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FBI has a fully functional facial recognition system

I just read on The Verge that FBI finally got its new toy: a brand new facial recognition system.  The official name for this is Next Generation Identification (NGI) and it has been in the works for over 3 years according… or so they say. To be honest I think it was in the works for more but some didn’t know.  Or at least I hope. I can’t imagine that it only took 3 years to have this fully functional.

Anyway, I was thinking what would happen when the system will indicate a false positive, a doppelganger, or someone just looks like another person?

I mean, look at this poor fella. He is a Russian plumber that looks like House. I can totally see the system mistake one for the other.

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Imagine you being the doppelganger of a fugitive. How will they treat you when the system will flag some unsuspecting cop he has a super dangerous fugitive on his hands?? I can only hope that they won’t use excessive force. It’s not like these things don’t happen you know.

On the other hand it we could see more cases like this one.

I’ll leave you with …

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Featured photo by James Cridland

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The weird thing about productivity

This morning I was browsing reddit on my iPad, and because I wanted to feel a bit more productive I was also listening to a podcast about innovation, … or better said I was trying to listen to a podcast. Apparently paying attention to someone else talking while you browse pictures of funny cats is harder than I imagined.

After doing that for a few minutes, I realized that the podcast listening activity is going nowhere. So I was facing a choice, either stop browsing reddit and listen to the podcast, or stop listening and continue browsing. And here comes the weird part, at that moment, intuitively it felt more productive to browse reddit. That made me stop and think: why is that?

Why doing something not productive feels more productive than it is?

Here is my theory. I think that I am wired to think that passive activities are less productive than active activities, and I bet I am not the only one.

Example: so for me listening an informative podcast and doing nothing felt less productive than tapping on my screen and watching cats. I believe it has something to do with the nature of the action. I believe that active activities feel more productive than passive activities simply because it’s simpler to quantify or see the results.

Can this be true? Do you have a better explanation? Also, I wonder how this connection influences our daily life and choices we make. I will take different decisions now that I’m aware of this.

Does this make sense to you? Have you ever noticed this?

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Trip to Scotland

This summer I had the opportunity to visit Scotland.

To be honest I knew that Scotland was beautiful but I never imagined I would visit it so soon. It this was on my to do list but a bit later, when my hair would turn grayer. However, since my GF had a sinusitis surgery at the beginning of the summer, her doctor recommended that she should not stay in the sun for too long…. So, long story short this summer we decided to go to Scotland because the summers are a bit “milder“ there… as opposed to being for example in Sicily. Man, I’m so happy that happened.

Scotland is amazing. I loved it! The landscape, the history, the long windy roads, the narrow mountain passes, the “driving on the wrong side“. It was all amazing. We spent abut 10 days there and visited most of the country, really almost all of it. All in all I drove over 2000KM.

We’ve been to Edinburgh, Sterling, Apple Cross, Portree, all around Isle of Skye, Stonehaven, Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness, Thurso, and drove across the country along the way.

To get an idea of how beautiful everything is, I recommend taking a look at the pictures below. All were taken with my iPhone 5S, so if you are curious where they were taken just click on it and on Flickr you will see the exact GPS location of each photo.