Of prediction and policy - good read via The Economist

“Machine-learning systems excel at prediction. A common approach is to train a system by showing it a vast quantity of data on, say, students and their achievements. The software chews through the examples and learns which characteristics are most helpful in predicting whether a student will drop out. Once trained, it can study a different group and accurately pick those at risk. By helping to allocate scarce public funds more accurately, machine learning could save governments significant sums. According to Stephen Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard and a former mayor of Indianapolis, it could also transform almost every sector of public policy.”

Of prediction and policy
http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21705329-governments-have-much-gain-applying-algorithms-public-policy
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The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed ...says the WEF

“What happened in the UK was not only a political disaster, but also a vivid example of what happens when you combine the uncontrollable power of the internet with a lingering visceral feeling that ordinary people have lost control of the politics that shape their lives. When people feel their democratic representatives do not serve them anymore, they turn to the internet. They look for others who feel the same and moans turn into movements.

In this regard, the Leave campaign’s main social media messages appealed to the agency of ordinary voters to reject the rule of the bureaucracy and “take control” of their own country. Using very simple language, largely consisting of only a few syllables, these messages spread very fast across the internet and were often reinforced with amusing memes, instead of rigorous expert opinions or statistics.”

The biggest threat to democracy? Your social media feed
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/the-biggest-threat-to-democracy-your-social-media-feed/
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How the DNA Revolution Is Changing Us

“CRISPR places an entirely new kind of power into human hands. For the first time, scientists can quickly and precisely alter, delete, and rearrange the DNA of nearly any living organism, including us. In the past three years, the technology has transformed biology. Working with animal models, researchers in laboratories around the world have already used CRISPR to correct major genetic flaws, including the mutations responsible for muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, and one form of hepatitis. Recently several teams have deployed CRISPR in an attempt to eliminate HIV from the DNA of human cells. The results have been only partially successful, but many scientists remain convinced that the technology may contribute to a cure for AIDS.”

How the DNA Revolution Is Changing Us
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/08/dna-crispr-gene-editing-science-ethics/
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The Evolution of AI: Can Morality be Programmed? - Good read via FLI - Future of Life Institute

“At first glance, the goal seems simple enough—make an AI that behaves in a way that is ethically responsible; however, it’s far more complicated than it initially seems, as there are an amazing amount of factors that come into play. As Conitzer’s project outlines, “moral judgments are affected by rights (such as privacy), roles (such as in families), past actions (such as promises), motives and intentions, and other morally relevant features. These diverse factors have not yet been built into AI systems.””

The Evolution of AI: Can Morality be Programmed? - FLI - Future of Life Institute
http://futureoflife.org/2016/07/06/evolution-of-ai/
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Gerd Leonhard: la tecnologia tra paradiso e inferno: good interview

“Puoi espandere il commento che fai nel video [Umanità vs Tecnologia], dove dici "vedremo più cambiamenti nei prossimi 20 anni rispetto ai 300 anni precedenti"?

È una frase che uso per semplificare la natura esponenziale in aumento di ciò che oggi stiamo vedendo nella tecnologia: è sempre più vero che quasi tutto ciò che era "impossibile" o "lontano" ora sta diventano sempre più fattibile; infatti, testimoniano l'ingegneria genetica, i veicoli autonomi, il computing cognitivo e quantistico, l'ascesa dell'energia solare, le batterie potenti, eccetera.”

Gerd Leonhard: la tecnologia tra paradiso e inferno
http://www.controcorrenteblog.com/2016/07/gerd-leonhard-tecnologia-paradiso-e-inferno.html
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Americans love technology, but we aren’t so sure about using it to enhance our bodies

“a majority of Americans said they would be “very” or “somewhat” worried about three specific biomedical technologies chosen by Pew: gene editing, brain chips and synthetic blood. In all these cases, worry about the technology outweighs the excitement people feel about it.”

Americans love technology, but we aren’t so sure about using it to enhance our bodies
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/07/26/americans-love-technology-but-arent-so-sure-about-using-it-to-enhance-our-bodies/
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Only the privileged fear a robot revolution (I don't agree but ... read this anyway)

“When you think of the millions of lives that could be saved and improved by access to basic healthcare and education, it makes the idea of fearing the further advancement of artificial intelligence seem myopic. The fact of the matter is that any developments in a robot revolution are going to look quite differently depending on where you happen to live in this world.”

Only the privileged fear a robot revolution
http://social.techcrunch.com/2016/07/19/only-the-privileged-fear-a-robot-revolution/
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How technology disrupted the truth : must read via TheGuardian

“Twenty-five years after the first website went online, it is clear that we are living through a period of dizzying transition. For 500 years after Gutenberg, the dominant form of information was the printed page: knowledge was primarily delivered in a fixed format, one that encouraged readers to believe in stable and settled truths.

Now, we are caught in a series of confusing battles between opposing forces: between truth and falsehood, fact and rumour, kindness and cruelty; between the few and the many, the connected and the alienated; between the open platform of the web as its architects envisioned it and the gated enclosures of Facebook and other social networks; between an informed public and a misguided mob.

What is common to these struggles – and what makes their resolution an urgent matter – is that they all involve the diminishing status of truth. This does not mean that there are no truths. It simply means, as this year has made very clear, that we cannot agree on what those truths are, and when there is no consensus about the truth and no way to achieve it, chaos soon follows.”

How technology disrupted
http://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/jul/12/how-technology-disrupted-the-truth
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The Human Factor and the IoT

“Those who dismiss IoT over its first, wobbly steps with arguments like “I don’t need my toaster to talk to my refrigerator” or “IoT is nothing but a security nightmare” are missing the bigger picture. Consider, for example, the potential impact on healthcare. Our bodies are packed with information that could help us maintain our health, but we are currently not instrumented to collect it. Physicians attempt diagnoses with paltry single samples of data. When you go to the clinic, your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vitals are typically measured once - and not at the most useful time. The “best guess” diagnosis that results is notoriously inaccurate. But, if our vital signs and other important health-related data could be collected and analyzed continuously, trendiness could are established, response to various situations could be monitored, and the accuracy and timeliness of diagnoses would skyrocket. And, we would most certainly discover new early warning signs for numerous conditions that we simply did not have the data to diagnose before.”

The Human Factor
http://www.eejournal.com/archives/articles/20160629-humanfactor
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Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch: some good points !

“All around, technology is altering the world: Social media is subsuming journalism, politics and even terrorist organizations. Inequality, driven in part by techno-abetted globalization, has created economic panic across much of the Western world. National governments are in a slow-moving war for dominance with a handful of the most powerful corporations the world has ever seen — all of which happen to be tech companies.”

Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/07/technology/why-we-need-to-pick-up-alvin-tofflers-torch.html
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