1674
An Apology for the Internet — From the People Who Built It
Even those who designed our digital world are aghast at what they created. A breakdown of what went wrong — from the architects who built it.
remorse 
3 days ago
Alliance for Financial Inclusion - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Purpose: to support The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) scale their activities and create a sustainable, member-owned institution which supports smart financial inclusion policy solutions
Amount: $28,325,947
financial_inclusion 
6 days ago
To Bartolomeo Romano | Georgetown University Library
Occupy yourself in beholding and bewailing your own imperfections rather than contemplating the imperfections of others.
advice 
12 days ago
Private Philanthropy for Development - en - OECD
7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PRIVATE PHILANTHROPY AND DEVELOPMENT

The total volume of philanthropic funding for development was USD 24 billion in 2013-2015. 
Globally, philanthropy is the 3rd provider of health funding in developing countries.
Health, by far, is the sector that benefits the most from philanthropy. 
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alone accounts for half of all philanthropic giving to developing countries. 
Most philanthrophic funds come from the United States. 
Africa is the region that benefits most from philanthropy.
Foundations working for development ’’play it safe”: 86% of foundations’ grants are for no longer than five years.
philanthropy  development 
13 days ago
Private philanthropy funding for development modest compared to public aid, but its potential impact is high, says OECD - OECD
Though philanthropic flows are relatively modest compared to official development assistance (ODA), their contribution is substantial in certain sectors, according to a new OECD report. For the first time, Private Philanthropy for Development uses global, comparable data to analyse how private foundations are supporting development.


The report is based on a survey conducted by the OECD, in collaboration with the Global Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) and applies OECD-DAC statistical reporting standards. The data is thus fully comparable to ODA flows.
philanthropy  development 
13 days ago
Liminal Leadership – Kosmos Journal
I was sent an entry for a contest to win a prize of several million dollars awarded to the person that provided the winning project for developing social collaboration. The irony was too much. Competing for ideas on collaboration is a perfect illustration of why so much change-making today is riddled with toxic fumes of the last century’s hero-envy. The rush-for-the-gold and step-over-the-next-guy approach is the thinking that got us into this mess. Surely, it won’t get us out. This sort of contest will divide people who could be working together. They will need to keep secrets about their work, lest their ideas be stolen; they will claim credit instead of giving it. The hunger for the keynote gig, the best seller, the viral meme about how to save the world is better suited for Wall Street than for change-makers. Watch out. The future lies in the capacity to understand and respond to interdependency. When you see collaboration with a promise of fame or awards, you are seeing lingering ideologies of capitalism.
philanthropy  competitions  prizes  challenges  networks 
13 days ago
OECD Centre on Philanthropy - Data and analysis on global philanthropy for development
The OECD Centre on Philanthropy will contribute to the global demand for more and better data and analysis on global philanthropy for development. It will seek to bring together relevant efforts from existing research centres and projects, expand the OECD database, and provide research and analysis on global trends and impact of philanthropy for development in the context of the 2030 Agenda.
philanthropy  development 
13 days ago
Stewardship in the "Age of Algorithms" | Lynch | First Monday
This paper explores pragmatic approaches that might be employed to document the behavior of large, complex socio-technical systems (often today shorthanded as “algorithms”) that centrally involve some mixture of personalization, opaque rules, and machine learning components. Thinking rooted in traditional archival methodology — focusing on the preservation of physical and digital objects, and perhaps the accompanying preservation of their environments to permit subsequent interpretation or performance of the objects — has been a total failure for many reasons, and we must address this problem. The approaches presented here are clearly imperfect, unproven, labor-intensive, and sensitive to the often hidden factors that the target systems use for decision-making (including personalization of results, where relevant); but they are a place to begin, and their limitations are at least outlined. Numerous research questions must be explored before we can fully understand the strengths and limitations of what is proposed here. But it represents a way forward. This is essentially the first paper I am aware of which tries to effectively make progress on the stewardship challenges facing our society in the so-called “Age of Algorithms;” the paper concludes with some discussion of the failure to address these challenges t
archives  AI 
18 days ago
'The Oligarchs Valley' by Yasha Levine and the parallels in India
What made the saga intriguing was the insistence of the World Bank and its interference to ensure that Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) got selected as the consultant to the project. Thousands of pages made available as a result of RTI (Right to Information) queries filed by activists, it emerged that despite PwC failing to make the cut in the technical and financial rounds, the World Bank insisted on changes to the evaluation criteria, that the marks were given by one particular member of the evaluation committee be excluded from the final evaluation so as to favour PwC, and so on.

