13,575 research outputs found

    Security and Privacy Problems in Voice Assistant Applications: A Survey

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    Voice assistant applications have become omniscient nowadays. Two models that provide the two most important functions for real-life applications (i.e., Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Siri, etc.) are Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) models and Speaker Identification (SI) models. According to recent studies, security and privacy threats have also emerged with the rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT). The security issues researched include attack techniques toward machine learning models and other hardware components widely used in voice assistant applications. The privacy issues include technical-wise information stealing and policy-wise privacy breaches. The voice assistant application takes a steadily growing market share every year, but their privacy and security issues never stopped causing huge economic losses and endangering users' personal sensitive information. Thus, it is important to have a comprehensive survey to outline the categorization of the current research regarding the security and privacy problems of voice assistant applications. This paper concludes and assesses five kinds of security attacks and three types of privacy threats in the papers published in the top-tier conferences of cyber security and voice domain.Comment: 5 figure

    Band width estimates with lower scalar curvature bounds

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    A band is a connected compact manifold X together with a decomposition ∂X = ∂−X t ∂+X where ∂±X are non-empty unions of boundary components. If X is equipped with a Riemannian metric, the pair (X, g) is called a Riemannian band and the width of (X, g) is defined to be the distance between ∂−X and ∂+X with respect to g. Following Gromov’s seminal work on metric inequalities with scalar curvature, the study of Riemannian bands with lower curvature bounds has been an active field of research in recent years, which led to several breakthroughs on longstanding open problems in positive scalar curvature geometry and to a better understanding of the positive mass theorem in general relativity In the first part of this thesis we combine ideas of Gromov and Cecchini-Zeidler and use the variational calculus surrounding so called µ-bubbles to establish a scalar and mean curvature comparison principle for Riemannian bands with the property that no closed embedded hypersurface which separates the two ends of the band admits a metric of positive scalar curvature. The model spaces we use for this comparison are warped product over scalar flat manifolds with log-concave warping functions. We employ ideas from surgery and bordism theory to deduce that, if Y is a closed orientable manifold which does not admit a metric of positive scalar curvature, dim(Y ) 6= 4 and Xn≤7 = Y ×[−1, 1], the width of X with respect to any Riemannian metric with scalar curvature ≥ n(n − 1) is bounded from above by 2π n. This solves, up to dimension 7, a conjecture due to Gromov in the orientable case. Furthermore, we adapt and extend our methods to show that, if Y is as before and Mn≤7 = Y × R, then M does not admit a metric of positive scalar curvature. This solves, up to dimension 7 a conjecture due to Rosenberg and Stolz in the orientable case. In the second part of this thesis we explore how these results transfer to the setting where the lower scalar curvature bound is replaced by a lower bound on the macroscopic scalar curvature of a Riemannian band. This curvature condition amounts to an upper bound on the volumes of all unit balls in the universal cover of the band. We introduce a new class of orientable manifolds we call filling enlargeable and prove: If Y is filling enlargeable, Xn = Y × [−1, 1] and g is a Riemannian metric on X with the property that the volumes of all unit balls in the universal cover of (X, g) are bounded from above by a small dimensional constant εn, then width(X, g) ≤ 1. Finally, we establish that whether or not a closed orientable manifold is filling enlargeable or not depends on the image of the fundamental class under the classifying map of the universal cover

    Exploring Potential Domains of Agroecological Transformation in the United States

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    There is now substantial evidence that agroecology constitutes a necessary pathway towards socially just and ecologically resilient agrifood systems. In the United States, however, agroecology remains relegated to the margins of research and policy spaces. This dissertation explores three potential domains of agroecological transformation in the US. Domains of transformation are sites of contestation in which agroecology interfaces with the industrial agrifood system; these material and conceptual spaces may point to important pathways for scaling agroecology. To explore this concept, I examine formal agroecology education (Chapter 1), extension services and statewide discourses around soil health (Chapter 2), and models of farmland access not based on private property (Chapter 3). While these constitute three distinct topics, I seek to demonstrate that they are linked by similar forces that enable and constrain the extent to which these domains can be sites of agroecological transformation. First, I use case study methodology to explore the evolution of an advanced undergraduate agroecology course at the University of Vermont. I examine how course content and pedagogy align with a transformative framing of agroecology as inherently transdisciplinary, participatory, action-oriented, and political. I find that student-centered pedagogies and experiential education on farms successfully promote transformative learning whereby students shift their understanding of agrifood systems and their role(s) within them. In my second chapter, I zoom out to consider soil health discourses amongst farmers and extension professionals in Vermont. Using co-created mental models and participatory analysis, I find that a singular notion of soil health based on biological, chemical, and physical properties fails to capture the diverse ways in which farmers and extension professionals understand soil health. I advocate for a principles-based approach to soil health that includes social factors and may provide a valuable heuristic for mobilizing knowledge towards agroecology transition pathways. My third chapter, conducted in collaboration with the national non-profit organization Agrarian Trust, considers equitable farmland access. Through semi-structured interviews with 13 farmers and growers across the US, I explore both farmer motivations for engaging with alternative land access models (ALAMs) and the potential role(s) these models may play within broader transformation processes. I argue that ALAMs constitute material and conceptual ‘third spaces’ within which the private property regime is challenged and new identities and language around land ownership can emerge; as such, ALAMs may facilitate a (re)imagining of land-based social-ecological relationships. I conclude the dissertation by identifying conceptual and practical linkages across the domains explored in Chapters 1-3. I pay particular attention to processes that challenge neoliberal logics, enact plural ways of knowing, and prefigure just futures. In considering these concepts, I apply an expansive notion of pedagogy to explore how processes of teaching and (un)learning can contribute to cultivating foundational capacities for transition processes

