Amazon claims its Rekognition software can now detect fear

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It seems that just like bees, Amazon can sense your fear.

Because nothing says “nightmare scenario” quite like a giant tech corporation everyone uses knowing what you’re feeling, Amazon announced on Monday that Rekognition, its controversial facial recognition tool, can now detect a person’s fear. 

The update includes “improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all 7 emotions: ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’, ‘Surprised’, ‘Disgusted’, ‘Calm’ and ‘Confused’)” but, just for kicks, I guess, “added a new emotion: ‘Fear’.”

Experts: ‘Emotion Recognition’ Lacks Scientific Foundationhttps://t.co/oYoRrR4Z7s

Amazon: Our algorithm can detect FEAR.https://t.co/CObHpvg75Q

h/t @QuinnyPig

— Jake Snow (@snowjake) August 13, 2019 Read more…

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Facebook let contractors listen to audio recordings from users

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Facebook was listening. Sort of. 

It turns out the company that only recently made a performative pivot toward privacy was paying contractors to listen to and transcribe users’ conversations, according to Bloomberg.

Notably, the contractors reportedly did not know how Facebook obtained the audio and weren’t informed as to why it needed to be transcribed. Allegedly, the recordings included “vulgar content” — although the specifics of what that means is unclear. 

The audio in question reportedly came from the Facebook Messenger app, and was part of a process to check if the company’s AI correctly transcribed conversations between users. Facebook insisted to Bloomberg that a person would have needed to select the transcription option for their conversations to have been sent to humans for review.  Read more…

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Here’s why everyone’s talking about ‘Christian Girl Autumn’

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Are you wondering why, in the full heat of summer, you’ve seen so many tweets roasting a lifestyle blogger’s fall outfit? Or the phrase “Christian Girl Autumn?” 

No, it’s not because Starbucks is releasing the Pumpkin Spice Latte early this year, although that announcement did send fall skyrocketing to the top of my particular lizard brain. This meme cycle originates with the prolific tweeter @lasagnabby, who tweeted a photo of lifestyle blogger Caitlin Covington on Friday with the caption “Hot Girl Summer is coming to an end, get ready for Christian Girl Autumn.”

Hot Girl Summer is coming to an end, get ready for Christian Girl Autumn 🍂😍 pic.twitter.com/yuqyt6YTex

— gio (@lasagnabby) August 9, 2019 Read more…

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Ecovacs just announced two new robot vacuum models, and they seem awesome

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Robot vacuum fanatics, listen up. Ecovacs is making it even easier to clean your whole home with the announcement of its two new models. 

The Deebot Ozmo 920 and 950 robots have both vacuuming and mopping power and offer improved navigation, support multi-floor mapping, feature a floating brush design, and have a redesigned air suction channel.

Probably the biggest spec upgrade compared to other Ecovacs products is the combined vacuuming and mopping technologies. This one machine can do the deep cleaning on any floor in your house, whether you need powerful suction or intense scrubbing, all in one go. Both models have 240-milliliter water tanks and an electronically controlled water pump, which precisely controls water output so as to not over or under dampen the cleaning cloth.  Read more…

More about Home, Cleaning, Robot Vacuums, Mashable Shopping, and Ecovacs

SmileDirectClub’s invisible braces are $100 off with this code

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TL;DR: You’ll save $100 on custom clear aligners from SmileDirectClub when you enter the code SAVEINAUG at checkout.


There’s a subscription box for just about everything these days — even a better smile.

With a smile plan from SmileDirectClub, you can straighten your teeth using discreet clear aligners that are shipped right to your doorstep for a fraction of the price (and hassle) of traditional braces. Treatment plans last about six months on average and include premium teeth whitening; they usually start at $1,895 (or $85/month), but for a limited time you can score a $100 discount by entering the coupon code SAVEINAUG at checkout. Read more…

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AncestryDNA test kits on sale for as low as $59 on Amazon

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TL;DR: Get the precise AncestryDNA Genetic Ethnicity + Traits test for $69 at Amazon. If you only need genealogy, then grab the best-selling AncestryDNA Genetic Ethnicity test for only $59. That’s up to 42% savings on one of the top at-home DNA testing kits. 


Want to plan a family barbecue but don’t have enough family to share your burgers with? Sounds like you need to find more family. And the best way to find long-lost cousins to fill out your guest list is an at-home DNA test kit. Best of all, you can discover all of the missing branches of your family tree with help from the latest AncestryDNA sale.  Read more…

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Fitbit Charge 3 activity trackers on sale at Amazon for $30 off

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TL;DR: Save $30 on the universally popular Fitbit Charge 3, an activity tracker that’s water resistant up to 50 meters.


You’re no couch potato, but hitting your personal fitness goals can sometimes always seems to be overtaken by something more important. When it comes to managing the daily grind, who has time to count every step they take?

Don’t give up just yet. Track those steps while staying connected to your everyday phone apps when you use a fitness tracking device. The Fitbit Charge 3, which made it onto our list of the best fitness trackers, is on sale now at Amazon for only $119.95 (a price drop of $30.) Read more…

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Instagram now lets anyone make their own AR effects

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Get ready to see a lot of new augmented reality effects in Instagram.

The photo-sharing app is now prominently featuring user-generated AR selfie filters in a move that seems like a direct challenge to Snapchat’s Lenses. 

Instagram has been testing its AR creation software, called Spark AR Studio, for some time, but now it’s making it more widely available. And, to mark the occasion, it’s showing off users’ creations in the app. 

Instagram now lets anyone make their own AR effects

You can check them out from the Instagram camera by scrolling all the way to the end and selecting “browse more effects.” 

As with Snapchat’s Lens Studio software, Spark AR Studio appears aimed at creative professionals who have some experience with similar software, though Instagram is encouraging artists of all stripes to try it out.  Read more…

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Pokémon card set in mint condition catches $107,000 at auction

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A full 103-card set of first edition Pokémon cards sold for $107,000 at auction on Saturday, an amount of money that could have gotten you around 35,000 packs of cards back when they first hit the U.S. in the late ’90s.

The auction, sold through Goldin Auctions, started bids at $25,000 and shot up to more than four times that amount in just a dozen bidsTMZ first reported on the auction Monday.

You can peruse through the full collection on Goldin Auctions’ website, which includes an incredibly rare and valuable first edition Charizard, which you can tell comes from the first printing because of the shadowless border around the Pokémon’s portrait.  Read more…

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