What most people were unwilling to put on record was that PwC had on its payrolls the son of a powerful person in the government of India and who had long-standing ties to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Corruption 
18 days ago
Bernard Lietaer
Biography | Currency Solutions for a Wiser World
money  economics 
23 days ago
About - P2P Foundation
The P2P Foundation was conceived to help people, organizations and governments transition towards commons-based approaches to society through co-creating an open knowledge commons and a resilient, sustainable human network.

Between the paradigms of the network and the organization, the P2P Foundation exists as an ‘organized network’ which can facilitate the creation of networks, yet without directing them. Our primary aim is to be an incubator and catalyst for the emerging ecosystem, focusing on the ‘missing pieces’, and the interconnectedness that can lead to a wider movement.
p2p  commons 
25 days ago
Requiem for a dream…of an online impact investing platform
As the impact investing community processes the shuttering of ImpactUS, it’s time to acknowledge a painful reality: when it comes to building the definitive impact investment platform, we’ve dug too many graves.
platforms  markets  exchanges 
25 days ago
Global Solvers Co-Lab: 489 UN-limited
the Global Solvers Co-Lab: 489 UN-limited will take place from 22 – 27 September 2018 in Aubervilliers, France.
c&a 
26 days ago
Why Diversity Programs Fail
It shouldn’t be surprising that most diversity programs aren’t increasing diversity. Despite a few new bells and whistles, courtesy of big data, companies are basically doubling down on the same approaches they’ve used since the 1960s—which often make things worse, not better. Firms have long relied on diversity training to reduce bias on the job, hiring tests and performance ratings to limit it in recruitment and promotions, and grievance systems to give employees a way to challenge managers. Those tools are designed to preempt lawsuits by policing managers’ thoughts and actions.
DEI 
27 days ago
The What Went Wrong? Foundation : Peter DiCampo
Examples of failed development projects, mostly foundations in sub-Saharan Africa.
failure  development 
27 days ago
Feedbin (1,000+)
What Went Wrong? is a citizen journalism project started in sub-Saharan Africa to document all the unsustainable aid projects started by Westerners who fail to follow through after their PR blitz. Journalist Peter DeCampo spoke with BRIGHT magazine about the project, where Africans can text reports on local fiascoes and boondoggles:
failure 
27 days ago
Design Freedom
Stafford Beer's Massey Lectures.
stafford_beer  complexity  systems  futures 
27 days ago
Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain – review | Books | The Guardian
Silicon Valley’s success in prompting us to talk of “the gig economy” instead suggests that exploited men and women are the equivalent of rock stars, nipping into a club for a surprise session one night and heading off to Glastonbury the next. Far from being beaten down by lives of grinding insecurity, workers are freewheeling bohemians liberated from the routines that tied down their boring parents.
work 
28 days ago
Design Thinking Study: Parts Without A Whole? | This is Design Thinking!
In October 2015 we published our report “Parts Without a Whole? – The Current State of Design Thinking Practice in Organizations”, which inspired us to develop this website. The exploratory study looked at the many forms of design thinking adoption in organizations. You can download it below.
design_thinking  futures 
28 days ago
Making Knowledge Available | Public Seminar
A few weeks ago, shortly after reading that Elsevier, the world’s largest academic publisher, had made over €1 billion in profit in 2017, I received notice of a new journal issue on decolonization and media.* “Decolonization” denotes the dismantling of imperialism, the overturning of systems of domination, and the founding of new political orders. Recalling Achille Mbembe’s exhortation that we seek to decolonize our knowledge production practices and institutions, I looked forward to exploring this new collection of liberated learning online – amidst that borderless ethereal terrain where information just wants to be free. (…Not really.)

