AI Now Report 2018 | December 2018  — from ainowinstitute.org

Meredith Whittaker , AI Now Institute, New York University, Google Open Research
Kate Crawford , AI Now Institute, New York University, Microsoft Research
Roel Dobbe , AI Now Institute, New York University
Genevieve Fried , AI Now Institute, New York University
Elizabeth Kaziunas , AI Now Institute, New York University
Varoon Mathur , AI Now Institute, New York University
Sarah Myers West , AI Now Institute, New York University
Rashida Richardson , AI Now Institute, New York University
Jason Schultz , AI Now Institute, New York University School of Law
Oscar Schwartz , AI Now Institute, New York University

With research assistance from Alex Campolo and Gretchen Krueger (AI Now Institute, New York University)

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Building on our 2016 and 2017 reports, the AI Now 2018 Report contends with this central problem, and provides 10 practical recommendations that can help create accountability frameworks capable of governing these powerful technologies.

  1. Governments need to regulate AI by expanding the powers of sector-specific agencies to oversee, audit, and monitor these technologies by domain.
  2. Facial recognition and affect recognition need stringent regulation to protect the public interest.
  3. The AI industry urgently needs new approaches to governance. As this report demonstrates, internal governance structures at most technology companies are failing to ensure accountability for AI systems.
  4. AI companies should waive trade secrecy and other legal claims that stand in the way of accountability in the public sector.
  5. Technology companies should provide protections for conscientious objectors, employee organizing, and ethical whistleblowers.
  6.  Consumer protection agencies should apply “truth-in-advertising” laws to AI products and services.
  7. Technology companies must go beyond the “pipeline model” and commit to addressing the practices of exclusion and discrimination in their workplaces.
  8. Fairness, accountability, and transparency in AI require a detailed account of the “full stack supply chain.”
  9. More funding and support are needed for litigation, labor organizing, and community participation on AI accountability issues.
  10. University AI programs should expand beyond computer science and engineering disciplines. AI began as an interdisciplinary field, but over the decades has narrowed to become a technical discipline. With the increasing application of AI systems to social domains, it needs to expand its disciplinary orientation. That means centering forms of expertise from the social and humanistic disciplines. AI efforts that genuinely wish to address social implications cannot stay solely within computer science and engineering departments, where faculty and students are not trained to research the social world. Expanding the disciplinary orientation of AI research will ensure deeper attention to social contexts, and more focus on potential hazards when these systems are applied to human populations.

 

Also see:

After a Year of Tech Scandals, Our 10 Recommendations for AI — from medium.com by the AI Now Institute
Let’s begin with better regulation, protecting workers, and applying “truth in advertising” rules to AI

 

Also see:

Excerpt:

As we discussed, this technology brings important and even exciting societal benefits but also the potential for abuse. We noted the need for broader study and discussion of these issues. In the ensuing months, we’ve been pursuing these issues further, talking with technologists, companies, civil society groups, academics and public officials around the world. We’ve learned more and tested new ideas. Based on this work, we believe it’s important to move beyond study and discussion. The time for action has arrived.

We believe it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology. The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle. Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.

In particular, we don’t believe that the world will be best served by a commercial race to the bottom, with tech companies forced to choose between social responsibility and market success. We believe that the only way to protect against this race to the bottom is to build a floor of responsibility that supports healthy market competition. And a solid floor requires that we ensure that this technology, and the organizations that develop and use it, are governed by the rule of law.

 

From DSC:
This is a major heads up to the American Bar Association (ABA), law schools, governments, legislatures around the country, the courts, the corporate world, as well as for colleges, universities, and community colleges. The pace of emerging technologies is much faster than society’s ability to deal with them! 

The ABA and law schools need to majorly pick up their pace — for the benefit of all within our society.

 

 

 

What Blockchain Could Mean for the Future of Journalism — from mediablog.prnewswire.com by Julian Dossett

 

Excerpt:

The digital era has utterly changed the way readers interact with the news.

Traditional news outlets struggle to remain relevant as the media sector’s influence is refocused online.

Journalism in the U.S. faces a number of challenges that blockchain technology has the potential to address and possibly solve — if the technology actually can achieve what it promises.

2018 itself has seen journalism move into uncharted waters as the industry comes up against issues, stemming from the continued digital migration of news organizations.

 

Because blockchain functions as a platform to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions, there are a few news organizations that believe blockchain technology finally will enable micropayments to be widely adopted in the U.S.

