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Category Archives: AI

The Decline of Computers As a General Purpose Technology

Thompson, Neil and Spanuth, Svenja, The Decline of Computers As a General Purpose Technology: Why Deep Learning and the End of Moore’s Law are Fragmenting Computing (November 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3287769 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3287769

“It is a triumph of technology and of economics that our computer chips are so universal. Countless applications are only possible because of the staggering variety of calculations that modern chips can compute. But, this was not always the case. Computers used to be specialized, doing only narrow sets of calculations. Their rise as a ‘general purpose technology (GPT)’ only happened because of the technical breakthroughs by computer scientists like von Neumann and Turing, and the mutually-reinforcing economic cycle of general purpose technologies, where product improvement and market growth fuel each other.  This paper argues that technological and economic forces are now pushing computing in the opposite direction, making computer processors less general purpose and more specialized. This process has already begun, driven by the slow down in Moore’s Law and the algorithmic success of Deep Learning. This trend towards specialization threatens to fragment computing into ‘fast lane’ applications that get powerful customized chips and ‘slow lane’ applications that get stuck using general purpose chips whose progress fades. The rise of general purpose computer chips has been remarkable. So, too, could be their fall. This paper outlines the forces already starting to fragment this general purpose technology.”

Dirty Data, Bad Predictions: How Civil Rights Violations Impact Police Data, Predictive Policing Systems, and Justice

Richardson, Rashida and Schultz, Jason and Crawford, Kate, Dirty Data, Bad Predictions: How Civil Rights Violations Impact Police Data, Predictive Policing Systems, and Justice (February 13, 2019). New York University Law Review Online, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN in PDF: “Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using algorithmic predictive policing systems to forecast criminal activity and allocate… Continue Reading

DeepFakes – how will AI impact our next election?

Axios: “Researchers have broadened the controversial technology called “deepfakes” — AI-generated media that experts fear could roil coming elections by convincingly depicting people saying or doing things they never did, Axios’ Kaveh Waddell reports. A new computer program, created at the San Francisco-based OpenAI lab, is the latest front in deepfakes, producing remarkably human-sounding prose that… Continue Reading

Google Translate is a manifestation of Wittgenstein’s theory of language

Quartz: “More than 60 years after philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s theories on language were published, the artificial intelligence behind Google Translate has provided a practical example of his hypotheses. Patrick Hebron, who works on machine learning in design at Adobe and studied philosophy with Wittgenstein expert Garry Hagberg for his bachelor’s degree at Bard College, notes… Continue Reading

7 things we’ve learned about computer algorithms

“Algorithms are all around us, using massive stores of data and complex analytics to make decisions with often significant impacts on humans – from choosing the content people see on social media to judging whether a person is a good credit risk or job candidate. Pew Research Center released several reports in 2018 that explored… Continue Reading

Left to Their Own Devices, Pricing Algorithms Resort to Collusion

Popular Mechanics: “When you’re browsing online, who sets the prices? An algorithm, most likely. A study from 2015 showed that a third of all items on Amazon had prices set by an algorithm, and chances are that percentage has only risen. A new study shows how easy it would be for price-setting algorithms to learn… Continue Reading

Decoding Algorithms

Macalester Today – “Ada Lovelace probably didn’t foresee the impact of the mathematical formula she published in 1843, now considered the first computer algorithm. Nor could she have anticipated today’s widespread use of algorithms, in applications as different as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and Mac’s first-year seminar registration. “Over the last decade algorithms have… Continue Reading

AR Will Spark the Next Big Tech Platform – Call It Mirrorworld

Wired: “The mirrorworld doesn’t yet fully exist, but it is coming. Someday soon, every place and thing in the real world—every street, lamppost, building, and room—will have its full-size digital twin in the mirrorworld. For now, only tiny patches of the mirrorworld are visible through AR headsets. Piece by piece, these virtual fragments are being… Continue Reading

A User-Focused Transdisciplinary Research Agenda for AI-Enabled Health Tech Governance

Berkman-Klein Center: “A new working paper from participants in the AI-Health Working Group out of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, and the AI Ethics Lab sets forth a research agenda for stakeholders to proactively collaborate and design… Continue Reading

Discrimination In The Age Of Algorithms

Via NBER – Discrimination In The Age Of Algorithms. Jon Kleinberg, Jens Ludwig, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Cass R. Sunstein. #25548 [h/t Mary Whisner] “The law forbids discrimination. But the ambiguity of human decision-making often makes it extraordinarily hard for the legal system to know whether anyone has actually discriminated. To understand how algorithms affect discrimination,… Continue Reading

The Rise of the Robot Reporter

The New York Times: “As reporters and editors find themselves the victims of layoffs at digital publishers and traditional newspaper chains alike, journalism generated by machine is on the rise. Roughly a third of the content published by Bloomberg News uses some form of automated technology. The system used by the company, Cyborg, is able… Continue Reading

CRS – Artificial Intelligence and National Security

Vias FAS: “The CIA has around 140 projects involving or related to artificial intelligence, CRS noted (citing a 2017 story in DefenseOne). See Artificial Intelligence and National Security, updated January 30, 2019.” Continue Reading