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Month: January 2017

We’re Building a World-Size Robot, and We Don’t Even Realize It (Bruce Schneier) – so what should NOT be connected

“Our only solution will be regulation, and that regulation will be foisted on us by a government desperate to “do something” in the face of disaster.

In this article I want to outline the problems, both technical and political, and point to some regulatory solutions. Regulation might be a dirty word in today’s political climate, but security is the exception to our small-government bias. And as the threats posed by computers become greater and more catastrophic, regulation will be inevitable. So now’s the time to start thinking about it.

We also need to reverse the trend to connect everything to the internet. And if we risk harm and even death, we need to think twice about what we connect and what we deliberately leave uncomputerized.

If we get this wrong, the computer industry will look like the pharmaceutical industry, or the aircraft industry. But if we get this right, we can maintain the innovative environment of the internet that has given us so much.”

We’re Building a World-Size Robot, and We Don’t Even Realize It
https://nymag.com/selectall/2017/01/the-internet-of-things-dangerous-future-bruce-schneier.html
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Tumultuous Times: ‘Political Uncertainty Has Doubled Around the World’ – SPIEGEL ONLINE

“Decreasing economic growth and increasing inequality leads to increased uncertainty. The U.S. and, to a certain extent, countries in Europe as well, have experienced growing inequality within their population for decades -- a small group of people own the lion's share of the wealth. Populists take advantage of this, and their policies are extremely hard to predict. And this has serious consequences. Companies shy away from risk, postponing their investment decisions in times of uncertainty, the stock markets get nervous and unemployment threatens to increase.”

Tumultuous Times: 'Political Uncertainty Has Doubled Around the World' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - International
https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-with-stanford-economist-on-political-uncertainty-of-trump-and-brexit-a-1131270.html
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The Gradual Disappearance of Jobs – very good read on UBI and negative income tax

“Once Moravec’s paradox is relegated to the history books, formerly protected unskilled low wage jobs will disappear due to automation. The only jobs to persist will be those needing creativity and an ability to work with artificial intelligences, an aptitude that will be seen as a positive skill and then as a way to achieve a larger social valorisation. At some point, the switchover to mass automation will be so overwhelming that the negative income tax will probably become toxic while a universal basic income will more efficiently stabilize our societies.”

The Gradual Disappearance of Jobs
https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/Gazengel20170125
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The Gradual Disappearance of Jobs

“Jacques Attali in France, economist and social theorist, asked for a moratorium on AI research following a Google publication about an experiment on two artificial intelligences inventing encryption of their own that a third AI failed to decipher; or also the alert raised by Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Elon Musk (see note ). Even if we’re ruling the artificial intelligence existential risk issue out, which does deserve a very precise analysis, the less dramatic hazards of a society without jobs will also challenge us. What of a world where machines dominate all production activities without any place for human beings - outdated, too slow and lacking the endurance to sustain a task to meet the new profitability standard dictated by autonomous machines?”

The Gradual Disappearance of Jobs
https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/Gazengel20170125
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Human Poker Pros Are Getting Trounced By Artificial Intelligence – is this a big deal?

“We’re at the halfway point of the epic 20-day, 150,000-hand “Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence” Texas Hold’em Poker tournament, and a machine named Libratus is trouncing a quartet of professional human players. Should the machine maintain its substantial lead—currently at $701,242—it will be considered a major milestone in the history of AI. Here’s why.”

Why It Matters That Human Poker Pros Are Getting Trounced By an AI
https://gizmodo.com/why-it-matters-that-human-poker-pros-are-getting-trounc-1791565551
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We might be heading for a jobless world, but that’s not as bad as it sounds …via WEF

“Guy Standing’s argument for a universal basic income (which he shared on the Forum’s blog back in December) is based on a pretty simple but powerful idea: that no matter who we are – a Wall Street banker or a school janitor – we are all contributing to society, and therefore deserve a fair share of its wealth.

The danger, philosopher Michael Sandel argued in a session on the topic, is that others now understand this income as a form of compensation for those whose skills are being rendered obsolete by the digital revolution.

“We’d essentially be saying: ‘We’re going to pay you off in exchange for you accepting a world in which your contribution to the common good isn’t really required, and what you do with your time, that’s your business.’ I think that would be corrosive,” he argued.

That’s because for most people, work is about so much more than just clocking in and picking up a pay check at the end of the month: our jobs are a fundamental part of our identity.

“Work is about more than making a living: it’s also a source of meaning,” Sandel said in another session. You take away that meaning and you end up with an understandably angry, frustrated group of people – rather like what we’re starting to see across the world.”

Davos leaders: we might be heading for a jobless world, but that’s not as bad as it sounds
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/davos-jobless-world-unemployment/
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Silicon Valley Utopianism the Dystopian Trump Presidency (Wired.com)

“In the wake of the election, some despairing technologists have wondered how to improve the products and systems that led to this result. “There are things we were optimizing for that had unintended consequences,” says Justin Kan, a venture capitalist at Y Combinator and co-founder of Twitch. In designing to maximize engagement, social networks inadvertently created hives of bias-confirmation and tribalism.