Instead, I encountered a gate whose keeper sought to extract a hefty toll: $42 to rent a single article for the day, or $153 to borrow it for the month. The keeper of that particular gate, mega-publisher Taylor & Francis, like the keepers of many other epistemic gates, has found toll-collecting to be quite a profitable business. Some of the largest academic publishers have, in recent years, achieved profit margins of nearly 40%, higher than those of Apple and Google.
open_access 
29 days ago
Stafford Beer Collection | Liverpool John Moores University
The Stafford Beer Collection consists of the personal library of Professor Stafford Beer, the founder of Management Cybernetics, who was appointed Honorary Professor of Organisational Transformation at LJMU in 1989.
PersonalArchiving  Stafford_Beer  complexity 
5 weeks ago
Culpabliss Error.PDF
Some forty years ago, the management of the largest departmental store in London's Oxford Street had a tremendous idea. If we divide the profit of each department by the floor area, we can determine the optimal use of floor space, they said. All we need to do is to copy the practice of the department that generates the most profit per square foot. So they did the exercise; and the most profitable area per square foot turned out to be the suite of rest rooms, with its coin-in- the-slot cubicles. For some reason, however, Selfridges was not turned into a gigantic public convenience.

I published that story in my second book, Decision and Control (Beer, 1966), exactly thirty years ago (describing it even then as “well known”) - and the book has remained in print ever since. Alas, the lesson of that story, and dozens of others like it, has not been learned to this day. Perhaps people file it away as a funny story. But it is actually an archetype of the reductive technique in action. This is the approach that expects to understand wholes, which are integral systems, by breaking them down into smaller and smaller parts. We need to remember that the basic technique of Western thinking, and of the whole body of science itself, is reductive - or to use a term more readily understood to be pejorative, it is reductionist.

I need a pejorative word; because the technique of thinking we use, despite its spectacular successes, is also responsible for the appalling mess in which we find ourselves on every side. The technique is not systemic. Indeed, it is anti-systemic. The world however is very much systemic....
futures  systems  stafford_beer  evaluation  assessment  complexity 
5 weeks ago
Impact of Social Sciences – It’s the Neoliberalism, Stupid: Why instrumentalist arguments for Open Access, Open Data, and Open Science are not enough.
Metrics, even better Alt-metrics, won’t make researchers or research more creative and innovative. The crux of the problem centers A Hunger Games-style “winner take all” dynamic that pervades commerce and in the Academy. A rapidly shrinking minority has any hope of gaining job security or the time and resources needed for autonomous research. In an employment environment where one slip means complete ejection from the academy, risk-taking becomes quasi-suicidal. With employment increasingly precarious, professional pressures balloon in ways that make risk taking and going outside of established norms unthinkable. Adding more or better metrics without addressing the underlying job security issues just adds to the ways people will be ejected from the research community.
metrics  open_data  open_access  risk 
5 weeks ago
It's simple. If we can't change our economic system, our number's up | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian
The trajectory of compound growth shows that the scouring of the planet has only just begun. As the volume of the global economy expands, everywhere that contains something concentrated, unusual, precious, will be sought out and exploited, its resources extracted and dispersed, the world's diverse and differentiated marvels reduced to the same grey stubble.

Some people try to solve the impossible equation with the myth of dematerialisation: the claim that as processes become more efficient and gadgets are miniaturised, we use, in aggregate, fewer materials. There is no sign that this is happening. Iron ore production has risen 180% in 10 years. The trade body Forest Industries tells us that "global paper consumption is at a record high level and it will continue to grow". If, in the digital age, we won't reduce even our consumption of paper, what hope is there for other commodities?
sustainability  futures 
5 weeks ago
Left and Right Agree that Russiagate is Hogwash, So Why Does It Live On? – Tablet Magazine
Buy into a storyline that turns FBI and CIA bureaucrats and their hand-puppets in the press into heroes while legitimizing the use of a vast surveillance apparatus for partisan purposes, and you’re in. Dissent, and you’re out, or worse—you’re defending Trump.
russia 
6 weeks ago
When Nerds Collide – Meredith L. Patterson – Medium
Treat censorship as damage and route around it. That’s censorship in the colloquial usage, so leave the “but we’re not the government” rhetoric at the door, please. National governments are one threat model; workplace governance is a different threat model; hackers are interested in self-government. Hackers’ gut response to any kind of speech policing — amplify the speech, as loudly and in as many places as possible — is, in its best-known form, what gives rise to the Streisand Effect, and is also why we react so stridently when ordered to constrain our speech habits Or Else. This sort of amplification is attractive to power-seekers, and the amplification of opposing ideas is anathema to them. Fortunately for power-seekers, the Internet offers up a pool of potential pitchfork mob participants just as readily as it delivers the gullible to 419 scammers. This alarms us, and if you’ve ever had to keep your own controversial beliefs quiet for fear of being dogpiled, you should understand why.
culture  FoE 
6 weeks ago
The CIA Democrats
One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds. This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates. National security operatives (56) outnumber state and local government officials (45), lawyers (34), corporate executives, businessmen and wealthy individuals (30) and other professionals (18) among the candidates for Democratic congressional nominations.
power  politics 
6 weeks ago
Six Ways the 'Resistance' Gave Trump a Dictator’s Toolkit
Just to sum up, the Democrats have helped, voted for, and often argued in favor of all of the following:

