What’s new in tech
YouTube adds Wikipedia links
YouTube announced last week that it will add Wikipedia links to videos about controversial topics and conspiracy theories in order to “better inform viewers,” said Blake Montgomery in BuzzFeed.com. The company concedes that adding links to videos about subjects such as the moon landing or chemtrails is by no means “a full-scale solution” to the complex problem of misinformation on the platform. But it’s the first step in what the company said will be a series of tools to help contextualize videos. The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, said “it had not been given advance notice of YouTube’s announcement,” adding that no “formal partnership with YouTube” exists. Wikipedia itself is crowdsourced, meaning anyone can edit it, and it “remains unclear how YouTube will ensure factual accuracy” of the suggested links.
Facial-recognition tech at arenas
New York City’s Madison Square Garden is quietly using facial-recognition technology “to bolster security and identify those entering the building,” said Kevin Draper in The New York Times. Cameras at various entrance points reportedly capture images of people, and an algorithm compares the images to a database of photographs to determine if a person is considered a security “problem.” The arena, home to major sporting and concert events, is already known for its “tight security.” But facial recognition comfortably places it “in the vanguard” of sporting facilities across the country. Security is the “most obvious” use for the technology, but in the future, it could allow ticketholders to enter, and purchase from concessions, without ever taking out their wallet.
The startup that preserves brains
“There’s never been anything quite like Nectome,” said Antonio Regalado in TechnologyReview.com. The startup, founded by MIT computer scientists, is developing a high-tech embalming process “for exquisitely preserving brains in microscopic detail.” The idea is that future scientists will take the scan of your brain “and turn it into a computer simulation.” In other words, someone “a lot like you, though not exactly you, will smell the flowers again in a data server somewhere.” The growing popularity of the concept of “immortality as a computer program” has helped Nectome raise $1 million in funding. Nectome’s brain-preserving process comes with a “grisly” caveat, however. For the procedure to work, “you have to be euthanized first.”