Should We Care That We Treat Technology as a Slave?

“Consider for example the extent to which we have already abdicated the sovereignty of being human. Have you noticed, for example, your immediate distrust of a hotel or restaurant that is not listed or recommended online? Have you checked someone’s profile on LinkedIn before you responded to a meeting request? Have your powers of mental computation (okay, never excellent, let’s admit) actually vegetated and languished alongside online calculators? Has your sense of direction deepened or weakened as a result of Sat Nav, Google Maps and Waze? Could it be that we are actually getting dumber as robots are getting smarter? Are we gradually turning into Eloi from HG Wells’ Time Machine, privileged but effete masters who have lost the muscle to work and dynamic to decide for themselves?”

Should We Care That We Treat Technology as a Slave?
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There is a blind spot in AI research - good read via

“And just last month, several leading AI companies, including Microsoft, Amazon and IBM, formed the Partnership on AI to try to advance public understanding and develop some shared standards.

Yet the ‘deploy and comply’ approach can be ad hoc and reactive, and industry efforts can prove inadequate if they lack sufficient critical voices and independent contributors. The new AI partnership is inviting ethicists and civil-society organizations to participate. But the concern remains that corporations are relatively free to field test their AI systems on the public without sustained research on medium- or even near-term effects.”

There is a blind spot in AI research
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The 4 big ethical questions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution - 5* read

“If the technology is to go forward, how should it proceed?

It matters how a technology is researched and how it enters the world. For example, The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the United States recently issued a landmark report that takes a precautionary approach to the use of gene drives. Gene drives are technologies, which in combination with CRISPR Cas9 gene editing, can exponentially increase the prevalence of specific genetic elements in a whole population of certain kinds of wild plants or animals. Right now, for example, gene drives are being considered as a way of controlling, or even eradicating, mosquitoes that are disease vectors for human illnesses, like malaria and Zika. The National Academies’ report encourages the development of gene drive technology, but calls for carefully paced research, first in laboratory settings and small field studies, before engineered organisms are released into the wild.”

The 4 big ethical questions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
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Barack Obama: Now Is the Greatest Time to Be Alive - inspiring read

“The point is, we need today’s big thinkers thinking big. Think like you did when you were watching Star Trek or Star Wars or Inspector Gadget. Think like the kids I meet every year at the White House Science Fair. We started this event in 2010 with a ­simple premise: We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated but the winner of the science fair. Since then, I’ve met young people who are tackling everything from destroying cancer cells to using algae to produce clean energy to distributing vaccines to remote areas of the world—all before most of them can even vote.”

Barack Obama: Now Is the Greatest Time to Be Alive
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Your Next Friend Could Be a Robot: must read !

“t turns out that humans can form emotional bonds with a “social technology,” as these systems are called, without true artificial intelligence. People are good at anthropomorphizing objects, and this tendency can be enhanced by the right auditory and visual cues.

Last week Toyota Motor announced a robot child designed to appeal to the growing ranks of the childless in Japan. Hasbro has created a line of pet robots designed for the elderly.

Some studies suggest these kinds of robots can yield benefits similar to owning actual pets.

None of this surprises Heather Knight, a researcher of “social robotics” at Stanford University. “Sociability is the interface between people,” says Dr. Knight.

The point of a truly social interface is that it is the same as no interface at all. No screens, no pointing devices, no unfamiliar conventions. Conversation, with all its quirks and “inessential” chitchat, is simply how humans interact with each other. Soon, it will be how we interact with machines as well.”

Your Next Friend Could Be a Robot
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Crash: how computers are setting us up for disaster | Tim Harford on the dangers of automation

“This problem has a name: the paradox of automation. It applies in a wide variety of contexts, from the operators of nuclear power stations to the crew of cruise ships, from the simple fact that we can no longer remember phone numbers because we have them all stored in our mobile phones, to the way we now struggle with mental arithmetic because we are surrounded by electronic calculators. The better the automatic systems, the more out-of-practice human operators will be, and the more extreme the situations they will have to face.”

Crash: how computers are setting us up for disaster | Tim Harford
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Humans are going to have the edge over robots where work demands creativity | Tim Dunlop

As I said, the point of capitalism is to destroy jobs, not create them.

The second big change is post-industrialisation. Wealth is being created – not by making and selling physical things – but in areas of knowledge, information and financialisation.

These areas simply do not need as many workers as traditional employers. Where Kodak used to employ 140,000 people and was valued at $28bn (and is now bankrupt thanks to digitisation), Instagram was sold to Facebook in 2012 for a billion dollars when it (Instagram) employed 12 people.

Facebook itself is the sixth-largest company in the US, but it employs a mere 12,000 people full time. Compare that to, say, General Motors, which during the 1980s employed 349,000 workers in the US alone.

Google, one of the richest corporations on the planet, only employs about 55,000 people worldwide.

You get the picture.”

Humans are going to have the edge over robots where work demands creativity | Tim Dunlop
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AI Is Not the Future, It's the Present

“If you’re an iPhone user, you’ve come across Apple’s AI, and not just in Siri’s improved acumen in figuring out what you ask of her. You see it when the phone identifies a caller who isn’t in your contact list (but did email you recently). Or when you swipe on your screen to get a short list of the apps that you are most likely to open next. Or when you get a reminder of an appointment that you never got around to putting into your calendar. Or when a map location pops up for the hotel you’ve reserved, before you type it in. Or when the phone points you to where you parked your car, even though you never asked it to. These are all techniques either made possible or greatly enhanced by Apple’s adoption of deep learning and neural nets.

“Yes, there is an ‘Apple brain’ – it’s already inside your iPhone.””

AI Is Not the Future, It's the Present
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Most experts say AI isn’t as much of a threat as you might think - let's debate!

“Bostrom aggregates the results of four different surveys of groups such as participants in a conference called “Philosophy and Theory of AI,” held in 2011 in Thessaloniki, Greece, and members of the Greek Association for Artificial Intelligence (he does not provide response rates or the phrasing of questions, and he does not account for the reliance on data collected in Greece).

His findings are presented as probabilities that human-level AI will be attained by a certain time:

By 2022: 10 percent.

By 2040: 50 percent.

By 2075: 90 percent.”

Most experts say AI isn’t as much of a threat as you might think
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When your boss is an algorithm - great read via the FT

“There are no good estimates on the global scale of the gig economy but in the US there are about 800,000 people earning money this way — via online intermediaries such as TaskRabbit, Lyft, Uber and Deliveroo — without being anyone’s employee. The term “algorithmic management” was coined last year by academics at the Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and it is this innovation, they argue, that makes the gig economy possible. For companies like Uber, which aspires to “make transportation as reliable as running water”, algorithmic management solves a problem: how to instruct, track and evaluate a crowd of casual workers you do not employ, so they deliver a responsive, seamless, standardised service.”

When your boss is an algorithm
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