L’Oreal Buys Augmented Reality Beauty App, Allowing Robots To Point Out Our Every Flaw

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Makeup-users, get ready. AI is ready to tell us we look ugly.

The app ModiFace scrutinizes your skin type, points out what’s wrong with your face, (you’ve got wrinkles here, a spot there), and suggests cosmetics that might be able to repair or cover those flaws.

If you just thought, “Hey, making people feel insecure is a great way to get people to buy cosmetics,” you’re not alone. French cosmetic giant L’Oreal recently purchased the Canadian company for an undisclosed (but likely astronomical) sum.

In theory, the tool sounds kind of cool. The company has published more than 200 scientific studies and holds 30 patents in development of this technology, so there’s reason to believe it works better than some of the other makeup apps already out there (ModiFace would probably become the best-known of these once L’Oreal makes it ubiquitous). And because it’s an app, it doesn’t require investment in a whole new piece of hardware, the way Amazon smartmirror would.

Plus it sounds pretty convenient. Trying a new foundation without having to go to the store and covering my hand with poorly-colored product? Yes, please.

But there’s an obvious downside to ModiFace: it provides users with a limited definition of what it means to look beautiful.

That standard is getting narrower all the time thanks to social media. Despite some effort to expand beauty standards to people of different colors, shapes, and sizes, the popularity of sites like Instagram and Snapchat make the same old beauty standards seem attainable and immediate, the airbrushing and photoshopping seem less obvious.

“We are on the verge of a very, very serious problem,”Jane Cunningham, the author of Britishbeautyblogger.com, told The Guardian in 2015. “The world of vloggers and YouTubers has created a perverse, homogenized sense of distorted ‘beauty’ with no diversity or reality… Society is losing all perspective on the diversity of beauty and it’s contributing to an alarming growth in dysmorphia.” Recent scientific literature has confirmed this assessment.

Consumers, especially women, don’t need another faceless entity pointing out every little flaw. That’s especially true for women of color, for whom facial recognition software can be inaccurate. Might ModiFace direct non-white users towards more limited products for their skin tones, or push them to ascribe to a particular aesthetic they may not agree with? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. And it’s not clear from ModiFace’s marketing materials whether the tool works for non-cis women — a growing market of makeup consumers (in 2016 L’Oreal itself used a male model to advertise cosmetics).

A tool like ModiFace might be useful for some makeup users, or convenient even. But for others, it will just be another entity telling them they’re not young enough, not white enough, not pretty enough.

The post L’Oreal Buys Augmented Reality Beauty App, Allowing Robots To Point Out Our Every Flaw appeared first on Futurism.


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Apple Launching Pilot Program Allowing Repairs of Soon-to-Be Vintage Mid 2011 iMac in United States

Apple today internally announced it is launching a new pilot program that will permit Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers to continue offering repair service for 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac models released in mid 2011, despite the fact they will be classified as vintage starting next month.

The pilot program will be available in the United States only between March 1, 2018 and August 31, 2018, subject to parts availability from Apple, according to the company’s internal memo obtained by MacRumors. After the pilot ends, repairs will only be available in California and Turkey, as required by law.

Apple and Authorized Service Providers can usually repair an iMac’s display and hinge, logic board, graphics card, hard drive or SSD, power supply, and other components, although the exact availability of replacement parts remains to be seen. It’s unclear if RAM and storage upgrades will continue to be offered.

Apple typically offers repairs and replacement parts for a Mac until five years after it is no longer manufactured. Mid 2011 iMac models are now approaching this cutoff, as the last education-only configuration was discontinued in March 2013, but these machines will now remain eligible for service for an additional six months.

Apple didn’t specify if the pilot program will eventually expand to other vintage products, or whether it will be available outside of the United States.

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Rear-facing 3D sensing technology possibly slated for fall 2019 iPhone, allowing Apple to press AR advantage

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With the iPhone X just three months out of the gate, and discussions about the 2018 iPhone refresh starting, eyes are starting to look at 2019, with new supply chain discussion by an investment analyst firm suggesting that Apple is now working on a world-facing 3D sensor to assert dominance in augmented reality.
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Apple servers briefly enabled signing of older iOS firmwares, allowing users to downgrade to earlier versions

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Apple’s servers started to sign older versions of iOS for a number of hours on Wednesday night, an issue that gave iPhone and iPad owners a brief opportunity to downgrade iOS to an earlier release, with some hardware found to be downgradable to iOS 6.
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Apple Fixes Major macOS Security Flaw Allowing Admin Access without a Password

Apple’s latest operating system — macOS High Sierra — had a major vulnerability in regards to security: computers running macOS 10.13.1 or earlier could be accessed without a password. While the security flaw appears to require physical access to the device, it was still a major issue since the flaw provided access to the “root” user, allowing full system control including the ability to change passwords, delete and create files, and… well… pretty much anything.