Giving Trump unlimited war powers.
Giving Trump unlimited trade negotiation powers.
Giving Trump unlimited surveillance powers.
Giving Trump the power to lock someone up indefinitely without a trial or charges under the National Defense Authorization Act.
Giving Trump the power to assassinate American citizens without a trial or charges.
Giving Trump’s administration full control of our election system infrastructure.
blowback  politics  power 
6 weeks ago
Censorship, with EU procedures
Any interference by intermediaries with the free and open flow of information
and ideas, be it by automated means or not, should be based on clear and
transparent policies and must be limited to specific legitimate purposes, such as
to restrict access to illegal content, as determined either by law or by a judicial
authority or other independent administrative authority whose decisions are
subject to judicial review, or in accordance with their own content restriction
policies or codes of ethics, which may include flagging mechanisms.
censorship  FoE  illegalcontent 
6 weeks ago
NSA Used Porn to “Break Down Detainees” in Iraq — and Other Revelations From 297 Snowden Documents
in 2008, Skype “began its own secret program, Project Chess, to explore the legal and technical issues in making Skype calls readily available to intelligence agencies and law enforcement officials.”
surveillance 
7 weeks ago
America doesn’t need Russia to ruin democracy. It can do it itself. - The Washington Post
Still, let’s be honest: The elimination of Russian influence from U.S. cyberspace would not prevent another Pizzagate. A shutdown of Russian bots will still leave swarms of American bots free to deceive American voters. By its very nature, social media makes disinformation campaigns possible on a larger scale than ever before: Its algorithms encourage deep polarization, and its promise of anonymity opens the door to fraud. By its very nature, American society seems to be susceptible to these campaigns, too. Mueller’s indictment shouldn’t end our investigation into this problem. We should consider it just the beginning.
propaganda 
7 weeks ago
An Insider’s Take on Assessment: It May Be Worse Than You Thought - The Chronicle of Higher Education
"The whole assessment process would fall apart if we had to test for reliability and validity and carefully model interactions before making conclusions about cause and effect."

Because it’s fairly obvious that assessment has not caused (and probably will not cause) positive changes in student learning, and because it’s clear that this has been an open secret for a while, one wonders why academic administrators have been so acquiescent about assessment for so long.