    Consent and the Construction of the Volunteer: Institutional Settings of Experimental Research on Human Beings in Britain during the Cold War

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    This study challenges the primacy of consent in the history of human experimentation and argues that privileging the cultural frameworks adds nuance to our understanding of the construction of the volunteer in the period 1945 to 1970. Historians and bio-ethicists have argued that medical ethics codes have marked out the parameters of using people as subjects in medical scientific research and that the consent of the subjects was fundamental to their status as volunteers. However, the temporality of the creation of medical ethics codes means that they need to be understood within their historical context. That medical ethics codes arose from a specific historical context rather than a concerted and conscious determination to safeguard the well-being of subjects needs to be acknowledged. The British context of human experimentation is under-researched and there has been even less focus on the cultural frameworks within which experiments took place. This study demonstrates, through a close analysis of the Medical Research Council's Common Cold Research Unit (CCRU) and the government's military research facility, the Chemical Defence Experimental Establishment, Porton Down (Porton), that the `volunteer' in human experiments was a subjective entity whose identity was specific to the institution which recruited and made use of the subject. By examining representations of volunteers in the British press, the rhetoric of the government's collectivist agenda becomes evident and this fed into the institutional construction of the volunteer at the CCRU. In contrast, discussions between Porton scientists, staff members, and government officials demonstrate that the use of military personnel in secret chemical warfare experiments was far more complex. Conflicting interests of the military, the government and the scientific imperative affected how the military volunteer was perceived

    Elite perceptions of the Victorian and Edwardian past in inter-war England

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    It is often argued by historians that members of the cultivated Elite after 1918 rejected the pre-war past. or at least subjected it to severe denigration. This thesis sets out to challenge such a view. Above all, it argues that inter-war critics of the Victorian and Edwardian past were unable to reject it even if that was what they felt inclined to do. This was because they were tied to those periods by the affective links of memory, family, and the continually unfolding consequences of the past in the present. Even the severest critics of the pre-war world, such as Lytton Strachey, were less frequently dismissive of history than ambivalent towards it. This ambivalence, it is argued, helped to keep the past alive and often to humanise it. The thesis also explores more positive estimation of Victorian and Edwardian history between the wars. It examines nostalgia for the past, as well as instances of continuity of practice and attitude. It explores the way in which inter-war society drew upon aspects of Victorian and Edwardian history both as illuminating parallels to contemporary affairs and to understand directly why the present was shaped as it was. Again, this testifies to the enduring power of the past after 1918. There are three parts to this thesis. Part One outlines the cultural context in which writers contemplated the Victorian and Edwardian past. Part Two explores some of the ways in which history was written about and used by inter-war society. Part Three examines the ways in which biographical depictions of eminent Victorians after 1918 encouraged emotional negotiation with the pas

    Responsibility and Situationism

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    This chapter explores the relationship between an agent’s moral responsibility for their actions and the situations in which an agent acts. Decades of research in psychology are sometimes thought to support situationism, the view that features of an agent’s situation greatly influence their behavior in powerful and surprising ways. Such situational fea­tures might therefore be thought to threaten agents’ abilities to act freely and responsi­bly. This chapter begins by discussing some relevant empirical literature on situationism. It then surveys several ways of construing the situationist threat to moral responsibility as reducible to worries about determinism, manipulation, or luck. It is then argued that the best way to understand the situationist challenge is as a threat to reasons-responsive­ness. A common strategy for responding to the situationist threat to reasons-responsive­ness—the so-called modal response—is discussed. The chapter then defends a view called pessimistic realism: While the situationist literature puts human agency in an unflattering light, it does not show that agents’ reasons-responsiveness capacities are generally un­dermined by situational features. Several objections both to the modal strategy and to pessimistic realism are discussed. The chapter concludes with three thoughts concerning future directions

