Michael Ondaatje's Golden Man Booker Speech is Really Great | Literary Hub
I wish in fact that those of us on this Man Booker list had been invited to propose and speak about what we felt were the overlooked classics—in order to enlarge what ought to be read, as opposed to relying on the usual suspects.
books  literature 
10 hours ago
Sapping Attention: Google Books and the open web.
part of what's going here may be that the same algorithm is used for books as in Google's image search. If you do an image search for these phrases, it pops up images from the Wikipedia article and the Amazon page (and, now, this very blog post). Google appears to treat books both as collections of text to be searched, *and* as entities that exist on the web described through the text of web pages.
google  search 
3 days ago
How Wikipedia Chose the Image for the ‘Human’ Entry | WIRED
Which is why the editors of the “human” entry on Wikipedia were having such a hard time in 2003. The crowdsourced encyclopedia, in theory, offers a solution to the problem of representation; no single writer has control over the way in which a subject is presented. But still: They had to choose a single image to lead the entry.
3 days ago
Google DeepMind and healthcare in an age of algorithms | SpringerLink
DeepMind Technologies Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Google conglomerate, Alphabet Inc. In 2016, DeepMind announced its first major health project: a collaboration with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust,
google  data  healthcare 
3 days ago
Technology | Academics | Policy - Professors Evan Selinger and Woodrow Hartzog Disclose the Privacy Risks of Facial Recognition
Imagine a technology that is potently, uniquely dangerous — something so inherently toxic that it deserves to be completely rejected, banned, and stigmatized. Something so pernicious that regulation cannot adequately protect citizens from its effects.

That technology is already here. It is facial recognition technology, and its dangers are so great that it must be rejected entirely.
face-detection  surveillance  ethics 
3 days ago
This Silicon Valley Billionaire Wants to Give Us All Robot Bodies - Motherboard
The Beam was designed as a video conferencing tool, allowing instant, face-to-face communication—kind of like FaceTime or Skype, except you can drive the screen on legs around the room remotely, with a keyboard. It could one day become much more. Those with disabilities can have access to a rudimentary body that allows them to go where they otherwise can't. (Edward Snowden has famously used one in his public appearances.)
4 days ago
Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras - The New York Times
For technology to be effective, it doesn’t always have to work. Take China’s facial-recognition glasses....The system remains more of a digital patchwork than an all-seeing technological network. Many files still aren’t digitized, and others are on mismatched spreadsheets that can’t be easily reconciled. Systems that police hope will someday be powered by A.I. are currently run by teams of people sorting through photos and data the old-fashioned way...He described the approach as a panopticon, the idea that people will follow the rules precisely because they don’t know whether they are being watched.
china  surveillance  panopticon  face-detection  mechanical-turk 
5 days ago
Scooters littering US city streets shout at people: 'Unlock me or I'll call the police' | Technology | The Guardian
So one has to wonder what a Silicon Valley startup was thinking when it programmed its electric scooters to yell at people: “Unlock me to ride me, or I’ll call the police.”
voice  scooters  silicon-valley 
5 days ago
Trump’s Nativism Is Transforming the Physical Landscape - The Atlantic
The original theory of national parks and monuments was that they would exemplify the spirit of the country. They were the American cathedrals. But instead they attract fights over collective identity...the land exemplifies the country: It is the site of fights over whose country is being taken away, who is the patriot and who is the usurper or trespasser.
climate-change  environment  politics  nature  parks  coal 
6 days ago
Michael Hastings: Confessions of a Presidential Campaign Reporter | GQ
But there was also a feeling that you were in a Gulag on wheels. Everyone traveling with the campaigns is completely dependent on them for food and transportation and shelter—not to mention any little interview crumb they toss our way, any remotely intriguing piece of information. Political reporting is founded on very dysfunctional relationships. You need them and they need you, but on some level they hate and distrust you (and on some level you, too, hate and distrust them), and in my experience a lot of that gets sublimated into food
elections  campaign-trail 
6 days ago
This Famous Campaign Stop Is Actually A Mirage : It's All Politics : NPR
These days, Robie's is usually only open when there's a presidential candidate in town.

