Microsoft in the News
Facial recognition software is one of those things that will change the way the world works. You may have seen some sci-fi movies where someone walks into a mall and instantly, they are confronted with adds that are highly personalized, and publicly displayed. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Countries like China are developing systems that will track people of interest wherever they may go. As processing power increases and storage becomes cheaper, everyone will be tracked in real time.
A while back, it was revealed that Microsoft was working with ICE to deploy facial recognition software at the border. With ICE being vilified for some of the work they do and how they were going about doing it, there were many who thought Microsoft needed to take a moral stand and not work with ICE. Because of the criticism from human rights activists over the detention and separation of families seeking asylum, over 100 Microsoft employees posted open letters asking Microsoft to stop working with ICE. This is not an easy decision. Taking a moral stand just means that another company, with fewer morals, will step in. Is it better to be on the inside and fighting for the right thing or on the outside, holding a hypothetical high ground and shouting at those on the inside? This is far from a binary option question.
Using Microsoft’s AI, ICE is hoping to take advantage of facial recognition to identify people of interest as well as discrepancies in ID. They are also working towards the ability to read people’s emotions and mental well-being. Although this is still in its infancy, so were cell phones not so long ago.
Given the potential for abuse, Microsoft has taken a rare stand by asking for greater regulation and scrutiny when it comes to this budding technology. Brad Smith, the President and Chief Legal officer of Microsoft, has publicly requested this in order to avoid “a commercial race to the bottom, with tech companies forced to choose between social responsibility and market success.” Mr. Smith’s comments coincide with a report released by a group of Microsoft and Google employees that likewise call for additional regulation.
Making Slide Decks for Presentations
Have you ever wondered where the amazing diagrams that you see in other people’s presentations come from and how to get the images to spruce up your own? I certainly did, and I have been searching for a long time to find these! So, when I finally found a good resource for diagrams, I had to share it with all of you.
It should be a simple thing to find a collection of quality diagrams, but it took me a long time. I used to think that if a Google search didn’t turn up something, it didn’t exist. Turns out there is an art to searches that includes more than just persistence. I think one reason this was so difficult to find is because the creator of the depository, who has done an amazing job, is a BizTalk consultant: Sandro Pereira, MVP (https://blog.sandro-pereira.com/)
At first, I did not realize the extent of the collection he created. I expect he started with BizTalk and as his interest grew so did his collection such that it now covers 1183 different shapes and visuals. It is the most complete collection I have found since I start looking in 2010. Every few years I search the net for more and seem to find less. This set even includes Como DB!
A huge shout out to Sandro for his work on this.
You can find the download here: