freakonomics Author Busts Cheating Kids via Algorithm

Four of the 12 that his algorithm deemed highly suspicious have confessed

(Newser) - When a professor at an anonymous "top American university" recently suspected cheating in a class, no student would admit to it, so he called in a big gun: Freakonomics author and University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt. Levitt and Ming-Jen Lin, of National Taiwan University, devised an algorithm to... More »

Google Sorry for Labeling Blacks as 'Gorillas'

Was caused by algorithm error on the Google Photos app

(Newser) - The automated photo-tagging on the Google Photos app introduced in May isn't perfect, Google admits. Sometimes it gives a photo a wrong or irrelevant tag—and, on at least one occasion, an extremely offensive one. The company had some groveling to do after the app labeled a photo of... More »

Algorithm Will Tell All UPS Trucks Where to Go

Orion platform designed to optimize deliveries with best, most consistent routes

(Newser) - A UPS driver has, on average, 120 stops to make each day. But what's the most efficient route that driver can take? The company is hoping its Orion computer platform will solve this issue for its 55,000 US routes using an algorithm that examines travel costs, distance, and... More »

Math Model May Reduce Military Suicides

One notable factor: Older enlistees seem to be at higher risk

(Newser) - The US military's quest to curb its rising rate of suicides may get some help from a sophisticated new computer program, reports LiveScience . In a new study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers explain how they crunched data from 53,000 Army soldiers who were hospitalized between 2004 and... More »

Analysis: Sinatra Is Planet's Most Important Person...

...at least according to Wikipedia ... and its English version

(Newser) - Using methods borrowed from Google, a group of researchers has analyzed all Wikipedia pages and determined that, at least on the English language version of the site, Frank Sinatra is the world's most important person. Second place goes to Michael Jackson, and third to Pope Pius XII. When factoring... More »

Google Searches Tie Bettina Wulff to Prostitution

Now the former German first lady is suing

(Newser) - Is it a political dirty trick, or did the "search algorithms" do it? The wife of Germany's former president is suing Google because Internet searches link her name to prostitution, reports the BBC . Google executives are blaming the company's automatic search algorithms for words like "prostitute,... More »

Algorithm Arranges Names on 9/11 Memorial

Order reflects 2,983 personal and professional relationships

(Newser) - The 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero will be dedicated this weekend, and Scientific American explains how planners used a complex algorithm to figure out how to arrange the 2,983 names of victims. They're not alphabetical but instead grouped by sets and subsets of personal and professional relationships. For... More »

Cops Using Math to Predict Crime

Algorithm anticipates where and when a crime might occur

(Newser) - Didn't anyone pay attention to how things went for Tom Cruise in Minority Report? Cops in Santa Cruz, California, are using a computer math algorithm to anticipate when and where crimes are most likely to be committed, reports ABC News . Based on earthquake prediction technology, the system uses years... More »

Algorithms Misfire: Amazon Lists Book for $24M

Computer-controlled pricing goes a wee bit out of control

(Newser) - Had you scooped up a copy of The Making of a Fly on Amazon last week, you would have made author Peter A. Lawrence a very happy—and rich—man. It listed for nearly $24 million, thanks to a robot pricing war gone wrong, reports CNN . Blogger Michael Eisen first... More »

Google Catches Bing Copying Its Results

It theorizes that it's spying on users with IE, Bing toolbar

(Newser) - Google is furious. The search giant says it’s caught Bing red-handed stealing its search results—or, at least, mining data from its results to use to adjust Bing's own ranking algorithm. It suspects Bing is using Internet Explorer and/or the Bing toolbar to monitor users’ Google queries and results.... More »

CIA, Google Invest in Future-Predicting Firm

'Recorded Future' scans the web to see what's coming

(Newser) - The investment arms of Google and the CIA have teamed up to support a company that says it can predict the future. Recorded Future—a Massachusetts tech firm that presumably saw the deal coming—monitors tens of thousands of websites and uses algorithms to find the relationships between people, places,... More »

SEC Probing Possible Stock Chaos Shenanigans

Time to crack down on algorithm trading, lawmakers say

(Newser) - The SEC is on the trail of securities traders who might have "accidentally or maliciously" triggered yesterday's stock market see-sawing, insiders tell Bloomberg , or exploited it to profit illegally. The SEC and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission said after markets closed yesterday that they plan a joint probe into... More »

Insurance Firm Aimed to Ditch All HIV Clients

Judge slams Fortis' 'reprehensible' conduct

(Newser) - Insurance giant Fortis used every underhanded method it could to purge HIV-positive clients from its books, according to newly released records. Documents reveal that the company—now known as Assurant—used an algorithm to target every policyholder diagnosed with HIV for a fraud investigation and canceled their policies on the... More »

German Hacker Cracks Cell Phone Code

Expert warns 80% of cell phones lack proper protection

(Newser) - A German hacker says he and his team have managed to crack the code that has protected most of the world's cell phone conversations for over 20 years. Karsten Nohl told a hackers' conference in Berlin that cracking the encryption code for GSM communications—which secures 80% of cellular communications—... More »

Google Issues Disclaimer Over Racist Michelle Image

But company won't pull doctored photo

(Newser) - Hackers have doctored a photo of Michelle Obama to look like an ape and rigged Google search results so it comes up first under an image search of her name. The move prompted Google to take out an ad on the results page, reading in part, “Sometimes our search... More »

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