Robie's reputation as a political stop has given Hooksett an outsized presence in the media every four years.
politics  new-hampshire 
6 days ago
Inside a $1 Billion Real Estate Company Operating Entirely in VR
Incredibly, this growth is largely the result of eXp Realty’s use of an online virtual world similar to Second Life. That means every employee, contractor, and the thousands of agents who work at the company show up to work—team meetings, training seminars, onboarding sessions—all inside a virtual reality campus.
vr  dematerialization 
7 days ago
Unpopular Front | The New Yorker
What would have been the geopolitical uses of abstraction? The theory, as it was proposed in articles published in Artforum and other journals in the nineteen-seventies, and then elaborated in Serge Guilbaut’s “How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art” (1983) and Frances Stonor Saunders’s “The Cultural Cold War” (1999), is that abstract painting was an ideal propaganda tool. It was avant-garde, the product of an advanced civilization. In contrast to Soviet painting, it was neither representational nor didactic.
theory  cold-war  art  art-history  propoganda 
7 days ago
Goodhart's law - Wikipedia
"When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."[1] One way in which this can occur is individuals trying to anticipate the effect of a policy and then taking actions which alter its outcome.[2]
policy  metrics  analytics  ethics 
7 days ago
Google Is Reportedly Looking to Take Over Call Centers With Its Duplex AI Assistant
A report from The Information suggests Google may be making a play to find other applications for its human-sounding assistant and has already started experimenting with ways to use Duplex to do with away roles currently filled by humans—
automation  customer-service 
8 days ago
How Copyright Law Can Fix Artificial Intelligence’s Implicit Bias Problem | UW School of Law
Copyright law limits bias mitigation techniques, such as testing AI through reverse engineering, algorithmic accountability processes, and competing to convert customers. The rules of copyright law also privilege access to certain works over others, encouraging AI creators to use easily available, legally low-risk sources of data for teaching AI, even when those data are demonstrably biased.
copyright  ai  bias 
8 days ago
Alibaba's new AI can generate 20,000 lines of copy in a second - CNET
Humans will still need to do the job of choosing the best lines from all the machine-generated ones. Overall, the AI will help cut down time spent designing copy to fit posters and web banners.
ai  copywriting  content  bots 
8 days ago
Adrian Piper’s Show at MoMA is the Largest Ever for a Living Artist. Why Hasn’t She Seen It? - The New York Times
Throughout a series of long missives, the editor was both solicitous and flattering toward Piper but also bizarrely patronizing, trying to coach her through her own conclusions in a way that I had never seen before in my professional life. In frustration, after months, she pulled the piece
art  race  editing 
8 days ago
Self-driving cars are headed toward an AI roadblock - The Verge
Andrew Ng — a former Baidu executive, Drive.AI board member, and one of the industry’s most prominent boosters — argues the problem is less about building a perfect driving system than training bystanders to anticipate self-driving behavior. In other words, we can make roads safe for the cars instead of the other way around.
self-driving  ai  automation  auto  cars  transportation 
9 days ago
Tech Ethics Curricula: A Collection of Syllabi – Casey Fiesler – Medium
In November 2017, a New York Times op-ed accused academics of being “asleep at the wheel” when it comes to tech ethics. A flurry of response and conversation ensued, amassing many tweetstorms and counter-op-eds, including this one from my collaborators on the PERVADE data ethics project.
ethics  syllabus 
9 days ago
What if people were paid for their data? - Data workers of the world, unite
“artificial intelligence” is something of a misnomer. Messrs Weyl and Posner call it “collective intelligence”: most AI algorithms need to be trained using reams of human-generated examples, in a process called machine learning. Unless they know what the right answers (provided by humans) are meant to be, algorithms cannot translate languages, understand speech or recognise objects in images. Data provided by humans can thus be seen as a form of labour which powers AI
ai  labor  mechanical-turk  wages-for-facebook 
9 days ago
Is My Phone Recording Everything I Say?
Like good scientists, they refuse to say that their study definitively proves that your phone isn’t secretly listening to you, but they didn’t find a single instance of it happening. Instead, they discovered a different disturbing practice: apps recording a phone’s screen and sending that information out to third parties.
facebook  surveillance  privacy 
10 days ago
The #MeToo Backlash — The Crisis is Just Beginning » Bernstein Crisis Management
And remain aware, please, that not all #MeToo cases are going to be cut and dried, with documentation and/or multiple witnesses supporting the accuser.  And it’s those “in between” cases that are going to require the most delicate communications, so that lives aren’t ruined or harmed further.
metoo  pr  communications 
13 days ago
BBC - Culture - Why tyrants love to write poetry
The archetype of the poet-tyrant is Roman emperor Nero (37-68 CE), the vain, self-pitying exhibitionist whose debased rule mirrored his deficient art. Nero’s historiographers, Tacitus and Suetonius, suggest that Rome was as tormented by his poetry as by his policies.
art  aesthetics  humanity  poetry  criticism 
13 days ago
Ice Poseidon’s Lucrative, Stressful Life as a Live Streamer | The New Yorker
If his viewers enjoy what he is doing, they post laughing emojis and cries of “content!”
