• By Sin Mei C
  • July 25, 2014

Consumers expect context, Health in the Connected Car and Deep Learning explained (#WIC)

Why Ford is working on integrating health and wellness services in their connected cars, about consumers expecting contextual aware applications and with a great explanation of ‘deep learning’ (and why you should care about knowing this) by Pete Waren. 

Above: Real-time emotion trajectories (per second) for 203 music fragments plotted on a valence-arousal scale by Vincent.

This Week in Context

Your Weekly Update on All Things Context, July 25 2014


“Make no mistake. As context becomes more commonplace, consumers will start to expect it. Indeed, analyst firm Gartner estimates that by 2015, 40 percent of the world’s smartphone users will opt-in to context service providers who will track their movements and digital habits, in exchange for better services.”

– Sean Bowden, co-founder of Push Technology
Going Beyond Location it’s Context That Will Count, Finextra.com

Ford working on integrating ‘Health & Wellness’ into the Connected Car
With their ‘Health and Wellness’ project, Ford R&A wants to change the dialogue about connected in-vehicle activity. This is currently focussed on infotainment, functionality often seen as contributing to driver distractedness. In this interview, Gary Strumolo from Vehicle Design and Infotronics explains some of the health and wellness products Ford is working on. For example, alerts on blood sugar trends for diabetic drivers or passengers communicated over the speakers. (Glucose monitor with bluetooth connection needed.) Also of interest is the continuous development of Sync, examples for allowing it to communicate with your connected home and how it is best to integrate with existing platforms and device.

Why the Myers-Briggs Test is Totally Meaningless
As it rests on wholly unproven theories, uses false and limited binaries and provides inconsistent and inaccurate results, the Meyers-Briggs test should be taken for entertainment purposes only, writes Vox. Apart for its introversion/extroversion aspect, empirically driven tests focus on entirely different categories. For example, the Five Factor model which measures people’s openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These factors do differ widely among people. (via Vincent S)

Uncovering Algorithms: Looking Inside the Facebook News Feed
Great read on the FeedVis project, part of a ‘collaborative audit’ of the Facebook news feed ranking algorithm. I was surprised to read that only 37.5 percent of the test’s participants were aware of the filtering algorithm, with 62.5 percent not aware or uncertain.


Deep Learning

“It’s a term that covers a particular approach to building and training neural networks. I’ll go into the details of how neural networks work a bit later, but for now you can think of them as decision-making black boxes.

They take an array of numbers (that can represent pixels, audio waveforms, or words), run a series of functions on that array, and output one or more numbers as outputs. The outputs are usually a prediction of some properties you’re trying to guess from the input, for example whether or not an image is a picture of a cat.”

– Pete Waren
What is deep learning, and why should you care?

Canvas Fingerprinting: Online Tracking Impossible to Block
A new kind of tracking tool, canvas fingerprinting, is being used to follow visitors to thousands of top websites. It works by instructing the visitor’s web browser to draw a hidden image. Because each computer draws the image slightly differently, the images can be used to assign each user’s device a number that uniquely identifies it. However, AddThis might pull the feature, as it does not work very well on mobile devices and is “not uniquely identifying enough.” (via Roel)

Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom
How should we prepare for the time when machines surpass humans in intelligence? Professor Nick Bostrom explores the frontiers of thinking about the human condition and the future of intelligent life in this talk. This visualisation nicely illustrates the types of super intelligence, the pathways to it and the possible outcomes: an unfriendly singleton, a friendly singleton, or a multipolar scenario.

Sense Sleep Monitor
Hello’s Sense gets its data from Sleep Pill, a small but sensitive sleep tracking sensor that clips invisibly to your pillow. Great about this, is that it is a ‘non-wearable’. There are only so much watches you can wrap around one wrist. This successfully funded Kickstarter project reminds me of the Withings Aura sleep device, which should become available this summer. (via Joren)

Papers, Talks & Research

  • The Web never forgets: Persistent tracking mechanisms in the wild (tracking, draft paper)
  • 1000 Songs for Emotional Analysis of Music (emotion analysis, paper)
  • Beyond Text based sentiment analysis: Towards multi-modal systems (fusion sentiment analysis, paper)
  • Deriving Personal Trip Data from GPS Data: A Literature Review on the Existing Methodologies (transportation mode detection, paper)
  • Your Voice Assistant is Mine: How to Abuse Speakers to Steal Information and Control Your Phone (TTS, voice control, security, paper)


Enjoy the weekend, see you next week.


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