 

 

 

 
 

10 predictions for tech in 2019 — from enterprisersproject.com by Carla Rudder
IT leaders look at the road ahead and predict what’s next for containers, security, blockchain, and more

Excerpts:

We asked IT leaders and tech experts what they see on the horizon for the future of technology. We intentionally left the question open-ended, and as a result, the answers represent a broad range of what IT professionals may expect to face in the new year. Let’s dig in…

3. Security becomes must-have developer skill.
Developers who have job interviews next year will see a new question added to the usual list.

5. Ethics take center stage with tech talent
Robert Reeves, CTO and co-founder, Datical: “More companies (prompted by their employees) will become increasingly concerned about the ethics of their technology. Microsoft is raising concerns of the dangers of facial recognition technology; Google employees are very concerned about their AI products being used by the Department of Defense. The economy is good for tech right now and the job market is becoming tighter. Thus, I expect those companies to take their employees’ concerns very seriously. Of course, all bets are off when (not if) we dip into a recession. But, for 2019, be prepared for more employees of tech giants to raise ethical concerns and for those concerns to be taken seriously and addressed.”’

7. Customers expect instant satisfaction
All customers will be the customer of ‘now,’ with expectations of immediate and personalized service; single-click approval for loans, sales quotes on the spot, and deliveries in hours instead of days. The window of opportunity for customer satisfaction will keep closing and technology will evolve to keep pace. Real-time analytics will become faster and smarter as data that is external to the organization, such as social, news and weather, will be included for more insights. The move to the cloud will accelerate with the growing adoption of open-source vendors.”

 

From DSC:
Regarding #7 above…as the years progress, how do you suppose this type of environment where people expect instant satisfaction and personalized service will impact education/training?

 

 

 

Creating an Immersive, Global Experience for Business Education — from campustechnology.com by Meg Lloyd
The University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School is using cutting-edge videoconferencing technology to connect students and academic scholars in a truly global classroom.

 

 

GM to lay off 15 percent of salaried workers, halt production at five plants in U.S. and Canada — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Excerpts:

Amid global restructuring, General Motors announced Monday it would reduce its North American production and salaried and executive workforce

These changes are part of GM’s efforts to focus its resources on self-driving and electric vehicles, as well as more efficient trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the company said in a statement.

The company also said it will cut 15 percent of its salaried workforce, laying off 25 percent of its executives to “streamline decision-making.” GM also said it will close two plants outside North America by the end of 2019. Those locations have yet to be announced.

 

From DSC to students:
Take note of this. If you’re heading for the corporate world (and other arenas as well these days), be ready for constant change. Always keep learning in order to stay marketable. In addition, hopefully you’ll be pulse checking the relevant landscapes along the way to minimize getting broadsided. Look for signs of what’s coming down the pike and develop some potential scenarios — and your plans/responses to those scenarios.

 

 

Is Amazon’s algorithm cashing in on the Camp Fire by raising the cost of safety equipment? — from wired.co.uk by Matthew Chapman
Sudden and repeated price increases on fire extinguishers, axes and escape ladders sold on Amazon are seemingly linked to increased demand driven by California’s Camp Fire

Excerpt:

Amazon’s algorithm has allegedly been raising the price of fire safety equipment in response to increased demand during the California wildfires. The practice, known as surge pricing, has caused products including fire extinguishers and escape ladders to fluctuate significantly on Amazon, seemingly as a result of the retailer’s pricing system responding to increased demand.

An industry source with knowledge of the firm’s operations claims a similar price surge was triggered by the Grenfell Tower fire. A number of recent price rises coincide directly with the outbreak of the Camp Fire, which has been the deadliest in California’s history and resulted in at least 83 deaths.

 

From DSC:
I’ve been thinking a lot more about Amazon.com and Jeff Bezos in recent months, though I’m not entirely sure why. I think part of it has to do with the goals of capitalism.

If you want to see a winner in the way America trains up students, entrepreneurs, and business people, look no further than Jeff Bezos. He is the year-in-and-year-out champion of capitalism. He is the winner. He is the Michael Jordan of business. He is the top. He gets how the game is played and he’s a master at it. By all worldly standards, Jeff Bezos is the winner.

But historically speaking, he doesn’t come across like someone such as Bill Gates — someone who has used his wealth to literally, significantly, and positively change millions of lives. (Though finally that looks to be changing a bit, with the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund; the first grants of that fund total $97 million and will be given to 24 organizations working to address family homelessness. Source.)

