University of Illinois to Require COVID Vaccine for Students at All Three Campuses This Fall
Students at the University of Illinois’ three campuses will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine upon returning in-person for the fall semester, the university’s president announced in a systemwide email Monday.
The move falls in line with recommendations by the American College Health Association and follows vaccine mandates introduced at other Illinois higher education institutions including DePaul University, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.
The campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield will each institute safety measures and separately unveil vaccination guidance later this summer.
Philippines’ Duterte Threatens Vaccine Decliners With Jail, Animal Drug
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, frustrated by the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in his country, threatened people who refuse to get inoculated with jail or an injection of Ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug widely used to treat animals.
Ivermectin has been touted as an alternative treatment for COVID-19 but U.S. and European regulators and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended against it.
“You choose, vaccine or I will have you jailed,” Duterte said in a televised address late on Monday, following reports of low turnout at several vaccination sites in the capital Manila.
Attorney Tells Tucker Carlson Indiana U. Vaccine Mandate Is ‘Unconstitutional’
In the segment below on last night’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson interviewed First Amendment attorney Jim Bopp about a lawsuit he filed on behalf of Indiana University students and their parents alleging the university’s COVID vaccine mandate is “unconstitutional.”
Pointing to research linking the COVID vaccine to heart inflammation in young men, Carlson said “forcing students to take the COVID vaccine” could have “profoundly negative consequences.”
Carlson pointed out that the World Health Organization recommends kids under 18 not get the COVID vaccine.
Anti-Vax Group Mounts Legal Blitz to Sow Disinformation Against Vaccinations
Just as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in earnest in the United States, the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) sent its subscribers a “legal update” on its war against employers and schools planning to require the shots.
An unspecified number of organizations had supposedly dropped their mandates – one just after Ican took them to court – and the Texas-based anti-vaccination nonprofit was prowling for more plaintiffs.
“If you or anyone you know is being required by an employer or school to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, ICAN is pleased to offer to support legal action on your behalf to challenge the requirement,” read the January email.
How Your Power Company Can Remotely Control Your Smart Thermostat
Texas’s power grid is unpleasantly surprising its users again. After last winter’s storm disabled parts of the grid for several days, causing potentially hundreds of deaths, a summer heat wave is once again threatening the grid. One potential solution Texas power companies have found is to turn up the temperature on some customers’ smart thermostats. Problem is, some of those customers weren’t aware that their power company could and would do such a thing — until their homes got uncomfortably warm.
One Houston family told a local news affiliate that their smart thermostat was turned up to 78 degrees with seemingly no notice other than a text sent after the fact. When they enrolled in a program called “Smart Savers Texas” — entering them in a sweepstakes to win up to $5,000 off their energy bills for the next year — these users didn’t realize that this also gave the power company permission to adjust their thermostat during high demand periods, like heat waves.
EU Data Watchdogs Want Ban on AI Facial Recognition
The EU’s data protection agencies on Monday called for an outright ban on using artificial intelligence to identify people in public places, pointing to the “extremely high” risks to privacy.
In a non-binding opinion, the two bodies called for a “general ban” on the practice that would include “recognition of faces, gait, fingerprints, DNA, voice, keystrokes and other biometric or behavioural signals, in any context”.
Such practices “interfere with fundamental rights and freedoms to such an extent that they may call into question the essence of these rights and freedoms,” the heads of the European Data Protection Board and the European Data Protection Supervisor said.
Don’t Worry About the AI Singularity: The Tipping Point Is Already Here
As the AI market expands and AI use cases permeate every industry, every once in a while I hear the question – when will the AI singularity occur? For those who are not familiar with this term – the AI singularity refers to an event where the AIs in our lives either become self aware, or reach an ability for continuous improvement so powerful that it will evolve beyond our control. While this is a reasonable concern in the future, I argue that there are much more pressing concerns in the present – in particular that AI has reached a Tipping Point.
A tipping point is a state where a technology grows and permeates our lives very rapidly, building upon itself. The distinction between the singularity and the tipping point, in my view, is that the tipping point focuses on permeation, not intelligence. The AIs that we deal with today are not particularly smart when compared to the human brain. However, from the time we wake up in the morning to when we go to bed, they are everywhere, from the alarm that wakes us to the route we take to work (pre-pandemic!) to countless decisions made behind the scenes by corporations and governments that affect what loan interest rate we get, how we qualify for assistance, decisions on our health, and more. This is the tipping point I am referring to, and while it is far less entertaining than contemplating an all knowing AI overlord, it is real, it is here, and it is affecting all of our lives.
MIT Makes an AI Smart Carpet for Monitoring People Without Cameras
Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have come up with a way to use carpets to monitor humans without using privacy-invading cameras.
The so-called intelligent carpet could have applications in personalized healthcare, smart homes, and gaming. It also might offer a more privacy-friendly way of delivering healthcare to people who need to be remotely monitored by healthcare professionals.
As MIT CSAIL notes, other research in this field has relied on devices like wearable cameras, and webcams.
Germany Opens Antitrust Probe Against Apple
Germany on Monday opened an investigation against Apple over anti-competition practices, making the iPhone maker the fourth US tech giant to be hit by such probes. The antitrust authority had in recent weeks opened similar investigations against Amazon, Google and Facebook under a new law that took effect in January giving regulators more powers to rein in big tech companies.
The watchdog said it has initiated the first stage of the probe to determine if Apple has “cross-market significance.”
“An ecosystem extending across different markets can be one indication of such a position held by a ,” said the authority. “Such positions of power can make it very hard for other companies to counter it.”
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