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4.7 million uninsured people could get health insurance for free! But they have to do it by tomorrow

Daily Kos - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 11:00

Open enrollment for plans under the Affordable Care Act ends at midnight, Dec. 15 (in most states), and there are some amazing deals to be had on the marketplace. We’re talking about $0 premiums for 4.7 million uninsured people.

That's according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. Just to reiterate: "4.7 million currently uninsured people could get a bronze-level plan for 2020 and pay nothing in premiums after factoring in tax credits, though the deductibles would be high." The high deductible thing is real, and a real issue, but affordability for basic coverage isn't an issue this year.


"Half of the uninsured who could get a free bronze plan live in one of four large states: Texas (1,151,300 people), Florida (694,800), North Carolina (338,200) and Georgia (303,600)," KFF found. But the savings are available almost everywhere.

So, if you need insurance or you know someone who needs insurance, NOW is the time—NOW. Get Covered America has an open enrollment toolkit that can help, providing all the information you need. And, as always, is the place to get started.

(California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. all have extended deadlines, which you can find here.)

Categories: Politics

YouTube's Algorithm Made Fake CNN Reports Go Viral

Slashdot - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 10:34
"YouTube channels posing as American news outlets racked up millions of views on false and inflammatory videos over several months this year," reports CNN. "All with the help of YouTube's recommendation engine." Many of the accounts, which mostly used footage from CNN, but also employed some video from Fox News, exploited a YouTube feature that automatically creates channels on certain topics. Those topic channels are then automatically populated by videos related to the topic -- including, in this case, blatant misinformation. YouTube has now shut down many of the accounts. YouTube's own algorithms also recommended videos from the channels to American users who watched videos about U.S. politics. That the channels could achieve such virality -- one channel was viewed more than two million times over one weekend in October -- raises questions about YouTube's preparedness for tackling misinformation on its platform just weeks before the Iowa caucuses and points to the continuing challenge platforms face as people try to game their systems.... Responding to the findings on Thursday, a CNN spokesperson said YouTube needs to take responsibility. "When accounts were deleted or banned, they were able to spin up new accounts within hours," added Plasticity, a natural language processing and AI startup which analyzed the data and identified at least 25 different accounts which YouTube then shut down. "The tactics they used to game the YouTube algorithm were executed perfectly. They knew what they were doing."

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Categories: Geek

Giuliani and Trump want Ukraine to swap ambassador for 29-year-old conspiracy theorist

Daily Kos - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 10:23

Rudy Giuliani openly declared that he was going to Ukraine to “interfere in an investigation,” but he was underselling it. The conspiracy theories that Giuliani has been pushing for Donald Trump’s benefit go beyond simply smearing Joe Biden and his family, to attacking Hillary Clinton, exonerating Vladimir Putin, and convicting the Ukrainian government of involvement in a broad international conspiracy. Not surprisingly, to support this “theory,” Giuliani has been prowling the debris of the former pro-Russian government that was ousted for its allegiance to Moscow and unending corruption. The threat of losing U.S. military assistance may be enough to keep Ukrainian leadership silent, but finding members of the current government who are willing to indict their own people simply to gain the favor of Trump and Guiliani has proven more of a challenge for Trump’s man in Kyiv.

But Giuliani thinks he has one.  As the Kyiv Post reports, Andrii Telizhenko is a 29-year-old former Ukrainian diplomat who popped up in 2017 to claim that the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. colluded with the Democratic Party to undermine Trump’s campaign — a statement that repeatedly popped up in the statements from Republicans during the impeachment proceedings. None of the claims voiced by Telizhenko, who worked in D.C. for only a matter of weeks, have held up to even casual scrutiny. That hasn’t stopped Giuliani from making them a centerpiece of his “documentary” in support of Trump’s conspiracy theories, and it hasn’t stopped Republicans from using those claims to suggest that the ludicrous ideas championed by Trump and Giuliani deserve serious study. In fact, Republicans repeatedly put forward disproven statements by Telizhenko as if they are facts.