Here’s why: It’s no accident that the rise of learning-outcomes assessment has coincided with a significant expansion in the use of adjunct faculty, the growth of dual enrollment, and the spread of online education. Each of these allows administrators to deliver educational product to their customers with little or no involvement from the traditional faculty. If they are challenged on the quality of these programs, they can always point out that assessment results indicate that the customers are learning just as much as the students in traditional courses.
evaluation  assessment  education  learning 
8 weeks ago
The Misguided Drive to Measure ‘Learning Outcomes’ - The New York Times
Without thoughtful reconsideration, learning assessment will continue to devour a lot of money for meager results.
assessment  academia  evaluation 
8 weeks ago
She Wrote a Farewell Letter to Colleagues. Then 80,000 People Read It. - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Either we’re giving Ph.D.s to a bunch of people who were actually not good scholars, or we are losing a lot of human capital and a lot of future knowledge production.
academia 
8 weeks ago
The Fundamental Uncertainty of Mueller’s Russia Indictments | The New Yorker
Loyal Putinites and dissident intellectuals alike are remarkably united in finding the American obsession with Russian meddling to be ridiculous. The intellectuals are amused to see Americans so struck by an indictment that adds virtually nothing to a piece published in the Russian media outlet RBC, back in October; I wrote at the time that the article showed the Russian effort to be more of a cacophony than a conspiracy. The Kremlin and its media are, as Joshua Yaffa writes, tickled to be taken so seriously. Their sub-grammatical imitations of American political rhetoric, their overtures to the most marginal of political players, are suddenly at the very heart of American political life. This is the sort of thing Russians have done for decades, dating back at least to the early days of the Cold War, but those efforts were always relegated to the dustbin of history before they even began.
russia  propaganda 
8 weeks ago
A Celebrity Philosopher Explains the Populist Insurgency | The New Yorker
Sloterdijk argues that taxation should be replaced with a system in which the richest members voluntarily fund great civic and artistic works. He believes that this kind of social web of happy givers and receivers existed until around the end of the Renaissance but was then obliterated by the rise of the European state. He gets excited about the profusion of philanthropic schemes emanating from Silicon Valley and sees in them an attractive model for the future.

...although it made Sloterdijk’s name, he remained an academic outsider, drifting from post to post for almost a decade. His response was to dismiss those who dismissed him—“Their codes and rituals are reliably antithetical to thought,”
philanthropy 
8 weeks ago
A So-Called Expert’s Uneasy Dive Into the Trump-Russia Frenzy | The New Yorker
The endless unfurling of the Trump-Russia story has occasioned an explosion in the number of experts in “information warfare,” “online influence operations,” “disinformation,” and the like. One reason for this is that the Russians’ efforts tend to be framed as a kind of giant machine, in which talking points generated by the Kremlin are “amplified” through a network of bots, fake Facebook pages, and sympathetic human influencers. The machine, we are told, is so sophisticated that only an expert, well-versed in terms such as “exposure,” “feedback loops,” and “active measures,” can peer into the black box and explain to the layperson how it works.
russia  propaganda 
8 weeks ago
The questions about AI that we should be asking | World Economic Forum
to understand better what AI will mean for our shared economic future, we should look past the headlines. We can start with insights from Project Syndicate commentators, who assess AI’s economic implications by situating the current technological revolution in a larger historical context. Their analyses suggest that AI will indeed reshape employment across advanced and developing economies alike, but also that the future of work will be but one small part of a much larger story.
AI 
8 weeks ago
Americans’ views on the rise of automation: 6 key findings | Pew Research Center
The public generally expresses more worry than enthusiasm about emerging automation technologies
AI  responsible_innovation 
8 weeks ago
Home | ImpactUs Marketplace
The ImpactUs Marketplace was formed with the goal of simplifying the impact investing process; providing impact investors, advisors, and institutions with solutions to accelerate the flow of capital to funds, companies, and projects that deliver community, societal, and environmental benefits. Unfortunately, we have had to make the difficult decision to cease operations.
ImpactUs is tremendously grateful to those organizations that were supporters of ImpactUs Marketplace and especially to those issuers, investors and financial professionals who utilized the platform and provided feedback and guidance that helped inform its development.

If you made an investment with an issuer on ImpactUs Marketplace, you should have received an email with instructions informing you who your new point of contact is. For your reference, their contact information is below:

Iroquois Valley Farms: Alex MacKay amackay@iroquoisvalleyfarms.com or 503-765-5272
Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF): Jessica Standiford jstandiford@liifund.org or 415-489-6110
CommonBond Communities: Ann Ruff ann.ruff@commonbond.org or 651-290-6234
Coastal Enterprises, Inc.: Liz Rogers erogers@ceimaine.org or 207-504-5890
marketplaces 
8 weeks ago
The Peculiar Business of Being Russian-American in Trump’s USA | by Anastasia Edel | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
What we’re dealing with now is the global assault by authoritarianism on democracy. On this new battlefield, complicity is deadly, and so is defeatism.
politics 
8 weeks ago
Witnessing the Collapse of the Global Elite - The Atlantic
But the nicely tailored generation represented in Munich this year seemed baffled by the re-entry into history of today’s authoritarians and fanatics. One wonders whether the attendees possess the steel of the earlier generation that took part in World War II, and in the subsequent struggle with Communism.
IYI  culture 
8 weeks ago
The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in STEM - The Atlantic
A new study explores a strange paradox: In countries that empower women, they are less likely to choose math and science professions.
education  gender  DEI 
8 weeks ago
Nick Seaver on Dissecting the Algorithmic Organism - MethodSpace
I end the article with a set of tactics for would-be ethnographers of algorithmic systems, which I wrote mostly to draw together methods literature I wish I had known about when I started doing my own research as a graduate student. Mostly, given the corporate settings these kinds of algorithms get built in, these tactics have to do with dealing with issues of access and secrecy.