    The capacity of Scotland’s community right to buy legislation to contribute to ecological sustainability

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    The principal aim of this thesis is to contribute to sustainability debates. Specifically, this thesis aims to assess the capacity of the statutory community rights to buy – part of Scotland’s wider land reform framework – to contribute to ecological sustainability. ‘Ecological sustainability’, in context of this thesis, is the ultimate goal of humanity successfully living within the ecological limits of the Earth. This thesis outlines that these community rights to buy are defined and affected by both sustainable development and property law. Therefore, it seeks to interrogate the extent to which both of these aspects are influenced by anthropocentrism, rather than ecocentrism, and the impact this has on the capacity of the community rights to buy to contribute to the achievement of ecological sustainability. Three central arguments are important in this regard: the spectrum between anthropocentric and ecocentric understandings of sustainable development; how imbuing responsibilities in ownership can help to bridge the gap between these two understandings; and how the structuring effect of property law resists placing responsibilities on ownership, thus impeding the ability to find a more appropriate point between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism. The cumulative effect of these themes on the capacity of the community rights to buy in Scotland to contribute to ecological sustainability will be the focus of the conclusion of this thesis. Chapter 1 introduces and explores these three central themes. It will be argued that global interpretations of sustainable development have tended to adopt an anthropocentric approach within the spectrum of anthropocentrism/ecocentrism, and that this is mirrored in Scotland’s approach to sustainable development. The nature and culture dualism will then be explored as a potential explanation for the anthropocentric focus of both sustainable development and property law. This chapter will conclude that, whilst responsibilities can bridge the gap between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism, the structural effect of Western property law norms resists this, which is problematic for ecological sustainability. Against this background, Chapter 2 is concerned with situating Scotland within these debates. It will assess the concentrated ownership patterns seen today, arguing that an emphasis on individual ownership rights has facilitated this; an example of property law’s structural effects eschewing responsibilities in ownership. These factors have anthropocentric outcomes. This chapter will argue that an increasing focus on responsibilities within land policy in Scotland shows an implicit recognition of the need to move beyond the existing rights paradigm. However, this is stymied by property law’s structural emphasis on rights. Against this background, the chapter will conclude with a brief outline of what the community rights to buy are, their significance, and their adoption of sustainable development, before engaging in a deeper evaluative exercise in Chapter 3. Chapter 3 will assess what kind of sustainable development is being envisaged in the community right to buy legislation, and whether this is suitable for the achievement of ecological sustainability. It will be argued that, whilst showing signs of ecocentrism, given the structural effects of property law in Scotland and the concomitant focus on individual rights the community rights to buy find themselves at the anthropocentric end of the sustainable development spectrum identified in Chapter 1. However, the backdrop of Scottish land policy signifies a will to incorporate responsibilities, as well as rights, into ownership. In this regard, it is argued that the community rights to buy, in their incorporation of sustainable development, signify a form of incremental change when viewed in tandem with other policy in Scotland, which can better integrate ecocentric approaches and which could incite progress towards ecological sustainability

    Marvellous real in the Middle East: a comparative study of magical realism in contemporary women’s fiction

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    Magical realism has been studied extensively in relation to Latin America and subsequently in other parts of the world, yet the Middle East has not received adequate attention in academic scholarship. This PhD study examines a selection of contemporary female-authored narratives from the Middle East to establish an understanding of the practice of magical realism in this region. The selected texts for this study are: Raja Alem’s Fatma and My Thousand and One Nights; Shahrnush Parsipur’s Women Without Men and Touba and the Meaning of Night; Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul and Gina B. Nahai’s Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith. This study firstly explores the concept of magical realism as a mode of writing and determines its relationship to the Middle Eastern context. It then evaluates the texts under scrutiny by examining how the narrative of magical realism is constructed and what the sources are of the magical component in these texts, specifically in relation to Middle Eastern mythology. It also investigates the ideological aspect behind the employment of magical realism and whether it serves any political goal. The analysis of the selected texts is approached from three standpoints, that is, from literary, mythological and ideological perspectives. I argue that magical realism serves various purposes and that it is applied from perspectives that can be regarded as marginal to their communities’ dominant values, to subvert mainstream ideology. I also demonstrate that the Middle East is a crucial place to investigate magical realism because of the numerous complex cultural values that interact with each other in this region, and which enrich the practice of magical realism