There are things we were optimizing for that had unintended consequences. Justin Kan, Y Combinator”

How Silicon Valley Utopianism Brought You the Dystopian Trump Presidency
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/silicon-valley-utopianism-brought-dystopian-trump-presidency/
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The Coming Tech Backlash – NewCo Shift

“50% of the jobs will be gone in ~20 years. Not from the great sucking sound of jobs to Mexico that can be stopped with a wall. Not from moving offshore to China. From automation that is moving quickly from blue collar manufacturing to white collar information work. Second only to climate change, this is the greatest disruption of our time, and I don’t mean that word in a good way.

A recent study found 50% of occupations today will be gone by 2020, and a 2013 Oxford study forecasted that 47% of jobs will be automated by 2034. A Ball State study found that only 13% of manufacturing job losses were due to trade, the rest from automation. A McKinsey study suggests 45% of knowledge work activity can be automated.

94% of the new job creation since 2005 is in the gig economy. These aren’t stable jobs with benefits on a career path. And if you are driving for Uber, your employer’s plan is to automate your job. Amazon has 270k employees, but most are soon-t0-be-automated ops and fulfillment. Facebook has 15k employees and a 330B market cap, and Snapchat in August had double their market cap per employee, at $48M per employee. The economic impact of Tech was raising productivity, but productivity and wages have been stagnant in recent years.”

The Coming Tech Backlash – NewCo Shift
https://shift.newco.co/the-coming-tech-backlash-82b22e0c1198?_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8CQA_66MQSsgwaTWFurXUt46g_9HJpIyQ07srAaTAmer2Gx7f5N41KRjw3LTFfNOZKQ53T9V9teAvSH8bm7H2IqTmMzQCdrP3fcDEZKErSuoUpbpo
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Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change – great read via the economist

“WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.”

Equipping people to stay ahead of technological change
https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21714341-it-easy-say-people-need-keep-learning-throughout-their-careers-practicalities
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Technology’s frantic speed will create ‘digital refugees’ with no clear fix, Salesforce’s Benioff warns at Davos

“Benioff said during the hour-long discussion on “Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

“I think now about how artificial intelligence will create digital refugees and how people will be displaced from jobs, tens of millions of people across the planet, because technology is moving forward so rapidly. . . . So companies, individuals have to decide are we going to be committed to improving the state of the world? We’re at a crucial point right now.”

He said the Fourth Industrial Revolution includes rapid advances in cloud computing, mobile computing, AI, genetic engineering —”all these things are happening all at once.” In just the past few months, AI has moved especially quickly, gaining “the ability for the software to learn more rapidly than we expected,” he said.

When asked by moderator Ngaire Woods, Dean of Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, what should be done about such digital refugees, Benioff replied, “Throughout history, technology has displaced workers, but then workers have the opportunity to be trained. . . . We need to have start having very serious conversations, multi-stakeholder dialogues, where we bring together corporate leaders, government leaders, social leaders, NGOs. Only through that are we going to get an answer. There is no clear path forward.””

Technology’s frantic speed will create ‘digital refugees’ with no clear fix, Salesforce’s Benioff warns at Davos
https://www.geekwire.com/2017/technologys-frantic-speed-will-create-digital-refugees-no-clear-fix-salesforces-benioff-warns-davos/
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How voice technology is transforming computing – good summary via The Economist

“Consumers and regulators also have a role to play in determining how voice computing develops. Even in its current, relatively primitive form, the technology poses a dilemma: voice-driven systems are most useful when they are personalised, and are granted wide access to sources of data such as calendars, e-mails and other sensitive information. That raises privacy and security concerns.

To further complicate matters, many voice-driven devices are always listening, waiting to be activated. Some people are already concerned about the implications of internet-connected microphones listening in every room and from every smartphone. Not all audio is sent to the cloud—devices wait for a trigger phrase (“Alexa”, “OK, Google”, “Hey, Cortana”, or “Hey, Siri”) before they start relaying the user’s voice to the servers that actually handle the requests—but when it comes to storing audio, it is unclear who keeps what and when.”

How voice technology is transforming computing
https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21713836-casting-magic-spell-it-lets-people-control-world-through-words-alone-how-voice
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How voice technology is transforming computing – must read economist story

“ANY sufficiently advanced technology, noted Arthur C. Clarke, a British science-fiction writer, is indistinguishable from magic. The fast-emerging technology of voice computing proves his point. Using it is just like casting a spell: say a few words into the air, and a nearby device can grant your wish”

How voice technology is transforming computing
https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21713836-casting-magic-spell-it-lets-people-control-world-through-words-alone-how-voice
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Just How Dangerous Is Alexa? Good read by Shelly Palmer

“The Willing Suspension of Our Agency

Which brings us to the next level of insanity: the willing suspension of our agency for our own enjoyment. This is past the point of giving up a “reasonable amount” of data or privacy to optimize the capabilities of our digital assistants. Suspension of our agency exposes our normally unmonitored physical activity, innocent mumblings and sequestered conversations. Some people believe this is happening with Alexa, Google Home, Siri and other virtual assistant and IoT systems. It may well be.”

Just How Dangerous Is Alexa?
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/just-how-dangerous-alexa-shelly-palmer
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