- The normalization feeling that seems to have set in, for some, about COVID. Crises can only stay urgent crises in people’s minds for so long. All our optimistic and energetic action at the beginning of shelter-in-place orders seems to have mostly subsided, and now we’re just… sad, or waiting for it to go away. Or preparing to forget that this happened, which would be a really disappointing waste of the opportunity to learn and change things.
- Jaron Lanier and Glen Weyl’s WIRED op-ed, “AI is an Ideology, Not a Technology”:
- “The term ‘artificial intelligence’ doesn’t delineate specific technological advances.… AI only references a subjective measure of tasks that we classify as intelligent. For instance, the adornment and ‘deepfake’ transformation of the human face, now common on social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, was … called image processing 15 years ago, but [is] routinely termed AI today. The reason is, in part, marketing.… If ‘AI’ is more than marketing, then it might be best understood as one of a number of competing philosophies that can direct our thinking about the nature and use of computation.
- “A clear alternative to ‘AI’ is to focus on the people present in the system. If a program is able to distinguish cats from dogs, don’t talk about how a machine is learning to see. Instead talk about how people contributed examples in order to define the visual qualities distinguishing ‘cats’ from ‘dogs’ in a rigorous way for the first time. There’s always a second way to conceive of any situation in which AI is purported. This matters, because the AI way of thinking can distract from the responsibility of humans.…
- “‘AI’ might be a threat to the human future, as is often imagined in science fiction, or it might be a way of thinking about technology that makes it harder to design technology so it can be used effectively and responsibly. The very idea of AI might create a diversion that makes it easier for a small group of technologists and investors to claim all rewards from a widely distributed effort.”
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