The Post describes Telizhenko as “a young man who came out of nowhere, sought personal enrichment and is hardly a reliable source for the claims he is making.” But it’s not as if going all in on backing Giuliani isn’t working out for him so far. Not only is he being squired around Ukraine by Trump’s personal attorney, Giuliani and Trump are now pushing to make Telizhenko the actual Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States.

Telizhenko‘s own personal story is riddled with claims about his education and actions that also don’t hold up to scrutiny. He’s also been accused of seeking bribes. But Telizhenko did work with fired prosecutor Viktor Shokin and claims that the prosecutor—who was so corrupt that his resignation was sought by the Obama administration, multiple allied nations, and a raft of Republican senators—was a good, tough, and “apolitical.” Best of all, Telizhenko claims that Shokin was investigating Burisma when he was fired, which is a claim not even Shokin makes—because it’s provably not true.

Categories: Politics

How The Right Uses The Joy Of Hate To Stop Action On Climate Change

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 10:06

For decades powerful forces have willfully exploited people's misunderstanding of science and their feelings of being belittled by others.

The right wing media radio and TV hosts tap into listeners' feeling of inadequacy and turns that into a weapon to use to attack scientists, liberals and anyone who represents them.

"Those smarty pants liberals think they are smarter than you! They aren't! They aren't perfect! Look at how they were wrong in the past about the climate! Why listen to them now?"

Greta represents all the people who laughed at them. She is also young and female.

"How dare a 16-year-old girl tell you what to do? Who does she think she is?"

Encouraging people to be aggrieved is a powerful part of right wing media appeal. Digby, Atrios and Sam Seder have pointed this out for years. They also push the underlying theme that liberal elites have been laughing at conservative listeners. Now that they are in power it's time to rub that laughter into their smug liberal faces.

People ask me. "Why do people deny human caused climate change?"  One answer I give is obvious.

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Categories: Politics

Wisconsin Republicans Just Can't Get Enough Voter Suppression

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 10:05

Republicans really, really hate it when people vote. They know that the more people that vote, the worse things will go for them. But instead of coming up with policies that the people would support, the Republicans would rather just squash the voice of the people. One would be hard pressed to find where this is truer than Wisconsin.

There was the sordid gerrymandering which was done in secret which boxed in Democrats so badly that even when they receive the majority of voters, they still have a minority in the legislature.

The Republicans also passed a Voter ID law so oppressive that it's caused an estimated one percent reduction in voter turnout:

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Categories: Politics

Will Trump pardon his own co-conspirators? If he thinks it helps him, of course he will

Daily Kos - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 10:00

Politico has a piece wondering when or if Donald Trump will simply pardon the three criminals—adviser Michael Flynn, campaign head Paul Manafort, and Wikileaks-campaign link Roger Stone—who have done the most to obstruct the federal investigation into Trump's own involvement in their actions. All three have been broadcasting their fervent loyalty and desires for pardons VERY LOUDLY, just to make sure Donald does not forget about their plight. And all three have been taking specific actions that appear to be demonstrations of their fealty.

Flynn hired a new, podium-pounding "lawyer" who took a far more aggressive and conspiracy-minded approach to his case. Roger Stone isn't just suggesting he won't turn on Trump, but specifically declaring it. And Paul Manafort, currently rotting in prison for illegal acts while working for pro-Russian Ukrainian crooks, appears to be assisting new Paul Manafort Rudy Giuliani in Giuliani's efforts to track down Manafort's prior Ukrainian buddies and inviting them to craft new dirt against targeted Americans.

Politico weighs numerous factors in attempting to judge the likelihood of those three pardons, using factors such as coverage on Donald's preferred Fox programs measured against Trump's advisers warning him of the political blowback, and (least plausibly by far) whether he believes they have been treated "unfairly." To be honest that is more work than needs to be done here: Specifically, the notion that Donald Trump gives a rodent's ass about whether Flynn, Manafort, or Stone is sad about their plight is implausible; Trump is a narcissist. None of the three truly even exist in his mind except as figures to be exploited.