content  gamers  camgirls  video 
13 days ago
They Want New Blood | Nathan Taylor Pemberton
, “Congress could probably use a few more empaths.”...Patel’s operation, it has been noted, is the Casper of congressional campaigns. It speaks the language of enlightened global design, in other words, relying on sans-serif fonts, flat colors, and ample amounts of calming white space, expressing a messaging slickness rarely seen in a political campaign this side of 2008...“But when you co-opt these trends for a more specific cause and location, especially in a place as vibrant, diverse, and multicultural as New York City, it can come across as superficial and a bit alienating,” Robbs concludes. “There isn’t even a clear call to action on his posters.”
nyc  brooklyn  politics  wtf  design  millenials 
14 days ago
NSA Admits It Improperly Collected a Huge Amount of Americans’ Call Records
A purge of three years of call data was “so radical” a solution, Sanchez said, that it raised questions over the resemblance the post-2015 phone records program has had, in practice, to what the Obama and Trump administrations have portrayed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) overseeing it.
surveillance  nsa 
14 days ago
Why Tech Employees Are Rebelling Against Their Bosses | WIRED
“From the outside, it looks like there’s been an 180-degree change from last month to this month,” she says. In reality, she says, the 2016 election and internal disputes over diversity at Google have awakened employees to “the connections between the technology we’re building, issues in the workplace, and what impact that has had on our communities and on our world.”
google  ethics  tech-workers 
15 days ago
How We Can 'Free' Our Facebook Friends
But here comes the irony: The one thing you can’t download from Facebook is the one thing you’d most need if you wanted to move to a competing social network—your friends’ contact information, or any other unique information that would help you reconnect with them on another service. Instead, all you get is a list of their names, which isn’t very helpful for re-identifying specific individuals,
facebook  gdpr 
17 days ago
Flying Dragon Robot Transforms Itself to Squeeze Through Gaps - IEEE Spectrum
modular flying robot powered by ducted fans that can transform literally on the fly, from a square to a snake
drones  robots 
17 days ago
Ur-Fascism | by Umberto Eco | The New York Review of Books
In my country today there are people who are wondering if the Resistance had a real military impact on the course of the war. For my generation this question is irrelevant: we immediately understood the moral and psychological meaning of the Resistance. For us it was a point of pride to know that we Europeans did not wait passively for liberation
fascism  italy 
17 days ago
The demise of the nation state | News | The Guardian
Big data companies (Google, Facebook etc) have already assumed many functions previously associated with the state, from cartography to surveillance. Now they are the primary gatekeepers of social reality: membership of these systems is a new, corporate, de-territorialised form of citizenship, antagonistic at every level to the national kind. And, as the growth of digital currencies shows, new technologies will emerge to replace the other fundamental functions of the nation state. The libertarian dream – whereby antique bureaucracies succumb to pristine hi-tech corporate systems, which then take over the management of all life and resources – is a more likely vision for the future than any fantasy of a return to social democracy.
economics  politics  citizenship  borders 
17 days ago
Trump's catch-and-detain policy snares many who call the U.S. home
The computer-based Risk Classification Assessment uses statistics to determine an immigrant’s flight risk and danger to society.

Previously, the tool automatically recommended either “detain” or “release.” Last year, ICE spokesman Bourke said, the agency removed the “release” recommendation, but he noted that ICE personnel can override it.

The impact of these changes was immediate. The number of immigrants with no criminal history that ICE booked into detention tripled to more than 43,000 in 2017 from a year earlier, according to agency data.
ice  machine-learning  algorithms  immigration 
17 days ago
DNA Testing Might Help Reunite Families Separated by Trump. But It Could Create a Privacy Nightmare.
“We appreciate the offer, but that’s not a strategy that we really agree with,” Jennifer Falcon, communications director at RAICES, told The Intercept. “These are already vulnerable communities, and this would potentially put their information at risk with the very people detaining them. They’re looking to solve one violation of civil rights with something that could cause another violation of civil rights.”
