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Facebook apologizes after translation fail leads to false arrest

No translation service is perfect, but you wouldn’t expect it to get you arrested.

Facebook admitted that an error in its artificial intelligence-based auto-translation feature led to the arrest of a Palestinian man who posted “good morning” on his social profile.

The man, a construction worker in the West Bank near Jerusalem, posted a picture of himself leaning against a bulldozer with the caption “يصبحهم”, or “yusbihuhum,” which means “good morning” in Arabic.

Facebook’s translator replaced his pleasant greeting with “hurt them” in English or what translates to “attack them” in Hebrew.

No Arabic-speaking authorities got a look at his post in time and police arrested the man later that day on suspicion that he was planning an attack using the bulldozer, a vehicle that had previously been used in hit-and-run terrorist attacks. He was released after several hours of questioning.

Arabic speakers tell Haaretz that the transliteration produced by Facebook isn’t a real Arabic word, but looks a lot like “to hurt.” A native Arabic speaker would reportedly have spotted the error.

Facebook apologized and said it would investigate the problem in a statement to Gizmodo.

“Unfortunately, our translation systems made an error last week that misinterpreted what this individual posted. Even though our translations are getting better each day, mistakes like these might happen from time to time and we’ve taken steps to address this particular issue. We apologize to him and his family for the mistake and the disruption this caused.”

H/T the Guardian

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/facebook-translation-arrest/

Facebook translates ‘good morning’ into ‘attack them’, leading to arrest

Palestinian man questioned by Israeli police after embarrassing mistranslation of caption under photo of him leaning against bulldozer.

Facebook sign

 

Facebook has apologised after an error in its machine-translation service saw Israeli police arrest a Palestinian man for posting good morning on his social media profile.

The man, a construction worker in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit, near Jerusalem, posted a picture of himself leaning against a bulldozer with the caption , or yusbihuhum, which translates as good morning.

But Facebook’s artificial intelligence-powered translation service, which it built after parting ways with Microsoft’s Bing translation in 2016, instead translated the word into hurt them in English or attack them in Hebrew.

Police officers arrested the man later that day, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, after they were notified of the post. They questioned him for several hours, suspicious he was planning to use the pictured bulldozer in a vehicle attack, before realising their mistake. At no point before his arrest did any Arabic-speaking officer read the actual post.

Facebook said it is looking into the issue, and in a statement to Gizmodo, added: “Unfortunately, our translation systems made an error last week that misinterpreted what this individual posted.

“Even though our translations are getting better each day, mistakes like these might happen from time to time and weve taken steps to address this particular issue. We apologise to him and his family for the mistake and the disruption this caused.”

Arabic is considered particularly difficult for many machine translation services due to the large number of different dialects in use around the world, on top of Modern Standard Arabic, the international form of the language.

The Israeli Defence Force has been open about monitoring the social media accounts of Palestinians, looking for lone-wolf attackers who might otherwise slip through the net. It reportedly does so automatically, using algorithms to look for terms such as sword of Allah.

Machine translation mistakes are a regular occurrence for anyone using AI to translate languages, particularly ones with little relationship. Earlier this month, Chinese social network WeChat apologised after its own machine translation system translated a neutral phrase meaning black foreigner as the n-word.

“When I ran the translator, the n-word came up and I was gobsmacked,” said Ann James, who had been texting back and forth with a friend when the faulty translation appeared.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/24/facebook-palestine-israel-translates-good-morning-attack-them-arrest

Under the skin: how insertable microchips could unlock the future

Volunteers in Melbourne have had microchips inserted for three months, designed to unlock doors and carry out other tasks. Will they really be any use?

Man with microchip

 

The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and usually inserted in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger using a needle the same thickness as used in body piercing.

It feels, says insertable technology expert Kayla Heffernan, like getting a drip.

Once the needle is removed the incision heals in a few days and the microchip remains, allowing the wearer to open doors with the brush of a hand provided they only wish to access one particular place.

Microchip being embedded in hand

Microchips are encased in an inert glass capsule and typically inserted between the thumb and the forefinger. Photograph: Kayla Heffernan/Pause Fest

Commercially available insertable microchips are only large enough to hold one access code and a small amount of other information, so the days of replacing an entire wallet and keychain with a tiny computer under the skin are not yet upon us.

The future is coming, but its not in a rush.

Ten volunteers received a microchip at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne on Wednesday to mark the launch of Pause Fest, a technology and culture festival now in its eighth year.

Their chips were preloaded with a three-day pass to the festival and will be programmed to unlock the door to their home, gym, or workplace, or potentially to function as their public transport pass.

When the festival is held in four months time, the volunteers will take part in a panel with Heffernan to talk about whether they found the chips useful.

Heffernan has had one microchip between her thumb and forefinger for almost 18 months, which she uses to unlock her front door. She got another on the outer edge of her other hand last November to access her office at Melbourne University.

She is doing a PhD on the applications of insertable technology and decided to get a chip after a year spent listening to people wax lyrical about the convenience of never having to carry their keys.

If I want I can just walk out without any keys, my key is in my hand so I cant forget it, which is handy because I have locked myself out before, Heffernan says.

Some people use it to unlock their phones or their computers. Some people have modified their cars and one person even their motorbike, so its not only access to their house but its access to their vehicle and to turn it on. Obviously that requires quite a bit of microelectronics and physical mechanical work, and thats not accessible for everyone.

Heffernans original chip usually contains a link to her website, which people can access if they scan her hand with their phone, provided they have the near-field communication (NFC) capabilities switched on. At the moment it just says hello because she is demonstrating that it could be reprogrammed.

The security risk, she says, is quite low.

The read range is very short, so you have to be touching my hand, she says. Im going to know if thats happened. And even for a nefarious purpose, if someone knocked me out, lets say, it has my website on it. It doesnt have anything useful that theyre going to be able to take.

Insertable microchips made global headlines earlier this year when Stockholm firm Epicentre gave its staff the option of having an insertable chip in lieu of a swipe card. Three Square Market, a tech company in Wisconsin, followed suit.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/01/under-the-skin-how-insertable-microchips-could-unlock-the-future

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