Wednesday morning, Apple released a security update for affected users and has said it will push the security patch automatically later today. Apple released the following statement:

“Security is a top priority for every Apple product, and regrettably we stumbled with this release of macOS. When our security engineers became aware of the issue Tuesday afternoon, we immediately began working on an update that closes the security hole. This morning, as of 8:00 a.m., the update is available for download, and starting later today it will be automatically installed on all systems running the latest version (10.13.1) of macOS High Sierra. We greatly regret this error and we apologize to all Mac users, both for releasing with this vulnerability and for the concern it has caused. Our customers deserve better. We are auditing our development processes to help prevent this from happening again.”

The security flaw went viral Tuesday morning when security researcher Lemi Orhan Ergin (@lemiorhan) tweeted “Dear @AppleSupport, we noticed a HUGE security issue at [sic] MacOS High Sierra. Anyone can login as “root” with [an] empty password after clicking on [the] login button several times. Are you aware of it @Apple?”

In other words, clicking on the login button (or the unlock button in the login prompts under System Preferences) several times enabled the root user account—which is usually disabled by default for security purposes—with a blank password and then allowed the initiator to login using “root.” While there is some speculation on social media that this could be done remotely, it remains very unlikely and would most likely require a specific setup. The flaw proposed the largest threat to unattended computers and computers in sensitive workplaces such as hospitals and government facilities.

The vulnerability had been reproduced by many individuals online using various versions of macOS High Sierra, but not with versions prior to High Sierra. Apple said in a statement yesterday that they were aware of the issue and were working on a software update to patch it:

“We are working on a software update to address this issue. In the meantime, setting a root password prevents unauthorized access to your Mac. To enable the Root User and set a password, please follow the instructions here. If a Root User is already enabled, to ensure a blank password is not set, please follow the instructions from the ‘Change the root password’ section.”

If you haven’t already we strongly recommend updating to the latest version as soon as possible. While Apple will automatically push the software to any computers it can, it’s best not to take chances. Apple has taken the unique step of adding a bold header to its release notes that say “Install this update as soon as possible.” The full release notes for the patch can be found on Apple’s website.

For security purposes the root user is disabled on your Mac by default. While the patch should be enough for most consumers, for more advanced users—or those in business settings—it may be smart to enable the root user and set a custom password to prevent these kind of issues in the future. If you don’t know your way around a Unix/Linux terminal, here are some step-by-step directions for changing the root password on your device using terminal commands; keep in mind, you won’t want to forget the password you choose:

How to Set a Root Password

  1. While logged in as an administrator, open Terminal on your Mac.
  2. type the following command: sudo passwd root (The command “sudo” enables the user to run commands as a superuser and the command “passwd” is used to set a new password).
  3. You will likely be prompted for your password to authorize sudo.
  4. Next you should be prompted to enter a new password (for root). Enter the password (you won’t see any characters) and then press enter.
  5. Re-enter the password and press enter to confirm the change.

While using Terminal is generally much quicker, if you are more comfortable using your computer’s System Preferences to make this change please refer to Apple’s support article on How to enable the root user on your Mac or change your root password.

Generally speaking, Apple is very quick responding to security issues and they proved that they can work on a moment’s notice with their latest patch; however, this goes to show that no security is perfect. Even from the biggest names in the business, mistakes happen.

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FCC adopts new rules allowing carriers to “proactively block illegal robocalls”

In what is likely a smokescreen intended to distract from the FCC planning a vote to destroy net neutrality, the FCC has issued additional rules which permit telecoms to block robocalls, specifically those which use Caller ID spoofing to impersonate phone numbers that do not exist, are not allocated by telecoms to subscribers, or are inbound-only phone numbers— in other words, allocated to systems which are unable to make outgoing calls.

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FCC adopts new rules allowing carriers to “proactively block illegal robocalls” was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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OnePlus plans to fix glaring smartphone security flaw allowing easy root access

OnePlus has a glaring smartphone security problem the company says it plans to fix in an upcoming software update. Just this week, a bit of fan sleuthing surfaced a flaw ostensibly due to oversight that meant that, over the past couple of years, OnePlus phones (including the recently released OnePlus 5) have carried a Qualcomm testing app called EngineerMode.

The app provides users with root-level access to the phone without needing to unlock its bootloader, according to Engadget. In other words, a malicious user would need to physically grab your phone in order to take advantage of the bug. Yet once they gained that access, they could plant trackers or malware easily.

A staff member from the OnePlus team explained in a forum post that…

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Broadcast for Google Home is rolling out now, allowing you to talk to everyone in the house

A ton of products and features were announced at Google’s October 4th event, and among those was a broadcast feature for the Google Home line. If you have several Homes in your home, this is sure to come in handy when you need to communicate something with the entire house.

A simple “Ok Google, broadcast…” ahead of your intended message will get it sent out through every Home in the house, much like a PA system.

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Broadcast for Google Home is rolling out now, allowing you to talk to everyone in the house was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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