Along those same lines — and expanding the scope a bit — I’m struggling with what the goals of capitalism are for us today…especially in an era of AI, algorithms, robotics, automation and the like. If the goal is simply to make as much profit as possible, we could be in trouble. If what occurs to people and families is much lower down the totem pole…what are the ramifications of that for our society? Yes, it’s a tough, cold world. But does it always have to be that way? What is the best, most excellent goal to pursue? What are we truly seeking to accomplish?

After my Uncle Chan died years ago, my Aunt Gail took over the family’s office supply business and ran it like a family. She cared about her employees and made decisions with an eye towards how things would impact her employees and their families. Yes, she had to make sound business decisions, but there was true caring in the way that she ran her business. I realize that the Amazon’s of the world are in a whole different league, but the values and principles involved here should not be lost just because of size.

 

To whom much is given…much is expected.

 

 

 

Also see:

GM to lay off 15 percent of salaried workers, halt production at five plants in U.S. and Canada — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Wall Street applauded the news, with GM’s stock climbing more than 7 percent following the announcement.

 

From DSC:
Well, I bet those on Wall Street aren’t a part of the 15% of the folks being impacted. The applause is not heard at all from those folks who are being impacted today…whose families are being impacted today…and will be feeling the impact of these announcements for quite a while yet.

 

 

Why blockchain is quickly becoming the gold standard for supply chains — from datafloq.com

Excerpts:

Global supply chains are complex processes. Different companies, with distinctive objectives, are working together to achieve a common goal; to bring something from A to B. For a supply chain to work, partners have to trust each other. To do so, there are multiple checks-and-balances, extensive documents and different checkpoints all interacting in a web of bureaucratic processes. Knowing the amount of paperwork required to send a product from farm to plate, it is remarkable that we have managed to develop global supply chains.

However, the processes in place are time-consuming, expensive and they don’t always prevent growing problems such as counterfeit products, fragmentation and falsification of data, lack of transparency, extensive settlement times and incorrect storage conditions.

Especially the availability of counterfeit products is an extensive problem. Research showed that 20 out of 47 items audited from renowned retailers such as Amazon or eBay turned out to be counterfeit. This results in annual damages of $1 trillion of missed income by retailers and manufacturers.


Three use cases of improved supply chains

  1. Beiersdorf – developing an open pallet exchange
  2. Bayer – total recall of pharmaceuticals
  3. Kellogg’s – food quality and safety first

 

 

Can employees change the ethics of tech firms? — from knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu

Excerpts:

“[An] extremely important factor that tech managers now have to consider is how the ethical and moral implications of their choices affect their ability to attract and retain talent.”

“We’re in a space now where these companies are really on the hook,” said the Shorenstein Center’s Ghosh. “Regulation is coming and this whole industry is going to have to figure out a way to socialize the ideas that it has and to make decisions that are a little bit more in the public interest. That’s where this whole conversation is going. I think that they are going to have to start thinking more about what’s in it for the world, and if they don’t, other people are going to step in and decide for them.”

 

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space — from digitaltrends.com by Kelly Hodgkins

new satellite-based network would cover the entire globe -- is that a good thing?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The FCC this week unanimously approved SpaceX’s ambitious plan to launch 7,518 satellites into low-Earth orbit. These satellites, along with 4,425 previously approved satellites, will serve as the backbone for the company’s proposed Starlink broadband network. As it does with most of its projects, SpaceX is thinking big with its global broadband network. The company is expected to spend more than $10 billion to build and launch a constellation of satellites that will provide high-speed internet coverage to just about every corner of the planet.

 

To put this deployment in perspective, there are currently only 1,886 active satellites presently in orbit. These new SpaceX satellites will increase the number of active satellites six-fold in less than a decade. 

 

 

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work — from digitaltrends.com by Luke Dormehl

Excerpt:

From Tesla to Hyperloop to plans to colonize Mars, it’s fair to say that Elon Musk thinks big. Among his many visionary ideas is the dream of building a space internet. Called Starlink, Musk’s ambition is to create a network for conveying a significant portion of internet traffic via thousands of satellites Musk hopes to have in orbit by the mid-2020s. But just how feasible is such a plan? And how do you avoid them crashing into one another?

 



 

From DSC:
Is this even the FCC’s call to make?

One one hand, such a network could be globally helpful, positive, and full of pros. But on the other hand, I wonder…what are the potential drawbacks with this proposal? Will nations across the globe launch their own networks — each of which consists of thousands of satellites?

While I love Elon’s big thinking, the nations need to weigh in on this one.

 

 

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