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Category Archives: AI

Social Media: Threat to or Tool of Authoritarianism?

HBR – “…Given the growing weight of social media’s influence on society, the key question is whether social media will become a sentinel against systematic oppression and injustice, effectively posing a serious challenge to authoritarian regimes. In the case of China, while social media may not have the power to cause a regime change, it will, in coming years, challenge the government’s ironclad authority and lack of accountability to its people. This clearly manifests in times of crisis, most recently, with the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak…Automated censorship driven by cutting edge research in machine learning and artificial intelligence can be just as counterproductive. Contrary to popular opinion, Chinese surveillance is not the black-and-white image of evil, oppression, and ruthless efficiency suggested by George Orwell’s dystopian totalitarian state in his book, 1984. Human ingenuity in using allusions, abbreviations, and other linguistic devices has allowed criticisms of the government to get past censors: a simple example is “Wuhan,” a censored word on some platforms which replaced with an abbreviated form,“wh,” can no longer be detected. Just as veiled critiques of the government have filtered through censoring software,  articles and videos spreading misinformation about the virus have utilized similar techniques in getting past censors. Thus the wreckage left behind by censorship procedures is a combination of frustration and mistrust…”

Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm

ars technica: “Civil rights activists have filed an official complaint against the Detroit police, alleging the department arrested the wrong man based on a faulty and incorrect match provided by facial recognition software—the first known complaint of this kind. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the complaint (PDF) Wednesday on behalf of Robert Williams, a… Continue Reading

OpenAI’s Text Generator Is Going Commercial

Wired – “Last spring, artificial intelligence research institute OpenAI said it had made software so good at generating text—including fake news articles—that it was too dangerous to release. That line in the sand was soon erased when two recent master’s grads recreated the software and OpenAI released the original, saying awareness of the risks had… Continue Reading

The activist dismantling racist police algorithms

MIT Technology Review – “Hamid Khan has been a community organizer in Los Angeles for over 35 years, with a consistent focus on police violence and human rights. He talked to us on April 3, 2020, for a forthcoming podcast episode about artificial intelligence and policing. As the world turns its attention to police brutality… Continue Reading

AI Helps College Students Manage Housing Risks, Propels The ‘Wave Of The Future’ In Legal Services

Pittsburgh NPR – “Many college students don’t know when they’ll return to campus due to COVID-19, but when they do, they will need a place to live. Some might feel pressure to commit to housing despite the uncertainty, and Pittsburgh lawyer Marcy Smorey is using artificial intelligence to help students be smart about signing apartment… Continue Reading

Eye-catching advances in some AI fields are not real

Science: “Artificial intelligence (AI) just seems to get smarter and smarter. Each iPhone learns your face, voice, and habits better than the last, and the threats AI poses to privacy and jobs continue to grow. The surge reflects faster chips, more data, and better algorithms. But some of the improvement comes from tweaks rather than… Continue Reading

New tools aim to tame pandemic paper tsunami

COVID-19 – New tools aim to tame pandemic paper tsunami, Jeffrey Brainard, Science  29 May 2020: Vol. 368, Issue 6494, pp. 924-925. DOI: 10.1126/science.368.6494.924. “Timothy Sheahan, a virologist studying COVID-19, wishes he could keep pace with the growing torrent of new scientific papers related to the pandemic. But there have just been too many—more than… Continue Reading

Mining Parliamentary Speeches for Insights

Harvard Dataverse: “ParlSpeech V2 contains complete full-text vectors of more than 6.3 million parliamentary speeches in the key legislative chambers of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, covering periods between 21 and 32 years. Meta-data include information on date, speaker, party, and partially agenda item… Continue Reading

Facebook released dataset of 10,000 hateful memes

Facebook AI Blog: “…In order for AI to become a more effective tool for detecting hate speech, it must be able to understand content the way people do: holistically. When viewing a meme, for example, we don’t think about the words and photo independently of each other; we understand the combined meaning together. This is… Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence Is Driving A Silicon Renaissance

Forbes: “The semiconductor is the foundational technology of the digital age. It gave Silicon Valley its name. It sits at the heart of the computing revolution that has transformed every facet of society over the past half-century. The pace of improvement in computing capabilities has been breathtaking and relentless since Intel introduced the world’s first… Continue Reading