Searching for the Super Human

I had the great pleasure of being interviewed today by Ms Anja Taylor in Los Angeles today. Anja works for Wildbear Entertainment that does co-productions with all the major television channels in Australia. She was formerly a researcher and presenter on Catalyst. This interview will form a part of the documentary series: “Searching for the Super Human” that will air on ABC in Australia later this year.

super-humans-real.jpg

Here are some of the topic Anja and I talked about:

  1. Brief discussion about the internet of things and the emergence of big data. What effect / impact this is having on society.

  2. You have mentioned “ambient intelligence” in your articles - what is it?

  3. What are “insertable chips” and what is their brief history? What types of new insertable chips are starting to emerge?

  4. Recently we have seen trials for insertable chips which can be used to open doors or pay for public transport, the trials found largely that people found them useful and painless – do you have concerns with these?

  5. What smart chips are you most concerned with?

  6. We are already being tracked with our smartphones – is this different?

  7. Our pets are now chipped as a matter of course – do you see this happening with humans? What are the implications?

  8. Can we not just opt out? Can it be done responsibly?

A special thank you to Luke for filming.

Psychometrics, big data, data-driven approaches, microtargetting, and you

The damning evidence is mounting on CA. Today it was announced that CEO Alexander Nix has been suspended from his position given a Channel 4, UK covert sting recording.

Citation: Katina Michael with Cassie McCullagh, March 21, 2018, "Psychometrics, big data, data-driven approaches, microtargetting, and you", ABC Sydney Radio: FOCUS: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/programs/focus/focus/9549448

AFR Innovation Summit

AFR Innovation Summit: Pip Marlow, Larry Marshall, Alex Zelinsky

Quantum Computing - the race is on (left to right) Dr Alex Zelinsky, Chief Defence Scientist, Department of Defence Gro, Hugh Bradlow, Chief Scientist, Telstra, Michael Brett, CEO, QxBranch, Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, ARC Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology ? UNSW Australia and Paul Smith, Technology Editor, Australian Financial Review. Copyright AFR.  Read more:  http://www.afr.com/technology/afr-innovation-summit-pip-marlow-larry-marshall-alex-zelinsky-20170919-gykujf#ixzz4teLGbFrc   Follow us:  @FinancialReview on Twitter  |  financialreview on Facebook

Quantum Computing - the race is on (left to right) Dr Alex Zelinsky, Chief Defence Scientist, Department of Defence Gro, Hugh Bradlow, Chief Scientist, Telstra, Michael Brett, CEO, QxBranch, Scientia Professor Michelle Simmons, ARC Centre for Quantum Computation & Communication Technology ? UNSW Australia and Paul Smith, Technology Editor, Australian Financial Review. Copyright AFR.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/technology/afr-innovation-summit-pip-marlow-larry-marshall-alex-zelinsky-20170919-gykujf#ixzz4teLGbFrc 
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

1.34 pm

The panel is discussing the importance of ethics in innovation and that it has to be considered at all levels. 
Discussing accountability Professor Katina Michael from the School of Computing at the University of Wollongong says, it's everybody's responsibility to discuss regulation - whether it's self-regulation - or industry guidelines, or law. "We need to keep talking and we need corporations to speak to NGOs.
"If you really want to engage NGOs and consumers actually talk to them," she says.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/technology/afr-innovation-summit-pip-marlow-larry-marshall-alex-zelinsky-20170919-gykujf#ixzz4teIZszto 
Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook"

Photo by Véronique Henrisson

Photo by Véronique Henrisson

Original sourcehttp://www.afr.com/technology/afr-innovation-summit-pip-marlow-larry-marshall-alex-zelinsky-20170919-gykujf

Original remarks on LinkedIN here by INFORMA Producer Véronique Henrisson.

Are you an addict? Turns out we're all tech junkies

How many times have you looked at your phone today?

Chances are you're looking at it right now.

Before you try and deny you're addicted, here are some stats to consider:

Australian men unlock their phones more than anyone in the world - on average 45 to 46 times a day, while for Australian women it is around 42 times.

Those figures have been calculated by AntiSocial, an app developed by Melbourne software company Bugbean, to monitor people's use of social media.

It is a free app with no ads that is only available on Android because the creators say Apple does not allow such monitoring, but the idea is to encourage users to put down their devices.

Australians spend around two hours a day on apps

According to AntiSocial's developer Chris Eade, Australian men and women spend about two hours a day on their phones, and that is not including use for music streaming, video streaming, or making calls - that is pure Facebook, web surfing, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat.

VIDEO: Watch the discussion between Emma Alberici, Adam Atler and Katina Michael (Lateline)

Adam Alter, from the Stern School of Business, has written a book called Irresistible - why we can't stop checking, scrolling, clicking and watching.

He told Lateline around 50 per cent of the adult population has some form of behavioural addiction.

"I think you can ask yourself if you have a problem and you'll know," he said.

