From Asimov’s laws of robotics to the present people have wrestled with the ethics of decision-making processes for AI’s. This seems urgent in this age of drones and robotics, but the greatest urgency is in the world of social media and information distillation.
The AI engines that work in drones and robots decide singular events – and when they fail responses and repair will be quick. The questions by failures to keep humans in the loop, how are decisions made in combat, or in traffic will be all answered over time after events and failures occur.
However our information aggregation and distillation AI’s work behind the scenes in murky fashion, uncontrolled by user inputs and they affect humanity’s entire direction now. It’s a scary world when whole populations become herdable or affected at once, and we don’t even understand the who, the how, or the why of these engines. This is why ethical design review is a must going forward.
Here we are four days in to the four years of Trump’s administration and on each of those days both the President and his press secretary have told multiple lies all of which are easily verified as false. What makes it worse is that they are the sort of lies a conceited paranoid twit would tell to shore up his self worth. They aren’t even substantial or meaningful, they don’t advance any real purpose other than the standard outrage of the day mythic swill the extremists in the GOP live, eat, and breath everyday. Trump appears to have been born and braised in bile like this his whole lifelong, and he knows nothing better I guess. He thinks he is the Republican president, and not the American President.
Keep in mind that one of his lies was to people in the House and Senate, who definitely know he’s lying – which is kind of insulting to them when you come down to it. After all of this you can’t help but wonder how long it will be before he proposes a horse for senator.
Muller was a go to guy for many climate deniers the last decade, so it’s nice that he’s finally discovered that the Malankovitch cycle, vulcanism, and other half baked theories of global warming are wrong, and that only CO2 accounts for our warming. Of course scientists knew that back in the fifties, and Isaac Asimov tried to convince folks back in the sixties, however the right is still in fossil fuel funded denial to this day.
The other day I saw someone online boast about how they knew some obscure English etymology fact as they proclaimed that they ‘didn’t even have to look it up!’ Their pride in their knowledge of a trivial fact was a revelation for me: my generation usually takes great pride in their knowledge of facts, as if knowing something obscure were of value by itself. However does knowing facts matter as much in this day and age, and does knowing more facts than your neighbor make your life better anymore than having more beer caps would?
Before you automatically object, please take a moment to weigh some values against the facts you treasure.
First – Is it better to know things, or is it better to know how to know new things? Is it better to commit things to memory, or is it better to commit patterns, learning tools, logic, faces, friends, beautiful moments, and art to memory? Is the knowledge that you have as important as the journey to gain it?
Second – Any bare fact in and of itself is pretty trivial – and gaining that fact is more trivial still. This thudded home to me with great force on my last vacation as I watched a couple unfold a map, and pore over it, trying to find some location. Meanwhile their teen kept trying to interject and they kept hushing her. It took the teen pushing her phone screen with a pinpointed map on it in her parents face for them to recognize that she had just asked her phone and found the spot they’d both been arguing over and trying to find for ten minutes. She’d done it in seconds.
Third – Our memories are fallible, and we all have built in biases. These are inescapable conditions of being human. What we think we know is sometimes wrong. e.g. My wife tells me I’m wrong a lot. I think it was Socrates who said something akin to “The unexamined life is not worth living” so why don’t you examine your assumptions and “knowledge” on occasion?
Fourth: Our biases aren’t all socially evolved conditions of being human, some are built in by purposeful lies. That’s known as propaganda, and propaganda is driven by fear and hate. Propaganda only works with the ignorant, or the with the willfully ignorant who never test their knowledge, challenge their assumptions, or question what they hear.
Fifth: Your human perceptions are also flawed, maybe that song’s not really about a cross-eyed bear. (mondegreen – you could look it up.)
So why think you know some fact, or take a guess, when instead you can just ask Google, Siri, Alex, or even Bing? Why not double check even if you think you know? When I thought I knew the quote author above I was a bit wrong…. Yes, it was Socrates sort of, but only as paraphrased by Plato’s recollection of his speech at his trial. I just learned something new that I thought I already knew. So there’s the power of augmenting your intelligence. Finding that out was as simple as asking my pad.
Perhaps to my generation facts are of more value simply because of the efforts you had to go to just to obtain them – as my many trips to the library for my high school debate team attest to… nowadays finding things out has become trivial with all of the online data tools and search engines that we have at our beck and call.