Does pardoning the three help Trump? Then he'll do it. Does pardoning the three make Trump look bad? Then he won't. This calculation is made every time Trump hears any of the three names, and his current decision is not a reliable predictor of what he will decide tomorrow or next week. To Trump, the idea of "punishing" his perceived enemies (that is, government investigators and law enforcement) by nullifying their work appears to be supremely satisfying for him. Trump has very often made or threatened pardons specifically to undercut the rule of law, such as his pardon of Dinesh D'Souza for campaign finance crimes (as Trump stands accused of far more egregious violations) and ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, pardoned for brazenly defying the courts in his attempts to continue overtly cruel and racist policies very similar to those Trump himself has been demanding, regardless of legality, of border officials.

Categories: Politics

Jim Bakker Threatens 'An Explosion' If Trump Impeached

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 09:30

Jim Bakker was in fine fettle over the inevitability of a Trump impeachment Friday, showing his ignorance and his devotion to God Trump on his Friday show, according to Right Wing Watch.

In his ignorance (or effort to spread disinformation) Baker first aimed at the whistleblower.

“Somebody is lying,” Bakker fumed. “If they’re not lying, they’re somebody stupid. You can’t try to impeach a president on the word of somebody you don’t know who it is.”

Did no one inform Jim Bakker that every major point in the whistleblower's complaint has been confirmed by direct testimony by actual witnesses to the event? Someone is lying, for sure, and his name is Jim Bakker.

After ranting that an act defined in the text of the U.S. Constitution is itself unconstitutional, because he apparently needed to lie some more, Bakker turned to threats.

“There is going to be an explosion if you don’t stop it,” he warned. “People are not going to tolerate it anymore … I wouldn’t even be surprised if you don’t see quiet old ladies, like some of you sitting here, marching in the streets because America is not even going to be worth living in in another year or two, the way we’re going if we’re not careful. We can’t let people take over who hate God.”

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Categories: Politics

Apple @ Work: Would an Enterprise Screen Time API force employees to disconnect from work?

9to5Mac - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 09:00

Apple released Screen Time initially with iOS 12, and it has continued to refine it since. I’ve enjoyed using it as a parent with my children’s iPad as a way to automatically disable their devices after a certain amount of time. Since then, we’ve had various articles looking at how Apple could improve Screen Time. Ben Lovejoy argued that a Screen Time API would allow third-party developers to expand beyond what Apple has built. I mentioned last December that I would love to see some enhanced Safari filtering options, iMessage history, and more. After I attended JNUC 2019, I started wondering what Screen Time for the enterprise might look like if Apple released it. more…

The post Apple @ Work: Would an Enterprise Screen Time API force employees to disconnect from work? appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Checkra1n v0.9.7 adds support for iOS 13.3 and integrates bug fixes

iDownloadBlog - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 08:28

The checkra1n team release checkra1n v0.9.7 to the general public for testing on Saturday with support for iOS 13.3 and more bug fixes and improvements.
Categories: Geek

Mike's Blog Round Up

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 08:01

Bad Attitudes - nothing in the middle of the road but ...

d r i f t g l a s s - oh Lord, thy both-siderist fish are so many, and thy barrel so small ...

World O' Crap - NRA-Hole;

Just Another Blog (From L.A.)™ - where's the outrage? (Bevin edition);

XPostFactoid - forget free Bronze plans ...

Steve in Manhattan (@blogenfreude) blogs at and is sad to report that even Aston Martin has jumped on the SUV bandwagon ... maybe you'll see one in the next non-Craig Bond movie.

To recommend a link, send it to - we do check it!

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Categories: Politics

Seth Meyers Takes A 'Closer Look' At Trump's Impeachment

Crooks and Liars - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 08:00

Seth Meyers also noted Trump's insecurities when it comes to Greta Thunberg:

MEYERS: And on top of all that, he attacked a 16-year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg, simply for trying to save the planet from an existential crisis. Trump tweeted today, “Greta must work on her anger management problem then go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend chill, Greta, chill." You want her to chill? Whenever you scream, you look like a tick that’s about to burst. I mean, look at him. He looks like a rabid possum hissing at you for disturbing his nest. Also, you are a 73-year-old man attacking a 16-year-old activist, because she cares about the environment. Think about how sad that is. You are a husk of a man. Actually not even, for there to have been a husk of a man, there would have had to been a man to begin with. You’re a husk of a husk.