"[People] feel that their lives are being encroached upon by devices, their social lives, maybe their relationships with their loved ones and friends. They're not experiencing nature. They're not exercising."

Our boredom threshold at rock bottom

Mr Alter said smartphones have changed human behaviour so much that we no longer allow ourselves to experience being bored.

"Our boredom threshold has declined to the point where you'll get in an elevator for five seconds, take out your phone," he said.

Hooked on social media

All in the Mind zooms in on the relationship between social media use and our mental health.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/hooked-on-social-media/7885492

"Boredom is very important for productivity, for creativity and new ideas, and if you never allow yourself to be bored, you will never have those ideas."

Mr Alter has written about a private school near Silicon Valley that uses no technology, yet surprisingly 75 per cent of the students' parents work in the tech sector.

"You'd think their children would be the biggest users of tech. But what you actually find, it's the reverse that a lot of these tech titans refuse to let their kids near technology," he said.

"Steve Jobs in 2010 in an interview said things like, 'you should use this device, but we do not allow it in our home and we won't let our kids near it'. He was talking about the iPad."

How to break up with your device

Katina Michael, from the University of Wollongong's School of Computing and IT, specialises in online addiction, and she told Lateline that tech companies have a lot to answer for.

"I think it's extremely hypocritical," she said.

"The laptop's not made you smarter and more intelligent. I think the companies that Adam was talking about need to recheck their ethics and I think our children need to stop being sold the wrong story about what is going to make their future brighter. We have a lot to answer for as academics."

Professor Michael had this advice for tech addicts looking to wean themselves off their devices:

"Think about replacing the activities that you have done online with offline activities, whether it's going for physical exercise, joining a community group or just getting a job, or just speaking with your family and making real food instead of playing a game about making food," she said.

If you're still questioning whether or not you're addicted, compare how you stack up to AntiSocial's biggest user.

"Our biggest user we have at the moment is a woman in America who uses her phone for 7.5 hours a day, every day on average," Mr Eade said.

"That's a full time job."

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-25/are-you-an-addict-how-australians-are-tech-junkies/8554532

What is the Internet doing to our heads?

We spend more time online than offline, so what is all this screen time doing to our heads?

Presenter/Producer: Cheyne Anderson
Presenter: Ellen Leabeater

Speakers:
Lawrence Lam - Professor of Public Health, University of Technology Sydney
Katina Michael - Professor, School of Computing and IT, University of Wollongong
David Glance - Director Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia

Think: Digital Futures is supported by 2SER and the University of Technology Sydney.

2ser.com/thinkdigitalfutures

Consider following below on SoundCloud.

Citation: Cheyne Anderson, Ellen Leabeater, Lawrence Lam, Katina Michael, David Glance, April 23, 2017, "What is the Internet doing to our heads?", 2SERFM Think: Digital Futures, https://soundcloud.com/thinkdigitalfutures/what-is-the-internet-doing-to-our-heads

Nice to see it made available here also: https://www.ivoox.com/what-is-the-internet-doing-to-our-heads-audios-mp3_rf_18287880_1.html

Secret criminal chat world of 'online underground'

Key Link

Authors

Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong
Rebecca BriceABC Radio
Dan DeFillipiWeb Designer
Glen McEwanAustralian Federal Police

Abstract

Fraudsters, hackers and other cyber criminals are taking to synchronous online messaging systems to communicate and even educate one another while evading police detection, according to an academic from the University of Wollongong.

MARK COLVIN: Law enforcement officials trying to crack cyber crime are increasingly focussing on what's known as the Deepnet, or the hidden web. That's the virtually untraceable level of the internet where many criminals communicate with each other.

An Australian academic says fraudsters, hackers and child pornographers don't just transact business on the Deepnet, they also use it as a sort of college of crime.

But there's an upside to the secrecy, as human rights organisations adopt similar approaches to expose abuses.

Rebecca Brice reports.

REBECCA BRICE: That online chatter is getting harder to police, according to Katina Michael, an associate professor from the University of Wollongong's School of Information Systems and Technology.

KATINA MICHAEL: Well since the mid 1990s, when the internet came about, criminals have sought new ways to communicate online. And they've done this using traditional things like newsgroups.

Some of the more way that they're getting to become undetected, however, is using things like internet relay chat. And internet relay chat allows for synchronous communications. That's communication which is not stored and you've got to be online to read and receive and send messages at any one point in time. So they're becoming increasingly elusive.

REBECCA BRICE: They use these methods, I presume, to avoid police?

KATINA MICHAEL: Yes they do. And because there's so much data out there, and because the communications are synchronous, it's very hard for police to actually detect these kinds of communications.

And the other thing is, they're actually not committing a particular crime sometimes by discussing certain elements of activities. They may not be saying that they've actually done it, but they are sharing details about, for example, ATM (automatic teller machine) machines or sharing information about skimming devices or technology.

REBECCA BRICE: Child pornographers use the same methods, she says.

Synchronous messaging is also being adopted by those reporting crimes.

Katina Michael.