23andme  data  surveillance  dna 
18 days ago
Shape Arts | How to Get an Exhibition
, we are not in a film, and now that I have a footing in this system I would like to formally write the rosebud cheat codes as a guide not only to my past self but for upcoming artists in general so they are allowed to know how they can be in exhibitions, from little diddy ones all the way to Tate.
art  exhibition 
18 days ago
Meet the Creators of the 'Machine Learning President' Game Co-Opted by the Mercers
On the only night the Machine Learning President had ever been played—at least, as far as its creators knew until The New Yorker revealed today that it had become part of a Mercer ski trip—the players included tech investors and leaders, as well as policymakers. The group of about 40 played it at an invite-only space in San Francisco’s ritzy Marina District, and they were instructed not to talk about the game on social media.
games  ai  simulation  gaming  rpg  futurist 
19 days ago
A Parlor Game at Rebekah Mercer’s Has No Get Out of Jail Free Card | The New Yorker
the Machine Learning President. Essentially, it is a race to the Oval Office in three fifteen-minute rounds. It’s a role-playing game, more like Assassin than like Monopoly, although players of this game do start out with an allotment of “cash” to spend on pushing their agendas, which can include “algorithmic policing” and “mass deportation.”..., players of Mercer’s game try to utilize “machine learning”—that is, artificial intelligence driven by algorithms—to enhance their odds of winning.
games  trump  wtf  gaming  machine-learning 
19 days ago
Congress grilled Mark Zuckerberg, but lawmakers really should look in the mirror
. We must go far beyond creating better user agreements that will be broken as easily as treaties with indigenous people have been, and grapple with the broken culture that fosters data reuse. The only information that Facebook, and for that matter, Congress, deserves is a lesson on the history of how they made data reuse not only possible but also legal.
21 days ago
Opinion | The Snake Oil of the Second-Act Industry - The New York Times
professional upgrade after taking a pause from the work force to have kids — a story so familiar to many of us that it could serve as an omnipresent soundtrack. One middle-aged father of four went back to school to study tech. His degree from the ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit college that is now defunct, left him $59,000 in debt and employed at close to the same earning capacity he was before he started the program.
labor  work  income-inequality 
21 days ago
Facebook is using your Instagram photos to train its image recognition AI | TechCrunch
When you’re operating at this scale — the largest of the tests used 3.5 billion Instagram images spanning 17,000 hashtags — even Facebook doesn’t have the resources to closely supervise the data. While other image recognition benchmarks may rely on millions of photos that human beings have pored through and annotated personally, Facebook had to find methods to clean up what users had submitted that they could do at scale.
facebook  machine-learning  instagram 
22 days ago
David Larrimore - Chief Technology Officer - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) | LinkedIn
“Computers and Technology are binary. They run on yes or no, on or off, true or false, or 1 or 0. But as an artist, we know that binary is merely a medium and the canvas is not paper, but how people get things done. ” ~ David Larrimore
ice  immigration  banality-of-evil  fasicm 
24 days ago
Facebook and Google must do more to support Wikipedia | WIRED UK
Everyone knows the difference between tending a community garden for the use of their neighbours, and tending it for a company to throw a corporate picnic.
26 days ago
If You’re A Facebook User, You’re Also a Research Subject - Bloomberg
The free gifts are just one of the little-known and complicated ways Facebook works with academic researchers. For scholars, the scale of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users provides an irresistible way to investigate how human nature may play out on, and be shaped by, the social network. For Facebook, the motivations to work with outside academics are far thornier, and it’s Facebook that decides who gets access to its data to examine its impact on society.
facebook  ethics  research  academia 
26 days ago
Women on the Verge - bookforum.com / current issue
Since late 2016, a whole slew of sunny, triumphalist works about the social, political, and cultural progress being made in one corner or another have been forced to add awkward, doomy turns to their introductions and conclusions, the beginnings and ends of their chapters.
writing  books 
26 days ago
Dr. Space Junk Unearths the Cultural Landscape of the Cosmos | The New Yorker
Archeology can be defined as the study of material objects, not just old objects, and Gorman believes that considering things like an oxygen tank from Skylab, a glove dropped on the moon, or a defunct satellite still circling our planet as archeological artifacts helps reframe our relationship to space. How might we think differently, she asks, if we considered space as a cultural landscape with richly layered scientific, political, and religious meanings, instead of as an empty vacuum that anybody with heroic ambitions—and a bank balance to match—can venture into with impunity?
26 days ago
Elon Musk and the Failure of Our Imagination in Space
Permanent ownership claims to an asteroid, whether by a company or a bunch of college space nerds, are unlawful—some might even say rapacious.” ...space barons are shrewdly—one might say cynically—tapping into our respect for astronauts and our idealism about what space represents.
space  elon-musk  good-writing  space-barons 
26 days ago
The Dark Side of the Orgasmic Meditation Company - Bloomberg
Some former staffers say they called customers “marks” and referred to themselves as “lions,” “tigers,” and sometimes “fluffers,” a term borrowed from porn sets. “You fluff someone to get them energetically and emotionally hard,”
silicon-valley  grift 
27 days ago
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