The great digital-age swindle… and the man fighting back - interesting read

"But of course there is no such thing as free information. Someone has to pay for it. Just not Google or Facebook. And with the free information that they were using from elsewhere, these twin behemoths built themselves into the biggest advertising sales companies the world has ever seen. From 2000 to 2014, US advertising revenue fell from $65.8bn to $23.6bn, Taplin documents in his book. And between 2007 and 2013, UK ad revenues went from $4.7bn to $2.6bn. But from 2003 to 2015, Google’s revenue went from $1.5bn to an astronomical $74.5bn.

In other words, the companies supplying the “free” information were devastated, while those exploiting it were massively rewarded. But isn’t that just the way of history? Aren’t those who complain just modern versions of the wagon wheel manufacturers decrying the arrival of the automobile?”

The great digital-age swindle… and the man fighting back
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/21/jonathan-taplin-interview-move-fast-break-things-facebook-google-amazon-dylan-scorsese
via Instapaper


Is There an AI President in Our Future? That Might Be an Upgrade??

“Given some of the recent occupants of the White House, many might consider it an upgrade. After all, humans are prone to making decisions based on ego, anger, and the need for self-aggrandizement, not the common good. An artificially intelligent president could be trained to maximize happiness for the most people without infringing on civil liberties. It might even learn that it’s a good idea to tweet less—or not at all.

Sure, on first glance the idea is far-fetched and a little bit ridiculous. It’s not clear, for example, how an algorithm, no matter how lucid, could host a state dinner. Still, AI politicians are the likely culmination of trends already underway. Think about cars. Tesla owners are thrilled to let their Model S’s drive themselves, and auto manufacturers are rushing to produce vehicles that won’t even have steering wheels. Within a decade, tens of thousands of people will entrust their daily commute—and their safety—to an algorithm, and they’ll do it happily.


Why? Because it will make their lives better. Instead of sitting in traffic, drivers—now passengers—can watch a movie or get some work done. The increase in human productivity and happiness will be enormous. At the same time, it’ll make us safer. More than 30,000 people die in traffic accidents every year in the US alone, and almost all of those deaths are attributable to human error. Self-driving cars are poised to reduce that number significantly.”

Is There an AI President in Our Future? That Might Be an Upgrade
https://www.wired.com/2017/05/hear-lets-elect-ai-president/
via Instapaper


Algorithms are failing Facebook. Can humanity save it? Via Quartz

“Facebook wanted to be pipes, but it’s also people

Early in the company’s history, Zuckerberg referred to Facebook as a “utility,” a piece of “information infrastructure.” In a letter to potential shareholders in 2012, he compared the social network to the printing press and the television.

But television manufacturers and printing press makers have no reason to understand the difference between a historical photo and a piece of pornography, to consider how to classify photos of breastfeeding mothers, or to debate whether an exception should be made for Donald Trump’s hate speech. They merely make the tools for distributing content.

Facebook, on the other hand, built both a content-distribution platform and a global community—”social infrastructure,” as Zuckerberg more recently described it—and its role in that community ended up being both toolmaker and governing institution. Facebook doesn’t just enable communication, but sets the boundaries and rules around it. And its influence—whether on culture, on elections, or on anything else beyond its own digital borders—means that those decisions impact us all, whether or not we use Facebook.”

Algorithms are failing Facebook. Can humanity save it?
https://qz.com/977297/facebook-live-murders-algorithms-are-failing-facebook-can-humanity-save-it/
via Instapaper




How Elon Musk learns faster and better than everyone else - 5* read!

“Bottom line: It’s not magic. It’s just the right learning process

Now, we can begin to understand how Musk has become a world-class expert-generalist:

He spent many years reading 60 times as much as an avid reader
He read widely across different disciplines
He constantly applied what he learned by deconstructing ideas into their fundamental principles and reconstructing them in new ways
At the deepest level, what we can learn from Musk’s story is that we shouldn’t accept the dogma that specialization is the best or only path toward career success and impact. Legendary expert-generalist Buckminster Fuller summarizes a shift in thinking we should all consider. He shared it decades ago, but it’s just as relevant today:

“We are in an age that assumes that the narrowing trends of specialization to be logical, natural, and desirable… In the meantime, humanity has been deprived of comprehensive understanding. Specialization has bred feelings of isolation, futility, and confusion in individuals. It has also resulted in the individual’s leaving responsibility for thinking and social action to others. Specialization breeds biases that ultimately aggregate as international and ideological discord, which in turn leads to war.”