Thank the gods there are comedians willing to tell the truth in America.

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Categories: Politics

Researchers Fooled Chinese Facial Recognition Terminals With Just a Mask

Slashdot - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 08:00
Public facial recognition terminals in China can be fooled with just a mask, as some recent experiments have shown. The Verge reports: An AI company, Kneron, shared a video with The Verge of tests it ran at facial recognition terminals in China where it appeared to fool the systems. Kneron asked us not to publish the video, so we will describe what we saw -- and it looked pretty convincing. In two examples, a tester approaches AliPay and WeChat terminals at shops in China while wearing a 3D mask of his face, and the facial recognition system identifies the mask as his face, allowing the purchase. In another example, the same person feeds his ID card into a train station turnstile while wearing his mask, and the turnstile's facial recognition system accepts the mask as his face. There are definitely limitations to this type of test, though. The video only shows one person making attempts with their mask, and it's unclear if that one mask worked in every single attempt, or if another mask would work for each one of these tests as well. It's also worth noting that none of the systems were relying entirely on facial recognition for identification. Both the AliPay and WeChat terminals required the person to enter digits of the phone number associated with their identity, and at the train station, you have to present a physical ID card before the facial recognition system even starts scanning. Also, you might hope another human would intervene if a person pulled out a mask of another human's face while trying to pay for groceries?

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Categories: Geek

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: A historic morning, a historic vote

Daily Kos - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 07:30

Very solemn vote after the histrionics as House Judiciary votes to impeach Trump, reports favorable recommendation on two impeachment articles to full House for Wednesday vote. Remember, Trump is up for reelection, making an impeachment vote even more powerful. And remember, the principle involved is “no one is above the law”.

Now let’s see what the polling shows, only now does it really matter – for 2020. But don’t expect it to change Republican behavior in the short term. They are committed to power, which is why they defend Trump’s proposed and past election cheating.



The move marks the first vote at any level of the House on articles of impeachment since 1998. And it sets up just the third presidential impeachment in U.S. history — expected Wednesday, according to Democratic aides.

The articles allege that Trump put his personal interests above U.S. national security by pressuring Ukraine to open investigations into his Democratic adversaries. Then, the articles state, Trump waged an unprecedented campaign to block impeachment investigators from obtaining witness testimony and documents as they sought to probe the allegations.

Next week’s impeachment vote will then lead to a Senate trial, presided over by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, in January. Trump’s allies expect the GOP-controlled chamber will acquit him swiftly — it takes a two-thirds vote of the 100-member body to remove a sitting president — but Republican senators are still deciding whether to ultimately allow Trump to call witnesses.

Categories: Politics

Xbox Series X To Allow 'Suspend and Resume' For Multiple Games At Once

Slashdot - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 05:00
In an exclusive interview with Gamespot, Partner Director of Program Management for Team Xbox Jason Ronald revealed a new feature of the Xbox Series X: the ability to suspend and resume multiple games at once. Wccftech highlights what Ronald said: [From Gamespot]: "Today, we have the capability of instantly resuming the last game that you were playing. Why can't you do that for multiple games? Many players choose to play multiple games at the same time, being able to instantly jump right back where I was, those are things that we can do with the platform level to make the gaming experience better. It's really about ensuring there's less waiting and more time playing because that's ultimately what we all want to do with the consoles and with the services that we have." For his part, Phil Spencer (Head of Gaming at Microsoft) wanted to highlight the goal to enhance the player's immersive factor thanks to the high refresh rate (the Xbox Series X supports up to 120 frames per second) and reduced input latency: "So when we talk about things like refresh rate and we talk about input latency, this is all about the most immersive experience game designers can create, where the visuals are stunning, my ability to get into the experience [is] very timely, it's as great as it's ever been with the I/O speeds and the load times we're going to see, and the input and the ability for just my control and activation of my character or of the game itself becomes a subconscious thing and not something that I think about."

