Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /00:46 Houston commuters spent an average of 75 hours in congestion in 2017, up from 43 hours in 2000, according to a new report from Texas A&M Transportation Institute. According to the researchers, it’s part of a nationwide trend, as employment in the U.S. has grown by just over 50% since the early 1980s, meaning more people are on the road trying to get to work. Since that time, the average number of hours that commuters nationwide lose to traffic delays has nearly tripled to 54 hours per year. And when you add up all that time stuck in traffic, researchers say it’s now costing the U.S. about $166 billion a year, while the amount of wasted fuel adds up to about three billion gallons annually.Researcher David Schrank told News 88.7 that travel demand is growing faster than the system’s ability to handle it and no one solution will solve the problem.“Congestion is an issue everywhere,” said Schrank. “You need to do a little bit of everything or actually a lot of everything. Add capacity or make road improvements where there’s obvious need but look at other options and things as well. Look at public transportation. Look at bike-ped where it makes sense.”The study says growing congestion doesn’t just affect commuters, but it’s also a burden on manufacturers and shippers, who are having to pass the cost on to consumers when they lose money stuck in traffic. X Listen Gail Delaughter/Houston Public Media Traffic backed up on I-45 North Freeway
Internet Services Tech Industry Artificial intelligence (AI) Facebook Tags Comments Share your voice 3 Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer says Facebook’s AI can distinguish between images of marijuana (left) and broccoli tempura (right). Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET Facebook uses both human beings and artificial intelligence to combat some of its toughest problems, including hate speech, misinformation and election meddling. Now, the social network is doubling down on AI.The tech giant has come under fire for a series of lapses, including its failure to pull down a live video of terrorist attack in New Zealand that killed 50 people at two mosques. Content moderators who review posts shared by the social network’s 2.3 billion users say they’ve suffered trauma from repeatedly looking at gruesome and violent content. But AI has also helped Facebook flag spam, fake accounts, nudity and other offensive content before a user reports it to the social network. Overall, AI has had mixed results.Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer on Wednesday acknowledged that AI hasn’t been a cure-all for the social network’s “complex problems,” but he said the company was making progress. He made the remarks in a keynote at the company’s F8 developer conference.Schroepfer showed the audience photographs of marijuana and broccoli tempura, which look surprisingly similar. Facebook employees, he said, built a new algorithm that can detect differences in similar images, allowing a computer to distinguish which was which.Read more: CBD: What it is, how it affects the body and who it might helpSchroepfer said similar techniques can be used to help machines recognize other images that might otherwise escape the social network’s detection.”If someone reports something like this,” he said, “we can then fan out and look at billions of images in a very short period of time and find things that look similar.”Facebook, which doesn’t allow the sale of recreational drugs on its platform, discovered that people tried to work around its system by using packaging or baked goods, such as Rice Krispies treats. The social network can now flag those images by putting together signals like the text in a post, comments and the identity of the user.”This is an intensely adversarial game,” Schroepfer said. “We build a new technique, we deploy it, people work hard to try to figure out ways around this.”Identifying the right images isn’t the only AI challenge the company is facing. When the company was building a smart camera for its Portal video chat device, Facebook had to make sure the technology wasn’t biased and could recognize age, gender and skin tone.Facebook is also trying to train its computers to learn with less supervision in order to tackle hate speech in elections. But as the social network uses AI to moderate more content, it also has to balance concerns that it’s being fair to all groups. Facebook, for example, has been accused of suppressing conservative speech, but the company has denied those allegations. And people might disagree about what’s considered hate speech or misinformation. Facebook data scientist Isabel Kloumann said in an interview that when the company is determining what is hate speech the identity of the person could be an important factor along with who they’re targeting. At the same time, Facebook has to balance safety concerns with whether they’re treating groups of people equally.”We don’t have a silver bullet for this,” she said. “But the fact that we’re having this conversation is the most important thing.”Originally published May 1, 1:46 p.m. PTUpdate, 5:19 p.m.: Adds comments from Facebook data scientist and more background.
