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OpenAI is a non-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe
artificial general intelligence.
deep  ethics  machine  research  debates 
3 days ago by kintopp
Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã Another Look at the Design Features of Human Language | Current Anthropology: Vol 46, No 4
The Pirah language challenges simplistic application of Hocketts nearly universally accepted design features of human language by showing that some of these features (interchangeability, displacement, and productivity) may be culturally constrained. In particular, Pirah culture constrains communication to nonabstract subjects which fall within the immediate experience of interlocutors. This constraint explains a number of very surprising features of Pirah grammar and culture: the absence of numbers of any kind or a concept of counting and of any terms for quantification, the absence of color terms, the absence of embedding, the simplest pronoun inventory known, the absence of relative tenses, the simplest kinship system yet documented, the absence of creation myths and fiction, the absence of any individual or collective memory of more than two generations past, the absence of drawing or other art and one of the simplest material cultures documented, and the fact that the Pirah are monolingual after more than 200 years of regular contact with Brazilians and the TupiGuaranispeaking Kawahiv.

Wierzbicka writes supportingly of Everett's conclusions; Sapir-Whorf rears its head.
-- Everett's work is supposedly not mainstream.
linguistics  debates  foundations  cultural_transmission  anthropology 
6 days ago by rvenkat
After years of dealing with REST APIs, when I first learned about GraphQL and the problems it’s attempting to solve, I could not resist tweeting the exact title of this article. via Pocket
api  debates  dev 
8 days ago by kintopp
In July, 2015, Epstein and Robertson published a widely acknowledged study on how much a biased search engine result ranking can shift undecided voters towards one candidate [1]. via Pocket
algorithm  debates  ethics  machine  policies 
18 days ago by kintopp
How The West Was Won | Slate Star Codex
-- Without an historian's critical approval, this speculation is as good as others... I have no idea whether this well written post is correct.
blog  debates  industrial_revolution  enlightenment  history_of_ideas  cultural_evolution  cultural_history 
18 days ago by rvenkat
Poor and Rich. The Pope’s Vision Compared With the Real Figures
Setting the threshold of extreme poverty at $1.90 per day, the World Bank has calculated that the number of those who are below this threshold plunged from 1.895 billion in 1990 to 736 million in 2015, in spite of the fact that in the meantime world population grew from 5.3 to 7.3 billion. Or in percentage terms, those extreme poor who in 1990 were 36 percent of world population, twenty-five years later have dropped to 10 percent.Not only that. Even raising the threshold of poverty to $5.20 per day, the drop is extraordinary. Especially in Asia, where those below this threshold in 1990 were 95.2 percent, while by 2015 they had fallen to 35 percent.No need to mention that “the god Market” so stigmatized by “L’Osservatore Romano” has played a very noteworthy part in the reduction of poverty.The inequalities remain, especially among that one percent who “keep getting richer” and the leftover 99 percent of the population.
economy  debates  catholic  pope  counter-view  statistics 
22 days ago by thomas.kochi
APA issues first-ever guidelines for practice with men and boys
--and the clarification issued here

--a neutral take on the controversy here

--and a more critical take here

--Having read the report and acknowledging my lack of qualifications, I think the report is silly. They could have done better at hiding their tribal allegiance and taken greater care if they seriously cared about this issue.
culture  gender  debates  gender_studies  queer_studies  cultural_psychology  report 
23 days ago by rvenkat
The Unfavorable Economics of Measuring the Returns to Advertising * | The Quarterly Journal of Economics | Oxford Academic
Twenty-five large field experiments with major U.S. retailers and brokerages, most reaching millions of customers and collectively representing $2.8 million in digital advertising expenditure, reveal that measuring the returns to advertising is difficult. The median confidence interval on return on investment is over 100 percentage points wide. Detailed sales data show that relative to the per capita cost of the advertising, individual-level sales are very volatile; a coefficient of variation of 10 is common. Hence, informative advertising experiments can easily require more than 10 million person-weeks, making experiments costly and potentially infeasible for many firms. Despite these unfavorable economics, randomized control trials represent progress by injecting new, unbiased information into the market. The inference challenges revealed in the field experiments also show that selection bias, due to the targeted nature of advertising, is a crippling concern for widely employed observational methods.

--Stupid question: If returns on advertising are hard to measure. Doesn't this make all the fuss about influence of disinformation campaigns in 2016 a bit of an overreaction? Or is it that the general results of this paper are not applicable in general settings when the ads are disguised as opinions of actual people?
economics  computaional_advertising  online_experiments  intervention  causal_inference  ?  via:randw  debates 
7 weeks ago by rvenkat

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