In this millenium why shouldn’t you Google, ask Siri, or Alexa, almost anything just to double check? Why wouldn’t you augment your intelligence with the biggest brain and knowledge base on the planet: the Internet? Please take a New Year’s resolution to start asking Google and Siri more, start augmenting your feeble human intelligence, in this coming year stop handicapping your brain friends. Be not proud of what you know – instead be proud that you are smart enough to look it up.
Some key concepts come up in this discussion of trust and corporate principles in the Post Snowden age of the internet. Pay attentions to Microsoft’s conclusions on when to redirect government subpoenas and when to deny extraterritorial requests.
“…but secret courts with secret decisions are NOT part of the American legal tradition” — Brad Smith — Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president of Legal and Corporate Affairs on the need for reform of the FISA court.
Harvard Business Review covers the internet of things, but everyone is probably wondering what the heck is meant when people say that. The (with a capital T and capital I) Internet of things is all of the public accessible things on The Public Internet plus a subset. The subset internet of everything are the things that are semi-private to private but still accessible to private parties via internet. So in the view below you see that a nearby view of things for me shows some Global Bike Share stations, some Raspberry Pi‘s, and some Netatmo & other weather stations. You can click on the “Thingful” icon and pull up a map of your area if you want to as well.
This area is somewhat un-thinged, and un- smart compared to some cities – that will change dramatically over the next decade. In time you might see those tennis courts get a public schedule, the transit stations might show up along with real time mapping of the actual buses, web cams will pop up, restaurant menus, and some things people haven’t yet imagined will also show up.
The internet of things is going to grow up organically around us over time, and in some exponential fashion — the more things that are on the internet, the more reason there is to have even more things that are on the internet. As that occurs it will sort itself into Public, semi-public, and private spheres – with some devices and sensors present in more than one of those overlapping zones.
In your private intranet you will have things at home that can only be reached internally like maybe your security cameras, and you might have other things that can be reached over the public internet with biometric passkeys, certificates, and/or two step authentication, such as your DVR or media center. You might also have a public accessible weather station or other sensors fully public on the internet (like some of the Netatmo’s in the map above.)
In fully smart cities like Santander, Spain, all sorts of services and things might be available. In other cities, like mine, you might see smart infrastructure and services slowly integrated as refresh and replace cycles hit, and as new infrastructure is constructed. In Lenexa they’ve added an app for users to let the publics works folks know when there’s a problem. So you can snap a photo of the streetlight that’s out from your phone, upload it with the GPS coordinates, and a crew will come out to replace the bulb.
The interactive features and networked devices in smart Stadiums, factories, transport hubs, and other public venues are still evolving quickly, and will continue to do so because we do live in an exciting time and like the HBR article says, it’s not just about smart refrigerators and things in your home.
by Scott Berinato | 11:00 AM October 14, 2014 Harvard Business Review
The Internet of Things is definitely becoming a Thing, in the same way that big data’s a Thing or the sharing economy’s a Thing. And the thing about a thing that becomes a Thing is, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that made it a thing before everyone declared it the Next Big Thing that will change everything.
Got it? Good. We’ll start there. With the hype over the Internet of Things behind us. Because whether or not it’s a Thing, the internet of things is already a lot of things. Here’s a look at a tiny, tiny slice of it:
Those are a couple of dozen air quality sensors located around Boston, as documented by Thingful, a search engine for publicly available Internet of Things things (including sharks!). Click on a dot to get real-time information on air quality in the area. That alone may only cross the threshold of “neat,” but it’s also the foundation of real social and business applications.
The new IOS extensions are Apple’s way of trying to meld their walled garden gear into the Internet of things. Essentially Apple has to poke more holes in the garden walls if they want their devices to stay relevant and useful in the coming home constellation of other devices and applications that must interact, talk with each other, and most important – know their context and their user’s context, in order to provide best utility and “artificial AI” semi-aware functionality. The real challenge is to keep those holes secure while functional.
Standards will evolve for this eventually…
Explaining iOS 8’s extensions: Opening the platform while keeping it secure | Ars Technica
Allowing third-party apps to communicate with other apps is just one of the problems extensions are meant to solve—third-party keyboards, connecting apps to cloud services other than iCloud, and the new Notification Center widgets are all their own kind of extensions.
Not all parts of iOS can be changed (or “extended”) by third parties. If you wanted to replace one of the default apps with your own or add some kind of toggle to the Control Center, you can’t do that. Apple defines a handful of pre-set “extension points” to show developers where they can add stuff. The iOS 8 extension points are as follows: