Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Jolted Awake This Morning

It wasn't the storm, it was the alarm clock:

"Hackathon fills up with mixed-gender group; Affectiva invites local developers to test emotion-sensing tech" by Nidhi Subbaraman, Globe Staff

When Waltham startup Affectiva announced a hackathon the organizers were shocked at how quickly the roster filled up. The bigger surprise: half the developers who signed up were women.

A whatathon? 

I'll remember that the next time I'm told an unknown intruder hacked something. 

And if they can't protect their own stuff, how are they supposed to be protecting yours?

Hackathons, like most tech events, tend to be demographically skewed: most speakers, panelists, and participants are young, male, and white.

“I was very vocal that we wanted gender balance,’’ said Rana el Kaliouby, who cofounded Affectiva with Rosalind Picard, her mentor at the MIT Media Lab.

I'm all for that, but what happens when equality is considered being part of the global killing machine or the total surveillance tyranny being rapidly completed? Is that advancing us forward to a world you would want for your children? A world based on lies that led to thee things? 

I was once told that if women were in power there would be no more wars, and yet women populate the global elite cla$$ and domestic power structures. Two women are among the most powerful on the planet, Yellen of the Federal Reserve and LaGarde  of the IMF. 

So much for that myth.

El Kaliouby and her team had a multistep plan to spread the message to women in Boston’s tech community — contacting women in leadership positions, advertising at events for women in tech. But they didn’t need the strategy. Turns out that their contact list, with a large number of women, was all they needed. By mid-January, the event was completely booked and half of those signing up were women.

Affectiva’s core technology is software that can deduce emotions from facial expressions. In its most basic form it can run as an app on an iPad. The app uses the built-in camera to scan the face in front of it and determines emotion in real time.

Can you tell how I'm feeling?

After bagging high-profile deals and partnerships with big companies like the advertising giant Millward Brown, Affectiva is looking to stay innovative by building relationships with Boston’s developers and young tech companies in the area.

The hackathon in March is a first step in that direction. Participants will have the opportunity to pair Affectiva’s software with devices like the Nest smart thermostat; Amazon’s Echo speaker, which recognizes voice commands; or Pavlok’s wristband, which helps you break bad habits by giving the wearer a mild shock.

You know, I really hate waking up on the wrong $ide of the bed every day.

For example, with a hack that linked Affectiva software with Amazon’s Echo, said el Kaliouby, “We could measure the sentiment of people in a living room that could drive the music in the living room, maybe turn the lights brighter.’’ 

Maybe even LISTEN IN to what is being SAID!!

In another effort to build a relationship with independent coders and young companies, Affectiva is releasing a software development kit online. Tech companies often release this set of tools online to give other potential partners a chance to interact with their software and build new applications....

Sorry, but I got to get to work.


Went and took a crap as usual before going and getting the paper.

Don't forget to set your alarm tonight (if you can sleep with someone watching you).

NDU: Cambridge and Cambridge prepare for March cybersecurity hackathon