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Categories: Geek

Astronomers Find 19 More Galaxies Missing Their Dark Matter

Slashdot - Sat, 12/14/2019 - 02:00
Iwastheone shares a report from Astronomers have discovered 19 more galaxies missing their dark matter. Instead of dark matter, these strange galaxies are mainly filled with regular matter, like the protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up everything we're familiar with. The new find, published November 26 in Nature Astronomy, bolsters the controversial recent discovery of two other galaxies without dark matter. The mysterious substance accounts for most matter in the universe, and it's thought to be the primary component of all galaxies -- as well as the main driver of galaxy formation in the first place. So, finding so many galaxies without the exotic matter suggests astronomers are missing something major about how galaxies form and evolve. "This result is very hard to explain using the standard galaxy formation model," said lead author Qi Guo of the Chinese Academy of Science in a press release, "and thus encourages people to revisit the nature of dark matter." The latest batch of galaxies missing dark matter was discovered when Guo and her team explored the nature of 324 dwarf galaxies using data from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. With this data, they followed in the footsteps of Rubin and Ford, studying how fast hydrogen gas rotates around each galaxy. They also calculated how much normal matter -- in the form of both gas and stars -- they contained. After crunching the numbers, Guo and her colleagues determined that, of the 324 dwarf galaxies they investigated, 19 of them contain enough visible matter to solely explain the motions of the galaxies' hydrogen. In other words, a lot of dark matter seems to be missing from these galaxies.

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Categories: Geek

Trump Sets A New Tweet-Per-Day Record

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 12/13/2019 - 23:30

Above video from DG, 2016. And The Associated Press reports...

Tweet that: Trump appears to hit record for daily tweets

I guess the impeachment is improving his productivity:

“The president’s @realDonaldTrump account had tweeted and retweeted 115 times by late Thursday night, marking what could be his most active day on the platform yet.

“The avalanche came as the House Judiciary Committee pressed toward a historic vote to approve articles of impeachment against him.

“Trump has noticeably ramped up his tweeting during the impeachment inquiry. He tweeted 77 times Wednesday and 105 times Sunday, repeatedly declaring his innocence and retweeting comments and video of supporters defending his conduct.”

And he still managed to get in 18 holes of golf.

The man works his short fingers to the bone.

Republished with permission from Mock Paper Scissors

Open thread below...

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Categories: Politics

Photos: Apple Kawasaki’s grand opening in Japan

9to5Mac - Fri, 12/13/2019 - 23:01

Lead image courtesy of Yota Suzuki.

Apple today opened its 10th store in Japan to impressively long lines of customers gathering at Lazona Kawasaki Plaza. Early visitors through the doors of Apple Kawasaki have followed the rollout of a major retail expansion in Japan over the past two years.


The post Photos: Apple Kawasaki’s grand opening in Japan appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Lightnin' Hopkins

Crooks and Liars - Fri, 12/13/2019 - 23:01

Another Friday the 13th is coming to a close. At least, it's the last one of the year though, right?

The next Friday the 13th is March 13th. That's 13 weeks away.

Hoping all of you good luck!

What are you listening to tonight?

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Categories: Politics

Open thread for night owls: Court dumps worker suit over Alabama's ban on local minimum wage laws

Daily Kos - Fri, 12/13/2019 - 23:00

Izzy Kapnick at Courthouse News writes—Full 11th Circuit Tosses Fight Over Alabama Wage Limits:

The en banc 11th Circuit on Friday struck down two workers’ challenge to an Alabama law that forbids cities and counties from raising the minimum wage.

A 7-5 majority ruled that the plaintiff workers did not have standing to sue the Alabama Attorney General’s Office over the 2016 law, which prohibits local governments from raising the minimum wage beyond what’s required under state or federal law.