KATINA MICHAEL: There are lots of human rights splinter organisations trying to use the same techniques to report on crimes against humanity.

REBECCA BRICE: And this is if they're going undercover to try to track human rights abuses, is that your understanding of how it's used?

KATINA MICHAEL: That's right. So they would necessarily go into an area of which they would wish to be undetected, perhaps do some first person interviewing, perhaps capture some video evidence or other proceeds and then go back and report on these in the first world.

MARK COLVIN: Associate professor Katina Michael from the University of Wollongong with Rebecca Brice.

Suggested Citation

Katina Michael, Rebecca Brice, Dan DeFillipi, and Glen McEwan. "Secret criminal chat world of 'online underground'" PM - News & Current Affairs Mar. 2013.

More here

Cyber terrorists 'a real threat'

DRINKING water supplies, sanitation and telephone exchanges would be prime targets in the event of a cyber attack on the region, a University of Wollongong expert has warned.

Dr Katina Michael, an associate professor in the university's informatics faculty, said a computer-based attack could be launched for a variety of reasons, ranging from corporate espionage to terrorism, and the consequences might be devastating.

"The main things to hit are [telephone] exchanges but also water supply - water is very much linked to electricity - and so on. Sewerage is another one - as soon as you get rid of sanitation in an area, we have the spread of disease," she said.

Dr Michael, who also lectures at the university's Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention, said Telstra exchanges, which act as a vital hub for internet and telephone services, were particularly vulnerable.

"If they wanted to knock out an exchange ... it's probably quite easy [because] it's a single building and unprotected; you walk past Telstra exchanges," she said.

And a strike at the region's economic heart via the computer systems of BlueScope Steel wouldn't be difficult "at all".

She said the biggest risk came from so-called "social engineering" attacks, where employees are tricked into giving up sensitive details like usernames and passwords, which are then used to "walk through the front door" of computer systems.

A BlueScope spokesman said all computer services at the steelworks were outsourced to multi-national technology-services company CSC, which has an office in Coniston.

A CSC spokeswoman said the company could not discuss individual clients, but said CSC was at the forefront of cyber defence.

It is also possible that Wollongong City Council's IT systems could come under attack, bringing vital services to a halt, or resulting in the theft of ratepayers' personal details from databases.

In August, a teenage hacker from rural Victoria gained unrestricted access to the files of Ballarat City Council, resulting in a week-long shutdown of the council's computer network.

A Wollongong City Council spokeswoman said the threat of a cyber attack was taken "very seriously".

Dr Michael's warning came as more than 50 Australian organisations faced simulated cyber attacks as part of an international security exercise dubbed Cyber Storm III.

Citation: Matthew Jones, October 9, 2010, "Cyber terrorists 'a real threat'", Illawarra Mercury, p. 21.

Spy in the sky zooms in on illegal backyard pools

ILLAWARRA councils are using eye-in-the-sky technology to identify illegal backyard pools and prosecute owners.

Wollongong and Shellharbour councils say they are using satellite imagery, including Google Earth, to research and investigate pools.

In some cases, officers use Google Earth as a check against council's own aerial photographs to confirm the presence of a pool before sending staff to inspect the site for compliance issues.

"The evidence gathered from this inspection may, after many other steps, lead to prosecution or a fine," a spokesman for Shellharbour council said.

But the method concerns privacy advocate and University of Wollongong associate professor Dr Katina Michael, who said the practice of using satellite imagery blurred the line between public and private space.

"While it is legal, I don't believe it is ethical," she said.

"Ratepayers should at least be made aware their councils are using this technology."

The Mercury put the question of satellite imagery use to Wollongong and Shellharbour councils after reports a council in the United States had voted against using Google Earth to check the legality of pools.

Wollongong infrastructure systems and support manager Kim Batley said using aerial photographs for basic council mapping, planning, regulation and enforcement was standard across all levels of government.

He said Wollongong council had used aerial photography for many years and recently utilised Google Earth satellite imagery in a safety campaign on backyard swimming pools.

"Council made use of Google Earth as part of its research, cross-referencing against our own property database, but it was not used in enforcement," he said. "The use of Google Earth is not a common practice but proved helpful in this particular project."

The council's environment and development compliance manager David Day said satellite imagery and aerial photography would only be used to investigate pools after a complaint was made.

He said aerial photography technology would form only part of an investigation and the council would not issue a fine based just on aerial images.

Shellharbour's spokesman said council staff also used Google Earth, but a physical inspection would always be carried out to determine compliance.

Dr Michael, who is a board member of the Australian Privacy Foundation and a Kiama resident, said there were potential privacy issues in using satellite imagery but admitted it had not really been debated.

"It's grey territory," she said.

Dr Michael said residents who didn't want their homes included in Google Earth imagery could email Google or write to them requesting its removal.

Citation: Shannon Tonkin, September 22, 2010, "Spy in the sky zooms in on illegal backyard pools", Illawarra Mercury, p. 13.