But, the key thing here is that these problems are not new or unique to algorithms: there is a large body of anthropological and ethnographic methods literature on dealing with access concerns, distributed cultural phenomena, and secretive practice. (A couple of my favorite recent ethnographies deal with Freemasons and stage magicians, neither of which seem particularly high-tech, but which offer useful models for thinking about how to study knowledge practices that are intentionally hidden.)
ethnography  AI 
9 weeks ago
Writing essays by formula teaches students how to not think | Aeon Essays
Les Perelman, along with Louis Sobel, Milo Beckman, and Damien Jiang, invented a Babel Generator that is capable of producing essays from any three keywords, and of gaining a perfect score on the ETS assessment.
AI 
9 weeks ago
My Internet Mea Culpa – NewCo Shift
Regretful tweets here and there, but nothing formal, nothing serious. We’ve done the “my bad” as we bump someone holding a beer in a bar. We haven’t stopped and said “I’m sorry.”
I am not alone. In 2015 I got into a Twitter argument-slash-discussion with Alexis Ohanian about racism on Twitter. It was back when you could have civil arguments on Twitter. One that ended with me saying “I like you and you’re a good guy” and him saying “congrats on the book.” Here is all of it. Here is some of it:
remorse 
9 weeks ago
What students know that experts don't: School is all about signaling, not skill-building
Bryan Caplan is professor of economics at George Mason University and author of "The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money."
education  contrarians 
9 weeks ago
U.S. Intelligence Shuts Down Damning Report on Whistleblower Retaliation
The nation’s top intelligence watchdog put the brakes on a report last year that uncovered whistleblower reprisal issues within America’s spy agencies, The Daily Beast has learned. The move concealed a finding that the agencies—including the CIA and the NSA—were failing to protect intelligence workers who report waste, fraud, abuse, or criminality up the chain of command.
bureaucracy 
9 weeks ago
The Carpetbaggers of Tech | Julianne Tveten
In March, J.D. Vance—the character Horatio Alger would have written had he lived to see twenty-first-century San Francisco—became the suit-jacketed hype man for venture-capital firm Revolution LLC.
BigData  income_inequality  hype  remorse 
10 weeks ago
Nature journals tighten rules on non-financial conflicts
For this purpose, competing interests (both financial and non-financial) are defined as a secondary interest that could directly undermine, or be perceived to undermine, the objectivity, integrity and value of a publication through a potential influence on the judgements and actions of authors with regard to objective data presentation, analysis and interpretation. Non-financial competing interests can include a range of personal and/or professional relationships with organizations and individuals, including membership of governmental, non-governmental, advocacy or lobbying organizations, or serving as an expert witness.
scientism  agnotology 
11 weeks ago
Systems Change in a Polarized Country | Stanford Social Innovation Review
a key differentiator for systems change foundations is that they no longer try to pilot a small-scale program first and then take it to scale later; they confront the system at scale from the start. “Scale is not a separate question, that’s what it means to solve the problem,” says Larry Kramer,
philanthropy 
11 weeks ago
Global Challenges Foundation | About the Global Challenges Foundation
The Global Challenges Foundation was founded in 2012 by Swedish financial analyst and author Laszlo Szombatfalvy. The Foundation’s aim is to contribute to reducing the main global problems and risks that threaten humanity.
prizes  challenges  competitions 
11 weeks ago
How policymakers should approach AI
Artificial intelligence poses a range of challenges to policymakers. As a technology that is now pervasive, it is impacting on democracy, security and the global economy in ways that are not yet well-known to publics around the world – and, being covert, these impacts are generally not balanced against strong political will to shape them with effective policymaking. Equally, it is a field of technology beset by alarmist sentiments that have little bearing on the actual risks which it presents, or may yet present, to humanity.
Thoughtful policymaking will be required over the coming years and decades if AI is to be successfully and productively incorporated into human society – and it was with this in mind that I recently answered the call by the UK's House of Lords for evidence on AI. My answers to their questions are below, and I will add some concluding notes at the end.
AI 
12 weeks ago
Unconventional Wisdom | Stanford Social Innovation Review
The foundation asks four key questions: Is the problem pressing? Is there a critical mass of interest and support from the right stakeholders? Is there the potential for systemslevel change, enabling impact at scale? And does the issue fit with Rockefeller’s goals and capacities to make a difference?
discovery  innovation  philanthropy 
12 weeks ago
Funded by Gates and Zuckerberg, one company is on a quest to educate the world's poorest kids — Quartz
It’s hard to tell how much of the controversy surrounding Bridge arises from entrenched players feeling threatened (which they clearly do), and how much stems from Bridge being single-minded about its mission to the detriment of its own cause—a familiar malady in Silicon Valley. Part of the conflict is the model itself: To scale, it needs a highly replicable approach like scripted learning. But automating such a large part of teaching is necessarily fraught.
ecd  education  philanthropy 
january 2018
Man vs. machine in predicting successful entrepreneurs : evidence from a business plan competition in Nigeria
This paper compares the relative performance of man and machine in being able to predict outcomes for entrants in a business plan competition in Nigeria. The first human predictions are business plan scores from judges, and the second are simple ad hoc prediction models used by researchers. Thepaper compares these (out-of-sample) performances with those of three machine learning approaches. The results show that (i) business plan scores from judges are uncorrelated with business survival, employment, sales, or profits three years later; (ii) a few key characteristics of entrepreneurs such as gender, age, ability, and business sector do have some predictive power for future outcomes; (iii) modern machine learning methods do not offer noticeable improvements; (iv) the overall predictive power of all approaches is very low, highlighting the fundamental difficulty of picking winners; and (v) the models do twice as well as random selection in identifying firms in the top tail of performance.
prizes  challenges  competitions 
january 2018
Can predicting successful entrepreneurship go beyond “choose smart guys in their 30s”? Comparing machine learning and expert judge predictions | Impact Evaluations
Business plan competitions have increasingly become one policy option used to identify and support high-growth potential businesses. For example, the World Bank has helped design and support these programs in a number of sub-Saharan African countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. These competitions often attract large numbers of applications, raising the question of how do you identify which business owners are most likely to succeed?