If we put in the time and learn core concepts across fields and always relate those concepts back to our life and the world, transferring between areas becomes much easier and faster.”

How Elon Musk learns faster and better than everyone else
https://qz.com/968101/how-elon-musk-learns-faster-and-better-than-everyone-else/
via Instapaper



The Myth of a Superhuman AI – good points via Kevin Kelly

“The assumptions behind a superhuman intelligence arising soon are:

Artificial intelligence is already getting smarter than us, at an exponential rate.
We’ll make AIs into a general purpose intelligence, like our own.
We can make human intelligence in silicon.
Intelligence can be expanded without limit.
Once we have exploding superintelligence it can solve most of our problems.
In contradistinction to this orthodoxy, I find the following five heresies to have more evidence to support them.

Intelligence is not a single dimension, so “smarter than humans” is a meaningless concept.
Humans do not have general purpose minds, and neither will AIs.
Emulation of human thinking in other media will be constrained by cost.
Dimensions of intelligence are not infinite.
Intelligences are only one factor in progress.”

The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel
https://backchannel.com/the-myth-of-a-superhuman-ai-59282b686c62
via Instapaper

Totally spot-on!

The one crucial skill our education system is missing

“The answer is precisely that element which makes us less efficient and slower. Our humanity. But rather than being seen as a weakness, this is actually our strongest suit. It’s one we need to empower, because studies show that as the world becomes increasingly automated, computerised and digitalised, we are losing the very skills that define us as human. Just when we need them the most.”

The one crucial skill our education system is missing
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/04/one-crucial-skill/
via Instapaper

Smartphones are the New Cigarettes (via Mark Manson)

“I would say that our ability to focus and hone our attention on what we need is a core component of living a happy, healthy life. We’ve all had those days or weeks (or months or years) where we’ve felt scatterbrained — out of control of our own reality, constantly sucked down rabbit holes of pointless information and drama comprised of endless clicks and notifications.”

Smartphones are the New Cigarettes
https://markmanson.net/smartphones
via Instapaper


Facebook’s plans to augment reality are as dystopian as they are smart (via TheVerge)

“Facebook didn’t shy away from the marketing opportunities AR provides. In fact, it embraced the idea that you could hover your viewfinder over a restaurant and be told its Yelp rating, or find messages your friends leave you in public locales by peering through the camera lens on Facebook’s app. It seems clear that for every consumer benefit AR provides, there will also be a corporate one designed to exploit our attention, extract our wants and needs, and attempt to sell us products.”

Facebook’s plans to augment reality are as dystopian as they are smart
http://www.theverge.com/2017/4/20/15375694/facebook-augmented-reality-dystopian-future-f8-2017
via Instapaper


There’s a big problem with AI: even its creators can’t explain how it works

“This raises mind-boggling questions. As the technology advances, we might soon cross some threshold beyond which using AI requires a leap of faith. Sure, we humans can’t always truly explain our thought processes either—but we find ways to intuitively trust and gauge people. Will that also be possible with machines that think and make decisions differently from the way a human would? We’ve never before built machines that operate in ways their creators don’t understand. How well can we expect to communicate—and get along with—intelligent machines that could be unpredictable and inscrutable? These questions took me on a journey to the bleeding edge of research on AI algorithms, from Google to Apple and many places in between, including a meeting with one of the great philosophers of our time.”

There’s a big problem with AI: even its creators can’t explain how it works
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604087/the-dark-secret-at-the-heart-of-ai/
via Instapaper


No one is prepared to stop the robot onslaught. So what will we do when it arrives?

“Can we do nothing to stop or even slow what seems a mechanized approximation of an army of marching Huns? But wait. In much of the world, we negotiate climate and nuclear arms deals; we regulate the spread of disease and firearms; we take diplomatic or even military action against dictators; and build defenses against cyber attacks by rogue nations. In all these cases, we are seeking a rational de-escalation of a perceived existential threat. Do the robots and their makers—in Silicon Valley, Japan, and China—place our way of life in less jeopardy? And if they are as dangerous, are they truly unstoppable, akin to a force of nature? Given the political havoc already wreaked in part by working-class discontent, can we do nothing to stop or even slow what seems a mechanized approximation of an army of marching Huns?”

No one is prepared to stop the robot onslaught. So what will we do when it arrives?
https://qz.com/940977/no-one-is-prepared-to-stop-the-robot-onslaught-so-what-will-we-do-when-it-arrives/
via Instapaper