According to the majority opinion, the workers were barking up the wrong tree by naming the attorney general as a defendant, in part because the law at issue does not give him express enforcement authority. The workers did not show that their damages from lower wages were directly tied to the Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom wrote for the majority.

The Alabama legal saga has played out amid mounting tension nationwide between progressive wage policy advocates and state legislatures that have sought to prevent local control of employment law. According to a July report from National Employment Law Project, an employee rights advocate, at least 12 cities and counties stretching from Florida to Wisconsin passed local minimum wage laws only to have them invalidated by state laws. [...]



“It was hard for me to do the show (All-American Girl) because a lot of people didn't even understand the concept of Asian-American. I was on a morning show and the host said, "Awright, Margaret, we're changing over to an ABC affiliate! So why don't you tell our viewers in your native language that we're making that transition?" So I looked at the camera and said, "Um, they're changing over to an ABC affiliate." ~~Margaret Cho, I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight. Penguin (2006)




At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—Our Broken Health System: It’s Not Just About Insurance:

As part of a comprehensive reform plan, we're going to have to figure out a way to get and keep more doctors in primary care. Insuring the un- and under-insured is absolutely critical, but providing insurance doesn't do you a helluva lot of good for people who don't have any doctor to accept it.  

Among the issues that must be addressed are 1) the huge costs of medical education; 2) the significant pay differential between primary and specialty care; and 3) reduction in overhead costs for family practitioners, meaning a reduction in bureaucracy and paperwork. Consider this, from the Statesman story about Roser:

At the University of Washington medical school, which has a special program to take in some Idaho students, 87 percent of graduates are in debt. The median debt was $105,202 in 2006, according to a study published by the university.

Being a specialist helps pay off that debt the fastest. A new primary care doctor initially earns about $130,000 to $150,000 a year, compared with $250,000 to $500,000 a year for newly minted specialists, Patmas said.

Getting the insurance companies to the negotiating table is going to be challenging enough. Getting the AMA and the nation's medical schools to agree to take a hard look at both compensation and at pushing a course of study in primary care is going to another big ol' ball of wax, but one that has to be dealt with to fix this system.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: A little GunFAIL for old times' sake. Oh, and impeachment! Surprise! Ukraine still hasn't gotten all its aid. OMB’s excuses don’t actually work. Was Leahy actually worse for the judiciary than conservative Dems? The day a Nazi came to Barefootgardener’s town.

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Categories: Politics

Emotion Recognition Tech Should Be Banned, Says an AI Research Institute

Slashdot - Fri, 12/13/2019 - 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: A leading research centre has called for new laws to restrict the use of emotion-detecting tech. The AI Now Institute says the field is "built on markedly shaky foundations." Despite this, systems are on sale to help vet job seekers, test criminal suspects for signs of deception, and set insurance prices. It wants such software to be banned from use in important decisions that affect people's lives and/or determine their access to opportunities. The US-based body has found support in the UK from the founder of a company developing its own emotional-response technologies -- but it cautioned that any restrictions would need to be nuanced enough not to hamper all work being done in the area. AI Now refers to the technology by its formal name, affect recognition, in its annual report. It says the sector is undergoing a period of significant growth and could already be worth as much as $20 billion. "It claims to read, if you will, our inner-emotional states by interpreting the micro-expressions on our face, the tone of our voice or even the way that we walk," explained co-founder Prof Kate Crawford. "It's being used everywhere, from how do you hire the perfect employee through to assessing patient pain, through to tracking which students seem to be paying attention in class. "At the same time as these technologies are being rolled out, large numbers of studies are showing that there is... no substantial evidence that people have this consistent relationship between the emotion that you are feeling and the way that your face looks." "Prof Crawford suggested that part of the problem was that some firms were basing their software on the work of Paul Ekman, a psychologist who proposed in the 1960s that there were only six basic emotions expressed via facial emotions," reports the BBC. "But, she added, subsequent studies had demonstrated there was far greater variability, both in terms of the number of emotional states and the way that people expressed them."

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Categories: Geek