TORONTO – Two Toronto police officers who were recorded mocking a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome should lose their jobs over their comments, the woman’s mother said Tuesday as the pair faced a disciplinary hearing.Const. Sasa Sljivo and Const. Matthew Saris made a brief appearance at a police tribunal before their case was adjourned to Sept. 19, though they did not say how they were pleading, nor were the Police Services Act charges against them read out.Sljivo is charged with misconduct related to the use of profane, abusive or insulting language, while Saris is charged with misconduct related to the failure to report Sljivo’s comments, which contravened the Ontario Human Rights Code, police documents show.The officers had previously issued a written apology, calling the Nov. 5, 2016 incident a “lapse in judgment.”But Pamela Munoz, whose daughter Francie was the subject of the comments, said that’s not enough. She said the officers should at least apologize in person, though she believes a harsher penalty is warranted.“In our heart, a great outcome would have been for them to leave the Toronto Police Service, because it’s shameful for our police officers to feel that way,” she said after the hearing.“At my work, if I made a comment like that, I would be out that same day.”Munoz said they had hoped the matter would be resolved in a day and are disappointed that the hearing was adjourned to next month. She said the family is also filing a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.The family’s lawyer, Faisal Bhabha, said the comments were made inside a police cruiser after the officers pulled over his clients. He said the comments were captured by the vehicle’s dashboard camera.The family only heard the comments because they decided to fight a ticket that was issued at the time and requested the evidence against them, he said.Bhabha said one of the officers is heard referring to Francie as a “half-person” and mocks her appearance. Some snickering and laughter can also be heard, he said.The case is less about what happens to these individual officers and more about “what the service is doing and what the police chief is doing to root out these sorts of attitudes,” Bhabha said after the hearing.“They’re trying to deal with this as a couple of bad apples rather than taking responsibility institutionally and coming to face the public and face, more importantly, the community of people with developmental disabilities to say, ‘yes this happened, yes this was wrong, and yes we’re going to do something about it,’” he said.
… executives now singing for proverbial suppers – JagdeoThe Working People’s Alliance (WPA) as a member of the ruling A Partnership for National Unity Alliance has lost its way from the principles of its founder leader, Dr Walter Rodney and its executive members are essentially now singing for their proverbial supper.This is the blistering observation made on Tuesday by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo who was asked to weigh-in on the recent brouhaha surrounding the demotion of the WPA Minister in Government, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine and the subsequent lukewarm concerns expressed by the party’s executives over the lack of consultations with the party before the move.Opposition LeaderBharrat JagdeoTo add salt to injury, the announcement was made on the death anniversary of Dr Rodney. Speaking with media operatives on Tuesday, Jagdeo said,“at the end of the day they are all beneficiaries, they will criticise in a perfunctory, peripheral manner the Government and say oh we are not consulted enough but at the core of it, they have given up all the principles they once stood for when Dr Rodney was there.”Speaking for the first time on the public political spat between the coalition members, the Opposition Leader noted that “now they are defending their perks.”He identified one prominent member (Desmond) Trotman as now receiving a ‘fat salary.”The Opposition Leader identified other key WPA members such as Professor Clive Thomas and vocal political activist Tacuma Ogunseye as now earning huge salaries from the Administration.Drawing direct reference to a recent press conference held by the WPA leadership to lament the non-consultation of the President with the party before removing Minister Roopnaraine from the helm of the largest budget Ministry, Jagdeo told media operatives, “almost all the officials at the table, who met with the President, its either they have a job from the Government earning a lot of money or one of the members of their family now have a scholarship abroad.”The Opposition Leader was adamant that the WPA has essentially been silenced in the coalition Government since “they have drawn down benefits,” and suggested that they will not staunchly challenge the Administration.”“They did a faint criticism and people are going all over the country and say look they WPA is standing up for principles… nothing of the sort,” he said.Jagdeo told media operatives it is for these reasons he has largely ignored the internal conflagrations since the WPA leadership is at the end of the defending individual perks.He said the situation is reminiscent of the Alliance For Change (AFC) which sat in Cabinet and discussed the 14 per cent Value Added Tax on education only to later seek to make a public reversal.“If they discuss the budget measures at Cabinet how come the AFC is suddenly calling for a reversal now.”Jagdeo said the AFC’s track record on such matters includes the controversial Parking Meter Project in the capital city which was originally staunchly supported, a position later reversed.