In a recent working paper, Dario Sansone and I compare three different approaches to answering this question, in the context of Nigeria’s YouWiN! program.
prizes  challenges  competitions 
january 2018
Glenn Greenwald: Russia Investigation Is a Red Herring
The big truth — that American society is in dire need of reform and Russia is not to blame for that — can never be dislodged by the little truths.


“It is not an insubstantial portion of Democratic online loyalists who believe that if you deviate from Democratic Party orthodoxy on the Trump-Russia question, you are a paid Kremlin agent,” Greenwald says. And many of those who don’t believe Greenwald works for Vladimir Putin tend to think he does his bidding for free. “I love him,” says former Gawker editor John Cook, who worked with Greenwald at the Intercept. “He’s dead, tragically wrong on this.”

Thanks to this never-ending hot take, Greenwald has been excommunicated from the liberal salons that celebrated him in the Snowden era; anybody who questions the Russia consensus, he says, “becomes a blasphemer. Becomes a heretic. I think that’s what they see me as.” Greenwald is no longer invited on MSNBC, and he’s portrayed in the Twitter fever swamp as a leading villain of the self-styled Resistance. “I used to be really good friends with Rachel Maddow,” he says. “And I’ve seen her devolution from this really interesting, really smart, independent thinker into this utterly scripted, intellectually dishonest, partisan hack.” His view of the liberal online media is equally charitable. “Think about%
russia  heresy  greenwald 
january 2018
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